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Vail Mountain School


Tom Washing President Juan Carlos Aziz Bruce Bolyard Glenn Davis Kristi Ferraro Louise Ingalls Sally Johnston Josh Lautenberg Alejandro Martí Dan McKenna Kaia Moritz x’89 Linda Pancratz Mary Randall Michael Slevin ’93 Ann Smead Patrick McConathy, ex officio Peter Abuisi Headmaster

The mission of Vail Mountain School is to prepare students intellectually, emotionally, and ethically to thrive in a collegiate setting and beyond with the life-long purpose of active participation in global citizenship. 2 vms magazine

Letter from the Headmaster Reflections VMS Traditions: Lifelong Memories Throughout the Journey

Good News for VMS

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Editor: Emily Tamberino Editorial Advisor: Peter Abuisi Design & Production: Emily Tamberino Photography: Nancy Cole, Emily Tamberino, with thanks to various teachers Contributors: Peter Abuisi, Bob Bandoni, Katy Lackey ’03, Jaime Kellogg, Sharon Schmidt Printing: Colorado Printing Company

Bringing Learning to Life



VMS-Cambodia-Tibet Shoulder-to-Shoulder


Welcome New Trustees


Philanthropy at VMS

The Many Facets of Philanthropy


Don’t Miss!


Alma Matters

Alumni Reconnect at VMS


Class Notes


Katy Lackey ’03–Lessons Learned Abroad


Alumni Featured at Back-to-School Night


Former Faculty News


Parting Thoughts Peace Is...

All letters and editorial comments should be directed to: VMS Magazine Vail Mountain School 3000 Booth Falls Road Vail, Colorado 81657 (970) 476-3850 The editor reserves the right to edit submissions to the VMS Magazine. To read this issue of the VMS Magazine online, please visit

64 COVER PHOTO: 8th graders Willy Girten, Olivia Bolwell, and Georgia Hintz stand inside a 258 cm avalanche pit they dug on Vail Pass during a practical science lesson on snow physics.

Letter from the Headmaster Dear VMS Families and Friends, It is always a pleasure to reflect on highlights of the school year. This edition of the Vail Mountain School Magazine captures reminiscences with a particular emphasis on the connection between the many things we learn in school and their immediate applicability. The philosophy of education reformer John Dewey is alive and well at Vail Mountain School! His principles are infused into the experiences of students and teachers alike. The particular quote that summarizes the connection between a VMS education and Dewey’s beliefs is that, “Education isn’t preparation for life, it is life.” The following pages provide compelling examples of carrying what is taught in the classroom into arenas where the concepts can become imprinted through experience. Glance back at the cover of this issue for a vivid illustration picturing students who culminated their classroom study of snow physics with a quick trek up a nearby mountain to dig snow pits and gain a greater understanding of the infrastructure and composition of the white flakes that blanket our campus five months of the year. Other opportunities to practice what we teach range from the cross-age tutorials that match older and younger schoolmates in skills lessons, to a tradition that features students preparing and serving Thanksgiving Breakfast to the entire school and the senior class orchestrating its Commencement before an audience of well-wishers from throughout the community. Whether doing volunteer work in our state, traveling to disparate parts of the world in pursuit of experiences in citizenship, visiting the classrooms of age-mates in distant Africa through technology, or reaching deep within ourselves for poetic expression, the benefits of a thoughtfully planned education are always at hand. Perhaps reading this VMS Magazine will lead to a few moments of personal reflection on the seamlessness between what we learn and how we live.


Peter M. Abuisi Headmaster

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Pointillism by Molly Blakslee ’21

Vail Mountain School is committed to its green initiatives. Our choice in printing this issue of the VMS Magazine on an environmentally sound paper that contains 10% recycled fibers saved the following resources: trees



solid waste

greenhouse gases

1 fully grown

591 gallons

984,725 BTUs

65 lbs.

129 lbs.

Environmental Impact Estimates were made using the Environmental Defense Paper Calculator. The editors of the VMS Magazine appreciate you recycling your copy of the issue when you are finished enjoying it.

The VMS Magazine is published yearly by the Development Office. Š 2011, Vail Mountain School. Readers may send mailing address changes, letters, news items, and e-mail address changes to VMS Magazine, 3000 Booth Falls Road, Vail, Colorado 81657, or e-mail Parents: If this issue is addressed to a son/daughter who no longer maintains an address at your home, please send the correct address to: Vail Mountain School, 3000 Booth Falls Road, Vail, Colorado 81657 or


VMS Traditions:

Lifelong Memories Throughout the Journey The Cap & Gown ceremony marks the last day of classes for the seniors and is punctuated by being dressed in traditional cap and gown by their Honor Guard.

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Class Night

is a ceremony at which seniors are honored by the faculty and representatives of local organizations. Students are awarded for their various accomplishments, and teachers share memories and words of advice with the graduating class.

At Kindergarten Graduation, the school’s youngest students are addressed by their teachers and given diplomas, marking the completion of their first year at VMS. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the students depart the theatre in the capable hands of the first grade teachers. 5

Field Day

brings every VMS student, teacher, and staff member together for one last morning of games, cheers, and camaraderie before the school year concludes.


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seniors write and lead the ceremony. Parents of the graduates award them their diplomas.

For younger students, the 1st day of school is a time to share stories of summer with old friends, meet new schoolmates, and delve into exciting adventures in learning. Middle and upper schoolers spend the first few days of school on outdoor orientation trips. Students explore group dynamics and test their own inner limits while enhancing their knowledge and appreciation of the environment.


For four decades, student, parent, and faculty volunteers have welcomed guests from all over the world to the school’s annual Home Tour. This “all hands on deck� fundraiser benefits tuition assistance.

The annual Family Fun Run brings the community together for a spirited run and family picnic. 8 vms magazine

Spirit Week begins with

Western Day, Sports Fan Day, and Blue & White Day. On Blue & White Day, the community gathers for a pep rally to support the fall sports teams who compete the following day at


That evening, the upper schoolers gather for a dinner dance at school.


The Common is transformed into a bookstore each year for the

Book Fair & Food for Thought Luncheon.

Halloween is not only an opportunity to dress in costume; in addition, seniors and kindergartners gather to carve pumpkins, a bonding experience neither class ever forgets.

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Thanksgiving & International Breakfasts and the annual Gift Exchange are holiday traditions


that bring students, teachers, and alumni together for a special meal followed by assemblies featuring student performances.


Good News

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s for VMS


Bringing Learning Every day at Vail Mountain School, students of all ages experience what they learn, share what they know, connect with their education, and apply lessons to life.


philosopher of education, John Dewey first suggested that, “Education isn’t preparation for life, it is life,” and, “I believe that education, therefore, is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” With an appreciation of these principles, a Vail Mountain School education is truly a journey. Lessons are “brought to life” in two ways: Teaching comes alive when students can see and feel their subject matter, and lessons become a part of life when they are understood and applied. Learning, then, is realized and embraced as a lifelong endeavor that begins early on and is built upon every day. Along the educational journey, VMS faculty make use of interactive and meaningful teaching methods to convey the basic curriculum of a college preparatory education, while also incorporating the essential elements of the school’s mission and philosophy, which include attention to each student’s social and emotional development, ethics, and local and global citizenship. Building on 14 vms magazine

the knowledge students gain from traditional classroom lessons, teachers create opportunities for “real-life” encounters that allow students to immerse themselves in, and better connect with, their subject matter. These tangible experiences prompt students to engage in, question, and, ultimately, more deeply understand the world they are inheriting. Rather than memorize facts and figures, students are given tools and methods for seeking the answers to their questions; a skill that is essential in college and life. Teachers find that these genuine learning experiences encourage students to empathize and take responsibility for addressing personal, local, and global challenges, ultimately empowering them to bring about change in the world. Following is a sampling of the meaningful lessons that students have learned this year—lessons that might have begun with a traditional teaching approach, but were embellished, transformed, and “brought to life.”

to Life

Contemporary 1st graders journey back in time to learn what life was like for students “long ago.�



Pizza boxes, handmade chef hats, aprons, and Monopoly money were some of the props used in a kindergarten lesson that incorporated language arts and math earlier this year. Inspired by a workshop the kindergarten teachers attended, entitled “Developing Social Competency in Young Children,” they assigned the youngsters the task of visiting pizza shops close to home and observing the operation for ideas to recreate a restaurant within the doors of Vail Mountain School. Students returned with their impressions of the various businesses they visited and quickly went to work on simulating what they saw. They split themselves into waiters and waitresses, chefs, hosts, and bus boys and girls, and every student tried each role, comparing and contrasting the experience from one job to another. Working under restaurant managers (their teachers), students cut pizzas into slices, discussing the fractions they were creating. They added up bills for their “customers” and Kenya Becker-Perez ’23 takes an order subtracted when they received their payment, and they learned how to spell words like “cheese” at the kindergarten pizza shop. and “pepperoni.” When they felt they were ready, the students opened “shop” for business, inviting parents, book buddies, and friends for a meal. Kindergarten teacher Brooke Beebe comments, “The students raced back and forth from their customers to the ‘kitchen,’ and took their roles very seriously. They had fun while improving their social competence skills, presenting the ‘menu’ to older students and adults with confidence; working together to insure that each person was served; and practicing their critical thinking skills, determining what was working and how to improve their restaurant as they went along.”

Schools Long Ago

1st grade

When the lower school social studies curriculum asked teachers to address “what school was like long ago,” first grade teachers Kara Robinson and Kristen Kenly were struck by a multitude of ideas for teaching this unit in ways that would allow their students to compare and contrast student life in the early 1900s and today. The lessons, they decided, would all take place in the Homesteader Cabin on the north side of Vail Mountain School’s campus—a historical landmark, originally built and owned by early settlers of Booth Creek, the Baldauf family, over 100 years ago. The students arrived at school one cold morning in February, wearing the clothes of pioneer children, and were greeted by their teachers in 16 vms magazine

long dresses with hoop skirts and shawls over their shoulders to keep warm. The class discussed how simple it was to wake up, eat breakfast, and drive to school in heated cars that morning, sometimes traveling with only their own family members. In contrast, they empathized with children of long ago, who would wake up very early to help with the morning’s chores and then walk, possibly miles, to get to school, picking up neighborhood children along the way. They learned that students of long ago attended school only a few months at a time because they were needed to help on their families’ farms the rest of the year.


