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Lori and Chuck reviewing work.

When Rowland Hall’s youngest students face academic or social-emotional challenges, Lori Miller and Chuck White are there to lift them up.

team in park

Carson Burian led a young cross-country team to a Region 17 title last fall, and he's not slowing down. Read about his training methods, goals, and why he thinks 2019 will be his best year yet.

Claire Wang at Rowland Hall graduation in 2015.

The Duke senior and devout environmentalist was one of 32 Americans to win a 2019 Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest and best-known award for international study.

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College Counseling Ambassadors

By Coral Azarian, associate director of College Counseling, Student Council advisor, and a 2017 graduate of the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLI) Leadership Lab

Republished from gcLi with permission; this version lightly edited.

In the late ’90s, John Christensen visited the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. He watched fishmongers toss massive fresh catches to one another while effortlessly interacting with throngs of tourists, and realized that despite the smiles, jokes, and radiating positivity, throwing heavy fish for an audience all day was tedious work.

Yet the experience for everyone was always happy, because regardless of variables—from bad weather to long work shifts—the fishmongers were always happy. They were always positive; they were always present; they actively sought ways to make their audience’s experience memorable; and they always had fun.

Leadership is complex, but at its core, it should be something we enjoy. Successful leaders are consistent and have fun, and we should instill that in our students. People who embrace that philosophy are more impactful and sustainable leaders than those motivated by expectation alone.

For the last four years, I’ve worked as Rowland Hall’s associate director of College Counseling. In the fall, our office is dedicated to supporting the needs and nurturing the anxieties of over 70 seniors, and we often find ourselves at a loss as to how to serve everyone to the fullest degree.

The last straw was when one admissions representative visited our school without meeting a single one of our students. He represented a college that my colleague and I knew would be a great fit for a number of our seniors, but because it wasn’t in the 25 perennial favorite “reach” schools of students and their parents, no one signed up. The representative was instead left to meet with my colleague and me. This experience, along with the daily stress of meeting the needs of students and visitors, inspired our College Counseling Ambassadors program.

The tenets—choosing your attitude, being present, finding small ways to make someone else’s day, and infusing fun into your work—serve as the perfect platform for a student-leadership program.

So what does a new student-leadership program have to do with fishmongers? Well, with my unwritten but foremost job responsibility being relationship building, I live my own version of the fishmonger’s story every day. The FISH! philosophy, the leadership theory that Christensen developed as a result of his Pike Place observations, is now used by organizations the world over. It’s a natural match for Rowland Hall. The tenets—choosing your attitude, being present, finding small ways to make someone else’s day, and infusing fun into your work—serve as the perfect platform for a student-leadership program.

Our ambassador team began with a group of second-semester sophomores who completed applications and interviews and participated in two months of training. Each ambassador developed a campus tour highlighting their unique Rowland Hall experience, then conducted mock tours with their peers and provided constructive feedback to ensure everyone would lead successful visits. Starting in the fall, they turned that training into concrete leadership as they adapted to last-minute schedule changes, guided peers on what to expect while talking with college reps, and synthesized and relayed institutional highlights in weekly emails to entice seniors to attend college meetings.

As the semester progressed, their confidence grew, and I witnessed—while they experienced—the FISH! philosophy in action:

Choose Your Attitude

We all have days when things don’t seem to be going right. For our ambassadors, this might  mean they overslept or have anxiety over a test. But when it’s time to don that nametag and welcome college reps to campus, ambassadors choose to have a positive attitude. They ensure guests leave knowing more about Rowland Hall, and that their time here was valued. This is a major goal of the program and a key component in developing students’ abilities to be positive leaders.

For our ambassadors, being there doesn’t just mean showing up on time. It means staying engaged throughout a rep’s visit, asking questions during their presentation, and cultivating curiosity about the opportunities an institution provides.

Be There

Our students exist in a culture that is constantly propelling them forward, providing little reward for being present and getting out from behind a screen. For our ambassadors, being there doesn’t just mean showing up on time. It means staying engaged throughout a rep’s visit, asking questions during their presentation, and cultivating curiosity about the opportunities an institution provides, even if they don’t think it would be a great fit for them personally. Being there also manifests in an ambassador’s ability to think on their feet and adjust to schedule changes. Focusing on the present helps them adapt to unplanned or less-than-ideal situations.

Make Their Day

Emotional intelligence is an important component of leadership development. For our ambassadors, this takes shape when they find small ways to make reps special. Ambassadors ensure that reps have the opportunity to set their bags down or get a drink of water before their tour. They also send reps handwritten thank-you cards. Helping our ambassadors develop the emotional intelligence to read and respond to situations empowers them to make others feel valued.

Play

Ambassadors may not be be enthusiastic about every college they’re assigned, and they may not always be jazzed about drafting yet another email on what they learned about a university. But we can still have fun. Celebrating successes—whether by hosting our end-of-semester breakfast or by sharing compliments paid to ambassadors via post-visit surveys—is an important practice that our lead ambassadors (a new component of the program this year) are now adopting. Taking a step back to find joy in your work is an important facet of leadership.

So as I kick off my 27th school year (as a student and counselor) with a new crop of ambassadors and our first crew of lead ambassadors, I’m energized by the enthusiasm of my students diving in headfirst. Our lead ambassadors are learning how to mentor our new folks, and in each interaction, I see them actively choosing positivity, finding ways to make each other’s day, and exploring new opportunities to infuse play into every aspect of the program.

Coral graduated from the gcLi Leadership Lab in 2017. The lab, by presenting a foundation in developmental psychology and brain science, helps educators develop the ability to identify, utilize, and create teachable moments to transform individuals, classrooms, sports teams, and whole schools.
 

College Counseling

Lori and Chuck reviewing work.

When Rowland Hall’s youngest students face academic or social-emotional challenges, Chuck White and Lori Miller are there to lift them up.

What strategies will help a third-grade student stay focused during class? How can a group of children on the playground resolve a conflict? How do you support the emotional needs of a first grader who has just lost a pet? What are the best ways to challenge a nine-year-old reading at a middle school level?
 
If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve grappled with questions like these. As children develop throughout their preschool and elementary years, unexpected challenges often arise—and those challenges can turn into learning opportunities and positive outcomes for students. In Rowland Hall’s beginning and lower schools, we encourage a growth mindset with an intentionally crafted student-support program to evaluate and nurture each child’s development. If you haven’t already, you should get to know the powerhouse duo leading this effort: Chuck White and Lori Miller.

In Rowland Hall’s beginning and lower schools, we encourage a growth mindset with an intentionally crafted student-support program to evaluate and nurture each child’s development.

Meet Lori

Lori Miller has always loved reading. She grew up in a small town without a public library, so when the bookmobile came by every two weeks, Lori and her sister would check out seven books apiece—the maximum allowed—and each read one book per day until the bookmobile came again. During a visit to her college’s career center, Lori watched a short film of a teacher helping children learn to read and knew immediately: that’s what she wanted to do. Lori recalled thinking, “I love to read so much, and if I can give that gift to other kids, that’s exactly what I want to do.” And for the next 15 years, she taught first grade—the age at which most children learn to read.
 
Throughout her career, Lori has worn a variety of educational hats: elementary school principal, literacy-intervention specialist, and director of curriculum and instruction. She earned a master’s degree in gifted education from Utah State University and an administrative certificate from the University of Utah. When the position of academic support counselor at Rowland Hall opened up in 2007, Lori jumped at the chance to join a community she’d always admired. “I knew it was an amazing place,” Lori said, “and I really felt I could make a difference here.”


Lori spends her days on the McCarthey Campus serving three core constituencies: students, teachers, and parents. She oversees reading assessments and helps teachers ensure that all students are meeting benchmarks in reading, writing, and math. If there are any red flags for learning differences, she can observe the student, offer strategies to differentiate instruction, and develop a support plan, which may include tutoring. “I feel like a shepherd, with my little flock,” Lori said. “I’m just making sure they are all heading in the right direction.”

I feel like a shepherd, with my little flock. I’m just making sure they are all heading in the right direction. —Lori MillerThe joy Lori derives from her job is most evident when she speaks about visiting the kindergarten writer’s workshop. “It’s like a watching a miracle, to see how they’re figuring it out,” she said. “They have something they are excited about, and they want to put their ideas into words, and they have to think: How do I do that?” It’s a vital step in literacy development, Lori explained, since writing and reading work as opposite processes in a young brain: the former involves encoding one’s own thoughts into sounds and symbols, and the latter is a decoding process that starts with symbols on the page. “It’s really awesome,” she said.

Meet Chuck

In Chuck White’s office, one bookshelf is full of small figurines, dolls, and gadgets that, he explains, are part of an engagement strategy. Students can bring in a small toy from home and exchange it for something off his shelves. “It’s about making them feel welcome and comfortable in the counselor’s office,” he said.


Chuck joined the Rowland Hall community in 2008, one year after Lori arrived. School counseling is a second act for him, having spent 25 years working for Information and Referral Center—now 211 Utah—a private nonprofit that connects people who need help with the appropriate programs and agencies. Seeking more face-to-face interaction, and citing his love of education, Chuck earned his master’s degree in school counseling from Utah State University, then spent a few years working in the Salt Lake City School District before landing at Rowland Hall.
 
A significant portion of Chuck’s time is spent in the Lower School classrooms, teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) through the Second Step curriculum. “We teach skills,” Chuck explained, “such as how to look at and understand another person’s feelings, or how to control strong emotions, or how to be an effective problem-solver.” These lessons begin in 4PreK—where they are delivered by assistant teachers, under Chuck’s tutelage—and continue all the way through fifth grade. The language and approach evolve as children age, but the concepts remain the same.
 
Chuck reaches every Lower School student through chapel service as well, where he introduces a virtue of the month such as kindness, service, and respect—all to reinforce core values and encourage good behavior. Those virtues can be individualized, too: “We try and find various ways of helping kids own that virtue, understanding that it may mean something different for one student than another,” Chuck said. He and Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund also recently created the Kindness Club, a voluntary opportunity for Lower School students to practice kind acts, often anonymously.

Like Lori, Chuck is always a resource anytime a student needs individual support. “I can provide a listening ear, help set goals or strategize, or just check in on them,” he said. He loves being able to witness the growth of students during their Lower School years. “It’s a real privilege, and an honor.”

The Whole Child

As the two faculty members devoted full time to student support in the beginning and lower schools, Chuck and Lori think often about a core component of Rowland Hall’s mission: educating the whole child. For Lori, that means considering the social, emotional, and academic components of being part of a learning community, and how they must effectively combine in order for a student to succeed. Chuck agrees: “A child cannot do well academically if they are not doing well emotionally or socially.”

Chuck and Lori often work as a team—along with division principals, teachers, and parents—to support a student in need. Chuck’s SEL curriculum teaches resilience and strategies to deal with academic challenges, too. He gave an example of how he might approach a struggling student: “If you’re at your desk feeling super frustrated because you’re not understanding the math piece in front of you, what do you with that frustration? You can give up, which is one strategy, which is not good learning. Or you can flip the script and say, ‘Yeah, I am feeling frustrated. Maybe I need to get some help.’ That’s controlling your strong emotions. That’s you being in control.”

Chuck and Lori focus on the whole child, for each individual child—which means everything from identifying early signs of dyslexia to running a support group for children of divorced parents to helping classroom teachers recommend books to foster a love of reading.

Beginning School Principal Emma Wellman joined the Rowland Hall community last summer, and she already marvels at the work Chuck and Lori do for students and faculty—particularly how they problem solve. “There’s love and respect for children at the foundation, always,” she said. “It’s really about figuring out what does this individual person need to be his or her best learning self, and how can we match what we're doing with what that learner needs.”
 
Chuck and Lori focus on the whole child, for each individual child—which means everything from identifying early signs of dyslexia to running a support group for children of divorced parents to helping classroom teachers recommend books to foster a love of reading. Working with a diverse group of children with different academic, social, and emotional needs is part of what makes the job so rewarding, though. “Kids with all kinds of learning differences thrive at our school,” Lori said.

The Big Picture

Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund is passionate about SEL, citing the many benefits to student performance and long-term success, including a significant economic impact that extends far beyond the field of education. Furthermore, research has shown that every minute spent on the social-emotional development of children translates to increased instructional time. 
 
Rowland Hall recently solidified its long-term commitment to SEL, adding a bullet point to the strategic plan about integrating social-emotional learning in support of Goal 1, enhancing the student learning experience. For Mr. Hoglund, having the resources to keep children on track when they face inevitable challenges—at any point in their education—is part of what differentiates independent schools. "We’re in an environment where you have these two amazing individuals who get kids off the sidelines and back in the game,” he said.

We’re in an environment where you have these two amazing individuals who get kids off the sidelines and back in the game. —Ryan Hoglund

Chuck said he’s grateful to be in a place where it’s part of the culture to talk about supporting the whole child, and where there’s a robust professional-development program to keep staff and teachers at the top of their game. When it comes down to it, the daily motivation is simple for Chuck, Lori, and most educators: they hope to impact children’s lives for the better.

“We want each of our kids to maximize their potential and their skills,” Lori said, “because that will unlock a lot of doors for them.”

 

People

 

Fine Print survey graphic

Over the past six months, our editorial staff has been rethinking the design and content strategy for our school magazine, Fine Print. Thank you to the many parents, alumni, faculty, staff, board members, and friends who completed our readership survey last fall. Your feedback helped us refine the layout of our new magazine website, which is now closely integrated with the school’s main website. 

We’ve streamlined the home page of Fine Print so you can easily locate the most recently published stories. You can also find editor’s picks, skim a feed of news-media coverage relating to Rowland Hall, and explore stories by both subject and format. We’ve changed our story categories as well, so you can now find content grouped accordingly: 

  • Features: In-depth stories shining the spotlight on Rowland Hall's programs, events, traditions, people, and more.
  • In Brief: Short updates and breaking news on all things Rowland Hall.
  • People: Interview-based stories on alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the school. These are the people that make Rowland Hall extraordinary.
  • Programs: Life and learning around campus.
  • Student Voices: First-person stories from students on their Rowland Hall experiences.
  • Letters from the Head: Alan Sparrow’s letters to the community.

We’ve streamlined the home page of Fine Print so you can easily locate the most recently published stories, find editor’s picks, skim a feed of news-media coverage relating to Rowland Hall, and explore stories by both subject and format.These updated categories highlight the subjects you’ve expressed the most interest in—faculty and staff profiles, curriculum, ethical education, and student work—while organizing content by form and length, too. We want our readers to be able to engage with compelling content across the site, whether they have five minutes to catch up on news or two hours to read all about our athletics and arts programs.

Finally, we recognize that school emails are the preferred delivery method for most of our community, so while you’ll regularly find fresh Fine Print content on social media and the website, we will continue to push issues of the magazine via an emailed newsletter twice a year.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Fine Print! As always, we welcome feedback and story ideas

News

Linda Hampton with sons

May we all flirt a little more, read a little more, go adventuring a little more, and put in the work to make the day-to-day special.

Linda Hampton, former administrative assistant to the Upper School principal and a beloved Rowland Hall employee since 1989, passed away December 25 following a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in August. Though our community continues to reel from Linda’s loss, a January 5 Celebration of Life service in St. Margaret’s Chapel on the McCarthey Campus provided some much-needed comfort and laughter—something Linda, the life of the party, would have wanted us all to have. Here are three sets of remarks from Linda’s family and friends, as read at the service. Lightly edited for style.

Jacob Hampton ’04, Linda’s son

When I started thinking of ways to highlight who mom was as a person, one of the first things I thought of was the day she stood us in the hallway and said, “Today is the day you learn that the words 'mom' and 'maid' are not synonymous.” Being direct was a hallmark of her personality.

She was one of the most genuine people I knew. She told me she once volunteered to discuss dress-code issues with one of the Upper School classes and ended up threatening that she’d start showing her underwear if they kept showing theirs. She was fiercely independent and stubborn when she had to be. Years ago she needed some work done on her sprinklers and balked at a local company’s quote. They explained the price was so high because they’d need to bring in a backhoe to dig a hole large enough to work in. She asked for the size of the hole and then proceeded to spend the day digging it by hand, no doubt throwing her back out in the process. Years ago her washing machine broke. She went to a local home-improvement store and asked one of the employees some questions to try to figure out the problem. He said her husband or one of her sons could probably do it for her. I wasn’t there, so I don’t what her response was, but I do know she worked on that machine until it was up and running again (probably more out of spite than anything). 

She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

But she wasn’t all gristle and sarcasm. She had such a strong, goofy, fun side to her, and that’s the side we saw most. She took us to Disneyland when I was 12 and my brother was 16. We went two more times after that, always reveling in the chance to act like three-year-olds together. She loved taking long walks with us and would spend the whole time talking about absolutely anything. She never shied away from serious or tough topics, including the eventuality of her death. We spent countless hours watching the Chiefs disappoint us so, so many times. These were our formative moments for the art of cursing. In the final weeks of her life, I always knew she was feeling pretty good if she cursed a few times during a Chiefs game. She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Mom said she wanted today’s memorial to be focused on memories and stories that make us smile or laugh. And I have plenty more I could share. But the most important memory I have of mom isn’t any one specific event or tradition. It was simply the feeling of being home with her. She told us she was so happy we weren’t interested in doing many extracurricular activities growing up because she was selfish and only had 18 years of us in the house. But it wasn’t selfish; it was so good for us to be with her. We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Before I finish, I need to fulfill a request that my mom desperately wanted me to do for her. She told me to tell everyone who reached out to her during these last few months: Thank you. Thank you for making her feel special and loved. She knew at the end how many people cared for her. And for that I’m so grateful.


Lee Thomsen, former Upper School principal and Linda’s former boss

We all know how much Linda loved books, and writers often articulate better what we mean to say, so I quote from George Saunders’ book Lincoln in the Bardo—a beautiful meditation on sadness and loss. 

“His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow, that all were suffering; and therefore, one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.” 

For those of you who worked in the Upper School with me, particularly in the office, you know that I tried to live by the mantra, “If that’s the biggest problem we have today we’ll take it,” but today is not one of those days, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Linda, seemingly was always a part of Rowland Hall and always would be. When I arrived 15 years ago, it seemed like she’d been here forever, and when I left three years ago, I assumed she would be here forever.

Let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Those of us who adored Linda are devastated today, but we also know she’d be pissed if we moped around too long. So, in service to Saunders’ words let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Among those things she loved: The Chiefs, books—especially dark mysteries (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Silence of the Lambs, the darker the better). This because, of course, she had studied criminal justice in college. 

She loved pie; guys with big, burly forearms; a well-cooked French fry; musicals; dance and choir concerts at Rowland Hall; Kansas City barbecue; and of course, DOGS. And sometimes those loves overlapped.

I knew Linda mostly during the Diesel era. I’ll never forget one weekend when the Upper School was running one of the musicals. Because both my girls were in it, Linda knew I would see it at least two if not all three nights. So, Friday morning, she asked me how the show had gone the night before, and she ended asking, “Did Alan go last night by any chance?” to which I answered, “Yes.” She said, “Good! Because I really want to see the show, but I can’t leave Diesel alone from 7 am to 10 at night. I’ll run home and smuggle him into the show. Alan would kill me if he caught me doing that.” Sure enough, come show time, there was Linda in the first row of the balcony of the Larimer Center, with Diesel tucked inside her jacket. But then she left at intermission. When I asked why she said, “Diesel started singing along with the big group number right at the end of the first act, so I couldn’t risk staying.”

Linda was a no-BS person. She disliked meanness and untruth. One day when someone was rude to Angela at the front desk, Linda was ready to go out there and rip that person a new one.  

She HATED when a parent would call and excuse their child from a test or something else when she suspected they weren’t really sick. And forget about anyone saying Doug Wortham’s class was “too hard.” 

The other night Abby reminded me that when she graduated from Rowland Hall, Linda said, “I have a graduation present for you that I want to bring by.” And, of course, what would you think Linda would give a student going off to college? A book, right? But no, the gift was a can of pepper spray, because Linda told her, “The world can be a very hard place.”

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on.

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on. The Bynum boys, Micha Hori, Jamie Pierce, Sofia Diehl, just to name a few—she had a soft spot for the singers and dancers and admired their talent and grace.

For faculty and staff kids, she was their “school mom.” Frequently taking the afternoon shift for our kids who took the shuttle from the other campus, clamoring into the office to grab a piece of candy. She’d get a special sparkle in her eyes when she got a hug from Hazel, Meg, my two, or the Tschabrun girls. I’m sure she carried on the same for Ingrid and Dave and the next generation.

And she loved all things Rowland Hall. Yes, she would occasionally complain that too many of us would gather in the office and talk and laugh making it impossible for her to talk on the phone or get any work done, but she kept that candy dish filled knowing that we’d keep coming back, and she kept real half-and-half in the faculty-room fridge so we didn’t have to use that powdered gunk.

And…she loved her boys. Zach and Jake—she was so proud of everything you two accomplished, and she loved her travels with you. The generosity you gave by spending her last days at home with her was a reflection of her generosity to others that she instilled in you. When I visited with her, the only time she cried was at the thought of leaving you behind. All of us appreciate how you kept us connected to her through Caring Bridge these last several months and how you took care of your mom.

Finally, to close, back to George Saunders who reminds us to keep the happy memories in our hearts.

“What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand... We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.”


Director of Ethical of Education Ryan Hoglund and Upper School psychology teacher Diane Guido

We’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Linda for 20 and 25 years. We want to first express gratitude to this community for taking care of its own through this difficult and poignant process. Thank you to Jeremy, Ann and operations, Linda’s family—Jacob, Emily, and Zach—and all of you in this community who have rallied to provide support, labor, and financial assistance, all to preserve Linda’s memory, dignity, comfort, and final peace. Tough love was Linda’s spirit and you have honored her well. 

Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

In addition to being Salt Lake’s most notorious zucchini square dealer, Linda was a mentor and friend we could all count on. Her Lutheran tradition believes salvation comes through grace, but we all in this space know she would achieve peace through works as well. Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

The blessing of our friendship, as it was with many of you here, was the magic in the mundane, day-to-day routines with Linda. Schools are labor-intensive places and behind the scenes are cycles, a hamster wheel of yearly to-do lists, tasks, checklists, and grind. Linda humanized the process. Annual events such as back to school and graduation would have happened without Linda, but she always gave them her touch—she knew those days were important to students and families. She made the mundane special. In fact, she insisted on it.

For example, while cleaning out student folders one summer, she came across sets of pre-digital school portraits that showed kids growing up year to year. Instead of seeing it as the detritus of student record-keeping, Linda insisted we mail them to each family. So we spent two days in the summer mailing these photos back to each family. As a parent now, I understand how powerful that gesture was.

Linda was the personification of tough love. Manners, hard work, and refinement were the bars she set for teens and adults alike. 

No dog or baby that came into the community made it past Linda’s caring heart. This is evident by the cross-stitch birth announcements hanging in many of our children’s rooms, and the coloring wall outside her cubicle. 

When my daughter Meg was born, Linda was a sweet hand—just as enthusiastic as I was with Meg’s arrival—and offered sound advice to a nervous and joyous parent. Mostly ways to make sure she feared for her life.

While Linda loved the Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Rowland Hall alums Zach and Jacob. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic.

While Linda loved the Kansas City Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Zach and Jacob, who graduated from Rowland Hall. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic. Linda always spoke about that drive through Spearfish Canyon as one of her favorite memories with you two boys. How beautiful that canyon was. She said it was her idea of heaven.

When you all went to the Star Trek convention (in, I think, Las Vegas), Linda was shocked you spent three days there without leaving the convention center. “A real testament to their upbringing,” she joked. I didn’t have the heart to explain to Linda the decadence that is cosplay culture. Your secrets are safe there.

When Zach got certified to do SCUBA, Linda wanted to as well. She joined me and students at the crater in Heber once, and talked about one day returning to dive with Zach. Linda loved the water. 

When we honored Linda for 30 years of service to the school this past fall, I asked Jacob what it was like to have his mother on campus. He said: “For a lot of teenagers entering a new school, having their mother in the main office would be some combination of embarrassing and terrifying. For me it was a blessing, as it gave me the chance to spend more time with the person most responsible for making me who I am. I'm extremely proud of what she's done.”

Zach mentioned: “I remember the sailing interim trip where I was the only guy on a boat full of women, including my mom! It wasn't bad though. I had a great time. I too am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with mom at Rowland Hall and even fondly recall going into the office during the summers to hang out or help with the bookstore.”

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults.

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults. At her and Diane’s 50th birthday party, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a great picture of their anatomically correct birthday cake. Diane is petrified in the picture, and Linda looks like she’s in it to win it. Linda was naughty, and never missed the opportunity to point out a double-entendre that would make all of us blush.

Linda spoke fondly of her childhood in Missouri—from what a role model her father had been growing up (Linda inherited her love of home improvement and her fix-it attitude from him), to her antic-filled tales of college, where she studied criminal justice. She had a voracious appetite for true-crime fiction. She and Diane would game the holiday book-exchange to pick each other and each secure a stack of the-gorier-the-better books. 

Diane and I were blessed to see her awe in Sorrento, Italy—the way she giggled through seeing the David, her silence as we walked Pompeii (well, except for the low-level swooning over our hot male Italian tour guide).

My favorite ritual we shared was the occasional beer on the porch with she and Diane on a lazy summer day or impromptu afternoon, joking, debating, or just catching up. We could sit for hours with the conversation easy...and one-sided mostly. Near the end of her life, Diane and I sat one afternoon with Linda. Linda was no-nonsense that she was going to die and was as sweetly resolved and brave as you would expect her to be. 

Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once.

We mere mortals joked that Linda was superwoman. We even had her wear a cape when we honored her for 30 years of service to the school. But Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once. 

What makes death so difficult are dreams and plans unfulfilled. In Linda’s honor I hope all of us flirt a little more, read for pleasure more often, share a drink with friends on the porch, take the time and put in the work to make the day-to-day special, and take a selfish adventure—a crazy adventure—that you have been putting off for responsible reasons.
 

People

Married couple smiling at each other.

This video wins for originality! The couples were hilarious and very comfortable on film.—InspirEd School Marketers Judge

As our community gathered to celebrate our sesquicentennial last year, we were amazed to see how many Rowland Hall friendships have carried on through the years. So in the spirit of Valentine's Day 2018, we had heart-to-hearts with alumni couples whose relationships have grown into lifelong love stories.

In December, we learned this project—produced by alumni brothers Christopher and Alex Lee of TWIG Media Lab—captured first place in the holiday video category of the InspirEd School Marketers 2018 Brilliance Awards. Congrats to the project team: TWIG, Director of Marketing and Communications Stephanie Orfanakis, Director of Events Mary Anne Wetzel ’01, Director of Alumni Relations Hilary Amoss ’96, and our charismatic alumni couples—the camera loves you and so do we.

Sample Judges' Comments on Our Winning Entry

"Solid gold winner! What a great idea for a video!"

"This video wins for originality! Loved that RH chose a non-traditional holiday (Valentine’s as opposed to Christmas or New Year’s), the couples were hilarious and very comfortable on film. As a school that has quite a few couples as current parents and faculty, I may have to 'borrow' this for 2019."

"What a fun way to showcase an endearing part of a school's history! I'll admit that I groaned when I saw that the video was six minutes long, but I watched to the very end because the stories of each couple were engaging and they revealed a lighter, more personal side of the school."

"So original—I smiled all the way through it! High production values with great editing. Very well done!"

"A really funny, refreshing piece to celebrate alumni romances through 150 years of Rowland Hall."

Alumni

InspirEd School Marketers 2018 Brilliance Award Winner badge
students interviewing man sitting on bench

Earlier this school year, sophomores hit iconic Salt Lake City spots to ask friendly strangers how migration has shaped their families’ stories. English teacher Dr. Kate Taylor masterminded the activity for sophomores' annual Beyond the Classroom day, in connection with their reading of Exit West

Before they took to the streets, students received a crash course from an expert folklorist, Thomas Richardson, on how to be an ethnographer and conduct interviews. Then during interviews, sophomores asked these questions:

Immigration heavily affected our way of life because we were the first peoples here.—Darren Parry, Chairman of the Shoshone Nation. See his interview in the top-left square.

  1. What story about your own or your family’s migration or travel can you share?
  2. Tell me about how migration or travel has shaped your story or your family’s story.
  3. Our class is reading a book called Exit West by Mohsin Hamid who said, “We are all migrants. All of us. We move through time and space.” How does that quote relate or not relate to your experience?

Students had a simple goal, Dr. Taylor said: listen and bear witness to the many different experiences of people in our city. 

View an exhibit of subjects’ photos and quotes just outside the Upper School library. A selection of students’ work is below.

Directions: On a desktop, hover over the audio icons to see pull quotes and hear interview audio. On a mobile device, press the audio icons.   

Student Reactions to the Assignment

Lightly edited for style and context.

It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. —Sophomore Cole McCartney

Beyond the Classroom made me realize how diverse Salt Lake City is. I was able to hear about many people’s experiences with migration or travel. I met people from Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries, and they all had very compelling stories. It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. I also found it interesting to hear different opinions on migration; there were some who were strongly for it while others didn't seem to care...I would never have talked to random people about this if it weren't for this project.
—Cole McCartney

It definitely showed me that people are always on the move, and how some don’t have to travel far to experience different things. It gave me more respect for people who do migrate often, or migrate to different countries or places that are vastly different from where they started. I feel more empathetic towards people who are migrating from oppressive countries and are struggling to find a place in this world. Even making the move from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake was difficult and took time, so these people are fighters and deserve happiness in their lives.
—Mary Clancy

At the beginning of the day, I thought it would be really scary because I would be talking with random people I didn't know, something I’ve rarely been comfortable with...I met a woman named Rosa María and asked if I could interview her. She replied, "I don't speak English, only Spanish; I'm on a trip," and I knew it would be a good opportunity to see how immigration had affected people who weren't living in the United States. I conducted the whole interview in Spanish and we laughed and had a good time...Being an immigrant myself, I thought everyone was affected in some way by immigration, but as I interviewed her I knew immigration wasn't all there was. She primarily talked about cross-cultural integration. I knew this was true but it didn't hit me until then: immigration is a big topic all around the world, but you don’t often hear in the media about how it opens people’s minds up to new ideas.
—Mena Zendejas-Portugal

Beyond the Classroom
 

Christopher Von Maack ’97 Appointed Next Board Chair

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Von Maack ’97 has been elected Rowland Hall’s next chair of the Board of Trustees. He will begin his term in July 2020. Current Board Chair Jennifer Price-Wallin will continue in the role for the upcoming academic year. 

I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community.
- Christopher Von Maack ’97

Chris joined the Board in July 2014 and has served as Chair of the Alumni Association and Development Committee. A Rowland Hall lifer—a student who attended the school for 12 or more years—and parent of two current students, his long-standing relationship with the school and dynamic leadership skills made Chris the clear choice to guide the Board during the transition to a new head of school and ongoing Capital Campaign. “It will be an honor to serve as Board chair during these important times,” Chris said. “I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community and acclimate a new head of school—something that the school has not done in 28 years.”

