Custom Class: post-landing-hero

As an eighth-grade gymnast and tumbler, Sophia Cutrubus dreamt of cheerleading for a high school football team. She lived in Ogden, an hour north of Salt Lake City. So when her parents broached the idea of applying to Rowland Hall, she balked.

I immediately understood why I should be here.—Sophia Cutrubus, Class of 2018, after visiting Rowland Hall

"I didn't know what the school was like at all," she said. To appease her folks, she attended an Upper School open house, where she chatted with English teacher Dr. Carolyn Hickman and history teacher Dr. Fiona Halloran. Then, she spent a day shadowing a student—Sophia still remembers Rob Wilson's biology lecture about the human heart. Her interactions with students and faculty revealed a community that cared deeply about education, she said. "I immediately understood why I should be here."

So her mom helped her complete school and scholarship applications, including one for a Malone Family Foundation Scholarship. Then, one evening in early 2014, the eighth grader visited her grandparents' house, and walked into a deluge of confetti and silly string—her mom had planned a surprise party with family and a few friends. She opened her Rowland Hall admission letter, and then a separate scholarship letter. She still remembers reading it line by and line, and seeing the grand total and how the Malone Scholarship covered most of her family's costs. "It was just a really emotional thing," she said. She was moved that Rowland Hall wanted her to attend and financially empowered her to do so.

Back in spring 2011, a similar celebration transpired at Rowland Hall when administrators learned the Malone Family Foundation—after a rigorous evaluation process including an on-site visit—had deemed us one of their 50 scholarship schools, and the only in Utah. "We were jumping up and down and giving people high-fives," Head of School Alan Sparrow said. "It was a great honor to be selected as a Malone Family Foundation school."

Media executive and philanthropist Dr. John C. Malone and his family started the foundation in 1997 to enable motivated students to attain scholarships to top independent schools, according to the foundation. These students must also demonstrate financial need—without the Malone Scholarship, they'd lack the resources to attend an independent school.

At Rowland Hall, the $2 million endowment each year provides a total of $100,000 in scholarships for six students in grades seven through twelve. Once a student earns a Malone Scholarship, it follows them through their Rowland Hall career. Since 2011, the program has helped 12 Winged Lions attend our institution.

Being a Malone School offers advantages beyond the endowment, according to Mr. Sparrow. Every June, he and other Malone School heads gather at Stanford University to share ideas. They also benefit from the college's many resources and speakers—this past summer, for instance, they heard from the director of Stanford's artificial intelligence lab.

Here at Rowland Hall, our head of school applauds the Malone Scholarship for attracting students whose perspectives enhance the community. "They're all motivated to get as much as possible out of the education we offer," Mr. Sparrow said of our scholars. "At the same time, they give back to the community through their participation—whether in classes, or on sports teams, or in the arts—and fully immerse themselves in the school community and beyond."

Sophomore and Malone Scholar Andres Torres came here as a seventh grader, and like Sophia, found Rowland Hall to be a natural fit from his first interview with our Admission Office. The debater and track athlete especially enjoys his history and science classes, and excitedly shows off his smart-phone case adorned with the Voyager spacecrafts' Golden Record design. He might want to be an engineer one day, he said, and appreciates how Rowland Hall has expanded his knowledge. "Academically, it's a great fit for me," he said. "I like the workload, and the amount of things I learn is pretty vast."

Before I came to Rowland Hall, I didn't really know what it meant to push myself and to expect the best of myself. It really woke me up.—Sophia Cutrubus

Being a Malone Scholar simply means valuing your education, Sophia echoed, and it's changed the way she approaches school. "Before I came to Rowland Hall, I didn't really know what it meant to push myself and to expect the best of myself," she said. "It really woke me up." She embraced the challenge and flourished in the community. "I had to start thinking about ethics and morality, and pushing myself not to just get that A, but to really feel proud of the work I was doing," said Sophia, who's also expanded her cultural horizons here: she sits on the Inclusion and Equity Committee, and spent her Project 11 teaching dance to middle schoolers in the Navajo Nation.

Since her freshman year, Sophia has tackled an ambitious roster of classes and learned to reach out to teachers for help. Faculty, in turn, have encouraged her. "They're really invested in who you are as a person," she said. "To them, you're not just another person sitting in a desk."

The respect is mutual; Sophia's instructors commend her intellectual curiosity. In January, history teachers Dr. Nate Kogan and Dr. Fiona Halloran took the then-junior and five other students to the American Historical Association's Annual Meeting—read about the trip. According to Dr. Halloran, Sophi (as she's often called) happily attended sessions on all kinds of obscure topics, and on various peoples of the past: "North Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America—she was interested in everyone," the teacher said.

"She's bright, energetic, critical, observant, and kind," Dr. Halloran added. "On top of these gifts, Sophi is a person who wants you to try the amazing lemon tart she's enjoying...She's enthusiastic and eager for others to share her pleasure in every excitement she encounters."