Before the first graders began their work, they were given writing slates and a piece of chalk, and were shown old school supplies like quills and ink, primers, and horn books (a piece of wood covered in cow’s horn for protection, which would encase a page nailed to the wood for instruction each day). The boys were asked to sit on one side of the room, Cloe Cunningham ’22 takes lessons on while the girls sat on another. a slate with chalk. They were instructed to stand up when speaking and address their teachers as “ma’am.” Lefties tried writing with their right hands since these students would have been forced to switch hands long ago. When the students were thirsty, they ladled water from a pot. While none of the students misbehaved to warrant it, each student stood in a corner of the room wearing a dunce cap to see how it would feel to be punished in such a way. On the lighter side, the students played “hot potato” with real hot potatoes at recess, and they churned butter, which was enjoyed with pieces of bread and hot cider. Sam Lautenberg ’22

2nd grade

This is Resort Life

When second grade students learned about urban, rural, and suburban communities in their social studies class, one question was on many minds: “What type of community is Vail?” After some discussion, the students determined that they are very fortunate to live in what is called a “resort community.” Second grade teacher, KC Lasher, explains, “We talked about some of the characteristics that make our community unique, like the many hotels, restaurants, and businesses that serve seasonal residents and visitors.” The class quickly realized that Vail’s status as a world-class ski resort has determined the town’s status as a resort community. Mr. Lasher showed the students photos of Vail when Second graders in the underground tunnel beneath the gondola

churns butter.

ng Learning 17

lettuce and cabbage were the area’s primary source of industry, and they decided that if the ski mountain didn’t exist, Vail would be a rural community and likely a much smaller town with fewer residents and visitors. They then poured over photos of the creation of the resort and its evolution. Realizing how vital the ski mountain is to the nature of our community, the class journeyed on an impromptu, unforgettable field trip to Vail Mountain. The students toured an underground tunnel that begins at large loading docks under the Arrabelle and ends at the base of the gondola, where large cargo cars are loaded to transport food and resources up the mountain, making Vail’s gondola one of the few in the world to haul supplies as well as people. Mr. Lasher comments, “The students were in awe to be standing in a place that few people even know exists. A couple of students remarked that the next time they’re standing in line at the gondola, they’ll imagine what is being transported underneath them. They all really began to appreciate the complexities of a mountain resort and the effort and resources required to make it so successful.” After watching two cargo cars get loaded and unloaded, the students boarded the gondola for a ride to Ryan Cole ’21 plays a role in the Eagle’s Nest Ski Patrol Headquarters to learn about the Ski Patrol, a job that is unique and vital to a resort simulation of an evacuation. community. The students learned that while all communities rely on police and fire officers to insure the safety of the community, the Ski Patrol plays as important a role on the mountain. Following a tour of Patrol Headquarters, the boys and girls were shown some of the medical equipment used in emergencies. The class simulated an evacuation—one boy was put in a body air cast, and his classmates carried him to a nearby ski rack. “It was hard work,” explained Graham Spessard. The students discussed the importance of skier safety, and each student was given the opportunity to take a test to earn a Junior Ski Patrol pin. In order to pass, the students were required to answer questions and successfully complete 12 pushups. Mr. Lasher was happy to report, “All of the students received their pins! More importantly, they now take an even greater responsibility to insure their own safety as well as those around them.”

3rd grade Caroline Chlipala ’20 wears ancient Egyptian garb to illustrate this element of the culture.

Lessons From Around the World “I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” ~Lillian Smith In order to better understand the history, geography, politics, economy, and culture of people who inhabit various parts of the world, third graders “traveled” the globe, bringing back lifelong lessons to share with their classmates, teachers, parents, and friends. Each student selected a country, exploring places such as Ghana,

France, India, Australia, and Lebanon. Along their journeys, the students not only gained a better understanding of their chosen countries, but they also learned how to conduct research using local and world-wide resources. They practiced taking notes and discerning from the vast amount of details they discovered through research, outlining the information, crafting topic and concluding sentences, writing expository paragraphs, and publishing their findings. They discussed how seeing pictures, listening to music, and hearing stories about their chosen country helped them better understand those places. Then, each student set out to create a visual and oral presentation to share with his/her teachers, friends, and parents on Around the World Day in February. Dressing in the customary garb of their countries, the students arrived at school on Around the World Day, bringing with them food, traditions, and stories from abroad. Each student delivered a three to ten minute presentation. Third grade teacher Kristin Douthitt comments, “We all learn from each other and gain more perspective on the ways of life in varying countries.” The experience culminated with a special lunch, featuring foods from “around the world.”

4th grade

4th Graders D i v e Into Learning A fourth grade social studies unit on European exploration of the New World prompted students to literally “dive into” history and recover artifacts that would tell them more about what was brought to and from the Americas by European voyagers. After reading about the explorers and watching an online, interactive presentation on their classroom’s ActivBoard, the students played jeopardy games and participated in enrichment activities. The unit culminated with an “underwater archeology” exercise, which was especially memorable for the students. The class designed a ship’s hull out of masking tape, and Mrs. Schlossinger placed photos of artifacts around the ship. The students “dove” into their sunken ship, retrieved an artifact, and after bringing it to “the surface,” they categorized it as something that was either brought by an explorer to America or taken back to Europe from the Americas. They rescued such objects as a compass, an astrolabe (a tool used to help navigate), maps, and cash crops like

Ripley Stone ’19 dives into a representative sunken ship in search of artifacts.

Ms. Douthitt’s third graders represent 14 different countries on Around the World Day.

tobacco and cotton, exploring the materials to construct their own understanding of the concepts. The activity encouraged the students to seek out answers rather than memorize facts. Mrs. Schlossinger comments, “Experiential exercises like this one create memorable experiences that help students grasp abstract social studies concepts. Through the use of movement and inspection, students capture a moment or feeling that is central to understanding a particular concept or historical event.” By taking on the roles of underwater archeologists, the students were urged to practice comparing and contrasting, high level thinking skills that are fundamental to learning and life. The exploratory nature of the activity also developed teamwork, leadership, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Mrs. Schlossinger comments, “One of the most important skills students learn at VMS is analysis. As teachers, we prompt with questions that require students to analyze the big picture and draw conclusions. In the case of the underwater archeology exercise, the students realized how objects contributed to the history and culture of the societies who used them. They discussed the challenges those societies faced and were able to sympathize. When students become more aware of other cultures, past and present, they become empathetic and, eventually, take action. This is an example of how ethics and global citizenship are seamlessly woven into the curriculum at VMS.”

5th grade

5th Graders Journey to Afghanistan and Beyond When the fifth grade read The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, they began a journey that challenged them to consider a life in which hunger, trust, and safety are ongoing concerns. The students were mystified to read the story about a young girl, Parvana, who lives in Afghanistan at the time of Taliban control and is forced to cut off her hair, disguise herself as a boy, and step into the role of “breadwinner” for her family when her father is forcibly taken away to a Taliban prison. The students were exposed to shocking facts about the debilitating control of the Taliban and especially their treatment of women. To contrast the negative feelings that arose from reading The Breadwinner, the 5th grade teachers invited VMS history teacher and world traveler, Ryan Gray,

to speak about Afghanistan, the nation. The students were enlightened and heartened to hear about the country’s tribal systems and beautiful geography. Still gripped by Parvana’s story, the students asked their teachers if they could read Parvana’s Journey, the sequel to The Breadwinner. “The students’ desire to further explore Parvana’s journey was an inspiration to all of us. And, being able to respond to the students’ interests and curiosities is truly the gift of working in an independent school,” says their teacher, Jaime Kellogg. Because of the difficult scenarios the students had to consider as they read more about Parvana's struggles, their teachers 

“...being able to respond to the students’ interests and curiosities is truly the gift of working in an independent school.” 

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asked them to articulate their impressions through a newspaper they would entitle “Afghania.” The publication included “interviews” with characters from the books, advertisements of items that Parvana sold in the marketplace in Kabul, comics, and an article written about the destruction of the World Trade Center Twin Towers. “Seeing the students become more aware of global issues and relating them back to their own lives was an eye-opening experience,” says Kellogg. Also along the students’ journey with Parvana, they were introduced to Shannon Galpin, founder of “Mountain 2 Mountain,” an organization that focuses on bringing equality and education to the women and young girls of Afghanistan. Ms. Galpin visited the classroom and shared pictures and stories of her experiences in Afghanistan. She brought a burqa,

annon Galpin from

Sh A thank you note to

which each student tried on. One student commented, “I just cannot imagine wearing a burqa all the time. It’s really hard to see.” The students sent Ms. Galpin thank you notes after her visit. One student wrote, “I learned that if I was in a room with 22 kids my age, and I was in Afghanistan, only two of those kids would be able to read and write. I might not be able to write this letter to you.” From their readings on Afghanistan, the class considered the plight of other children in difficult circumstances through their readings of three novels—My Brother Sam is Dead; Bud, Not Buddy; and The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. These stories introduced the class to the challenges children faced during the American Revolution, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. The students readily made connections between the struggles of the characters in these stories and Parvana, and they began identifying groups of children who are suffering in modern day societies, including our own right here in Eagle and Summit Counties.

Ben West ’18.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteerism Day approached, the students knew exactly what they wanted to do to commemorate Dr. King. By doing chores at home for spare change and conducting a class food drive, they raised funds and gathered nonperishables for the Food Rescue Express in Eagle County, which provides meals to children who wouldn’t typically get fed over the weekends. Ms. Kellogg concludes, “Being able to help fight hunger here in our own community is a rewarding first step in the journey to be global citizens.” 21

Children Inspiring Hope 6th grade

This year, sixth and seventh grade service skills classes explored “core values,” including those that are related to individuals, families, schools, communities, and great leaders. In addition, students have engaged in several service projects that have directly benefited our community and the world. One particularly meaningful, hands-on service assignment asked students to correspond with children in Ghana through art exchanges centered around two themes: human connection and connections to our natural environment. Through Children Inspiring Hope (CIH), an organization that bridges cultures with arts and education projects, the middle school students created and sent peace flags, a handpainted banner that read “peace,” and a soccer ball to EP Primary Ho-Bankoe school. Amy Gaylor, founder of CIH, brought back peace flags from the students in Africa; a banner with their handprints that read “Ntifafa,” which translates to “peace” in Ewe; and a documentary video of the African students receiving the gifts VMS students sent them. The exchange in Vail was also documented, and will be shared with the students in Africa when Ms. Gaylor returns next. Seventh grader Tai Kerzner commented, “It’s really cool to see what they’ve been doing in Ghana and to see all the thought and time they’ve put into their projects. It really means a lot. It shows that they are thinking about us while we think about them. We haven’t ever met each other, but we still have this connection.” Ms. Gaylor comments, “Students are empowered that they can make a positive impact in the world while having fun at the same time, truly becoming compassionate citizens of the world.” After visiting with the sixth and seventh graders, Ms. Gaylor said, “I am always inspired by the joy and power of connection between these students, and the genuine impact on their world view… The opportunity to paint, draw, and express their own creative nature, and loving kindness with children across the is miraculous.” 22 vms magazine

Colby Wilson ’17 loo ks at pictures of the art exchange in Ghana.

7th grade

Docents of History

Michele Philippon ’16 serves as a docent at the 7th grade antebellum artifact museum.

In commemoration of African American History Month, 7th grade humanities students created an antebellum artifact museum in the Common. Applying what they had learned in class about pre-Civil War African American history, the students recreated artifacts from clothing to utensils to the interior of a slave cabin and served as docents of their museum. Students, teachers, and parents strolled through the exhibits and learned what life was like before the Civil War. By taking the lead in teaching others, the 7th graders had to become “experts” in the subjects they were presenting. 7th grader Lauren Viola comments, “When we started this, I didn’t know that so many people helped slaves escape.” Colby Wilson adds, “I felt like a real archaeologist.”

