A Community of Lifelong Learners

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Faculty & Staff Stories in Fine Print, the Magazine of Rowland Hall

Celebrating 150 Years in Our Classrooms

For the sesquicentennial, we asked Rowland Hall's teachers to find ways to incorporate our 150th anniversary into their curriculum. They rose to the challenge, creating fun and instructional opportunities for students, including art installations, math activities, spelling lessons, and service projects related to our school's history and/or the number 150.

Below are a few of the year's highlights. Check out photos and video from all the curricular activities on the Rowland Hall 150 website.

Upper School: Studio Art Installation

Art teacher Rob Mellor quite literally wove our sesquicentennial into his curriculum. His six-member Studio Art 3 class created a shallow installation of string secured by 150 nails. The 3-D line design incorporates color, pattern, random chance, and a large spiral as a nod to Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty artwork at the Great Salt Lake. Students created connections from nail to nail and linked each symbolic year together to create an open tapestry. Mr. Mellor said the project entailed "classic problem solving within a group dynamic. Compromise, trial and error, concept and meaning."

Middle School: 150 Rube Goldberg Machine

Middle School students in Ben Smith's class took on the major challenge of creating a SeRuGoMa, also known as the Sesquicentennial Rube Goldberg Machine. They built the machine on three large cardboard numbers (1,5,0) and divided into teams to design and construct seven actions per cardboard number, each of which triggered a subsequent action. They shared their creation with fellow students and visitors on Grandparents Day in November and on Maker Day in May.

Lower School: Giving Back, 150-Style

Lower School students in the first and third grades used the sesquicentennial celebration as an opportunity for community service. Third-grade students knitted over 150 hats to donate to the House of Hope, while first-grade students completed 150 acts of kindness over the course of the year. We're especially proud of these big-hearted and generous Winged Lions, who even received a shout-out on KSL's morning news for their good deeds!

Beginning School: Birthday Bash

Our Beginning School students participated in a birthday bash on the 150th day of school. They prepared 150 beautiful butterflies as a gift to Rowland Hall, and then celebrated on the quad with singing and dancing.


'Wired' for Creativity

This year Rowland Hall’s dance concert, titled Wired, brought together dance, film, and live music to explore the burgeoning world of brain science. The artistic efforts of over 100 sixth through twelfth graders brought Wired to the stage. Twenty student-choreographed dances were given context by an ongoing film and narrative, the Upper School tech crew supported the production backstage, and live music by several high school jazz and orchestra musicians punctuated the performance.

Through film and choreography, Wired interpreted the latest findings in brain science and its effect on human behavior, relationships, educational systems, and societal norms.

Leading up to the concert, students researched materials on brain science and then explored the concepts using the physical body as a tool. Rowland Hall’s dance program currently boasts six ensembles, including a thriving Middle School boys group of over 20 students. Each ensemble gave outstanding performances ranging from high-energy hip hop, to creative modern dance and emotionally expressive adagio.

Student-choreographers provided insight into empathy explained via mirror neurons, and showed that gender norms can reshape pathways in the brain. Other topics included how marketing affects our brains, whether mental illnesses can be reversed, why euphoria is addictive, and whether the subconscious mind holds the key to understanding the past. Some choreography veered outside of the scientific method to explore such phenomena as spirituality.

Dances by guest choreographer Ursula Perry, Rowland Hall Dance Director and Arts Department Chair Sofia Gorder, and dance teachers Allison Spehar and Amy Fry explored the big questions of our day while giving students an opportunity to hone their technique, craft, and performative skills.

During intermission, audience members enjoyed a new showing of student-created visual art in the Larimer Center Gallery, titled Mind to Hand to Paper. Art teacher Rob Mellor suggested how viewers should contemplate the installation: “Search for the tangible places where intent meets spontaneity within each work,” he said. “Discover another side to students appearing in the show who demonstrate a commitment to individual exploration.”


Faculty Honorees at 2016 Graduation Ceremonies

Congratulations to the following teachers who received awards this June for outstanding service to their profession and to the school.

The Sumner Family Faculty Awards are given each year to outstanding faculty members in each division who have demonstrated a love for teaching and excellence in their field. It is an award given by a family who has shown an unparalleled commitment to the school for three generations. The award symbolizes the Sumner family's high regard for the faculty.

Congratulations to the 2015–2016 recipients of the Sumner Family Faculty Awards:
Beginning School: Katie Williams
Lower School: Erika McCarthy
Middle School: Bill Tatomer
Upper School: Rob Mellor

The Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award was established through an anonymous gift to the school in honor of Mr. Jones' dedication to the faculty when he was a trustee and chair of the board. This year Rowland Hall proudly honors Kody Partridge, Upper School English teacher, for demonstrating excellence in the classroom and service to the entire Rowland Hall community with the Cary Jones Faculty Mentor Award.


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