A performance at the 2013 Upper School Variety Show.
C ONTENTS 17
Pioneering Ways to Learn Knowledge trails are paved every day at Flint Hill. Learning Center Specialists make sure that happens. They are pioneers looking for breakthroughs in the process of learning and teaching.
Inspiration! Today, inside the 21st century education model that Flint Hill is helping to define, rhetoric remains an important part of every day learning, though there are several noticeable shifts.
INSIDE > headmasterâ€™s message > the hill < Colonel Warren: Commander Turned Teacher, then Friend > creating innovators > alumni news and stories > historic moment
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H e a d ma ster’s Message Dear Flint Hill Community, When you reflect on the contributions of our Flint Hill faculty and staff, the list goes on and on. They teach, coach, direct, support, inspire, motivate, challenge, recognize, award, and applaud. Likewise, our students take on various roles. They are friend, scholar, teammate, artist, athlete, leader, listener, follower, peer counselor, and, again, the list keeps going—in and out of classrooms, studios, playing fields, concerts, and town meetings. It’s an endless loop that centers on several areas of focus—individualized instruction, dynamic learning environments, and a culture where relationships are paramount. When you think about the various roles, responsibilities, and activities that fill the lives of our students, faculty, and staff, the learning really never stops. It's constantly active and engaged. Words like passive, status quo, or complacent aren’t viable (they never really were at Flint Hill). Instead, momentum, fun, innovative, creative, collaborative, discovery, grit, and zest are used to describe the everyday experience. At every grade level, there is an energy and enthusiasm that is infectious. Sometimes, new families aren’t quite sure what this “driving spirit” in our school mission is all about. But it doesn’t take very long for people to feel it, see it, and experience it.
As you look through this issue of our magazine, I hope that you will begin to pick up some of the vibrancy of all that happens every day, in and outside of the classroom. We celebrate great adventures including the Rube Goldberg Project, visiting Micron, and welcoming the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia to campus. We remember our history through moments like Founder’s Day. We uncover the wealth of resources that are available to every teacher and student through the work of our Learning Center. We listen in on examples from Grade 8 Inspiration. Finally, we look beyond the years at Flint Hill and hear from our alumni who are applying and adding to their skills and knowledge that we were privileged to help cultivate in them. At each turn, these stories serve as representative guideposts for putting into practice the values that make Flint Hill such a unique place of active learning. And, a special thanks to all the parents who help make all we do at Flint Hill possible. One event that recently represented the commitment and zeal of our parents was the “Back to the 80s” Gala. Thank you so much for your continued enthusiasm and support. Sincerely,
John M. Thomas Headmaster
Back to the 80s GalA
Thank you for your support in making the 2013 Back to the 80s Gala so successful. L-R: Melissa Mulberry, Lisa Lisker, Kim DiNapoli, John Thomas, Crisi Akhtar, Lisa Benn
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w Into Antarctica Flint Hill’s Fred Atwood and Melissa Scott led a trip to Antarctica during Spring Break. Aboard the “Plancius,” they sailed with six students, grades 9-12, and several parents. In all, the trip was a 17-day excursion with four days in the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands.
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A Canvas of College and Career Choices Demanding requirements. Portfolio art students are accustomed to meeting them. The year-long studio art elective is offered to qualified seniors intending to apply to an art school or conservatory. Students come to the class with three art courses, departmental approval, and completed summer assignments prior to the second day of class. The goal for students who enroll in portfolio art is clear: “When they walk into a college or gallery, they will be well prepared,” says Professor Cianne Fragione. Shea Patrick ‘12 is a freshman at Hamilton College. She was given one week to complete 50 drawings. “I’ve done this before. I know I can do this,” she thought, reflecting back to a Flint Hill art assignment where she had to create 35 finished pencil drawings within 30 days. “I was able to complete the assignment comfortably.” Professor Fragione has a step-by-step process for teaching students how to tackle that kind of challenge. “I tell them, ‘Go to your dresser and find something you like.’ They then do five drawings on day one based on that selection. It helps them focus.” By the third week of portfolio class, proposals of intentions and goals are due for students to explain the body of work they plan to create during the year. They are required to complete several original art pieces for both a portfolio and a formal exhibit and are taught to prepare their work to be professionally photographed and properly displayed. The studio is open weekends and evenings to help them accomplish the workload. “I was fully prepared for the demanding pace of the best art schools in the country,” says David A. Webber ‘06, graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, who now works as a graphic designer. The hard work and creative environment is making a difference. Admission representatives from top art colleges have noticed the readiness-level and quality of work produced by Flint Hill art students, and they actively recruit them for their programs. Many of the students receive individual art scholarships and merit awards and, in past years, have been offered full scholarships. This year, art students have been accepted by: California College of the Arts; Glasgow School of Art, UK; Hartford Art School; Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland; Maryland Institute
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Physics Ramp Freshman physics students designed a hypothetical nature trail that would be accessible for wheelchair users. They took into account acceleration of a wheelchair down a slope and the maximum safe velocity. This project was the foundation for a unit on accelerated motion. Students came up with a variety of innovative designs to make their trails safe and enjoyable for all users.
College of Art; Massachusetts College of Art and Design; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Pratt Institute; Ringling College of Art and Design; School of the Art Institute of Chicago; School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; School of Visual Arts, New York City; and Tyler School of Art at Temple University. “The program not only nurtured my talent, it gave me the confidence to take risks in my work,” says Iris Bainum-Houle ’02, now a Los Angelesbased costume designer, working in film, theatre, fashion, and dance. “Flint Hill laid the groundwork for a competitive work ethic and artist practice that served me well in college, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and continues to do so in my career.”
In the past 10 years, Portfolio Art students have been accepted to: Alfred University, School of Ceramics Boston University, College of Fine Arts Bournemouth University (UK) California Institute of the Arts California College of the Arts Cooper Union School of Art Glasgow School of Art (UK) Hartford Art School Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh (UK) Maryland Institute College of Art Massachusetts College of Art and Design Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles Parsons—The New School for Design Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Pratt Institute Rhode Island School of Design Ringling College of Art and Design San Francisco Art Institute School of the Art Institute of Chicago School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston School of Visual Arts, New York City Stanford University Department of Art and Art History Syracuse University, College of Visual and Performing Arts Tyler School of Art at Temple University University of California, Los Angeles—Department of Art University of California, Berkeley—Department of Art Practice Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts Yale University School of Art
Founder’s Day 2013 Founder’s Day is an annual celebration in January when we honor the people who helped make our school into what it is today. This year we remembered one of our most respected and beloved teachers, Colonel Alan Ferguson-Warren. Colonel Warren taught English at Flint Hill from 1958-1975. At the reunion lunch, alumni from 1960-1969 reconnected and shared stories. More than a dozen were in attendance. Then, the entire student-body gathered in the East Campus gym for a presentation about the life of Colonel Warren. Jerry Jasper ‘62 presented a wonderful speech which chronicled Warren’s courage as a British Royal Marine and his skill as a teacher. He also presented the gift of Colonel Warren’s Fairbain-Sykes Dagger, a special award that was given to Warren after World War II in recognition of his courage and selflessness as a leader.
Welcome Home, Major Dad! A sixth grader’s dream came true when her dad surprised her with an early homecoming from serving with the armed forces overseas. During an afternoon class period, Major Fleming swept his elated and tearfilled daughter into his arms. Then, he presented the class with a certificate and American flag—flown during a ceremony, in Kabul, for Flint Hill’s sixth grade class— acknowledging their efforts in collecting hundreds of pounds of school supplies, which Major Fleming helped to distribute to a few schools being built in Afghanistan. flint hill magazine | 6 | flinthill.org
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w Varsity on Ice What began as a club sport in 2008 will become a varsity team in 2013. “The commitment and hard work of students and coaches made it an easy decision,” says Headmaster John Thomas. The varsity status will provide more ice time and the chance to play more teams outside of its league—the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League (NVSHL). “Since our son Kealan has been with the program from the beginning, it has been such an experience for my family to watch the program develop. Hockey being recognized as a varsity sport is a great achievement for our team, and it wouldn’t be possible without the school’s support over the past four years, as well as the enthusiasm of our coaches, players and fans,” said Kathleen Parsons, who has a senior, Kealan, and a sophomore, Maggie, on the team.
Inside This winter, Upper School students taking journalism got an insider’s view at WETA, the flagship PBS station for the Washington, D.C. area. A producer from "Around Town" gave students a tour of the studio. They learned how the news is produced, how to compile a feature television program, what occurs on a typical day, and lessons on how to get into the journalism field.