8th grade

Life-Saving Lessons for 8th Graders

Brett Falk has been teaching 8th grade science at VMS for over 20 years. One of his most popular lessons, snow physics, recently became even more engaging when he began integrating data from the campus weather station. Located on top of the west side of the school building, the weather station was originally designed by a student. Basic information gathered by the weather station is transmitted to the VMS website; details that are more useful to budding scientists at the school are available on a remote website. The 8th grade has used the weather station to observe the air pressure recorded over a period of time, concluding that the air pressure at this elevation is very close to the lowest pressure ever recorded at sea level. They used the temperature, dew point, and relative humidity data generated by the weather station to explore the role of moisture in determining weather. They also monitored how weather in the area is affected by our continental location and its effects on our snow pace. This information proved helpful in their study of snow physics and avalanches. For the next step in bringing this lesson to life, Mr. Falk and Ms. Sideli invited avalanche instructor Mike Duffy to campus to teach a course on avalanche safety and awareness. Mr. Duffy comments, “I was very impressed with the students’ knowledge of avalanches. It was greater than most adults who take my class.” Finally, to apply the lesson to life and truly test their knowledge of snow physics, the class ventured out to Vail Pass, where they identified snow types firsthand, dug avalanche pits themselves, and determined stability. The field trip was followed Clay Kirwood ’15 measures the lay ers of a snow by the 8th grade overnight hut trip. Clay Kirwood pit he and his classm ates dug on Vail Pass. ’15 comments, “After digging the avalanche pits and learning the science of snow, I feel safer and more prepared for the backcountry.” Mr. Falk adds, “This lesson truly comes alive when the students can see firsthand what they originally learned in the classroom, and because of where we live and our outdoor pursuits, this is a lesson that is practical in life.” Now in 10th grade, student Sage Ebel reflects on the experience she had in 8th grade, “I remember this lesson because the information could save my life one day.”

9th grade

Art for Life In the spirit of citizenship and to gain a practical understanding of the modern art environment, the 9th Grade Foundat i o n s Heidi Ortiz ’14 ha ngs her artwork, a studio art class piece dedicated to Children's Ho spital. decorated canvases inspired by social issues and the efforts of non-profit organizations to address specific issues. Each student chose a different non-profit and carefully planned a piece of artwork that expressed the issues the non-profit addresses. Once completed, the students formally presented their works at a gallery opening at Alpine Arts Center in Edwards. The pieces were on display and made available for purchase for one month. All proceeds generated from the sale of the artwork were donated to the charities of choice as well as the Youth Foundation’s Alpine Arts Scholarship Program. Art teacher, Slade Cogswell, comments “This experience not only gave students an opportunity to hang their artwork for interpretation, but it also provided the very real scenario of selling art for a cause.” 23

10th grade

10th Grade Immersion in Intraterm Initiated by upper school teachers, VMS launched a new program, Intraterm, for 10th graders this year. Students spent one week pursuing a chosen course of study designed to enrich the traditional curriculum and the student’s intellectual curiosity. The course titles included “Water, Water, Everywhere?;” “Digital Citizenship;” “Psychology and Film;” and “Eat, Talk, and Play: Exploring Language and Learning.” The courses engaged cts with a child era int ’13 rd lya Bo students in diverse activities such as meeting with Elizabeth dation’s Magic Bus. on the Youth Foun legislators at the Capitol to discuss water issues, video conferencing with students across the country; visiting the Speech, Language, and Hearing Center at the University of Colorado; serving in a Denver soup kitchen; and much more. “The courses were designed to be enriching and fun, but also required focus, participation, and work on the part of students,” explains Director of Upper School Adam Dubé. The students were extremely positive about the program. One student commented, “I will always remember how important water rights are and how much of an issue they will become with our increase in population.” Another said, “The whole learning experience was illuminating.” 

Words to Life

This winter, Mr. Morris asked his 11th grade English class to compose a poem inspired by Robert Frost’s need to “summon aptly from the vast chaos of all that I have lived through.” He encouraged students to follow Frost’s advice to “begin in delight (i.e. the surprise of remembering), proceed through a series of revelations, and end in [unanticipated] wisdom.” He explains, “Like Frost, all of us have difficult moments hidden in vague memories of the past; I intended to give students the opportunity to transform these moments into meaningful personal realizations.” Following is 11th grader Paco Holquin’s poignant response to the assignment.

The Creek I stood at the edge of the water In the shadow of the forest. A creek came trickling from the highlands Of decent size and perhaps a Bit more potential, mired by debris— Twigs, branches, dirt, all the usual. A single leaf twisted down and Landed square in the flow, then floated Away. It was hard to pick it out Among the rest of the sea, yet There it was—I would not lose it— I will sway Death and save the memory (No one deserves to lose to history).

“The whole learning experience was illuminating.”  24 vms magazine

11th grade

10th graders visit Cl

imax Mine in Clim

ax, CO

But as I follow, the distinct Piece of life no longer was just that. The forest gave way and the ocean came, And everything looked like water.

12th grade

A Capstone lesson For approximately 33 years, Mr. Abuisi has invited Dr. Bill Fifer to speak to his 12th grade psychology classes on human development, and specifically fetal and neonatal behavioral, physiological, and brain development. Dr. Fifer is a professor in psychiatry and pediatrics at Columbia University and assistant director of Sackler Institute of Developmental Psychobiology. A close friend and former teacher under Mr. Abuisi’s leadership, Dr. Fifer looks forward to his visits to Colorado each year. He says, “As a student myself, I truly enjoy the opportunity to come back to VMS each year and see how the best possible learning conditions are structured and how students learn in those very special environments. As a professor, I think it’s important to teach students how the principles they’re learning about in class are applied to very real clinical situations. Psychology covers so many different topics, and few students have the chance to even read about the psychobiology of fetal and neonatal infants. It’s rewarding to expose the VMS students to some of the latest research on this fascinating period of development.” For one week this March, Dr. Fifer met with the seniors daily and shared his latest findings on fetal, newborn, and premature infant neurobehavioral responses to environmental stimulation during sleep, and the effects of prenatal exposures on later neurodevelopment. Senior Sophe Friedman comments, “It was fascinating to hear from a professional in the field, talking to us about some of the latest projects and studies. It’s amazing what modern science is teaching us about the importance of human development even at the prenatal and neonatal stages.” Dr. Fifer’s visit serves as a bridge between theory and experience—what the students learned in class and what they will see and experience in the next phase of their educational journey in psychology, a trip to New York City, which will take place this spring. This annual tradition is not only intended to promote bonding for the graduating class, but is also highly educational and meaningful. On the first day in the big city, the students venture to Columbia University Hospital to see firsthand the tools and subjects of Dr. Fifer’s research. The class receives a personal tour of the neonatal intensive care nursery and clinical research laboratories at the hospital’s psychiatric institute from a medical doctor, researchers, and scientists. The goal is to provide students with an opportunity to see the practical expression of topics they’ve been discussing and to ask questions of the clinicians in their environment. Mr. Bandoni, who has chaperoned the trip since 1992, comments, “To witness the technology and resources that are being dedicated to this particular form of science is a new experience for the seniors. It is inherently striking because while the students naturally have images of the world of psychology and psychobiology and medicine, this experience provides direct witness to the things they read in books.” Senior Jaime Morten is looking forward to the trip. She says, “It will be a great learning experience to connect what we’ve read in our textbook to real scenarios.”

Dr. Bill Fifer speaks to seniors during his visit to VMS.


VMS coaches view each sporting arena as a “classroom” for helping student-athletes develop lifelong habits and skills. The philosophy of the athletic department is based on five “pillars” of success: technique, tactics, fitness, character, and lifestyle. Whether students are on the fields, on the courts, or on the slopes, they are learning lessons they can apply to their lives today and into their futures–lessons like goal setting, teamwork, character development, the understanding of a healthy lifestyle, and how to balance “work” and “play.”

Left to right, top to bottom: Hannah McKeever ’14 reaches to spike the volleyball, Sean McKeever ’12 and Paco Holquin ’12 block the basketball, Eva Spaeh ’12 on the Nordic track, members of the 2011 telemark team, John McKenna ’11 represents VMS in an alpine race, and Avery Bellis ’14 dribbles the soccer ball in an early season game. 26 vms magazine

Photos by Jorge Navas, Kristin Anderson of the Vail Daily, Cindy Ryerson, Mike Gehl, and Johannes Spaeh

Students at VMS learn early on that art is ubiquitous! Through varied experiences with a wide array of media and tools, students learn to appreciate art and express themselves. The lessons they learn on stage and in the art studios transcend the actual work they create– Art Department Chair Kelly Eppinger explains, “With each creative challenge, students are learning how to problem solve, a skill they are able to apply to their other classes and to life.”

Left to right, top to bottom: Caleb Chicoine ’16 plays for the Concert Band, a painting by Riley Ebel ’11, Brandon Rosenbach ’14 puts the finishing touches on a sculpture, Tyra Kuller ’16 portrays her family’s voyage from Sweden to America “Viking style,” members of the Combined Band, and a painting of an adobe home by Marc Philippon ’18. 27

VMS - Cambodia -Tibet

Shoulder-to-Shoulder This winter, Bob Bandoni, VMS assistant head of school and executive director of Students Shoulderto-Shoulder (SStS), formally Ethically Engaged Youth (EEY), traveled to Asia to forge relationships and formalize humanitarian projects for SStS and Vail Mountain School. When he found Internet connectivity and time to write, Bob sent e-mails to family, friends, and colleagues, imparting stories from his travels and tones of inspiration for global education.

“I think that SStS has a chance to contribute to this story in a way that can engage more and more people to bring more and more dignity to humanity. The ‘next generation’ is always looking to identify themselves—let’s guide them toward the identity of honorable global citizens.” 28 vms magazine


30 vms magazine

“Everyone–from many believes in Students through translators– mission, our intent. is poised for in a positive,

nations–rich and poor–understands and Shoulder-to-Shoulder. All of them–some –nod their heads when they hear of our Some grin–others stay pensive. The world the next generation to guide it thoughtful, intelligent direction.”


Welcome New Trustees Juan Carlos Aziz

Kristi Ferraro

VMS Affiliation: My sons, Charlie and Pablo, are in the 8th and 6th grades, respectively; and my daughter, Andrea, is in the 3rd grade.

VMS Affiliations: My son, Brett, is a 9th grader who joined VMS in the 8th grade. Brett had such a good experience at VMS that his younger brother, Peter, decided to join 6th grade this year.

Board Committees: Marketing and Admissions, Development Other Volunteer Activities: I am very involved with the VMS Gala sponsorships.

Board Committees: Marketing and Admissions Committee, the Real Estate Committee, and the Compensation Committee

Business Affiliation: Restaurante Tinto/Selvatica Park, Cancun, Other Volunteer Activities: I serve as Mayor Pro Tem for the Town of Avon and as a director for the Upper Eagle Regional and I am in the process of doing business in the Valley. Water Authority. What do you and your family find unique/special about VMS? VMS represents the Spanish expression, “Mi casa es tu casa” (my Business Affiliation: I have my own law firm in Avon and have house is your house). From day one, we felt the sense of commu- been practicing business and real estate law since graduating from UC Berkeley’s law school in 1988. nity from the school, the parents, and the students. What inspired you to serve on the VMS Board of Trustees? VMS has given so much to my family that this is a way that I found to give back whatever I can. It is also a great way to understand and support the long term goals of VMS, which directly affect my children and the children of fellow parents. My colleagues on the Board are great individuals from whom I learn a great deal.