Chris graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. He obtained his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was a writer and editor for the McGeorge Law Review. A civil trial lawyer, Chris and law partner Jason McNeil recently founded McNeil Von Maack, a downtown firm focusing on complex business, intellectual property, and government contract disputes.

Chris and his wife Alexandra ’99 are parents of fourth-grader Charlie and first-grader Juliet. Alexandra is currently serving as the chair of Rowland Hall’s 2019 Auction, A Night in Havana, and both alums have dedicated countless hours as school volunteers over the past decade. Chris also serves on the board of the R. Harold Burton Foundation and previously served as a trustee for Preservation Utah and the Salt Lake Honorary Colonels.

“I am thrilled Chris has agreed to chair the Board of Trustees in 2020,” Ms. Price-Wallin said. “He is a visionary and understands the school very well. Rowland Hall is in excellent shape, and under Chris’s leadership, the school will continue to provide an exceptional education for years to come.”

People

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

Academics

students interviewing man sitting on bench

Earlier this school year, sophomores hit iconic Salt Lake City spots to ask friendly strangers how migration has shaped their families’ stories. English teacher Dr. Kate Taylor masterminded the activity for sophomores' annual Beyond the Classroom day, in connection with their reading of Exit West

Before they took to the streets, students received a crash course from an expert folklorist, Thomas Richardson, on how to be an ethnographer and conduct interviews. Then during interviews, sophomores asked these questions:

Immigration heavily affected our way of life because we were the first peoples here.—Darren Parry, Chairman of the Shoshone Nation. See his interview in the top-left square.

  1. What story about your own or your family’s migration or travel can you share?
  2. Tell me about how migration or travel has shaped your story or your family’s story.
  3. Our class is reading a book called Exit West by Mohsin Hamid who said, “We are all migrants. All of us. We move through time and space.” How does that quote relate or not relate to your experience?

Students had a simple goal, Dr. Taylor said: listen and bear witness to the many different experiences of people in our city. 

View an exhibit of subjects’ photos and quotes just outside the Upper School library. A selection of students’ work is below.

Directions: On a desktop, hover over the audio icons to see pull quotes and hear interview audio. On a mobile device, press the audio icons.   

Student Reactions to the Assignment

Lightly edited for style and context.

It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. —Sophomore Cole McCartney

Beyond the Classroom made me realize how diverse Salt Lake City is. I was able to hear about many people’s experiences with migration or travel. I met people from Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries, and they all had very compelling stories. It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. I also found it interesting to hear different opinions on migration; there were some who were strongly for it while others didn't seem to care...I would never have talked to random people about this if it weren't for this project.
—Cole McCartney

It definitely showed me that people are always on the move, and how some don’t have to travel far to experience different things. It gave me more respect for people who do migrate often, or migrate to different countries or places that are vastly different from where they started. I feel more empathetic towards people who are migrating from oppressive countries and are struggling to find a place in this world. Even making the move from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake was difficult and took time, so these people are fighters and deserve happiness in their lives.
—Mary Clancy

At the beginning of the day, I thought it would be really scary because I would be talking with random people I didn't know, something I’ve rarely been comfortable with...I met a woman named Rosa María and asked if I could interview her. She replied, "I don't speak English, only Spanish; I'm on a trip," and I knew it would be a good opportunity to see how immigration had affected people who weren't living in the United States. I conducted the whole interview in Spanish and we laughed and had a good time...Being an immigrant myself, I thought everyone was affected in some way by immigration, but as I interviewed her I knew immigration wasn't all there was. She primarily talked about cross-cultural integration. I knew this was true but it didn't hit me until then: immigration is a big topic all around the world, but you don’t often hear in the media about how it opens people’s minds up to new ideas.
—Mena Zendejas-Portugal

Beyond the Classroom
 

Rowland Hall Home to Highest Number of 2019 Academic All-American Debaters in Utah

Four Rowland Hall debaters won coveted National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA) Academic All-American awards—a new school record and the highest number of winners from any Utah school this year.

The award recognizes academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success, and personal excellence, according to the NSDA, and fewer than 1,000 of the association's 141,000 student members earn the distinction each year. That places our four winners—senior Ben McGraw and juniors Ben Amiel, Steven Doctorman, and Adrian Gushin—among the top one-percent of all student members across the country.

Fewer than 1,000 of 141,000 NSDA student members earn this distinction each year. That places our four winners among the top 1%.

"Rowland Hall has a long history of debate and academic excellence and these awards mean a lot to our program," debate coach Mike Shackelford said. "It shows that debate isn't just about competitive excellence at tournaments, it's about using debate to complement and reinforce intellectual growth in the classroom as well."

The Academic All-American award recognizes high schoolers who have earned the degree of Superior Distinction (750 points) in the NSDA Honor Society; completed at least five semesters of high school; demonstrated outstanding character and leadership; and earned a GPA of at least 3.7. Students accumulate points for service and competition: they earn a point for every hour of service, two points for every debate round lost, and six points for every debate round won.

Adrian, Steven, Ben Amiel and Ben McGraw have all competed in over 150 debate rounds, their coach said. "These are the team's top students; they've won local tournaments, earned individual speaker awards, and even placed nationally," Mike said.

It was a great relief to know that my investment in debate paid off.—Senior award-winner Ben McGraw, who transferred to Rowland Hall primarily for debate

They also demonstrate outstanding character and leadership on a daily basis, the coach added. "Ben McGraw is a senior who transferred here for debate at the start of his junior year and so the team views him as a natural leader who puts debate first. Adrian is on our 'top team' and leads by example in his drive and motivation. Ben Amiel is one of our 'affirmative' captains and does more research than anyone. Steven takes pride in working with younger team members and even volunteers to judge and mentor our Middle School debaters."

Ben McGraw said he transferred to Rowland Hall almost exclusively for debate, knowing that the team is second to none in Utah. "It was a great relief to know that my investment in debate paid off," the senior said. "For me, the award signified, along with my recent qualification to the Tournament of Champions, the completion of a goal I have been striving for since my first day of high school."

The winners praised debate for enhancing their research, public-speaking, and critical-thinking skills, and some highlighted a lesser-known benefit—the camaraderie. "The debate community is made up of wonderful people from all different backgrounds, and seeing (and sometimes debating) friends from other states at tournaments is always great," Ben Amiel said.

At least one Rowland Hall student has earned the Academic All-American award in each of the past 10 years, Mike said—seniors Cas Mulford, Sydney Young, and Robin Zeng won the award last year.

Pictured at top: from left, debaters Andres Torres, Steven Doctorman, Ben McGraw, and Ben Amiel—three of the four NSDA Academic All-American award winners.

Debate

Students Share Inspiration and Gratitude at 2018 Graduation Ceremonies

Featured At Rowland Hall's fifth-, eighth-, and twelfth-grade graduation ceremonies this June, student speakers shared funny, reflective, and inspiring stories with those in attendance.

Seniors Abed Alsolaiman and Allie Zehner spoke together about the power of community, and how to "be the ancestor to your own future happiness." Eighth-grade students Samantha Lehman and Ella Houden performed poems about their Middle School experiences, and fellow eighth-grader Max Smart celebrated the spirit and tenacity of his peers. Several fifth-grade students thanked their teachers, family, and friends for helping to create a supportive and engaging learning environment in the Lower School.

We congratulate all of our graduates. You can read the full text of the student speeches here.

Students

 

 

Achievements of the Class of 2018

Out of 71 seniors in the class of 2018, 29 are lifers—students who have attended Rowland Hall for 12 or more years. Our seniors earned admission to 118 different institutions of higher education and will matriculate to 39 colleges and universities. Five members of the class of 2018 were named National Merit Semifinalists, and 88 percent received at least one offer of merit-based aid.

Rowland Hall's seniors performed at the highest level inside and outside the classroom. They participated in the Science Olympiad and University of Utah's Bench-to-Bedside competition, winning the Best Young Entrepreneur Award. Fifteen students—our largest-ever group of senior debaters—traveled across the country as part of our nationally ranked team and won countless local tournaments. Five qualified to the National Speech and Debate Tournament, four will debate in college, three qualified to the Tournament of Champions, two were named Academic All-Americans, and one was a State champion. Members of the class of 2018 trained as painters, dancers, sculptors, and singers. One is a cellist who performed for two years with the New Hampshire All-State Orchestra, and another is a visual artist who sold her first piece at age six.

Our seniors led our athletics program to top-five finishes in the Deseret News 2A All-Sports Awards each year of their high school careers. They captured 31 Region and nine State titles as teams, and individuals collected 10 State and Region titles in tennis and golf. Eight of our seniors were selected to play in the postseason All-Star Games of their respective sports this year. Outside of school, one achieved the highest level of scuba certification and another won championships in the 0.9-meter and 1.0-meter jumping classes of horseback riding. One was named the MVP of an international volleyball tournament, while another was a two-time gold medalist in karate at the Junior Olympics. Of the nine seniors in Rowmark Ski Academy, one was named to the U.S. Ski Team, and three are members of Australian National Ski Teams. Their ski-racing successes include three U16 National Championships, three FIS Western Region Junior Championships, two World Cup starts, and a fourth place at this year's World Junior Championships.

Students in the class of 2018 were generous with their time and talents, coaching club soccer teams, singing weekly at the local Veterans Affairs medical center, and running the school's stage crew. Their work benefitted local organizations, from the Salt Lake Peer Court to St. Mark's Hospital to Park City's Mountain Trails Fund. Their service had broader reach as well—one student organized a clothing and toy drive for an elementary school in Kenya, and another volunteered in Turkey helping the Syrian Relief Network translate documents and deliver goods for a year and a half, even though his original plan was to stay two weeks.

Many of our graduating seniors have a strong commitment to equity, inclusion, and social justice. Their service projects grew into passion projects, creating documentaries about high school students in the Navajo Nation, lobbying for the passage of Indigenous People's Day, and advocating for undocumented immigrants. One student received the Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs Excellence in Education Award for his community-building work. Another was interviewed twice on KRCL's RadioActive program for his work with the American Civil Liberties Union and Camp Anytown. Yet another embraced a role as a teen advisor with the United Nations Foundation's Girl Up program and used it as a springboard for activism, committing to co-write a book to enhance girls' education in Utah.

The class of 2018 demonstrated leadership in myriad ways: serving on student council, rallying their peers as sports team captains, facilitating advisory conversations in the Middle School, and devoting hours to their religious communities. One senior worked with Sustainable Startups to turn an interest in gardening into a successful urban farm, donating over 1,000 pounds of produce to local organizations such as the Utah Food Bank.

Our seniors completed internships at the John A. Moran Eye Center, Twig Media Lab, Grand Teton National Park, and the Natural History Museum of Utah, to name a few. One even obtained an internship with Utah Jazz radio personality David Locke and learned how to research, analyze, and write reports on NBA draft prospects. When not studying, volunteering, or participating in co-curricular activities, several of these students go to work as dishwashers, camp counselors, or lifeguards. One senior spent an entire summer working construction 10 hours a day with a group of stonemasons.

These 71 outstanding young adults will continue to make an impact on the world in college and beyond. Please join us in congratulating the class of 2018 and celebrating what they have achieved thus far in their young lives—only some of which we have included here. We cannot wait to see what they do next.

Students

 

Doing What Real Scientists Do: The Fifth-Grade Science Share Celebrates Inquiry, Process, and (Sometimes) Failure

Each August when students at Rowland Hall enter fifth grade, they receive a special assignment: write a letter to your teacher introducing yourself and expressing your hopes and fears for the year ahead. According to Sarah Button and Chad Obermark, two Lower School faculty members with a collective 23 years of experience teaching Rowland Hall fifth graders, 75 percent of incoming students are worried about one thing in particular—the science share.

"We talk about the science share from day one," Mr. Obermark said.

The annual spring project, which has been part of the Lower School curriculum for over 20 years, requires students to develop a research question and then execute the scientific method, culminating in a public presentation of their findings. It takes approximately eight weeks for students to complete the entire process: choosing a question, forming a hypothesis, collecting and analyzing data, writing up their results using the claim-evidence-reasoning framework, and creating the presentation board and accompanying Keynote—digital documentation—for the science share.

The sustained timeline, coupled with the independent nature of the research, is what contributes to student anxiety about the science share, Mr. Obermark explained. "They've really got to own it," he said, "and for some kids it's daunting."

For some fifth-grade students, identifying their research question is the toughest part of the process. Mackenzie White, whose project explored whether the duration of egg-whipping affected the height of a pound cake, said that finding a genuine question was her biggest challenge.

Ms. Button said that students' initial questions frequently fall into that category: those they already know the answer to. When she pushes them to establish genuine questions, they grow concerned. "They'll worry that their hypothesis might turn out wrong," she said. "So I have to reassure them it's okay if their experiment goes south and they find out something different than what they expected. That's what real scientists do."

At this year's science share on April 26, projects explored a range of questions, such as whether the type of string on a lacrosse stick impacts shot accuracy, or whether listening to music during a math test affects student performance. Faculty, parents, and other Lower School students made their way around the room, examining display boards, listening to presentations about the scientific method, and asking the fifth graders questions about their findings.

Some students were nervous about presenting their work to the community, though many spoke with pride about what they had learned. Will Chin, whose question was "does the temperature of a tennis ball affect how high it bounces?" described the painstaking process of data collection. After filming bouncing tennis balls—some of which had been cooled or heated—he pored over hours of video to extract precise height measurements, often slowing down and rewinding footage multiple times. However, his advice to future students was reassuring. "Once you get past the procedure," he said, "it's really fun."

They'll worry that their hypothesis might turn out wrong. So I have to reassure them it's okay if their experiment goes south and they find out something different than what they expected. That's what real scientists do. —Sarah Button, fifth-grade teacher

Gigi Brown, Jojo Park, and Bea Martin also had good suggestions for next year's fifth-grade class: Make sure you pick a question that really interests you. Choose a project that doesn't involve living subjects. Start early, and don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help.

Even though some students may struggle with the science share, Ms. Button emphasized that the process of engaging with a meaningful question—not the end product on display— is what creates a positive learning outcome. Additionally, the experience can impact the way students approach future projects in the Middle School and beyond. For one of Ms. Button's former students whose science share wasn't particularly successful, that meant helping his brother out when he got to fifth grade. "He didn't want his brother to make the same mistakes he had," Ms. Button said, "and his brother's project ended up being one of the best in his class."

The celebration of scientific inquiry and process, including the occasional failure, presents an opportunity for the community too, according to Mr. Obermark. While many other Lower School performances or events focus on the arts or literacy, the science share offers a critical window into STEM learning. "It's a big deal," he said, "and it's a big deal about science."

STEM

 

'Tesserae' Students had a Writers' Heart-to-Heart with Frank Bidart, Now a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet

Students who staffed Rowland Hall's 2014-2015 edition of Tesserae literary magazine can say they've interviewed a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. On Monday, April 16, the Pulitzer board awarded Frank Bidart their poetry prize for Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016. Mr. Bidart visited Rowland Hall September 19, 2014, and in spring 2015 our students published the following interview with the celebrated writer in Tesserae Volume 10. Appropriately—and thanks in part to the keen leadership of poet and English teacher Joel Long—the issue won some awards of its own: an All-American rating with four marks of distinction from the National Scholastic Press Association, a Gold Medalist Certificate from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, and a second-in-state rank from the National Council of the Teachers of English.

 

Frank Bidart talks to Rowland Hall students in 2014.
Frank Bidart talks to Rowland Hall students in 2014.

 

Tesserae: How did you decide to approach the poem "To the Republic" the way you did? Once you decided to write about the war, how did you get to this idea?

Frank Bidart: I wish it were as conscious as that. I had a dream. I really dreamt I saw these bodies on these flatbeds, and they were dug up Union and Confederate soldiers together. It haunted me. I woke up startled with this image in my head and the sense that as they passed that they were condemning the present: "You betray us." So in that sense the poem is, not a transcription exactly, but absolutely generated by something that happened while I was sleeping. I wish I knew how to write a poem in which I simply—if I feel passionately about some subject—knew how to do it in a way that felt to me like it was a real poem and not just rhetoric. I don't really know how to do that, so that I felt grateful that I had this dream that provided all these elements for me.

How many drafts did it take you to get to the final one?

I don't remember exactly. It almost always takes me several drafts and sometimes hundreds of drafts. This I don't remember taking hundreds of drafts. The hardest thing was getting "it's their misfortune and none of my own," getting that into the poem and working with it because its language is somewhat different than anything else in the poem. It is not descriptive in the same way that the opening is descriptive of those figures on the flat beds. You have to learn how to revise. You may be gifted by a voice in your head or by some inspiration that will last a few lines, but to fulfill those lines, to get them in a context in which they're in a structure that's firm on the pages that makes sense, that works as a whole takes work. It is very, very seldom that a whole poem takes only two or three drafts. Learning how to revise, in fact, is the crucial thing about workshops because you learn how to think about the elements of the poem and how they can be different. How by changing one word, it could be different, how reorganizing can make it different, not that you have to do those things just because you thought that might work, but you can try them. You have to develop a cold eye about what you've written. It takes a hot eye, warm eye to write the poem. It has to proceed from feeling and passion but yet you also have to have a later, colder eye to look at what you've done and shape it.

How do you avoid cliché?

If you're a writer you have to constantly deal with cliché. The easiest thing for someone to say about your writing, if they don't like it, is that it's cliché. The fact is that we cannot talk without using cliché. We have to use cliché all the time because it's part of the common linguistic pot. I am not using now phrases that I have never used before or that no one has ever used before. You have to try to put them together in such a way that seems meant. They seem to proceed from experience or passion or insight, and you're not merely mechanically repeating what you've heard. One never escapes that accusation entirely. If you try to be original at every moment it is very easy to become incomprehensible. Writing that tries to be original at very moment, I often feel that is the main intent. That is what the person is really thinking about: oh, I'm going to surprise you at every moment. Every second of this poem is going to surprise you, as if that's the most important thing. Whereas it may not be the most important thing in terms of what is generating the poem. Passion doesn't guarantee anything. But the absence of feeling or passion sort of guarantees that it's not going to be very good. Keats has a wonderful phrase, "the true voice of feeling." People disagree about what the true voice of feeling is, and the true voice of feeling is sometimes going to use phrases that for some people are cliché. You just have to use them in such a way so that you're not thinking, "Oh God, I've heard that a million times." But you're thinking about what it's about and what passion, feeling or insight is generating the piece of writing. It is the utterly essential question to being a writer.

How do you use the word "soul" in a powerful way that has concrete meaning?

The word soul is such an issue. The problem is that we don't have another word for it. The word soul has been ruined by so much theological rhetoric. On the other hand, I think the word mind is often not adequate. It doesn't answer to one's sense of a whole human being, the whole affect, the world of affect and purpose, and feeling and aspiration. The word mind feels too narrow, so I actually use the word soul fairly often. Both mind and self feel a little compartmentalized and a little flat.

With your poem "Ellen West" you use excerpts from her doctor in dialogue with Ellen's voice. How do you switch voices so clearly without becoming muddled?

First of all, I thought it was absolutely crucial that the voices be very distinct. Every voice in any piece of writing you have to hear, and if you can hear it as distinct, there should be a way to write it down as distinct. The doctor really does talk in a different way. The prose passages are quotations from the Binswanger case history. In a couple of places, they're very slightly changed. There's a moment where he says, "She stoutly resisted this." Now is he aware in a way it's a rather cruel joke to call her someone who stoutly does something? I don't know the German, but I felt it was an expressive awkwardness or cruelty on his part. Maybe he felt he was able to make a little joke at her expense. When you start to do something, you have to sense early the essential dynamics of this work. This poem absolutely needed not just her voice; it needed another voice to contradict what she was saying and to communicate a level of realism and the literal in a way that she is incapable of. Ellen West presents what she's feeling in terms of ideas, in terms of ideals, in terms of gender ideas about what her essence is. I think it's completely shocking to learn that she takes 60 to 70 tablets of a laxative every day, and she does not give that information. The poem in some sense doesn't exist simply in her voice, and it certainly doesn't exist only in the doctor's voice; it's in the juxtaposition of the two. There's a space—there's a cleavage—between what you learn from the doctor and what you learn from Ellen, and your experience is that disjunction, that space. Really the poem is in that space. I felt that that was crucial. What this poem is about is not simply her perception or even what she does, because first of all she doesn't tell you in a very literal way what she does: it's in the terrible disparity between her self-awareness, her interiority, and what she does in the world to embody it.

How do you create the voices you use in your poems? How do you not get the voices mixed up between voices?

First of all, it's crucial that if you're going to write voices you have to hear it. It's not just something that your eye makes up, that you see in a sitcom and echo; you have to feel it and hear it inside. If you can hear it inside then there are going to be patterns that are connected to the rhythms and diction of that person's life. We've all heard a huge numbers of voices; they're all in some way embedded in us. If you can know, in your mind, see the character and enter that consciousness, that character is going to speak in a distinctive way. It's not going to be the same way that you know Nijinsky speaks is not the way Ellen West speaks. If you enter that consciousness and let that consciousness into your soul, you're going to find the language.

Academics

Encouraging Students to Embrace the Identity of a Scientist

Last fall, Rowland Hall first graders tackled a mystery in the science lab: how could two islands on either side of the world have the same tree growing on them? As part of a unit on seeds and trees, students suggested an explanation for this phenomenon, and then followed clues to determine whether their explanation was plausible. Carly Biedul—who served as the long-term science substitute teacher during Kirsten Walker's maternity leave and continues to teach the first- and second-grade science labs—was impressed with the students' engagement. "It was awesome to see how the first graders kept changing their answer the more and more they learned about seeds," she said. She explained that this lesson taught students about more than seed dispersal: it showed them that it's okay if your first answer to a problem is wrong because scientific study entails gathering evidence and then refining your answer based on what you learn.

Over the past four years, Rowland Hall has been examining and refining the ways we teach science, largely in service of the Strategic Plan's second goal: provide the Intermountain West's most outstanding math and science program. While division-specific and developmentally appropriate, these curricular changes all have one thing in common: students are spending more time in class—and hopefully outside class too—engaging in the behaviors of science. They are conducting more lab experiments, which involve asking questions, making observations, collecting data, and forming and revising arguments. Teachers are often using the universal framework of claim-evidence-reasoning to guide their lessons, which fosters the kind of critical thinking that students can apply in any field.

In kindergarten through eighth grade, Rowland Hall's science curriculum now aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which emphasize inquiry-based learning and making connections across scientific domains. The vision outlined in the NGSS is one where students are empowered to lead their own scientific discoveries, and sixth-grade science teacher Molly Lewis wholeheartedly supports it.

"Kids are the scientists now," she said, "and teachers are the facilitators." Whether directing a lab experiment about human vision—having students identify the limitations of their eyesight in certain circumstances, such as a dark room—or exploring the relationship between the form and function of red blood cells, Ms. Lewis is happy to let the students take risks and posit theories that might initially be ill-founded. "We're giving them meaningful context instead of just abstract ideas, and then teaching them the skills necessary to discover what's true or what they can prove."

In the Middle School and the Lower School, phenomena—like the trees and their traveling seeds, or fossils found in sedimentary rocks—are being used to draw students into the practice of inquiry. The Lower School also has several new units that integrate science and literacy, laying the groundwork for more in-depth experiments in the science lab. The Beginning School, meanwhile, builds foundational skills with activities such as daffodil painting and dissection.

For Upper School Science Department Chair Alisa Poppen, the skills and concepts learned through lab work are essential, and her department recently acquired some new sensors and probes necessary for proper data collection. Echoing Ms. Lewis, Ms. Poppen said, "We are using labs to build models rather than simply confirm ideas. We are focused on the behaviors of scientists, and understanding that science is not a collection of facts but rather a series of practices."

While the Upper School curriculum is focused on moving toward lab-based Advanced Topics courses—rather than using the NGSS as their guide—Ms. Poppen is thrilled at the prospect of students entering ninth-grade science with an excellent foundation in the claim-evidence-reasoning framework. Furthermore, she sees additional lab time creating an upswing in student engagement, much like Ms. Biedul observed in first grade.

Teachers and administrators will continue to observe how students perform in science classrooms—and, like good scientists, they will refine their practices based on the data they collect. Ultimately, Rowland Hall remains committed to providing students with the best possible learning experience. New Middle School science teacher Melissa Sharp hopes that by increasing students' enthusiasm for science, their learning experience will carry over into after-school hours too. "I want them to get into the car and ask their parents about genetics, and say, 'Mom, let me see your thumb!'" she said. "Or they might watch football and think about concussions, wondering what is happening in terms of neuroscience."

What it boils down to for everyone teaching science at Rowland Hall, including Ms. Sharp: "I want students to embrace the identity of a scientist."

STEM

 

Raising Young Readers: Lucy Calkins Library Boosts Kindergarten Literacy Program

 

Rowland Hall has always emphasized literacy development for our Beginning School students. Teachers foster a love of reading by using positive reinforcement to build confidence and encourage effort. Thanks to the generosity of annual fund donors last year, our kindergarten literacy program recently got a boost: the Lucy Calkins Classroom Library, a collection of diverse reading material with selections specifically chosen for that grade.

 

Curated by Lucy Calkins and colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, these classroom libraries—available for kindergarten through eighth grade—give students access to "high-quality, high-interest books," including some "all-star classics, but also many of the newest cutting-edge titles," according to their website. They cover a wide range of subjects, from sports to travel to history, and some offer traditionally underrepresented students a chance to see themselves in stories. The volumes are organized into different reading levels within a grade—though Rowland Hall students aren't made aware of such designations—and students can progress to more complex material throughout the year.

Kindergarten teacher Melanie Robbins is delighted with the new library and said that her students use the books in some capacity every day, including a reader's workshop three times a week. "The quality is top-notch," she said, "and the library was built with a worldwide perspective." Titles, for instance, include Animals at Risk, about endangered species, and Houses Around the World, which depicts dwellings from nations and cultures across the globe.

While teachers welcome the collection's cultural diversity, their primary goal centers around getting students excited to read—and the Calkins Library helps them achieve that goal. Kindergarteners Milo Canale and Ruby Mertens spoke enthusiastically about the books they read: Duck Goes Swimming and Animal Tricks, respectively. They eagerly read portions aloud, pointing and laughing at the illustrations. In particular, in Animal Tricks, Jasper the cat knows how to read the label on a tuna can, something Ruby and Milo found very amusing, if not entirely believable.

The children go "book shopping" at least once a week—they can swap out titles to keep in their cubbies at school, Mrs. Robbins explained. Additionally, the three kindergarten classes all have different volumes from the library on hand, so the teachers will rotate material when it's time to refresh.

According to Lucy Calkins, the Richard Robinson Professor of Children's Literature at Teachers College, "The kind of readers that you build will grow to match the libraries that you build...The challenge is to nourish our children with books that will make them into the readers, writers, and citizens that we long for them to become." She led the effort to develop the Calkins Classroom Libraries both to provide greater access to students and to improve literacy instruction for teachers. Each library arrives with tips and tools for using the books, along with ideas for reading activities that students will enjoy.


Academics

Arts

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

Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson Named State Music Educator of the Year

Rowland Hall Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson can end 2018 on a high note: the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) this month named him Music Educator of the Year.

Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic nominated Bret. She said she's ecstatic UHSAA selected him and the honor is well-earned. "He is truly the consummate professional who loves his students and who loves to bring music into their lives."

It never fails that I see or hear him working with a student or students in the music room every time I walk by. —Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic, Dr. Jackson's nominator

Bret trains students to view music as a creative art that has relevance and potency in their lives, Kendra wrote in her nomination letter, and he's often the first person in the building each morning and the last to leave each night. "It never fails that I see or hear him working with a student or students in the music room every time I walk by," she added. "His dedication and commitment to creating a strong music program at Rowland Hall is incredible."

Through that dedication—plus his musical prowess and unfailingly friendly disposition—Bret has made a big impression on Rowland Hall since his 2005 hiring. He and his students have accumulated numerous awards, including top honors at state and region music festivals and competitions. And his contributions extend beyond the music department: he's always happy to organize a jazz band performance at sports games and other school events, Kendra wrote. "Any time our band is involved with a sporting activity, our fan attendance goes up exponentially because of the festive atmosphere that Dr. Jackson and his jazz band creates in the gym."

I feel lucky to have a career that allows me to help young people develop important life skills and a love for art through nurturing their musical talents.—Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson

Bret loves teaching young musicians in their formative years: he said his own life has been largely defined by the opportunities for growth, achievement, and leadership he had back in high school. "Recognizing this, I feel lucky to have a career that allows me to help young people develop important life skills and a love for art through nurturing their musical talents."

The top teacher added he's grateful for the award and bolstered by the recognition. "If it can help get the word out that there is great music being made at Rowland Hall, then all the better."

Read more about Bret in his biography.

The accolade is part of UHSAA's Distinguished Service Awards, initiated in 1987 to honor individuals for their service and contributions to high school activities. Bret will join 16 other coaches, officials, teachers, and contributors who will be honored at a January luncheon.

Bret is the seventh Rowland Hall employee on record to receive a UHSAA Distinguished Service Award. Full list:

  1. Dr. Bret Jackson, band director and music teacher, 2018 Music Educator of the Year
  2. Bobby Kennedy, girls soccer head coach, 2015 2A Coach of the Year
  3. Mark Oftedal, cross country and track and field coach, 2014 2A Coach of the Year
  4. Kathy Howa, softball and volleyball coach, 2013 Distinguished Contributor of the Year
  5. Shawn MacQueen, former boys basketball and golf coach, 2009 2A Coach of the Year
  6. Ryan Hoglund, former debate coach and current director of ethical education, 2007 Speech Educator of the Year
  7. Kendra Tomsic, director of athletics, 2004 Athletic Director of the Year

Music

Susan Swidnicki Fosters Lifelong Love of Music in Beginning School Students

Professional Oboist Found 'Joy of Her Life' Teaching Children

Susan Swidnicki is a self-proclaimed evangelist for children's music education. On any given day, you can find her at one of six jobs throughout the Salt Lake Valley, most of which involve teaching children ages three through 18 to express themselves through music, song, and movement. Lucky for Rowland Hall, one of her positions is in our Beginning School, where for the past 16 years she's taught our littlest learners to embrace their natural love—and ability—for music.

Every child should receive a high-quality music education, Susan said. "It's super important." In modern-day society, where students are too frequently staring at screens and passive in their learning, Susan sees music education as a tool to help children learn to be more present. She cited the listening skills, self-control, and confidence students learn through music and movement, emphasizing that these foundational skills must be taught in early childhood.

"You can learn so much faster, and more joyfully and naturally when you're a small child. You're wired to be receptive," Susan said. She added that schools or districts that wait until junior high to offer music have it backward. It's one reason she loves being part of the Rowland Hall community, a place where everyone is on the same page, understanding that "children are very capable, and we want to give them the best environment and best-quality materials we can." She added, "There's a real investment in best practices for young children."

For three-, four-, and five-year-old budding musicians, Rowland Hall's classes typically focus on finding their singing voices, learning rhythm and rhyme, and learning how to move through space un-self-consciously but with awareness of others. At that age, Susan joked, "learning not to just smash into everybody is a major skill." She also frequently uses games to enhance music lessons, and over the course of the year, introduces students to different instruments.