Model UN Awards Congratulations to the Model UN team for representing Flint Hill and their designated countries well at the SFSMUN Conference in February. Two Flint Hill students won awards for Best Delegate—one representing Canada at NATO, the other representing the United Arab Emirates in the General Assembly. Some other countries assigned to students were Togo, North Korea, and Turkey. The keynote speaker at the conference was Ross Wilson, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. flint hill magazine | 7 | flinthill.org
Rube Goldberg Pr ject
2013 Driving Spirit Award Recipients
The Driving Spirit Awards are given to faculty and staff who are nominated by parents, students, and colleagues. This year's recipients were (L-R): Shannan Schuster, dean of faculty; Earl Kibler, building engineer; Pat Birkholz, first grade; Debbie Ayers, Upper School history.
Middle School Choir Honors Four Middle School choir students participated in the Vocal District Honors competition this winter, which involved an audition pool of hundreds throughout Fairfax County. Nina Jenkins ’18 as soprano, Sonia Schmidt ’17 as alto, David Ross ’17 as bass, and Meritt Schwartz ’18 as bass each scored within the top five singers in their part. In addition, Sonia and Meritt were named highest female and male scores, respectively. This is a huge honor, as every middle school in Fairfax County was represented and the audition pool included hundreds of students.
You’re invited Flint Hill Golf invitational Wednesday, May 29, 2013 Westfields Golf Club 13940 Balmoral Greens Ave. Clifton, Virginia Register at flinthill.org/golf All proceeds support the Parents Association Endowment for Financial Aid in Honor of Sally Hazel and the renovation of the Middle School science lab.
Middle School students took the Rube Goldberg Invention Challenge, rubegoldberg.com, working in teams to problem-solve and build 10-step machines with the goal of having the machine pop a balloon at the end.
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w April 14, 1865— Living in D.C. the Day Lincoln Died
Juniors in United States history class took on the personas of 19th century Washington, D.C. residents to experience what it may have been like when hearing the news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination on the day it occurred. Collaborating in groups, the students selected individuals listed in a copy of the 1865 D.C. city directory. They built fictional accounts from the points-of-view of a Civil War photographer/gallery owner, an architect, a salesman of artificial limbs, and an emancipated slave. Each group created a timeline of events for their chosen character to coincide with the known-itineraries—obtained from the Ford’s Theatre Museum—of Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. To help them reconstruct the day, Professor Tom Neville provided copies of archived materials: period maps, newspapers from April 14, and the D.C. law book. With 21st century learning tools, the students used online resources and were required to create interactive web publications to tell the stories about their characters. Professor Neville’s goal, through construction of the narratives, was for students to gain a deeper understanding of that historic period of time and to, “supplement the otherwise narrow view that observers of the assassination might encounter in casual research of the incident,” he says.
Major, Major Minors The Major Minors were once again chosen for the competition album, “Best of High School A Cappella,” by varsity vocals judges. This is their eighth consecutive time as winners.
TEDx Flint Hill hosted its first (of what will hopefully be many) TEDx Youth Event in December. With a theme of “Dream Big...Then Do It,” students’ presentations focused on their hopes, dreams and passions. The event was limited to 90 people in the audience, but was also live-streamed to make the event accessible to everyone who wanted to watch it. Seven students, ranging from Grade 7 to Grade 12 gave their Tedx talks, while many others worked behind the scenes as tech crew, film crew, and backstage support.
Wiring the Stairs for Music The Lower School looks for every opportunity to provide students creative exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math. During the second semester, students choose a wide variety of projects including: programming bumble bee robots, designing structurally sound towers out of spaghetti, disassembling clocks to better understand mechanics, designing user interfaces using MaKey MaKey, and building circuits using Little Bits. They even wired up the stairs to the computer via aluminum steps and cords so they could play different notes as they climbed.
Students Accept College Athletic Scholarships In February, the athletic department held its annual commitment signing ceremony for seniors who have committed to play collegiate sports: Hannah Donegan, Connecticut College, lacrosse Ansley Gibson, Denison University, lacrosse Ben Kase, Davidson College, football Kasey Kettle, Virginia Military Institute, lacrosse Kody Kettle, Gordon College, lacrosse Natalie Lyon, Mount Holyoke College, volleyball Ricardo Manosalvas, Lynchburg College, soccer Haley McClure, Morgan State University, volleyball Blake McGinley, Occidental College, tennis Stevie Peterson, St. Lawrence University, football and lacrosse Becca Ploetz (pictured), Connecticut College, volleyball Rachel Swarts, The University of Pennsylvania, swimming Marlo Sweatman, Florida State University, soccer flint hill magazine | 10 | flinthill.org
w Giving Gracias The Spanish word gracias means thanks. In the small Peruvian town of Pamplona, many people, especially the children, are thankful for the compassionate and giving nature of Cristian Abrigo ’15 and his brothers, Sebastian ’12, and Nick ’08. As kids, they started responding to the needs they saw from frequent visits to Peru. Their generosity has only increased. When Nick was in third grade, he started collecting shoes after noticing so many barefooted children playing soccer with him at a community park. Now as a William & Mary graduate who’s enrolling in graduate school, Nick says, “These children remind me to appreciate what most of us take for granted, such as our health and families. I have always loved helping and plan on continuing to help those families.”
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The Peruvian people inspire the Abrigo brothers. They are currently working with Peru Niñez, an organization focused on underserved children who have terminal illnesses and have survived traumatic accidents. In December, the brothers rounded up gifts and brought them to the children, namely Leidy, a little girl with severe burns, Franceso, a little boy who had become quadriplegic after being shot in the street, and Lea, a baby with down syndrome. There were many more. “I want to go back and do more,” says Cris. Their aim now is to collect funds to contribute to building a medical facility, as well as for medicine, formula, and other essentials. “I would like to make little Lea better. I want to help the organization finish with the construction of more rooms so they can be more comfortable. So many of them in such a small space.”
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Room Designs: Eighth grade students began their furniture and interior design project by researching some of the latest original designs on websites such as contemporist and designboom.com. West African Textiles: Seventh grade students created matrix designs/symbols after discussing symbolism and a merging of traditions in American quiltmaking between west African textiles and European patterns. Paper People: Third grade students made collages of people using different textures from magazines, without using images....just textures, colors, and values. Type Portraits: Upper School students in the digital imaging class recently finished type portraits of musicians. They worked in Photoshop to convert the various tones to layers of type. Movie Groove: Upper School students in foundations in digital arts class recently finished movie posters based on books they read. The challenge was to visually communicate the plot of the book in the style of a traditional movie poster.
Self-Portraits: Sophomores in art created life-sized, multimedia selfportraits that incorporated at least two specimens they studied in Professor Atwoodâ€™s room. Relief Prints: Fifth grade students spent time drawing self-portraits and carving them into printing plates to make several copies. RepoussĂŠ Relief Sculpture: Sixth grade students utilized aluminum and a variety of tools to create a repoussĂŠ relief sculpture of an animal inspired from works by ancient Minoans, Incas, Greeks, and Vikings. Chinese Ideogram Art: Fifth grade students studied Chinese culture and chose an ideogram to paint with ink and then to translate in paper collage. African Art Masks: Eighth grade students looked at mask traditions in a variety of cultures, drew their own mask and then translated these ideas into actual masks using clay and colorants. Still Life: Sixth grade students drew their interpretation of a still life using a variety of media choices.
Faculty Accomplishments Upper School Science Professor Zack Krug ’95 and co-investigator Mark Patkowsky of Penn State University received a grant from NASA for their proposal “Pruning the Tree of Life: Evolution and Ecology in Response to the Late Ordovician Mass Extinction.” Using the same techniques as ecologists and conservation biologists, the two professors hope to, “quantify the loss of evolutionary history based on phylogenies of living organisms,” Professor Krug says.
Phylogenetics is the study of evolutionary relationships among groups of organisms
How can they possibly help us understand events and creatures from 440 million years ago? In the same way that genealogists use family trees to trace relations and ancestry through time, ecologists and biologists use phylogenetics to make species trees to track how closely different ones are related to each other. The study will focus on the second largest mass extinction event in the history of life in order to quantify the amount of evolutionary history eliminated. They hope it will help us better understand how each mass extinction event can have such a different affect on the Earth’s history.
The second largest mass extinction is called the Late Ordovician, 443 million years ago. That was when marine life that resembled clams and oysters, called brachiopods, became extinct. The study will focus on brachiopod fossils from the period. NASA is investing in this study through its astrobiology area. Though this area primarily focuses on searching outer space for life, there is some funding for studying the evolution process on Earth (and perhaps how external occurrences influenced it). One hypothesis, for example, for the cause of the Late Ordovician mass extinction is a hypernova explosion within 6,000 light years of Earth, sending a gamma ray burst that could have burned away half of the ozone layer. This would have exposed organisms to high levels of ultraviolet radiation, including any organisms necessary for planetary photosynthesis. The research starts this summer at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, where Professor Krug will have access to a large collection of fossilized brachiopods. The research is expected to take three years.