“VMS represents the Spanish expression, ‘mi casa es tu casa.’” 32 vms magazine

What do you and your family find unique/special about VMS? It’s a supportive and inspiring community of educators, students, and families. All of the VMS staff goes “above and beyond” to give each student an excellent school experience. What inspired you to serve on the VMS Board of Trustees? I worked closely with the Board on a bond refinancing last year. I was impressed with the talent, dedication, and collegiality of the Trustees. It’s an effective Board for an excellent institution, and I was honored to be asked to join.

Josh Lautenberg VMS Affiliations: I have two children at VMS–Sam in 1st grade and Hannah in 4th. Board Committees: Development Committee Chair, Marketing and Admissions Committee

Alejandro Martí VMS Affiliation: Our son has been studying at VMS since 9th grade, and he is now a junior. Board Committees: Financial Committee

Other Volunteer Activities: I am the VMS chair of Annual Giving. I also serve on the Open Other Volunteer Activities: I am the Space Advisory Committee for Eagle County and am involved in founder and president of MEXICO several philanthropic causes. SOS, an organization devoted to give a voice to Mexican citizens, promote legal reforms, transform the Business Affiliation: I am the co-owner of Sonnenalp Real Estate judicial system, and fight against corruption and crime. in Vail Village. Business Affiliation: In addition to social change that I have proWhat do you and your family find unique/special about VMS? moted through SOS, I have collaborated on the Board of the U.S. We love the intimate size and design of the school. We particu- Mexico-Foundation, and I created the Martí Foundation to help larly love the theatre as a place children can practice public speak- orphan children through donations from my personal artwork. I ing and perform. We also love the way all ages are commingled at am the chairman of the board of Deportes Martí, S.A. with over the school and work together on reading, pumpkin carving, Field 130 retail sport stores in Mexico. I am also chairman and founder Day, and other events. of 42 Sport City Health and Fitness Centers, chairman of Ferruco Equity Partners (corporate offices and shopping malls), and What inspired you to serve on the VMS Board of Trustees? chairman of Ferruco Vail Ventures (The Sebastian Hotel in Vail). I am so thrilled with the education my children are getting at In addition, I am a member of the board and partner in the folVMS that I wanted to help in any way possible. lowing companies: PROCORP, Progress Investments LLC, Pagatodo, and Hildebrando S.A. de C.V.

“I am so thrilled with the education my children are getting at VMS that I wanted to help in any way possible.”

What do you and your family find unique/special about VMS? VMS has the ability to help build the character to help young people find success in life. What inspired you to serve on the VMS Board of Trustees? I was drawn to being part of the Board of Trustees to learn more deeply about independent schools and especially VMS, as well as to add any input I could share to help the school to reach its goals. 33

The Many Facets of Philanthropy As I reflect upon John Dewey’s philosophy of education, and the many ways that VMS embraces this philosophy by “bringing learning to life,” I realize what an important role philanthropy plays in that process. Not only do VMS philanthropic initiatives result in a significant portion of the funding needed for special programs and resources, but philanthropy, in and of itself, is at the core of a number of VMS experiences that “bring learning to life.” A VMS mom recently shared with me that her first grader inquired where she was going one evening as she left home to attend an Annual Giving meeting. The mom replied that she was going to school to attend a meeting to help raise funds for the school, and that this was an important part of being a member of a community. The little girl told her mom she was proud of her for helping the school and that she wanted to give to the school. A few weeks later, an Annual Giving donation arrived on my desk from this little girl in a donor return envelope, which she had clearly filled out herself. I was touched by this little girl’s act of sharing and how philanthropy brought learning to life for this family.

VMS Parent-Initiated The mission of the VMS Parent Partner munication, supports and appreciates Vail Partners sponsors the Home Tour, Holiday

The Home Tour

The pages that follow illustrate how VMS students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrators embrace philanthropy, serving as role models for each other and gaining knowledge through their philanthropic undertakings along the way. Here’s to philanthropy and the many ways it brings learning to life at VMS! Sincerely,

$97,000 Goal

34 vms magazine

Sharon Schmidt Director of Development

comprises approximately 1% of fy11 operating budget to provide financial assistance



Altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.

Phi•lan•thro•py Association is to provide enrichment in a way that encourages and celebrates parental involvement and parent education and promotes comMountain School staff, and honors the mission of the school so that our children’s educational experience is enhanced. To that end, Parent Gala & Auction, and Annual Giving, which will fund approximately 11% of the school’s FY11 operating budget.

The Holiday Gala & Auction

Annual Giving

Raise Your Hand with Vail Mountain School Students

 Support VMS Annual Giving at $270,000 Goal

comprises approximately 3% of fy11 operating budget to provide unique educational experiences and financial assistance

$600,000 Goal

comprises approximately 7% of fy11 operating budget to provide unique educational experiences and financial assistance 35

VMS Parent-Initiated


Parent Partners also sponsors events and programs like the Book Fair, Garage Sale, Logowear, Student Photos, Box Tops, SummerQuest Plant Sale, and Door to Door Organics, as well as overseeing the Homebase Parent and teacher appreciation undertakings each year. The proceeds raised from the above events are distributed via a Parent Partners grant process for initiatives in support of its mission.

Clockwise: Sara Charles and her daughter, Erica ’14, sell logowear at the Fun Run; volunteers pose with a wide variety of items at the Garage Sale; parent Anne-Marie Keane makes purchases at the Book Fair; and Christina Lautenberg gives Ingrid Savin ’22 her family’s box of fresh, organic produce from Door to Door Organics.

36 vms magazine



The mission of Vail Mountain School’s Philanthropy-Service Group is to empower and inspire members of the VMS community and the larger population to improve our world through the combination of philanthropy and service. This student organization oversees student initiatives that support local, regional, national, and international causes.

Clockwise: Kindergarten fundraiser for Adopt-a-Family, 12th grade fundraiser for the Eagle County Watershed, 1st grade fundraiser for tsunami relief for children in Japan, and 3rd grade fundraiser for Operation Smile




VMS faculty support curriculum initiatives for students of all ages throughout the academic year aimed at instilling an appreciation for and an understanding of local, national, and global needs.

Clockwise: 6th graders collect food for the Make a Difference Day Food Drive; Thea Knobel ’13 paints a wall at the Family Learning Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteerism Day; Kaitlyn Harty ’17 and Regina Hernandez ’17 transport a gift for the Adopt-a-Family gift program; Kristina Bock ’11 spends time with a toddler at the Children’s Garden of Learning during Martin Luther King, Jr. Volunteerism Day; and 7th graders Dylan Cunningham, Tyra Kuller, Jordan Brandt, and Michele Philippon volunteer for the Youth Conservation Corps.

38 vms magazine

Parent/Faculty/Student-Initiated Phi•lan•thro•py

VMS parents, faculty, and students work together to raise funds to support unique, grade-wide educational experiences that take place outside of the traditional classroom setting. Whether it is the 5th grade trip to Crow Canyon, the 8th grade trip to Denver, the 9th grade trip to Costa Rica, the 10th grade college trip, or the senior trip to New York City, learning is brought to life on the trip itself, as well as through the fundraising activities that take place in the preceding months.

Leo Salamunovich ’13 sells pizza to fundraise for the 10th grade college trip.

Natalie Lash ’14 sells churros and pretzels to benefit the 9th grade class trip to Costa Rica.

Parents volunteer as course marshals for the Fun Run, which raises funds for the 5th grade trip to Crow Canyon.

The Falks enjoy Bingo Night, a fundraiser for the 8th grade trip to Denver.

Riley Ebel ’11, Bob Bandoni, and Cody Cirillo ’11 sell donuts to raise funds for the 12th grade New York City trip.


Raise Your Hand with Vail Mountain School Students

 Support VMS Annual Giving at  for more details, visit

FOUNDED IN 1962 40 vms magazine


HOME TOUR Opening Doors to Homes & Providing Opportunities for Education in the Vail Valley

40 th Annual Home Tour

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2011 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. This year’s tour will be at Arrowhead at Vail. And don’t Miss

Vail Mountain School Golf Tournament September 18, 1:30 p.m. Shotgun Start |



Sonnenalp Golf Club


Save the date and join us on a journey across the sand and seas for an evening of exotic adventures!


All Vail Mountain School Parents are Invited to Get Involved in the VMS Parent Partners Be a Leader • Get Involved • Volunteer Mission of the Parent Partners: The Vail Mountain School Parent Partner Association provides enrichment in a way that encourages and celebrates parental involvement and parent education and promotes communication, supports and appreciates Vail Mountain School staff, and honors the mission of the school so that our children’s educational experience is enhanced.

Be a part of the school’s future now! For more information and volunteering opportunities, please contact: Christina Lautenberg at or 376-5064 “To me, being a volunteer means becoming part of something that is bigger than you. It means becoming involved in the VMS community and making a difference in the lives of our children. It is my way of giving back to the school that is teaching and molding my children to adulthood. There is a Chinese proverb that I love- “Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” I feel that the volunteers at Vail Mountain School live by this. Give us a project and we will make sure it is a success! Taking on the Gala two years ago seemed like an overwhelming task but I realized that with the talent and help of all of our parents it would be easy and fun. When volunteering for these events you develop a camaraderie and bond with the other volunteers that just make you want to give it your all! You also realize that this is all about the students at Vail Mountain School–our children.” - Nancy Cole, Chair of the Holiday Gala & Auction 42 vms magazine

Share The VMS Magazine with a Friend! Vail Mountain School

vms magazine 2011 Celebrating 48 Years of Bringing Learning to Life

Please share your copy of the VMS Magazine with someone who might be interested in learning more about the school. An electronic copy of the magazine is also available at Additional magazine copies and other VMS publications are available at

Show Your School Spirit! T-shirts, Sweatshirts, scarves, tote bags, jersey blankets, & More to Order, Contact



Alumni Alumni Family Day


Peter Davis ’81, Bill Stephens ’8 Larry Benway ’85, 5, Ted Gwathmey ’8 5, her ’85 and Betsy Blanford and Stephanie Pitc Walker ’85

Bob Bandoni and Quincy McAdam ’98

Doug Bowen ’90, Oliver Compton, and Justin Bauer ’90

Chris Woods ’08, Tony Ryerson ’09, Carder Lamb ’09, and Rob Fitz ’09

Members of the class of ’09: Harper Kaufman, Nima Sherpa, Kaitlyn Zdechlik, and Mia Bandoni

Above: alumni soccer players represented the classes of ’84 - ’08.

Mothers & Daughters: Elsie ’08 and Jeanne Macsata, Jan and Mary ’10 Sackbauer 44 vms magazine

Colin Sullivan ’03, Whitney Simmonds ’03, Maddie Sullivan ’05, Bowen Rodkey ’03, Katy Lackey ’03, Jane Chipman ’03, and Gregory Flynn ’07

nnect at Thanksgiving Breakfast

After the originally scheduled Thanksgiving Breakfast was cancelled due to inclement weather, Tony Ryerson ’09 made it back for the rescheduled event.