Since Rowland Hall doesn't have football or cheerleading, Sophia turned to the next best thing—our dance program, led by Sofia Gorder. When Sophia nervously auditioned for Dance Ensemble, an older peer, Hannah Riter '15, took the novice under her wing and ushered her through the choreography. With a lift from classmates like Hannah and the passionate, dynamic Ms. Gorder, Sophia fell in love with the artform and became a standout performer, now in Dance Ensemble VI.

Rowland Hall has helped Sophia find her niche, and next year, she hopes to attend college for dance and biology. In Dr. Halloran's opinion, Sophia is talented enough to do nearly anything. "She's going to sample the world and land somewhere interesting, doing something unexpected," the teacher said. And Sophia credits Rowland Hall for encouraging her self-exploration and self-expression these past four years—it's been worth her hourlong commute.

To learn more about our Malone Family Foundation Scholarship, visit rowlandhall.org/scholarships.

Scholarships

Through Prestigious Malone Scholarships, Bright Students Empowered to Attend Rowland Hall

As an eighth-grade gymnast and tumbler, Sophia Cutrubus dreamt of cheerleading for a high school football team. She lived in Ogden, an hour north of Salt Lake City. So when her parents broached the idea of applying to Rowland Hall, she balked.

I immediately understood why I should be here.—Sophia Cutrubus, Class of 2018, after visiting Rowland Hall

"I didn't know what the school was like at all," she said. To appease her folks, she attended an Upper School open house, where she chatted with English teacher Dr. Carolyn Hickman and history teacher Dr. Fiona Halloran. Then, she spent a day shadowing a student—Sophia still remembers Rob Wilson's biology lecture about the human heart. Her interactions with students and faculty revealed a community that cared deeply about education, she said. "I immediately understood why I should be here."

So her mom helped her complete school and scholarship applications, including one for a Malone Family Foundation Scholarship. Then, one evening in early 2014, the eighth grader visited her grandparents' house, and walked into a deluge of confetti and silly string—her mom had planned a surprise party with family and a few friends. She opened her Rowland Hall admission letter, and then a separate scholarship letter. She still remembers reading it line by and line, and seeing the grand total and how the Malone Scholarship covered most of her family's costs. "It was just a really emotional thing," she said. She was moved that Rowland Hall wanted her to attend and financially empowered her to do so.

Back in spring 2011, a similar celebration transpired at Rowland Hall when administrators learned the Malone Family Foundation—after a rigorous evaluation process including an on-site visit—had deemed us one of their 50 scholarship schools, and the only in Utah. "We were jumping up and down and giving people high-fives," Head of School Alan Sparrow said. "It was a great honor to be selected as a Malone Family Foundation school."

Media executive and philanthropist Dr. John C. Malone and his family started the foundation in 1997 to enable motivated students to attain scholarships to top independent schools, according to the foundation. These students must also demonstrate financial need—without the Malone Scholarship, they'd lack the resources to attend an independent school.

At Rowland Hall, the $2 million endowment each year provides a total of $100,000 in scholarships for six students in grades seven through twelve. Once a student earns a Malone Scholarship, it follows them through their Rowland Hall career. Since 2011, the program has helped 12 Winged Lions attend our institution.

Being a Malone School offers advantages beyond the endowment, according to Mr. Sparrow. Every June, he and other Malone School heads gather at Stanford University to share ideas. They also benefit from the college's many resources and speakers—this past summer, for instance, they heard from the director of Stanford's artificial intelligence lab.

Here at Rowland Hall, our head of school applauds the Malone Scholarship for attracting students whose perspectives enhance the community. "They're all motivated to get as much as possible out of the education we offer," Mr. Sparrow said of our scholars. "At the same time, they give back to the community through their participation—whether in classes, or on sports teams, or in the arts—and fully immerse themselves in the school community and beyond."

Sophomore and Malone Scholar Andres Torres came here as a seventh grader, and like Sophia, found Rowland Hall to be a natural fit from his first interview with our Admission Office. The debater and track athlete especially enjoys his history and science classes, and excitedly shows off his smart-phone case adorned with the Voyager spacecrafts' Golden Record design. He might want to be an engineer one day, he said, and appreciates how Rowland Hall has expanded his knowledge. "Academically, it's a great fit for me," he said. "I like the workload, and the amount of things I learn is pretty vast."

Before I came to Rowland Hall, I didn't really know what it meant to push myself and to expect the best of myself. It really woke me up.—Sophia Cutrubus

Being a Malone Scholar simply means valuing your education, Sophia echoed, and it's changed the way she approaches school. "Before I came to Rowland Hall, I didn't really know what it meant to push myself and to expect the best of myself," she said. "It really woke me up." She embraced the challenge and flourished in the community. "I had to start thinking about ethics and morality, and pushing myself not to just get that A, but to really feel proud of the work I was doing," said Sophia, who's also expanded her cultural horizons here: she sits on the Inclusion and Equity Committee, and spent her Project 11 teaching dance to middle schoolers in the Navajo Nation.