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A new book displaying Carol Barsha’s works on paper (2009-2012) was published in the fall. It showcases flowers and plant life that seem to “shout,” says the forward, “so that the viewer’s eyes start listening.” Cianne Fragione had work included and on occasion an opportunity to lecture at several galleries including Hillyer Art Space in D.C., Hope Horn Gallery in Pa., Burton Marinkovich Fine Art in D.C., and John D Calancfra Italian American Institute at Queens College, N.Y. The year is 1955. The place is New York City’s 52nd Street, the cultural mecca of jazz in the universe. On the drums was Greg Holloway. The play was “Ladies Swing the Blues” on MetroStage, January 24-March 17. Carrol Anderson – Washington Post All-Met Volleyball Coach of the Year Howard Chang presented at the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) conference in Williamsburg in October. Julie Thomas & Leslie Viente presented “iKids: Using iPads to Support Junior Kindergarteners’ Learning and Creative Development” at the 57th annual Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education (VAECE) Conference, on February 15. The workshop was about how emerging technologies can be a fun and engaging way to help children exercise their creativity, practice reading and math skills, and demonstrate their knowledge in many diverse ways. The teachers shared ideas for incorporating the iPad into the curriculum. Abigail McKenzie gave two clay animation workshops through the Artist Workshop Grant sponsored by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Jenelle Mrykalo performed in “Sleepwalking,” choreographed by Karen Reedy at Cafe Pizzaiolo in February. In February, Julia Cardone’s PORTAL exhibit was featured in Taft Gallery St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Mass. Jody Patrick was named to the Women’s Development National Team Committee of USA Basketball, the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. Melissa Scott presented at several conferences about teaching and learning with the iPad. Sarah Pramstaller, as part of the band The OuterLoop, was the premiere entertainment for American Council of Engineering Companies’ national convention in April, held in D.C. Joey Starnes presented at the National Council of Teachers of English. Angela Ramacci partnered with professional dancer/ educator Robin Avalon to choreograph a local production of “Tom Foolery”. Key To Who’s Who Above
• • • • • • • • • •
Carol Barsha, Cianne Fragione, Julia Cardone - Upper School Art Howard Chang - Middle and Upper School Classics Julie Thomas, Leslie Viente - Lower School Jenelle Mrykalo - Middle and Upper School Dance Abigail McKenzie- Lower School Art Jody Patrick - PE and Head Varsity Girls Basketball Melissa Scott - Lower School Technology Integration Sarah Pramstaller - Middle and Upper School Choir Joey Starnes - Instruction JK-6 Angela Ramacci - Lower School Music and Middle School Drama
Diversity Conference Students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 attended the Metro D.C. Middle School Diversity Conference titled, “Do You Have The Courage and Skills To Make Your School Safe, Inclusive and Fun?” There were 700 people from 43 schools. Students observed a performance that emphasized respect and inclusion—before dividing up for small groups discussion with their peers from all over the east coast.
Micron Field Trip In February, 37 Upper School students enrolled in physics, calculus, or robotics visited Micron Technology’s Manassas location. The trip’s goal gave students an idea of how they could apply the sciences they study. Micron Technology is one of the more prolific patent holders and the second largest computer memory maker in the world.
Catch the Winterfest Spirit As part of Winterfest, the junior varsity girls basketball team and their kindergarten fans made “special-edition” tie-dyed t-shirts. The kindergarteners were thrilled to have the players autograph their shirts to wear to the games on Winterfest day. In February, Winterfest includes a day of basketball lineups and a host of carnival games and activities sponsored by the Parents Association.
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Highlights By Grade
JK - Students learned about how the mail works and took a field trip to a local post office. Experiences included seeing different machines and large trucks and stepping onto a large package scale (the class weighed 738 lbs all told). K - During the month of January, students learned about the globe, explored the major oceans, and learned about some of the living things found in oceans around the world. They wrapped up their research by celebrating a beach day in the gym.
1 - Students recently studied birds of prey with visitors from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia, who explained how to best treat the birds and how to keep them safe.
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2 - A Native American family visited campus and set up a mock village. Students learned how to make arrowheads, crush corn, the way glue was naturally made, and how to use animal skins to stay warm.
3 - Students studied magnetism and electricity and then applied their understanding in science lab by assembling electrical circuits. 4 - As a culminating activity for their studies of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, students spray painted the storm drains on East Campus with the message, “Chesapeake Bay DrainageDon’t Dump.” 5 - Drawing comic strips to segment the various steps involved in digestion, students got creative to show their understanding of how the organs in the body work in the process.
6 - Students learned to make self-portraits out of wool in art class, with visiting artist Sarah Magner. 7-8 - More than 60 students were involved in “Saving Wonderland” in March, with two casts and a play written by drama professor Angela Ramacci. 9 - In February, students completed a unit on drama by producing and filming short videos based on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” with a modern point-of-view. 10 - In contemporary world history classes, students presented critical issues facing the modern African continent. They presented position papers to a mock panel to win budget surplus dollars for their cause.
11 - After reading The Great Gatsby, students participated in Gatsbyfest, displaying research projects wearing period-clothing. 12 - Students presented their final projects in international literature class through a gallery format. QR codes were part of each exhibit to give visitors more information instantly via a mobile device.
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Knowledge trails are paved every day at Flint Hill. Learning Center Specialists make sure that happens. They are pioneers looking for breakthroughs in the process of learning and teaching. They search for ways—best ways—for learners to understand and confidently apply the material being taught. “The biggest change I have seen in my daughter is her confidence and her approach to learning,” says Kara O’Malley, parent of a student who uses the Learning Center. “Most importantly, she has learned that she CAN learn.” The Flint Hill Learning Center is school-wide— transitional kindergarten through grade 12— with 13 learning specialists, dedicated meeting spaces in each division, daily one-to-one or small group interaction, and in-classroom direction for students sixth grade and younger. Professor Denise Yassine teaches fifth grade. She is accustomed to having specialists work with students in her classroom. “They are a wonderful resource of suggestions and a sounding board,” she says. “They weave in and out of our day and always make us, teachers, and our students better because of their interaction.” Imagine having your very own specialist in class with you to help finetune your learning. It’s a learner’s dream. Pioneers impact the lives of many more people than originally intended. Although specialists work primarily and directly with students identified to have challenges in how they learn, some strategies or tools that were once exclusively used in the Learning Center have become universally applied to classrooms. Cooperation and partnership between the specialists and classroom teachers have made that possible. “The Flint Hill Learning Center is the hub of innovation to individualized learning for ALL students. The student body benefits from the work of their highly trained staff, one that is constantly growing and developing to ensure the growth
and development of their students,” says Kristen Shiveley, a current parent. The specialist-teacher relationship is a purposefully designed element of a program that began about 20 years ago, championed by William A. Hazel who saw it achieve national recognition before his passing last September. Specialists work with every teacher. From their first day, newly-hired teachers understand that collegial teamwork with the Learning Center is embedded in the teaching structure. “The one-toone interaction between a specialist and teacher is where the power is for problem-solving and helping students. It helps teachers expand their tool kit, and makes them able to better and better reach students of various learning styles,” says Learning Center Director Susan Biggs, who was named Northern Virginia CHADD Educator of the Year, 2011-2012. A student’s academic edge from having a learning center is becoming better understood. Other schools are learning from the Flint Hill model and often visit to scout out ways to incorporate similar resources. And, in response to interest from colleagues at other independent schools, Flint Hill hosted a two-day national workshop last year. “Having our Learning Center visibly in our hallways, to have them so integrated into our
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Supporting Every Student Flint Hill teachers and learning specialists are constantly exploring how to move teaching from good to better to best. The approach to learning differences is not seen as a hindrance but opportunities to innovate. When identifying students who require additional support, teachers and specialists become part of a problem-solving team to determine the best ways to support each student. We asked several teachers if strategies initially suggested for students who use the Learning Center have been implemented classroom-wide. LOWER SCHOOL Specialists address emerging learning issues and implement accommodation plans. “Many of the strategies that I’ve learned come from the Learning Center and positively impact the entire class.” – Laurie Roberts, Grade 2 • Graphic organizers for writing. • Highlighters/notecards to guide reading so kids can keep their places. • Using manipulatives in math to present concepts in concrete ways. • Offering carrels to the entire class for privacy or to eliminate distractions. • Breaking down a task into its parts and writing them down as directions are given. • Using checklists to keep track of portions of a project. • Allowing extra response time—prepping a child with questions prior to doing so in a large group. MIDDLE SCHOOL Specialists teach students how to study and organize their materials as well as how to recognize their own learning styles. The goal for each student is to learn strategies that allow a successful transition to independent learning during the Middle School years. “My mini-lessons are taught in small increments and passed out to be glued into notebooks for later reference…accommodations that benefit all of my students in terms of attention to task, reduced note taking, and executive functioning.” – Denise Yassine, Grade 5 UPPER SCHOOL Specialists support students with learning differences as they participate fully in a college preparatory curriculum through a wide continuum of services. The goal is autonomy in learning that reflects greater self-awareness and consistent usage of individualized supportive learning strategies. “Absolutely. I redesigned my exam so that the format was easier to read and process. I provide word banks for all students. I model examples in class anytime I worry that my directions are at all tricky to understand. I scaffold note taking and organizational models in class. I review the weekly calendar to support long- and short-term planning. I post all handouts electronically so that students can choose the format they prefer—paper or digital. And, the list goes on. Whatever is a good teaching and learning strategy for one student can surely be good for others in the classroom.” – Karen Davis, English
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everyday expectations, to have the learning specialists teaching all faculty about good teaching and what would help,” says Headmaster John Thomas, “allows us to not only have an impact with the kids in the Learning Center but with all the students who are here. That has made us an even stronger institution.”