VMS Holiday Gala & Auction

Barrett McAdam Phillips ’96 and Peter Abuisi

International Breakfast

Kate Kaemmer Drescher ’88 and Karina Mueller Patman ’87

Della Elich ’07 and coach Mike Garvey

On Campus Visit

Hilarie Bellis ’10 joined her sister, Avery ’14, on campus for lunch this winter.

Chris Woods ’08 and teacher Mike Morris

Alumni who attended the International Breakfast represented the classes of ’87 - ’10.

Chanda Wilcox ’09 and Sean Minnett ’09 45

Nick Christensen ’85 serves as an adjunct professor teaching real estate law at Colorado State University. He is also involved in the community and has served on several non-profit and industry boards. Last year, Nick was co-chairman of the United Way campaign for Larimer County. He is also co-chairman of the Regional Development Council for the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado.

azon jungle in July and got to see tarantulas, piranhas, and “every insect imaginable.”

’85 ’88 ’76 ’90 ’78 ’86 ’84

Class Notes

Erik Brofos ’76 shares, “I am living in Vail full time, and my daughter, Whitney, is attending CU Denver in pursuit of a business management/marketing degree. I am on year 34 with the Vail Ski School and skiing with clients that I’ve had in many cases for up to 30 years. Knees still going strong! Summer finds me on my bike, riding a pass somewhere and some rounds of golf trying to stay a couple strokes better than my daughter. I still have my painting business in the summers as well, which has been going strong for 30 plus years. So, the three Brofos’ are happy, healthy, and love being a part of this community and VMS.”

Gail Lorch Brandt ’86 is keeping busy in the Vail Valley with her 4th and 7th grade daughters at VMS. Her days are filled with driving to school and volunteering for a variety of activities at VMS from the Home Tour and Gala to the Garage Sale. Her family is making the most of the snowy winter by skiing as many days as Dorothy Distelhorst ’78 shares that her possible. oldest daughter, Cynthia Edgerton ’10, graduated from VMS in 2010. Cynthia Barrie Tyler Hillman ’86 is the associate is attending St. Michael’s College in Verhead of school at West Sound Academy, a mont, where she is in the Honors Program 6-12th grade International Baccalaureate and is playing varsity volleyball. Dorothy’s second daughter, Ellen Edgerton ’13, is World School in Poulsbo, WA. She also teaches humanities to middle school stucurrently a sophomore at VMS. dents. This summer, she will assume the Douglas Brown ’84 says of his two boys, role of head of school. “I helped coach my two boys in soccer this fall. They were on the same team, so it was great fun. Torsenn made it to US Nationals last year at Copper [Mountain] for Skier Slopestyle. He placed 16th. Cale is right behind his brother on the slopes. Lacrosse and skiing are their favorite sports, and they are both great students.”

Michele Clem Clembury ’88 bought a house on James Island (close to Charleston) in May and is in the process of learning to be a responsible homeowner after five years of living aboard a 42’ sailboat. She left her job in June to pursue a degree in nursing, with the hopes to move aboard again in a few years to become a travel-nurse with her family. She invites fellow alumni to visit, “if you come through the Old South.” Justin Bauer ’90 started his 12th year as brewmaster at the Rockslide Brew Pub in Grand Junction and spends lots of time with his three year old daughter, Morgan, and his wife of seven years, Amanda. Miranda Bailey ’91 still lives in Hollywood, making movies through her production company, Ambush Entertain-

Winifred Lloyds Lender ’86 lives in Santa Barbara, California with her husband, Daniel, and their three sons. Winifred has a private practice in psychology and is on the Board of Crane Country Day School. Trying to keep pace with her active boys, Winifred plays inter-club tennis, but has yet to move up from the caddy position when the family golfs! The family visited the Am-

Miranda Bailey ’91 in a promotional poster for her latest film

46 vms magazine

my family!” His sons just turned five and enjoyed a pirate’s weekend at Disney, followed by a huge party at their home with 80 kids. Chad is running commercial real estate around the country and even has a Becky Cunningham ’92 and Cameron self storage center right here in Avon. He Thompson are proud to announce the and his family have been living in Naples, birth of their daughter, Paige Elyse Cun- Florida for the past 15 years. ningham Thompson, on November 10, Michael Slevin ’93 and his wife, Page, 2010. Their son, Peyton, is now three. welcomed their new baby boy, Sawyer, on June 5, 2010.

ment. She recently directed Greenlit, a documentary about the environmental impact of the film business, which is out on video at Amazon. Her next film, SUPER, is scheduled to open in theaters in April. Information on Miranda’s films is available at www.ambushentertainment. com. Miranda says she was lucky enough to celebrate her son’s third birthday with VMS classmate Laura Maitland Brown ’91 and her two children, who have recently moved to the west coast.

topher was quoted as saying, “I know what it is to struggle, to take one step at a time. I started the Sweat Garage because I want to help others with their struggle.”

Christopher Slevin ’91 chronicled his illness and eventual diagnosis of GullainBarre Syndrome in an article in West Hollywood Patch. He says he was able to overcome the syndrome with “intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy.” He created his own physical training regimen that began with one mile per hour on the treadmill and slowly increased by a tenth of a mile. With many hours of hard work, over many months, his body began to recover. To that end, Christopher has opened a green gym called the Sweat Garage in West Hollywood to help athletes and nonathletes alike maintain their athleticism or get fit. In the Patch, Chris-

Heather DelBosco Centurioni ’94 is thrilled to be working with Tom Boyd ’93 and Steve Katsaros ’91 on the Nokero Ski 4 Light project. Together with her brother, Chris, they are spearheading a light bulb donation for the nomadic people of Kenya. More information on this Peyton and Paige, children of Becky Cunningham ’92 project is available at Jed Gottlieb ’92 traveled to Greece for 10 ski4light. days in May of 2010 and visited six islands in the Cyclades earlier in the summer of 2010.


Christopher Slevin ’91


Carlos Mier-y-Teran ’92 reports that he is expanding his restaurant business to the United States. Chad Lund ’93 shares, “My wife, Deborah, and I have been married for many wonderful years, and I could not ask for a better soul mate.” Chad’s oldest daughter is graduating high school this year. His six year old daughter had open heart surgery a year and a half ago, and Chad reports, “You would not know that anything had been done; she is the best athlete in


Tom Boyd ’93, Heather Centurioni ’94, Chris DelBosco, and Steve Katsaros ’91


Brittany Lund Park ’94 married Craig Park in Queenstown, NZ on April 13, 2009. Brittany shared, “It was an amazing five-day event filled with loads of love and laughter.” On November 5th, 2010 they welcomed their first child, Xavier Noel Park, in Tribeca, New York. The happy family is moving to San Diego, where they are eager to join fellow VMS graduate Diana Maitland Baker ’95, as well 47

as Dana Carlson x’96 for mommy groups and new adventures.

Last August, Barrett McAdam Phillips ’96 and her sister, Quincy ’98, took Barrett’s daughters, Hayden and Weston, to International Falls, MN to visit their sister, Kyrie ’01, and her fiancé, Kalan.

Brittany Lund Park ’94 and her family

Diane Maitland Baker ’95 reports that she and her husband, Aaron, recently moved to San Diego.


Murph Gottlieb ’95 delivered his 100th baby during his intern year. He is in his first year of OB/GYN residency at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. He and his wife, Jen Williams Gottlieb ’95, are expecting a son in June. Jen is a nurse in Interventional Radiology at the same hospital as Murph, in Philadelphia. Last year, they traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and Greece before moving to Philadelphia from Norfolk, Virginia in order to start residency and a family.

Hayden (5) and Weston (2), daughters of Barrett Philips ’96

After graduating from Carleton College in 2000, Robert Woodruff ’96 took a few years to work as an EMT before going to medical school at the University of Minnesota. He graduated in 2006 and started his orthopedic surgery residency in Louisville, KY. He was married in January, 2007, and life has only accelerated from that point. He and his wife are now proud parents of two girls, Isla, who is nearly 3, and Emmy, who is 9 months old. Robert plans to finJaime Walker ’95 just completed her first ish his residency this June and will start year as the community relations officer for a spine surgery fellowship in Houston in the Town of Avon. She reports the work as, August. He shares, “I look forward to the “both challenging and rewarding as I am change of scenery and pace as well as the writing a lot, interfacing with the public, and challenges ahead.” working with a talented group of people.” Jaime and her husband, Scot, live in Eagle. Tag Hopkins ’97 is engaged to be marOf VMS, Jaime says, “I miss VMS and have ried to Melissa Lunt. They are planning a many fond memories of my time there both summer wedding. He is in his 4th year of medical school at University of Colorado, as a student and staff member.” Denver and will be graduating in May. He 48 vms magazine



begins a residency in emergency medicine in July. Tag works on the Flight for Life helicopter out of Frisco from time to time, and he says each time he flies into Vail, he looks down on the VMS soccer field and remembers the “awesome double sessions with the soccer team and Mr. Bandoni.” Piper Elliott Abodeely ’98 says that she and her husband, JJ, and son, Porter, are excited to welcome their next addition to the family in late June. They are living in Seattle and love sharing adventures together as a family. Porter, age 20 months, even got on skis while in Vail this Christmas!

Piper Abodeely ’98 and her family

After graduating from physician assistant school at The George Washington University with a master’s in health science, Pepper Etters ’98 accepted a position as Physician Assistant in General/ Trauma Surgery with the Immanuel St. Joseph Hospital/Mayo Health System in Mankato, Minnesota. His daughters, Jody and Kayla, are adapting to their new life in the midwest as the family remodels their new home and awaits the next addition to their family (due in April). They have seen

plenty of snow this year, which Pepper says currently practices as a licensed massage reminds them of the mountains, and they therapist. even have a small ski hill in town to get the Quincy McAdam ’98 reports that she conlittle ones started early! tinues to work at Red Sandstone ElemenLindsey Allen Kirby ’98 says that she and tary School in Vail as a 2nd grade teacher. her husband, Travis, recently had the op- She is also working towards a master’s deportunity to reconnect with Peter Hart gree in education and reading. ’95 at a wedding. She says, “It was nice to visit with him about years gone by, work, Lauren Walker Harris ’99 and her husband, Todd, are delighted to announce the friendships, and children.” birth of their son, Walker Wallace Harris, Heidi Holzfaster Kostin ’98 shares that born in Denver on October 23rd. Lauren she and her husband, Konstantin, wel- said, “We are fortunate to spend quite a bit comed their son, Christopher, into the of time in Vail still, as we commute weekly world on October 20, 2010. He has a from Denver and very proud big sister, Addison (3), who is enjoy weekends always eager to help out and show Chris- with family, intopher the ropes! They still enjoy living in cluding my sister, Boston, Massachusetts. Heidi has taken Jaime Walker time away from her law practice to be a ’95.” full-time mom. Konstantin continues to travel the world as an International SkatLauren Walker ing Union official and coach. Heidi says, Harris ’99 and her “Hopefully in a year or two, we will be able family to accompany him on his many travels!”


