Cross Sections (Winter 2014)

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Performing Arts at Crossroads


Magic. 2


It happens every day at Crossroads in our classrooms, on our outdoor education and Ojai trips, during athletic competitions, and even in the Alley. But that magic is perhaps nowhere more evident, more inspiring, or more joyous than on the Crossroads stages. Whether it is a soul-stirring performance by one of our jazz bands, a powerhouse monologue in one of the 10 theater productions we do each year, a kaleidoscope of expression by the dance company, a fiery Tchaikovsky movement performed by our chamber orchestra, or the blending of voices filling the room with song by one of our choirs, the magic of our performing arts program is beyond compare. Anyone who has been to a performance by our young artists would most certainly Bob Riddle agree. Head of School

When you look at the facilities in which that magic is fostered, though, you would be stunned to discover that this stellar performing arts program comes out of a few scrappy classrooms and dated performance spaces. It is truly a testament to our performing arts teachers that our program is as powerful and as life changing as it is.

We’ve got magic to do.... Just for you “ We’ve got miracle plays to play

We’ve got parts to perform.... Hearts to warm

–Stephen Schwartz, Pippin

Indeed, from that exceptional program and because of the inspiration of those artists who teach performing arts at Crossroads, we have graduated hundreds and hundreds of alumni who have gone on to become professional musicians, actors, dancers, composers, playwrights, producers, set designers and directors. Teachers from those early years like David Colloff, Heichiro Ohyama, Bruce Eskovitz, Carole Keiser, Herbert Zipper, Rosemary Valaire, and so many others put their imprint on our budding performing arts programs. That legacy is continued by current teachers such as Mary Ann Cummins, Davida Wills Hurwin, Evan Avery, Alex Treger, Jarod Sheahan, Tony Hundtoft, Ginny Russell, Peggy O’Brien, Pat Taylor, Scott Weintraub, Jill Strauss and others, some of whom have been here for 10, 20, or even, in Davida and Mary Ann’s case, for more than 30 years. They are not only gifted artists in their own right, but also gifted teachers. Day in and day out, they inspire our students to become the best artists they can be, helping them turn their passions and their budding talents into that desire, that drive to fully embrace their art, and to “live out loud” as an artist.


Yet, Crossroads being Crossroads, we don’t just graduate accomplished singers, actors, musicians and dancers who go on to Juilliard and other renowned universities and conservatories to study their craft. We also encourage them to use their art to give back to the world, indeed, to even change the world. And that value starts while they are students. It may take the form of the Drama Tour, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Theater and music are where students rehearse universal languages, our a show that they then tools to break free from perform at a juvenile our prisons, to face our detention center, a home demons and to embrace for the developmentally our birthright, as members disabled, a homeless of the human race, to live shelter and other social and to make magic. service agencies (see Page 2). Or it may be our –Maya Sokolow, an 11th-grader in the jazz musicians traveling 2013-14 school year to Panama, who were not only invited to perform at the prestigious Panama Jazz Festival—the only high school jazz band invited to perform—but who also spent part of their time in Panama mentoring young musicians through the Danilo Pérez Foundation (see Page 32). Or it’s our classical musicians, who are either spending time mentoring younger musicians at St. Anne School, or performing on instruments made by children in Paraguay from recycled materials that were then auctioned off to help orphaned children around the world (see Page 8). You see how those early inspirations play out in the lives of our alumni in performing arts—some of whom are profiled in this issue—as they give back to the world.


I am so proud of our performing arts program at Crossroads, a program that not only creates great artists, but also great human beings. And it does so in spite of less-than-adequate facilities. Still, I dream of someday finding a way to house that amazing program in a performing arts space we can call our own. A larger black box theater perhaps, as well as a 600-seat proscenium theater? A performing arts classroom building? An acoustically sound recital hall? A fellow can dream, can’t he…??? After all, don’t our students, our teachers and our programs deserve nothing less? As Assistant Head Jeff Guckert once said: “Put a great teacher in a closet with her students, and she will do magic. But give that same teacher a modern, well-equipped, thoughtfully designed learning facility, and she and her students can change the world.” Magic. Indeed, it does happen here at Crossroads. And when it does, worlds unimagined unfold!

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Drama Tour 2013 Performing Arts at Crossroads Grandparent Profile Volunteer Profile Parent Association Trustee News Faculty Personal and Professional Growth Awards 40th Athletics Anniversary; Hall of Fame Alumni Voices Alumni News Class Notes Student News Around the School

Cross Sections News Magazine is published twice a year. Send subscription requests to: Communications | Crossroads School 1714 21st St., Santa Monica, Calif. 90404 Or call: 310-829-7391, ext. 583 Or email: We have made every attempt to have all names and information in this publication correct. If any errors or omissions are noted, we offer our sincere apologies and hope you will notify the Communications Office. CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS Jeryldine Saville

Editor & Director, Communications

Mery Grace Castelo Manager, Constituent Relations Kathleen O’Brien

Manager, Communications

Corinne Schulman Director, Development & Constituent Relations Teresa Verbeck

Director, Alumni Relations

Gail Anderson

Alumni Events Coordinator

Carolyn White

Assistant Director, Admissions & Communications Liaison

Amie Mack

Project Archivist

Jessica Schuster

Communications Assistant

Tara Shima Athletics Communications Coordinator Susan Piper


Andreas Branch Drew Devore Getty Images Mark Gold Jeryldine Saville Jessica Schuster Morgan Schwartz Angela Torres Stephen Zeigler

Contributing Photographers




drama tour

A Journey in Three Parts

by jeff guckert, assistant head of school and dean of faculty

Every year since 1993, drama teacher and chair of the Drama Department Davida Wills Hurwin has taken a group of actors, musicians and stagehands on a performance tour in the San Francisco Bay area. The company performs a one-act musical two to three times a day at a variety of venues for audiences who have very limited access to such productions. I was fortunate enough to attend this year as a chaperone, and what follows is my journal of the transformational trip. This year, the company performed “Once on this Island,� an apt metaphor for our own Drama Tour journey. The musical tells the story of a peasant girl who survives a flood and is adopted by a poor elderly couple. At the hand of the gods, she falls in love with a young man from the privileged class on the island, but she eventually finds that the love they share cannot come to fruition. While she dies, her love remains stronger than ever, as she is transformed into a tree that shelters people and helps to bring reconciliation among the different classes on the island.


PROLOGUE --------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, November 14


1 p.m. On a flight from LAX to SFO

I don’t believe in fate, but the circumstances of me going on Drama Tour this year certainly make me pause and consider whether I was supposed to tell this story. For years I have heard of the magic that happens on this journey. Like “Ojai”—the transformational retreat that seniors take each year to the Ojai Foundation—the entire experience of the company’s Bay Area trip is captured in the community by a misleadingly simple single word: “Tour.” Having been to “Ojai,” I wanted to experience the richness of Tour for myself, as well. I agreed to make the journey this fall; however, when I learned that Bob Riddle was also planning to attend this year, I decided to bow out and wait for next year. Then yesterday, the day before departure, Bob was forced to cancel his trip to attend to some pressing School business. Perhaps I was at the mercy of the gods from the show that the company would be performing, “Once on this Island,” but I have become the understudy thrust on to the stage at the last moment. I am going on Tour, after all! Without knowing where we are going, what the show is about, nor who the students and adults are in the traveling company, I give myself over entirely to the experience that is Tour.


A Seed is Sown --------------------------------------------------------

Thursday, November 14


Driving my rental car from SFO to our hotel, I leave Crossroads and Los Angeles behind. It is a stereotypical San Francisco day, with overcast skies and fog, as I drive to uncover another Crossroads mystery. I arrive before the bus full of students and chaperones and check into my room. I will sleep in the front living area on the pullout sofa, while my four student roommates will share the bedroom in the back. The large window of the suite faces the elevator doors.

This is not going to be a trip that caters to my introverted side! The bus arrives at 5:30 p.m. after an eight-hour trip. We gather in the lobby of the hotel, 42 individuals—32 students and 10 adults. The lobby of the hotel will serve as our meeting room throughout the journey. Davida and Lily set the ground rules, then we eat dinner at the hotel: barbecue chicken arranged by Lily. Lily Rains, an actor, a Crossroads teacher, and a Class of 1997 alumna, was the uber-organized road manager, quietly, but largely responsible for the success of the trip. Imagine feeding this group three times a day and getting them on time to two venues each day, having them be at rehearsals and meetings, and getting them to bed at a reasonable hour. Daunting under any circumstances, but imagine doing this with a bunch of artists, the majority of whom are in the ninth and 10th grade! The rest of the Tour members had little to worry about but the show due to Lily’s incredible organization and her admirably deft way of being firm with the kids—and sometimes the chaperones!—while simultaneously being funny and loving. After dinner the company rehearses a few numbers before Davida sets the timbre for the trip. She emphasizes that this trip “is not about you.” The company would be offering a gift to their audiences over the next few days, but they were not to judge their audiences, nor expect accolades. She urges the students to open themselves up to the Tour, to accept the gifts that they would be offered that would nurture their souls as well. These prophetic words fall on my innocent ears, but I had no idea at this point how profound they would prove. 9:30 p.m. All to our rooms for lights out. 10:45 p.m. The chatter in the back room

finally dies down. --------------------------------------------------------

Friday, November 15


6:30 a.m. Breakfast in the hotel restaurant 7 a.m. Morning meeting

Davida sets the stage for our first stop, the Janet Pomeroy Center in San Francisco, whose

The Players ACTORS Elisa Abondolo Maude Apatow Annalie Brody Simone Burnett Destin Christopher Sadie Cibula Valentina Cytrynowicz Adam Glusker August Gross Julia Gutierrez del Barrio Solia Hoegl Alexa James-Cardenas Marley King Juliana Martino Marion Moseley Ben Nutter Avalon Orion Adam Riva Sam Roach Alec Schulman Dexter Summers Ethan Treiman James Werner Grace Westlin Caris Yeoman BAND, TECH CREW Jasper Hankin Gabriel Vasquez Dillon Lazar Bryan Vogt-Nilsen Clyde Mulroney Veronica Pickard Eli Sokolow CHAPERONES Adrienne Breslow (Production Manager) Kelly Castaneda Drew Devore Jeff Guckert Tony Hundtoft (Musical Director) Davida Wills Hurwin (Director) Lily Rains ’97 (Road Manager) Nick Santiago (Technical Director) Jarod Sheahan (Vocal Director) Billy Rodgers (Driver) CHOREOGRAPHY Pat Taylor




mission is to provide recreational, vocational and educational opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. In the first of many such meetings, she explains autism to the group by having the students describe as many sensory inputs that they could name in the hotel lobby. She encourages them to think about how much work their brains have to do to filter through all that data and prioritize certain inputs to allow them to focus and think clearly. Then she explains that many of the audience members they would see this morning have difficultly processing such an enormous amount of sensory data. I could see our students nodding in empathic understanding, albeit largely abstract at that point.


9 a.m. Load-in at Janet Pomeroy


Like swarming bees acting as a community, the entire company unloads the band instruments, sound equipment, props and costumes. In 30 minutes, the stage is set for a show. The venue is a large cafeteria with a fairly sizable, raised stage. This is the only actual stage on which the students will perform. 10:15 a.m. The cafeteria begins to fill, and the anxiety of the company



1. Our author experiences the magic of Tour 2. A pensive moment on set 3. Bryan gives an audience member a set of his drumsticks 4. The hardworking tech crew

grows with each wheelchair that enters and with each awkward physical twitch. As Davida introduces the play to the approximately 100 people in attendance, a participant named Valerie rushes toward her with outspread arms, and the two embrace as old friends. The show begins, and I watch as the audience rocks themselves in their chairs, letting out occasional moans or grunts. But as the show builds momentum, the power of music settles over the crowd, and the audience becomes rapt in the performance. In the middle of Simone’s solo, the audience breaks into spontaneous and enthusiastic applause. Unfortunately, the show must be cut short as the audience grows restless after 40 minutes, including a resident helping himself to Jarod’s cup of coffee left unattended on his keyboard! As the closing number ends, Davida welcomes the audience to participate in a dance party with the company. Here is where the Tour magic begins. Slowly, nervously, cautiously the members of the company meet the enthusiastic audience members who have come to expect this happy event. As the audience gyrates to the music without any inhibitions, the company begins to loosen up as well, until in the end, most people are reluctant to say goodbye. Whereas we greeted the residents with apprehension, we depart with hugs and heartfelt appreciation for them. 1 p.m. Load-in at Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

The venue here is smaller, a 32’ x 40’ community room will serve as stage, band pit and house. Jon, the Tour’s host at the hospital since 2003, introduces the kids to the facility; his heartfelt appreciation lifts everyone’s spirits. He shares that his own father spent the last years of his life in this very hospital. He explains that our performance ties in with several goals of his program, including intergenerational cooperation, involvement with the outside community and exposure to the arts. The audience of approximately 30 people consists of long-term care and terminally ill patients. The space is small for a cast of 26; there are double doors on the side of the room open to the activity in the hospital corridor, and at times the patients are distracted, like the man in the front row who rose in the middle of Sadie’s solo to go to the bathroom. Distractions aside,


the company puts on a wonderful performance and afterward, the audience is delighted to meet the cast and crew. A patient follows us to the bus, reluctant to see us go, repeating, “God bless you!” The love and affection of the day starts to break through the shells of the seeds that reside in all of us.