"Susan is uniquely talented with young learners," Beginning School Principal Carol Blackwell said. "Her music classes strengthen literacy and math skills while at the same time developing musical skills." Indeed, according to scientific research, musical training in young children benefits the brain in multiple ways, improving memory and overall language skills.

Becoming a music educator wasn't something Susan planned. She grew up in Cache Valley, where she began playing the oboe at age 12 and benefitted from what she described as a "super strong" music program in her school. In ninth grade, she started playing with the Utah State University orchestra. "I had a lot of opportunities to play," she said, "and I loved it." After high school, she earned a BA in oboe from the University of Utah and then a master's degree from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music.

Susan Swidnicki joyfully leading a class.

However, securing a full-time job as a performing musician proved challenging. While working with the Flagstaff Symphony in Sedona, Arizona, Susan picked up a gig teaching at a Montessori school and discovered the joys and rewards of being an educator. Since then, she's worked diligently to develop her teaching craft, training in the Orff Schulwerk approach and the Kodály method. The latter focuses on teaching musical literacy through song—often using folk songs—and provides excellent ear-training for young learners, Susan said.

Cindy Hall, Lower School music teacher and fellow Orff educator, described the benefits of Susan's background and professional training: "Since the Orff approach emphasizes learning through play and sound before symbol, it is a natural fit for this age group and our Beginning School philosophy. Susan is a master teacher who draws in children and nurtures their budding musicianship, and we are so fortunate to have her start our students out on their musical journeys." Susan expressed in-kind admiration and said she's pleased to be handing students off to another highly skilled, passionate music educator in Cindy.

While Susan described teaching children as "the joy of her life," she still maintains an active performing life. She is the principal oboist with the Ballet West Orchestra and an extra with the Utah Symphony, filling in when other musicians are ill or out of town. Add those two roles to teaching positions at Rowland Hall, Canyon Rim Academy, Westminster College, and the Zion Lutheran Church, along with being a single mother to two teenagers, and Susan's schedule could make your head spin.

She doesn't seem to mind juggling her professional obligations. "Mostly the challenge is just remembering what day of the week it is, so I can make sure I go to the right place," she laughed. And she's not ready to give anything up—the way she sees it, teaching and performing provide her with balance. While playing classical music requires discipline and exactitude, in the classroom, she thrives with creative freedom.

"I have a very meticulous performing life, and then I have this kind of joyful improvisatory life with children where I can say, 'Oh, you like this nursery rhyme? Let's go act it out.'"

Susan plans to keep adding to her resume, too. This summer, she'll be an instructor with SummerWorks—something she's enjoyed doing for years—and will travel to Seattle for a Smithsonian Folkways course on multicultural music for children. As a long-term project, she wants to develop a website that would provide fourth-grade teachers in Utah a collection of songs, folktales, and dances from the state's indigenous population to integrate into their curriculum.

Susan's goal is to lay the foundation for music to be both a practice and a pleasure that children will have their whole lives, and she loves watching them grow in confidence during the process. "The great moments are when children who have not been singing—who have only been listening—start singing, and then sing by themselves. They find their singing voice," she said. "Is there anything more rewarding than that?"

People

 

Embodying the Past to Understand the Present

Rowland Hall Dancers Honor Marginalized Voices in (R)evolution

Arts Department Chair and Director of Dance Sofia Gorder readily admits that history classes didn't appeal to her much in high school. "It was mostly a white-centric narrative about wars," she recalled. It wasn't until she got to graduate school and started studying the history of movement that she developed a powerful connection to past generations. "In the history of movement," Ms. Gorder said, "when people didn't have a voice, they'd use their bodies. All these marginalized voices emerged through movement that was then commodified and adopted by mainstream society."

When planning her annual dance concert this year—Rowland Hall's sesquicentennial—it made perfect sense to use the history of movement as an opportunity for students to explore the silenced voices of the past 150 years. "Asking kids to dive into those marginalized stories and then connect them to the stories we're taught in normative history has been really fruitful," Ms. Gorder said. "They're learning that disco and the twist evolved from slave dances, and that Jazzercise stemmed from the empowerment women felt after watching gay men dancing in clubs during the AIDS epidemic."

(R)evolution, as the concert is titled, ran Thursday through Saturday—February 8, 9, and 10—at the Larimer Center for the Performing Arts, and delivered both a celebratory retrospective of dance in America and a rumination on how history learned through words and images doesn't tell the whole story. Senior Sophia Cutrubus described the show as tracing the evolution of mainstream dance while demonstrating how the art provided "an outlet to express ideas and emotions that were taboo and threatened power structures in each time period." Approximately 120 students in sixth through twelfth grades performed renditions of period pieces ranging from the minuet to hip hop, with mixed-media transitions giving contextual cues, and narratives to aid the timeline.

Many of the students learned archived dances rather than developing original choreography, which made the process for this concert more educational than creative, according to Ms. Gorder. However, the research and practice of embodying highly respected artists from other generations can inform students' artistic voices in the future. Among the handful of students staging original work was junior Katie Rose Kimball, who teamed up with senior Sydney Rabbit to choreograph a piece about the history of body contact in partner dance. Sophia also had an original piece in the show: she and senior Rowen Kenny created a sequence of five dances based on the work of Merce Cunningham, and audience members will unwittingly have a hand in how these dances are performed each night.

Junior Tori Kusukawa oversaw a cluster of dances that will pay homage to major stars from the 1990s, such as Whitney Houston and Prince. While he copied choreography for Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" from music videos and live performances, he had to improvise when it came to mimicking David Bowie. "He didn't really dance much," Tori said. "So I had to capture his attitude and feeling." He relied on Ms. Gorder for guidance, as all the dancers do. "She lets us try and fail," Sophia said. "But she's always there at the end to make sure it goes well on stage."

Whether students are perfecting a replica of historical dances or producing original content, their engagement with the past helps them draw connections to the present. Sophomore Grant Dacklin choreographed a piece to showcase a style of movement from the 1970s called locking, which he referred to as hip hop's disco. While he's excited about the sharp, detailed nature of his own piece, he also recognized that this show has required him to embody roles that he's not familiar—or comfortable—with: as a straight, white male, he depicts the role of the oppressor in history.

However, Grant believes that Rowland Hall students are in a prime position to communicate about discrimination and the need for greater awareness, especially since so many revolutionary movements of the past were youth driven. "I hope that the teenage perspective has power for people," he said. "Even though these dance pieces are founded in history, we are bringing our modern-day voices and identities to them."

While Ms. Gorder and the dancers hoped the audience would enjoy the high-energy, community-oriented theme of the concert, they did not shying away from the show's messages about cultural appropriation and the historical biases that viewed bodily movement as low class. Katie Rose emphasized the influence dance has on society, and Sophia agreed, adding "dance is an integral piece of culture shifts." The art form also provides a unique historical lens, Sophia reflected: "Because your body is your medium in dance, there is nothing to hide behind. People can't escape their identities while dancing. You're seeing the most pure expression of who they are—their stories, their struggles."

Dance

Students Lead the Way in a Finely Tuned Ensemble

Community Outreach Adds Depth to Advanced Chamber Ensemble's Repertoire

This is an updated version of an article published in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

The Upper School Advanced Chamber Ensemble (ACE) in March brought a judge at a regional competition to tears with their interpretation of the Mendelssohn Trio. But it's not just ACE's melodies that move people. Through community-outreach projects such as annual half-day visits to Primary Children's Hospital, lighthearted, often-smiling Music Teacher Sarah Yoon fosters compassion in her students that seems to transfer to ACE's evocative performances.

On a warm mid-October morning, ACE played for a few tiny hospital patients and their parents in the children's playroom, which was blanketed with toys and sunlight beaming through windows seasonally painted with bats, monsters, and spooky scenes. ACE's quick but gripping set of popular songs included "City of Stars" from La La Land, "When I Ruled the World" by Coldplay, and "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri. Then, the young musicians gathered in a crafting corner with patients and families to assemble and paint cardboard violins created with recycled Rowland Hall theater props. The entire visit, Ms. Yoon said, provided "a great breather to a child's daily hospital routine." Indeed, little patients escorted out to doctor's appointments promised they'd return to finish their violins.

This sort of outreach teaches students to use their talent to give back to their community without expectation, Ms. Yoon said. "My guys had a great time. It always warms my heart to see our high school students working with patients."

ACE is a seminar class—part of an Upper School program that gets better every year. Students may enroll in pre-selected seminar classes or they can pitch their specific interest to administration and form an accredited class with like-minded kids and a mentor.

Last year when then-sophomore and budding violinist Austin Topham decided he and a cadre of musicians—Atticus Hickman and Tobi Yoon '17—could expand their group and pursue a challenging repertoire, he decided to reach for the certified title of Advanced Chamber Ensemble. Upper School Principal Dave Samson reviewed the earnest seminar class application and gave it a thumbs-up. Middle School Orchestra and Chamber Music Teacher Ms. Yoon gladly agreed to mentor the group.

The ACE class roster quickly grew to seven members when Patrick McNally, Jake Bleil, Alex Benton, and Claire Sanderson joined in fall 2016. The new parties brought further sonic depth to the ensemble, which included violin, cello, bass, and piano. This school year, harpist Alison Puri and violinists Zach Benton, Augustus Hickman, and Tim Zeng joined the group.

In addition to their seminar class, ACE meets on weekends and before school as needed to prepare for regional and state competitions. Last year, Ms. Yoon divided the class into three ensembles: Dvorak Quintet in G major, Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D minor, and Vivaldi Cello Duet in G minor. This year, the group is tackling more: Dvorak American Quartet; Schubert Trout Quintet (students prepared for that piece with a fly-fishing trip to the Provo River); Holberg Suite (large chamber ensemble); Shostakovich Violin Duets; Handel Sonata for Two Violins; and Elegy for String and Harp. Members of ACE often participate in advanced music competitions and ensembles outside of school, such as Utah Youth Orchestras and Ensembles, the Gifted Music School, and the All-State Orchestra. The ACE curriculum prioritizes a college-level repertoire, within reason—Ms. Yoon ensures the young musicians can balance ACE with the rest of their course load.

In March, the three ensembles and four individual soloists successfully competed at the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) Region Solo and Ensemble Festival and advanced to the State festival. Onlookers at Regionals caught the judge wiping away tears at ACE's interpretation of the Mendelssohn Trio. At State, the Dvorak Quintet, Mendelssohn Trio, Vivaldi Duet, and three soloists received a superior rating, the highest possible. One comment on the judging sheet for the Dvorak performance read, "Wow! The best thing I heard all day! Congratulations on an outstanding performance! Bravo!"

A scan of the UHSAA website shows past Rowland Hall ensembles have achieved superior ratings, and more and more are qualifying for State—proof of the increasing success of all Rowland Hall music students due to excellent training by Ms. Yoon and Interfaith Chaplain and Choir and Orchestra Teacher Jeremy Innis. Megan Fenton, Cindy Shen, and Alicia Lu, all 2017 graduates, also advanced to state-level competitions last year.

 

Coming up with ACE

 

Friday, February 2, at 7 pm: catch ACE's Collage, an evening of interactive listening, art, poetry, dance, and chamber music in the Larimer Center for the Performing Arts. ACE-designed poster pictured below.

Advanced Chamber Ensemble's Collage

Late February (date to be determined): ACE will play with the Fry Street Quartet at Rowland Hall
March and April: Regional and State competitions
Thursday, April 26, at 7 pm: ACE concert

 

Music

 

 

 

'The Music Man' Builds Community at Rowland Hall

If you were lucky enough to attend one of Rowland Hall's performances of The Music Man November 10-11, chances are you left with an earworm. Meredith Wilson's musical about unlikely love developing between a traveling salesman—who has made a career out of swindling townspeople—and a savvy, late-blooming librarian is full of songs that will stick with you. "Ya Got Trouble," "Pick-a-Little, Talk-a-Little," and "Shipoopi" are some of the most memorable show tunes, and the music is one of theater teacher and director Gary Lindemann's favorite things about the show.

"I love the subliminal use of the train sound throughout the first two-thirds of the show," Mr. Lindemann said. "That rhythm is present in all the music until the romance between Harold and Marian blossoms—and then Harold is no longer a traveling salesman. He's home." Alumna Mary Anne Wetzel '01, who played one of the lead roles in Rowland Hall's last production of The Music Man in 2000, agreed. "The way the melodies are woven together is brilliant."

Of course, most people in the audience probably weren't making those connections—instead, they were fully engrossed in the show, enjoying top-notch performances from Connor Macintosh as "Professor" Harold Hill, Ella Baker-Smith as Marian Paroo, Cora Lopez as Mrs. Paroo, and Mikel Lawlor as Winthrop Paroo. The lead actors, supporting cast, and ensemble delivered high-energy dance numbers choreographed by Middle School teacher Allison Spehar, and navigated both tongue-twisting uptempo songs and romantic ballads under the musical direction of arts teacher Kristy Black.

The Music Man is ultimately about community—Harold is embraced not just by Marian, but also her family and fellow citizens in River City—and that didn't end when the house lights came up. A diverse group of middle and upper school students and teachers worked tirelessly through 12 weeks of rehearsal, resulting in a bond that lasts a lifetime. "Nowhere else at Rowland Hall do we put sixth through twelfth graders together like this, for an extended period. When the performance ends, they know that it took the entire group to make it happen," Mr. Lindemann said proudly.

Not coincidentally, Ms. Wetzel's memories from 2000 also center around community. Seventeen years ago, the production included faculty, staff, and students in the lower, middle, and upper schools. "It gave people a chance to come together and be a part of something," she said. "The bigger group is simply magical. You can't reproduce that anywhere else in the school."

Ms. Wetzel played Marian Paroo opposite Conor Bentley '01 as Harold Hill—the two dated in high school and are now married. She said she was excited that Mr. Lindemann chose to stage The Music Man again, especially during the school's sesquicentennial year. Ms. Wetzel, now Rowland Hall's director of events, invited several members from the 2000 cast to a small reunion on opening night. She also organized an all-community, post-show "Ice Cream Sociable," as takes place in the musical.

"Our 150th year is about celebrating the past, present, and future," Ms. Wetzel said. "This is a great opportunity to bring people together, support the arts, and demonstrate how these kinds of team activities—often in the arts or athletics—allow you to make connections you can revisit over time." Mr. Bentley added, "Our show was a great collaborative effort and a lot of fun. It's wonderful to see the current cast having the same experience."

Every stage production comes with challenges, of course. For Mr. Lindemann, finding the right set for The Music Man took some time. They started with a more traditional set, but with the size of the cast and multiple dance numbers, space became an issue. Instead, he opted for two large rectangular-box frames that could be moved and adapted to each scene, to "hint at time, place, and context, whether in the gym, library, house, or on a train."

Minimal staging results in a brighter light shone on the performers themselves, and Mr. Lindemann wouldn't have it any other way. "I always want the focus to be on the kids and what they've achieved," he said. "There is an amazing amount of learning that takes place during a musical production," he reflected, "and it helps the students grow in confidence."

Judging by the standing ovation the cast received on opening night, and the celebratory hugs shared between cast members immediately following the show, it's safe to say they have much to be proud of, and plenty of fond memories too.

 

 

Theater

 

 

 

Hallway Head-Turners: The Inaugural Larimer Center Gallery and the Artists Behind it

The hallway just outside the Larimer Center acts as an artery in Rowland Hall’s Lincoln Street Campus. It connects the middle and upper schools and is where most people enter and exit the 500-seat center for performances, assemblies, and guest lectures. Starting with “Gallery,” last spring’s performance that integrated music, art, dance, and creative writing, the Arts Department capitalized on this high-trafficked hall by skillfully displaying visual art crafted by Upper School students. Now fully formed, the gallery consists of nearly two dozen well-lit pieces hanging perfectly matted in silver frames. Fine Print asked artists with work displayed in the inaugural gallery to share their stories of inspiration and explain their creative processes. Read their answers alongside their art, and walk by the Larimer Center’s first-floor entrance to see a new batch of art curated for a November 10 gallery opening that overlapped with the Upper School drama performance of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.”

Students' responses have been lightly edited for length and style.
 

Lauren Bikhazi ’18: Untitled. I had never originally named this piece, but I want to name it Violet Eclipse. I made it in my studio art class as part of an assignment—I was given a photo of a flower and my job was to emulate it with paint. I mixed a lot of acrylic paints to find the tones I needed. It took a lot of time to make my painting look realistic and similar to the picture. The end result was a giant collage of various flowers that could be put together like a puzzle on the wall.

Mia Brickey ’17: Ribbon Crystals. Art Teacher Rob Mellor assigned a project that required a grid. From there, I wanted to create a piece that used multiple mediums, and I liked the contrast of sharp and flowy. I started by creating the background grid, then sketched the crystal bursts, and then sketched the ribbon to flow around the bursts. I then took water to each crystal segment and dropped ink into the water to create the vibrant color. I painted the ribbon using black and white acrylic. I used colored pencil to shade parts of the background grid. This piece came from my complete imagination, with no outside inspiration.

 

Kate Button ’17 (two pieces)

Seclusion. I was inspired by John Asaro’s model of the planes of the face, but I wanted to take this model in a new direction by exploring the interplay between light and shadow on triangularly shaped planes. I started by looking at different models of facial planes, then I took this inspiration and began to sketch what I would later paint. I used only triangles to represent the planes in order to put my own spin on this common model. I painted using shades of blue, with varying pigmentation, to make the face stand out against a grayscale background and make it look like it’s emerging out of a flat plane.

Kingsdale Trees. I was inspired by an image of two trees bending over in the wind, but I took an impressionistic approach to this piece in order to make it my own. I used watercolor to create a loose image that would appear as if it’s moving in the wind. I used quick brushstrokes as I painted to give it an impressionistic style. I coupled the more realistic sky and middle-ground with an abstract foreground to bring focus to the upper half of the painting.

Leah Button ’19: Roots. I was inspired by nature, and especially by a big tree in front of my house. But I wanted to make this tree different. Whenever I doodle, I always draw flowers. So I decided I’d make them the leaves of the tree. I started doodling on a piece of paper with a pen, and the more I doodled, the more ideas I got. I knew I didn’t just want flowers filling up a piece of paper—I wanted them to be part of the tree.

Mia Chamberlain ’19: Untitled. The inspiration for this piece was creativity and expression. We were asked to create an "obsessive drawing" by filling in the whole paper with designs. I started by outlining the base of the drawing, then moved on to filling in the gaps with random shapes and designs. Then I went over it in black.

Emily Fowler ’18: Untitled. At first I just couldn’t think of a title, and now I’m considering intentionally leaving it untitled to allow viewers more room for imagination. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my peers’ responses to this piece: I’ve been told it looks like anything from an abstract explosion, to a flower, to a bunch of bats hanging from something. I wasn’t inspired by any one particular idea. I started doing this repetitive shape and liked its layered effect, so I ran with it. I leaned toward making the piece into an abstract landscape or nature scene, but I like that it's a bit nonspecific—that leaves viewers to wonder what I was trying to achieve or what my thought process was, and I love hearing the different interpretations. Leaving some white space almost made it seem like I’d caught a being in the middle of some movement—I like that some of the fragments of the object seem to be floating away from the mass, but are stopped in time. I was experimenting and I ended up in what I think is a very interesting place.

Olivia Gao ’17: Untitled. I love figure drawing, so basically every piece of my drawing incorporates portrait elements. The elephant and the lotus are things I personally like, and I also think they both symbolize peace. When I make art, I always put together random things I like on the same piece of drawing, but I think about the structure and colors as a whole. I used watercolor because I think the theme of this particular piece is more about peace and meditation, and watercolor is a soft paint that can help create the sense of tenderness.

Knox Heslop ’17: Neverland. I’ve been told I'm a Peter Pan–like person; I’m always going on random adventures and getting myself into trouble. I wanted to create a piece that accurately represented my personality. I sketched out an outline of Peter Pan, then I used shaving cream to transfer an ink pattern onto the paper.

Libby Hunt ’17: Collected Chaos. Art Teacher Rob Mellor had us do a compulsive drawing on the first day of class. I used my drawing from the compulsive assignment and expanded it. I just kind of worked as I went. First, I drew all the overlapping vines and made my way across the page. I later included the flowers and mushrooms to make the drawing more interesting. I decided to color some negative space black and leave the rest white to create contrast. Finally, I used ink to make the flowers pop. I didn’t know how this drawing would turn out when I started; I just kept adding and expanding!

Wes Johnston ’17: Untitled. This is a topographic map of the Salt Lake Valley. I enjoy maps, and wanted to do a piece with maps and geography. I’d been working with charcoal and wanted to do a large piece. I chose Salt Lake because it had mountains, city, and lakes; the change in land allowed for variation. I began by making a rough sketch of the valley and from there I made random patterns.

Abby Powers ’17: Untitled. I was inspired by topographical maps and the curvature of lines, and how they create form. I started with the portraits and then drew the contours of the lines so they would interact with the figures.

Julia Villar ’17: Moon Man. I wanted to experiment with how objects we are exposed to on a daily basis can be perceived differently. I remembered the phrase "the man on the moon" and decided to collage an abstract, colorful man in the shape of a moon. I used magazines from the school and cut circles, strategically placing the circles to contribute to the color and composition.

Ethan Williams ’17: Aquatic Daydreams. The anatomy of an octopus has always intrigued me and I really wanted to capture the rather fantastical and almost extraterrestrial look of their eyes and skin. I started out by drawing the octopus as a whole with a black pen on a smaller sheet of paper. I completely filled out the paper with its head in the center and its tentacles sprawling out and over the page. I then zoomed in on one part of the drawing and copied it onto a bigger sheet of paper using pastels, and added more detail on the skin and the eyes.

Robin Zeng ’19: Untitled. I began this piece with a general lack of ideas and inspiration, but I’d like to think it grew into something more. As I sketched out my idea, I realized I wanted to make a piece that has more detail and depth the further one looks into it. I also wanted a stark contrast between the natural aspects and the clean-cut and manmade jars and boxes. This piece was mostly an experiment with watercolors and inks. I made it for a project in which we had to start by sketching on a grid and experiment with spacing, view, and dimension. I began by lightly sketching, and then inking it in with thin micron pens. I finished it off with multiple washes of watercolors. This piece opened me up to inks and watercolors, both of which I had little experience with. Afterward, I experimented with brushes and colored inks—this quickly became my favorite art medium, and has opened an entirely new artistic door for me.

Visual Arts

Experiential Education

students interviewing man sitting on bench

Earlier this school year, sophomores hit iconic Salt Lake City spots to ask friendly strangers how migration has shaped their families’ stories. English teacher Dr. Kate Taylor masterminded the activity for sophomores' annual Beyond the Classroom day, in connection with their reading of Exit West

Before they took to the streets, students received a crash course from an expert folklorist, Thomas Richardson, on how to be an ethnographer and conduct interviews. Then during interviews, sophomores asked these questions:

Immigration heavily affected our way of life because we were the first peoples here.—Darren Parry, Chairman of the Shoshone Nation. See his interview in the top-left square.

  1. What story about your own or your family’s migration or travel can you share?
  2. Tell me about how migration or travel has shaped your story or your family’s story.
  3. Our class is reading a book called Exit West by Mohsin Hamid who said, “We are all migrants. All of us. We move through time and space.” How does that quote relate or not relate to your experience?

Students had a simple goal, Dr. Taylor said: listen and bear witness to the many different experiences of people in our city. 

View an exhibit of subjects’ photos and quotes just outside the Upper School library. A selection of students’ work is below.

Directions: On a desktop, hover over the audio icons to see pull quotes and hear interview audio. On a mobile device, press the audio icons.   

Student Reactions to the Assignment

Lightly edited for style and context.

It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. —Sophomore Cole McCartney

Beyond the Classroom made me realize how diverse Salt Lake City is. I was able to hear about many people’s experiences with migration or travel. I met people from Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries, and they all had very compelling stories. It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. I also found it interesting to hear different opinions on migration; there were some who were strongly for it while others didn't seem to care...I would never have talked to random people about this if it weren't for this project.
—Cole McCartney

It definitely showed me that people are always on the move, and how some don’t have to travel far to experience different things. It gave me more respect for people who do migrate often, or migrate to different countries or places that are vastly different from where they started. I feel more empathetic towards people who are migrating from oppressive countries and are struggling to find a place in this world. Even making the move from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake was difficult and took time, so these people are fighters and deserve happiness in their lives.
—Mary Clancy

At the beginning of the day, I thought it would be really scary because I would be talking with random people I didn't know, something I’ve rarely been comfortable with...I met a woman named Rosa María and asked if I could interview her. She replied, "I don't speak English, only Spanish; I'm on a trip," and I knew it would be a good opportunity to see how immigration had affected people who weren't living in the United States. I conducted the whole interview in Spanish and we laughed and had a good time...Being an immigrant myself, I thought everyone was affected in some way by immigration, but as I interviewed her I knew immigration wasn't all there was. She primarily talked about cross-cultural integration. I knew this was true but it didn't hit me until then: immigration is a big topic all around the world, but you don’t often hear in the media about how it opens people’s minds up to new ideas.
—Mena Zendejas-Portugal

Beyond the Classroom
 

Data Dash: My Tech-Driven Orthopedic Internship Helping Injured Patients

Test Test

By Steven Doctorman, Class of 2020

I begin by applying a double-sided adhesive sticker to a motion-reflective marker—a small, silvery sphere. There are about 30 markers on the floor, each one in need of a sticker. These markers are then applied to certain parts of the patient's body, each one in a specific location in relation to a joint or muscle mass.

Patients crack the occasional joke: about the tight shorts they have to wear, about how tearing off the markers will feel like removing a Band-Aid, about how their midriff is on display when markers are used to track hip joints.

I sit on a stool, scoot behind the computer, and watch as one of the personal trainers gives the same instructions: the cameras in the ceiling track every movement, and we first have to calibrate those cameras by having the patient make certain movements, such as marching with one leg or kicking out to the side. The markers appear on the computer and we record movements, from walking and running to jumping and squatting. Patients are here because of certain injuries, and by monitoring movements the computer algorithm can calculate the data necessary to diagnose treatment options. I, both literally and figuratively, take a backseat to the computer work, but I'm captivated by the procedure and by doctors' discussions of the asymmetry of certain joints.

I intern at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in a lab that works with physical trainers to help individuals in post-surgical recovery. My responsibilities range from data tracking and analysis to marker prep and observation. On days when we don't have a patient, I use a computer program to identify flaws in previously recorded data and replace those flaws with accurate estimates. On days when we have a patient, I help apply adhesive stickers to markers and then observe data collection and doctors' analyses. This kind of lab work fascinates me, and witnessing the real-world implications of technical and biomedical innovation is inspirational.

I first learned about Rowland Hall's internship program from a flyer on a hallway bulletin board. It described how students worked in a blood-synthesis lab over the summer, and what they learned. As I became more interested in lab work my sophomore year, I reached out to Dr. Laura Johnson, an Upper School English teacher who also manages student internships. She's the archetypal Rowland Hall teacher, dedicated to helping her students succeed. Her efforts were heartwarming: she worked tirelessly to identify an opportunity that matched my schedule and interests. She contacted an array of labs and eventually found the TOSH internship in September, the beginning of my junior year.

My work at TOSH has directly intersected with my classes, and vice versa. In Advanced Topics Biology, learning about data collection with standard error bars allowed me to identify whether someone's hip flexion was within the healthy range. In physics, learning about motion and gravity have helped me understand the results from force plates. Even calculus has helped me with data synthesis, as I'm able to track a graph on the x-, y-, and z-axes and apply the correct computer algorithm to replace faulty data. My schoolwork applies to real-world concepts, which, in my opinion, is priceless.

As recording wraps up, I help one of the physical trainers remove the markers. I take off the adhesive stickers and throw them away. I then watch as the doctors write a report about what treatment and exercises are needed. They compare the patient's data with a database that shows the abilities of healthy individuals. When I'm not actively helping, I either watch the doctors write their report, or return to old data and correct errors. The latter improves their database. And each recording helps make a difference in people's lives, which is an added bonus to an already meaningful internship.

Current upper schoolers interested in internships should contact teacher Laura Johnson. Prospective families who want to learn more are invited to our January 30 Upper School Open Door—RSVP here.    STEM

Student Steven Doctorman at his TOSH internship.

Avalanche Level 1 Course

Some upper schoolers have been taking an Avalanche Level I Course this winter, coordinated through our PE program and led by @utahmountainadventures. They've practiced safe travel in avalanche terrain, dug snow pits and performed field tests to recognize weak and strong layers in snow pack, trained with avalanche beacons, and more. 📸 by teacher @eemina13. 🎿🏔️
 
Gallery
Senior's Summer at Oxford Offers Window into College Life, Engineering Major

This summer, Rowland Hall senior Aislinn Mitcham embarked on an exciting learning opportunity: she spent four weeks at Oxford University in England, taking classes taught by university professors and living in the undergraduate dorms. While many peers spent the summer preparing to apply for college, Aislinn experienced what attending college might actually be like, and she considers herself fortunate. "It reinvigorated me for the college application process," she said, and gave her a balanced perspective heading into the busy fall semester.

Aislinn—who earned one of the program's highly selective scholarships—opted to major in engineering and minor in medical science. In her engineering class, which met for three-hour sessions six days a week, students tackled projects ranging from building an FM radio to learning Python, a coding language.

Founded in 1985, the Oxford Tradition offers high school students entering grades 10 through 12 a chance to study with leading academics and earn college credit. Each student must choose a major and minor area of study from a wide variety of courses, and Aislinn—who earned one of the program's highly selective scholarships—opted to major in engineering and minor in medical science. In her engineering class, which met for three-hour sessions six days a week, students tackled projects ranging from building an FM radio to learning Python, a coding language. Aislinn plans to study engineering in college and found the class a perfect fit, especially since Rowland Hall doesn't offer specific courses in engineering. She credited Upper School teacher Robin Hori, who encouraged her to attend the program and wrote a letter of recommendation for her scholarship application, saying that the project-based learning in his physics class prepared her well for the demands of Oxford.

Rowland Hall prepared Aislinn to test the waters of the college experience in a practical sense too. While the program has structured times for classes and many suggested social activities for the evenings, students are ultimately responsible for their own schedules. "It's your responsibility to be up, to know when breakfast is, to know when dinner is," Aislinn said. "And I do feel we have that responsibility here, to a certain extent. If you don't have a class, you're allowed to be other places, but you have to be back on time, and get your stuff done."

Aislinn also embraced a mentoring role in her peer group—one she doesn't always play at home, as the younger sibling—and even taught other program students how to do laundry.

Aislinn and her friends at the end-of-program formal dinner

The people she met, and the friendships she formed, are what Aislinn will remember the most about her time at Oxford. She bonded with other students during cultural activities, including visiting local museums, going on ghost tours, and attending a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Aislinn acknowledged that being in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar faces was intimidating at first, but she got over any initial shyness. "Getting to meet people who have completely different world views and world experiences was really important to me," she said.