Brandon Levy ’98 and his fiancée, Jaime, are planning a wedding in Mazama, WA on June 12, 2011. They live in Plain, WA during the winters and spend time in Vail during the summers. Brandon works as an avalanche forecaster for the Washington State Department of Transportation and a raft guide for Timberline Tours. Jaime was on the US Women’s Softball Team in 2004 when the team won a gold medal in the Athens Olympics. She is a graduate of the University of Washington (2003) and

Jennifer Jordan x’99 reports, “I have lived in the Netherlands for one year now and am loving it. Wonderful culture, people, and job!”

Ben Kuruvila ’00 and his wife, Kristin, continue to reside in Denver. They welcomed a new baby girl on May 31st, named Iyla, who is doing very well. She enjoys her play dates with William Vandeford (son of Aaron Vandeford ’00).

’00 Blair Ruder ’00 lives in Durango and works for the Adaptive Sports Association of Durango, teaching people with disabilities how to ski. During the off-season, Blair works for the Forest Service on a wildland fire handcrew. She recently adopted a border collie/terrier named Bean, and spends time mountain biking, backpacking, rock climbing, and trail running with her new companion.

Addie Robinson ’01 will graduate from University of Illinois school of medicine this April and will start a family medicine residency in June. Addie writes, “I was home over the holidays to see the family and get a bit of a mountain fix. I skied with fellow VMS alumni, Ray Bernardo ’04, Josh Smith ’04, Colby Ricci ’00, Whitney Hopkins ’00, and of course Duncan ’04 and Courtney ’05 [Robinson].” Addie traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah for the month of February to ski while doing a cardiology and forensic pathology rotation with the University of Utah.

’99 ’01

Zachary Mitchell ’99 is pursuing his MBA at the Leeds School of Business. While busy with school, he is planning to do some traveling this summer to Argentina and Greece.

Slade Cogswell ’01 is a teacher and coach at Vail Mountain School. He eagerly shared 49

news of his wedding in March in Mexico. He also earned a fifth place in his fantasy football league this winter–a reportedly big improvement!

choral conducting at CSU. In addition to her coursework, she directs the CSU Women’s Chorus and has a graduate teaching assistantship in the music education department. She shares, “So far, I’m loving Sarah Hallenbeck ’02 is a school psychol- school and being back in Colorado.” ogist in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She lives in Fort Collins. Her fiancé, Mark, is an adjunct professor at CSU and a doctoral student in educational research and methodology. They are planning a June wedding in Denver.

Blake Higgins ’04 was recently accepted to the University of Colorado, Denver School of Dental Medicine and will begin classes in August 2011. He is a 2008 graduate of the University of San Diego, and since graduation, he has worked in San Diego and studied at the University of Northern Colorado. He participated in two medical/dental mission trips with CURE International in Honduras. CURE volunteers provide free medical and dental care to underserved populations.

Lara Bossow ’03 is the new Johnson & Wales University-Denver women’s volleyball head coach.

Josh Smith ’04 is pursuing his master’s in mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Darmstadt on a scholarship from Jeppesen (a Boeing Company). He will be working at the Jeppesen office in Frankfurt upon finishing his studies.

’02 ’03

Bowen Rodkey ’03 is currently living in Brooklyn, New York working as a photographer and assisting various fashion, advertising, and editorial photographers. Since graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology, he has discovered a deep passion for brewing beer and is considering it as a viable career alternative.

Whitney Simmonds ’03 directs the children’s chorus.

Alexandra Dulude ’04 graduated with a degree in molecular biology from Colgate University in 2008, and has since been working in a lab in Scottsdale, Arizona, conducting Phase I clinical oncology trials for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). She studies the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of blood and tumor samples isolated from advanced cancer patients enrolled in the institute’s first-in-human anti-cancer drug studies. Alexandra says, “It is a tough field, but we are inching closer to better treatments!” Alexandra always dreamed of becoming a doctor, and was recently acceptBowen Rodkey ’03 ed to medical school at the University of Arizona-College of Medicine in Phoenix. After three years of teaching in Boston, She is excited to share, “I will begin my Whitney Simmonds ’03 moved back to vigorous journey next fall.” Colorado last summer and is currently working towards her master’s of music in 50 vms magazine


Sylvan Ellefson ’05 was named to the 2010/2011 National Training Group by the United States Ski Association (US CTeam). He placed 10th in the American Birkebeiner, the largest cross-country ski race in North American. Sylvan is currently living in Vail.

Sylvan Ellefson ’05

Alumni Family Day Gather your VMS friends and make plans to join us at Vail Mountain School!

August 13, 2011 Celebrate the 5th-35th reunions of the classes of 1976 • 1981 • 1986 • 1991 • 1996 • 2001 • 2006

Stay tuned for details! 51

Zoie Liotta ’05 and her fiancé, Thomas Hartland Mackie ’05, are in Dallas and “loving every moment of it.” Thomas works with his family, and Zoie is pursuing interior decorating. The couple is traveling a lot for work and planning their autumn wedding in Dallas.

farm in Maine and interning with a botanist who works with wild foods and medicine. She is hoping to continue making art in the form of books, prints, bicycles, drawings, and woodworking. Madelyn will be biking people around town as a member of the pedi-cab team. She comments, “It’s a great way to get in shape, be outside, and Courtney Robinson ’05 co-led the Stu- earn my keep.” She plans to stay in Aspen dents Shoulder to Shoulder trip to Bolivia through the summer and take a few excurwith Slade Cogswell ’01. She reports, “It sions on sailboats and surfboards. was eye-opening, challenging, exhilarating, and rewarding.” Courtney also ran the Mary “Z” Warren ’05 made the dean’s list Trans Rockies Run and participated in the last spring semester when she was taking 24 Hours of Moab race. 21 credit hours. Currently, she is in her final internship at an elementary school in Tampa, and is scheduled to graduate from the University of South Florida in May. After graduation, she plans to teach abroad in Japan through a USF program.


Courtney Robinson ’05 at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia

Patrick Scanlan ’05 is in his second year of Teach for America in Harlingen, Texas. He has learned to adapt to the challenges of teaching fifth grade and is enjoying a much calmer classroom this year. He plans on moving to Denver this summer, where he will pursue a career in development.

McLain ’02 and Mary “Z” ’05 Warren

Katie Wear ’05 left Vail, where she was working in commercial real estate, to explore a new career. She moved to New York City last fall to live with two friends from Duke University. Katie started working for an investment firm called William Madelyn Sullivan ’05 moved to Aspen af- Blair & Company in November, where she ter spending the fall working on a small currently pursues institutional equity sales. 52 vms magazine

Hillary Higgins x’06 graduated from University of Northern Colorado in May 2010 with major achievements in sociology and was awarded the Patricia Wilkins-Wells Memorial Service Award and Scholarship. She is currently attending graduate school at UNC in applied sociological practice. After earning a bachelor’s degree at Bucknell University in May 2010, Drew Riley ’06 entered graduate school at Bucknell. He is currently doing research for the implementation of turbines in the ocean and rivers. These turbines are much like wind turbines, but are much smaller and use moving water to generate electricity. Drew is scheduled to graduate in May 2012 with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on hydro-kinetics. He presented at the American Geophysical Union in December to over 19,000 attendees and plans to present this coming December. Drew is hoping to speak at other conferences around the US where the focus is on marine hydro-kinetics (MHK) or fluid dynamics.


Lindsay Wright ’06 is currently studying for her master’s in sport and performance psychology at the University of Denver. Lindsay is also working as a certified nutrition and wellness consultant. Kris Caples ’07 spent last spring living in Mendoza, Argentina. Della Elich ’07 spent the summer of 2010 in the San Francisco Bay area and is cur-

rently moving to Denver to experience ur- forward to catching up with friends and ban Colorado. getting back to “normal student life.” Kelsey Ferguson ’07 is studying at Middlebury College and planning to graduate in February 2012 with a degree in theatre (directing) and English. Mallory Kaufman ’07 just completed an internship with the Los Angeles Community Action Network, where she worked with residents of the downtown Central City East community. She plans to graduate from Occidental College this spring.


Janelle Kibler-Silengo ’07 is a senior at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. She comments, “It’s been a long time coming, and after a cumulative year of traveling around the world (for school studies), I am finally in one place for an entire year [at the Academy]!” Elle Tietbohl ’07 contracted with Air Force ROTC. Georgia Wettlaufer ’07 plans to graduate in June from Denver University with a BS in biology and is currently finishing her final season ski racing for the university. Joely Denkinger ’08 spent September through December in Syria, studying abroad for her Arabic language and international relations double major at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. She just moved back to St. Andrews for the rest of the school year, and says that she is looking

medicinal garden (with over 50 different plant species) and an ecology curriculum Jackson Higgins ’08 is currently a junior for the local high school students. at the University of San Diego and is studying business administration and manageKelsey Peck ’08 is currently pursuing a ment. He recently completed a semester double major in political science and nonabroad in Madrid, Spain, where he studied profit leaderbusiness and Spanish. ship at Seattle University. She Alexandra Navas ’08 has declared a douworks at the ble major in Spanish and journalism at Writing Center Northwestern University, two fields that as a consultant she hopes will complement each other. and at TreeShe is the current president of the NU house Tutors as Cycling Club and has been busy prepara tutor. Kelsey ing the team for their racing season, which spent most of kicks off in Kentucky. The team competes fall quarter throughout the Midwest at the Division 1 traveling with Kelsey Peck ’08 level, and they qualithe basketball fied last year for the teams as a cheerleader. She says, “I love National Championcheering for my school!” ships in Wisconsin. In addition, Axie and After spending her freshman year in Paris, a friend have started Laura Reichardt ’08 is attending New the Collegiate CyYork University and is pursuing Middle cling News website Eastern studies. Recently, Laura had the (, where opportunity to travel to Israel, where she they collect content ascended Mount Masada and a mountain from contributors in Roron Crater, on a trip sponsored by in other conferences around the nation. Axie Navas ’08 Laura Reichardt ’08 in This past summer, Axie was in Nicaragua the catacombs in Israel for two months, working in a public health clinic and learning about international development. She was paired with four other American interns, working with the Foundation for Sustainable Development and the community to develop an indigenous


Class notes continued on page 59...


Katy Lackey '03–Lessons Learned Through her travels halfway around the world to work in HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, environmental conservation and resource management, and gender equality, Katy Lackey ’03 has learned meaningful lessons that she plans to apply to the way she lives today and into the future. In 2008, Katy began working for World Camp, an organization based in Malawi, Africa that empowers children in impoverished communities through education. Since 2000, World Camp has sent teachers into rural schools and street shelters in several countries to teach children about challenging issues like HIV/AIDS prevention, gender equality, and environmental awareness. World Camp hosts international volunteers and works in primary schools and surrounding villages. Katy comments, “My favorite part of our curriculum is male empowerment–it’s the section where I am often utterly frustrated or filled with inspiration. And, With children at a Gujarati Medium School in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India of course, [another favorite] the daily Banana Song, a song we use in the mornings at camp to energize people for the day and encourage kids to open up and be themselves. You just can’t top singing and dancing in the early morning with 300 people in the middle of nowhere and under those unparalleled African skies.” Other highlights that Katy notes include writing and piloting a wind energy curriculum in Malawi, running health workshops with over 500 women in India, witnessing the rescue of a goat being washed away in an African rainstorm, and watching a pack of lions eat a giraffe on safari. Katy admits, “I’m still vegetarian, but it was just so fascinating.” Katy most enjoyed spending time with a family of four who are “living positively with HIV” in one of Ahmedabad’s largest slums. Katy reveals, “As I reflect back on my travel experiences, many people ask what I have learned and how I integrate that back into my life here in the States. Though I believe these are both endless processes, I feel the overall ‘lesson’ is clear. These people and places challenged me with all sorts of ideas, to learn new skills, accept different cultural practices and confront impossible hardships.