5 p.m. Dinner at Pizza Orgasmica. It’s a family pizza joint— I swear! 7 p.m. Back to the hotel for a wrap-up meeting involving reflections and

notes from the director. Then off to our rooms to get some rest after a very emotional first day. 10 p.m. Lights out 11 p.m. The chatter ends in the back room! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, November 16


7 a.m. Morning meeting includes a lot of tired-looking faces. Davida

preps the company for our first show at the Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center. The introduction is sobering. She instructs the students not to wear red or clothing that could mistakenly indicate any relationship with a gang. No metal is to be brought into the facility, including bobby pins for the hair because these items could be used by residents to hurt themselves or others. Davida also explains that the students’ audience would be kids nearly the same age as themselves; and, though the Crossroads students may be nervous about the audience they would be facing, the audience also viewed us—a large, privileged group of 42 from Los Angeles, on their turf—as threatening, too. She encourages everyone to smile as often as possible, even if we are nervous. Davida again strikes a brilliant balance between being frank and forthright with the company about the realities they are about to face, while still showing love and respect for individuals who are in a bad place in life at the moment. 7:30 a.m. Breakfast 9 a.m. Arrival at Sonoma County Juvenile Justice Center

We take no props or costumes. Instead, the company wears the turquoise T-shirts that are our uniforms whenever we are not performing. Watches, belts and wallets are removed and left on the bus. The center’s staff collects identification for everyone entering the facility. The venue is a basketball court, walled on three sides by cinderblock. On the fourth side, the backdrop for the play is a chain-link fence that extends 20 feet up and over our heads. Before the audience is led in, we practice what to do in the case of an emergency: moving to the fence, facing out to avoid getting pepper spray in our faces. The mood is somber as the detainees file in slowly and silently, led by guards. The first group who fill the front row of seats is all girls, followed by two rows of boys. They all wear pine green elastic-waist pants and plain, ash gray sweatshirts. Again, despite the circumstances and the lack of costumes, props or a set, the company put on their best show yet, full of vibrancy and sincerity. After the show, Davida invites questions from or to the audience. A toughlooking 17-year-old in the back row is the first to raise his hand. “That was a beautiful show!” he offers sincerely! One girl asks the company if they were afraid to come to the detention center. A cast member replies, “No, I

1. The band performs at OPCC 2. Davida and Lily take a moment to smile 3. A student gets to know an audience member 4. The cast performs for a full room at OPCC







wasn’t afraid, because you guys are kids just like us. You’ve just been in some bad situations.” The audience whoops and applauds her answer. The ice is melted completely. As we are walking out of the center, one cast member says with a joyful glow: “I feel like now Tour has begun for real.”

An audience of 40 moms, dads and children file into the small room. I feel most proud Davida welcomes the of the cast for their performance here, for the audience was the least attentive. audience to participate Children are running around on the stage in a dance party with between and behind the actors. Audience the company. Here is members regularly file in and out of the room to get a snack; and, yet, the show is where the Tour magic focused and enthusiastic. Just as I start to begins. 6:30 p.m. We arrive at the Center get a little frustrated at the lack of attention Point Women and Children’s Shelter, in the room, Davida pulls out her magic which provides services to combat social wand again. She deftly and unobtrusively problems such as substance abuse, cuts a number from the show, and the cast poverty, unemployment and homelessness. The venue is a tiny never misses a beat. After taking a bow, Davida invites all the kids in 15’ x 15’ space—the living room of a small apartment—which serves the audience forward and engages them in a sing-along that has the as both stage and house! The band squeezes into the adjacent, even entire room bursting with joy. I feel guilty that I had begun to judge smaller kitchen. The actors remain outside on a balcony in the chilly the audience for not properly respecting our students, but Davida night air whenever they have to be offstage. Three tight rows of chairs demonstrates the importance of us respecting our audience. By the accommodate 20 women and 10 children, none older than 6 years old. time we have to start packing up, a 6-year-old boy, who is taking a The actors quickly don their coats whenever they exit the stage to stay turn on Bryan’s drum set, is in tears because he had to quit. Bryan warm until their next scene. But, as always, the show goes on, and the spontaneously gives the boy a set of his drumsticks, turning his tears company finds a way to give their full selves to their intimate audience. into a brilliant smile and reminding me of a quote by George William Curtis: “The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.” The women who watch the show shed many tears afterwards. Their tears express their deep gratitude for the company and sincere 4:15 p.m. We are back at the hotel, and everyone is instructed to appreciation for the students’ amazing talent, but they are also spend the hour in silent rest and reflection. I am overflowing with tinged with hope for the future of these amazing students. One thoughts and emotions. How in the world can I possibly capture woman says through tears to an actor: “You are so talented! Please what is happening here for the Crossroads community? don’t waste it all. Stay away from drugs and bad influences.” 5:30 p.m. We load in at the Center Point Center for Men in San 8 p.m. Back to the hotel for a dinner of Chipotle burritos and then Rafael. The men insist on carrying all the equipment in for us. I am lights out. surprised and touched by the fact that they are all dressed in sports jackets and ties. The venue is another small community room, 18’ x 25,’ with 36 seats set up for the audience; the band is in the ACT TWO adjacent hallway. With each performance, the show seems to keep getting better, and this night is no exception. The audience is terrific, and at times provides great energy to the cast, like when one man ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------interjects “Oh no!” when Papa Ge, demon of death, enters the scene. Sunday, November 17 After the show, we reprise the sing-along we had done at Catholic ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Charities earlier in the afternoon, which gets everyone loose and 8 a.m. Breakfast. We get to sleep in! The first show of the day jubilant. isn’t until 12:30.

A Sapling Emerges

9 a.m. After the morning meeting, the cast and crew do an

impromptu number for the hotel staff behind the front desk. The number, “We Dance,” is magical—the acoustics in the lobby are great, and the energy and harmony of the kids is moving, bringing the chaperones to tears. The seed that had been planted during the first days suddenly sprouts from the ground to soak in the sunshine. 12:30 p.m. Santa Rosa Catholic Charities provides programs for

people who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness. The venue is a small community room, 20’ x 25,’ with 25 chairs; the band is set up in an adjoining storage room. As everyone goes about their jobs of setting up, the mood is noticeably warmer; our community is becoming a family.

At our closing council, many students remark that this is the most emotional and heartfelt moment of the Tour for them. The men, who all look tough and street smart, are incredibly warm and gracious. One man relates how much he had been touched by a conversation he had had with a cast member who had been on the last Tour. As it turns out, the cast member is present again and is moved beyond words at the opportunity to thank this same man for the influence his words had had on her life since the last Tour. 8 p.m. Back to the hotel for Panda Express and an evening of

silliness, a welcome release from the day’s emotions. The silliness is the best kind imaginable, full of fun, love and respect for one another. At lights out that night, the chatter from the boys in the back room is noticeably absent at 10:15 p.m.!



Monday, November 18


6:45 a.m. Breakfast is tinged with sadness as everyone realizes

this is our last day. 9 a.m. We load in at the Earle Baum Center of the Blind. The

center is on land donated by Earle Baum, a blind man who ran his own farm for over 60 years until his death at 90. The cast rehearses “We Dance” with their eyes closed to give them a sense of what their audience might experience. This inspires me to “watch” the entire show with my eyes closed. Somewhat skeptical of how much I will enjoy the show, I find that I see things with my eyes closed that I had not noticed as a sighted audience member. I can feel the floor vibrate during the ensemble numbers, I can feel the primal beat of Ti Moune’s dance, and the voices of the cast are more nuanced, harmonious and heartfelt than I have ever heard them. 1:40 p.m. We have ToGo’s sandwiches on the bus as we head to

Edgewood Center for Children and Families, a facility that focuses on such issues as mental health, family relationships and life skills. We load in to a half-court basketball gym, with an elevated stage that will house the band. We have to set up quickly, because we need to start by 2 p.m. to finish in time for some of the kids in the audience to catch their buses home. At 3:05 p.m., Davida realizes that we will not finish in time, so she again has to weave her magic, signaling the cast to cut the show short. After the company takes


their bows, a small boy of about 7 years proudly shares with the company that this is the best show he has ever seen in his life! The love and appreciation at each venue have nurtured the sapling, and it has grown into a towering tree. Once we have cleaned up and the audience has departed, the art director for Edgewood, Melucina, speaks to us about the center. This is the most difficult site for me. Melucina shares with us the types of situations that the residents and participants at the center are facing. She shows us some of their artwork, which expresses the deep anguish that they harbor inside. In contrast with the men at Center Point who exude the hope of starting a new life, the audience we see at Edgewood is still searching for hope and a way out of their plight.


The Tree Flowers 7 p.m. After a Whole Foods dinner at the hotel, we hold a closing

council. It is inevitable and cathartic that the enormity of the experience these adolescents have just experienced would come pouring out. The tree has been established and will provide shelter for every member of the Tour for the rest of their lives. At the council, we witness the fruit of the tree as each member shares their own personal transformation stories, their own love, pain, forgiveness and hope. As the final song in the play says “This is why we tell the story.” This is why we go on Tour.



Seventh-Graders Perform at Dance Rotation Culmination In October, seventh-grade dancers showcased what they had learned during their fine arts rotation in the Ahmanson Dance Studio. Students packed into the studio to watch the performances, which included modern, hip-hop and ballet. Each routine was either a student-choreographed piece or a piece that the class had worked on throughout the rotation. Because the students are encouraged to think outside of the box for their end-of-rotation performances, some of the dancers decided to put a humorous spin on their routine. One hip-hop group of four boys ended their routine with an interpretation of the famous scene from the movie “Dirty Dancing” to “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life,” filling the audience with laughter.

Crossroads Students Perform on Landfill Instruments to Raise Money for Charity

Go Campaign improves the lives of orphans and vulnerable children around the world by connecting donors to high-impact grassroots projects aimed at changing lives and transforming communities, one child at a time. The Crossroads students played on recycled instruments that children in Cateura, Paraguay made for the auction. Cateura is a town built on top of a landfill and one of the poorest slums in Latin America. A teacher in the area set up a music program for the area children, who are at risk for getting involved with drugs and gangs. Because there were not enough instruments for all of the children, they began fashioning them out of garbage, which was in plentiful supply. Today, there is an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, called The Recycled Orchestra, which is chronicled in the recently released movie, “Landfill Harmonic.”

On Nov. 14, Mary Ann Cummins took four EMMI students, Angela Bae, Audrey Maxner, Tiffany Kang, and Ernie Carbajal, to perform at the Go Go Gala Auction, hosted by Go Campaign at the Bel Air Bay Club in Pacific Palisades.

The Crossroads musicians practiced on the instruments for weeks in Mary Ann’s Music Theory class to study the differences between them and traditionally crafted instruments and to prepare for the gala performance. The recycled cello that Ernie played, which has a base made from a paint can, was auctioned off to “Twilight” actor Robert Pattinson for $5,600. More information about Go Campaign can be found at: For more information about the landfill instruments go to:

“Twilight” actor Robert Pattinson is presented with his winning instrument, which was played by Crossroads student Ernie Carbajal.



Elementary School Students Perform at Holiday Concert Twinkling lights hung overhead as Elementary School students, parents, friends and teachers filled the Community Room on Dec. 13 for the Crossroads Children’s Chorus Holiday Concert. The chorus members and their director, Robbie Trombetta, had been meeting once a week since October preparing for this show, and their confidence in their performance was evident as they were warming up on stage. The singers waited patiently as the room started to fill up, each dressed with a bit of holiday style—one student wore an elf hat while another wore a fur vest that lit up with red and green lights. Behind them was a festive display of snowflakes created by parents and students. After the room was packed to capacity, Head of School Bob Riddle, Elementary School Director Joanie Martin and two students lit the candles, signifying the start of the show. Robbie then introduced the singers, and the parents in the room readied their cameras. The concert started with “We’ve Come Together to Sing” by Avon Gillespie, and along with singing, the students performed choreographed body percussion that added to the dynamic, nontraditional holiday song. The students then sang “Dansi na Kuimba” by Dave and Jean Perry, which featured Swahili lyrics, punctuated by African percussion instruments. A sing-along version of “Jingle Bell Rock” by Joel Beal and Jim Boothe finished the show, getting the entire audience into the holiday spirit. Each singer held a hand-made set of jingle bells created by parents, which they shook and danced with while singing this classic tune. The performance wrapped up with a whirl of color as students rushed back to class with their bright hats and scarves.