Getting to meet people who have completely different world views and world experiences was really important to me. —Aislinn Mitcham

Aislinn will use her experience studying abroad to help guide her future learning as well. While she previously regarded attending an out-of-state college as a must, she is now considering nearby options—such as the U—as well. "I loved being away in a new environment, but I also realized how important my family is to me," she said, adding that the U is a really good school, and students shouldn't "just ignore it because it's close."

Regardless of where she ends up, Aislinn has real-world practice in engineering that she can draw upon, thanks to the Oxford program. The last week of class, they attempted to build robots, but they couldn't get them to synchronize successfully with their phones. "One of my favorite things about the program," Aislinn said, "was learning how much of engineering is trying and failing, trying and failing. Even my teacher didn't always know why things were failing."

The process of discovery—in the classroom and throughout her time abroad—is something Aislinn hopes other Rowland Hall students can have as well. "Go into it with an open mind," she encouraged. "It's an amazing experience."

Students

Mud Kitchen Enhances Beginning School's Menu of Outdoor Play Spaces

"It's a beautiful pie party today!" a bundled-up three-year-old declared one sunny January morning on the Beginning School playground.

Beginning schoolers have been throwing plenty of beautiful pie parties lately thanks to their playground's latest addition: a mud kitchen. They may fill their "pies" with pine cones and sand instead of pecans and sugar, but it is indeed beautiful to see how the kitchen stirs the students to use their imaginations, collaborate, and dig into nature.

Professional development introduced Beginning School Lead Enrichment Teacher Alesa Davis to mud kitchens—she first heard of the concept through conferences held by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

"We most often see more engaged and interactive play in the outside space when children are using their own imaginations," Ms. Davis said. "We, as teachers, are always thinking of ways to enhance and encourage that kind of play." For Ms. Davis, a mud kitchen sounded like a great way to achieve that ever-present goal.

So after years of marinating on the idea, last summer, the 11-year Rowland Hall veteran decided to finally make it a reality. Initially deterred by a limited and pricey selection of prefabricated options, she and her husband, John, opted to take it on as a DIY project.

Ms. Davis bought a reasonably priced potting bench online and began scouring hardware and secondhand stores for the necessary tools and accoutrements. Thanks to the treasure trove that is Deseret Industries (affectionately known to thrifty Utahns as "the DI"), she found a faucet for $3 and a brand-name toy wooden stovetop for $1. Together, the Davises trimmed the potting bench down to toddler height, and relocated the burners and knobs from the thrifted stovetop to the new bench. Then, they slathered on several coats of wood preserver, and appended the final touch—hooks under the shelving for pots and pans. "Another trip to the DI, and we had enough pots and pans, dishes and plates, and spoons to start up any imaginary restaurant," Ms. Davis said. To round out the nature motif, teachers added log stools, and an outdoor wooden bench purchased for the playground last school year.

Beginning School Principal Carol Blackwell applauded Ms. Davis's dedication. "She is a very resourceful teacher, and she constructed the mud kitchen for the benefit of all," Ms. Blackwell said. "Rather than put the mud kitchen on a wish list for someone else to implement, she took the initiative."

Since playground space is at a premium, it took some brainstorming to determine where the mud kitchen would live. Faculty and staff eventually settled on a corner dirt patch previously occupied by a tree. "It turned out to be the ideal place," Ms. Davis said. "Boxed in by two brick walls, it became a cozy little kitchen nook."

Others agree. 2PreK and 3PreK Lead Teacher Gail Rose and Assistant Teacher Mary Swaminathan said the kitchen transformed an underutilized area into a hub. "Deliveries of fresh food and visits from customers are regular activities," Ms. Rose said, explaining it's a destination for students riding scooters and toting wheelbarrows. Accordingly, the kitchen helps students build physical and social skills: "The stumps and crates are used for both sitting and heavy muscle work as the children prove their strength and make room for friends at the table."

Ms. Davis said she couldn't have predicted all the creative-play premises students have cooked up. "From a pie shop and an ice cream parlor to a poisonous-potion kitchen, they've giggled with delight over their own ideas blooming to life," she said.

Plus, a mud kitchen isn't a bad fit for a school community and metro area rife with outdoor enthusiasts. Encouraging youngsters to play outside and dig in the dirt, author Linda Åkeson McGurk posits in a new buzzed-about parenting book, ignites an appreciation for nature that can ultimately bolster one's health, resilience, and confidence.

Indeed, students now scamper around our playground with their pots and pans, collecting various earthly treasures: leaves, grass, sand, bark, water from our rain gutters, and snow from the ground. Then, they work together to concoct recipes and stage scenes inspired by food establishments. "We've been thrilled to watch their interactions, especially across age levels," Ms. Davis said. "Children that don't typically socialize as much have found their voices in the mud kitchen."

As the seasons change, so do the students' pie ingredients, and teachers rotate kitchen tools as needed over the course of a year. But in general, the kitchen runs itself.

"When children are so engaged that they don't need us or even notice us on the playground, we know we've been successful," Ms. Davis said. "That was the goal, and it was accomplished. Here's to many more hours of childhood happiness."

Experiential Learning

 

Aviation Curriculum and Culture Takes Off Under Direction of Retired Navy Pilot

Pilots have the greatest office in the world. It's one of the simple-yet-effective pitches from Middle School teacher Bill Tatomer to pique interest in aviation.

At Rowland Hall, interests are piqued. Middle schoolers pack Mr. Tatomer's aviation electives. Upper schoolers recently started a lively Aviation Club. One recent alumnus—Davis Kahler '17—is studying at Westminster College to become a pilot, and some current students want to follow suit.

Mr. Tatomer's matter-of-fact passion for aviation helps to sell the subject. Beyond the incredible view from the "office," flying is just fun, the retired US Navy pilot said. "You're flying different profiles with different people, seeing different places," he said. "The dynamic environment made for a wonderful profession." Even his old uniform, a green flight suit, still brings him joy. "I miss wearing this pretty much every day because it's so darn comfortable," he said on Halloween, clad in the coveralls as an easily accessible costume.

Mr. Tatomer flew planes in the Navy for 22 years before retiring in 2007. Like so many former military pilots, he planned to become a commercial airline pilot. But he sought to reverse his career trend of spending about 40% of his time away from his two daughters and wife Linda, now the Lower School specialty principal. After Mr. Tatomer's final military tour in Hawaii, the family returned to Bill and Linda's former home of Salt Lake City. Mr. Tatomer landed a coaching job at Rowland Hall while he waited to interview with the airlines. Then, former Middle School Principal Stephen Bennhoff offered him a long-term maternity substitute position for seventh-grade world studies teacher Margot Miller. "I got into the class setting with the kids, and just fell in love," he said. He subsequently canceled scheduled interviews with Southwest and FedEx, and now celebrates 10 years in our classrooms.

Within two years of his Rowland Hall tenure, Mr. Tatomer convinced Mr. Bennhoff to let him teach a six-week aviation elective. From there, the curriculum grew: he now teaches three six-week intro classes, a six-week flight design class, and a trimester advanced flight class.

The intro class covers topics such as professions in aviation, aerodynamics, and Bernoulli's principle. In flight design, students learn about the aircraft engineering process and design one of their own prototype airplanes, guided by constraints such as size, materials, and flight distance. In the advanced course—an abbreviated Federal Aviation Administration ground-school class—students learn pilotage using simulators, and as a capstone activity actually pilot a real flight with instructors from Westminster College, Mr. Tatomer's alma mater.

 

Bill Tatomer with students and planes

↑ During a field trip to the Westminster College Flight Center, located in the southeast corner of the Salt Lake City International Airport, Bill Tatomer fist-bumps a Middle School aviation student after she correctly answered a question.

As classes expanded, so did corresponding equipment in Mr. Tatomer's classroom: he now has four flight simulators thanks to ongoing tech help from Lincoln Street Campus Network Manager Nick Banyard, and general program support from current Principal Tyler Fonarow. When practicing on the so-called sims, students reference flight checklists straight from the Westminster program. Mr. Tatomer serves as air traffic controller. Sims are linked so students can see each other taxiing out, flying on their assigned mission profile, and following the aircraft landing pattern. A deer might show up on the runway, and birds might hit the plane mid-flight. "The realism is incredible," Mr. Tatomer said.

The aviation curriculum aligns with our commitment to experiential education, and with our Strategic Plan goal of providing the region's most outstanding math and science program. "From metereology to aerodynamics to flight physiology, there are so many STEM applications," Mr. Tatomer said. "Every class is STEM based."

Junior Ned Friedman, president of the Aviation Club and an aspiring Air Force pilot, agreed. For the past couple of years, he's attended summer camp to fly gliders and has learned, for example, about aircraft engineering and how weather—especially wind—affects the physics of flight. Ned didn't attend Rowland Hall's Middle School, but commended Mr. Tatomer for his infectious love of the subject, and for serving as faculty liaison for the Aviation Club and connecting that group with Westminster's myriad aviation resources.

Sophomore Sophie DuBois, club vice president, loved taking Mr. Tatomer's beginning and advanced aviation classes, and especially loved flying from Salt Lake to Heber in the latter class. Now, she said unequivocally, "I want to be a pilot."

"That's why Rowland Hall is so great," she said. "We can have experiences like this that not a lot of other schools, at least locally, are able to offer," Sophie said. Mr. Tatomer, she added, was her favorite eighth-grade teacher. He's inclusive and tries to get everyone interested in what he's teaching. The Utah Air Force Association agrees: in May, they named him Chapter 236 (Southern Utah) Secondary Teacher of the Year.

In addition to dovetailing with our Strategic Plan, the rise of aviation at Rowland Hall coincides with a national pilot shortage. To curtail that shortage, the industry could encourage more women to join the field, since they comprise just 5% of pilots. Westminster is doing a bit better: there, the percentage of women in the aviation program is about thrice that, according to Aviation Admissions Counselor Stacie Whitford, one of Mr. Tatomer's main Westminster liaisons. The retired Navy commander is doing his part to close the gender gap—Sophie said he recruited plenty of girls for her Middle School classes. The teacher hopes to continue building on our school's partnership with Westminster, and sending them aviation students, especially young women.

Upper schoolers who want to advance in their aviation studies can do so through a Westminster course for high schoolers that runs January through April, and through a new Rowland Hall Interim trip that condenses Westminster's aviation summer camp into five days. Plus, the roughly 15-member Aviation Club meets 9:20 am Tuesdays in Mr. Tatomer's room, MS 203. In addition to educational trips after school or on weekends, the group is diving into community service. Through December 8, they're collecting donated toys, school supplies, clothes, and more for Angel Flight West's Utah Santa Flight, which will bring the items to students at a title 1 school in Roosevelt, Utah.

 

Experiential Learning

 
New Upper School Fitness Program Teaches Wellness and Time Management

Over the past several years, enrollment in physical education (PE) classes steadily declined in the Upper School. Rather than getting discouraged by the lack of participation—and the subsequent lack of course offerings—PE teacher Mark Oftedal embraced a growth mindset. He saw the failures of the existing PE model in the Upper School as an opportunity to try something new: a Personal Fitness program that launched in September and is already creating buzz inside the Lincoln Street Campus hallways.

The program has a simple premise: make fitness fit your schedule. Instead of trimester or yearlong PE courses that meet at regularly scheduled times, students must accrue 25 hours of physical activity over the course of the year to earn one PE credit. Upper schoolers can earn two credits if they accrue 50 hours, but if they don't reach 25 by the end of the year, the hours won't carry forward.

The classes and activities available through the Personal Fitness program—which students were surveyed about, to gauge interest—appeal to a diverse crowd. Early offerings include hiking, yoga, Ultimate Frisbee, and meditation, with plans for kayaking, backcountry skiing, and open gym time underway. Students can attend a fitness class during a free period, after school, or sometimes on weekends, and most classes don't require advance signup. To earn credit, students must sign in with the instructor, and then participate to the best of their abilities.

Mr. Oftedal credited visiting colleges with his son Eli Oftedal '15 for inspiring him to look ahead to the fitness opportunities students will encounter after high school. He saw the first-rate recreational centers and facilities available to college students, and started to devise a PE program that would give upper schoolers the chance to try new activities, and require them to use time-management skills. The new program challenges students to figure out how they fit in, Mr. Oftedal said. "When they get to college, they won't have as many easy opportunities for athletics that they had here at Rowland Hall."

Our school's learning environment will help to make the Personal Fitness program a success, Mr. Oftedal said. "We can give students interesting options—maybe things they want to become better at, or things they have never tried before and can do in an environment that will be supportive, whether they succeed or fail."

Students are already embracing the program, according to sophomore Hailey Hauck. Hailey is a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team that plays after school on Mondays and Wednesdays with English teacher Joel Long and math teacher Brian Birchler. Last year Hailey played volleyball to earn PE credit, and while she likes the sport, she found the practice and game schedule a bit too demanding. She's planning to earn credit for the Ultimate Frisbee workouts this year, and feels less stressed without the commitment a team sport requires. She mentioned that her friends are looking forward to earning credit for backcountry skiing, something they already do an average of twice a week.

Ultimate Frisbee has yielded other benefits for Hailey, beyond a simplified way to earn PE credit. "I have been able to meet a lot of new people that I probably wouldn't talk to outside the team," she said. "And it's a great break—you can switch your brain off from school."

Exercise's mental boost plays a significant role in Mr. Oftedal's plan. He cited the latest neuroscientific research on how exercise improves brain activity and believes that students who can fit in a yoga or meditation class midday, or go for a walk during their free period, will perform better academically in the hours that follow. "All the literature shows that when students go out and get moving, and get chemicals flowing through their brains, they will be more apt to learn and remember material," he said. "It all points in that direction." He's also acutely aware of how much studying the average Upper School student does and wants them to find balance in their lives.

Mr. Oftedal hopes to expand the Personal Fitness program in the future to include guest speakers on topics such as nutrition, sleep habits, and sports psychology. He envisions a strong health and wellness curriculum that prepares students for the real-world scenarios they will encounter in college and beyond. The only challenge he currently anticipates is finding adequate space for certain activities, such as open gym time, especially since the Middle School PE program remains robust.

Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson said she's pleased with the rollout of the program so far, especially how it allows for flexibility. She thinks students are excited about the range of classes and curious about the impending experiential offerings. Mr. Oftedal foresees some of the off-campus classes like rock climbing or kayaking eventually turning into interim trips.

Mr. Oftedal also hopes that adults in our community—faculty, staff, or even parents—will join in the fitness activities, and act as positive role models for our students. "I want to create a culture where kids see that faculty and staff enjoy doing these things too, that they're trying to fit them into their lives because they see the benefits and enjoyment they get from exercise."

Experiential Learning

Students Study Sage-Grouse in Southern Utah, Cut Teeth on Field Science

Environmental science and ornithology upper schoolers on an early April weekend drove south to frigid, beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park to study sage-grouse—an indigenous bird species that junior Sarah Kaye playfully describes as resembling a "fancy chicken."

The group of eight students and their teachers worked with biologists from the Wild Utah Project and Utah State University—most notably Dr. Nicole Frey, a sage-grouse expert. Ornithology Teacher Rob Wilson called the excursion an "uncommon opportunity" for students to do field science.

"This is a remarkable field trip," said Mr. Wilson, who also teaches biology and leads Rowland Hall's participation in a prestigious pilot program to bolster genetics and evolution curriculum in high school. According to Mr. Wilson, sage-grouse present the most important wildlife conservation and land-management question in the Western United States.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) doesn't list sage-grouse as an endangered species, but the species has had a precarious past. From 2010 to 2015, FWS considered sage-grouse to be "warranted but precluded" from listing, trumped only by other priorities of the Endangered Species Act. Sage-grouse is also an umbrella species, meaning that protecting the bird will protect other species of the sage-steppe ecosystem. Plus, the colony Rowland Hall students studied may need to be relocated due to impending mining, and Dr. Frey and her colleagues are figuring out the best way to do that, if at all possible.

Sage-grouse males and females meet on what's called a "lek," their strutting ground—an open area mostly free of sagebrush.

"The males puff out their tail feathers (which kind of look like pine cones) and their chests (which are big, white, and fluffy)...and they strut," Sarah said. "They chase the females around, and the females decide who they want to mate with." The females, she explained, are plainer—they look like brown chickens. And many of the females select the same male for mating. "The females are very choosy," graduating senior Marguerite Tate said. "They're looking for very specific things."

During the field study, Environmental Science Teacher Ben Smith, Mr. Wilson, and Dr. Frey placed flags in the ground to mark (1) random locations and (2) known locations sage-grouse have been, according to GPS trackers on the birds. Students divided into two groups to gather data. One group measured the height of all plants five meters north, south, east, and west of the flags. Another group measured ground cover—they'd place a hula hoop at the edge of the five-meter marks and record the types and percentages of plant coverage on the ground within the hoop. "It was cool to have an experience where you were actually taking in data that was potentially going to be used in (Dr. Frey's) experiments," Sarah said.

Marguerite and Sarah said the study aimed to show what kind of shelter the birds prefer—critical knowledge should they need to be moved. "In the past, trying to move them to a brand new place just has not worked. They don't mate, they don't start a new colony, it just does not work," Marguerite said. "But we learned from this experiment that you can expand their territory as long as the restored areas are right next to their older areas."

Mr. Smith said he hoped that by going on the trip, students gleaned the value of field studies. According to Sarah and graduating senior Marguerite, they did.

Marguerite said that while researching out in the cold was a sobering experience, "It's really cool to know what it's like to be a field scientist."

Sarah and Marguerite both trumpeted the value of environmental science and ornithology and said students shouldn't overlook the classes just because they're not APs. "It's really important for students to get this other grasp of science—that it's not all just sitting in a lab," Marguerite said.

Sarah said the knowledge is also useful for other classes—in AP Biology, for instance, she was learning about species and habitat, which she'd studied in depth for Mr. Smith's class.

For the students, one of the most valuable aspects of the trip was meeting and working with Dr. Frey, a renowned expert in the subject of their study. It proved to Sarah that a STEM job can be more than crunching numbers. "It was cool seeing how she wasn't just out there to make money, gather data, and kind of be a robot," the junior said. "She was really interested and really passionate about the sage-grouse."

Experiential Learning

STEM

Data Dash: My Tech-Driven Orthopedic Internship Helping Injured Patients

Test Test

By Steven Doctorman, Class of 2020

I begin by applying a double-sided adhesive sticker to a motion-reflective marker—a small, silvery sphere. There are about 30 markers on the floor, each one in need of a sticker. These markers are then applied to certain parts of the patient's body, each one in a specific location in relation to a joint or muscle mass.

Patients crack the occasional joke: about the tight shorts they have to wear, about how tearing off the markers will feel like removing a Band-Aid, about how their midriff is on display when markers are used to track hip joints.

I sit on a stool, scoot behind the computer, and watch as one of the personal trainers gives the same instructions: the cameras in the ceiling track every movement, and we first have to calibrate those cameras by having the patient make certain movements, such as marching with one leg or kicking out to the side. The markers appear on the computer and we record movements, from walking and running to jumping and squatting. Patients are here because of certain injuries, and by monitoring movements the computer algorithm can calculate the data necessary to diagnose treatment options. I, both literally and figuratively, take a backseat to the computer work, but I'm captivated by the procedure and by doctors' discussions of the asymmetry of certain joints.

I intern at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH) in a lab that works with physical trainers to help individuals in post-surgical recovery. My responsibilities range from data tracking and analysis to marker prep and observation. On days when we don't have a patient, I use a computer program to identify flaws in previously recorded data and replace those flaws with accurate estimates. On days when we have a patient, I help apply adhesive stickers to markers and then observe data collection and doctors' analyses. This kind of lab work fascinates me, and witnessing the real-world implications of technical and biomedical innovation is inspirational.

I first learned about Rowland Hall's internship program from a flyer on a hallway bulletin board. It described how students worked in a blood-synthesis lab over the summer, and what they learned. As I became more interested in lab work my sophomore year, I reached out to Dr. Laura Johnson, an Upper School English teacher who also manages student internships. She's the archetypal Rowland Hall teacher, dedicated to helping her students succeed. Her efforts were heartwarming: she worked tirelessly to identify an opportunity that matched my schedule and interests. She contacted an array of labs and eventually found the TOSH internship in September, the beginning of my junior year.

My work at TOSH has directly intersected with my classes, and vice versa. In Advanced Topics Biology, learning about data collection with standard error bars allowed me to identify whether someone's hip flexion was within the healthy range. In physics, learning about motion and gravity have helped me understand the results from force plates. Even calculus has helped me with data synthesis, as I'm able to track a graph on the x-, y-, and z-axes and apply the correct computer algorithm to replace faulty data. My schoolwork applies to real-world concepts, which, in my opinion, is priceless.

As recording wraps up, I help one of the physical trainers remove the markers. I take off the adhesive stickers and throw them away. I then watch as the doctors write a report about what treatment and exercises are needed. They compare the patient's data with a database that shows the abilities of healthy individuals. When I'm not actively helping, I either watch the doctors write their report, or return to old data and correct errors. The latter improves their database. And each recording helps make a difference in people's lives, which is an added bonus to an already meaningful internship.

Current upper schoolers interested in internships should contact teacher Laura Johnson. Prospective families who want to learn more are invited to our January 30 Upper School Open Door—RSVP here.    STEM

Student Steven Doctorman at his TOSH internship.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop: Three Faculty Members Embark on Exciting Summer Professional Development Opportunities

While summer break often conjures up images of relaxation, such as reading a paperback novel on a sandy beach or sipping lemonade on a shady porch, in reality, many members of the Rowland Hall community are working between June and August. The months without daily classes allow staff to tackle major projects, including upgrades to campus facilities, and teachers have more time for collaboration and conference travel.

This summer, three of our faculty members in the middle and upper schools will be engaged in particularly exciting professional development opportunities, which are sure to reap benefits for the entire community. Read on to learn where Rob Wilson, Alisa Poppen, and Jeremy Innis are headed!


Upper School biology teacher Rob Wilson (pictured, top) will spend four days at the University of California, Davis, for a Penn State sponsored program called Arctic Plant Phenology Learning through Engaged Science (APPLES). Led by a group of researchers, Mr. Wilson and a cohort of selected teachers will study climate science as it relates to Arctic ecology, with a focus on developing a classroom project he can implement at Rowland Hall next year.

Mr. Wilson has been making changes to his curriculum over the past few years, both to support the school's Strategic Plan and align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The APPLES workshop will incorporate three-dimensional learning from the NGSS and even provide teachers with equipment—such as cameras or warming chambers—they can use to conduct experiments with students in the future.

"We don't spend a lot of time with living things in biology classrooms nowadays," Mr. Wilson said. He believes the new equipment and methodology will enable him to teach with more living models, in turn empowering his students to develop an intuitive sense of living systems. "It's something you can't really test—you have to experience it," he added.

The APPLES workshop will also allow Mr. Wilson to begin a collaboration with leading climate science researchers, one he hopes to continue for several years.


Alisa Poppen teaching students.

Alisa Poppen, Upper School science department chair, travels to Ames, Iowa, in mid-June to spend seven weeks working as a research assistant in a genetics laboratory at Iowa State University. The paid assistantship is part of the Research Experiences for Teachers program, funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Because I'm in the classroom all day, I don't have the opportunity to engage in long-term research projects," Ms. Poppen said. "I'm excited to spend this time on a college campus, in a lab, interacting with people who focus on scientific research all day."

Ms. Poppen's participation in the program comes at an ideal time for Rowland Hall, as the Upper School will be transitioning all science courses from Advanced Placement to Advanced Topics beginning in the fall. She hopes the material she encounters in the genetics lab—which for her, specifically, will be the study of chromosomal variation in species of cotton—will help inform the curriculum for AT biology courses, especially in the area of molecular biology. She also plans to use her summer-immersion experience to reinforce the value of classroom laboratory practices with students.

"I believe it's motivating for our students to know that what we're doing is the same thing real scientists do," she said.


Jeremy Innis leading the Chorus at Convocation.

Interfaith Chaplain Jeremy Innis was one of 25 teachers selected to participate in the Religious Worlds Institute, a summer fellowship supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mr. Innis will spend three weeks in New York City participating in field studies, reading texts, attending presentations, and collaborating with peers to assess and develop curriculum.

Mr. Innis applied for the Institute in large part because he wants to enhance the experiential learning component of world religions courses at Rowland Hall. He hopes visiting religious sites in New York City and participating in community rituals will give him new ideas for preparation and student reflection on field visits.

He is excited to have the opportunity to be a student again and mentioned looking forward to a presentation on Islam by one of his former professors from Harvard. "Broadening my own perspective on the diversity of religious beliefs and practices will also help me develop new curriculum for the chapel program," Mr. Innis said. "I'm fascinated by some of the sites we will visit and looking forward to meeting and speaking with many different people of faith."

 

People

 

Doing What Real Scientists Do: The Fifth-Grade Science Share Celebrates Inquiry, Process, and (Sometimes) Failure

Each August when students at Rowland Hall enter fifth grade, they receive a special assignment: write a letter to your teacher introducing yourself and expressing your hopes and fears for the year ahead. According to Sarah Button and Chad Obermark, two Lower School faculty members with a collective 23 years of experience teaching Rowland Hall fifth graders, 75 percent of incoming students are worried about one thing in particular—the science share.

"We talk about the science share from day one," Mr. Obermark said.

The annual spring project, which has been part of the Lower School curriculum for over 20 years, requires students to develop a research question and then execute the scientific method, culminating in a public presentation of their findings. It takes approximately eight weeks for students to complete the entire process: choosing a question, forming a hypothesis, collecting and analyzing data, writing up their results using the claim-evidence-reasoning framework, and creating the presentation board and accompanying Keynote—digital documentation—for the science share.

The sustained timeline, coupled with the independent nature of the research, is what contributes to student anxiety about the science share, Mr. Obermark explained. "They've really got to own it," he said, "and for some kids it's daunting."

For some fifth-grade students, identifying their research question is the toughest part of the process. Mackenzie White, whose project explored whether the duration of egg-whipping affected the height of a pound cake, said that finding a genuine question was her biggest challenge.

Ms. Button said that students' initial questions frequently fall into that category: those they already know the answer to. When she pushes them to establish genuine questions, they grow concerned. "They'll worry that their hypothesis might turn out wrong," she said. "So I have to reassure them it's okay if their experiment goes south and they find out something different than what they expected. That's what real scientists do."

At this year's science share on April 26, projects explored a range of questions, such as whether the type of string on a lacrosse stick impacts shot accuracy, or whether listening to music during a math test affects student performance. Faculty, parents, and other Lower School students made their way around the room, examining display boards, listening to presentations about the scientific method, and asking the fifth graders questions about their findings.

Some students were nervous about presenting their work to the community, though many spoke with pride about what they had learned. Will Chin, whose question was "does the temperature of a tennis ball affect how high it bounces?" described the painstaking process of data collection. After filming bouncing tennis balls—some of which had been cooled or heated—he pored over hours of video to extract precise height measurements, often slowing down and rewinding footage multiple times. However, his advice to future students was reassuring. "Once you get past the procedure," he said, "it's really fun."

They'll worry that their hypothesis might turn out wrong. So I have to reassure them it's okay if their experiment goes south and they find out something different than what they expected. That's what real scientists do. —Sarah Button, fifth-grade teacher

Gigi Brown, Jojo Park, and Bea Martin also had good suggestions for next year's fifth-grade class: Make sure you pick a question that really interests you. Choose a project that doesn't involve living subjects. Start early, and don't be afraid to ask your teacher for help.

Even though some students may struggle with the science share, Ms. Button emphasized that the process of engaging with a meaningful question—not the end product on display— is what creates a positive learning outcome. Additionally, the experience can impact the way students approach future projects in the Middle School and beyond. For one of Ms. Button's former students whose science share wasn't particularly successful, that meant helping his brother out when he got to fifth grade. "He didn't want his brother to make the same mistakes he had," Ms. Button said, "and his brother's project ended up being one of the best in his class."

The celebration of scientific inquiry and process, including the occasional failure, presents an opportunity for the community too, according to Mr. Obermark. While many other Lower School performances or events focus on the arts or literacy, the science share offers a critical window into STEM learning. "It's a big deal," he said, "and it's a big deal about science."

STEM

 

Encouraging Students to Embrace the Identity of a Scientist

Last fall, Rowland Hall first graders tackled a mystery in the science lab: how could two islands on either side of the world have the same tree growing on them? As part of a unit on seeds and trees, students suggested an explanation for this phenomenon, and then followed clues to determine whether their explanation was plausible. Carly Biedul—who served as the long-term science substitute teacher during Kirsten Walker's maternity leave and continues to teach the first- and second-grade science labs—was impressed with the students' engagement. "It was awesome to see how the first graders kept changing their answer the more and more they learned about seeds," she said. She explained that this lesson taught students about more than seed dispersal: it showed them that it's okay if your first answer to a problem is wrong because scientific study entails gathering evidence and then refining your answer based on what you learn.

Over the past four years, Rowland Hall has been examining and refining the ways we teach science, largely in service of the Strategic Plan's second goal: provide the Intermountain West's most outstanding math and science program. While division-specific and developmentally appropriate, these curricular changes all have one thing in common: students are spending more time in class—and hopefully outside class too—engaging in the behaviors of science. They are conducting more lab experiments, which involve asking questions, making observations, collecting data, and forming and revising arguments. Teachers are often using the universal framework of claim-evidence-reasoning to guide their lessons, which fosters the kind of critical thinking that students can apply in any field.

In kindergarten through eighth grade, Rowland Hall's science curriculum now aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which emphasize inquiry-based learning and making connections across scientific domains. The vision outlined in the NGSS is one where students are empowered to lead their own scientific discoveries, and sixth-grade science teacher Molly Lewis wholeheartedly supports it.

"Kids are the scientists now," she said, "and teachers are the facilitators." Whether directing a lab experiment about human vision—having students identify the limitations of their eyesight in certain circumstances, such as a dark room—or exploring the relationship between the form and function of red blood cells, Ms. Lewis is happy to let the students take risks and posit theories that might initially be ill-founded. "We're giving them meaningful context instead of just abstract ideas, and then teaching them the skills necessary to discover what's true or what they can prove."

In the Middle School and the Lower School, phenomena—like the trees and their traveling seeds, or fossils found in sedimentary rocks—are being used to draw students into the practice of inquiry. The Lower School also has several new units that integrate science and literacy, laying the groundwork for more in-depth experiments in the science lab. The Beginning School, meanwhile, builds foundational skills with activities such as daffodil painting and dissection.

For Upper School Science Department Chair Alisa Poppen, the skills and concepts learned through lab work are essential, and her department recently acquired some new sensors and probes necessary for proper data collection. Echoing Ms. Lewis, Ms. Poppen said, "We are using labs to build models rather than simply confirm ideas. We are focused on the behaviors of scientists, and understanding that science is not a collection of facts but rather a series of practices."

While the Upper School curriculum is focused on moving toward lab-based Advanced Topics courses—rather than using the NGSS as their guide—Ms. Poppen is thrilled at the prospect of students entering ninth-grade science with an excellent foundation in the claim-evidence-reasoning framework. Furthermore, she sees additional lab time creating an upswing in student engagement, much like Ms. Biedul observed in first grade.