You may be better at math than with your reading skills. Perhaps you’re a natural writer, but working with numbers makes you sweat. Specialists help students get to know themselves as learners, teach them strategies and tools that best work with their styles of learning, and facilitate communication with their teachers about additional support or assistance with accommodations that would help them. “Working with the Learning Center over the years has shown me how important it is to give instructions and structure lessons that meet the needs of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners,” says Professor Laurie Roberts, who teaches second grade. “I try to write, demonstrate, and have kids practice a skill or task before setting them off to work on their own.” How are your grapho-motor skills (grapho = writing; motor = movement)? It’s related to the movement and control it takes to form letters and the difficulty of writing thoughts on paper. Since most of us don’t think twice about the action of picking up a pen and writing, it’s easy to forget that handwriting is a learned skill. Grapho-motor issues may have implications on other areas of learning, and detecting it is only one small example of a learning difference that may appear when evaluating how a student learns. In brief, the specialists’ world is intricate. “Lazy learner; needs to apply him/herself.” Those are “old school” ways of describing some misunderstood students with grapho-motor or other learning differences. Such descriptors are unsatisfactory at Flint Hill. Here, specialists probe
into why a student has a learning difference and implement solutions customized to the specific needs assessed.
Scaffolding serve as temporary support, an image that matches well with the intent of the Learning Center. It helps give students the confidence to steps into new levels of learning. It provides the best strategies and tools they need according to their age-group and for the way they learn best. Progression of reading skills is one area that demonstrates the learning scaffold being built from the ground up. For example, in the Lower School, specialists work to make students better readers so once they get to the Upper School, the focus is on the reading process and analytical skills used with themes, concepts, and characters. Self-advocacy is also a key skill nurtured throughout the divisions. It teaches students to recognize their own learning strengths and weaknesses and to empower them to communicate with teachers about their specific needs for accommodations or extra help. “From working with learning specialists, my child is very proactive with her homework and very willing to go ask for help in any subject in which she is having trouble,” says Shelly Trimble, a current parent. When it benefits a student for the long-term, classroom accommodations are provided, with care taken to avoid over-accommodation. Testing accommodations—extended time, test preparation, and test-taking strategies—are also offered when needed, as well as assistive technologies—Dragon Dictate, Pear Notes, audio and ebooks, and calendaring—tools which, in some cases, have been found useful for students who are not part of the Learning Center. A laptop or iPad for every student has made it possible for those who use the Learning Center to access assistive software and for specialists to suggest resources, easily communicate, create new tools,
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or make creative use of widelyavailable ones. A strong work ethic is established for students. They know that they get the same syllabus as every other student, their workload is the same, and they understand the expected dedication to class lessons and objectives. Time management and organizational strategies— pre-writing, effective note taking, and assignment notebooks—are particularly helpful for Middle and Upper School students. “The learning specialists have taught much better organization of material—moving from overview to specific grouping of information, leading to much more productive and shorter study sessions, with excellent outcomes in grade performance across all subjects,” says Marissa McDonnell, a current parent. “It is a relief to know that our daughter is learning the framework for achievement. This has made the difference between great work and outstanding work, in her case, and will—no doubt— open more academic doors for her during the college process.” Innovation at times presents itself unexpectedly—even in scaffolding, like the beautiful one built around the Washington Monument during its 1998 restoration. Yes, beautiful scaffolding. And, as Flint Hill students who use the Learning Center graduate and successfully explore worlds outside, they might often look back appreciatively about the scaffolding that supported them here. They might call it beautiful and name their specialists pioneers, and they may go on to impact many, many more people than originally intended.
The Team Of Specialists Susan Biggs, Director University of Pittsburgh, B.S. Harvard University, Ed.M. Harvard University, Ed.D. Lower School Kim Dewar James Madison University, B.S. George Mason University, M.Ed. Jeanine Schwartz California State University-Northridge, B.A. George Mason University, M.Ed., K-12 ED/LD Shannon Titmas Boston University, B.S. University of Virginia, M.Ed. MIDDLE SCHOOL Sharon Grigely University of Washington, B.A. Marymount University, M.Ed. American School of Professional Psychology, M.A. Jodi Kittle Oberlin College, B.A. Stanford University, M.A. Abbe Luther State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.A. State University of New York at Stony Brook, M.S. Norine Martin Boston College, B.A. Suffolk University, M.Ed. UPPER SCHOOL Sonya Atkinson State University of New York College at Fredonia, B.A. Lesley University, M.Ed. Stephanie Hulke The College of Wooster, B.A. University of Virginia, M.Ed. Shannon McCarty Lycoming College, B.A. American University, M.A. Silvia Moore Alliant International University, B.S. George Mason University, M.Ed. Matt Philipp United States Coast Guard Academy, B.S. Duke University, M.E.M.
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Since the beginning of formal education, rhetoric has played an important part in a child’s learning. If we go back to Aristotle, for example, rhetoric is defined as, “ethical communication and persuasion.” Today, inside the 21st century education model that Flint Hill is helping to define, rhetoric remains an important part of every day learning, though there are several noticeable shifts.
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In Memory of Sarah and Tess Wendell: Life’s Best Teachers Delaney Connolly ’17 When I was younger, about six years old, I had twin cousins named Sarah and Tess Wendell. They were two very special girls. Little did I know how much they would teach me. Sarah was born with special needs as most of her brain didn’t work, so she couldn’t talk, walk or even sit up on her own. When Tess was born, they did not think there was anything wrong with her, but she—like Sarah— had calcification around her heart that caused her to die suddenly. Tess died when she was 16 weeks old. She simply stopped breathing after a morning bottle. Even though she didn’t live very long, she made an impact on other people’s lives and will never be forgotten. Sarah lived longer than Tess did; she died when she was about three and a half, but in that time she taught me so many life lessons.
and her sister Tess. We wish they were still with us, but carry their lessons with us instead.
My family spent a lot of time around Sarah. We went to the beach with their family every summer for as long as I can remember. We often took trips to their house to help take care of her. I can’t even describe how much she meant to me and everyone else who knew her. Sarah left her mark on every person she met; she changed so many people’s lives.
I am more than positive that if I asked the people who knew Sarah, they would say she left her mark. Even though she is not living anymore, she will always be with us. The song “For Good” from the play “Wicked” has some of my favorite lyrics that remind my family and me of Sarah and Tess. The lyrics are:
Though I was little when she was alive, I remember everything like it was just yesterday. I remember how she loved elephant noises. I remember how she loved it when people burped, and I remember how she loved it when people brushed her hair and tickled her. Sarah was limited in many ways, but that did not stop her from being happy. Even with her disabilities, Sarah lived her life to the fullest. She seemed to treat every moment as if it were a gift. Her laugh was contagious. Whenever she laughed, everyone else would laugh right along with her. When her parents went on trips, my family would go to their house and take care of her. I loved doing this because she was so much fun to be around. I remember brushing her hair, and while I was doing this, she would smile ear to ear. There are many pictures of people with Sarah, and in every one, people are smiling, laughing and having a great time. Whenever I was around her, I was happy. It was hard not to be because her happiness spread to you.
All of their lessons form my belief. I believe that it is the quality of one’s life that matters most. What I mean is that it is more important to live a good, full life than it is to live a long one. If someone lives to be a hundred, but he had a bad life, what is the point of that? Sarah lived a short life, but she lived a meaningful one. She taught more people than any one-person could in two lifetimes. I still think it is great to live a long life, but I think it is extremely important to do something with your life and make your mark on the world.
I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason Bringing something we must learn And we are led to those who help us most to grow - if we let them. The second line is: So much of me is made from what I learned from you You’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart. Those lines go hand in hand with what Sarah and Tess did for me. They taught me so much, and I will be forever grateful for having them in my life. They will be in my heart forever.
