Custom Class: post-landing-hero

Special from The Rowland Hall Gazette

By Sam Galvez, Class of 2016

Rain poured from the sky above the Lincoln Street Campus on September 16, 2015, the day Rowland Hall students heard that Mr. Hayes had died of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, the disease that ended his teaching career in February 2013. Having gotten the news from Emotional Support Counselor Diane Guido, friends in the halls, or the flood of Facebook messages on Peter Hayes’s wall, our seniors expressed silent mourning in his memory. From biology teacher to renowned Rowland Hall figure, Peter Hayes left a legacy in our community and among his students dispersed throughout the world.

Time had passed too quickly for members of the Class of 2016, as it was just yesterday when Mr. Hayes was enthusiastically teaching each of them, as freshmen, to memorize his famous Desert Dozen. “Big Sage! Artemesia tridentata. Sand Sage! Artemesia filifolia,” echoed throughout his classroom on the first day of high school when he prepared students for his iconic ninth grade trip. “That trip was a great experience that helped bond the freshman class in a way it hadn’t bonded before,” commented senior Tyler Macintyre. A memorable experience for many freshmen, the trip punctuated the beginning of high school for our students, not only in their exploration of the natural world of biology, but also in creating and strengthening new friendships.

When he heard of Mr. Hayes’s death while on the trip this year, freshman English teacher Joel Long expressed his appreciation for Mr. Hayes’s legacy: “I heard the news while I was at Camp Roger, and I thought about him the whole time, how he lived his life, how he taught, how dedicated he was to his students.”

Further elucidating Peter Hayes’s legacy, Mr. Long gave a vivid analogy of Mr. Hayes’s teaching career: “At the mouth of the river, the delta goes into the ocean. There is so much power, force, and water behind the river as it goes into the ocean that it spreads out and makes the ocean.” He explained how many of Mr. Hayes’s former students are currently in the “delta,” having gone through college using some of the effective study habits and techniques he taught them. “If you think about it, just at this school with 18 years of students going through, all of his students have gone into the world and used some of the momentum he gave them when they were 14 to 15 years old,” commented Mr. Long. Senior Alessandra Miranda expressed a similar opinion, “A lot of people don't respect the profession of teaching, but Mr. Hayes was a perfect example of how teaching can be a passionate career in caring for the well-being of others.”

Dedication ran through Mr. Hayes’s veins. He taught 1,340 students, graded 100,000 assessments, including 4,000 final exams and 8,000 ERPs (Exam Review Products), and took 1,300 students on his ninth grade trip to Kanab. Today in our main library stands a physical representation of his legacy in a work of art he created that was bought and donated by a school parent in 2013, the year Mr. Hayes left Rowland Hall. The painting shows hundreds of graded works, including exams, re-written notes, and ERPs collaged on canvas with sketched representations of students working in his lab, observing microscopic cells, dissecting animals, and taking notes, all which occurred on a daily basis. Bold letters spelling out “Learning is Work” accentuate the meaning of his artwork.

Posting a picture of his artwork a year ago, Mr. Hayes left a comment on his Facebook fan page: “It took 18 years in the making. Strange how I'd kept all those grade books, never putting much thought into what I was going to do with them once I finally left teaching. When you look at it from afar, you do not know what it is, but once you see all those tens of thousands of tiny hand-written grades...well...there is a moment of impact.” Mr. Hayes then explained how the parents who donated his artwork made clear that his artwork would hang on permanent display in the our school. “As it turns out, I never will actually ‘leave’ the school; I’ll just be sitting there in a different way,” asserted Mr. Hayes.

Greater, though, than a piece of artwork, is the lasting impact Mr. Hayes had on his students. Describing the environment in his classroom, senior Arielle Flynn commented on the authenticity of Mr. Hayes: “His way of teaching was a comedy sketch, bringing laughter into the classroom 45 minutes a day.” The scorpion mating dance, his idiosyncratic voice when reading his biology book, the countless mnemonic memory devices taught in his classroom all formed part of a comical and engaging environment for all his students. After all, Mr. Hayes always taught that the purpose of life is to work hard and have fun.