Teachers and administrators will continue to observe how students perform in science classrooms—and, like good scientists, they will refine their practices based on the data they collect. Ultimately, Rowland Hall remains committed to providing students with the best possible learning experience. New Middle School science teacher Melissa Sharp hopes that by increasing students' enthusiasm for science, their learning experience will carry over into after-school hours too. "I want them to get into the car and ask their parents about genetics, and say, 'Mom, let me see your thumb!'" she said. "Or they might watch football and think about concussions, wondering what is happening in terms of neuroscience."

What it boils down to for everyone teaching science at Rowland Hall, including Ms. Sharp: "I want students to embrace the identity of a scientist."

STEM

 

Meet Marcus Milling and Melissa Sharp, New Science Faculty

Last fall, Rowland Hall welcomed two new members of our science faculty: Upper School chemistry teacher Marcus Milling and Middle School science teacher Melissa Sharp. Both science educators—who are also married—have been teaching in the United States and abroad for the past 20 years, most recently at the Lincoln Community School in Accra, Ghana. Ms. Sharp, who grew up in central New York, considers herself lucky to have taught in diverse educational settings. "Each opportunity has allowed me to question my perspective, think deeply about humanity, and ask again and again why I do what I do as an educator," she said.

Mr. Milling first began teaching in graduate school, and once he realized how much he enjoyed helping students, the path ahead seemed clear. "Physics and chemistry are the studies of the fundamental mechanisms of how our universe operates, from the large-scale study of galaxies to the small-scale examination of electrical circuits," he said. "What could be better than understanding how these things work and helping others to understand?" Mr. Milling and Ms. Sharp taught together for 11 years at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, California, where in addition to developing and implementing innovative curriculum, she served on the Global Education Committee and he coached a winning physics bowl team.

 

Their passion for science—and teaching young minds to think critically, support claims with evidence, and make connections that alter their worldviews—is undisputed. According to Ms. Sharp, "cultivating curiosity is the cornerstone of being a lifelong learner," and the science classroom provides an ideal environment for curiosity every day. She and Mr. Milling were drawn to Rowland Hall for the opportunity to grow our science program. Though they both agree that resources, namely time and funding, present a challenge to developing a first-rate science lab program, they are more than ready to advocate for an improved student experience.

"Experiments are the heart of science," Mr. Milling said. "They provide the evidence, and are how we test our ideas, and determine what is true and what is not true." While the Upper School science program recently acquired some new equipment for its laboratory sessions, he believes that changes to the curriculum—including offering Advanced Topics courses in chemistry and other subjects—will be key to ensuring that students are receiving the best science education possible.

 

For now, Ms. Sharp and Mr. Milling are busy adjusting to the shifting trimester schedule at Rowland Hall, taking advantage of outdoor-recreation opportunities, and building relationships with their new colleagues. "Collaborating effectively with my new community members is an integral part of my professional journey," Ms. Sharp said.

To that end, let's welcome them once again to Rowland Hall. We are thankful their professional journeys brought them here.

People

 

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Students Apply Science Studies in Internships

 

Alumnus Nick Fontaine '17 learned skills as a senior in Alisa Poppen's AP Biology class that, a few months later, helped him research the rare and deadly ebola virus as an intern with the Kay Lab in the University of Utah's Department of Biochemistry.

"It has been an amazing experience," the Rowmark Ski Academy postgraduate athlete said just halfway through his Kay Lab experience. "I've already learned so much about different research procedures and how professional labs operate."

Nick worked as a Kay Lab intern five days a week August 15 through November 8, and credited his alma mater for helping him hit the ground running: "Rowland Hall provided me with a strong foundation that enabled me to deeply explore specific concepts within a professional lab." In AP Biology, Nick learned about different types of inhibitors and how they affect enzymatic activity—knowledge that helped him explore the function of ebola inhibitors and their medical applications. And in AP Chemistry, he had to design his own experimental procedures for so-called inquiry labs: "This helped prepare me for the Kay Lab, where I had to creatively adapt my experiment to find the most effective inhibitor of the ebola virus." Nick plans to attend college in fall 2018 and said his internship has motivated him to stick with STEM and, in the more distant future, pursue a graduate degree.

The Upper School's innovative career-internship program, now in its fourth year, encourages students to ground their classroom learning in their out-of-school experiences. Students in grades ten through twelve can intern in a variety of fields, but stints in the science world have been especially popular and effective, according to internship coordinator Laura Johnson. Science Department Chair Ms. Poppen agreed. She lauded the program for giving our students opportunities to engage with science at an advanced level. Our students, in turn, prove they're prepared for such rigorous work, she said.

Internship mentors celebrate Rowland Hall students' competence and preparation. This past summer, junior Rob Welt interned with Dr. Michael Chardack, an orthopedic surgeon for Intermountain Healthcare. "Rob was alway cordial, friendly, and interested," Dr. Chardack said. "I am always amazed to see how well students at Rowland Hall are prepared to portray themselves in situations that are unfamiliar and require advanced psychosocial skills."

Rowland Hall primes students to be nimble in new contexts: our science department has made real-world applications of classroom concepts a central focus while implementing Goal 2 of the Strategic Plan. In Ms. Poppen's AP Biology class this year, for example, students will amplify their own DNA in order to determine which form of a gene they carry. That project and others like it help students learn standard lab techniques, such as micropipetting and running a gel.

Citizen-science projects also help students see real-world applications of subjects, and help them retain what they learn in class. In Anni Schneider's environmental science class, upper schoolers learned about Red Butte Creek and how to conduct water-quality tests. Then on Half Day Whole Heart October 11, they led a citizen-science day at the creek for our sixth graders. In Rob Wilson's ninth-grade biology class, students engage in a number of citizen-science projects, including through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and its eBird program, the USA National Phenology Network, and Utah State University's Water Watch program. Mr. Wilson's students also collaborate with students in Brian Birchler's statistics class to complete genetics projects on plants. And there's the sage-grouse field study, which Mr. Wilson said exposes our students to a kind of scientific work often denied to high schoolers due to time and travel expenses.

Our summer 2017 student-interns cite multiple instances when their Rowland Hall education helped to elevate their internship experiences.

Senior Sidney Hare said the general academic habits she's learned at Rowland Hall made her successful in her work with conservation biologist JJ Horns. "The lack of fear to ask even the simplest of questions" helped her make the most of the opportunity, Sidney said.

"At Rowland Hall, the teachers accept and want you to ask questions," she added. "It was the skill that helped me get even more out of my experience at my internship."

Junior Celia Davis spent 35 hours per week for a month at Cytozyme Laboratories, a supplier of products and nutritional concepts for agricultural and animal production. She said her knowledge of chemical names and polyatomic ions from chemistry class made her more efficient in day-to-day lab procedures.

Several student-interns cited the relevance of our biology curriculum to their work. Avenues Pet Clinic intern Claire Hyde, a junior, located dividing cells in a urine sample based on her ninth-grade study of mitosis. And as an intern at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital (TOSH), senior Youssef Salama built on his learnings from AP Biology when he monitored a cyclist for a VO2 max study, a trial measuring the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use. While the cyclist pedaled, Youssef looked at computer data that showed exactly when the athlete's body switched from aerobic to anaerobic respiration, a topic he'd studied in detail. TOSH then used the data to help the cyclist maximize training. Youssef called the trial a great experience with a concrete connection to his classroom learning.

Junior Sydney Young studied dominant and recessive genes in Mr. Wilson's class, so during her internship with gastroenterologist Holly Clark, Sydney better understood why genetics might cause Crohn's disease. She asked Dr. Clark why the disease, which has a genetic component, often doesn't become symptomatic until later in life. Dr. Clark explained that's a question biologists are working to understand, and Sydney was fascinated to be able to connect her high school biology studies with current industry research.

From forests to hospitals, Rowland Hall student-interns take their classroom learning into the world and prove that application of concepts leads to mastery. Or, in Youssef's words, "This will definitely be something I am going to remember for a long time going forward." That's precisely the point.

To take part in the internship program or learn more about it, contact internship coordinator Laura Johnson at laurajohnson@rowlandhall.org. Read about one student's internship experience in her own words in this November 2016 Fine Print article.

STEM

 

Students Study Sage-Grouse in Southern Utah, Cut Teeth on Field Science

Environmental science and ornithology upper schoolers on an early April weekend drove south to frigid, beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park to study sage-grouse—an indigenous bird species that junior Sarah Kaye playfully describes as resembling a "fancy chicken."

The group of eight students and their teachers worked with biologists from the Wild Utah Project and Utah State University—most notably Dr. Nicole Frey, a sage-grouse expert. Ornithology Teacher Rob Wilson called the excursion an "uncommon opportunity" for students to do field science.

"This is a remarkable field trip," said Mr. Wilson, who also teaches biology and leads Rowland Hall's participation in a prestigious pilot program to bolster genetics and evolution curriculum in high school. According to Mr. Wilson, sage-grouse present the most important wildlife conservation and land-management question in the Western United States.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) doesn't list sage-grouse as an endangered species, but the species has had a precarious past. From 2010 to 2015, FWS considered sage-grouse to be "warranted but precluded" from listing, trumped only by other priorities of the Endangered Species Act. Sage-grouse is also an umbrella species, meaning that protecting the bird will protect other species of the sage-steppe ecosystem. Plus, the colony Rowland Hall students studied may need to be relocated due to impending mining, and Dr. Frey and her colleagues are figuring out the best way to do that, if at all possible.

Sage-grouse males and females meet on what's called a "lek," their strutting ground—an open area mostly free of sagebrush.

"The males puff out their tail feathers (which kind of look like pine cones) and their chests (which are big, white, and fluffy)...and they strut," Sarah said. "They chase the females around, and the females decide who they want to mate with." The females, she explained, are plainer—they look like brown chickens. And many of the females select the same male for mating. "The females are very choosy," graduating senior Marguerite Tate said. "They're looking for very specific things."

During the field study, Environmental Science Teacher Ben Smith, Mr. Wilson, and Dr. Frey placed flags in the ground to mark (1) random locations and (2) known locations sage-grouse have been, according to GPS trackers on the birds. Students divided into two groups to gather data. One group measured the height of all plants five meters north, south, east, and west of the flags. Another group measured ground cover—they'd place a hula hoop at the edge of the five-meter marks and record the types and percentages of plant coverage on the ground within the hoop. "It was cool to have an experience where you were actually taking in data that was potentially going to be used in (Dr. Frey's) experiments," Sarah said.

Marguerite and Sarah said the study aimed to show what kind of shelter the birds prefer—critical knowledge should they need to be moved. "In the past, trying to move them to a brand new place just has not worked. They don't mate, they don't start a new colony, it just does not work," Marguerite said. "But we learned from this experiment that you can expand their territory as long as the restored areas are right next to their older areas."

Mr. Smith said he hoped that by going on the trip, students gleaned the value of field studies. According to Sarah and graduating senior Marguerite, they did.

Marguerite said that while researching out in the cold was a sobering experience, "It's really cool to know what it's like to be a field scientist."

Sarah and Marguerite both trumpeted the value of environmental science and ornithology and said students shouldn't overlook the classes just because they're not APs. "It's really important for students to get this other grasp of science—that it's not all just sitting in a lab," Marguerite said.

Sarah said the knowledge is also useful for other classes—in AP Biology, for instance, she was learning about species and habitat, which she'd studied in depth for Mr. Smith's class.

For the students, one of the most valuable aspects of the trip was meeting and working with Dr. Frey, a renowned expert in the subject of their study. It proved to Sarah that a STEM job can be more than crunching numbers. "It was cool seeing how she wasn't just out there to make money, gather data, and kind of be a robot," the junior said. "She was really interested and really passionate about the sage-grouse."

Experiential Learning

The Rowland Hall Internship Program Comes of Age: A Personal Essay by Rowland Hall Senior Alicia Lu

The summer of 2016 marked the third successful year of placing rising seniors in career internships through Rowland Hall’s internship program. The program places students in real workplaces, involves them in projects and research, and reinforces our mission to help students lead ethical and productive lives.

Thanks to Rowland Hall's connections in the community and our generous parent body, a wide variety of summer internships are available to eligible students. With your help, students are given opportunities to explore career interests through practical experience.

In the below essay, Alicia Lu reflects on interning in Dr. Michael Kay’s Infectious Disease Drug Discovery and Development Lab. 

Top image: Second graders help senior Alicia Lu, right, test a math app she made for AP Computer Science. Alicia’s interest in STEM drove her desire to intern in a lab the summer before her senior year. Below image: As part of the Rowland Hall internship program, senior Alicia Lu works in Dr. Michael Kay’s Infectious Disease Drug Discovery and Development Lab at the University of Utah.

For many of us students, summer break means finishing our English assignments and binge-watching episodes of our favorite TV show on Netflix. Although these are both noble causes, the summer could also be spent exploring the world beyond high school.

Rowland Hall’s internship program offers motivated students an opportunity to spend the summer after junior year exploring their passions and career interests through professional internships. The program’s goal is to provide students with valuable learning experiences through practical and hands-on work out of the classroom. This program furthers experiential learning here at Rowland Hall and also gives students the chance to write about a professional work experience on their college resumes.

Every year, there is a diverse range of internships available, from surgery to law and even video game design. Previously, students have interned at local organizations such as the Utah Animal Care Center, the Huntsman Cancer Institute, TWIG Media Lab, and Alliance for a Better Utah. However, students are also free to work with the program coordinators, Laura Johnson and Garrett Stern, to find new internships that might satisfy their own interests.

My own involvement in Rowland Hall’s internship program began in the spring of my junior year. I had really enjoyed my math and science courses and felt that I could further explore those fields through a summer internship. When I first applied for STEM internships, I was excited yet concerned that as a high school intern my work in the laboratory would be limited to cleaning glassware and making solutions. However, my experience at the Kay Lab in the University of Utah’s Biochemistry Department completely eliminated any reservations I previously had.

I began my experience by meeting with Dr. Michael Kay, an esteemed professor whose lab specializes in finding peptide inhibitors of Ebolavirus and HIV. After speaking to Dr. Kay about his projects, I decided to join the Ebolavirus project and was assigned to Dr. Nicolas Szabo, a postdoctoral biologist who focuses on researching the best amino acid sequence to inhibit the virus from entering human cells. With Dr. Szabo, I ran phage display experiments, synthesized peptides, and learned aspects of Python programming specific to biological research. I also had the incredible opportunity to use the lab’s Ion Torrent, a nanotech deep sequencer that efficiently sequences DNA samples and stores billions of sequences digitally on a single semiconductor chip. The chip is almost paper-thin and the size of a flash drive. I got to keep one, which was a really fantastic, nerdy moment for me!

Though the project and equipment were intimidating at first, I quickly became integrated into the lab and was treated like any other researcher, keeping a lab notebook and eventually running my own experiments. Dr. Kay and Dr. Szabo provided me with various scientific articles not only about their Ebolavirus project but also about other developments in the epidemiology field.

Throughout the summer, I got to know and work with the other 12 lab members both in and out of the lab. With my fellow “labbies,” I attended presentations and poster sessions from U of U researchers who had made recent advances in their projects. These learning opportunities were an important part of my overall experience as I was exposed to different scientific fields and gained an understanding of a career as a professor or researcher.

I concluded my internship in August by giving a 20-minute presentation on the results of my own research project. Working the whole summer (around 25 hours a week), I enjoyed my time at the Kay Lab very much; it was a great introduction into the world of research, and the lab atmosphere was nothing but supportive. The work I did in the lab introduced me to epidemiology and biochemistry, fields that I’m now very interested in. I learned that I truly love science and I enjoy being around people who love science as much as I do. I would encourage any student to participate in an internship, as I left mine feeling more passionate and excited about STEM than ever.

How To Get Involved

If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring a Rowland Hall intern for summer 2017, please email Laura Johnson.

Our 2016 Summer Sponsors and Interns

  • Alliance For A Better Utah: Kate Button
  • Biomechanics and Human Performance at Tosh: Eleanor Mancheski
  • Cytozyme Laboratories: Megan Fenton, Cindy Shen
  • Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah: Karyna Howell
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute Colocare Study: Chloe Fleischer
  • Infectious Disease Drug Discovery and Development with Dr. Michael Kay: Alicia Lu
  • Law with Christopher Von Maack: Lena Chan
  • Orthopedic Surgery with Dr. Michael Chardack: Matthew Orford
  • River Restoration with Eric Mcculley: Katie Henn
  • Spinal Medicine with Dr. Emil Cheng: Rachel Morse
  • Twig Media Lab: Joey Amiel, Stephanie Nolan
  • Utah Animal Care Center with Dr. Pam Nichols: Cade Vanorman
  • Utah Gastroenterology—Women in Medicine with Dr. Holly Clark: Tobi Yoon
  • Video Game Design at the University of Utah with Dr. Robert Kessler: Jason Cowdrey

Examples of organizations spotlighting past Rowland Hall interns

 

Experiential Education

 

Community & Traditions

Lori and Chuck reviewing work.

When Rowland Hall’s youngest students face academic or social-emotional challenges, Chuck White and Lori Miller are there to lift them up.

What strategies will help a third-grade student stay focused during class? How can a group of children on the playground resolve a conflict? How do you support the emotional needs of a first grader who has just lost a pet? What are the best ways to challenge a nine-year-old reading at a middle school level?
 
If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance you’ve grappled with questions like these. As children develop throughout their preschool and elementary years, unexpected challenges often arise—and those challenges can turn into learning opportunities and positive outcomes for students. In Rowland Hall’s beginning and lower schools, we encourage a growth mindset with an intentionally crafted student-support program to evaluate and nurture each child’s development. If you haven’t already, you should get to know the powerhouse duo leading this effort: Chuck White and Lori Miller.

In Rowland Hall’s beginning and lower schools, we encourage a growth mindset with an intentionally crafted student-support program to evaluate and nurture each child’s development.

Meet Lori

Lori Miller has always loved reading. She grew up in a small town without a public library, so when the bookmobile came by every two weeks, Lori and her sister would check out seven books apiece—the maximum allowed—and each read one book per day until the bookmobile came again. During a visit to her college’s career center, Lori watched a short film of a teacher helping children learn to read and knew immediately: that’s what she wanted to do. Lori recalled thinking, “I love to read so much, and if I can give that gift to other kids, that’s exactly what I want to do.” And for the next 15 years, she taught first grade—the age at which most children learn to read.
 
Throughout her career, Lori has worn a variety of educational hats: elementary school principal, literacy-intervention specialist, and director of curriculum and instruction. She earned a master’s degree in gifted education from Utah State University and an administrative certificate from the University of Utah. When the position of academic support counselor at Rowland Hall opened up in 2007, Lori jumped at the chance to join a community she’d always admired. “I knew it was an amazing place,” Lori said, “and I really felt I could make a difference here.”


Lori spends her days on the McCarthey Campus serving three core constituencies: students, teachers, and parents. She oversees reading assessments and helps teachers ensure that all students are meeting benchmarks in reading, writing, and math. If there are any red flags for learning differences, she can observe the student, offer strategies to differentiate instruction, and develop a support plan, which may include tutoring. “I feel like a shepherd, with my little flock,” Lori said. “I’m just making sure they are all heading in the right direction.”

I feel like a shepherd, with my little flock. I’m just making sure they are all heading in the right direction. —Lori MillerThe joy Lori derives from her job is most evident when she speaks about visiting the kindergarten writer’s workshop. “It’s like a watching a miracle, to see how they’re figuring it out,” she said. “They have something they are excited about, and they want to put their ideas into words, and they have to think: How do I do that?” It’s a vital step in literacy development, Lori explained, since writing and reading work as opposite processes in a young brain: the former involves encoding one’s own thoughts into sounds and symbols, and the latter is a decoding process that starts with symbols on the page. “It’s really awesome,” she said.

Meet Chuck

In Chuck White’s office, one bookshelf is full of small figurines, dolls, and gadgets that, he explains, are part of an engagement strategy. Students can bring in a small toy from home and exchange it for something off his shelves. “It’s about making them feel welcome and comfortable in the counselor’s office,” he said.


Chuck joined the Rowland Hall community in 2008, one year after Lori arrived. School counseling is a second act for him, having spent 25 years working for Information and Referral Center—now 211 Utah—a private nonprofit that connects people who need help with the appropriate programs and agencies. Seeking more face-to-face interaction, and citing his love of education, Chuck earned his master’s degree in school counseling from Utah State University, then spent a few years working in the Salt Lake City School District before landing at Rowland Hall.
 
A significant portion of Chuck’s time is spent in the Lower School classrooms, teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) through the Second Step curriculum. “We teach skills,” Chuck explained, “such as how to look at and understand another person’s feelings, or how to control strong emotions, or how to be an effective problem-solver.” These lessons begin in 4PreK—where they are delivered by assistant teachers, under Chuck’s tutelage—and continue all the way through fifth grade. The language and approach evolve as children age, but the concepts remain the same.
 
Chuck reaches every Lower School student through chapel service as well, where he introduces a virtue of the month such as kindness, service, and respect—all to reinforce core values and encourage good behavior. Those virtues can be individualized, too: “We try and find various ways of helping kids own that virtue, understanding that it may mean something different for one student than another,” Chuck said. He and Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund also recently created the Kindness Club, a voluntary opportunity for Lower School students to practice kind acts, often anonymously.

Like Lori, Chuck is always a resource anytime a student needs individual support. “I can provide a listening ear, help set goals or strategize, or just check in on them,” he said. He loves being able to witness the growth of students during their Lower School years. “It’s a real privilege, and an honor.”

The Whole Child

As the two faculty members devoted full time to student support in the beginning and lower schools, Chuck and Lori think often about a core component of Rowland Hall’s mission: educating the whole child. For Lori, that means considering the social, emotional, and academic components of being part of a learning community, and how they must effectively combine in order for a student to succeed. Chuck agrees: “A child cannot do well academically if they are not doing well emotionally or socially.”

Chuck and Lori often work as a team—along with division principals, teachers, and parents—to support a student in need. Chuck’s SEL curriculum teaches resilience and strategies to deal with academic challenges, too. He gave an example of how he might approach a struggling student: “If you’re at your desk feeling super frustrated because you’re not understanding the math piece in front of you, what do you with that frustration? You can give up, which is one strategy, which is not good learning. Or you can flip the script and say, ‘Yeah, I am feeling frustrated. Maybe I need to get some help.’ That’s controlling your strong emotions. That’s you being in control.”

Chuck and Lori focus on the whole child, for each individual child—which means everything from identifying early signs of dyslexia to running a support group for children of divorced parents to helping classroom teachers recommend books to foster a love of reading.

Beginning School Principal Emma Wellman joined the Rowland Hall community last summer, and she already marvels at the work Chuck and Lori do for students and faculty—particularly how they problem solve. “There’s love and respect for children at the foundation, always,” she said. “It’s really about figuring out what does this individual person need to be his or her best learning self, and how can we match what we're doing with what that learner needs.”
 
Chuck and Lori focus on the whole child, for each individual child—which means everything from identifying early signs of dyslexia to running a support group for children of divorced parents to helping classroom teachers recommend books to foster a love of reading. Working with a diverse group of children with different academic, social, and emotional needs is part of what makes the job so rewarding, though. “Kids with all kinds of learning differences thrive at our school,” Lori said.

The Big Picture

Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund is passionate about SEL, citing the many benefits to student performance and long-term success, including a significant economic impact that extends far beyond the field of education. Furthermore, research has shown that every minute spent on the social-emotional development of children translates to increased instructional time. 
 
Rowland Hall recently solidified its long-term commitment to SEL, adding a bullet point to the strategic plan about integrating social-emotional learning in support of Goal 1, enhancing the student learning experience. For Mr. Hoglund, having the resources to keep children on track when they face inevitable challenges—at any point in their education—is part of what differentiates independent schools. "We’re in an environment where you have these two amazing individuals who get kids off the sidelines and back in the game,” he said.

We’re in an environment where you have these two amazing individuals who get kids off the sidelines and back in the game. —Ryan Hoglund

Chuck said he’s grateful to be in a place where it’s part of the culture to talk about supporting the whole child, and where there’s a robust professional-development program to keep staff and teachers at the top of their game. When it comes down to it, the daily motivation is simple for Chuck, Lori, and most educators: they hope to impact children’s lives for the better.

“We want each of our kids to maximize their potential and their skills,” Lori said, “because that will unlock a lot of doors for them.”

 

People

 

Linda Hampton with sons

May we all flirt a little more, read a little more, go adventuring a little more, and put in the work to make the day-to-day special.

Linda Hampton, former administrative assistant to the Upper School principal and a beloved Rowland Hall employee since 1989, passed away December 25 following a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in August. Though our community continues to reel from Linda’s loss, a January 5 Celebration of Life service in St. Margaret’s Chapel on the McCarthey Campus provided some much-needed comfort and laughter—something Linda, the life of the party, would have wanted us all to have. Here are three sets of remarks from Linda’s family and friends, as read at the service. Lightly edited for style.

Jacob Hampton ’04, Linda’s son

When I started thinking of ways to highlight who mom was as a person, one of the first things I thought of was the day she stood us in the hallway and said, “Today is the day you learn that the words 'mom' and 'maid' are not synonymous.” Being direct was a hallmark of her personality.

She was one of the most genuine people I knew. She told me she once volunteered to discuss dress-code issues with one of the Upper School classes and ended up threatening that she’d start showing her underwear if they kept showing theirs. She was fiercely independent and stubborn when she had to be. Years ago she needed some work done on her sprinklers and balked at a local company’s quote. They explained the price was so high because they’d need to bring in a backhoe to dig a hole large enough to work in. She asked for the size of the hole and then proceeded to spend the day digging it by hand, no doubt throwing her back out in the process. Years ago her washing machine broke. She went to a local home-improvement store and asked one of the employees some questions to try to figure out the problem. He said her husband or one of her sons could probably do it for her. I wasn’t there, so I don’t what her response was, but I do know she worked on that machine until it was up and running again (probably more out of spite than anything). 

She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

But she wasn’t all gristle and sarcasm. She had such a strong, goofy, fun side to her, and that’s the side we saw most. She took us to Disneyland when I was 12 and my brother was 16. We went two more times after that, always reveling in the chance to act like three-year-olds together. She loved taking long walks with us and would spend the whole time talking about absolutely anything. She never shied away from serious or tough topics, including the eventuality of her death. We spent countless hours watching the Chiefs disappoint us so, so many times. These were our formative moments for the art of cursing. In the final weeks of her life, I always knew she was feeling pretty good if she cursed a few times during a Chiefs game. She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Mom said she wanted today’s memorial to be focused on memories and stories that make us smile or laugh. And I have plenty more I could share. But the most important memory I have of mom isn’t any one specific event or tradition. It was simply the feeling of being home with her. She told us she was so happy we weren’t interested in doing many extracurricular activities growing up because she was selfish and only had 18 years of us in the house. But it wasn’t selfish; it was so good for us to be with her. We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Before I finish, I need to fulfill a request that my mom desperately wanted me to do for her. She told me to tell everyone who reached out to her during these last few months: Thank you. Thank you for making her feel special and loved. She knew at the end how many people cared for her. And for that I’m so grateful.


Lee Thomsen, former Upper School principal and Linda’s former boss

We all know how much Linda loved books, and writers often articulate better what we mean to say, so I quote from George Saunders’ book Lincoln in the Bardo—a beautiful meditation on sadness and loss. 

“His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow, that all were suffering; and therefore, one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.” 

For those of you who worked in the Upper School with me, particularly in the office, you know that I tried to live by the mantra, “If that’s the biggest problem we have today we’ll take it,” but today is not one of those days, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Linda, seemingly was always a part of Rowland Hall and always would be. When I arrived 15 years ago, it seemed like she’d been here forever, and when I left three years ago, I assumed she would be here forever.

Let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Those of us who adored Linda are devastated today, but we also know she’d be pissed if we moped around too long. So, in service to Saunders’ words let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Among those things she loved: The Chiefs, books—especially dark mysteries (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Silence of the Lambs, the darker the better). This because, of course, she had studied criminal justice in college. 

She loved pie; guys with big, burly forearms; a well-cooked French fry; musicals; dance and choir concerts at Rowland Hall; Kansas City barbecue; and of course, DOGS. And sometimes those loves overlapped.

I knew Linda mostly during the Diesel era. I’ll never forget one weekend when the Upper School was running one of the musicals. Because both my girls were in it, Linda knew I would see it at least two if not all three nights. So, Friday morning, she asked me how the show had gone the night before, and she ended asking, “Did Alan go last night by any chance?” to which I answered, “Yes.” She said, “Good! Because I really want to see the show, but I can’t leave Diesel alone from 7 am to 10 at night. I’ll run home and smuggle him into the show. Alan would kill me if he caught me doing that.” Sure enough, come show time, there was Linda in the first row of the balcony of the Larimer Center, with Diesel tucked inside her jacket. But then she left at intermission. When I asked why she said, “Diesel started singing along with the big group number right at the end of the first act, so I couldn’t risk staying.”

Linda was a no-BS person. She disliked meanness and untruth. One day when someone was rude to Angela at the front desk, Linda was ready to go out there and rip that person a new one.  

She HATED when a parent would call and excuse their child from a test or something else when she suspected they weren’t really sick. And forget about anyone saying Doug Wortham’s class was “too hard.” 

The other night Abby reminded me that when she graduated from Rowland Hall, Linda said, “I have a graduation present for you that I want to bring by.” And, of course, what would you think Linda would give a student going off to college? A book, right? But no, the gift was a can of pepper spray, because Linda told her, “The world can be a very hard place.”

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on.

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on. The Bynum boys, Micha Hori, Jamie Pierce, Sofia Diehl, just to name a few—she had a soft spot for the singers and dancers and admired their talent and grace.

For faculty and staff kids, she was their “school mom.” Frequently taking the afternoon shift for our kids who took the shuttle from the other campus, clamoring into the office to grab a piece of candy. She’d get a special sparkle in her eyes when she got a hug from Hazel, Meg, my two, or the Tschabrun girls. I’m sure she carried on the same for Ingrid and Dave and the next generation.

And she loved all things Rowland Hall. Yes, she would occasionally complain that too many of us would gather in the office and talk and laugh making it impossible for her to talk on the phone or get any work done, but she kept that candy dish filled knowing that we’d keep coming back, and she kept real half-and-half in the faculty-room fridge so we didn’t have to use that powdered gunk.

And…she loved her boys. Zach and Jake—she was so proud of everything you two accomplished, and she loved her travels with you. The generosity you gave by spending her last days at home with her was a reflection of her generosity to others that she instilled in you. When I visited with her, the only time she cried was at the thought of leaving you behind. All of us appreciate how you kept us connected to her through Caring Bridge these last several months and how you took care of your mom.

Finally, to close, back to George Saunders who reminds us to keep the happy memories in our hearts.

“What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand... We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.”