Crossroads Middle and Upper School Holiday Concerts are a tradition, featuring many of the School’s best musicians, singers and dancers. For the first time, the concert hall was decorated for the occasion with colored lights and paper snowflakes, which were created by Elementary School students and parents as a way to have all three divisions participate in the event. The décor added to the festive feeling throughout Santa Monica High School’s Barnum Hall on Dec. 15 as families and friends gathered for the performances. The evening started with the Middle School Holiday Concert, which included performances from the following groups: Jazz Collective, Little Big Band, Jazz Ensemble, the Compose and Record Class, Rhythm Workshop, Overtones, Wind Ensemble and the Middle School Dance Company. Every performance had the soul of the season thanks to each group’s selection of holiday-themed music. One of the most surprising performances of the night came from the dance company, which performed to the song “Zat You Santa Claus?” The Upper School Holiday Concert was the next show with performances by the: C Band, B Band, A Band, Soul Roads, Dancers Alliance, 21st Street Singers, Adult Chorus, Modern Music Creation and Recording, and Crossroads Chamber Orchestra. After each show, the audience members and performers gathered outside of the hall for an array of treats, provided by Bergamot Café and Carol’s Cookie Jar, as well as a hot cocoa and apple cider station.





member since 1963. This is where Fama and Lars Hansen, Fama’s co-recipient of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize, developed the work that helped them to win this esteemed award. According to the Nobel Committee, the two men have contributed to the understanding of the movement of asset prices. Fama’s work, specifically, focused on the empirical analysis of asset prices, which helps explain how and why the price of stocks and bonds change over time.

Crossroads Grandparent Receives

Nobel Prize in Economics When Eugene Fama, 74, was named a

joint recipient of the 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences Oct. 14, two Crossroads students—second-grader Rocco and first-grader Francesca—and four Crossroads alumni—Lucie Fama ’11, Roxanne Röckenwagner ’08, Hans Röckenwagner ’10 and Gina Röckenwagner ’06—became the grandchildren of a Nobel laureate. All six traveled to Stockholm for the Dec. 10 ceremony, along with parents, Gene and Andrea Fama, and Mary Fama, to witness the ceremony in which the laureates receive their Nobel Prize from the chairman of the Swedish Nobel Committee in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. In the wee hours of the morning when the prize was announced, Gene Fama bumped into his son Rocco, who is an early riser, in the stairwell. Gene thought he would have to explain to his son what type of a prize his grandfather had won, but as it turns out, Rocco’s science class had just been studying about the Nobel Prize the week before. “He already knew all about it,” Gene says. Gene said his father may bring the Nobel

Prize, which he says is “about the size of a fried egg,” to Crossroads in the spring, so that it will bring the occasion to life for the students. Gene will have to persuade his father, who he says can be shy and “like a big kid himself.” While he may be a “big kid,” Eugene Fama is known as the “father of modern finance.” He is credited with coining the term “market efficiency.” Fama’s efficient-market hypothesis asserts that market prices quickly incorporate all known information about a stock or bond, making it difficult if not impossible to consistently achieve returns in excess of average market returns on a risk-adjusted basis. Fama also established that an economic hypothesis can’t be tested without setting a model of market equilibrium. Through these achievements, along with his extensive writing on virtually every topic in finance and economics, Fama changed modern investing and portfolio management. Fama is currently the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he has been a faculty

Fama’s history in this field stems back to his time at Tufts University, where he first studied romance languages. According to an essay he wrote titled “My Life in Finance,” he became bored with romance languages and after two years shifted his focus to economics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Tufts in 1960 and then went on to earn an MBA, as well. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. And while his academic credentials are lofty, Fama hails from modest roots. His grandparents were Sicilian immigrants who ran a grocery store in Boston’s West End. As a child, Fama excelled in everything and was even inducted into Malden Catholic High School’s athletic hall of fame for his participation in high school sports. Fama still holds his Boston roots close to his heart, especially those of Malden Catholic, where he has established a diversity scholarship fund to help students attend the high school. Fama urges Crossroads students to realize now the impact the School will have on them in the future, so that they can make the most of it. “It doesn’t seem so now, but what you learn at Crossroads will be important for the rest of your life,” he says. “Work hard, read a lot and make sure to learn your math and sciences, and you will have better choices for the rest of your life.” Eugene Fama’s family was in full force at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm. Photo and caption courtesy of Gene Fama: “Crossroadians: Girl on left in white is my daughter Lucie Fama ’11. Behind my Mom is Rocco and behind my Dad is Francesca. Behind Rocco is Mary Fama, mom of Roxy Röckenwagner ’08, in blue to her right, and Gina Röckenwagner ’06, in polka-dots to her right. I’m the bearded guy on the far right. My wife, Andrea, is in black between Mary and Roxanne.”




We launch our new Volunteer Profile section of the magazine by spotlighting Roy Metcalf, a devoted volunteer during his years as a Crossroads parent. He continues to volunteer even though both of his sons, Henry ’09 and Joe ’13, have graduated from the School. Roy’s commitment to Crossroads is a stellar example of the energy, enthusiasm and dedication typical of so many our volunteers.

Roy Metcalf Q: What were some of your favorite volunteer experiences here?

Q: When did you join Crossroads?

In the summer of 1995, my ex-wife moved to the Los Angeles area with our children. My middle child, Henry, enrolled in ninth grade at Crossroads. I followed, at the behest of my kids, and began my Crossroads experience. Q: How did you get involved with volunteering at Crossroads?

Henry was and is a theater kid and was fortunate enough to be cast in Davida’s Tour troupe that first fall. I was welcomed into the “Friends of Drama” parent group, which provided snacks and meals for the actors and actresses when needed. Through “Friends of Drama,” I met many sweet and involved parents who encouraged me to volunteer in other capacities.

I enjoyed nearly all of my volunteer experiences, but if forced to answer, I think I would have to say that leading docent tours for prospective applicants, which I began in our second year at Crossroads and still continue even after having my boys graduate, became my favorite. It allows me to use the knowledge I have gleaned from my other Crossroads experiences and to express my affection for and confidence in Crossroads. Being a member of the Parent Association leadership team a few years back ranks way up there as a favorite. Being a small cog in the amazing machinery that produces the large-scale events at School is also very satisfying. Q: You became known as the volunteer who was “everywhere.” How did that come about?

A combination of things: having a good PR team and location, location, location. I have had the great good fortune of having the time to spend and that is the biggest part of the answer to the “everywhere” tag. For many years before coming to Crossroads, I had been working long hours and not had time to invest in my children. I took advantage of being out of work when I moved to LA and turned my attention toward my boys. (Their older sister was already in college, and I beg her forgiveness.) Of course, getting inside the lives of teenage boys is tough. So I decided to get as close to their culture as I could, and that meant volunteering. It turned out I was fairly good at it, and I kept exploring new places to play.

Q: Now that both of your sons have graduated out of Crossroads, you continue to be involved. Which volunteer hats are you wearing now?

I still lead docent tours, but that is the only formalized involvement that I have. I have so many good friends among the parent community at Crossroads that I hope to occasionally hang out with them at events, pitching in. Most recently, I helped out at US Parent Day. Q: Why do you continue to volunteer at Crossroads?

The eight years that my boys spent at Crossroads were great years for them and great years for me. I’m a big fan of Crossroads, warts and all, and it produces pretty amazing young adults. A good portion of the form my boys exhibit now is because of the relationships and mentoring that Crossroads allowed them. I hope that that can be said of me, also. Q: If a parent is undecided about getting involved as a volunteer here, what would you say to them?

I would say, “find a way,” though volunteering is not for everyone. Many families’ lives are so busy that the time requirement is daunting, and I understand that. There are many opportunities for parental involvement that are quick and easy, and I think this isn’t clear enough to the parent community. Bottom line in all this discussion of my volunteering is that I was a guy. There is high demand and encouragement for guys to volunteer. It made my “everywhere” status a bit easier to define. That is a label that would never be applied to a woman. Trust me when I tell you that there have been many women who have done a lot more than I have over the past eight years, but because I’m a guy, I got the label.



PARENT INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES AT CROSSROADS All parents are encouraged to engage in the life of our School through a variety of opportunities: • • •

Volunteers working hands-on to help coordinate events and activities; Participants in educational programs, such as parent education evenings and morning chats, Crossroads K-12 Parent Councils, which touch on social justice issues such as values and materialism, gender stereotyping, and cultural identity, grade level parent councils, parent days, back- to-school nights and grade level coffees Social activities such as dinners, barbecues, picnics and potlucks

Parent Association volunteer opportunities vary from division to division as appropriate for the needs of the students. In the Elementary School, parents have opportunities to work in the classrooms, library, art room, serving school lunch and much more. In the Middle and Upper Schools, parents have the opportunity to serve as grade level representatives, help with hospitality for a variety of events, or support faculty through the various “Friends of” committees: Athletics, Classical Languages, Community Service, Dance, Drama, Library, Music, or Science. Parent Association leadership positions include presidents and vice presidents for each division, and co-chairs for major annual events, such as the fall back-to-school Alley Party and the spring fundraiser. Whether a parent bakes cookies for an event, participates on a committee, or serves as president for an entire year, all levels of volunteerism are appreciated at Crossroads. For more information about the Parent Association, contact Mery Grace Castelo, Constituent Relations manager at 310-829-7391 ext. 514 or

Highlighting Volunteer Work There is so much amazing parent support going on day and night at both campuses. In this edition of Cross Sections, we highlight just a couple of committees you may not be aware of. Good Neighbor Committee

The goal of the Good Neighbor Committee (GNC) is to offer short-term support to Crossroads families experiencing the initial stages of a crisis, such as a sudden illness, injury or death in the family. These taskoriented services are meant to augment, not supplant, the efforts of other friends, family and neighborhood community members and usually consist of help such as meal deliveries, carpool or other driving/rides needs, and arranging play dates. Parent Volunteer GNC co-chairs for the Middle and Upper School work closely with the division directors and the Development and Constituent Relations office to coordinate support for Middle and Upper School families. In the Elementary School, support is coordinated by the division director and the Parent Association leadership. Discretion, respect and kindness are meant to be the hallmarks of all GNC experiences. Our thanks go to our very caring and committed GNC co-chairs: Middle School: Stacy Dylan and Holly Knight Upper School: Julie Lovett and Ellen Shimomura

Appreciation Committee

Every year on or around Valentine’s Day, our entire K-12 faculty and staff are treated to an “Appreciation Lunch” hosted by a team of parent volunteers on behalf of the entire Parent Association. A delicious lunch buffet is served, and the Community Room is transformed with fresh flowers and lovely décor. One of the highlights of the lunch is an incredible array of exquisite home-baked goods created with much love by Crossroads families. In addition to hosting the Faculty/Staff Appreciation Lunch, this committee also organizes the New Parent Dinners, which take place at the end of May or early June. These dinners welcome all the newly admitted parents over the course of two evenings: K-5 on a Friday night and 6-12 on a Saturday night. Our appreciation goes to our very hospitable committee co-chairs Kelly Kim, Karen Fields and Cheryl Lee.



New Trustees Elected The board of trustees welcomes two new members, Nicole Hoegl and Jeff Lipp, and welcomes back long-time trustee Bruce Stern. The board also thanks Carol Ann Emquies, who has stepped down from the board, for her service to our School.

by bob friedman, chair, crossroads board of trustees

Nicole Hoegl has been a dedicated member

of the Crossroads community since 2003. She has served in numerous capacities in the Parent Association, including room parent, admissions docent, chair of numerous committees and volunteer at countless events. Nicole has also been secretary and president of the Parent Association for the Elementary School. Nicole and her husband, Drew, are the parents of three Crossroads students: Solia, 15, Miles, 11, and Cole, 8. Nicole holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis and design from UC Irvine. In the field of urban planning, Nicole focused on the development of affordable housing for low-income families and homeless people. Currently, she is a spiritual mentor advising people on how to bring balance, wellness and peace into their lives and their communities. Originally from Scarsdale, N.Y., Jeff Lipp holds a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. He is co-founder and COO of the Kive Company and is an advisor and mentor at, a new business accelerator in Venice, Calif. Jeff serves on the board of directors

or advisory board of several organizations, including the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship of Greater Los Angeles, the Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Anderson School, Sound Body Sound Mind and Open Doors Organization. Upon joining the Crossroads community, Jeff immediately volunteered as an Annual Giving class captain. Jeff and his wife, Rachel, have three children: Josh, 12, and Adam and Zoe, both 8. Crossroads is pleased to welcome back Bruce Stern to the board of trustees. Bruce was on the board from 1988-2012 and during his tenure served on virtually every committee and touched nearly every aspect of the life of the School. Bruce was vice-chair of the Executive Committee and chair of both the Head of School Evaluation and Compensation committees. He also was a leading advocate on the Executive Committee of the Building the Dream campaign, which resulted in the construction of the Elementary School and Sports Center. More recently, Bruce was a key advisor to the Campaign Planning Committee to redevelop the 21st Street campus. Bruce and his wife, Judi, are the parents of Jeffrey ’00. Trustee Carol Ann Emquies has completed her term of service on the board, and we are deeply grateful for all she has contributed as a trustee and as an advocate for Crossroads. Carol Ann served on both the Development and Finance committees. She and her husband, Moise, remain an integral part of our community as the parents of two current students, Nico and Luca—both 16—and Annabella ’13.