Class of 2012 alum Chase Kroesche commented about Mr. Hayes in his blog: “For many, the sciences can be daunting, but Mr. Hayes' enthusiasm made every lesson and every quiz memorable and engaging. Even his final exams, though exacting, were a joy to take. All hand-written, his tests were replete with climbing stick figures and detailed drawings of various flora and fauna.” While bringing great fun into his classroom, Mr. Hayes pushed students beyond his subject. Former student body president Zach Levinthal commented: “Mr. Hayes epitomized an unharnessed desire for creativity, passion for learning, and the need to constantly question and push ourselves well beyond what we think we might ever be capable of achieving.” Whether his students pursued biology, English, or history, in the long run, he influenced his students to work hard beyond their capacity.

With a legacy spread as far as the ocean travels, the Rowland Hall community won’t forget Peter Hayes’s long-lasting influence in the lives of his students and colleagues. Describing his legacy at Rowland Hall after his retirement, Mr. Hayes commented to the Salt Lake Tribune, "I love being in the classroom; it's my place. But if I've done one important thing in my life, aside from raising my family, it was to become a teacher and to give to society what I think is the noblest thing anybody could ever do — teach children."

To read Peter's obituary visit the Salt Lake Tribune online. Our love goes to Thi-ly and Lucas. "Mr. Hayes" will be sorely missed.

People

Peter Hayes: More Than a Rowland Hall Legacy

Special from The Rowland Hall Gazette

By Sam Galvez, Class of 2016

Rain poured from the sky above the Lincoln Street Campus on September 16, 2015, the day Rowland Hall students heard that Mr. Hayes had died of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, the disease that ended his teaching career in February 2013. Having gotten the news from Emotional Support Counselor Diane Guido, friends in the halls, or the flood of Facebook messages on Peter Hayes’s wall, our seniors expressed silent mourning in his memory. From biology teacher to renowned Rowland Hall figure, Peter Hayes left a legacy in our community and among his students dispersed throughout the world.

Time had passed too quickly for members of the Class of 2016, as it was just yesterday when Mr. Hayes was enthusiastically teaching each of them, as freshmen, to memorize his famous Desert Dozen. “Big Sage! Artemesia tridentata. Sand Sage! Artemesia filifolia,” echoed throughout his classroom on the first day of high school when he prepared students for his iconic ninth grade trip. “That trip was a great experience that helped bond the freshman class in a way it hadn’t bonded before,” commented senior Tyler Macintyre. A memorable experience for many freshmen, the trip punctuated the beginning of high school for our students, not only in their exploration of the natural world of biology, but also in creating and strengthening new friendships.

When he heard of Mr. Hayes’s death while on the trip this year, freshman English teacher Joel Long expressed his appreciation for Mr. Hayes’s legacy: “I heard the news while I was at Camp Roger, and I thought about him the whole time, how he lived his life, how he taught, how dedicated he was to his students.”

Further elucidating Peter Hayes’s legacy, Mr. Long gave a vivid analogy of Mr. Hayes’s teaching career: “At the mouth of the river, the delta goes into the ocean. There is so much power, force, and water behind the river as it goes into the ocean that it spreads out and makes the ocean.” He explained how many of Mr. Hayes’s former students are currently in the “delta,” having gone through college using some of the effective study habits and techniques he taught them. “If you think about it, just at this school with 18 years of students going through, all of his students have gone into the world and used some of the momentum he gave them when they were 14 to 15 years old,” commented Mr. Long. Senior Alessandra Miranda expressed a similar opinion, “A lot of people don't respect the profession of teaching, but Mr. Hayes was a perfect example of how teaching can be a passionate career in caring for the well-being of others.”

Dedication ran through Mr. Hayes’s veins. He taught 1,340 students, graded 100,000 assessments, including 4,000 final exams and 8,000 ERPs (Exam Review Products), and took 1,300 students on his ninth grade trip to Kanab. Today in our main library stands a physical representation of his legacy in a work of art he created that was bought and donated by a school parent in 2013, the year Mr. Hayes left Rowland Hall. The painting shows hundreds of graded works, including exams, re-written notes, and ERPs collaged on canvas with sketched representations of students working in his lab, observing microscopic cells, dissecting animals, and taking notes, all which occurred on a daily basis. Bold letters spelling out “Learning is Work” accentuate the meaning of his artwork.