There were so many things I learned from Sarah that helped me form my belief. She taught me to not judge people by what they look like or how different they may appear to be. Sarah did not look like a lot of kids, but I loved her regardless. She taught me to love without boundaries. I knew so many people who loved Sarah, and this showed me that love is one of the most important things in life. She taught me to look at the bright side of things and always feel grateful for what I have. Even though Sarah had so many obstacles in her life, she always seemed happy just to be with you. She also showed me that I am so lucky to live the way I do. Some people can’t walk or talk, so why should I complain about not wanting to walk my dog. Sarah taught me to live life to the fullest. She did not live very long, but she lived a very good life. I wish she could have lived longer because I miss her a lot, but I realize that wherever she is now, she is with Tess, and they can do all the things they could not do when they were living. So many people loved and cared about Sarah
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Faith and I: An On/Off Relationship Jack Lovelace ‘17 Faith is the trust you instill in yourself or someone else that helps you overcome obstacles. I struggle with faith every day. We have always had a bumpy on/off relationship and skirmishes along the way. But I’ve discovered that faith is always loyal, and it never fails to scoop me up in its comforting arms when I need it most.
through my brain, however, the car went sideways and began to speedily make its way upward. Suddenly, the rollercoaster stopped, only to plummet downwards, and we spiraled our way into nothingness. Then the tracks evened out once more. We were then treated to a combination of loops, spins, and free-fall.
Faith is something that is crucial to my existence. I could be my own worst enemy if it wasn’t for faith. Instead, faith allows me to focus on the big picture. I stop thinking about why I finished last in a cross-country race and more about how I can fix it. I am faithful, and I receive a better grade after all.
My brother stared forward as if in a trance, enticed by the ride I was now confident was going to leave us all dead. He clapped his hands and screamed gleefully. My father was even worse, cackling and making creepy noises that only made the ride more excruciating. It seemed that even my mother, who hated rollercoasters, was enjoying the ride more than I was. I wasn’t screaming or laughing or making scary noises like my father. I was curled up in the fetal position, rigid, frantically praying to God to make the situation better. I tried to keep faith, although the horrific ride seemed to be interminable.
I have always been extremely hard on myself, whether I stub my toe, get something wrong in class, or get something right but not “right” enough. Yet faith is always there, and I have learned to acquire its help even in the most tense of situations. It can be an argument with my parents or a time where I’m not satisfied with something that I’ve done. Faith pulls me through, and in the end, I always end up feeling better about myself. When I was seven, my parents decided that it would be fun to go to Disney World. I didn’t think much of it at the time except for the elation that would come with my meeting all the Disney characters and getting to shake hands with Mickey Mouse. Eventually, my elation turned into eager anticipation, and I was soon counting the days until our flight to Orlando. The day after we arrived, we took the monorail into the amusement park. We went through the entrance gates and plotted out our top priorities. I wanted to go on the teacup ride and see the Animal Kingdom. My younger brother, Patrick, was insistent on going on Space Mountain, his lifelong ambition. Naturally, because my brother was younger and harder to please, my parents decided that we would go to Space Mountain first. I had heard a lot about Space Mountain, but not enough. I had never been on a rollercoaster before and didn’t know what to expect. My friends who had been to Disney World had told me that Space Mountain was fun and worthwhile. I could only hope that I would feel the same way. We entered through an open doorway and walked through a dark hallway. We couldn’t see anything because the hallway was only barely illuminated by dim lights. My brother and I led the way, letting our naïve selves become fascinated with everything and anything we could lay our eyes on. It was around nine in the morning, so the crowds were thin and we were the only ones there. When the cars finally cranked to a stop in front of us, we efficiently loaded ourselves on. I sat in the front, not knowing what to expect, but I figured that whatever was to come would be great. A computerized voice welcomed us to the ride and asked us politely to buckle our seatbelts. Then the sound of a “beep” went off, and the rollercoaster lurched forward. Space Mountain is a rollercoaster that is submerged in darkness. You are exposed to a feeling of pure ignorance while riding on it, because you can’t see where you are headed. The rollercoaster trudged forward, and I pleasantly allowed myself to believe that this was as bad as it was going to get. Just as this thought launched flint hill magazine | 25 | flinthill.org
The ride went on forever, and only got more horrific as it continued. I detached myself from all evidence of the outside world, curling myself into a ball and staying there. I cried silently while everyone else made rambunctious noises, screaming, wailing in laughter, even snorting in pleasure. Why didn’t anyone else feel the way I did? I was past irritated; I was fuming. It was one of the few times in my life where I felt compelled to believe that I was going to die. Where was the faith that I needed most desperately? Then it all stopped. The ride pulled to a halt, and everyone else clambered out. I stayed in my ball like a stubborn armadillo that would not pull itself out. I realized that the ride was over, and I slowly detached myself from my ball. My spontaneous relief was made manifest by the tears of liberation that flowed down my cheeks; the tears which had been tears of fury only a few seconds ago. I stopped thinking about my last will and testament and more about the fact that I was still alive. Faith came back, as did my sanity, and I crept my way out of the car, tears of happiness caressing my fragile face. My mother and father gripped my little hands tightly as we exited from the building, Patrick looking on. Patrick had an exasperated look on his face, like, “Jack we get it. Let’s go to the Haunted Mansion.” Eventually, I calmed down, and after doing virtually everything I wanted for the rest of the day, I felt a lot better. I was a trembling wreck that day, but yet I still made it. After all of the praying and staying in the fetal position, I made it. Although surviving a rollercoaster may seem like a meager accomplishment, it meant the world to me after it happened. I felt as if I had swum the English Channel, climbed Mount Everest, flown to the Moon and back. However little faith I managed to keep during that rollercoaster ride, I kept some nevertheless, and that is what got me through it. This may seem like a slightly funny but overall insignificant memory. I think it would be too, but it’s such a living example of my relationship with faith. Although our relationship is topsy-turvy, I can always rely on faith in tough situations to keep me focused and forgiving of everyone—especially myself. I survive in these situations because I have faith that I’ll feel better afterwards and that I’ll be able to move on. And I do. I have faith in faith.
a f e v a
a i t h. f n i ith
Perseverance. It is one of the virtues that teachers and adults talk about and try to instill in young people. They say that perseverance is one of the most important attributes to be successful in life. But what is perseverance and how do you know if you have it?
I thought about how many strokes I was lying. “I shot in the water, one, two. I shot again in the water, three, and four. Five landed in the fairway. Six on the side of the green.” I kept repeating in my head, “Calm down and take your time, calm down and take your time.”
Perseverance is defined as steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, especially in spite of difficulties. Defining the word is the easy part. Figuring out if you have it is much harder. To really know if you have perseverance you need to be tested. You need to finish something despite it getting so hard that you just want to give up. I know that I have perseverance because I have been tested in golf. I am proud to say that I stayed the course in spite of difficulties.
I stepped up to my chip shot and planned to make a soft shot, since the ball didn’t need to go that far. It wasn’t a soft shot at all. I had wacked the ball so hard that it skidded across the green and landed in a bunker, on the other side. Again, I tried to calm myself. “Calm down and take your time.” It was important to hit the ball softly with some sand because there was water and brush on the other side of the green, but I hit it too softly, and the club grabbed lots of sand sending the ball a foot. I hit again, but this time I hit too much ball. It flew out of the bunker, across the green and into the brush.
Last December, I was honored to play in a prestigious junior golf tournament at the Doral Resort in Miami, Florida. I joined more than five hundred young men and women from all around the world. To play, successful applicants had to provide academic transcripts and golf scores from junior tournaments in their area. It was the second year in a row that I was invited to participate, and I felt like I was ready to play my best in front of the other juniors and my mom. Unfortunately, as it can be in the game of golf, my best play was not meant to be. The second day of the tournament tested my resolve. My game was going fairly well until I started Hole #7. I stepped up to the hole with a par 5, and fired off what I had hoped to be a long and straight drive. Instead, I drove the ball to the left and into a water hazard. I teed up another ball and hit. Again, my ball went into the water. I drove for the third time, and this time the ball started off straight but faded to the right. “Okay,” I thought, “this won’t be a good hole, but I can finish strong.” The ball was sitting on the fairway, and my next shot landed just short of the green. Shooting in the water hazard costs me two stoke penalties.
At this point, I couldn’t avoid my mother’s eyes. She was following my game from the cart path. I could see that she was more than disappointed. She seemed almost disgusted with my game. I thought that maybe she was disgusted with me. She threw her arms over her head and walked away from the hole and disappeared into the ladies room. I was floundering at one of junior golf’s premiere tournaments. I couldn’t find my ball in the brush and had to take another two-stroke penalty for a lost ball. I dropped another ball and finally got a ball on the green. I finished with a three putt and counted my strokes. I wrote a 14 on my scorecard. For those of you who don’t play golf, a five on that hole would have been great. A six or 7 would have been okay, but a 14 was abysmal. My mind was scattered with random thoughts. It raced as I counted strokes from my previous six holes. I worried what my mom was going to say to me, but I knew I had to keep going. I had to push through it and finish as well as I still could. I finished the next two holes with back-to-back pars and went on to salvage my score on the back nine. At the end of the round, a father whose daughter was playing with me came up to my mom. She had watched the rest of my game from a distance. He said to her, “You should be very proud of Caroline. A lot of girls would have given up after having a hole like the one she had. At a minimum they would have cried or pouted. But she never gave up. She remained calm and finished strong.”