Since her freshman year, Sophia has tackled an ambitious roster of classes and learned to reach out to teachers for help. Faculty, in turn, have encouraged her. "They're really invested in who you are as a person," she said. "To them, you're not just another person sitting in a desk."

The respect is mutual; Sophia's instructors commend her intellectual curiosity. In January, history teachers Dr. Nate Kogan and Dr. Fiona Halloran took the then-junior and five other students to the American Historical Association's Annual Meeting—read about the trip. According to Dr. Halloran, Sophi (as she's often called) happily attended sessions on all kinds of obscure topics, and on various peoples of the past: "North Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America—she was interested in everyone," the teacher said.

"She's bright, energetic, critical, observant, and kind," Dr. Halloran added. "On top of these gifts, Sophi is a person who wants you to try the amazing lemon tart she's enjoying...She's enthusiastic and eager for others to share her pleasure in every excitement she encounters."

Since Rowland Hall doesn't have football or cheerleading, Sophia turned to the next best thing—our dance program, led by Sofia Gorder. When Sophia nervously auditioned for Dance Ensemble, an older peer, Hannah Riter '15, took the novice under her wing and ushered her through the choreography. With a lift from classmates like Hannah and the passionate, dynamic Ms. Gorder, Sophia fell in love with the artform and became a standout performer, now in Dance Ensemble VI.

Rowland Hall has helped Sophia find her niche, and next year, she hopes to attend college for dance and biology. In Dr. Halloran's opinion, Sophia is talented enough to do nearly anything. "She's going to sample the world and land somewhere interesting, doing something unexpected," the teacher said. And Sophia credits Rowland Hall for encouraging her self-exploration and self-expression these past four years—it's been worth her hourlong commute.

To learn more about our Malone Family Foundation Scholarship, visit rowlandhall.org/scholarships.

Scholarships

Explore More Arts Stories

students performing on stage
Middle and upper school actors, dancers, musicians, and visual artists derived their own absurd, whimsical, haunting, and comedic version of Alice in Wonderland, performed April 11–13 in the Larimer Center for the Performing Arts.

The innovative show featured large-scale murals, traveling props, a costume menagerie, every style of dance, and integrated orchestral, vocal, and jazz music.

theater

dancers on stage

Every arts performance is a collaborative event, and in recent years we’ve had a large contingency of alumni return and contribute their time and talents to our programs. This January’s dance concert, Home: The Monsters We Run From, The Refuge We Seek, featured a film by Oliver Jin ’18 and a piece choreographed by Laja Field ’08. Also assisting: Max Jacquin ’18 worked on the lighting design and Sophia Cutrubus ’18 trained dancers in the Middle School Arts & Ensemble program.

Oliver’s film served as an introduction to the dance concert, framing the themes of migration and departure in scientific terms and providing audience members with a foundation to aid their interpretation of the dancers’ work. “The film is a message that says migration and movement and departure are an integral part of our humanity,” Oliver said. He credited Rowland Hall with showing him how the arts are intertwined. Now in his first year at Sarah Lawrence College studying photography, Oliver frequently attends art installations, dance lectures, and other performances to support and learn from fellow artists.

Laja Field ’08 enjoyed coming back to Rowland Hall and collaborating with the current group of students and artists. She said the school feels like home to her: “The teachers and experiences I had there I hold very close to my heart.”After graduating in 2008, Laja Field earned her bachelor’s degree in modern dance at the University of Utah and went on to dance professionally, eventually founding the physical dance theatre company LAJAMARTIN with her partner, Martin Durov. She said studying dance at Rowland Hall—and the opportunity to complete a distinction in dance—helped her envision a career in the field. Laja was thrilled to return and create a piece on current students, which  was partly inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story.

“I believe that, if we tell more stories, and we’re able to invite another perspective through dance, there’s an opportunity to see something in a new way,” Laja said. She described her piece as a mish-mash of cultural influences, which asks people to consider their roles in any given community. “Who are we? Are we the ones who open our arms? Are we the ones who listen to new stories and open up our perspectives and take them in? Or are we stuck in our ways?”

Rowland Hall’s arts department chair Sofia Gorder celebrated the desire of our alumni to collaborate with other artists and stay engaged with their alma mater: “The school breeds this idea that we come back and we give back. That’s part of the culture.” See clips from the concert and hear more from Laja and Oliver about what giving back to the arts means to them.
 

Alumni

Livia Anderson sitting in front of her mural.

After three years of intermittent painting, junior Livia Anderson in August applied the last strokes on a vibrant mural dominating one wall of eighth-grade American Studies teacher Bill Tatomer’s classroom.