Posting a picture of his artwork a year ago, Mr. Hayes left a comment on his Facebook fan page: “It took 18 years in the making. Strange how I'd kept all those grade books, never putting much thought into what I was going to do with them once I finally left teaching. When you look at it from afar, you do not know what it is, but once you see all those tens of thousands of tiny hand-written grades...well...there is a moment of impact.” Mr. Hayes then explained how the parents who donated his artwork made clear that his artwork would hang on permanent display in the our school. “As it turns out, I never will actually ‘leave’ the school; I’ll just be sitting there in a different way,” asserted Mr. Hayes.

Greater, though, than a piece of artwork, is the lasting impact Mr. Hayes had on his students. Describing the environment in his classroom, senior Arielle Flynn commented on the authenticity of Mr. Hayes: “His way of teaching was a comedy sketch, bringing laughter into the classroom 45 minutes a day.” The scorpion mating dance, his idiosyncratic voice when reading his biology book, the countless mnemonic memory devices taught in his classroom all formed part of a comical and engaging environment for all his students. After all, Mr. Hayes always taught that the purpose of life is to work hard and have fun.

Class of 2012 alum Chase Kroesche commented about Mr. Hayes in his blog: “For many, the sciences can be daunting, but Mr. Hayes' enthusiasm made every lesson and every quiz memorable and engaging. Even his final exams, though exacting, were a joy to take. All hand-written, his tests were replete with climbing stick figures and detailed drawings of various flora and fauna.” While bringing great fun into his classroom, Mr. Hayes pushed students beyond his subject. Former student body president Zach Levinthal commented: “Mr. Hayes epitomized an unharnessed desire for creativity, passion for learning, and the need to constantly question and push ourselves well beyond what we think we might ever be capable of achieving.” Whether his students pursued biology, English, or history, in the long run, he influenced his students to work hard beyond their capacity.

With a legacy spread as far as the ocean travels, the Rowland Hall community won’t forget Peter Hayes’s long-lasting influence in the lives of his students and colleagues. Describing his legacy at Rowland Hall after his retirement, Mr. Hayes commented to the Salt Lake Tribune, "I love being in the classroom; it's my place. But if I've done one important thing in my life, aside from raising my family, it was to become a teacher and to give to society what I think is the noblest thing anybody could ever do — teach children."

To read Peter's obituary visit the Salt Lake Tribune online. Our love goes to Thi-ly and Lucas. "Mr. Hayes" will be sorely missed.

People

Explore More Alumni Stories

At the Intersection of Homelessness, Healthcare, and Humanity

Rowland Hall alumnus Jeff Norris lives his purpose treating and advocating for underserved populations as the medical director of Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego When Jeff Norris ’03 applied to medical school, the admissions office at the University of Utah called him in for a rare second interview. He had submitted a personal statement focused on the connection between medicine, public health, and social justice, and that intersectional approach raised some eyebrows.
 
Admissions officers asked Jeff if he was sure he wanted to go to medical school, and not study public health or social work. But he assured them: he knew he wanted to be a clinician who worked with, and advocated for, underserved populations.

Jeff credits Rowland Hall with launching his career trajectory. In high school, under the mentorship of then-faculty member Liz Paige, he volunteered with Amnesty International and prepared and served food at local youth groups. The positive experience of serving others and making an impact—and relevant content in history and psychology courses—got the wheels turning in Jeff’s brain: “I started reflecting on my role in the world and how I could try to do something to make a difference for others. What is my purpose for being here?”

Jeff's self-described “deliberate and diligent” approach to his career—melding his interests in science and social justice, being motivated by a desire to give back to the world—has been nothing short of a success.

The service and activism Jeff began at Rowland Hall carried through his years as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as a med student at the University of Utah, and as a Family Medicine resident at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His self-described “deliberate and diligent” approach to his career—melding his interests in science and social justice, being motivated by a desire to give back to the world—has been nothing short of a success: in 2016, Jeff became the medical director of Father Joe’s Villages, an award-winning nonprofit that provides integrated services to people experiencing homelessness in San Diego.
 