"But through all of this runs a common thread–that at the core we

Abroad But through all of this runs a common thread–that at the core we are all simply...human. That when it comes down to it, regardless of our access point or the path we choose to pursue, what we fight for is the same.” From her travels, Katy shares the following lessons learned abroad. 1. Everything is impermanent. 2. Sometimes dancing, singing, sharing a meal or just sitting staring at each other and laughing communicates much more than speaking the same language. 3. We all have prejudices. It’s more important to recog- With a female empowerment group at RBRC Secondary School in the Old City, nize them and understand where they come from, than Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India to give them up or pretend they don’t exist. 4. Teenage girls and boys worry about the same things, regardless of what country they With Vihar staff in Buddhist monastery in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India (photo by Claire Tyree) live in. Communicating with the opposite sex is just as confusing and nerve-racking at that age wherever you are. 5. Being “bored” is a more American concept than anywhere else. Sitting around doing nothing is actually a quite acceptable and enjoyable way to spend the afternoon or day. Katy will be pursuing a master’s degree in climate and society at Columbia University in the fall.

are all simply...human."

Alumni Featured at Back-to-School Night This fall, parents were given a glimpse of alumni/ae success stories in a slide show at Back-to-School Night, which featured 12 of Vail Mountain School’s alumni in careers and settings worldwide. “Seeing the variety of these alumni’s accomplishments and pursuits inspired me to envision my own children’s futures at the school and beyond,” comments Annalisa Savin, whose children are new to the school this year. She adds, “The graduates make it evident that the school’s approach to global citizenship is, in fact, effective, as many alumni go out into the world to make a difference in the western hemisphere, third world countries, or right here in Vail.” The following alumni were some of those highlighted in the slide show.

Thor Jürgen Loberg Greve ’84

Education: Brandeis University, BA; University of Manchester (UK), Master of Science Occupation: Senior Economist, The World Bank “VMS teachers taught me to ask the right questions, and to not stop asking.”

Stephen Katsaros ’91 Education: Purdue University, School of Engineering Occupation: Inventor, developed the world's first solar light bulb

“At VMS, I learned to be a good person. I know how dedicated everyone at VMS was and I am very appreciative for what I learned.”

Carlos Mier-y-Teran ’92

Education: Universidad Iberoamericana, Industrial Engineering; Harvard Business School, MBA Occupation: Principal, Grupo MYT–a restaurant concept-developing company

“Representing the country of Mexico in the 1992 winter Olympics was the fulfillment of my dream and would not have been possible without the support of VMS.”

56 vms magazine

Erik Edborg ’92

Education: Colorado College, BA Occupation: Founder, Buntport Theater Company; winner of more than 50 theater awards, including 14 Denver Post Ovation Awards; commissioned to write an original play for the Denver Center Theater Company While addressing the 8th graders at his VMS commencement, “During our 8th grade year, we managed to break a glass door, a window, and a fish tank, and to accidently uproot a tree while skiing in Snag Park. We weren’t vandals; we just hadn’t attained the grace of dancers.”

Whitney Hopkins ’00

Education: Stanford University, BS; Parsons New School of Design, Masters in Architecture Occupation: First Year Grad Student, Product Designer for Smart Design; National Speaker for Biomimicry Institute; Designer of award-winning Cardinal Health Endura Scrubs “First and foremost, I believe that VMS helped foster me while I was developing my value system. Particularly through ethics classes and the high standards everyone was held to at VMS, I thoroughly developed my ideas of moral behavior early. Because of this, I find that everything I do is driven by my own convictions.”

Addie Robinson ’01

Education: Williams College, BA; University of Illinois Medical School Occupation: Fourth Year Medical Student “VMS...gave me the opportunity to be inquisitive and think critically. Training my mind to look for more than one answer, understand ambiguity, and look for creative solutions provided good training that I … will use as a doctor.”

Elle Tietbohl ’08

Education: University of Pittsburgh, Nursing School Occupation: Third Year Nursing Student, Air Force ROTC “The most direct way Vail Mountain School has helped me is through the academic rigor and early, frequent exposure to public speaking. Now, public speaking is something I can do naturally and confidently.”


2010-2011 Legacy Students

The following legacies are students who are related to Vail Mountain School graduates or whose parents have attended Vail Mountain School: (back row to front row, left to right) Marshall Thompson ’12, Craig Tietbohl ’12, Tanner Shelden ’12, Ian Reid ’11, Lauren Zdechlik ’11, Bridget Moffet ’11, Monika Gehl ’13, Bianca Reimers ’13, Sierra Brill ’13, Jordan Brandt ’16, Willy Fair ’13, Zac Wirth ’14, Luke Gorsuch ’13, Andrew Zdechlik ’13, Lorina Byrne ’15, Sophe Friedman ’11, Clare Elich ’11, Eva Spaeh ’12, Georgia Hintz ’15, Trevor Shelden ’15, Maddie Donovan ’17, Eric Zdechlik ’17, Sally Ryerson ’12, Nicole Byrne ’12, Olivia Maritz ’11, Tucker Cocchiarella ’13, Colin Green ’14, Alex Reid ’16, Emily Bandoni ’12, Avery Bellis ’14, Ellen Edgerton ’13, Scott Hintz ’18, Nicole Falk ’18, Taylor Brandt ’19, Maddie Peck ’12, Nick Whiteford ’16, Sarah Landreth ’11, Hanna Slevin ’20, Marley Chappel ’20, Connor Falk ’23, Kjersti Moritz ’23, Liv Moritz ’23, Cami Johnson ’22, Zella Gorsuch ’21, Talia Tyler ’20, Bridget Donovan ’19, Annika DuPont ’19, Luke Tyler ’18, Max Whiteford ’18, Callan DeLine ’14. Not pictured: Jacqueline Lazier ’21, Flinn Lazier ’17, Kellyn Peck ’17 Francesca Faessler ’15, Kendall Peck ’14, William Sterett ’14, Jaime Morten ’11

Holly Domke ’10 presented the Alumni Scholarship Award to JC Hernandez ’11 at Commencement in May 2010. Alumni give this scholarship to a rising junior who exemplifies the school’s mission and shows intellectual curiosity, independent thinking, and personal standards. The award helps offset college expenses. 58 vms magazine

Keep in touch with your classmates and friends!

Visit the Vail Mountain School

Alumni group on facebook!

the Jewish organization, Hillel. Laura has also signed with Airforce ROTC, where she is learning problem-solving, teambuilding, leadership, and the history of the Air Force. Laura is studying jujitsu after concentrating on Krav Maga, an Israeli form of self-defense, which she worked on in France the year before. Over the summer of 2010, Lucy Sackbauer ’08 studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica at Universidad Veritas. She took a medical Spanish class and a Costa Rica health care class. She comments, “It was an unforgettable experience.” This past fall, Lucy moved from Bozeman, MT to Billings and started upper division nursing classes and clinicals. She reports, “I am still telemark skiing and loving it.” In February, she headed to Grand Targhee for a telemark big mountain competition, which is the first stop in the telemark freeskiing tour. Over Christmas break, Lucy worked almost every day teaching skiing with Chris Woods ’08 and Lani Bruntz ’07.

Lucy Sackbauer ’08 with her nursing class

Zachary Smith ’08 is studying at CU Boulder, majoring in human resource management and minoring in German

language. For the past eight months, Zach Harper Kaufman ’09 is majoring in relihas held an internship at an artist book- gious studies at Lewis and Clark University. ing agency called Crescendo Artists. He is studying the violin. Alex Morten ’09 was awarded a partial scholarship to study abroad in London this Chris Woods ’08 is enjoying his junior year summer and made the Dean’s List at Texas at CU. He just moved into a new apartment Christian University. with David Deline ’08. Chris reports, “My classes are getting very difficult, but I’m Tony Ryerson ’09 is skiing for the Harenjoying them, and it’s great running into vard Ski Team and has been competing other VMS graduates on campus like Zach throughout New England. Smith ’08, Molly Etters ’08, Sean Minnett ’09, Ruben Saucedo ’09, and recent Nima Sherpa ’09 enrolled at the Colorado graduates John Landreth ’10 and Shawn School of Mines this winter and is interestByrne ’10.” ed in their biomedical engineering major. She is working with the non-profit, StigMia Bandoni ’09 has declared an art his- gy’s Dogs, which pairs shelter dogs with tory major with a concentration in phi- veterans suffering from post traumatic losophy and psychology. This winter, she stress disorder. Nima is planning to travel is teaching Bates students how to telemark to Nepal this summer and trek Mt. Everest ski. She is enjoying school and plans to live with her father. in Florence, Italy next fall in a study abroad program. Matthew White ’09 is currently a sophoRobert Fitz ’09 spent part of his winter more at the University of Virginia, and is break teaching skiing to children at Beaver majoring in mechanical engineering with Creek Ski School. He is enjoying his time a minor in the history of science and technology. He spends as much time as posat CSU. sible in Vail so he can ski and coach a bit at Will Foster ’09 and his sister, Randi Fos- Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. ter ’08, have taken on the roles of student Chanda Wilcox ’09 is majoring in beverambassadors for Fort Lewis College. age management at the University of NeCole Graskamp ’09 is studying market- vada in Las Vegas. She has joined Zeta Tau ing and consumer behavior with a minor Alpha sorority. in English at Tulane University. He was recently elected president of his fraternity.