Director of Ethical of Education Ryan Hoglund and Upper School psychology teacher Diane Guido

We’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Linda for 20 and 25 years. We want to first express gratitude to this community for taking care of its own through this difficult and poignant process. Thank you to Jeremy, Ann and operations, Linda’s family—Jacob, Emily, and Zach—and all of you in this community who have rallied to provide support, labor, and financial assistance, all to preserve Linda’s memory, dignity, comfort, and final peace. Tough love was Linda’s spirit and you have honored her well. 

Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

In addition to being Salt Lake’s most notorious zucchini square dealer, Linda was a mentor and friend we could all count on. Her Lutheran tradition believes salvation comes through grace, but we all in this space know she would achieve peace through works as well. Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

The blessing of our friendship, as it was with many of you here, was the magic in the mundane, day-to-day routines with Linda. Schools are labor-intensive places and behind the scenes are cycles, a hamster wheel of yearly to-do lists, tasks, checklists, and grind. Linda humanized the process. Annual events such as back to school and graduation would have happened without Linda, but she always gave them her touch—she knew those days were important to students and families. She made the mundane special. In fact, she insisted on it.

For example, while cleaning out student folders one summer, she came across sets of pre-digital school portraits that showed kids growing up year to year. Instead of seeing it as the detritus of student record-keeping, Linda insisted we mail them to each family. So we spent two days in the summer mailing these photos back to each family. As a parent now, I understand how powerful that gesture was.

Linda was the personification of tough love. Manners, hard work, and refinement were the bars she set for teens and adults alike. 

No dog or baby that came into the community made it past Linda’s caring heart. This is evident by the cross-stitch birth announcements hanging in many of our children’s rooms, and the coloring wall outside her cubicle. 

When my daughter Meg was born, Linda was a sweet hand—just as enthusiastic as I was with Meg’s arrival—and offered sound advice to a nervous and joyous parent. Mostly ways to make sure she feared for her life.

While Linda loved the Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Rowland Hall alums Zach and Jacob. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic.

While Linda loved the Kansas City Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Zach and Jacob, who graduated from Rowland Hall. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic. Linda always spoke about that drive through Spearfish Canyon as one of her favorite memories with you two boys. How beautiful that canyon was. She said it was her idea of heaven.

When you all went to the Star Trek convention (in, I think, Las Vegas), Linda was shocked you spent three days there without leaving the convention center. “A real testament to their upbringing,” she joked. I didn’t have the heart to explain to Linda the decadence that is cosplay culture. Your secrets are safe there.

When Zach got certified to do SCUBA, Linda wanted to as well. She joined me and students at the crater in Heber once, and talked about one day returning to dive with Zach. Linda loved the water. 

When we honored Linda for 30 years of service to the school this past fall, I asked Jacob what it was like to have his mother on campus. He said: “For a lot of teenagers entering a new school, having their mother in the main office would be some combination of embarrassing and terrifying. For me it was a blessing, as it gave me the chance to spend more time with the person most responsible for making me who I am. I'm extremely proud of what she's done.”

Zach mentioned: “I remember the sailing interim trip where I was the only guy on a boat full of women, including my mom! It wasn't bad though. I had a great time. I too am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with mom at Rowland Hall and even fondly recall going into the office during the summers to hang out or help with the bookstore.”

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults.

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults. At her and Diane’s 50th birthday party, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a great picture of their anatomically correct birthday cake. Diane is petrified in the picture, and Linda looks like she’s in it to win it. Linda was naughty, and never missed the opportunity to point out a double-entendre that would make all of us blush.

Linda spoke fondly of her childhood in Missouri—from what a role model her father had been growing up (Linda inherited her love of home improvement and her fix-it attitude from him), to her antic-filled tales of college, where she studied criminal justice. She had a voracious appetite for true-crime fiction. She and Diane would game the holiday book-exchange to pick each other and each secure a stack of the-gorier-the-better books. 

Diane and I were blessed to see her awe in Sorrento, Italy—the way she giggled through seeing the David, her silence as we walked Pompeii (well, except for the low-level swooning over our hot male Italian tour guide).

My favorite ritual we shared was the occasional beer on the porch with she and Diane on a lazy summer day or impromptu afternoon, joking, debating, or just catching up. We could sit for hours with the conversation easy...and one-sided mostly. Near the end of her life, Diane and I sat one afternoon with Linda. Linda was no-nonsense that she was going to die and was as sweetly resolved and brave as you would expect her to be. 

Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once.

We mere mortals joked that Linda was superwoman. We even had her wear a cape when we honored her for 30 years of service to the school. But Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once. 

What makes death so difficult are dreams and plans unfulfilled. In Linda’s honor I hope all of us flirt a little more, read for pleasure more often, share a drink with friends on the porch, take the time and put in the work to make the day-to-day special, and take a selfish adventure—a crazy adventure—that you have been putting off for responsible reasons.
 

People

Christopher Von Maack ’97 Appointed Next Board Chair

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Von Maack ’97 has been elected Rowland Hall’s next chair of the Board of Trustees. He will begin his term in July 2020. Current Board Chair Jennifer Price-Wallin will continue in the role for the upcoming academic year. 

I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community.
- Christopher Von Maack ’97

Chris joined the Board in July 2014 and has served as Chair of the Alumni Association and Development Committee. A Rowland Hall lifer—a student who attended the school for 12 or more years—and parent of two current students, his long-standing relationship with the school and dynamic leadership skills made Chris the clear choice to guide the Board during the transition to a new head of school and ongoing Capital Campaign. “It will be an honor to serve as Board chair during these important times,” Chris said. “I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community and acclimate a new head of school—something that the school has not done in 28 years.”

Chris graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. He obtained his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was a writer and editor for the McGeorge Law Review. A civil trial lawyer, Chris and law partner Jason McNeil recently founded McNeil Von Maack, a downtown firm focusing on complex business, intellectual property, and government contract disputes.

Chris and his wife Alexandra ’99 are parents of fourth-grader Charlie and first-grader Juliet. Alexandra is currently serving as the chair of Rowland Hall’s 2019 Auction, A Night in Havana, and both alums have dedicated countless hours as school volunteers over the past decade. Chris also serves on the board of the R. Harold Burton Foundation and previously served as a trustee for Preservation Utah and the Salt Lake Honorary Colonels.

“I am thrilled Chris has agreed to chair the Board of Trustees in 2020,” Ms. Price-Wallin said. “He is a visionary and understands the school very well. Rowland Hall is in excellent shape, and under Chris’s leadership, the school will continue to provide an exceptional education for years to come.”

People

Robin Hori teaching physics class.

If you're cooking a holiday feast for family and friends this week or just bringing a dish, here's some inspiration from physics teacher and kimchi mastermind Robin Hori.

The way I grew up, if you're making something and people enjoy it, you hand it to them. —Physics Teacher Robin Hori

Video

No Monday Blues: Ethanne Waldo Retires after over 28 Years of Joyful, Steadfast Service to Rowland Hall

When Ethanne Waldo got the call in May 1990 about a temporary job in the Rowland Hall admission office, her husband, Charles, was skeptical. It was slated to be a two- to three-week assignment, working about eight to 10 hours per week making re-enrollment calls, and according to Ethanne, Charles thought it wouldn't amount to anything. She chuckled at the memory: "And here I am, 28 years later."

Thursday, December 6, was Ethanne's last day in a position she described as "tailor-made for me." A lover of details, organization, and learning, she always dreamed of working in schools, and when Rowland Hall called again in the fall of 1990 with a job offer, she was thrilled. Her temporary assignment turned into a career supporting the Admission and College Counseling offices, where she's written and proofread countless letters, maintained databases and produced reports, and tracked the myriad steps of the application process for both incoming Rowland Hall students and seniors preparing for college.

A lover of details, organization, and learning, she always dreamed of working in schools, and when Rowland Hall called again in the fall of 1990 with a job offer, she was thrilled.

Director of Admission Kathy Gundersen once told Ethanne that she was in a remarkable position as perhaps the only employee who directly supported students at both their point of entry to Rowland Hall and when they graduated. "I always liked working in two departments," Ethanne reflected. "It kept things interesting."

In fact, Ethanne has loved her job so much that, for years, she never had the dreaded Monday blues about coming to work. Her position allowed her to learn new skills and software programs—particularly as technology evolved over the past two and a half decades—and she is deeply grateful for that experience. On Sunday nights, she looked forward to the work week beginning again, thinking, "I get to learn more about the computer!"

Her positive attitude and strong work ethic are just two of the things Ms. Gundersen appreciates about Ethanne. "She has an observant eye and a sharp sense of humor," Ms. Gundersen said, "and in her quiet voice, she has been known to drop the most astonishing commentary." Director of College Counseling Michelle Rasich echoed Ms. Gundersen's sentiments: "I could always depend on her to do high-quality work in an efficient manner, and ask probing questions with the intent to produce the best product possible."

While Ethanne has seen Rowland Hall change throughout the years, and had her share of different bosses and offices—all on the Lincoln Street Campus—what she'll remember most about the school is our supportive community. When her father was close to death, then-College Counseling Director Bruce Hunter and Admission Director Karen Hyde gave Ethanne the green light to take as much time as she needed to be with family. "Bruce told me, 'There's nothing as important as seeing your dad,'" Ethanne recalled.

Ethanne's colleagues, both past and present, celebrated her at a farewell lunch December 4.

She has an observant eye and a sharp sense of humor, and in her quiet voice, she has been known to drop the most astonishing commentary. —Director of Admission Kathy Gundersen

As she enters retirement, Ethanne is excited to have more time for watching old movies, reading biographies, and rereading classic novels like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. She'll also keep planning annual trips to Disneyland with her daughter, one of Ethanne's three adult children in Utah. "But I won't have to ask for the time off anymore!" she joked.

Everyone at Rowland Hall will miss Ethanne dearly. "I can't imagine a more dedicated, reliable team member who made me smile more," Ms. Gundersen said.

People

 

Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson Named State Music Educator of the Year

Rowland Hall Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson can end 2018 on a high note: the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) this month named him Music Educator of the Year.

Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic nominated Bret. She said she's ecstatic UHSAA selected him and the honor is well-earned. "He is truly the consummate professional who loves his students and who loves to bring music into their lives."

It never fails that I see or hear him working with a student or students in the music room every time I walk by. —Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic, Dr. Jackson's nominator

Bret trains students to view music as a creative art that has relevance and potency in their lives, Kendra wrote in her nomination letter, and he's often the first person in the building each morning and the last to leave each night. "It never fails that I see or hear him working with a student or students in the music room every time I walk by," she added. "His dedication and commitment to creating a strong music program at Rowland Hall is incredible."

Through that dedication—plus his musical prowess and unfailingly friendly disposition—Bret has made a big impression on Rowland Hall since his 2005 hiring. He and his students have accumulated numerous awards, including top honors at state and region music festivals and competitions. And his contributions extend beyond the music department: he's always happy to organize a jazz band performance at sports games and other school events, Kendra wrote. "Any time our band is involved with a sporting activity, our fan attendance goes up exponentially because of the festive atmosphere that Dr. Jackson and his jazz band creates in the gym."

I feel lucky to have a career that allows me to help young people develop important life skills and a love for art through nurturing their musical talents.—Band Director Dr. Bret Jackson

Bret loves teaching young musicians in their formative years: he said his own life has been largely defined by the opportunities for growth, achievement, and leadership he had back in high school. "Recognizing this, I feel lucky to have a career that allows me to help young people develop important life skills and a love for art through nurturing their musical talents."

The top teacher added he's grateful for the award and bolstered by the recognition. "If it can help get the word out that there is great music being made at Rowland Hall, then all the better."

Read more about Bret in his biography.

The accolade is part of UHSAA's Distinguished Service Awards, initiated in 1987 to honor individuals for their service and contributions to high school activities. Bret will join 16 other coaches, officials, teachers, and contributors who will be honored at a January luncheon.

Bret is the seventh Rowland Hall employee on record to receive a UHSAA Distinguished Service Award. Full list:

  1. Dr. Bret Jackson, band director and music teacher, 2018 Music Educator of the Year
  2. Bobby Kennedy, girls soccer head coach, 2015 2A Coach of the Year
  3. Mark Oftedal, cross country and track and field coach, 2014 2A Coach of the Year
  4. Kathy Howa, softball and volleyball coach, 2013 Distinguished Contributor of the Year
  5. Shawn MacQueen, former boys basketball and golf coach, 2009 2A Coach of the Year
  6. Ryan Hoglund, former debate coach and current director of ethical education, 2007 Speech Educator of the Year
  7. Kendra Tomsic, director of athletics, 2004 Athletic Director of the Year

Music

Arden Louchheim after learning of her win.

The McCarthey Family Foundation last week named winners and finalists in their Lecture Series Essay Contest, which the foundation expanded this year to include middle and high schoolers. Rowland Hall students had a strong showing on the topic of why a free press matters in a democracy: eighth-grader Arden Louchheim won the middle school division and judges named sixth-grader Aiden Gandhi, sophomore Katy Dark, and recent alumna Madeline Brague '18 finalists in their age groups.

Arden learned of her win Friday morning in the Middle School main office: "When I walked into the room all I saw were all the important people in our school: principal, assistant principal, head of school...It was pretty intimidating," she said. "But when I found out I had won I was incredibly honored, happy, and surprised, and I actually started crying."

I learned a lot about how freedom of the press affected Japanese-American internees during World War II. This topic also hits close to home for me because my grandparents were interned. —Arden Louchheim, eighth grader

During the night of the lecture November 10, the eighth grader will be introduced to the typically standing-room-only audience of over 600 people and collect her $1,500 cash prize. All three winning essays will be printed in the evening's program, and Arden will be the youngest person in contest history to receive this honor.

Arden said she entered, in part, because the topic intrigued her. "Writing the essay was a fun but challenging process," she said. "I learned a lot about how freedom of the press affected Japanese-American internees during World War II. This topic also hits close to home for me because my grandparents were interned."

The middle schooler encouraged fellow students to enter contests like this one. "I had never done anything like this before, but I figured I could try it," she said. "I know many kids my age who are incredibly capable writers and students who deserve a shot at something like this."

Arden said she plans to donate a portion of her prize money to the Japanese-American National Museum. The Rowmark Junior athlete said she'll also use some of the cash to help pay for her race skis, but she'll save the majority of it for college and beyond.

The foundation received a total of 406 entries from Utah students across all three age groups. "The quality of writing and thoughtfulness of the essays surpassed our expectations and confirmed our rationale for the competition," said Philip G. McCarthey, trustee of the McCarthey Family Foundation and Rowland Hall. "Even the youngest essayists reflected a keen awareness of the vital importance of the press in our country and demonstrated a genuine understanding of the historical and current political challenges facing our nation today."

Rowland Hall serves as the venue for the lecture, but that doesn't impact judges' decisions: they aren't told essayists' names or schools.

Read contest coverage in the The Salt Lake Tribune and The Park Record.

Below is Arden's essay, unedited by Rowland Hall.

Views expressed in the following essay are those of the writer and don't necessarily represent those of Rowland Hall and its employees.


Essay question for Utah students in grades six through eight

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." —First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791)

In an essay of 500 words, explain what the First Amendment to the United States Constitution means (1) for the press in the United States and why its freedom matters; and (2) provide examples to support your position.

Winner

Learn from the Past, Improve the Future

By Arden Louchheim, Rowland Hall eighth grader

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects the press' freedom from government censorship. That freedom is vital for American citizens to be able to make informed decisions about the world around them. Freedom of the press allows individuals to know the truth about exactly what is happening from every side of a story. A quote from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black sums up Freedom of the press very well. "The press was to serve the governed, not the governors."

One-sided newspaper stories brainwashed readers into believing that Japanese citizens were a threat. On the other hand, newspapers produced by Japanese-Americans inside the camps were all censored to the public.

Throughout U.S. history, freedom of the press has been abused such as during the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. 120,000 citizens of Japanese descent were interned during World War II just because of their ethnicity; because they looked like the enemy. During the internment, the government used the press as a way to legitimize their acts against the interned. The government mainly used newspapers to plant the idea that Japanese citizens were a danger to society and it was for the safety of the nation that they were interned. One-sided newspaper stories brainwashed readers into believing that Japanese citizens were a threat. On the other hand, newspapers produced by Japanese-Americans inside the camps were all censored to the public. The interned individuals also could not write the newspapers in Japanese, the native language to some, because they could not be easily translated by the government. The country's only Japanese-American newspaper (in Bainbridge Island, WA) was forced to shut down when its staff was relocated to camps. In the words of Takeya Mizuno, assistant professor at the University of Tokyo, press freedom inside the camps was "conditional at best".

Today, the government's attempt to control the messages from the press is similar to the control of news during World War II. Currently, the government is trying to discredit anything the press puts out that it doesn't agree with, calling it "fake news," even if it is true. The present-day administration is abusing the law of free press, which could cause history to repeat itself. Just as President Roosevelt did 75 years ago, President Trump is trying to only let citizens see one-sided news; The news that he agrees with. The current executives are promoting racism by trying to exclude people based on their race or religion. Our current executives are trying to take away citizens' trust of the press and increase the trust within themselves. Tom Ikeda, the founding director of Densho, an organization that chronicles the internment of Japanese during World War II, states, "The hateful rhetoric directed at Japanese 75 years ago is similar to what is heard today against Muslims, members of the black community and immigrants."

The internment camps of World War II show how abuse of the free press can contribute to painful mistakes, and with the current state of the government, we could be heading down that path again. This issue is especially important to me because my grandparents and their siblings were some of the internees. We must remember that our country was built upon truth so we cannot let history repeat itself.

Bibliography

  • Diltz, Collin. "How Bainbridge Island Japanese were Registered, Forced from their Homes During World War II", Seattle Times. December 2016
  • Ostergaard, Kolleen. Smart, Chris. McGuire, Tom. Lanz, Madeline. Hodson, Timothy A. "The Japanese-American Internment During World War II: A Discussion of Civil Liberties Then and Now". May 2000
  • Supreme Court Case, "New York Times Co. v. United States". 1971
  • Mizuno, Takeya. "Press Freedom in the Enemy's Language". October 2015

Top photo: Eighth-grader Arden Louchheim in the Middle School office after learning she'd won the essay contest for her age group. From left, McCarthey Family Foundation Trustee Philip G. McCarthey, Rowland Hall Head of School Alan Sparrow, Arden, eighth-grade English teacher Mike Roberts, and Middle School Principal Pam Smith. (Photo by Akemi Louchheim)

Student Voices

150 formed by students on Rowland Hall's quad.

 

 

Alumni brothers Christopher and Alex Lee of TWIG Media Lab spent the past year crafting an 18-minute documentary on our sesquicentennial, from the reunions and revelry of the fall kickoff to the longstanding camaraderie and intellectual curiosity of our community.

When you have a break this summer, we hope you'll take just under 20 minutes for our 150th: press play, kick back, relax, and reminisce. Rowland Hall has a remarkable history and a bright future, thanks to you.

Video

Athletics

team in park

Carson Burian led a young cross-country team to a Region 17 title last fall, and he's not slowing down. Read about his training methods, goals, and why he thinks 2019 will be his best year yet.

Running can be a lonely sport, particularly for high school athletes pursuing an advanced career. Rowland Hall's cross-country and track and field coach Mark Oftedal knows the situation all too well, having watched his son Eli—a 2015 alum and elite runner who now races for Colorado State University—endure many solitary training sessions. So when he met Carson Burian last fall, Mr. Oftedal recognized what the talented young runner was facing. "I told him, 'You're in a difficult situation, at a small school with a small team, training at your level.' I knew he would be off on his own quite frequently."

Indeed, Carson has experienced just that: long miles on the road alone, when he focuses on long-term goals—such as running in college—to stay motivated. This past summer, he logged between 60–65 miles most weeks, often training in Park City to escape the heat and ozone in the valley. The sophomore, who individually placed first at this year's Region Championship and third at the 2A State meet, used to play up to six sports. He didn't take running all that seriously when he joined the Middle School cross-country team, but after winning every race in his eighth-grade division, he realized that the sport might hold a future for him. Now, he trains year-round for races, competes in cross country and track, and supplements his running with weight lifting—and the occasional ski day, like many Utahns.

Mr. Oftedal described Carson as an intense, determined young athlete who does his research before races and sets realistic goals for himself. While he's competitive, Carson will never bad-mouth his competition—in fact, he wants to race against the best in the field, making a potential victory that much sweeter. "He wants to bring himself to and beyond the level of the people in front of him," Mr. Oftedal said. And since he's racing against juniors and seniors, he oftentimes has to be patient with himself. Carson can be philosophical about his performance, especially if he's not feeling in peak physical or mental condition on race day. "I still try to run the best race I can," he said, "and though I may be disappointed with my time, I'll usually understand why."

Mr. Oftedal described Carson as an intense, determined young athlete who does his research before races and sets realistic goals for himself. While he's competitive, Carson will never bad-mouth his competition—in fact, he wants to race against the best in the field, making a potential victory that much sweeter.For a young runner, Carson has already developed a balanced regimen of nutrition, sleep, hydration, and workouts. He's learned to listen to his body, and knows that adjusting his pace by five seconds will allow him to push through several more miles instead of hitting a wall. Much of his growth stems from intense training and research, both at Rowland Hall and elsewhere—he attended a running camp at Northern Arizona University this summer, which he credited with giving him an extra boost of motivation during the hottest months of the year. But Carson has also been forced to adapt at times due to injury: last December, he strained ligaments in his foot two days before a race, and then batted through ongoing pain at the start of the track season because he hadn't healed properly. Thankfully, he's stayed healthy since, and says he's hoping to shave another 20–25 seconds off his mile next spring.

Carson's talent and mindset are only part of what makes him a special athlete. His individual performances certainly help the team at race time, but his sportsmanship and leadership help everyone persevere through tough practices. He understands the importance of being a good teammate, and said he'll give others encouragement when they might be struggling, sometimes simply by running alongside them. "It's all about trying to create positivity within the group," he said.

That's a strategy Mr. Oftedal and his assistant coaches, Laura Johnson and Giselle Slotboom, often employ during races too. "We try to give runners cues, and so if someone is having a rough time we'll ask their peer to join up with them and give them a boost." In fact, the camaraderie Mr. Oftedal saw in this fall's cross-country team is one of the things that pleased him most: even with varying levels of ability and experience among the group, they were often running together at practice and training together outside of school.

Carson's dedicated approach to conditioning and wellness has rubbed off on his peers, according to Mr. Oftedal. "Anytime you've got kids that are pushing at the top, it's going to positively influence others." He noticed students comparing their patterns and choices to Carson's, and then emulating his habits or characteristics. "They realize it's not just about showing up for practice and putting in the miles. It's a lifestyle decision."

Mr. Oftedal was quick to add, "It's a gain for Carson, too," as he can find inspiration watching his teammates make huge improvements, and they encourage his growth in return.

This year's cross-country team was a young group, led by sophomores and juniors, which Mr. Oftedal and Carson find exciting. Their achievements included Region 17 titles for both the girls and boys teams, and a third-place finish for the boys at the 2A State Championship—only one point behind the second-place team. With no one on the boys varsity team graduating in 2019, Carson believes the top spot in the state will soon be within reach.

A successful season for me is when I meet these kids years down the line and they're still running—still finding joy in competing, or just running for themselves. —Coach Mark Oftedal

Carson's future, as well as the team's future, is undoubtedly bright, but Mr. Oftedal doesn't necessarily measure success in terms of championships. He recently heard from the parents of a 2012 alum that their son is training for a marathon, and that news is just as satisfying to Mr. Oftedal as any state title. "A successful season for me is when I meet these kids years down the line and they're still running—still finding joy in competing, or just running for themselves," he said.

And if they still hear Coach Oftedal's or a teammate's voice encouraging them to push through training sessions, well, that might just make the runner's life a little less lonely after all.

Athletics

Volleyball Team Gets Visit from Former Olympian

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our volleyball team who was treated to a visit in late September by former National NCAA Division I champion and two-time USA Olympic Volleyball athlete and medalist, Courtney Thompson.

 

Courtney, as a Co-Founder of the nonprofit Give It Back Foundation, has always understood the concept of team. Named team captain of the University of Washington women's volleyball team as a freshman, Courtney held this title throughout her 4-year career, while also leading the Huskies to an NCAA Division I National Championship in 2005. Post college, Thompson proudly represented USA Volleyball, winning a gold medal at the World Championships in Italy (2014), an Olympic silver medal in London (2012), and an Olympic bronze medal in Rio (2016), serving as team captain from 2013-2016. Having worked with Dr. Gervais while competing on the USA team, she has lived through the process of changing a culture and understands how and why it starts with each individual's mindset. She brings this experience, as well as her drive to make those around her better, to her work with Compete to Create.

Courtney spent an hour with the volleyball team, talking to them about her personal experience with high school, college, and Olympic athletic competition, sharing with us some of the difficulties and roadblocks she faced as she worked toward her Olympic dream, focusing on encouraging our players to follow their dreams in all areas of their life despite inevitable setbacks and obstacles, urging them to always use positive self-talk and maintain a positive mindset to work their way through adversity. It was a very interesting and motivating conversation for all.

The team was treated to being able to not only see but to hold and wear Courtney's Olympic silver and bronze medals! It was an afternoon that none of them will soon forget. Thanks to Sarah Lehman for offering this opportunity to the team.

 

Athletics

 

Girls Soccer Wins Third State Title in Five Years

 

Congratulations to our girls soccer team for a decisive victory over rival Waterford in the 2A State Championship game on Saturday, October 19, at Rio Tinto Stadium. The group was also recognized Saturday for having the highest team GPA in their division.

 

Read more:

Athletics

 

Rowland Hall Wins Award for Success in Sportsmanship, School, State Tourneys
Rowland Hall on June 18, 2018, won its first 2A Directors Cup, awarded annually by the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (UIAAA) for success in sportsmanship, academics, and state tournaments.

 

Athletics Director Kendra Tomsic called the achievement a prestigious one. "It's quite an honor for our Athletics program, our coaches, and the school," she said. "We've been in the top five every year of this award's existence, but this is the first year that we have been named the top 2A school." This is the eighth year of the Directors Cup.

Kendra praised her dedicated coaches and hardworking student-athletes, but also deserves some of the credit: she's known as a tireless advocate for Rowland Hall Athletics, and she inspires Winged Lions to play with integrity and have fun in the process. Kendra has worked for the school since 1992, and in 2013 won a national award for her outstanding contributions to interscholastic athletics.

State championships bolstered Rowland Hall's Directors Cup ranking this year. Winged Lion highlights at the state level included the 2A title for girls soccer, the 3A 1st singles tennis title for senior Katie Foley, the 2A third-place spot for boys golf, the 3A title for girls swimming, the 2A title for boys tennis, the 2A title for girls golf, and the 2A runner-up trophy for boys soccer.

The description of the Directors Cup, from UIAAA:

The "Directors Cup" is awarded to the school achieving the highest cumulative point total in each classification based on state tournament results in all sports (boys and girls) and the successful implementation of the "Raise The Bar" sportsmanship initiative. The top 16 teams in each sport and classification received points based on how their teams finished in the UHSAA State Championship events. (This counts for 40% of the Directors Cup Total.) Each school may also submit their respective team GPAs to the UIAAA. The top 16 teams in each sport and classification received points based on how their team's GPA rank compared to other schools in their classification. (This counts for 40% of the Directors Cup Total.) Every school regardless of team GPAs or how it placed in any State Tournament can also receive points from the successful implementation of the "Raise The Bar" sportsmanship initiative.

The top-five ranked schools in 2A:

  1. Rowland Hall: 16.8 points
  2. Gunnison: 12.6 points
  3. Kanab: 10.8 points
  4. North Summit: 10.1 points
  5. Beaver: 9.4 points

Rowland Hall's score also amounted to the highest point total among all classifications in the state. In the 6A classification, Bingham was a close second, with 16.7 points.

Athletics

Middle School Sports Roundup, Spring 2018

 

Middle School Sports Roundup, Spring 2018

It was a great spring season for Middle School Athletics. Thanks to all of our players for their dedication, and thanks to their families for their support throughout the season. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of coaches who continue to invest countless hours to develop our student-athletes. Additionally, I'd like to thank our Middle School Boosters for providing every athlete with a sport-specific T-shirt to show our school spirit. A huge shout out to Melanie Bates, Ashley Holbrook, and Erica Keil for representing Middle School Athletics. We will miss you! Read below for a recap of each team's season. —Shannon Casson

 

Girls A Soccer
Coaches Bobby Kennedy & Campbell Ainsworth

The girls soccer teams had a fantastic season. The A2 team improved throughout the year. Not only did their individual skills improve, but they learned how to work as a team and became stronger with a more cohesive attack and defense. They had a good season and played hard against tough competition. The A1 team finished the season undefeated and won the WAC tournament, yet the road was not always easy. Twice during the regular season, they were losing by two goals at halftime, yet they were undaunted and came roaring back to win both games with inspired second halves. The WAC tournament was tense, with both games at 0-0 until late goals by Maddie Carlin spurred the Winged Lions to victory. A special shout-out to the defense and goalkeeper Micha Nenbee who had six shutouts this year. The team never gave up all year, and though they rarely had any substitutes, their hustle and positive attitude made this a memorable season. Go Winged Lions!

Cross Country
Coaches Mary Lawlor, Chelsea Vasquez, Sam Lawlor

What a season for this dynamic group of sixth- through eighth-grade racers! It's been quite an experience running through the 9th and 9th business district with over 50 Middle School runners. Each of the six meets was held in a different location along the Wasatch Front. We competed against the same nine schools at every meet. The season began with the girls battling Saint John the Baptist and the boys went head-to-head with McGillis, St. Joe's, and SJTB. Towards the end of the season, it became obvious that every runner needed to give their best effort in order to accumulate the points to win each meet, and the most possible meet wins to finish first for the 2018 season. The last two meets in Draper and Layton included dramatic finishes for every age group. Rowland Hall earned first place for both the A Team (seventh and eighth grade) girls and boys. The C Team (sixth grade) girls earned a third-place season finish, and the C Team boys brought home a fourth-place finish. Special shout-outs to our top A-Team runners: Will Cunningham (seventh) and Jasmine Le (seventh). We are already looking forward to next season with this special group of runners.

Mountain Biking
Coaches Jen Schones, Chelsea Vasquez

Despite a few meetups being foiled by rain or thunder, we enjoyed beautiful days of Park City pedaling with our awesome group of bikers. We had a mix of skill levels this year, ranging from never-evers to cross-country mountain bike racers. Needless to say, this kept our ride sessions exciting and allowed students to teach each other. We have loved learning from (and trying to keep up with!) the more advanced riders while seeing the beginners grow their confidence and skill climbing and descending. We are psyched to get more kids on bikes!

 

2018 MS Spring Sports Rosters

2018 WAC Sports Season Results

2018 Spring Sports Photo Album

Athletics

Suspense-Filled Boys Tennis Tournament Ends with Rowland Hall's First State Title in Seven Years

About a week after Rowland Hall captured their first state title in boys tennis since 2011, Head Coach Tim Sleeper was still on cloud nine about the team's win. "There have been a couple of championships [throughout the years] that have stuck in my mind, and I think this will be one of them," he said.