Jeff’s day-to-day work requires a breadth of skill, knowledge, and tenacity: he estimates he spends about 40 percent of his time treating patients and the other 60 percent engaged in clinic administration, fundraising, and advocacy—including ensuring that state and federal legislation supports nonprofits like his. He serves on a number of boards, including a large network of clinics with over 100,000 patients in the San Diego area. For Jeff, it’s about more than staying connected and representing the interests of Father Joe’s Villages. “It is being present in the community to advocate for the needs of not just those experiencing homelessness, but underserved populations more broadly.”


At the clinic he leads—which serves walk-ins along with residents of Father Joe’s Villages and people receiving assistance from other local agencies—Jeff focuses on decreasing the barriers his patients face in getting adequate care, and staying on the cutting edge of what they need in order to improve their health. “The challenges our patients face are pretty unique, compared to most patient populations,” he said. “Their lives are very chaotic, and they have a lot going on medically, psychiatrically, behaviorally, socially…in all senses.” A significant portion of his time is spent managing programs to deliver medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD)—drugs such as buprenorphine (suboxone) or naltrexone—and for alcohol abuse. 

At the clinic he leads, Jeff focuses on decreasing the barriers his patients face in getting adequate care, and staying on the cutting edge of what they need in order to improve their health.

Among the most recent and cutting-edge programs Jeff and his team at Father Joe’s Villages are running is the Street Health Program, which launched this spring and is already impacting lives for the better. As the name suggests, the initiative involves going out into the streets and providing healthcare directly to people experiencing homelessness. So far, they’ve reached a number of people who’ve avoided or been underserved by traditional healthcare. One example: a man who had been using heroin for 30 years and had never before been interested in treatment. Pending a grant, the street health team hopes to treat patients with OUD at the first point of contact. In the meantime, they wrote a prescription for this particular patient because, as Jeff said, “it was the right thing to do.”
 
One of the long-term goals of the Street Health Program is to develop rapport with individuals so that they will visit the clinic for treatment. Additionally, the launch has created quite a buzz throughout San Diego, so Jeff hopes other clinics and treatment centers will consider similar programs (which do already exist in other large metropolitan areas like New York and San Francisco). “It can’t just be us,” he said. “There are enough folks experiencing homelessness that we certainly cannot meet the need unilaterally.”
 
Jeff is rightly proud of his advocacy work and the impact his clinic makes on a daily basis, and he speaks passionately of the need for everyone to recognize the homelessness crisis—not just in San Diego, but also in Salt Lake City and urban areas throughout the country. While rising housing costs and relatively stagnant wages are the two primary drivers of the problem, Jeff doesn’t discount the power of the individual to make a difference, whether through volunteering, donating goods, or elevating the dialogue to fight the stigma against those experiencing homelessness.
 
When he’s not working, Jeff stays active outdoors, taking advantage of all that San Diego’s famously temperate climate has to offer. He also prioritizes time with his family: two-year-old daughter Alex keeps Jeff and wife Sonia Ponce—a practicing cardiologist—quite busy.
 
Rowland Hall’s Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund is not at all surprised that Jeff is making a difference in the lives of others. He recalled how, as a high school student, Jeff was always highly engaged and motivated to serve, often being the last to leave a volunteer event. “Jeff always treated those he served with dignity and compassion,” Ryan said. “It is wonderful to see him intently living his purpose, in the intersection of bettering human relationships as a way to improve healthcare.”
Jeff always treated those he served with dignity and compassion. It is wonderful to see him intently living his purpose, in the intersection of bettering human relationships as a way to improve healthcare. —Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education

Just as Jeff credited Rowland Hall for sparking his interest in a life of service to others, Mr. Hoglund credits Jeff for setting an example of genuine student leadership at the school. And, to the student leaders today, Jeff sends these words of encouragement: “Figure out what gives you energy and makes you feel like you're contributing to the world in some positive way, then grab that bull by the horns and don’t let go of it. That’s where you're going to be able to make a difference, to be satisfied with who you are and what you're doing in this world.”

 

All photos courtesy of Father Joe's Villages.

 

Alumni

Portrait of a Gap Year: Work, Activism, Writing, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery

Editor’s note: Gap years have long been common in Europe, and they’re on the rise in the US. So what happens when a high-achieving Rowland Hall alum takes a break from the classroom? Read on for our 2018 co-valedictorian’s account.