Livia—who received help from assistant artist and twin sister Leonie—started the mural the summer before eighth grade at the request of Mr. Tatomer. Now, her “client” couldn’t be happier with the final product: “I’m so fortunate to have this student-centric, curriculum-specific masterpiece in my classroom,” Mr. Tatomer said. “I’ll treasure it, and my students will get to appreciate it for years and years to come.”

Livia's mural features a famous World War II scene, plus imagery inspired by the westward expansion of the US.

In the following Q&A—lightly edited for length and context—Livia discusses how she made the mural, her productive struggle during the the three-year undertaking, how she persevered, and what she learned.

Why did you volunteer to paint this mural?
Most of the time I use small canvases, so completing an artwork of such magnitude was foreign to me. It was a great opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experiment with new methods and mediums.

Is this your first mural-painting experience? What was that like? Will you do it again?
This was my first time painting a mural. It was exciting because I experimented with different tools, such as airbrushes, sponges, paint rollers, etc. If I’m ever given the opportunity to paint another mural, I’ll wholeheartedly accept. I’ll say, however, that I was unprepared when it came to time management, so that made it difficult to complete quickly.

It took me far longer than I expected, but I’m glad I completed it...If I’m ever given the opportunity to paint another mural, I’ll wholeheartedly accept. —Junior Livia Andersen, mural artist

How long did it take? Explain the process and timeline.
I began painting the mural in summer 2015, before I started eighth grade, and completed it this summer—so it took about three years. I finished most of the sketching and background painting during the first summer, but the details took me longer. I mostly worked on it when school was out for summer, which allowed for hours of uninterrupted work at a time.

How do you feel about the final product?
I’m quite proud of the mural, to say the least. It took me far longer than I expected, but I’m glad I completed it.

Explain the imagery you used. What inspired you?
I knew Mr. Tatomer wanted me to depict the American flag, but I challenged myself when it came to the other elements. I decided to pay tribute to Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, the famous 1945 photo by Joe Rosenthal. I also included elements of the westward expansion, such as bison and a steam engine, and “We the People” as a nod to the foundation of America.

You've taken several art electives with teacher Rob Mellor. How did your knowledge and skills influence this mural, if at all?
I used quite a bit of the skills I’ve learned. The two main principles I had to take into consideration were perspective and proportion, and I used my knowledge from art classes to do so.

What did you get out of the experience?
Throughout the creation of this mural, I learned so much and improved my artistic skills. I used new tools and mediums and depicted things I don’t work with often, such as the human form and geometric objects.

Visual Arts

Choreographing 'Home'

My Experience Collaboratively Creating the January 17–19 Dance Concert Home: The Monsters We Run From, the Refuge We Seek

By Katie Rose Kimball, Class of 2019

Every dance concert is a culmination of many artistic processes, patched and threaded together into an epic mosaic of experience, ideas, and connections. Each choreographer and dancer can trace their own emotional story through the development of the program, if only because the process takes months to complete.

Above, students run through Home in a dress rehearsal before opening night.

Coming out of the last summer of high school, I found myself thinking about the habits I had formed to structure summer days—drinking morning tea, eating questionable meals, redesigning my room—and my relationship with routines as a whole, whether they were mind-numbing, comforting, or something in between. When I was presented with the tagline of this year's concert—Home: The Monsters We Run From, the Refuge We Seek—I found myself with the perfect avenue to explore my questions about routine.

To create my dance, I settled into a cyclical process of choice, inspiration, and response. For instance, I chose music with layers of repetition to reflect how routines build on top of each other. When I was considering one potential song, another dancer casually commented that it sounded like a morning alarm. That comment propelled me to build the storyline of my dance around morning routines. This choice led to more deliberate decisions like having one dancer make a cup of tea while the rest slept. And so it went until I had filled the whole three minutes of music.

One of the hardest parts of the process was struggling with the vulnerability that comes with asking someone else to perform your art.

One of the hardest parts of the process was struggling with the vulnerability that comes with asking someone else to perform your art. When I teach a dance to another person, it's as if I'm painting a piece on wood and metal and cloth that was intended for a blank canvas. The general strokes of what I'm trying to convey transfer easily, but each individual's performance has different details and a different underlying tone. Yet, this transformation also allows me to see my ideas in a way I never can when they're caught inside my own mind. I'm forced to face that which I was trying to avoid, and I discover comfort in places I'd never thought to look.

I find myself creating a little piece of Home.

Looking around, I see each person in the dance company looking to find this piece of home, whether that's by asking what it means to be a refugee, examining our relationship with technology, exploring a child's imagination, or revealing our underlying dread of deadlines. This year's dance concert brings together a unique collection of voices that are ready to welcome you into their home.

Dance

You Belong at Rowland Hall