Golf’s Lesson in Life Caroline DeLoach ‘17
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Many people say golf is one of the hardest sports to master since it is mostly a mental game. You are alone with a little white ball and really nothing more than your thoughts. When things go terribly wrong, you can’t ask to sit out for a few minutes to rest or turn to teammates for help. Everything falls on you. You have to figure out how to stay the course even in the face of adversity. Golf is a game that has taught me perseverance. I now know what it means to push through something when all you want to do is call it quits and go home. I now know what it means to persevere when you are feeling defeated and embarrassed. I believe in it because if you have perseverance you can get through anything in life. I believe that perseverance will get me through any bad golf game. I believe that perseverance will get me through high school, college, and, who knows, maybe even medical school. I believe that perseverance will help me be successful in my future jobs and in my marriage to my future husband! In fact, I believe that perseverance will help me in everything in life. I believe in perseverance because at the heart of it I believe in me!
Superbrother by Joey Lindsay ‘17 What was a turning point in my life you ask? Well it has to be the day I became a superhero. You don’t believe me? Well all you have to do is ask my brother, Charlie, because it happened the day he was born. Most superheroes gain their power from radioactive spider bites or from a magic ring, but I got mine because my mom decided to have another baby. And so my super story began… When you have a brother, you get to fight evil, battling his worries and woes, and triumphing over the trouble that encompasses a young child’s life. A little brother's life is always filled with nightmares, cuts and scratches, and shadows cast on the wall by their nightlights. As a brother, I get to fight these nightmares and battle these shadows, imprisoning them and destroying them with my monster repellent spray. Why just last week I found a monster in his closet, staring at him with beady red eyes. And what did I do? I scared him off and locked him up in monster jail. Along with this, I have the superpower to help with the hardest video games. From defeating Darth Vader in Lego Star Wars™ to dispatching chompies in Skylanders™, I can always be there for Charlie, no matter what the difficultly level. But every superhero has a super villain. For me, it’s my despicable, evil sister, the sinister McKenna. As a brother, I get to protect Charlie from the ever-present forces of my sister, who is constantly causing trouble, like showering Charlie with unwanted attention, or scolding him for walking into her room. It is always a difficult struggle, but for my little brother, I shall stand strong. Of course, every superhero has extraordinary abilities. Me? To Charlie I’m a sports star. Even though in real life my athletic ability is quite…lacking, to Charlie I should play in the Olympics. In his eyes, I can run faster than a cheetah, jump higher than any of his friends, and when I throw a football, five yards seem like 500. In his eyes, I can do anything, and I know everything too. For Charlie, knowing that 6+8 is (count on fingers) 14 makes me a genius. I can even read the big words like Constantinople and Timbuktu! In addition to reading bedtime stories at night, my super-strength entertains him during the day. While Charlie can barely make me budge, I can lift him high above my head, and fly him around like an airplane. Piggyback rides and catching him when he jumps into the pool provide no challenge to my superhuman self! There is a reason why being a brother is even better than being a superhero. Superheroes generally spend their lives in lonely isolation; for a brother, it is quite the opposite. Charlie is always there for me, and I’m there for him. We both believe in each other, we both care for each other, and we both love each other. While Superman sits in his icy and sterile fortress of solitude, I’m with my brother as happy as can be. While Batman sits alone moping in his dark, dank batcave, I’m chasing my brother around the yard in a game of tag. And the best part is: I don’t have to wear spandex and a cape to be looked up to. I believe in being a superhero. Not the kind who flies around in tights saving nonexistent cities, but the kind that exists when someone believes in you, and trusts you. The kind that comes to life because of the power of love. Because of Charlie’s love I can be anything and do no wrong; I can move mountains and battle the darkest evil because he loves me.
There is a reason why being a brother is even better than being a superhero. Superheroes generally spend their lives in lonely isolation; for a brother, it is quite the opposite.
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Colonel Warren: Commander Turned Teacher, then Friend In October, of 1957, 57-year-old Colonel Alan Ferguson-Warren became the head of the English Department at Flint Hill School. He taught us more than English grammar and history; he taught us respect, responsibility, honesty, and compassion. He also taught us a lot about courage. He shared his knowledge, and his experience, and his life with the students of Flint Hill for 17 years. And then he fell gravely ill, and returned to England for his last days. Colonel Warren was an Officer Commander of the Order of the British Empire and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross. He was a founder of the British Commandos in 1940, head of Special Operations Executive (SOE) clandestine military operations in Asia in 1941 to 1942. He saved the lives of hundreds of British, Dutch, American and Asian civilians—men, women, and children—and also the lives of literally thousands of soldiers and sailors, perhaps as many as 10,000, by creating an escape route, dubbed by him as The Tourist Route, out of Singapore and across Sumatra to the Indian Ocean in 1942. The Tourist Route has also been called Singapore’s Dunkirk. He received a medal for bravery and also Christmas honors from King George VI for this accomplishment—but only many years later. Those of us who knew The Colonel as students had our lives transformed by the experience. Not only did he make us live up to the extraordinary educational standards he set for us, but he also expected us to live up to the exceptional personal standards he had set for himself.
(This represents short excerpts from the Founders Day presentation on January 18, 2013, by Jerry Jasper ’62, who is a founding member of the Ferguson Warren Society along with other students who knew “The Colonel” as teacher and friend. Please email Kavon Akhtar, email@example.com, for a copy of the complete speech.)
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“Flint Hill provided a fabulous environment for our kids to develop in all aspects of life.” –Ann Bazzarone (Ashley ’09, Nick ’12)
When you support the Annual Fund, you support everything that goes into the day-to-day experience for students and teachers. Your gifts are crucial in helping us shape innovative instruction, dynamic learning environments, and a culture where relationships are paramount. Give online at flinthill.org/giving For additional information Maureen Sidor (703) 584-2358 Msidor@flinthill.org
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Creating Innovators by Shannan Schuster
Have you ever read a book and then met the author? I have only had this experience once but it was amazing. In my first few weeks of graduate school we read The Spirit Catches and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. As a slow reader, I barely had it finished and the reflection written before it was due. When the class met to discuss the book, our professor said we'd be speaking with the author in an hour, and we should prepare our questions in the meantime. We furiously gathered ideas and questions, voted on the ones we liked best, and got organized on who would ask each question. Finally, it was time. The 90-minute interview flew by. I'll never forget that day. After class, as I walked to the bus stop I began to cry. I could not believe that I was so fortunate to have had that opportunity. The book was incredible, but the chance to speak to the author left me changed. I was elated to hear that Susie Coston’s fourth grade class had a similar experience with Jewell Parker Rhodes and her book Sugar, scheduled to be released in early May through Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The initial connection was made when Joey Starnes, JK-6 Language Arts Chair, met the author at a national conference. After reading the book, she enlisted one of the fourth grade teachers to read the book aloud in class. While the class enjoyed the book, Joey contacted the author and set up a Skype session. Prior to the Skype session, each student in the class wrote a comment on the book and a question. They also prepared for the session by discussing appropriate etiquette and reviewing some background information about the author.
After weeks of anticipation, the day arrived. The author began by doing a reading from her new book. It was the first time the author read it to an audience. Then, every student had the opportunity to ask a question or make a comment. The author was very generous with her time, and, not only answered their questions, but also explained her process for writing books, where she gets her inspiration, and how she imagines the characters as she writes. She went on to describe the next book she is working on and asked the students for advice on what types of things the characters may like or do. Our students had no trouble giving suggestions like, “He could skip rocks,” and, “He could boast to his friends about his adventures.” As their conversation concluded, Ms. Rhodes promised to send every student a signed copy of the book. But the most incredible event happened afterwards when the author emailed and said she would be dedicating her next book to the students of Flint Hill School. We will have to be patient to see this in print, but I know our students will happily wait. It might just be that the day they talked with Jewell Parker Rhodes is one they will never forget. Flint Hill not only educates students on the traditional subjects they need to know, but, more importantly, we must always find ways to inspire passion in our students. I have no doubt that some students are looking at reading and writing differently now, and, you never know, perhaps a few will follow in the author's footsteps and become authors themselves.
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Tim Peterson â€™10 has joined the freestyle ski team at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The team recently captured its second consecutive national championship. Tim is in his junior year working toward a degree in communication.
Alumni News and Stories
Send your class notes for the Fall edition of the magazine to Kavon Akhtar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is August.