By Allie Zehner ’18

Ever since middle school, I had my life all planned out: graduate from high school, launch straight into college, graduate from college, and immediately enter grad school or a career. Straying from this pin-straight path didn’t seem like an option; however, here I am, writing this piece at the end of my gap year.

At the end of my junior year, certain projects arose that I was extremely passionate about pursuing. However, I knew that juggling these opportunities with the intensity of school would be extremely challenging.

Looking back, I don’t remember the exact moment I said, “Hey, mom and dad, I’m taking a year between high school and college.” Because this option did not pop up on my radar until eleventh grade, the only way to describe my decision is as the perfect collision of four distinct circumstances. First: at the end of my junior year, certain projects arose that I was extremely passionate about pursuing. However, I knew that juggling these opportunities with the intensity of school would be extremely challenging. Second: in the fall of my senior year, my family hosted two young women, Priya and Winona, who were in the middle of taking gap years to travel the country, interview people about their intersectional identities, and write a book on racial literacy. Third: I met Abby Falik, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, an organization dedicated to making bridge years between high school and university a socially acceptable norm. Fourth: after continuously pushing myself throughout high school and becoming co-valedictorian, I was afraid of burning out. 

So, I committed to Barnard College of Columbia University in New York last spring and asked for a deferral of admission, elucidating my gap year plans. Barnard approved my request, I filled out a one-page form, and just like that, I was taking a gap year. 

And so the year began.

In the summer, I worked part-time jobs and saved some money.

In the fall, I worked with Sonita Alizadeh (pictured top, right, being interviewed by Allie at a Surefire conference), a young activist who uses music as a tool to catalyze social change, particularly looking to end the detrimental traditional practice of child marriage. Through my work with her and a nonprofit, Strongheart Group, I conducted research, interviewed young activists from around the world, and traveled to the United Nations Foundation’s Social Good Summit in New York City. 

In the winter, I started focusing on curating a book about the next generation of young women. Formatted as a collection of essays, I will write about half of the chapters and other teen girls will write the rest. From omnipresent social media to an extremely divided political climate to gun violence, this book will speak to the most pressing, serious issues my generation is facing on our journey to adulthood. Learning through doing, I taught myself how to write a book proposal, draft a query letter, reach out to agents, and build a website. 

In the spring, I was extremely fortunate to travel to Colombia, where I used my Spanish (gracias, Señor Burnett), attended a women’s conference, and shadowed an incredible nonprofit, Juanfe, that works with teen moms in Cartagena. And, coincidentally, I met another teen who is taking a gap year to live in South American cities, work, become fluent in Spanish, and volunteer. I have also spent the spring loving (pretty much) every second of learning how to write a book. 

The other key aspect of this year is that, having struggled with a chronic illness since the seventh grade, I made time to see doctors and get necessary testing. While I still do not know the root cause of my health issues, I am better equipped to manage my symptoms and look after my own well being: two things I did not prioritize in middle and high school.

And that is my gap year in a nutshell. 

Spending a year outside the classroom has given me time to nurture other facets of my persona: I am an activist, daughter, employee, sister, and global citizen. 

Let me just say that taking this year and venturing from the extremely narrow life path I had envisioned has been one of my best decisions. From around the time I could walk, I was in school five days a week, seven hours a day. For 15 years, being a student was absolutely core to my identity. Spending a year outside the classroom has given me time to nurture other facets of my persona: I am an activist, daughter, employee, sister, and global citizen. 

I will be attending university this fall. Contrary to what is sometimes believed about gap years, I will be going back to school with an immensely stronger sense of self, more direction, and a readiness to return to the classroom. I could not be more ecstatic to finish my book throughout freshman year and continue to grow as a person.

Gap years are not for everyone, but they should be considered a viable alternative to going straight to college. My hope is that society recognizes the immense possibilities bridge years can hold.

alumni

Claire Wang at Rowland Hall graduation in 2015.

Rowland Hall alumna and Duke University senior Claire Wang '15 has added a prestigious new title to her already impressive list of achievements: Rhodes Scholar.