Hilarie Bellis ’10 has declared a businesscinematic arts major at the University of Southern California. She says she loved the football season at USC and is enjoying the Heather Batchelor, former middle school humanities teacher, and her husband, Peyear-round sunshine. ter, live in Western Massachusetts with Taylor Biegler ’10 is enjoying her time at their three dogs. Heather works at a pubsunny and warm Loyola Marymount Uni- lic school, teaching history and running versity. She joined Delta Gamma Sorority, an intervention program for students who are most at-risk of dropping out of high as well as the snowboarding team there. school. Ms. Batchelor shares, “I’m two disHolly Domke ’10 moved to Oxford, Mis- sertation chapters away from earning my sissippi over the summer before heading doctorate, which will probably be finished north to Cornell University to start her next fall.” freshman year this past fall. She is now settled into the demands of school and Navy Christy Bouldin, former first grade teachROTC life at Cornell. She earned a chair er, lives in Denver and teaches at Aurora position in the campus organization, Soci- Academy as a literacy coach and literacy ety of Women Engineers. She also joined support teacher. She also continues to teach ESL to adults at a company called the synchronized skating team. The Learning Source. Charlie Grant ’10 is studying kinesiology at Mesa State College to become an Dan Conzelman, former second grade athletic trainer. This semester, he is taking teacher, lives in Chile and teaches second basic athletic training classes such as CPR, grade at International School Nido de First Aid, and several others. Charlie is also Aguilas. He also guides fly-fishing trips in Patagonia in the summers. Dan is engaged a member of the Mesa State ski team. to be married. Meredith White ’10 has chosen to double major in art and journalism at Southern After leaving Vail, Kirk Duwel, former math teacher, married Lauren Botsford Methodist University. at her parents’ lake-house in Wolfeboro, AJ Yanke ’10 reports from the Colorado NH. Other former faculty in attendance School of Mines that he placed 13th in included Kristen Brock and Carrie Curan intramural golf tournament out of 72 tis. Kirk and Lauren moved to New York teams. He earned an A in his physics course City, where Kirk began postbaccalaureate and “survived” Calculus II with honors – work at Columbia University in preparation to apply to medical school. This year, he says, “Bring on calculus three!” while applying to medical schools, he is

Former faculty news


60 vms magazine

working on a master’s of science in human nutrition at Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also works with Healthy Schools Healthy Families, a community outreach program in seven East Harlem and Washington Heights schools. The organization is aimed at health education and specifically obesity prevention. Lauren teaches Spanish at a private Jewish day school on the Upper West Side. Tashina Ellefson, former staff member, moved to Ft. Collins. She is now spending more time with her mother, and “living vicariously through my boys (Sylvan ’05 and Kjell ’09).” Caitlyn Florentine, former VMS staff member and SummerQuest teacher, lives in Bozeman, Montana and will graduate from Montana State University with a master’s of science in geology this spring. She has a job as a lab manager on campus and is teaching snowboarding at Big Sky part-time. Caitlyn reports, “Life is good here, but the Gore Range will always have a special place in my heart!” For two years after leaving VMS, Walid Hamzi, former math and science teacher, recruited, directed, and taught at an alternative high school in Summit County, helping students who were at-risk of dropping out earn their diplomas. He now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he works as an adjunct professor of earth science and geology at Palm Beach State College. He and his wife, Kate, have been

training for an Olympic distance triathlon Katie Brazelton MacFarlane, former in Daytona. registrar, telemark coach, and 6th grade homebase teacher, married last October Bill Kenney, former upper school biol- and is planning a trip to Africa with her ogy faculty, is in his 20th year teaching at husband, Bill, to climb Kilimanjaro and go the American School in London, where he on a safari. teaches AP Biology, Biology, and outdoor leadership. He will take over the science Mandy Hansen Marino, former music facdepartment chair position for the second ulty, is living in Evergreen, Colorado with time next academic year. Bill divides his her husband, Mark. The couple is in the time between London and Ireland. He is process of buying a home in expectation of looking forward to the Olympics in 2012, the arrival of a baby boy in April. She is stayas the Olympic Park is about a 15-minute ing very busy as music director for Church bike ride from his flat. of the Apostles, assistant director of prelude to the Evergreen Children’s Chorale, and Dave Laub, former instrumental music diteaching music at Montessori of Evergreen. rector, is living in Boulder and playing a lot Mark’s painting business is steady and growof music. His main project is called Fried ing. Mandy says, “We miss Vail, but we are Grease, a six-piece funk rock band. Dave so happy to be part of the wonderful comshares, “We’re a few weeks away from releasmunity in Evergreen. We wish everyone the ing our first EP!” Dave has been freelancing as well and notes one highlight was playing best and hope you are all well!” with Chicago’s Little Al Thomas and The Deep Down Fools at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival last fall. Dave adds, “And for the most random of all things I’ve been doing...I started a real estate investment company!”

Dave Laub plays with his funk rock band, Fried Grease

Tiffany Swan Markoski, former third grade teacher, and her husband Keith, live in Osterville, MA with Keith’s two children, Reese and Kam, and their baby, Lilly, who was born on December 27, 2010. Renee Marcaccio, former kindergarten and first grade teacher, spent last year in France improving her baking and pastries skills in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Renee says, “I had the opportunity to travel around Europe, meet people from all over the world, and eat delicious goodies!” Renee is currently substituting in Eagle County and teaching ski school in Vail.

She spends her summers in Rhode Island, working on Block Island. Lauren Merrill, former art teacher, opened Alpine Arts Center in Edwards, a community arts center for children and adults, as well as an art gallery, art store, and paintyour-own-pottery studio. She says, “It has been a rewarding experience, especially because I still get to see many VMS students and faculty in art classes and at events!” Lauren Merrill at Alpine Arts Center

Kristine Oelberger, former 4th grade teacher and art faculty, teaches 4th and 5th grade at Red Sandstone Elementary. She and her husband, Brandon, created a goal to climb the seven summits. Since then, they have summitted Denali, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Blanc, and for their honeymoon, they summited Mt. Everest on May 25, 2010. Their next adventure will be in Tanzania, where they

Kristine Oelberger Chalk and her husband, Brandon Chalk on Mt. Everest


will attempt Mt. Kilimanjaro. The couple to get out on the water!” When the water also hopes to finish climbing all of the Col- freezes and the temperature dips below freezing, Stacie spends her time playing on orado 14ers. an outdoor broomball league called “The Since leaving VMS, Jamie Ramsdell, for- Buzz.” She reports, “Surprisingly, I love bemer 4th grade teacher, received his master’s ing on the frozen lake just as much as I love degree from University of Virginia; taught it in the summer.” Stacie works at The Blake at Moses Brown in Providence, RI; lived School. She says, “It is a wonderful school and taught in the Bahamas; and worked and I am always thankful for what I learned as the director of admission at Fay School from my students and the parents at VMS.” in Southborough, MA. Jamie was married two and half years ago, and this year, he is traveling with his wife as she enjoys her sabbatical from the secondary school where she is employed. The couple has volunteered at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa; lived in Rome for a month; traveled through many of the cities of Europe; and saw friends and family along the east coast of the United States. They are hopeful that they will have one more trip this fall, which would inStacie Rierson sails on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with Team AmaZinn clude coming through Vail to see some of their old friends. Former Spanish teacher, Julia Mire SingleLaura Rhoades, former kindergarten ton, teaches middle school French in DougCounty, teacher, is currently living in Boulder but las visits Vail regularly to ski. She is teaching south of Denkindergarten at a charter school in Broom- ver. She and husband field, CO. Laura is planning a July wed- her have a four year ding in Philadelphia. old daughter, Former second grade teacher, Stacie Rier- Daphne, and son, lives outside of Minneapolis near Lake a two year old Minnetonka and does as much sailing as the summer will allow. Stacie says, “Sailing season starts in May, and I can hardly wait Children of Julia Mire Singleton

62 vms magazine

son, Henry. Julia reports, “Life is wild, but awesome. I miss skiing, but have snowshoeing right out our door so we’re very lucky.” Alison Soule, former middle school humanities teacher, lives in Charlestown, MA and works at Thayer Academy in Braintree, teaching 8th grade English and coaching JV field hockey and lacrosse. She keeps busy with her nieces and nephews. Last summer, Alison road biked in the Pan Mass Challenge (for the Jimmy Fund/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston) and is busy gearing up for two days on the bike again this August.

Alison Soule as she crosses the finish line at the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge

Laurie Davenport Stavisky, former 5th grade teacher, and Steve Stavisky, former music faculty, continue to make the Vail Valley their home. Laurie works at Eagle Montessori School, and Steve has been a realtor with Slifer, Smith & Frampton for the past 10 years. Steve also teaches private piano lessons to many students throughout the Valley. Their daughter, Kate, is a 4th grader at VMS. Their son, Jake, will be “kindergarten ready” in the fall.

in Colorado.” Kelly is now training for her first half Ironman in Walt Disney World this May, as well as the Death Ride in California in July. She also plans to chaperone a trip for Graland’s 8th graders through Russia and China this summer.

competency, specifically working with foreign-born workers. Last summer, Amy started doing triathlons and she hopes to complete several this summer. Amy says, “We miss Vail, of course, but are looking to our next adventure soon!”

The Stavisky family

Sarah Merrill Strouthopoulos lives in Durango with her husband, Chris. Sarah teaches third grade at a public school in the area, and her husband is a professor of English at San Juan College in New Mexico. Sarah excitedly shares, “Our biggest news is that we’re expecting our first baby in late April, and we’re having a boy!” Most winters, Sarah is out each weekend backcountry skiing, but right now, she is counting down the days to meeting the new member of their family. Kelly Tissier is currently teaching Spanish at Graland Country Day School in Denver. She says that although she misses her “little ones at VMS,” she loves middle school! Kelly also serves as the facilitator for the 5/6 Service Council, which is a student group that does fundraisers, service projects, and various drives throughout the year. Kelly says, “I hopped on the road biking bandwagon and competed in most of the long distance rides last year, including the Triple Bypass, Copper, MS150, Elephant Rock, etc. I ended up being a top 100 fundraiser for Bike Multiple Sclerosis

Kelly Tissier at the Outdoor Divas Triathlon last year Aubrey (4) and Cormac (7), children of Amy White

Tasha Urbanowski, former English and humanities faculty, and Steve Womer, former music faculty, send their best to everyone at VMS. Currently, they are teaching math and English in New Jersey. They now have two little girls, one in third grade and one in nursery school. Tasha shares, “We hope to bring the girls to Vail some day and catch up with all the exciting developments at VMS–we enjoy reading those updates and seeing pictures in the annual magazine.” Amy White’s children are almost seven and four. Her husband, Nick, will finish his residency in June 2012. Amy works as a multicultural services manager, overseeing interpreters and translators across the county and educating people in cultural

This issue’s Alma Matters contains notes collected until March 8th. Notes sent after that date will appear in the next issue of the VMS Magazine. If you would like to share your story with our parents at Back to School Nights (as referenced on pages 56-57), please email

What's New with You? Share your news & photos with the VMS Magazine by emailing


Peace Is...

64 vms magazine

...through the eyes of 1st graders

Save the Dates! Friday - Saturday, April 29th-30th

Monday-Friday, October 24th-28th


Wednesday, October 26th

Family Garage Sale

Annual Book Fair

Food for Thought Luncheon

Friday, May 27


35th Annual Commencement


Saturday, August 13th Alumni Family Day


Saturday, November 12th

36th Annual Holiday Gala & Auction


Wednesday, November 23rd


Monday, August 29


First Day of School

Thanksgiving Breakfast 8:30 a.m.


Friday, December 16th


Sunday, September 18


International Breakfast 8:30 a.m.

40th Annual Home Tour VMS Golf Tournament

For updates and information on school events, visit

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VAIL CO 81657


Vail Mountain School 3000 Booth Falls Road Vail, Colorado 81657

Address Service Requested 68 vms magazine

Vail Mountain School Magazine 2011  

The VMS Magazine is published annually by the Development Office at Vail Mountain School.

Vail Mountain School Magazine 2011  

The VMS Magazine is published annually by the Development Office at Vail Mountain School.