Nicole Hoegl

Jeff Lipp

Bruce Stern





Robin York UPPER SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER As a recipient of the 2013 Crossroads Faculty Professional and Personal Growth Award, it is with deep gratitude that I thank the members of the award committee and the administration for supporting my trip to Peru this last summer. Through their assistance, I was fortunate to spend five weeks high up in the mountains of Cusco, Peru. My objectives for this trip were to improve my Spanish, to learn some basic Quechua—the indigenous language spoken in the Andes—and to gain a deeper understanding of Incan cosmology and ceremonial practices.

Cusco is tucked high into the Andes mountain range, hovering at a staggering 11,200 feet. For a beach-living lowlander like myself that’s a shockingly high altitude. My first days up there were quite brutal: every flight of stairs—and there are thousands of stairs and steps in Cusco!—felt like a marathon run. As an avid surfer with strong lungs, I thought I would handle it just fine, but even the short, daily hike from my hostel to Acupari, the language school that I attended, left me panting for air. It was well worth it though, because once through the door, my instructors would always welcome me with a “Hola” and a hot coca tea, which helps fight the altitude sickness. I spent three weeks studying three hours of Spanish a day on a one-on-one basis with my instructor, followed by 1 1/2 hours of Quechua instruction in the afternoon. I had some fantastic Spanish teachers, and my Spanish improved dramatically, but my favorite teacher was my Quechua instructor, Gina. As a native of Cusco she taught me so much about traditional Andean culture, the history of the Quechua language, and its importance for the Incas. My interest in Quechua stems from a previous visit to Peru that taught me how important this language is for an understanding of the cultural history of the Andes. It’s the official language of Bolivia, and it’s spoken in the Andean regions of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.


I found that, grammatically, Quechua is fairly easy to learn, but the tricky part is in the pronunciation. There are guttural sounds and sharp, whistling sounds that need to be mastered. Thankfully, Gina was a very patient instructor. In addition to the basic Quechua that I used on the street and in the markets to ask for things, Gina also taught me a few wonderful, traditional songs that I’m still humming. It also helped me make some instant friends among the local cab drivers! Through a friend who knows Peru well, I had the great fortune of meeting and working with Don Victor Estrada. Don Victor is an expert on Incan history, culture and ceremonial tradition. He is a wellspring of information on Andean culture and one of the greatest storytellers I have ever met. Thanks to my intensive Spanish classes I was able to grasp the finer details of what he shared with me about Incan cosmology. He taught me so many things about Incan mysteries, the role that nature plays in their culture, and the history of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Through him I gained deep insights into the symbiotic relationship that the Andean people have with Pachamama, Mother I gained deep Earth. I was very lucky insights into when Don Victor invited the symbiotic me to attend a “despacho” relationship that the to celebrate the day of Andean people have Pachamama, which was on Aug. 1. A despacho is with Pachamama, a traditional offering to Mother Earth. the forces of nature that the Andeans revere: the earth, known as Pachamama, the sky and sun, called Tayta Inti, and the mountains, referred to as Appus. The despacho takes the form of a beautiful bundle that contains offerings to the spirits of these three worlds. Our despacho contained coca leaves, which are traditionally used for prayer, nuts, bank notes, seeds, colorful candies and flowers. These items were placed on a flat, white sheet of paper and were arranged to represent a dedication to a specific aspect of life and nature. As the ceremony progressed, each of us offered the contents of our little bundles that had been given us. As Don Victor placed each item on this growing “tree of life,” it gave us time to reflect and place our intentions and prayers into three coca leaves that we offered him at the end, and that became Local women selling and the “leaves” of this “tree.” bargaining their

Without a doubt, this ceremony was one of the most joyous and life-affirming experiences that I have ever participated in. Both during and long after the conclusion of the ceremony, Don Victor offered us countless insights into the Incan belief system, and all of it was presented with enormous good will and great laughter. To read the full account of Robin’s story, go to

goods in the open market at Ollantaytambo

The famous Pisak Mural of Inka history at the entrance to Pisac in the Sacred Valley Lamas are revered in the Andes as they’re intelligent and capable of carrying heavy loads for long distances






My grant allowed me to visit Australia and study ancient Aboriginal history. I discovered so much more than I’d initially been looking for and was able to immerse myself in a culture I’ll never forget. This coming year, I’ll be giving a talk to the sixth-graders about Australia during the Middle Ages, and next year, I’ll have a unit built into the curriculum about it as well.

Since I was a child, I’ve been passionate about medieval history. In college and grad school, I studied Chaucer, read Beowulf in many different translations, and visited castles all over Europe. A few years ago, when my colleagues and I developed a sixth-grade Core curriculum based on the Middle Ages, I began reading voraciously about the Silk Road, imagining myself a trader trekking across the mountains and plains, trying new spices, discovering the feel of raw silk, meeting and breaking bread with folk of all different religions and cultures. Two years ago, I began reading about the medieval history of northern Africa and became inspired particularly by the travels of Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan wanderer who traveled more miles than the great Marco Polo himself. This led me, of course, to look at nearby Mali, a country that thrived in the Middle Ages as it traded its salt for gold and built some of the most important libraries and artwork of the Islamic world. Mali is a new focus of study for many scholars because the tales of the great Sundiata and Mansa Musa—once known only through oral history as told by traditional griots—are now available in glorious written translations. The European medieval world is just as magical in my eyes as it ever was, yet I have come to understand—and to teach my students—that it is just part of the world picture during medieval times.

There are three other continents that were inhabited at the time, and one of them intrigued me particularly. I knew that the Aborigines of Australia had lived in the same places, uninterrupted by outside invasion, for longer than any other group in history; estimates of continuous inhabitation range from 40,000 to 70,000 years. In fact, until Captain Cook arrived and claimed the entire continent for Great Britain in 1770, no white men had ever landed on the continent.

With such a long and continuous history, it should surely be easy to discover what Australian Aboriginal lives were like a mere thousand years ago…but it wasn’t. The more I tried to read about medieval Aboriginal history online, the more I found myself stymied. This was intentional to some extent, I discovered. Aboriginal culture believes that knowledge is secret and to be protected, and children are taught history, traditions and secrets only when they need to be taught. Aborigines also have vast experience of being taken advantage of by the larger culture in the past 200 years, and many do not want to share their history with the world at large. Finally, there is a proscription against naming people who are dead, or showing their pictures, as this may give pain to survivors. So the seemingly simple process of telling stories and putting them on YouTube, for example, which is commonly accepted by modern culture, is against the belief system of many Aborigines. The only way to hear their stories is to go there and meet people who are willing to share their culture in person after meeting face to face.

As I was mulling this situation and itching to find out more, I discovered that a researcher at the Queensland Museum had just published a map of medieval trade routes. I got in touch with her and applied for the Faculty Personal and Professional Development Grant. When I got the grant, I arranged to spend time at the exhibit she and her colleagues had prepared at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane.

The day I arrived in Brisbane, I went straight to the museum. The exhibit, called Yiwarra Kuju, focused on Aboriginal art that represented the journeys along the Canning Stock Route, a traditional passageway through the Australian desert. It was perhaps the most breathtaking museum


installation I have ever seen. While medieval history turned out to be but a small part of the exhibit, the artwork told traditional tales that had been passed down from that time and beyond and showed maps of routes that had been used virtually unchanged for thousands of years. I began to realize through the hours I spent there that traditional Australian history could never be understood through books—the Aborigines were a culture without writing—but was expressed so poignantly through the combination of art and nature that was on display in front of me. I saw patterns of dots arranged in colors and shapes that symbolized water, rock, sand and sun, and that were in their own ways maps. These patterns showed family and relationships, and illustrated certain animals and traditional tales that could only be told by people from specific clans. I could have spent a year studying these paintings, and I enjoyed every minute of the two days I spent there. The mentor I had hoped to meet had left the museum, but her assistants gave me great insight into the art.

While exploring the exhibit, I encountered a class of 11-year-olds and spoke to their teacher, Nora. She explained that Aboriginal history was new not only to me, but to many white Australians as well. White Australia, as a rule, treated Aborigines with contempt from the time the English landed until quite recently. Among other shameful events within the past 50 years, the government endorsed taking Aborigine children away from their parents so they could be educated by white families or in boarding schools in which they were not allowed to speak their language or learn their cultural roots. This is similar to the way native peoples were treated in parts of the United States and Canada, unfortunately. Ironically, the very people who had inhabited the land for up to 70,000 years were not granted full voting rights in Australia until 1967! To their credit, Australian governments within the past 20 years have worked hard to reconcile with original inhabitants, and new K-6 guidelines for history call specifically for students to look at Aboriginal history with compassion. The guidelines in New South Wales, for instance, require that schools “explore Aboriginal perspectives by presenting past and present issues in a way that will lead students to develop deep understanding of the world they live in, allowing for the integration of indigenous and non-indigenous knowledge, which is important for the students as they undertake an active role in our communities in the future.” The divisions caused by the historical mistreatment of Aborigines are beginning to heal, though very slowly.

After I left Brisbane, I headed to northern Queensland and was able to delve even deeper into history. Accompanied by our Aborigine guide, Cavil, and a small group of visitors, I walked through the Daintree Rainforest looking as much as possible


through native eyes. Cavil pointed out the shield tree, in which fathers traditionally grind a hole and place a stick in the trunk when their sons are born. By the time the son is a young man, the tree has grown a large scar in the shape of a shield with a handle, that can be broken off and used ceremonially. We saw brush turkeys, red-headed crakes, and tree frogs of the brightest green. We made a fire on the shore of the Daintree River and plunged into the freezing cold water under the falls. We learned a dozen uses of ginger, learned how to predict weather—accurately or otherwise—by looking at berries and heard stories of how children were taught to survive through the most drought-filled years, grubbing for roots and eating animals on land and water. Later, we went to a salt marsh, which is really a part of the Pacific Ocean that is five feet under water at high tide, yet has such a strong tide that we walked ankle-deep in the mid-afternoon. We were given spears and walked along, searching for crabs to put in a bucket and cook up for tea. When we’d found a whole mess of crabs, we waded into the tangle of mangrove trees, fighting off vicious mosquitoes and climbing through branches to reach the inner swamp where mussels were buried. We found the bubbles that told us the shellfish were there, and dug with our spears and fists, adding salty mussels to our pail. Later, we walked back through the salt marsh and gave our bounty to Cavil’s niece, while some in the group learned how to throw spears. It’s harder than it looks to throw a spear accurately! Throughout the day, we heard some of the traditional stories of Cavil’s clan, but there continued to be a barrier; certain questions were just not answered. As outsiders, we found our curiosity was not always considered a good enough reason to be told.

The next day, the group spent the morning with Binna, an Aborigine artist who is also deaf. His art was an unusual mix of traditional dot art and contemporary abstract art, and he showed us how to paint on chestnut-like seeds using the traditional colors from that area: a deep natural ocher, black from ash and simple white. We worked hard on our paintings, and afterwards, Binna demonstrated the didgeridoo, which he can “hear” through the vibrations even without hearing the sound. We saw the breathing technique that enabled him to breathe in and out at the same time, telling a story with the instrument. The last part of the Aborigine adventure was heading up to Cape Cook, through a World Heritage forest, to visit traditional lands and study rock art with Willie Gordon. To read the full account of Nancy’s story, go to crosssections.



Crossroads Athletics Celebrates 40-Year Anniversary and Creates Hall of Fame by tara shima, athletics communications coordinator

When Crossroads athletics began in 1973, only two sports were offered: basketball and flag football. For the first time in the young School’s history, Crossroads students could experience the thrill of athletic competition in a supportive environment.