It's not hard to understand what made this year's 3A State Tournament so memorable. In a drama-filled weekend that included Rowland Hall sophomore Peter Chase rallying from down 1-5 in the third set to win at #3 singles, the Winged Lions overcame a one-point deficit in the standings—to Waterford, nonetheless—by winning the final doubles match of the day.

Rowland Hall senior Soren Feola, who was paired with sophomore Justin Peng for the final match, recalled the intensity of the afternoon. "About halfway through our finals match, we found out that the state title rested on our shoulders. We pushed through the stress, even though everyone there was watching us," he said. "I think once that last point I hit was over, my mind went blank and all I could think was, 'Wow, I just did that for myself and my team.' I was filled with explosive happiness."

Coach Sleeper acknowledged that Soren had been in a similar position before but with different results, which only made this year that much more special. "The last shot of the whole tournament was Soren with an overhead to win the match," he said. "It was just really cool to see him come through and complete the journey."

The team's senior leadership, from Soren and #1 singles player Leif Thulin, and JV players Leo Doctorman and Chris Ausbeck, was a significant factor in this year's success. In particular, Coach Sleeper cited Leif's attitude and ability to bring the team together, whether at practice or during matches, as a consistent influence. "He deserves a lot of credit for what happened," Coach Sleeper said.

Complementing the senior leadership were outstanding performances from underclassmen, namely freshman Tucker Lee—who finished the season undefeated at #2 singles—and sophomores Justin and Peter. Coach Sleeper described Peter's attitude during his final match at the state tournament when he went to speak with him at the 5-2 changeover: "He had this energy I hadn't seen all season and this determination in his face. He said, 'I'm gonna do this' and he just went out and upped his game."

Celebrating a victory over rival Waterford added an extra layer of satisfaction to this year's championship, though Coach Sleeper has great respect for their longtime opponents. "Their coach is awesome," he said. "He makes a lot of good decisions and is always doing the right thing on and off the court, teaching good sportsmanship to his players."

Even in years when Rowland Hall lost to Waterford, Coach Sleeper has maintained a positive feeling watching his players grow on the court and summon their confidence at key moments. And heading into the state tournament May 11, despite having won the Region 13 championship the week before, he wasn't sure how his team would match up against unknown players from other regions.

In any case, he almost certainly would never have predicted the intensity of the tournament's conclusion, which he agreed couldn't have been scripted any better for the team. "To have all my players rise to the occasion at the same time was thrilling," he said. "The whole team—they just outperformed themselves."

Coach Sleeper was especially grateful for the way this season wrapped, as he has decided not to return to Rowland Hall next season and instead spend more time with his family. He will carry with him many fond memories of watching Rowland Hall's young athletes mature over the course of a season, and for some, throughout their high school careers.

"I've been honored to be a part of their lives throughout the years," he said. "They are an amazing group of kids."

Athletics

New Upper School Fitness Program Teaches Wellness and Time Management

Over the past several years, enrollment in physical education (PE) classes steadily declined in the Upper School. Rather than getting discouraged by the lack of participation—and the subsequent lack of course offerings—PE teacher Mark Oftedal embraced a growth mindset. He saw the failures of the existing PE model in the Upper School as an opportunity to try something new: a Personal Fitness program that launched in September and is already creating buzz inside the Lincoln Street Campus hallways.

The program has a simple premise: make fitness fit your schedule. Instead of trimester or yearlong PE courses that meet at regularly scheduled times, students must accrue 25 hours of physical activity over the course of the year to earn one PE credit. Upper schoolers can earn two credits if they accrue 50 hours, but if they don't reach 25 by the end of the year, the hours won't carry forward.

The classes and activities available through the Personal Fitness program—which students were surveyed about, to gauge interest—appeal to a diverse crowd. Early offerings include hiking, yoga, Ultimate Frisbee, and meditation, with plans for kayaking, backcountry skiing, and open gym time underway. Students can attend a fitness class during a free period, after school, or sometimes on weekends, and most classes don't require advance signup. To earn credit, students must sign in with the instructor, and then participate to the best of their abilities.

Mr. Oftedal credited visiting colleges with his son Eli Oftedal '15 for inspiring him to look ahead to the fitness opportunities students will encounter after high school. He saw the first-rate recreational centers and facilities available to college students, and started to devise a PE program that would give upper schoolers the chance to try new activities, and require them to use time-management skills. The new program challenges students to figure out how they fit in, Mr. Oftedal said. "When they get to college, they won't have as many easy opportunities for athletics that they had here at Rowland Hall."

Our school's learning environment will help to make the Personal Fitness program a success, Mr. Oftedal said. "We can give students interesting options—maybe things they want to become better at, or things they have never tried before and can do in an environment that will be supportive, whether they succeed or fail."

Students are already embracing the program, according to sophomore Hailey Hauck. Hailey is a member of the Ultimate Frisbee team that plays after school on Mondays and Wednesdays with English teacher Joel Long and math teacher Brian Birchler. Last year Hailey played volleyball to earn PE credit, and while she likes the sport, she found the practice and game schedule a bit too demanding. She's planning to earn credit for the Ultimate Frisbee workouts this year, and feels less stressed without the commitment a team sport requires. She mentioned that her friends are looking forward to earning credit for backcountry skiing, something they already do an average of twice a week.

Ultimate Frisbee has yielded other benefits for Hailey, beyond a simplified way to earn PE credit. "I have been able to meet a lot of new people that I probably wouldn't talk to outside the team," she said. "And it's a great break—you can switch your brain off from school."

Exercise's mental boost plays a significant role in Mr. Oftedal's plan. He cited the latest neuroscientific research on how exercise improves brain activity and believes that students who can fit in a yoga or meditation class midday, or go for a walk during their free period, will perform better academically in the hours that follow. "All the literature shows that when students go out and get moving, and get chemicals flowing through their brains, they will be more apt to learn and remember material," he said. "It all points in that direction." He's also acutely aware of how much studying the average Upper School student does and wants them to find balance in their lives.

Mr. Oftedal hopes to expand the Personal Fitness program in the future to include guest speakers on topics such as nutrition, sleep habits, and sports psychology. He envisions a strong health and wellness curriculum that prepares students for the real-world scenarios they will encounter in college and beyond. The only challenge he currently anticipates is finding adequate space for certain activities, such as open gym time, especially since the Middle School PE program remains robust.

Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson said she's pleased with the rollout of the program so far, especially how it allows for flexibility. She thinks students are excited about the range of classes and curious about the impending experiential offerings. Mr. Oftedal foresees some of the off-campus classes like rock climbing or kayaking eventually turning into interim trips.

Mr. Oftedal also hopes that adults in our community—faculty, staff, or even parents—will join in the fitness activities, and act as positive role models for our students. "I want to create a culture where kids see that faculty and staff enjoy doing these things too, that they're trying to fit them into their lives because they see the benefits and enjoyment they get from exercise."

Experiential Learning

More Than Champions: Girls Soccer Team Becomes Family During Undefeated Season

The statistics from Rowland Hall's championship girls soccer season are impressive. They ended the season with an 18-0 record. They scored 168 goals, a new state record, and surrendered just six—three of which were in the championship game. Nearly every member of the team, including the goalkeeper, scored at least once during the season. And even the junior varsity team only lost one game this fall.

The season-long dominance by the team doesn't mean award-winning Head Coach Bobby Kennedy is ready to use the word "perfection," though. Instead, he said he found this year to be deeply satisfying. He likes to emphasize the team philosophy: "Rowland Hall—where winning is cultured, skills are tested, bonds are formed, and memories are made." He also pointed out, "The school's mission statement ends with personal excellence, and I believe if we ask that of students in the classroom, we ask that of them on the playing field." He reminded his athletes of this all season, and they followed suit.

Seniors summarized their season as exciting, memorable, successful, and record breaking. When co-captain Airam Perez mentioned the word "family," they all nodded in agreement. In fact, partway through the season, Airam and Caeli Kennedy—another of the team's captains—changed the cheer coming out of group huddles from "RoHo!" to "Family!" According to Caeli, the bonds this season grew even stronger than she expected, and much stronger than in her previous three years on the team.

Coach Kennedy attributed the team chemistry to a good mix of veteran players and young talent. "Everyone understood their roles and accepted them," he said. "Some seniors knew they weren't going to be starters, and believed that being part of the team was more important than the minutes they spent on the field. They all bought into the program."

For a team that didn't face much competition during the season—largely due to a state reclassification that shifted weaker or less experienced teams into the 2A Region—they were still tested at times. A few players suffered injuries or illnesses that required them to miss games, but maintaining motivation posed the bigger challenge. It's a winner's problem: you don't have to be as sharp as you could be, in order to beat less-talented opponents. Coach Kennedy never let his players off the hook, though: from the beginning of practice in late July through the championship game, he counseled them that their hard work and daily efforts were an investment in the future.

The players appreciated the rituals in practice and warm-up that helped them stay ready for competition, and the bonding activities such as "question of the day"—"What are you looking forward to this weekend?"; "What are your goals for the next game?"that kept the mood light. The student-athletes have enormous respect and admiration for their coaches. BK—as the athletes affectionately call their head coach—infrequently offered praise, but that only made it more meaningful when it came. Savannah Price hailed his second-to-none knowledge of the game, and his teaching style: "No one in this community knows more about soccer than BK, so having him as a coach was really valuable."

The highlight for players and coaches was, of course, defeating rival Waterford in the state championship game by a score of 6-3. While they may not have been highly motivated to play every opponent during the regular season, that game was different. "Championship teams have a way of igniting themselves when it's most meaningful," Coach Kennedy said. And while the players experienced nerves heading into the title game, they are proud of how they responded to pressure and achieved their goals.

"No matter who you play, a championship game will be nerve-wracking," Caeli said, "and the fact that we were playing our rivals added extra pressure." Goalkeeper Allison Bagley—the third co-captain on the team—said unlike earlier games, that final match tested her: "A lot of the games, I wasn't that active, but in the Waterford game, it was very different." Meg Janes said her nerves carried through halftime, when their lead of 1-0 was not as large as usual. But the coaches and players all agreed that in the second half, they settled in and started to play their style. "I started to realize, 'We got this now,'" Meg said with a smile.

Lauren Bikhazi cited the disappointing loss to Waterford in last year's championship game as another reason this victory felt so satisfying. Plus, the career seniors had secured their second state title—they bookended their high school soccer careers with championships in 2014 and 2017. The team listened to "We are the Champions" on the bus ride home, and celebrated over a shared meal that evening.

As happy and proud as the Winged Lions were to end their undefeated season with a victory over Waterford, some expressed mixed emotions. Airam voiced sadness in knowing she'd played her last high school game. In a chorus of agreement, the teammates identified what they'd miss most: the coaches and the relationships they've built. "Playing with your really good friends is always an awesome experience," Lauren said. When recalling funny mishaps on the field or inside jokes, the seniors shared laughs and whispers, making it clear that the memories made this year will stay with them for a long time.

Coach Kennedy can't help but look ahead to next year, especially given that this team had nine seniors, the largest number of departing players in his tenure as coach. "Our seniors led the team, and it wasn't just about talent," he said. "Around here, you know what is asked of you, and you stay prepared to answer the call." No matter how the roster shapes up in the future, the demand for personal excellence will remain an integral part of the soccer program—and chances are, that will lead to more success.

 

State Coach of the Year award

 

Update March 6, 2018: United Soccer Coaches in February 2018 named Bobby Kennedy the 2017 Utah Coach of the Year among girls' teams at independent high schools. Congrats to Coach Kennedy!

Athletics

 

Ethical Education

students interviewing man sitting on bench

Earlier this school year, sophomores hit iconic Salt Lake City spots to ask friendly strangers how migration has shaped their families’ stories. English teacher Dr. Kate Taylor masterminded the activity for sophomores' annual Beyond the Classroom day, in connection with their reading of Exit West

Before they took to the streets, students received a crash course from an expert folklorist, Thomas Richardson, on how to be an ethnographer and conduct interviews. Then during interviews, sophomores asked these questions:

Immigration heavily affected our way of life because we were the first peoples here.—Darren Parry, Chairman of the Shoshone Nation. See his interview in the top-left square.

  1. What story about your own or your family’s migration or travel can you share?
  2. Tell me about how migration or travel has shaped your story or your family’s story.
  3. Our class is reading a book called Exit West by Mohsin Hamid who said, “We are all migrants. All of us. We move through time and space.” How does that quote relate or not relate to your experience?

Students had a simple goal, Dr. Taylor said: listen and bear witness to the many different experiences of people in our city. 

View an exhibit of subjects’ photos and quotes just outside the Upper School library. A selection of students’ work is below.

Directions: On a desktop, hover over the audio icons to see pull quotes and hear interview audio. On a mobile device, press the audio icons.   

Student Reactions to the Assignment

Lightly edited for style and context.

It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. —Sophomore Cole McCartney

Beyond the Classroom made me realize how diverse Salt Lake City is. I was able to hear about many people’s experiences with migration or travel. I met people from Mexico, El Salvador, and other countries, and they all had very compelling stories. It was interesting to hear about what people sacrificed and went through to get to the U.S. It makes you better appreciate your country. I also found it interesting to hear different opinions on migration; there were some who were strongly for it while others didn't seem to care...I would never have talked to random people about this if it weren't for this project.
—Cole McCartney

It definitely showed me that people are always on the move, and how some don’t have to travel far to experience different things. It gave me more respect for people who do migrate often, or migrate to different countries or places that are vastly different from where they started. I feel more empathetic towards people who are migrating from oppressive countries and are struggling to find a place in this world. Even making the move from Jackson Hole to Salt Lake was difficult and took time, so these people are fighters and deserve happiness in their lives.
—Mary Clancy

At the beginning of the day, I thought it would be really scary because I would be talking with random people I didn't know, something I’ve rarely been comfortable with...I met a woman named Rosa María and asked if I could interview her. She replied, "I don't speak English, only Spanish; I'm on a trip," and I knew it would be a good opportunity to see how immigration had affected people who weren't living in the United States. I conducted the whole interview in Spanish and we laughed and had a good time...Being an immigrant myself, I thought everyone was affected in some way by immigration, but as I interviewed her I knew immigration wasn't all there was. She primarily talked about cross-cultural integration. I knew this was true but it didn't hit me until then: immigration is a big topic all around the world, but you don’t often hear in the media about how it opens people’s minds up to new ideas.
—Mena Zendejas-Portugal

Beyond the Classroom
 

Middle Schoolers Broaden Cultural Horizons, Salsa-Dancing Skills with Colombian Exchange Program

Bogotan exchange student Jero (pronounced "hair-o") is an honorary Utahn. During his eight-day visit to Rowland Hall from his typically spring-like home, he skied twice, and like so many of us local powder hounds, he's hooked.

"I just finished talking to him, and he told me how much he missed skiing," eighth-grader Isabelle Louis said with a smile, a month after her guest returned to Bogotá. Isabelle's family hosted Jero, one of 21 Saint George's School students ages 11 to 14 who visited during the Middle School's Colombian cultural exchange in January. The intercontinental friends still keep in touch via WhatsApp and Instagram, and met thanks to globally minded French and Spanish teacher Campbell Ainsworth. Mr. Ainsworth—who's previously taught in Guatemala, Sri Lanka, South Korea, and Zambia—organized the program, the first of its kind in recent Middle School history.

"It helped to open students' eyes to a different perspective, from a different culture," Mr. Ainsworth said. Accordingly, he emphasized the cross-cultural empathy fostered by the exchange program—a lot of middle schoolers, after all, haven't yet had the chance to travel outside of the U.S. "It gives kids at that age a realization that the way we do things—or the way that one kid does things—is not the only way to do it," he said. "Sometimes we forget that because we're caught up in our own lives."

Colombian students, for example, were surprised by how common it is for Americans to quickly finish a meal and move onto the next activity, Mr. Ainsworth said. In Colombia, he explained, meals give friends and family a chance to spend time together and appreciate their food, bite by bite. Students, however, did discern at least one overlap in our food cultures. During a division-wide presentation at the end of the visit, an exchange student told an auditorium full of our middle schoolers that Colombians love to mix ketchup and mayonnaise to create what they call salsa rosada, or pink sauce. Our students excitedly clapped and called out, "FRY SAUCE!"

That same presentation allowed the St. George's students to practice their second language in a public forum, and gave our students expert insight into the "real" Colombia, including geography, industry, and music. The polished assembly left our community informed and impressed, Mr. Ainsworth said. Indeed, Isabelle praised her Colombian counterparts' English and dancing skills—they demonstrated modern and traditional moves, and at the end of the assembly, invited everyone on stage to learn to "dance salsa." "The fact that they were brave and they showed us what their dances were like—I thought that was really cool," Isabelle said.

While here, the St. George's students toured both campuses, shadowed students, and attended a variety of classes in the lower, middle, and upper schools. They took a bus tour of Salt Lake City, went tubing at Gorgoza Park and skiing at Brighton Resort, and joined their 21 welcoming host families in a range of activities—from ice skating, to playing Risk into the wee hours of the morning.

Our students, in turn, enjoyed meeting people from a totally different part of the world and polishing their Spanish. Isabelle said Jero introduced her to some new Spanish words and helped her to better understand pronouns and sentence structure. And even our students who didn't host St. George's visitors reaped the benefits of their presence via language-classroom activities that required the two groups to collaborate.

"The point of learning a language is to speak it—to communicate," Mr. Ainsworth said. "So we always try to find ways to provide meaningful, authentic experiences, and there's no more meaningful, authentic experience than for them to have a conversation with a kid their age who's a native speaker."

The Middle School doesn't have plans to send students to Colombia, but in future years, an Upper School interim trip to St. George's could be an ideal way for the program to evolve into a two-way exchange, Mr. Ainsworth suggested. For now, the teacher aspires to hold the program every other year to keep it special for students. And if it works out, we hope Jero can come back on a powder day.

Ethical Education

Rowland Hall middle schoolers working on a calss activity wit one of our Colombian exchange students.

Personal, Professional, and Institutional: the People of Color Conference Blurs Boundaries for Rowland Hall Educators

Humbling, painful, amazing, challenging, rejuvenating, overwhelming—these are just some of the adjectives Rowland Hall educators used to describe the experience of attending the People of Color Conference (PoCC) last fall. While faculty and staff at independent schools regularly attend conferences to learn about trends in education or to network with their peers, those who sign up for the PoCC have at least one additional objective. According to Kate Taylor, Upper School English teacher and co-chair of the school's Inclusion and Equity Committee, "People go to this conference to be vulnerable."

Dr. Taylor was one of six attendees from Rowland Hall who traveled to Anaheim, California, at the end of November for the 30th annual PoCC. At the largest conference organized by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), 6,000 administrators, staff, faculty, and students from predominantly independent schools gathered for three days of stimulating workshops and speakers, and deeply personal inquiry into issues regarding race, identity, and privilege. Joining Dr. Taylor at the conference were her committee co-chair and Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus; Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education; Lisa Miranda, assistant director of admission for the Lincoln Street Campus; Robin Hori, Upper School physics teacher; and Anna Ernst, Lower School physical education teacher.

For the Rowland Hall cohort, from first-time attendees like Ms. Miranda to five-time attendee Mr. de Jesus, the conference was a chance to delve deeper into the critical work the Inclusion and Equity Committee—on which they all serve—is undertaking at our school. Along with the institutional lens each educator brought to the conference, they had opportunities to explore and affirm their racial identities through affinity groups. Each day, attendees broke off into sessions with others of their race or ethnicity and connected over shared experiences in closed-door conversations.

"So many people shared so many painful stories," said Ms. Miranda, who attended the affinity group for people who are black or of African heritage. While specific details remained confidential, they discussed everything from bullying in schools to a lack of faculty representation for people of color. Mr. Hori reported that the majority of conversations in the Asian groups he attended centered on how to best support students of color. Although Ms. Ernst initially expressed some skepticism regarding how she would relate to other Latinx educators in this context, she ultimately saw the power of affinity groups.

"We are all educators, whatever roles we have in schools, and we all come from different backgrounds, but we have this connection," she said. She also believes establishing affinity groups for Rowland Hall students and families could be beneficial to our community—which is an explicit goal of the committee this year.

Affinity groups are not just for people of color, either—for Dr. Taylor, the session for white people, or those of European heritage, was of great value. "White people were talking about how to be an ally or an advocate, and their successes or frustrations with this work," she said. "It was a very constructive mindset."

The idea of inclusion and equity work as a mindset—rather than something to be done—is a point of emphasis for conference attendees. Mr. de Jesus framed it as a growth opportunity for the school. "As an organization, we can broaden our understanding of what the work looks like," he explained. "It's not a one-off chapel or some other addition to the schedule. It's a mindset to be fostered, both individually and collectively."

Rowland Hall faculty and staff pose for a group shot at the People of Color Conference.

Clockwise from upper left: Lisa Miranda, Ryan Hoglund, Robin Hori, Jij de Jesus, Kate Taylor, Anna Ernst

All six educators returned to Rowland Hall with renewed passion for their work, along with difficult questions regarding how to implement change. While there are plans to build and support affinity groups, and to increase the positive representation of people of color across our curriculum, there are significant roadblocks as well. Ms. Miranda identified inequalities in the admission process—which exist at many schools, not just Rowland Hall—that benefit those who are wealthy or have generational knowledge of independent school education. And along with the limited time and funding that can hamper any school initiative, work surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion doesn't always get buy-in from everyone in a school community, in part because it requires the kind of vulnerability that PoCC encourages.

According to Mr. Hori, some people may be afraid of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. Nevertheless, he remains vocal about the need to have difficult conversations on a regular basis. "We need to be willing to talk about concerns as well as progress, and not feel like if I have something bad to say, there will be consequences," he said. He also identified improved student support—particularly for students of color and females—as a priority.

"I appreciate that we want to open up the community," Mr. Hori said in a nod to the school's goal for an increasingly diverse student body and faculty, "but we have to be careful how we do this, to make sure there is support for the kids." He reflected at length on the exhausting process of assimilation at independent schools, something he engaged in for years out of what he regarded as professional demands. "We have all of these students from different backgrounds, and we just expect them to produce and behave in this white-dominant culture," he said, adding that he's contemplating different ways to reach out to students of color about their experience at Rowland Hall.

Whether people have been afraid, uncomfortable, unaware, or unwilling, Ms. Miranda doesn't see inaction as an option for the school. "We are entrusted with children at the most crucial times of their lives. We have them more than their parents do, sometimes," she said. "Are we going to be our best selves and our best educators? And in order to do that, what do we embrace?" She described being part of the Rowland Hall community as a great privilege, and with that privilege comes the responsibility of doing this critical work.

"We expect our kids to be leaders, so we can't talk to them about growth mindset if we don't live it," she added.

The possibility to lead among independent schools on issues of equity and inclusion is something that excites Mr. Hoglund. It was his third time attending PoCC, and part of the reason he keeps returning is that it confirms the importance of this work and that Rowland Hall is on the right track. "This conference is both a self-care moment and an investment in our school's future," he said, adding "Everyone benefits from greater diversity." He found the presentation by Ta-Nehisi Coates, an author and journalist who was one of the conference's general-session speakers, particularly moving. "He reiterated that this work is everyone's work, and we need each other to create inclusive spaces," Mr. Hoglund reflected.

Rowland Hall wanted to send students to PoCC in 2017, but due to the exceptional demand for the conference, they did not make it off the waitlist. Mr. Hoglund and the other attendees expressed hope that some of our students will attend this year and encouraged any interested adults—teachers, staff, or board members, of any race or ethnicity—to join as well. "We need to have more people go," Ms. Ernst said, "to truly see what diversity can add to your school, and to learn how to be allies."

As it did for each member of last year's cohort, the conference will provide future attendees with a unique emotional experience, based on several factors: racial identity, where they are on their identity-development journeys, and their roles within the Rowland Hall community. For Mr. de Jesus, this year was particularly powerful, as it was his first time attending since becoming a principal. "This conference was where I first received mentorship, support, and advocacy on my own leadership journey," he said. "And this time I was in the role of handing out my business card to younger people who are interested in becoming leaders."

What sets PoCC apart from any other professional-development experience? It's the opportunity to be vulnerable, as Dr. Taylor identified, and to use the exploration of one's racial and ethnic identity as a springboard for institutional change. Mr. de Jesus summed it up nicely: "PoCC gives me permission to include who I am—my identity, beyond being an educator—into the work I do as an educator. There's no separation between professional and personal. It's all personal."

Ethical Education

Students Learn to Lead with Head and Heart

When sophomore Hailey Hauck led the female/feminine affinity group at the recent Student Leadership Diversity Retreat (SLDR) in Portland, Oregon, she was amazed at younger attendees' willingness to dive into complex discussions. Middle schoolers dissected the concept of institutional sexism and shared opinions on matters such as equal pay for equal work, stereotypical gender roles, and dress code. "It was truly inspiring to see strong young people ready to lead," Hailey said.

Over 175 students in grades six through twelve attended the February 9-10 SLDR, organized by the Northwest Association of Independent Schools. The annual two-day retreat builds leadership and communication skills with an emphasis on creating more diverse and inclusive school environments. This year's event had a particular focus on affinity groups, which are formed around a shared interest, experience, or goal. At the retreat, affinity groups gave students a space to focus on issues related to a dimension of their identity. Accordingly, the gathering also featured presentations on developing leadership skills, and using social and emotional intelligence to cultivate cross-cultural empathy.

Our student attendees—four upper schoolers and 10 middle schoolers—identified a leadership action plan to bring back to their school. They'll host lunchtime Courageous Conversations, or open-invitation meetings for students and faculty to discuss identity-related topics in a safe place. The students will also work to form affinity groups at our school.

Like Hailey, junior and affinity-group facilitator Claire Hyde was impressed with the maturity middle schoolers displayed at SLDR when discussing controversial topics. "They were able to clearly articulate themselves," Claire said. "I remember my first year attending the retreat, and it makes me happy to see so many students attending the SLDR for the first time and enjoying their experience as much as I did."

Rowland Hall attendees included Upper School students Isaac Ball, Charlotte Orford, Claire, and Hailey; and Middle School students Omar Alsolaiman, Sam Andrew, Mercedes Hinton, Gwenyth Hodson, Samantha Lehman, Rose Mickey Locke, Aileen Robles, Luke Sarin, Zakrie Smith, and Aurelie Wallis. Rowland Hall has attended this annual conference since it started in 2006 and plans to keep the tradition going. Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund credited the retreat with developing the next generation of student leaders on the Inclusion and Equity Committee. "Our attendance at the conference shows our commitment to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all learners," he said.

Ethical Education

Embracing Curiosity and Discomfort on the Path to Cultural Competence

In 2011, Rowland Hall's Board of Trustees approved a diversity mission that affirmed the school's commitment to building cultural awareness, cultivating an inclusive environment, and appreciating how our differences create a stronger community. The school's Inclusion and Equity Committee—first created in 2008, and strengthened with the board mandate in 2011—has been hard at work implementing an action plan to bring the values of this diversity mission to the forefront. According to Upper School English teacher Kate Taylor, who co-chairs the committee with Lower School principal Jij de Jesus, a significant long-term goal is "to provide more consistent and across-the-board training opportunities in inclusion and equity topics for our faculty and staff."

Enter Rosetta Lee, a Seattle-based educator, diversity consultant, and nationally recognized speaker on issues of inclusion and equity in schools. Ms. Lee visited Rowland Hall August 16-17 as the Julie Ashton Barrett Teaching and Learning Fellow, an endowed award which funds an annual visit from a master teacher or learning consultant. For two days, Ms. Lee led workshops for faculty and staff on issues of cultural competence, identity development, and inclusive classroom practices. With a mixture of humor, compassion, and conviction, she brought home the message that developing cultural competence is an educational imperative for the 21st century.

What does it mean to have cultural competence? Ms. Lee shared the definition written by subject expert and long-time researcher Terry Cross: "Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, institution or individual and enable that system, institution or individual to work effectively in cross-cultural situations." Ms. Lee advocated that teachers demonstrate cultural competence by embracing anti-bias frameworks in their curriculum, and ensuring that physical learning spaces reflect the needs and identities of all students. She stressed the difference between equality and equity: equitable treatment eliminates "barriers that prevent the full participation of all peoples," she said. While giving every adult in the room a shirt to wear might demonstrate equality, giving everyone a shirt that fits is an example of equity.

All faculty and staff attended a Wednesday session on cultural competence, and on Thursday, faculty separated into morning and afternoon groups in order for Ms. Lee to provide age-appropriate material to teachers in specific divisions. Lower School and Beginning School teachers learned about supporting positive identity development in our youngest students. This includes allowing curiosity-based questions, and answering those questions in a way that offers gentle guidance while expanding a child's definition of what is possible in the world. Ms. Lee spoke to Middle School and Upper School educators about the distinctions between feeling safe and comfortable: while the former is critical for everyone in a school environment, there is room for discomfort when dealing with sensitive topics related to identity and culture.

During one workshop, Ms. Lee told teachers "we need to create a loving, accepting—safe and wonderful and welcoming—environment for children, and also prepare them to engage with folks who are not as intentional about creating this type of environment." She spoke of teaching and practicing curiosity, something Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education, affirmed. "I want students to develop a cross-cultural sense of curiosity and empathy, a disposition where judgment is not their first response to each other," he said.

Along with offering strategies for inclusive classroom practices and recommending online resources, Ms. Lee answered an array of faculty and staff questions, including how best to represent student diversity in school publications, and how to partner with parents on their children's identity-development journeys.

Ms. Lee's advice resonated with teachers and administrators, and in the weeks that followed her visit, many spoke of heightened awareness regarding the language they use and how it impacts students. Lower School physical education (PE) teacher Anna Ernst and her colleagues implemented Ms. Lee's "Bug and a Wish" framework for conflict resolution in their classes. Mrs. Ernst refreshed a peace corner where students air out their feelings: now, instead of simply complaining in the corner, students use props and phrase their discussions as, "It bugs me when you..." and, "I wish you would..." Mrs. Ernst believes this seemingly minor adjustment requires students to be more thoughtful and open. She also encourages them to extend their palms while speaking to each other, a body language that invites collaboration and empathy.

Rowland Hall's work to increase cultural competence is right in line—if not slightly ahead of—national trends. A recent Independent School magazine article on the importance of hiring for cultural competence echoes Ms. Lee and similarly describes the subject as an imperative for our modern, multicultural society.

Mr. Hoglund and Ms. Taylor see Rosetta Lee's teachings as part of an ongoing goal that we might never fully achieve, but can continuously strive for. Mr. Hoglund added that he hopes increasing cultural competence in adults will create an environment where, for students, a "good day" at school doesn't just mean nothing bad happened. Rather, it means students "saw themselves positively represented in the curriculum and in the community."

Ethical Education

 

Bonnie Phillips '60 Lives a Vibrant Life Championing Utah Artists—and the Golden Rule

Gallery Owner and Artist Traces Passions Back to Rowland Hall Education

Bonnie Phillips '60 and husband Denis founded the Phillips Gallery in 1965, and now it holds the title of the oldest-running commercial art gallery in the Intermountain West. Mature shade trees form a canopy over their tidy historic storefront that for 50 years has held its own against newer, bigger commercial buildings on the block. Much like its owners, it's comfortably elegant and teeming with fascinating stories.