Claire Wang holding climate action now sign

The Rhodes Trust on November 17 announced the names of the 32 Americans to win the 2019 scholarship, one of the most famous academic awards available to US college graduates.

Claire emailed some of her former Rowland Hall teachers Sunday, overjoyed to share the news. "I'll be Oxford bound next fall," she wrote. "Thank you all so much for your support over the years."

Claire is the sole Utahn among the 2019 scholars, and one of 21 women—a record for an American Rhodes class. Here's her profile as published by the trust:

"Claire R. Wang, North Salt Lake, is a Duke senior majoring in Environmental Science and Policy. She is a Truman Scholar and a Udall Scholar, and has a perfect GPA. She is President of the Duke Climate Coalition, was appointed by Duke's president to advise on campus sustainability and climate policy, and has led numerous environmental policy campaigns. Claire also has worked at the Rocky Mountain Institute, and for Earthjustice, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace. She aspires to a career as a climate-change policy advocate and to work at a global level to develop clean energy alternatives to replace fossil fuels. Claire will do master's degrees at Oxford in Environmental Change and Management, and Global Governance and Diplomacy."

At Rowland Hall, Claire felt supported and encouraged on her quest to make the world a better place.

Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest and best-known award for international study, provide all expenses for up to four years of study at the University of Oxford in England. Scholars must display academic excellence, good character, leadership skills, and commitment to service.

Claire has previously said she's fortunate to have attended Rowland Hall, where she felt supported and encouraged on her quest to make the world a better place. The valedictorian for the class of 2015 also said she appreciated her alma mater's emphasis on writing, which helped her as a student and an organizer. She credited her middle and upper school debate experience for giving her many of the skills she uses in her advocacy work: "Just like debate, running campaigns involves strategy, negotiation, and analysis," she said. Read our November 2016 Fine Print story about Claire.

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Alumni

Ikwo Frank and peers on National Academy of Medicine stairs

Ikwo Frank '13 and her peers from American University recently took the stage at the National Academy of Medicine to pitch their solution to the sixth-annual DC Public Health Case Challenge. The competition engages teams of students from DC-area universities in an intensive two-week process of researching solutions to a significant public health issue, culminating in the presentation of a proposal to a panel of expert judges at the Academy's annual meeting. This year's challenge was "Reducing Disparities in Cancer and Chronic Disease: Preventing Tobacco Use in African American Adolescents."

Ikwo, who is about six months away from completing her master's degree in health promotion management, joined American's team at the invitation of another program student—she thought it would be a good academic challenge. Plus it's a subject she and her team members are passionate about, which served them well during the strenuous research phase and at the panel presentation on October 14.
 

Left: Ikwo with fellow American University students Liz Fam and Elizabeth Taormina. Right: Ikwo on stage.

Her cohort spent hours working individually and as a team, sharing ideas for the best and most practical ways they could tackle the case. Ikwo, who has been living in Washington DC for almost a year and a half, found herself focusing on what students do after school. "It's a big city," she said. "Where do all these kids go?" Her team devised an idea for an after-school program built around mental health and wellness—the program would help kids become more mindful, teach healthy strategies for coping with stress, and provide a safe space when school lets out.

Ikwo's team devised an idea for an after-school program built around mental health and wellness—the program would help kids become more mindful, teach healthy strategies for coping with stress, and provide a safe space when school lets out.

Even though her team didn't win the competition, Ikwo regards the experience as extremely worthwhile. The conviction they brought to their presentation earned positive reviews from the panel, and the collaborative energy of participants was inspiring. Furthermore, all teams' proposals will be summarized in an upcoming National Academy of Medicine publication.

And there's one more benefit not to be overlooked: the competition requires students to apply a narrow lens—and look for feasible solutions—in a field where the scope and volume of problems often seem daunting. "The health world is so broad, and there's so much work to be done," Ikwo said. "I wish we could save the world, but we have to be realistic. One small thing really does go a long way."

Ikwo is already applying her studies to the greater community. When not in school, she works at the World Bank as a fitness specialist and instructor. Prior to attending American, she earned her bachelor of science from Weber State University in human performance management (the program has since been renamed).

 

Banner photo: 2018 DC Public Health Case Challenge Participants. Photo credit: National Academy of Medicine.

Alumni

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