During this time, there were fewer than one dozen athletes and one coach between the two sports. Crossroads’ student-athletes traveled to rented gyms and fields because none of these facilities existed on the School’s campus. During games, the teams played in mismatched sporting attire because there were no team uniforms. This original, motley group of student-athletes left a legacy for those who followed, not solely based on their athletic performance, but on their love for athletics that was felt long after their absence. Now, 40 years later, the School is instituting an athletics Hall of Fame with this inaugural class, which is profiled in the pages that follow. The criteria by which the individuals are considered by the voting committee are most strongly based on Upper School athletic achievements, moral character, positive role modeling and good citizenship during their time at Crossroads and post-graduation. Student-athlete nominees need to have graduated from Crossroads at least five years ago, and a team must have competed more than five years ago to be considered for the Hall of Fame. While the program’s inaugural class accomplished phenomenal feats during their high school careers and beyond, they have remained unique to the School because of their continued Crossroadian spirit. Their stories show what their love for a particular sport has allowed them to accomplish, but also how their ability to think critically, artistically and creatively has come into play throughout their career. Today, Crossroads’ athletics program consists of 16 sports and 57 teams. Just as their predecessors were, these athletes are also artists, thinkers, scientists, writers, philosophers and humanitarians. The fact that all students are encouraged to participate in athletics regardless of their abilities proves that the program isn’t about winning; it’s about students growing together through sportsmanship and camaraderie. Congratulations to all Crossroads student-athletes. You have left something valuable behind for those who come after, and for that, the School is truly grateful.

40th Anniversary of Athletics at Crossroads: Celebration Weekend Crossroads has come a long way from being a small school with an upand-coming athletics program. This year, we are celebrating the growth and strength that the Athletics Department has demonstrated throughout the years. Please save the date for the following events in June of 2014. Detailed RSVP and ticket information to come this spring.

Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner June 7 Alumni Sports Reunion and Barbecue June 8




really became an extraordinary basketball player. He even started to catch the attention of college recruiters. It didn’t hurt that he grew from being 6 feet tall to 6 feet 9 inches by 11th-grade; however, nothing came to Austin that wasn’t earned through hours upon hours of intense work. “The thing about him is, he’s just the hardest worker you could imagine,” Paul Cummins said in a 2000 Los Angeles Times editorial that referred to Austin.



Austin Croshere ’93

Austin Croshere came to Crossroads as a freshman. He was a tall, thin young man who was described by his coaches as pleasant, hardworking and a man of few words. He did not make the varsity basketball team as a freshman; instead, he pushed hard to make an impression on the junior varsity team in hopes of making the varsity squad the next year. Not someone to take a season off, Austin spent his spring season as a valued member of the junior varsity volleyball team to close out his ninth-grade year. The Boys Volleyball coach Mary Jo Deutschman (MJ) remembers him fondly as a wonderful, hardworking boy who rarely spoke. His tendency to say very little was such a strong character trait, that she gave him a dictionary as an end-ofseason gift. Austin’s hard work paid off because he earned his place on the varsity basketball team as a sophomore; he was a power forward and a center for the team. Although his work ethic was admirable and his play respectable during his sophomore year, it was in his junior year that Austin

In his senior year, Austin earned League MVP and All-CIF honors, and he was the leading scorer in the first Division 4 CIF Championship that Crossroads won. Throughout his junior and senior years at Crossroads, he was actively recruited and eventually chose to attend Providence College in Providence, R.I. In the 1997 NBA draft, Austin Croshere was a firstround pick. He then went on to play nine seasons with the Indiana Pacers. He was a threat from the outside with an all-around offensive game and an ability to perform well in the postseason. After his time with the Pacers, he played for the Dallas Mavericks during the 200607 season and the Golden State Warriors during the 2007-08 season. Currently, he works as a game analyst for Fox Sports, where he’s putting his dictionary to good use. Baron Davis ’97

Baron Davis’ love of basketball started on a bumpy backyard court built by his grandfather in South Central Los Angeles. He and his little sister moved in with their grandparents at a young age so that they could have a consistent and safe environment to call home. Baron learned to play basketball amidst older kids who did

not go easy on him simply because he was smaller. Although his neighborhood was littered with frequent gang activity, there was little pressure on him to join one because it was well known in the neighborhood that Baron only thought about one thing: playing basketball. Baron’s grandmother wanted him to be brought up with values and to have opportunities far beyond the barriers of South Central. This is what led him to Crossroads. His former coach, Thaddeus McGrew, introduced Baron to Daryl Roper, head coach of Crossroads boys varsity basketball. From there, he became a Crossroads legend. In 1996, during his junior year in high school, Daryl was receiving more than 20 phone calls per day from college recruiters. At the time, he was the most sought-after high school basketball player in California and was actively pursued by some of the biggest basketball schools in the country, including the University of Kansas, Duke University, the University of Connecticut, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan and the University of California, Los Angeles.




During the following school year, as a senior at Crossroads, Baron led the School’s basketball team to the championships of The Beach Ball Classic Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He earned the honor of MVP and a spot on the all-tournament team. That same year he was named Gatorade National Player of the Year and a Parade AllAmerican. He was also selected to play in the McDonald’s High School All-American boys basketball game and won the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.

It was during the 1985 playoffs, Steve’s freshman year, that he was called up from the Junior Varsity Baseball team to play outfield. That team went on to win the CIF championships, and Steve remained a varsity player throughout the balance of his Upper School career. In 1987, the team won CIF again and in 1988, they were runnerups. Steve was named an All-State outfielder in 1987 and 1988 and was All-CIF in 1986, ’87 and ’88.

After all of his success in high school, he played NCAA Division 1 basketball for UCLA and was the third pick in the first round of the 1999 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He went on to play for the New Orleans Hornets, the Golden State Warriors, the LA Clippers, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks. Baron is currently emceeing “How I Rock It,” a new men’s style show for Esquire TV. Social activism is also at the top of his future list. “I want to help bring peace to Los Angeles,” he says. “Basically, I want to help others live the life I’ve been able to live.”

After being exposed to baseball scouts, Steve was invited to play on the National Junior Baseball Championships Team in Sioux Falls, S.D., and earned a place on the U.S. Junior National Team, which would go on to win a gold medal at the World Championships in 1988. In his senior year at Crossroads, he was recruited by Stanford, where he ended up playing ball and earning Pac 10 All-Conference. Academically, Steve flourished at Stanford, which he credits to his ability to work diligently and independently on the type of education he received from Crossroads.

Steve Solomon ’88

Steve had the desire to play baseball when he was still in diapers and watching his two older brothers play little league in Cheviot Hills Park. He started playing five-pitch by the age of 4 and that was all it took to hook him. Steve Solomon came to Crossroads in seventh-grade, after attending Castle Heights Elementary School. It was a difficult move for him because he didn’t know anyone at the School. He bonded with a few people in the beginning and gradually made more connections while using the Crossroads batting cages that used to be located on the southeast end of the Alley. Steve played ball at his local park and made the junior varsity team at Crossroads his freshman year.


After graduating from Stanford, Steve was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, where he played for four seasons before retiring and settling down in Orange County. Currently, he is an acting member on the board of directors for Children’s Hospital of Orange County and an investment manager for U.S. Trust.


Jen Anderson (Abramson) ’94

Jen Anderson (Abramson) has played baseball since the time she could walk. Her dad, an avid baseball fan from a long line of Dodgers zealots, would toss her balls when she could hardly toddle to retrieve them. She grew up attending public magnet schools,


and initially, her family intended her to continue her education in public schools. This was until they met Chuck Ice, the Crossroads baseball coach at the time, at a tournament. Chuck encouraged Jen’s brother to attend Crossroads, and two years later, Jen followed suit. She tried out for the Crossroads soccer team as a freshman, a sport she had played since she was a little girl, and made the varsity squad. This gave her the opportunity to bond with a team and form a new group of friends. In the spring, she joined the softball team, where she made even more friends and finally started to feel at home as a Roadrunner. By her senior year, Jen was a three-sport varsity athlete in volleyball, softball and soccer. She was named Softball All-CIF Player of the Year as a sophomore and Softball State Player of the Year as a junior. During all four years of her Upper School career, she earned All-CIF honors in softball. Jen was offered an athletic scholarship covering her tuition and books to Miami University of Ohio, where she played softball her entire four years of college. She was named All-Mid-American Conference in 1997 and 1998 in athletics and academics. To this day, she holds a number of records at Miami of Ohio including stolen bases, at-bats and hits. Every summer, Jen would come back to Crossroads to reunite with old friends and play indoor soccer on the 21st Street basketball courts. The Middle School Athletics director at the time, Linda


Liberman, convinced Jen to coach for Crossroads. She loved coaching, and soon after, Jen also found a passion for teaching as a Crossroads Middle School math instructor.

also named the 1995 League Singles Tennis Champion, and she was the No. 1 singles player on the team when it won the CIF title that same year.

Jamila Banks ’90

Jamila first discovered basketball in Palms Park, where she and her brother participated in after-school sports. She was in fifth-grade when she decided that she would like to try basketball; however, there wasn’t a girls team. Jamila decided that she would be the only girl on the otherwise all boys team. She thrived through her own natural talents and the encouragement of her teammates. Jamila came to Crossroads her sophomore year after transferring from Brentwood. She participated in Crossroads sports year-round. In the fall she was the outside hitter on the varsity volleyball team. In the winter, she was lead forward on the varsity basketball team and in spring she ran varsity track. Her time on the basketball team was phenomenal. Jamila was awarded AllWestside for three consecutive years. She was named MVP for the Delphic League in her junior and senior years. The Los Angeles Times named her an All-Star in her junior year when she averaged 20.2 points and 10 rebounds per game and totaled 45 blocks and 62 steals. She was selected as the MVP at the Westlake School for Girls Tournament and made the Cabrillo All-Tournament Team. She was All-CIF in her junior and senior years and by the time she graduated, her basketball team had won 77 consecutive regular season games. After graduating, Jamila played basketball for one year at Howard University. She decided to stop playing and pursue academics instead and, with the mentoring of Crossroads Spanish teacher, Rebecca, traveled throughout Latin America as an educational correspondent. She was the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 2000. Although district budget cuts cost her the job several


BANKS years later, she persevered and now teaches in a Spanish Immersion program at Edison Language Academy in Santa Monica. Jamila continues to love and participate in sports and is still an active member of Crossroads, as a mother of a student-athlete and, now, as an inaugural honoree of the Athletics Hall of Fame. Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin ’95

Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin was an Upper School sophomore when she first attended Crossroads. She had come from the magnet program at Palms Middle School and chose Crossroads because of its strong academic base and promising outlook for college options. Yasmeen began playing basketball during the summer before her ninth-grade year. For years, tennis had been her sport of choice; however, basketball has always held a special place in her heart. Yasmeen began playing as a forward guard for the Girls Basketball team in 1992. By the 1993 basketball season, she was named to the Los Angeles Times Westside Girls Basketball Second Team. In 1995, she was voted AllCIF in basketball. Yasmeen was

Yasmeen’s athletic prowess on the basketball court caught the attention of Division I colleges. She was offered an athletics scholarship to the University of California-Santa Barbara and committed to play for them. Although her first year of competition at UCSB ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Yasmeen eventually realized that the setback was a blessing in disguise. She had entered the school as a student-athlete and, due to her injury, would finish UCSB as an astounding student. In June 2006, Yasmeen was one of six people who earned her doctorate from UCSB’s Gevirtz School in counseling, clinical and school psychology. Today, Yasmeen is working as a psychologist in New York, and one of her most recent projects involved an art show for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. For this event, art was used as a therapy for these veterans, allowing them to display issues they were suffering through. Yasmeen was a natural athlete and a gifted student. She saw adversity as an opportunity for growth, which has made her the woman she is today. She feels fortunate to have learned the art of critical thinking at Crossroads, and she respects the values she learned during her time as a Roadrunner. “It really does take a community to facilitate individual success,” she says. “I thank my amazing family and Crossroads for providing an opportunity (for me) to have a phenomenal education.”




2008 Ceremony Honored NBA Players Austin Croshere ’93 and Baron Davis ’97; Event Includes Alumni Basketball Game

On Sept. 20, 2008, over 600 Roadrunners came together in a unique celebration: the retirement of the jerseys of Baron Davis ’97 and Austin Croshere ’93, who led their respective Crossroads basketball teams to State and CIF championships, and who both went on to play in the NBA. In addition to the jersey retirement ceremony, Baron and Austin were at Crossroads to coach former teammates from the ’90s in an exciting and nostalgic basketball battle, which was won in the last seconds by Baron’s Red team, 45-44. It was an evening with something for everyone: the retirement ceremony was a touching tribute to the players, the athletics program, and the whole of Crossroads School featuring long-time coach Daryl Roper as emcee and former athletic director Chuck Ice unveiling the huge jerseys hanging on the gym wall. Then-Headmaster Roger Weaver and Crossroads co-founder Paul Cummins were surprised with official team jerseys at the event, which included a performance by the Crossroads Jazz Band. Brin Hill ’90, who played on the Blue Team, summed up the event from a player’s perspective. “In classic Crossroads’ tradition, [this celebration] was not done in an isolated way, but rather with the spirit of the collective community in mind,” Hill said. “It was special to celebrate those guys, with whom we all share a tremendous amount of pride, and to celebrate the Crossroads Runners’ legacy.”