Jennifer (Mohan) Donahue ’88 lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband. They have two sons (11 and 14). She works for the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is an active volunteer with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She and her husband also own a bike shop called Recycled Cycles.
Sandra Buckery ’70 raises white Peruvian alpacas, something she's been doing for 12 years. She showcases her alpacas in top-level shows all over the nation. She has also started the Alpaca Bedding Company, where she sells bedding of all sorts with a wool and alpaca blend.
Tom Anglin ’92 works with IBM. He and his wife have two boys, Tyler (3) and Teegan (10 months).
Dennis Scott ’87 played 11 seasons in the NBA. Now retired (for the last 12 years) he is a host for multiple programs on NBA-TV.
Cheryl Fitzgerald ’70 works for a law firm in Tysons Corner and lives in Vienna. She enjoys traveling, and, before a neck injury, loved racing her snowmobile on Mount Alta in Utah. She now finds fun in driving her 1969 Jaguar.
Ian Chadsey ’99 still holds two Flint Hill swimming records. He attended University of Florida where he swam for four years, being named an All-American twice. He graduated from Florida in 2003 with a degree in business administration. Ian is now a senior manager with the real estate company Jones Lang and Lasalle and is the director of project development in Moscow, Russia.
Clark Wilson ’97 recently married Sindy Dean of Houston, Texas. The wedding party included Megan Yamamoto ’01, Adam Yamamoto ’00, Amit Chandra ’97 and Andrew Fisher ’97. Antonette “Toni” Jefferson ’97 is the author of three books, including Cliff Notes of A Warrior (2008) and Essays on Social Issues (2010). With multiple degrees already completed, she is currently finishing a law degree while assisting in civil litigation for a Washington, D.C. law firm.
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Abby O'Leary ’03 married Eric Dill on March 2, 2013, in Raliegh, North Carolina. In attendance were alumni Glynis O’Leary ’00 and Will Fleeson ’03. Suzie Grand Pre ’03 can be seen in the cult comedy, “Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie,” which is currently in post-production, after filming in Hollywood last summer. The movie premieres in select theaters later this year. In the meantime, Suzie is playing the harp for various special events.
Keven Schreiber ’01 lives in Pensacola, Florida, and serves with the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. He was recently selected as Junior Officer of the Year for Defense Service Office Southeast, in competition with nearly two-dozen other Officers. He is assigned to Region Legal Service Office Southeast at Naval Air Station Pensacola, where he advises Navy and Marine Corps commands on military justice matters and prosecutes court-martial cases.
Amelia Mathias ’04 is a political officer for the U.S. Embassy in Oman. She recently visited the Ibra College of Technology to teach students about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
John Cochran ’05 was selected as one of the favorite former contestants on the CBS show “Survivor.” The Harvard law student made his second appearance on the program after his first stint in the fall of 2011.
Josh Nicklay ’01 is currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Sharon, whom he married in 2010. Josh had been conducting research at Vanderbilt University since he finished his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Virginia. They will be moving to New Jersey soon, where Josh has a new job as an industrial chemist.
Jason Evans ‘05 lives in Brooklyn. He has a music performance degree from New York University and a graduate degree in Computer Science from CUNY Brooklyn College. He works for Enstoa, a technology company that does project planning and web design. He is also working on a second CD with The Jason Ross Evans Band.
Gillian Smith ’02 finished her doctorate degree in computer science from UC Santa Cruz last summer. She is currently working in Boston as an assistant professor at Northeastern University. She also has her own company, called Play Crafts, where she is bringing computers and crafting together. David Bigelow ’02 completed his doctorate degree and is working in Boston as a researcher at MIT/Lincoln Labs in the cybersecurity group with government contracts. (Gillian and David dated throughout high school and are now engaged to be married.)
Chelsea Rock '02 married Matthew Haynes on November 17, 2012, in Williamsburg. The newlyweds currently live in D.C., and Chelsea works in the Central Office of D.C. Public Schools as director of technology. Aasil Ahmad ‘02 lives in Chicago. He is a co-founder of Discourse Analytics which uses mobile technology and social media to help brands build better, more engaged relationships with their customers.
Sam Barth ’05 is living in Los Angeles pursuing a career in acting and modeling, He's been featured in multiple music videos and has made appearances in “Modern Family,” “The New Normal,” “90210,” and “Rules of Engagement.” flint hill magazine | 38 | flinthill.org
Erik Odelstierna ’06 recently moved to San Francisco, California, to pursue a career in information security consulting with Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He spends his weekends providing sailing lessons as part a sailing cooperative. Scott Dutton ’06 graduated from Clemson University with a degree in civil engineering in 2011. He is now working as a project manager at L.F. Jennings. Last May, he offered an internship position to Ramon Burris ‘12 for three weeks. Ben Kase ’13 worked with Scott this year. Elaine Bigelow ’06 is now in medical school at the University of Maryland. Katie Croft ’06 graduated from Wake Forest University in 2010. Katie is now working with big cats that have been mistreated and must rely on human care. Since graduation, she has worked at Tiger Creek rescue facility in Texas, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, and Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge. Katie is now working on a graduate degree in teaching and working at a local elementary school computer lab where she assists with fourth and fifth grade students.
Patricia Guillen ’07 graduated from Lehigh University in 2011 with a degree in business and economics. She is now in Manhattan and works in brand strategy at Horizon Media. She has also planned and executed philanthropic events throughout New York City for The American Foundation for the Blind. She is also actively involved in the National Delta Gamma Fraternity and National Debutante Ball of Washington, D.C. Pavel Kireyev ’07 graduated from the London School of Economics where he studied mathematics and statistics. He then earned a graduate degree in statistics from Yale. He is currently a doctoral student at Harvard Business School where he's studying data traces of viral phenomena. Lucy Mathias ’07 is an Account Executive at Novità Communications, an internationally focused boutique public relations firm specializing in the design industry. She is currently living in New York and is an active volunteer with the group New York Cares. She is still singing as a part of the Young New Yorkers Chorus. Claire Holman ’07 is graduating from Vanderbilt University's Peabody College with a graduate degree in secondary English education. Claire plans to start her career in either Nashville or in Washington, D.C. Laura Saleh ’07 is living in Los Angeles and working as a senior analyst in corporate strategy at the Walt Disney Company. She has had the opportunity to be the lead analyst on a variety of projects, including the acquisition of Lucasfilm which was publicly announced in the fall. Mike Walton ’07 graduated from High Point University and enrolled in the police-training academy. He is now a police officer in Fairfax County, Virginia.
John Stertzer ’09 finished an amazing soccer career at the University of Maryland. In January, he was selected #12 overall in the 2013 MLS Superdraft by Real Salt Lake. Even though it is only the beginning of a long season, the speedy midfielder has already impressed fans and teammates in Utah.
Catherine Schlegel ’09 is a senior at James Madison University, majoring in economics with a prephysical therapy concentration. Last fall, she studied media arts and design in London. flint hill magazine | 39 | flinthill.org
Nano Tissera ’07 is an artist manager for the The Wanted, a position he's held since 2011. Nano and the band recently signed a deal with Ryan Seacrest and will be featured on a new reality show on E! “The Wanted Life” that will follow the band and their manager as they produce and promote their third album. Look for the show in June.
Natasha Scearse ’08 was in the ensemble of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” which toured six U.S. cities including an extended stay at the Kennedy Center in D.C. Peter Szeremeta ’08 is teaching sixth grade Earth science at KIPP WAYS Academy in West Atlanta as part of Teach for America. Sara Schlegel ’08 traveled with the Virginia Tech biology department to Ushuaia, Argentina, and the Antarctic Peninsula last year. She studied the effects of warming temperatures on penguin populations and mating trends. She is currently at Columbia University pursuing a graduate degree in public health. Ashley Sprano ’08 graduated from Virginia Tech in May with a degree in marketing management. She now works for a sales consulting firm in Tysons Corner. She continues to sing in a group called UltraViolet. Jane Morris ’08 just began Living Walls, a business that expands her experience in sustainable community development. She has worked as council member for the City Repair Project in Portland, as community harvest coordinator for the city's fruit tree project, and as one of several to design a place-based permaculture curriculum for youth at a local elementary school in the southeastern part of Portland. Alix Ginsberg ’08 graduated from Syracuse University last May with a degree in public policy. She is now working at the American Psychological Association in the education government relations office, which seeks to increase federal support for psychology education and training. Alicia Evans ’08 is living in Charleston, South Carolina, working for the city of Charleston’s cultural affairs office as the public relations & Piccolo Spoleto operations coordinator (a festival each May that promotes the arts in Charleston). Zaki Ahmed ’08 started his own company, Z2A Productions, which focuses on photography and videography. It’s a role that comes out of his degree in film and digital arts from Pacific Audio Visual Institute.