TEAM The 1997 basketball team was legendary. Early in the season, Coach Daryl Roper had to close the door on reporters just to allow his team to focus and block out any distractions. The Boys Basketball team won CIF Division 4A, and it established a CIF record in its game against Calvary Chapel by compiling the most points in any division and winning by the widest margin in the history of the CIF tournament. The team won the Division 4 state championships against Encina Preparatory High School from San Jose with a score of 91-57. The Crossroads team was the first California basketball squad to make it to the finals in the prestigious Myrtle Beach Classic, where the top 16 high school teams in the country are invited to compete. Many future NBA stars have showcased their skills in this tournament including Rasheed Wallace, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and, of course, Baron Davis. The Crossroads team not only made it to finals, but it won the tournament, beating teams including Simon Gratz High School from Philadelphia. This was a huge accomplishment because Crossroads’ team became the first team from California to win this esteemed tournament.

The following players were members of the Crossroads Boys Basketball team in 1997: Cash Warren ’97, Shooting Guard, CIF Division 4A First Team Chad Gordon ’99, Guard/Forward Felipe Williams ’00, Forward Misha Taylor ’99, Forward Matt Rodman ’99, Forward/Center LeQuan Tolbert ’97, Center, CIF Division 4A First Team Garret Nichols ’98, Forward Aaron Wolfe ’98, Forward Jake Hoffman ’99, Guard Baron Davis ’97, Point Guard, CIF Division 4A First Team/Player of the Year Devrin Anderson ’99, Guard Edmund Harris ’00, Point Guard James Starr ’98, Guard Adam Chiamulon ’99, Forward Albert Gerston ’99, Forward Daryl Roper, CIF Division 4A Coach of the Year, coached the team with assistant coaches Phillip Cooley and Reuben Garcia. The team manager was Marc Brunswick.



The day Paul Cummins stood in the new student line at Stanford University, another student asked him what he was reading. Cummins had answered: “Nothing. Classes haven’t started yet.”

Years of fine private education had led to an impressive college education; however, at that moment Cummins realized that he lacked curiosity and therefore relevant knowledge. He became motivated to really learn, a drive that would ultimately lead him to pursue more effective means of teaching others. Cummins went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California after finishing his undergraduate work at Stanford and his Master of the Arts in Teaching at Harvard. He taught English at various schools in California before becoming the headmaster of Saint Augustine’s Elementary School in Santa Monica. Having attended and worked as an educator in many prestigious learning institutions, Cummins gained vast experience with various approaches to teaching. In 1971, he saw an opportunity to change the status quo of education and became the primary founder and headmaster of Crossroads. Cummins formed the curriculum at Crossroads around his “five other solids”: human development, environmental education, community service, physical education and the arts. An avid sports enthusiast and

strong believer in the positive effects of a well-run sports program, Cummins introduced athletics to Crossroads as soon as the size of the student population would allow. Two years after opening the School, Crossroads boasted two teams: basketball and flag football. True to form, he brought his vision of studentcentered learning into the gym, on the field and into the pool. According to his video on www.kidsinthehouse. com, Cummins states: “For many students (athletics is) a source of joy, it’s a source of fun. It’s play. Education at its best should be play. Not only for little kids but for older kids. When we start teaching and coaching that it is something other than a game, that it’s life itself, and that winning is the only thing, then we do disservice to the kids. We put them under tremendous pressure, and we rob them of what it should be: a joyful experience.” Athletics at Crossroads has been built upon Cummins’ foundation. Coaches are teachers who are mindful of their students’ experiences. Winning is not everything, it is a possible outcome of the learning process.





Alumni Voices Every year, we try to catch up with alumni near and far to see what they’re up to. In this issue, in addition to the inclusion of our first Winter edition of Class Notes, we highlight some of our alumni who have paved a way for themselves in the world of performing arts. Whatever path they’ve chosen, we celebrate all of our alumni and hope their stories inspire the members of our community to follow their own passions.

Dong-Yi ’93 World-renowned pianist Dong-Yi has been named the new director of the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute (EMMI), from which he graduated in 1993. Dong-Yi fills the role formerly held by Mary Ann Cummins, who remains with the School as a faculty member, where she teaches music theory, which she has done since Crossroads’ founding. During her years as EMMI director, Cummins once trained and mentored Dong-Yi. Part of Crossroads since 1978, EMMI developed from the School’s unique music major program. Students are accepted into the program only after passing an audition and must have a strong passion to both study and perform classical music. EMMI music majors receive improvisational music training, perform their own work twice a year, participate in monthly solo recitals, and attend master classes that are guest-lectured by leading U.S. and international artists. “I am very proud to be an EMMI graduate of Crossroads and even more honored to follow in the footsteps of Mary Ann Cummins to continue to help our students achieve their dreams,” Dong-Yi said. Dong-Yi was discovered by famed composer Herbert Zipper in 1989, when Zipper, who was a music theory teacher at Crossroads, traveled to China. Zipper saw Dong-Yi win first place in the professional category at the Pearl River National Piano Competition, which he was competing in while attending the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Dong-Yi performed with members of the Boston Symphony, the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He was a soloist with the Pacific Symphony and the Beijing Symphony. Dong-Yi’s teaching career started at Yale University, where he taught secondary piano classes for college students. His students are frequent performers at Carnegie Hall and have played their way to achieving laureate status. Dong-Yi also is the founder of Opus119 Conservatory of Music in Irvine and president of the Lake Como International Piano Foundation.

Brooke Bloom ’96 Brooke Bloom vividly remembers the first time she set foot in Crossroads’ theater. She was in sixth grade and slightly reluctant to be touring schools, but the moment she saw the space with students rehearsing on stage, she felt at home. “We walked into the theater, and they were rehearsing ’Once Upon a Mattress,’” she says. “It was really exciting to me that I could participate in that. That’s really why I was like ’I want to be at this school.’” Brooke would spend the next six years—seventh through 12th grade—at Crossroads, honing her craft in that very theater. After graduating, Brooke stayed in Los Angeles for most of her 20s working in TV and film. Then, when she was 28, she played the role of Ophelia in “Hamlet” at the South Coast Repertory, which was her first professional play. As she was waiting in the wings of the 850-seat theater, it dawned on her how similar she felt to waiting in the wings of the Crossroads Black Box and how much she missed that feeling. “For some reason I thought that the feelings that I had during high school theater were just about being in high school or about being that age,” she says. While Brooke certainly still possesses her high school passion for theater, it isn’t the only thing that has helped her to have professional success. “Our theater (program) at Crossroads is quite good and in many ways quite familiar to my professional surroundings,” she says. “It gave me, as an adolescent, a passion, a focus, a community and a reason to explore that.” Brooke believes that Crossroads created the kind of environment where having a career you are passionate about seemed not only possible, but paramount, despite the slight risks that choice may bring. Since playing Ophelia, Brooke relocated to New York and become an award-winning actress, performing in theater productions, films and a number of TV series. Some of her recent projects include “Louie,” created by Louis C.K., “Somewhere Fun,” a play written by Jenny Schwartz at the Vineyard Theater in N.Y., and the role of Julie Carrell in Amazon’s first TV series “Alpha House.”


Some people are born with art in their soul. This is the case with Melissa Barak. Already a ballet dancer in training, Barak didn’t come to Crossroads for training in her craft of choice; instead, she came for acceptance. “My mom wanted me to go to Crossroads because I was a dancer, and in elementary school I got picked on and made fun of for taking ballet,” Melissa says. “She wanted me to go to a school where it wasn’t going to be frowned upon and that the student body looked at that as something that was cool and respectable.” Melissa started at Crossroads in seventh grade, and though she was quite shy, she felt welcome and accepted right from the start. During those years, “I ate, slept and breathed ballet,” she says. Melissa left Crossroads after 11th grade to pursue her dance career in New York, starting at the School of American Ballet. She credits her time at Crossroads with enabling her to be ready to take on the Big Apple. “It’s not a school where you have to follow rules, it’s about breaking rules,” she says. “I think I took that with me as a dancer and a choreographer.”

This translated to a number of Melissa’s life experiences, including becoming the youngest choreographer in New York City Ballet’s history to be commissioned for an original work, and dancing and choreographing for the Los Angeles Ballet and Morphoses— the Wheeldon Company. The impact of Crossroads’ life lessons on Melissa are most evident in her recent business endeavor: starting her own ballet company, The Barak Ballet, in Los Angeles.

reed hutchinson

Melissa Barak ’97

The company made its debut in June 2013 to critically acclaimed success, which Melissa is building on as she develops the company’s audience, donors and reputation within the dance world. At its core, the philosophy of the company is deeply rooted in the significance of the human spirit, collaboration, individuality and artistic maturity. “Not a lot of women are choreographers in the ballet world,” she says, emphasizing the leap of faith that she took to start her own company. “I think Crossroads and Westside Ballet, where I had two very strong female teachers, really taught me to embrace who I am and not be a conformist. Just be the dancer I am, the artist I am.”

Melissa Barak ’07 as Rose in the Los Angeles Ballet’s Nutcracker

Andy Donald ’01 Not every student walks into Crossroads knowing what their passion is—many discover that along the way. Andy Donald’s vision for his career path came into focus for him during his final few years at Crossroads. What began as a few electives transformed into a flourishing career in theater.

Along with the Drama Tours, the relationships he formed with Crossroads faculty left a lasting impact on him. “It felt like we got along not only as teacher and pupil but as artistic colleagues,” he says. “I really feel that to this day, after all this training that I’ve had, the core of my artistic being is still very much shaped by them.”

“The thing I love about Crossroads is that if you are an independently driven kid, and you have any inclination particularly in the arts or sciences, you can not only just dabble in something, but you can actually start to focus a lot of your curriculum on it,” he says. “At some point it became clear to me that I wanted theater to be my focus.”

By the time Andy was ready to make a decision about college, he had his heart set on the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Thanks, in part, to his active theater career at Crossroads, that dream came true.

Once he made that decision, Andy spent his mornings at Crossroads taking general education classes, and in the afternoon, his time was devoted to theater. Not only did he act, but he also tried his hand at directing and writing. And while his time on campus was influential, he credits his time on the School Drama Tours as formative experiences. “Having to adapt the same show that you prepared to all these different environments and different audiences was not only very humbling but also a lot of work,” Andy says. “It builds up artistic work ethic.”

Andy earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU’s Tisch Drama School of the Arts with an emphasis in directing. After a few years working in television and theater, he returned to school to further develop his business credentials and acumen. In 2010, he graduated from Columbia University with his Master of Fine Arts in theater management in producing. During his time at Columbia, Andy joined the staff of the 30-year old Off-Broadway theater company Naked Angels in New York and was named the artistic director in 2011. This past spring he moved on from the small nonprofit environment at Naked Angels to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, where he is the producer of artistic development and community programming.

The thing I love about Crossroads is that if you are an independently driven kid, and you have any inclination particularly in the arts or sciences, you can not only just dabble in something, but you can actually start to focus a lot of your curriculum

on it.





Upcoming Reunions Time to Save the Date and come back to the Alley, Classes of 1984 and 1994. Please make sure that we have your correct mailing address and email on file. You can submit changes at by clicking on the “Update My Information” button on the Alumni homepage or send an email to crossroadsalumni@

Alumni News 1






April 12, 2014

Class of 1984 / 30-Year Reunion April 26, 2014

Class of 1994 / 20-Year Reunion It’s time to start looking through those boxes of photos that you’ve had for years. We need photos of the Alley and all the fun you had while you were here at Crossroads. Please contact the Alumni Relations office at to submit your photos. You may submit scans or original photos, which will be scanned and returned to you after the reunion.

Keep In Touch

Please consider sharing your successes, accomplishments and life events with us. There are several ways for you to contribute to help our Alumni Community thrive.

Young Alumni Summer Bash Summer is a time for kicking back, having fun and hanging out with friends. This past summer the Crossroads Alumni Association used its summer energy to throw the first Young Alumni Summer Bash. Cohosted by Evan Spiegel ’08, the Summer Bash included live music from Caught A Ghost (Jesse Nolan ’01, Marushka Mujic ’07, Brandon Smith ’98 and Stephen Edelstein). Each guest also left with a screen printed T-shirt, created with a custom Crossroads design. This year’s Young Alumni Summer Bash had all of the elements needed to make a night to remember for our young alumni. We can’t wait to do it again next year.

1. Caught A Ghost Band Photo by Nick Nakahara 2. Arturo Villalobos ’06 3. Dana Harris ’07 and John Crestani ’06 4. Micaela Reinstein ’03, Liz Nolan ’03 and Kelsey Dahl 5. Breana Jackson ’10 6. Alix Bannon ’02 and Shawn Bannon










Alumni on Campus Coming back to campus is always an opportunity for alumni to see how the campus has changed, how it has stayed the same, and to get a hit of the Crossroads magic. We are always thrilled to see alumni back on campus, and we are especially grateful for those who support our students by sharing their knowledge or attending a student event. 1. Recent graduates Evan Rasch ’13, Emma Hartung ’11 and Matthew Schulman ’11 came back this summer to work as lifeguards. 2. “Top Chef” finalist Brooke Williamson ’96 sat down with “MasterChef Junior” finalist Dara Yu ’19 to talk about their shared experiences and passion for the art and business of cooking. 3. India Wilson ‘12 shared her knowledge with Hali Morell’s Community Service class. 4. The Norton campus received some help from familiar alumni faces this summer: (left to right) Sam Holmberg ‘12, Elyse Reardon-Jung ‘06, Bree’An Roper ‘07 (standing behind), Frazier Hurwin ‘07, Halle Charlton ‘10, Nadine Parker ‘06, E.J. Fortenberry ‘13 and Nicole Magana ‘10.



Tequila Mixer Did you know that there’s a rich, deep history behind some of your favorite libations? Thanks to our Tequila and Mezcal mixer, Crossroads alumni are now that much wiser about the history of these two adult beverages. Co-hosted by Cedd Moses ’78, the night was educational and entertaining for the three decades of alumni who attended. A fun raffle and delicious taco bar added to the night’s festive atmosphere.

1. Alex LoCasale ’01 and Suzy Taylor ’01 2. Devon Jackson ’94, Lily Rains ’97 and Matt Casden ’89 3. Gail Anderson ’93, Matt Casden ’89 and Alex Muchnick ‘02 4. Marz Jaffee ’99, Njambi Gibson ’04 and Gabriella Barbosa ’04

5. Daniel Cosgrove ’87 visited campus and picked up the latest copy of Cross Sections Magazine. 6. Ben Marx ’13 dropped by campus while he was home for Thanksgiving break. 7. The Crossfire staff received an education in journalism from Richard Rushfield ’86 and Tiffany Lee ‘02.








Class of 2003 10-Year Reunion This past October, the class of 2003 returned to campus to celebrate their 10-year anniversary as members of the alumni community and to reminisce about their time together as Crossroads students. Congratulations and much appreciation goes to reunion co-chairs Reika Jackson and Sean Mobasser for their success in planning a memorable night for everyone. 3


Alumni Giving



1. Class Photo

Alumni gifts to Crossroads make a difference through their financial impact and in the message they send to our community as a whole. Your support helps to ensure that Crossroads remains a School that is progressive, diverse and dynamic. Partner with us this year by making a gift today at

2. Mollie Royer, Liz Nolan and Tyler Ritter 3. Michael Tellem and Rochelle Brown 4. Reunion co-chairs Rieka Jackson and Sean Mobasser 5. Mollie Royer, John Babbott, Micaela Reinstein and Tessa Strauss 6. Melissa Hefta, Andrew Biren, Spencer Goldberg, Katrina Mohn and Jason Graber



Alumni Online Community 1

There are many ways to connect with Crossroads and stay connected with your fellow alumni!


1. Heather Murdock ’88, Bob Riddle, Davida Wills Hurwin and Trianda Keramidas ’88

San Francisco All Alumni Reunion

2. Joshua Kagan ’97, Jessica Hilberman ’98 and Davida Wills Hurwin

A good number of Crossroads alumni now call Northern California home. Earlier this year, Head of School Bob Riddle and faculty members Davida Wills Hurwin, Hyacinth Young and Carole Winter paid a visit to San Francisco to see area alumni. The All Alumni Mixer brought alumni together for drinks, laughter and a chance to reconnect.

3. Sean Purcell ’92, Doug Thompson and Michael Tannenbaum ’92 4. Hyacinth Young and Daniel Yu ’00 5. Bob Riddle, Hyacinth Young, Carole Winter and Davida Wills Hurwin 6. Mollie Royer ’03 and Micaela Reinstein ’03 7. Tamara Tomonaga Figueiredo ’92 and Fernando Figueiredo

Alumni Portal Click on Login, enter your user ID and password • Update your Contact Information • Access the Alumni Directory • View Alumni Event Photo Archives

Crossroads School Alumni Group • Over 2,000 group members • Post, view, like or comment on recent or upcoming events FACEBOOK

Crossroads School Alumni Network • Look for or post a job or internship • Connect or collaborate with someone in another industry • Find Crossroads alumni in your industry




Crossroads School Alumni @xrdsalumni TWITTER






Class Notes Class of 1985 Osamu Francis, UC-Berkeley, bachelor’s

degree in architecture; Sophia University, bachelor’s degree in business, welcomed a daughter, Kelly Lilia, on Nov. 12, 2012. He writes: “We moved from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo down to the southern island of Kyushu. We are living in Kagoshima, which is across the bay from the active volcano Sakurajima. Enjoying the slow life down here.”

and the following summer will be Australia and New Zealand. If anyone is interested in joining one of these adventures, email me. The trips are open to anyone 17 and up (” Class of 1989 Jennifer Cohen, UC-Berkeley, bachelor’s

degree in psychology; UCLA, doctor of medicine in pediatrics, moved to Davis to pursue fellowship training in hospice and palliative medicine. Class of 1990 Darren Ballas, University of Arizona,

bachelor’s degree in media arts; law degree, Loyola Law School, recently moved to Studio City. Class of 1994 Evan Levy, University of Arizona, media

arts, started working at Global Sports and Entertainment in October of 2011; he books celebrities for events, television shows, etc. He married Alexa Levy in July 2012. Class of 1986 Jen Fruehling Davis, University of the

Pacific, bachelor’s degree in liberal studies; Pacific Oaks Teaching College credential teacher for K-8. She writes: “After living in London for the past two years, we are returning to Seattle in February 2014. We have traveled throughout the U.K. and Europe the past two years. Our kids have enjoyed the British school system, and we spent an amazing Christmas in Kenya on safari!”

Class of 1995 Vernna Rocha, Los Angeles Pierce College,

associate’s degree in child psychology, writes: “I’ve learned to love the small things in life and that I’m my own person along with loving my kids first more than myself. I’m going to be 36 on Sept. 20, 2014, and I’m living my life the way I want. I ride a long board with my kids....I say live life and stop doing what others feel is right and do what you feel.”

Rachel Loeb, Sarah Lawrence College,

bachelor’s degree in music and dance, writes: “In October 2014, I will be a somatic experiencing practitioner. I am currently developing a trauma-healing modality, which is based on my blended experiences of the somatic work and yoga. I am teaching this to veterans.”

Class of 2001 Becky Kirsch, Chapman University,

bachelor’s degree in film and television, wrote as an executive story editor for the first season of NBC’s “Dracula,” starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Her episode, “Servant to Two Masters,” aired on Jan. 3, 2014. Currently, she is writing as a co-producer on ABC’s “Mind Games,” starring Steve Zahn and Christian Slater, which will premiere March 11, 2014. Class of 2002 Noah Kaplan, New England Conservatory

of Music, bachelor’s degree in music, is a doctoral fellow at Princeton University, where he is pursuing his Ph.D. in music composition. He is currently writing an opera with “Blade Runner” screenwriter Hampton Fancher. Noah performs throughout New York City as a saxophonist, with ensembles including Dollshot, an art rock band he coleads with his wife, singer Rosalie Kaplan, as well as various jazz and new music bands. The Noah Kaplan Quartet’s second album, “Cluster Swerve,” will be released in 2014 on Swiss avant-garde jazz label HatHut Records. Class of 2007 Anja Rodrigo,

Class of 1988 Heather Murdock, UC-Santa Cruz,

bachelor’s degree in biology; San Francisco State University, master’s degree in ecology and systematics, teaches human biology and animal and plant physiology at San Francisco State University during the school year and recently began leading biodiversity tours through EF College Study Tours over summer breaks. She writes: “My last trip to Costa Rica with my students, family and friends was so much fun: zip lining, river rafting, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, etc. from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Next summer we’ll go to Belize,

exchange group that grew to more than 350 members in fewer than 11 months. As I write, I’m currently in Penang, Malaysia as part of a two-week tour around Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.”

Class of 1997 Alexis Earkman, University of Chicago,

bachelor’s degree in psychology; University of Wisconsin-Madison, master’s degree in social work. She writes: “I’m back in Los Angeles. I was living in Tokyo between September 2011 and November 2013. During that time, I had a chance to see an old classmate—Josh Kagan—in May 2013! I also started a Japanese-English language

University of San Francisco, bachelor’s degree in politics and Middle Eastern studies, was married on Oct. 6, 2013. Class of 2011 Jenna Larry,

University of Toronto, started medical school at University College Dublin in Ireland in September of 2013.




CALM AFTER THE STORM an op-ed by the crossfire staff

This is the first appearance of Crossfire content in Cross Sections magazine. Crossfire is the School’s student-produced magazine, which was a finalist in this year’s National Scholastic Press Association Pacemaker contest. The prestigious contest dates to 1927 and recognizes a publication in its entirety from the depth and breadth of its reporting to the sophistication of its design. Cole Godvin, chair of the Publications Department, leads the Crossfire team, which is pictured above. The op-ed piece appeared in the October edition of the magazine.

The Crossfire staff is full of diverse personalities. Everyone has different passions—unique quirks and eccentricities that bring a wonderful array of perspectives to our magazine. But there’s one thing we have in common—we hate shots. Yup, that’s right. Shots. What is it about those gut-wrenching, nauseainducing, bacteria-filled needles that makes us a bit wary to visit our pediatricians? We know we’ll only feel “a pinch,” but we can’t shake the queasy sensation on the drive over. We walk into the office. Sit in the waiting room nervously. Hear the nurse call our name. Gulp. Move to a private room. Roll up our sleeves. Grimace. And, “in a second,” it’s over. After all of this miserable anticipation, we breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe, just maybe, we may have cried wolf. Crossroads has a distinctive culture that we, as students, strive to preserve. Last year, the School underwent a transformation, actively implementing changes ranging from the 1:1 policy and new science curriculum to modular classrooms and an entirely different administrative model. Such significant changes threaten that culture. And, like driving to the doctor’s office for your check-up, the expectation of calamity leads us to reject potential adaptations. So last year, upon learning of these changes, specifically the restructuring of the Upper School administration and the college

counseling system, we ignored the moral of our summer reading book—“Don’t Panic”—and proceeded to tear our hair out. As Crossroads students, “questioning thoughtfully” is ingrained in our psyche. When faced with change, it’s our nature to be skeptical, to challenge what we’re told for the sake of our School. We hoped for the best and expected the worst. We feared that the modular classrooms would be ugly, small, un-airconditioned and would limit parking. We feared that 1:1 would create hoards of brainless techno zombies. We feared that the change in college counselors would impede our application process and squash our chances of getting into that college. Students complained. Parents rioted. Administrators struggled to extinguish the flames of hysteria. It was a storm of great proportions. But when you visit campus this year, FEMA’s nowhere to be found. Music pulses through the Alley, students and teachers eat lunch together and Taylor Mackall plays the ukulele. Despite our grim forecast, things are looking up. The college counseling system is arguably stronger than ever. The three new college counselors are exceptionally qualified and go above and beyond in making themselves accessible to their students. The trailers, though situated in the seniors’ coveted Alley parking lot, are spacious and cool (the air-conditioning works after all). Furthermore, Guerilla Art Club plans to decorate the exterior of the makeshift classrooms, adding a bit of Crossroads flair. In practice, these changes have helped our community grow and revitalize. At the center of a storm, surrounded by confusion and commotion, it’s hard to think logically. But now that the storm has passed, we realize it may not have been a storm at all. To view the online publication, go to:




Jazz “A” Band Invited to Perform at Panama Jazz Festival The Crossroads Jazz “A” Band was invited to perform in the Panama International Jazz Festival, which took place Jan. 11-19 in Panama City. The Jazz “A” Band, which is made up of talented ninth- through 12th-grade musicians, was the only high school jazz ensemble to perform at the festival. The band headed to Panama City prior to the festival to spend three days in the Mamoni Valley Preserve at the Junglewood Center. The preserve is a rainforest cared for by the band’s host, Earth Train, which is a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to support the growth of leadership with a focus on environmental and cultural renewal. While there, the students went on a hike with Lider Sucre, who is known as the leading biodiversity specialist in Central America. At the festival itself, the band performed its own selection and attended concerts and workshops given by top jazz artists from around the world. A few of the students also joined a group of Panamanian musicians to form the Junglewood All-Stars jazz ensemble, which gave a special performance at the festival. While in Panama, the band members also had an opportunity to do community service by holding a music education workshop for local students through the Danilo Perez Foundation. “The cool thing about the trip is that it hits on three of Crossroads philosophical cylinders: performing arts, environmentalism and community service,” says Evan Avery, chair of the Music Department and director of the “A” band. Avery accompanied the students on the trip along with the other two faculty chaperones: guitar teacher Shea Welsh, who runs one of the Middle School jazz ensembles, and Molly Cavallaro, who teaches Spanish in the Modern Foreign Languages Department. The Jazz “A” Band musicians include: Jeremy Alexander, Sol Fagenson, Elliot Glickman, MacKenzie Kugel, Taylor Mackall, Luca Mendoza, Bella Porter, Zack Sekoff, Alec Singer and Zach Tabori.