Rebecca Baird-Remba ’08 graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a degree in journalism and politics. She was a member of the fencing team, receiving multiple awards including top performer at the 2012 NCAA Northeast Regional Championships and a student-athlete academic achievement award.
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Felix Van Der Vaart ’12 started off his collegiate baseball career as a freshman at Pomona-Pitzer. He made his pitching debut on February 17.
Jared Luebbers ’12 completed his private pilot certificate the day before he left for Virginia Tech's Corps of Cadets in August. In doing so, it brings him closer to his long-term goal of serving as a U.S. Marine Corps aviator. Ramon Burris ’12 picked up a new hobby during his freshman year at college: comedy. He now performs stand-up comedy routines at local clubs and recently teamed up with a group of Baltimore comedians to write a web series and perform sketch comedy.
Elise MacGuidwin ’12 spent the spring studying in Singapore through a 16-week program at Villanova. She took classes for the first eight weeks and interned at Base Entertainment, a live entertainment company. She worked with productions and operations for the Cirque du Soleil show “Le Noir.”
Ryan Freeman ’11 is currently a sophomore at the University of Illinois studying engineering physics. He is still throwing pottery when he is home on break, a passion he picked up from Professor Cardone. Audrey Dotson ’11 helped lead the Bucknell women’s basketball team to the semi-finals of the Patriot League Tournament. In her sophomore year, she averaged 11.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. The highlight of her season was making the game winning jump shot at the buzzer to beat Colgate in January. flint hill magazine | 41 | flinthill.org
Jordan Davis ’12 and Lauryn Harris ’10 came back on campus to work with Julia Cardone for Flint Hill’s Empty Bowls charity event to benefit D.C. Central Kitchen.
James Shuler ’10 went to Sydney, Australia, last fall as a part of the exchange program through UNC’s business school. He also visited other countries, and he was able to show his adventurous side—skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef, bungee jumping in New Zealand, riding elephants in Thailand, and wake-boarding in one of the lakes in a rainforest in Cairns, to name a few.
Taylor Jackson ’10 spent last fall studying in Barcelona, Spain. She strengthened her Spanish speaking skills and developed a love for tapas and Spanish culture. She also visited places across Europe including Ibiza, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Florence, and Rome.
Josh Green ’10 spent his free time this winter as an assistant basketball coach for Flint Hill’s freshman team, which went undefeated for the season. Chris Nelson ’10 recently became a member of the George Mason trap and skeet shooting team, which is ranked as the #1 club team on the East Coast. As part of the American Society of Engineers, Chris has also become involved with the Concrete Canoe Competition. His team, which is composed of other George Mason engineers, will design and create a 20-foot canoe out of concrete and then race it against other engineering teams around the area for a chance to compete at the national level. Yes, he’s also playing lacrosse at George Mason. Sam Cohen ’10 had a terrific season playing goalie for Endicott College. He played 15 games and saved 88.8% of all the shots he faced. Due to his strong season, Sam was selected to represent his league in the 2013 ACHA All-Star Challenge. Katie Freedman ’10 is currently a junior at Duke University and spent last semester in London. She is doublemajoring in public policy and political science. While abroad, she completed courses in international development policy and global environmental politics at the University College of London.
Olivia Collins ’10 is majoring in biology and environmental studies at Colby College. Her passion took her to Monteverde, Costa Rica. She has already spent a significant amount of time camping in several different ecosystems and has studied over 100 plant and animal species common to tropical moist and tropical dry forest environments.
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Lauren MacGuidwin ’10 is a junior at Georgetown University. Last semester she backpacked solo across China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Her stops included the Tiger Temple outside Chiang Mai, Thailand, and Peacock Lake in Jiuzhaigou national park within Sichuan province, China.
Kelley Harris ’10 spent her summer studying abroad in Xi’an and Beijing, China. She saw the Terracotta Warriors, pagodas, the Great Wall (where she walked six miles), Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. She even ate scorpions from a street vendor, and, most memorably, climbed Mount Huashan in Xi’an, Shaanxi Provence.
Cara Peterson ’10 spent the fall with Semester at Sea, where she traveled across the Atlantic and back again, making stops in Europe, Africa, and South America. Her goal was to learn how to be a “global citizen” through course work and experiential learning in port. For example, she attended a Peace and Reconciliation Workshop that involved six days of conflict mediation training in South Africa. She also experienced climbing a volcano in Spain, fishing the Amazon, and standing at the foot of the Christ Redeemer statue in Brazil. Lauryn Harris ’10 spent her summer studying art history and culture in Italy. One of her favorite experiences was climbing to the top of the Duomo at the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the work of Brunelleschi, which she had studied during her course.
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Over Winter Break, the Alumni Association invited the classes of 2012, 2011, 2010, and 2009 to watch the Redskins vs. Eagles at PJ Skidoos with Chemistry Professor Kim Duncan.
In February, the Alumni Association hosted a Washington, D.C. area Happy Hour with more than 50 young alumni. If you are interested in hosting an alumni event in your city contact Kavon Akhtar (email@example.com). The Class of 2007 five-year reunion on the night before Thanksgiving last November.
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John Schreck (late 1950s to the early 1960s) was the assistant headmaster at Flint Hill, teaching chemistry and becoming the school's first basketball coach. After Flint Hill, he worked at the University of Kentucky, and, most recently, Virginia Tech, where he retired in 2009. He and his wife Phyllis live in Midlothian. They are enjoying their family grow up, especially proud of their grandson who attends college in Arizona. Cathy Steg (early 2000s) was an English professor at Flint Hill. Since her tenure, she has moved up to Maryland and enjoys the opportunity to teach middle school English. She also spends time with her two grandchildren, Lando and Celia.
CALLING ALL FORCES All alumni and former faculty who have served the United States Armed Forces: Let us hear from you so we can include your service on a plaque that is in the Commons area of the Upper School campus. Please email your information to Kavon Akhtar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and specify what branch you served.
The Making of the Board On March 4, 2013, the Flint Hill Alumni Association was relaunched. The immediate goals include these three areas: Connect
Whether it’s an update to share, a reunion to plan, a job that you need to find, or a former teacher you want to meet for lunch, the association is here to foster the alumni connection.
It’s no secret that Flint Hill needs financial support, especially from alumni. It makes a difference in the lives of our students to know the alumni are giving back to support faculty and the daily operations. Alumni giving also significantly impacts our ability to talk with foundations about grants.
Class Reunions is a focus. We want to be in contact with your class so we know the best time of the year and place for your reunion.
Board Members 2013–14 Will Fleeson ’03, President email@example.com
Federico Cohen-Freue ’08, Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org
Katherine Guevara ’94 email@example.com
Traverse Burnett ’94 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Doll ’01 email@example.com
Scott Schillereff ’05 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Amey ’06 email@example.com
Jeannette Tavares ’06 firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Crockett ’07 email@example.com
Rebecca Morris ’07 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kavon Akhtar ’06, Alumni Director email@example.com flint hill magazine | 45 | flinthill.org
Remember the days? 20 years ago, these fine Flint Hill students got the nod for a variety of superlatives. The range was wide, from “Most Gullible” to “Best Legs” to “Most Removed.” Can you name who received what? And, congratulations Class of 1993 on your 20-year reunion. Let us know where life has taken you. Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
M a g azine S pring 2 0 1 3
Leadership John Thomas, Headmaster Shannan Schuster, Dean of Faculty Sheena Hall, Lower School Director Barry Davis, Middle School Director Brian Lamont, Upper School Director Anne Peterson, Assistant Head of School for Finances and Operations Zachry Kincaid, Director of Marketing and Communications Catherine Evans, Director of Development Christopher Pryor, Director of Admission Michele Velchik, Associate Director of Admission Martin Mitchell, Director of Fine Arts Steven Henry, Director of Athletics Susan Chiarolanzio, Director of College Counseling Barbara Benoit, Director of Counseling Susan Biggs, Learning Center Director Mia Burton, Director of Special and Summer Programs
Marketing and Communications Staff Zachry Kincaid, email@example.com Ellen Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org Jackie Viteri, email@example.com
Magazine Design SMOG Design, Inc. Flint Hill School 3320 Jermantown Road Oakton, VA 22124 www.flinthill.org Flint Hill School is a transitional kindergarten through 12th grade independent school. Our approach to education brings together innovative instruction, dynamic learning environments, and a school culture where relationships are paramount.
Sophomores popped popcorn in chemistry class to determine the amount of pressure when the kernel explodes.
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Standardized around bubbles? Really?
Old school doesnâ€™t make sense anymore. At Flint Hill, filling in bubbles isnâ€™t a daily exercise. Our students certainly excel on the tests required for college admission, but how they get there and what they know makes our approach to education different. It brings together innovative instruction, dynamic learning environments, and a school culture where relationships are paramount. We know teaching this way has wild success for students to go far, both in their knowledge and ability.