Twenty XRDS Students Win Spotlight Awards IN THE MUSIC CENTER’S 25-YEAR HISTORY

Music has always been a part of Crossroads. It has filled classrooms and outdoor spaces, along with students’ hearts. One of Crossroads’ most prestigious music programs is the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute (EMMI). Part of Crossroads since 1978, EMMI developed from the School’s unique music major program. Students are accepted into the program only after passing an audition and must have a strong passion to both study and perform classical music. EMMI music majors receive improvisational music training, must perform their own work twice a year, participate in monthly solo recitals, and attend master classes that are guest-lectured by leading American and international artists. EMMI students also are encouraged to share their talents with the general community as part of the School’s focus on community service. In the past 25 years, 20 Crossroads students have gone on to win Spotlight Awards from The Music Center, which is the hub of Los Angeles’ arts and culture community. The Music Center’s Spotlight program aims to help visual and performing arts students develop the skills they need to pursue their artistic desires, emphasizing selfesteem, preparation and perseverance.

Along with an education, the program’s students also have the opportunity to win cash scholarships if they are finalists, semifinalists or if they receive honorable mentions. The program awards more than $100,000 in cash scholarships each year. Of the 20 Crossroads students who have received awards from the Spotlight program, 11 won for classical instrumentals, two for their jazz technique, four for their vocal skills, one for classical dance and two for visual arts. Crossroads’ most recent winner in the Spotlight program was Angela Bae, a current sophomore. In May 2013, 14-year-old Angela was the runner-up in the Spotlight’s Classical Instrumental category; she also won a $4,000 scholarship. This year, more than 2,200 participants competed in Spotlight, proving what an honor it is to win any prize from this esteemed, local program.

XRDS Spotlight Award Winners: 1988-2013

Max Levinson 1988 (Instrumental) Haldan Martinson 1988 (Instrumental) Michelle Kim 1990 (Instrumental) Anders Martinson 1990 (Instrumental) Dong-Yi 1992 (Instrumental) Joshua Winograde 1992 (Voice) Esther Lee 1993 (Voice) Alpin Hong 1994 (Instrumental) Eric Huebner 1995 (Instrumental) Danielle de Niese 1995 (Voice) Radu Pieptea 1996 (Instrumental) Benjamin Lysaght 1998 (Jazz) Nicole Haskins 2004 (Classical Dance) Erica Everage 2005 (Two Dimensional Design) Han Bin Yoon 2006 (Instrumental) Phillip Golub 2008 (Jazz) Eleanore Dunbar 2010 (Instrumental) Rachel Eskenazi-Gold 2010 (Voice) Sophie Levine 2012 (Photography) Angela Bae 2013 (Instrumental)



Zoobiquity Authors Share Links between Human and Animal Health On Oct. 29, Kathryn Bowers and Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, the authors of “Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health,” spoke to parents, students and teachers about their fascinating book, which was a New York Times Bestseller and one of Discover magazine’s Best Books of 2012.

Crossroads Student, Alumna Enjoy TV Chef Success Crossroads seventh-grader Dara Yu and alumna and parent Brooke Williamson ’96 spent some time sharing their passion for cooking and Crossroads on campus this fall. Dara was the runner-up on MasterChef Junior, a cooking competition show featuring kids 8 to 13 that wrapped its first season Nov. 8. Brooke, whose son, Hudson, is in kindergarten at Crossroads, was the runner-up on the 10th season of Top Chef, which aired in March of 2013. Both contestants said that their experience at Crossroads helped them handle the stresses that came with competing on the shows. Dara said that her Life Skills classes enabled her to “to talk about my feelings and show my emotion.” She added: “Crossroads is also very creative, and I think that helped me a lot.” Brooke credits the show with giving her the opportunity to face many of her fears and Crossroads for providing her with a nurturing environment. “My high school experiences shaped me as a person, so I could be confident. Coming from a supportive community that encourages you to follow your passion was really important.” Dara and Brooke said they both felt an emptiness when their shows ended since the process was all-consuming— requiring long days and weeks of sequestration from family members and friends. The absence was quickly filled by new opportunities and projects that capitalize on their unrelenting love of food and cooking.

“She did the show because she loves cooking, and now what’s come out of it is her compassion and poise for public speaking,” says Dara’s mom, Carole. Dara’s stepdad, Scott Stewart, is building a set in the family’s home for a new cooking web series featuring her. She also recently got to cook for the band One Direction during their special 1 Dday promotion. Brooke is busy shooting a new reality cooking series, which is scheduled to air in 2014, in addition to working on the launch of her third restaurant with her husband, Nick Roberts. And, of course, caring for Hudson, who is a “super-picky” eater (his favorite dish is teriyaki salmon with smelt eggs). Both Dara and Brooke continue to get noticed around Los Angeles. When Brooke went to pick up the Prius she won on the show from a local dealer, he asked her why she was getting the car for free. When she told him she was the runner-up on Top Chef Seattle, he said, “Oh, that’s right, you were the one who was always crying!” To follow their adventures, go to facebook. com/darathebowgirl or ChefBrookeW

At their talk, “What Jaguar Breast Cancer, Dolphin Diabetes and Flamingo Heart Attacks Mean for Human Health,” the authors were articulate, witty and accessible and provided myriad examples of how our evolutionary history manifests itself in conditions and behaviors that are common to both animals and humans. This shared history provides an easy transition for people to discuss topics that can be otherwise difficult to address, such as sexuality, self-injury, addiction and disease. The genesis of “Zoobiquity” began when Natterson-Horowitz was called by the Los Angeles Zoo to consult on the case of a chimpanzee. During the consult, she noticed that the primate patient had a heart that was indistinguishable from her human patients at UCLA. This led her to wonder which diseases that exist in the animal world also exist in the human world. The overlap she found was so astonishing, it led her to a lifetime of study and a collaboration with Bowers on the book. The authors’ presentation was followed by a lively and lengthy question and answer session in which Middle School students asked one excellent question after another. Because of the evening’s popularity, “Zoobiquity” will likely influence many projects in the upcoming Science Fair, which will be on display in the gym Feb. 7-8.




Elementary School Musicians Showcase Skills at Instrumental Concert Winds, brass, guitar, piano and percussion players gathered on the Community Room’s stage for the Elementary School’s Instrumental Music Concert Dec. 20. The event was a compilation of the after-school jazz program and the instrumental music program, which is made up of beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Musical events like this are common at the Elementary School’s Gatherings, which bring together all students and teachers and give students a chance to work on their stage presence and share what they’ve learned either during or after school. The concert started with Daniel Jimenez’s jazz band, made up of third- and fourth-graders, which he titled Tuesday Madness. The jazz band played two songs, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Viva la Vida.” Daniel played with the group, lending his energy to give the students an extra boost of confidence.

The next act featured the Elementary Advanced Winds class, which is made up of students who have been playing their winds instrument for two or three years. The stage was lined with flute players, clarinet players, trumpet players, saxophone players and a piccolo player. One of the songs the group played was the “African Marching Song.” A second jazz group then took center stage playing “One for Daddy-O” and “Oye Como Va.” During “Oye Como Va,” Tony Hundtoft, the group’s teacher, sang most of the lyrics and tried to persuade students to join him. For the finale, the beginning winds, made up of third-graders and one fourth-grader, joined the advanced winds for a jazzy version of “Jingle Bells.” Although the students on stage were in deep concentration, the sound they created was filled with joy, prompting the audience to sing along throughout the entire performance.

Crossroads third-grader Lucinda EmpsonSpeiden recited her poem “Seashell” as part of the Elementary School’s Monday Morning Meeting Nov. 25. Lucinda’s poem won a Top Ten award in Creative Communication’s Summer 2013 poetry contest, which was open to students in grades K-12 in the United States and Canada. The contest’s Top Ten awards are divided by age range; Lucinda placed in the Top Ten of the Grade 3-6 division.

Third-Grader Wins Award in National Poetry Contest

“Seashell” is reminiscent of California sunshine, referencing the sun casting a glow and covering the sky in shades of pink, blue and silver. The imagery created in the poem is vivid, which aligns with Creative Communication’s selection of winners based on the use of language to create strong images, a topic that shows unique awareness to an important issue or a creative approach that shows originality. Lucinda’s win carries with it special recognition in the poetry anthology “A Celebration of Poets,” a complimentary copy of the anthology and a small cash prize.


By Lucinda Empson-Speiden The sun wanes Casting A glow Over your Rough White Skin Smoothed by waves Like a mother Smoothing Her child’s brow. The sun Covers you In her pink Light. Half of the sky Already Has been swallowed Up By blue and silver Cloth.


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Crossroads Takes Part in PEN Conference Close to 150 Crossroads faculty and staff attended the national Progressive Education Network conference Oct. 10-12 in downtown Los Angeles. Co-chaired by Crossroads Head of School Bob Riddle, this was the largest gathering to date of the Progressive Education Network, which exists to herald and promote the vision of progressive education nationwide. The conference—“Play Hard: The Serious Work of Keeping Joy in Learning”—saw more than 900 in attendance overall. Eighteen Crossroads faculty members presented workshops, and three students took part in the student panel on assessment.

Crossroads and UCLA Co-Host Evening on Marijuana Legislation Crossroads and the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs cohosted a parent and student education evening, “Policies on Pot: What Parents and the Public Should Know” Nov. 18 in the Community Room. Crossroads Upper School history teacher Tom Laichas moderated the event, which featured three speakers: Dr. Itai Danovitch, ’93, chair of the Psychiatry Department at CedarsSinai; Bridget Freisthler, associate professor of social welfare at the Luskin School; and Mark Kleiman, professor of public policy at the Luskin School. Laichas led off the event with a series of questions and statements he had culled from Upper School students on the topic, which were fielded by the three speakers. Questions included, “How did Colorado legalize marijuana when it’s still illegal federally?” and “What diseases would a patient need pot for?” Statements included: “If it were legalized and taxed, marijuana could solve California’s state budget crisis” and “Marijuana is legal in California AND Marijuana is illegal in California.” The speakers responded to the student prompts before making their individual presentations from their particular academic viewpoints. In his presentation, Danovitch cautioned that the three populations most at risk for being harmed by marijuana use were those under 25, those at risk for serious mental illness and those who depend on a high degree of mental acuity for their work. “Marijuana doesn’t make you dumb, but it may turn an A game into an A- game,” said Danovitch, who had Laichas as a history teacher at Crossroads when he attended. When asked by a parent what to say to their child about marijuana use, Kleiman, author of “Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control,” suggested a practical approach: “You’re going to have to make a living with that brain some day. This is not the time to mess around with it.”

Tom Little, head of Park Day School in Oakland and PEN chair, opened the conference with remarks about his recent examination of progressive education across America, noting the wide interpretations of the term itself. Little distilled the approach to three core themes. First, “We honor the child and education springs from the needs of the child,” Little said. Secondly, he said, “Progressive education prepares students for active participation in a democratic society.” The third component, Little said, is an enduring commitment to social justice. “We encourage student activism and agency.” The conference featured a lunchtime conversation with Crossroads founder Paul Cummins and educator and author Deborah Meier, which was facilitated by elementary education theorist William Ayers. Additional sessions featured Erin Gruwell, the former teacher who served as the inspiration for the film “Freedom Writers” starring Hilary Swank, and Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Price of Privilege.” In her remarks, Levine, who is a highly sought-after speaker with 30 years of experience as a clinician, consultant, educator and author, said that Crossroads was her “favorite school in the country.” Levine co-founded Challenge Success, a project at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education to address the prevalence of a high pressure, myopic focus on grades, test scores and performance in education. Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Jeff Guckert played a pivotal role in the conference planning. “PEN was a remarkable opportunity for like-minded educators to talk with each other, inspire each other, learn from each other,” Guckert says, “What’s exciting is that those interactions have continued beyond the conference itself.” Los Angeles-area progressive schools have established ongoing exchanges to facilitate professional growth and collaboration. “We’re all still talking about it.”



IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK... The Humanities Building, as well as Kahlo and the Scene Shop, were demolished over Winter Break to pave the way for construction of the new Science & Education Research Facility. Because the loss of these buildings could conjure sentimental feelings in the Crossroads community, students, faculty and staff were invited to visit the buildings before they were taken down and post a message on the walls. For more information on the new Science Building and to view a live webcam feed of the construction site, go to construction.


THE EVENT OF THE YEAR — SAVE THE DATE! Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hangar 8, Santa Monica 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. Crossroads School K-12 Parent Association Spring Fundraiser

A fun and fabulous evening for the entire Crossroads adult community celebrating the intersection of science and art with: ³ A festive party ³ A spectacular art auction ³ An exciting auction and raffle

For more inFormation visit or call (310) 829-7391 ext. 523


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