The gallery holds a special place in Salt Lake as a factual framework for Utah art history. Artists Bonnie and Denis built their successful business by representing—and often befriending—other regional artists, including Rowland Hall alumni Lee Deffebach '45, Stephen Goldsmith '72, and Hadley Rampton '94. In the late 1960s, Utah Art and Sculpture magazine recognized the Phillips Gallery for "challenging the bounds of Utah taste through their intelligent promotion of less traditional art" and called the business "the first viable modernist and avant-garde concern in the Utah art market."

Indeed, Bonnie has done more than establish an alluring storefront: she's cultivated a community of creatives and served as an ambassador for Utah arts, according to Hadley, a gallery fine art consultant. Phillips Gallery almost exclusively shows pieces by Utah artists, and clients visiting Salt Lake from major art centers such as New York City or Los Angeles "are just blown away by the quality and variety of work here," Hadley said. Salt Lake is lucky to have Bonnie, she added. "Our community here is very strong...she has definitely contributed in a big way."

Denis and Bonnie grew up in different Salt Lake neighborhoods and met after college, yet both credit the daily presence of art in their youths for what would become a mutual passion. Bonnie fondly remembers Rowland Hall as a "warm and friendly place" where teachers appreciated and nurtured her love of art. One of those teachers was the late George Fox, a beloved Rowland Hall art educator for 32 years—read more about him on page 40 of the Spring 2012 Review. With a laugh and a shudder, Bonnie recalled a memory from the so-called "A Building" on the old Avenues Campus: she watched Mr. Fox make the risky climb to the top of the foyer to open a light well so students could enjoy the sun.

"I remember the light streaming in through the huge Avenues Campus windows, illuminating the art on the walls," Bonnie said. "Some was student work and other was by professional artists—but it was all honored."

Nearly seven decades later, much of the art now illuminated on Rowland Hall's walls is there thanks to Bonnie—she has loaned the school 114 paintings from her personal collection with the hope of enriching students' educational experiences, just as the school once enriched her childhood. The collection appropriately includes 17 pieces by Bonnie and seven by her husband.

In the Beginning School, 19 loaned works contribute to the calm, beautiful environment carefully cultivated by Principal Carol Blackwell. In one piece—an untitled 2002 acrylic painting by prominent Utah artist and Rowland Hall parent Willamarie Huelskamp—a red stag turns to look behind him, toward a sliver of red moon. The other pieces also depict colorful, creatively interpreted insects, animals, and plants. Such works enlighten our youngest learners, who appreciate art's intrinsic value and worth: "Children can observe shape, color, emotional qualities, and intangible traits such as kindness," 4PreK Teacher Kate Nevins said.

For Bonnie, Rowland Hall nurtured some of those good, intangible traits. She grew up with grandparents of mixed religions and remains grateful that whether at home or school, adults around her emphasized a message of inclusion: "At Rowland Hall, we began school every morning singing hymns together in chapel," she said. "It didn't matter what your religion was at home, we all sang together. It was such a wonderful way to open our hearts and minds to learning for the rest of the day. It was truly spiritual."

Years later, Bonnie combined her passion for art with the lasting impression of kindness and spirituality to form the Golden Rule Project, an organization based on the law of reciprocity—do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

The ideas that led to the Golden Rule Project first percolated in Bonnie's mind as Edna Traul's fourth-grade student at Rowland Hall. Mrs. Traul had students memorize and recite poetry, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the golden rule. "The pledge seemed sort of exclusive, whereas the golden rule had a sense of fairness," Bonnie said.

The lessons intrinsic to the golden rule continued to simmer in Bonnie's heart, and with the help of her mother, Jane Dooly Porter '36, the Golden Rule Project became a reality in 2003. Two years later, Bonnie worked with Urban Crossroads Center and then-State Senator Fred Fife to introduce a state resolution asking lawmakers to consider the rule as they carried out their duties. Now, the project is a thriving nonprofit that combines art, mindfulness, and communication. It encourages people to incorporate the principle into their daily lives, in part by promoting the rule's many artistic representations found across faiths, philosophies, and teachings.

When Ms. Porter died in 2008, she donated her spacious, art-filled house at 1229 East South Temple to the project. Her memory lives on through the home, nicknamed Jane's House, a place designated for diverse gatherings and discussions.

Jane's House has expanded the Golden Rule Project, but art remains at the heart of the message. Beautiful variations of the golden rule hang in schools and organizations nationwide, including the Utah State Capitol. Each formulation is a unique two-page, framed diptych, measuring 21 inches by 13 inches (golden mean proportions), and letterpressed on paper hand-marbled by local artists.

Bonnie said she believes deeply in the principle. Each night, she assesses her day by asking herself, "Have I done unto others as I would have them do unto me?" The Rowland Hall community certainly thinks so. In 2009, the school inducted Bonnie into the Alumni Hall of Fame for her countless hours of service to the community.

 

Dooly-Phillips Family Rowland Hall Alumni

  • Peggy Dooly Olwell '33 (Jane's sister and Bonnie's aunt)
  • Jane Dooly Porter '36 (Bonnie's mother)
  • Bonnie Phillips '60
  • Ellie Olwell Roser '60 (Peggy's older daughter and Bonnie's cousin)
  • Carol Olwell '62 (Peggy's youngest daughter and Bonnie's cousin)
  • Ben Phillips '87 (Bonnie's son)

Alumni

Three Rowland Hall Seniors Receive Rotary Scholarships for Community Service

The Salt Lake Rotary Club Tuesday, May 9, awarded Rowland Hall senior Elizabeth Izampuye with a Service Above Self award and a $2,000 college scholarship for her hundreds of volunteer hours with the Salt Lake City Red Cross, the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, and more. Seniors Alicia Lu and Kate Button were award finalists and received $1,000 each.

Elizabeth Izampuye

Elizabeth, pictured speaking at the Rotary's Tuesday luncheon, has devoted over 145 hours of her time to the local Red Cross chapter since 2014. As a junior, she served as co-president for Youth Services and planned and directed meetings. She's currently a board member representing youth voices. Elizabeth is certified to provide disaster services and teach disaster preparedness—a fitting introduction for her long-range career goal of becoming a global/public-health administrator. "My desire to help those made vulnerable by societal disasters extends to my local and global communities; specifically, the lower class, homeless, refugees, and children in foster care," Elizabeth wrote in her Rotary scholarship application. "Red Cross Youth Services has taught me about what it means to set an example for others and how to serve those in need...and teach them information they can apply to their own lives."

At the VA, Elizabeth has dedicated more than 100 hours of service since 2014. She helped veterans needing mobility assistance, and got to know them in the process. "The VA has taught me how to respect those who have done so much for the safety of myself and those I care about in a country I truly value," Elizabeth wrote. "By being a positive presence when I talk to these veterans while escorting them to their needed appointments, I have learned about the overwhelming extent many people go to, to protect and serve those who are vulnerable."

As a junior, Alicia co-led a group of upper and middle school students to collect and create eco-bricks for a new bench on school grounds—a cross-divisional endeavor that won the grand prize from the Shane McConkey EcoChallenge. Read our Fine Print story. "Service offers opportunities to work with others to grapple with issues I'm truly passionate about," Alicia wrote in her application. "Through my service projects, I've become friends with other creative and dedicated people who I had previously just passed in the hallway." Alicia is a powerhouse in the classroom and the rink: she was one of 10 high school senior scholar-athletes named to the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team for excellence in figure skating, academics, and community involvement. She also completed two internships in science labs at the University of Utah—read about one of her internships here. Her long-range career goal is to work as a physician. "During college, I hope to utilize my education and experience to contribute to the greater community," she wrote. "As someone who has benefitted from the resources my communities have offered me, I feel inspired to help others and stay involved in service wherever I go."

Kate, daughter of beloved fifth-grade Teacher Sarah Button, might follow in her mom's footsteps: in her application, she noted she may pursue a teaching career. Accordingly, Kate spent her junior year volunteering as a Middle School tutor at Rowland Hall. "I enjoyed this work because I knew that I was genuinely helping my 'students' to understand new concepts," Kate wrote. "This progress could be seen in graded feedback, but I cared more that they could apply their newfound skills and knowledge to their future studies." Kate has an undeniable aptitude for English, her desired college major: in summer 2016, she interned with Alliance for a Better Utah and wrote an editorial for the Salt Lake Tribune supporting a state death with dignity bill for terminally ill patients. During all four years of high school, she also helped softball coach and physical education Teacher Kathy Howa plan and execute Swing for Life, a fundraiser for breast cancer research. "I know that wherever I find myself, I want to be able to help those in need," Kate wrote. "I believe that service inspires empathy, kindness, and caring for others, and the world can be a better place with more of these virtues."

Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund said the Salt Lake Rotary Service Above Self awards are a highlight of the year for him. "Seeing our students and youth from across the valley stand together and be honored for their commitment to community building, one cannot help but feel the future is in good hands," he said. "Rotary International is the standard for service organizations. These dedicated Rowland Hall seniors should be proud of this recognition."

Rowland Hall will recognize eighth-grade Service Above Self finalists and one overall winner at Middle School commencement in June. Like the seniors, eighth graders submitted applications and were interviewed about their community engagement. "The enthusiasm for service and community engagement coming out of our Middle School assures me there will be a long line of Winged Lions recognized for their commitment to the school's mission of living an ethical life," Mr. Hoglund said.

Rotary awards

Positive Self-Identity and Cultural Curiosity Curriculum Start in the Beginning School

Students Learn About One Another's Diverse Roots: Who am I? Who are You?

Helping young children know who they are and how they fit in is essential to their personal and social development. Positive self-identity and cultural curiosity contribute to a secure sense of community. The Beginning School curriculum has two community-building goals for its classrooms: "I belong to a community" and "I contribute to my community." Students learn to identify the diverse communities to which they belong and practice being contributing members of those communities.

Self-awareness and positive self-identity emerge as teachers display family photos in the classroom, help students draw pictures of themselves, and ask family members to visit classrooms to talk about their work and home life. When beginning schoolers see representations of themselves and their families in a positive light, it helps them feel safe and develop a strong sense of personal identity. These simple actions make a big impact in the lives of students who are learning what it means to be part of a community that affirms them wholeheartedly.

In addition to classroom lessons, Beginning School staff and faculty organize activities to further ensure children and families have a sense of belonging and experience affirmation of their identities and cultures. Since January, Beginning School families have joined forces to literally map out their diversity. Drop by the foyer to find a world map scattered with pins marking our students' roots. On February 8, the division held a community potluck dinner to celebrate the diverse roots of our youngest students. The community shared coxinhas from Brazil, Waldorf salad, pizza, spicy New Mexico hatch green chile soup, pierogies, baking-powder biscuits, idli with chutney sambar from India, and noodle kugel for dessert. "Families had the chance to talk to each other and to meet in a casual and relaxed atmosphere while sharing a meal," Beginning School Principal Carol Blackwell said of the successful potluck.

Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund asks students to consider "Who am I?" and "Who are You?" not only to stimulate thinking about what makes an individual unique in a community, but also to spark curiosity about the differences that make others unique.

In 4PreK, teachers explore the concept of difference and similarity with students and explain how their individual preferences make them unique. Difference is also celebrated in Second Step lessons presented in 4PreK and kindergarten. Students learn they each have their unique skin color, how families' compositions vary, and that we each have distinctive talents and skills to support one another. Finding ways to use these skills to support the greater community contributes to students' social-emotional learning.

Beginning School teachers encourage conversations about difference as a way to foster students' curiosity about others, and more importantly, to show that respectful discussion of differences among individuals is not impolite. Research shows that when young people do not openly speak about difference with the adults in their lives, or with peers, they misinterpret that talking about such topics draws unnecessary attention or is considered rude. Rowland Hall nurtures respectful curiosity and encourages students to discuss differences among people and cultures.

This community values its diversity and sense of inclusion. Developing a positive sense of one's personal identity and the identity of others starts in the Beginning School, and continues throughout all grade levels.

Ethical Education

Rowmark

Rowmarkers Prepare for the Race Season

By Sarah Getzelman, Rowmark Team Manager

As the days are becoming shorter and colder, Rowmark Ski Academy and Junior Program student-athletes are putting the final touches on their race preparation and gearing up for competitions. Following a challenging snow year in 2017–2018, this season is off to a better start with some natural snow, and cold, snow-making temperatures at the ski areas.

Our Rowmark teams—consisting of some of the best junior alpine ski racers and student-athletes nationally and internationally—worked hard from spring through autumn in our rigorous conditioning program, which gets athletes in shape for winter. This year's program has included the following:

  • In June, we kicked off our on-snow camps at Mammoth Mountain, California.
  • Before the start of school, our U14–U19 teams traveled to Mt. Hood, Oregon, for our second on-snow camp.
  • Over fall break in early October, the U19 team traveled to Schnalstal, Italy, for a 10-day camp. They trained next to world-class athletes from around the region and enjoyed excellent snow conditions, incredible views, and delicious Italian food.
  • The next stop for the Academy is Aspen, Colorado, while our Junior Program heads to Sun Valley, Idaho, for a five-day, pre-Thanksgiving camp.

Once the winter trimester starts, our athletes in grades eight through twelve will be out of school at noon daily and skiing full-time at Park City and Snowbird from December through April.

Rowmarkers work together and support one another, and that was a primary focus during our 10th Biennial Rowmark Ski Academy Bear Lake Challenge in early September. The orientation weekend tests Rowmarkers physically, mentally, and socially; identifies and develops leadership, spirit, and cooperation skills; and facilitates team bonding. Also over that weekend, skiers elected their 2018–2019 team captains: seniors Jake Bleil and Elena Zipp, and juniors Eliza Hodgkins and Carter Louchheim.

As our seasoned captains well know, year-round physical conditioning is a critical component to optimal skiing. Graham Flinn—our new women's and conditioning head coach—has already started directing a dynamic, periodized daily physical-training program that includes strength/power, cardiovascular, plyometrics, quickness and coordination, flexibility, and cross-training/games.

In addition to physical conditioning, the Academy team works with a mental-performance coach and a nutritionist starting in October. The mental-performance coach works with the athletes on psychological focus, concentration, imagery, self-talk, mental toughness, and pre-performance routines. These mental skills are as critical as physical strength and can significantly enhance performance. Nutrition education also plays a major role in the athletes' well-being and performance.

As the competition season approaches, Rowmarkers look forward to putting their conditioning to the test. Their days will soon be filled: morning academic classes are followed by afternoon ski training, video review, ski tuning, and evenings of homework. Their race schedule takes them all over the country and for some, to Canada and Europe. The extensive travel means Rowmarkers will miss several weeks of school in the winter, testing their organizational, communication, and time-management skills. The athletes know they must make the grade academically before they can make the starting gate at a ski race. Success hinges on the support of the Rowland Hall faculty and their extra efforts of frequent communication, consultation sessions, and exam preparation, all of which enable Rowmarkers to not only survive the academic load but often to excel. We thank our teachers for their commitment.

Our Junior Program has also added some new coaches to our skilled staff. Please welcome Darryl Whitaker as our Academy Prep Head Coach, Merrick Flygare and Eric Dooley-Feldman with our All-Star team, and Richie Douglas with our All-Mountain Rippers. Junior Program athletes completed a productive fall-conditioning phase and kick off their on-snow prep period with the Sun Valley camp. We have an exciting race series this year—please come out and support our Junior Rowmarkers as they go for the gold!

Our Academy and Junior Program develop young athletes to their fullest potential. This takes place on the race course, in the classroom, and everywhere in between. Working together as a team, building character, embracing struggle, and committing to personal and academic excellence all set our program apart. We look forward to the challenges and successes of the approaching season.

Rowmark

Three Rowmark Alumnae Named to 2018-2019 Alpine Team

We are thrilled to announce three Rowmark Ski Academy alumnae have been named to the 2018-2019 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Team. Named to the A Team are Breezy Johnson '13 and postgraduate Alice McKennis '08. Katie Hensien '18 has been named to the C Team. This is Breezy's fourth year on US Ski Team, Alice's seventh year, and Katie Hensien's second year.

 

According to Rowmark Academy program director Todd Brickson, "Alice, Breezy and Katie were all model Rowmarkers and we couldn't be more proud to have them represent Rowmark as members of the U.S. Ski Team. Most importantly, all three athletes are kind, humble, and incredibly hard working and have earned everything that has come their way. To kick off the season, Katie starts in her third World Cup SL race in Killington, Vermont next week as one of the youngest members of the U.S. Team and we look forward to cheering her on."

Selection criteria for the US Alpine Team is based on results and rankings from the 2017-18 season. To read the full alpine team roster announcement, visit the US Ski Team webpage.

 


Team Members Photo Credit: US Ski & Snowboard Team

 

Read more about these Rowmark athletes:

Charismatic Katie Hensien Transitions to National Team, Keeps Adding to Career Highlights

Rowmark Ski Academy Announces Its Own as One of the Newest Member to the US Alpine Ski Team

Breezy Johnson's Unparalleled Work Ethic Takes Her All the Way to PyeongChang

Extraordinary Athletes: How Rowmark Ski Academy Develops Future Olympians


Rowmark

 

Rowmark Junior Program Director Troy Price Crowned National Development Coach of the Year

Troy Price, Rowmark Ski Academy's beloved junior program director since 2010, in May added national accolades to his already long list of accomplishments. U.S. Ski and Snowboard named him the 2018 Development Coach of the Year, one of only two top coaching awards they bestow annually.

U.S. Ski and Snowboard initially selected Troy as the 2018 Alpine Domestic Coach of the Year, one of 14 silver-level coaching awards for various disciplines, including snowboarding, cross country, and ski jumping. From that group of 14 winners, only one is picked to receive the gold-level, cross-discipline honor of Development Coach of the Year.

Neither Troy nor Rowmark Director Todd Brickson knew Intermountain Division (IMD) Director Carma Burnett had nominated Troy for the initial award. Appropriately enough, Troy learned he'd won that title while he was at Canada's Whistler Cup overseeing the Western Region's U14 team—a team that existed thanks in part to his vision. With his award, Troy joins a list of past winners whom he considers legends within the sport. "It's a little humbling to be on there," he said.

Not everyone's as modest: Rowmark Director Todd Brickson said Troy was "so deserving" of the recognition. Troy loves what he does, cares deeply, and is intelligent and well-organized, Todd said. "Not only is he directing our junior program and driving really sound athlete development within Rowmark," Todd said, "but Troy is reaching out beyond our program to make our division better. It therefore makes our program better. And now he's also creating regional projects and philosophies that make the whole West better." That big-picture scope is rare, Todd said, and ultimately benefits skiing at the national level too.

U.S. Ski and Snowboard summarized Troy's efforts in a news release: "He established the division's development committee nine years ago and has served as committee chair since its inception, playing a key role in managing development projects, running the Tri-Divisional Championships," and fielding the regional team for the Whistler Cup. And in her nomination letter, Carma wrote that "Troy IS Development in the IMD Alpine Division." Read her letter here.

"I hope I have been able to convey how passionate and amazing Troy Price is when it comes to developing athletes," Carma concluded her letter. "He pays as much attention to the 'elite' athletes as he does to the 'last pick.' IMD is fortunate to have his energy and input."

Rowmark and Rowland Hall alumna Sofia Yubero '17 has known Troy since she was seven years old, and as a seventh grader started at Rowmark Junior under his direction. Some of the IMD events she and her peers got to compete in wouldn't have existed without Troy, she explained. And of course, he goes above and beyond in his leadership roles: "Even if he's running the race, he's cycling the chairlift and bringing food and drinks to all the other volunteers," she said. "He's extremely organized and knows how to achieve his agenda. No one works harder for what they want than Troy, and he's a true role model."

Troy Price and his Rowmark Junior crew.
Immediately above: Troy Price (far left, bottom) with his Rowmark Junior crew in March.
Top of page: Troy Price, right, with U.S. Ski and Snowboard Chairman Dexter Paine during the Chairman's Awards Dinner in Park City May 3.


At Rowmark, Troy focuses on the athlete as a whole, from ski racing to good sportsmanship to academics. One career highlight, for instance, came when rising sophomore Tommy Hoffman, as a seventh grader, won the region's first U14 event—an event Troy had proposed. "To have a Rowmark kid win it, that was awesome," he said. But what was so memorable about the event was how Tommy took the initiative to shake the hands of the other top-10 finishers before stepping onto his podium. "He showed respect to his competitors," Troy said. "That sportsmanship was a true reflection of our program."

Troy's positive, inclusive coaching style and inimitable work ethic has absolutely benefitted Rowmark, Todd said. "When Troy first took the job, our junior program wasn't really a feeder program," the director said. "We would gain zero to one or two kids moving into our junior program for the academy and had to recruit most of our skiers from all over the country and internationally." But as a result of Troy's work, the junior program has become a primary feeder for the academy, and skiers coming from the junior program are well-prepared to meet the demands of the Rowmark/Rowland Hall lifestyle.

Troy doesn't mince words: he's put in long days to achieve his myriad goals. It helps that he's eerily organized—he holds an accounting degree from Weber State University and worked in that field before leaving to pursue his coaching passion. Though he switched careers, accounting strategies stuck with him: "There are a few coaches out there who nicknamed me Mr. Spreadsheet," Troy joked. But even the spreadsheets hold deeper meaning for Troy. Once he's formed a relationship with a Rowmarker or any IMD skier, he keeps an eye on their careers. "It's exciting when I'm creating a ranking sheet and I see an athlete succeed or make a championship event, and I know I may have had a small impact in that."

And it's just that: at the root of it all, Troy is an amazing coach who knows how to motivate his skiers. "During each of the last three years in a row, Troy's U14 athletes have qualified for the U16 Nationals," Carma wrote in her letter. "More so they continue to have success as they advance their ski-racing journey."

Sofia can vouch for Troy's impactfulness. She took a postgraduate year and is currently recovering from injuries, but hopes to ski for Middlebury College, where she'll be a freshman in the fall. "I definitely wouldn't be the person or athlete I am today if it weren't for Troy," she said. "He's been in my life for so long, and we've spent so much time together that he's essentially like a second father to me. But besides our close, personal connection, as a coach, he taught me about the value of work ethic and the importance of goal setting. There's nothing like grueling workouts in the summer and fall heat, but somehow Troy always made us excited to work towards our in-season goals that were months away."

And through his coaching style and his talent, Troy simply inspires a love for the sport, Sofia said. She still remembers sprinting against him during physical testing when she was younger: "Following him on a powder day around Snowbasin is one of the best things because he knows the mountain so well," she said. "Plus, he's an insane skier. I loved skiing behind him and trying to mimic his every move." Troy cultivated a fun atmosphere, Sofia explained, because he knows the competition aspect of the sport eventually comes to an end. Rather, he focuses on the promise that "if our love of skiing is strong enough, we—his athletes—will continue to ski for the rest of our lives."

Rowmark

 

Rowmark Junior Program: Season Roundup Winter 2018

The Rowmark Junior Program had extraordinary success this year! From the older eighth grade Academy Prep skiers to the young All-Mountain Rippers, there were podium finishes and medals galore. This is a true testament to the hard work the athletes and coaches put in all year.

Read on for season highlights.

 

Academy Prep

The following students qualified for the U14 Western Region Championships that took place in Jackson, WY: Harry Hoffman, Preston Bolus, Jack AbuHaidar, Ford Hodgkins, and Ian Hanrahan.

Leading the charge was Harry Hoffman, winning both the super-G and giant slalom (GS). Preston Bolus placed 3rd in the super-G followed by Jack AbuHaidar in 4th and Ian Hanrahan in 9th. Other top-10 finishes included Jack AbuHaidar placing 3rd in the giant slalom and Ford Hodgkins finishing 10th. All five boys collected medals, which was an amazing feat. Harry Hoffman's results qualified him for the U16 National Championships where he will join Rowmark Academy teammates Mary Bocock, Lindley Friedman, and Carter Louchheim in Mission Ridge, WA.

Preston Bolus and Jack AbuHaidar qualified to the 2018 Whistler Cup in Canada April 12-16. This prestigious International Children's event hosts athletes from all over the world. Harry Hoffman will also be competing with his home country of Australia.

Qualifying for the Tri-Divisional Championships at Snowbasin, UT were Arden Louchheim, Kate Altman, Davern Cigarran, Remy Mickelson, Molly Friedman, Hayley Brathwaite, Frank Stearns, and Angus Percy. The weather started off pretty wild with plenty of rain, forcing the cancellation of the super-G. In the GS, Arden Louchheim put together two great runs to capture first place! In the SL event, teammate Molly Friedman won, followed by Arden in 3rd and Kate Altman 5th.

All-Stars

The All-Stars consist of U10 and U12 skiers. Qualifying from this group to the U10/U12 Intermountain (IMD) Champs were Kaia Brickson, Sophia Hijjawi, Kirsten Mannelin, Pippa Brathwaite, Lucy Nolan, Morgan Jacquin, Alan Dugan, Henry Cunningham, Jack Zipp, Cooper Percy, Anders Silitch, Lukas Postnieks, Chase Dennis, Jack Hoffman and Cael Eley. The event was held at Grand Targhee in Wyoming and consisted of a GS, SL, dual event and crazy, ever-changing weather.

In the SL event Alan Dugan tied for 3rd place, while Kaia Brickson finished 4th. Henry Cunningham finished 14th, Jack Zipp 15th and Anders Silitch 19th. In the GS, Henry Cunningham finished 8th, Jack Zipp 16th and Alan Dugan 20th.

For the U10's, Sophia Hijjawi finished 3rd in GS and 6th in the SL, Pippa Brathwaite finished 8th in GS and 11th in SL, Lukas Postnieks finished 1st in the SL, Chase Dennis finished 4th in SL and 12th in GS, while Cael Eley finished 8th in the GS.

To top off the weekend, Olympian and Rowmark Alumna Breezy Johnson '13 stopped by to give words of encouragement.

All-Mountain Rippers (AMR)

Our AMR group had success throughout the season starting with the YSL race on our home hill at Park City. They continued their development and finished the season with two outstanding races: Brian Head Utah and Bogus Basin Idaho. Congrats to Noah Helms, Julian Bamberger, Chase Noteware, Andrew Hanrahan, Eli Rankin, Henry Damico, and Wyatt Williams!

Rowmark

Despite Limited Local Snow, Rowmarkers Keep Collecting Medals

 

This year could be summed up as the winter that wasn't! After record-breaking snowfall last season, the 2017-2018 season was the complete opposite. Most of the Intermountain West suffered a snow drought for a good portion of the season, so the skiers had to travel extensively in the beginning of the year to find snow for training. Rowmark only trained a handful of times in the Eagle Race Arena at Park City Mountain. Luckily, there was no drought in the medal count for the Rowmark Ski Academy athletes.

 

U19 Roundup

Women's Head Coach – Jim Tschabrun
Men's Head Coach – Dave Kerwynn
Women's Assistant Coach – Mary Joyce
Men's Assistant Coach – Brian Morgan

Once again, the Rowmark women's U19 team showed their strength by placing strong at regional and national events all year.

Senior Australian sensation Madison Hoffman competed in numerous Nor Am and FIS U competitions all over the country and Canada, scoring in the top 10. When competing in Regional FIS races at Snowbird she managed a first and second place in the slaloms along with a victory in the giant slalom (GS). Madison was often accompanied by PG athlete Katie Vesterstein '17, whose main focus was competing in the FIS U races this year. Katie has signed a letter of intent with the University of Utah starting next fall. Fellow senior and US Ski team member Katie Hensien also had an extraordinary year finishing second in a Nor Am Slalom, fourth in the World Jr. Championship Slalom and starting in two World Cup Slaloms.

Juniors Elena Zipp and Anya Mulligan have had a fantastic season to date, with many top three finishes in the Regional FIS circuit. A highlight was when they both tied for first in GS at the Wild West classic in Jackson, WY! More podiums were captured when they traveled to chilly Lutsen, MN along with fellow teammate, Senior Camryn Glick. The Lutsen race series included top Jr. skiers and college athletes from around the country. All three girls—Glick, Zipp and Mulligan—had many fast runs with top three finishes. Junior Anya Biskupiak and Senior Addie Beasley fought hard this season, with some respectable finishes and brilliant runs. Both qualified for the Western Region Jr. Championships.

Unfortunately, the squad suffered some injuries. After a strong early start with third place in GS at the Australian Junior National Championships, Captain Lucy Neill was unable to compete due to concussions. Sophomore Eliza Hodgkins, who was coming off a stellar soccer season for Rowland Hall, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in January. Freshman Mary Clancy suffered a season ending injury in January. Still, seven out of 10 Rowmark women landed on an International podium this year, which is the best depth the team has had in the past five years.

On the men's side, Senior Scottie Bocock racked up some serious mileage traveling to numerous race series. Scottie has been competing in the US Ski Team's National Performance Series, which includes various camps and competitions with other boys his age from all over the country. With many top 10 finishes to date, Scottie's best series has been the Western Region Jr. Championships (WRJC) in Schweitzer, ID where he placed first and second in the GS and sixth in the SL and the super-G. Other boys qualifying to the WRJC in Schweitzer, ID were Andrei Dan, Jake Bleil (injured), Greg Olszanskyj, Liam Michael, Alex Percy, and Ned Friedman. Senior Liam Michael placed fifth and sixth in super-G along with an eight in the GS. Liam had numerous top 20 results in FIS races this year, as well as some crashes.

PG athlete Nick Fontaine '17 rounded out his season with two trips to Lutsen, MN for FIS races, where he finished fourth in the SL and sixth in the GS. Nick also scored two top-10 finishes at the Wild West FIS series in Jackson, WY. One of the hardest working athletes in the weight room, Nick looks to finish out strong this season. Captain Daniel Mulligan was unfortunately sidelined most of the season with a chronic hip injury and looks get back to conditioning this spring.

The Men's squad has a few races series left this season at Mammoth Mountain, Aspen, and Snowbird.

U16 Roundup

Todd Brickson – Head Coach
Skip Puckett – Assistant Coach

The U16 group had another incredible year! The U16 Rowmarkers were on numerous podiums during the season-long IMD qualifying series.

Competing in the U16 Western Regional Championship in Alyeska, Alaska were Mary Bocock, Dagny Brickson, Lindley Friedman, Charlotte Altman, Danika Mannelin, Ellie Nichols, Zoe Michael, Alex Deubel, Nick Orfanakis, Tommy Hoffman, Carter Louchheim, and Jimmy Bocock.

Rowmark scored great results under perfect weather, hard snow, and breathtaking views in every direction. To start off the week, Tommy Hoffman and Mary Bocock both won the SkillsQuest competition. Lindley Friedman skied to a fourth place in the Slalom and 26th in GS. Carter Louchheim was seventh in the GS and fourth in the super-G. Jimmy Bocock was 12th in the GS, 14th in the SL and 25th in the super-G. Ellie Nichols was seventh in the GS and Alex Deubel was 27th in the super-G. Nick Orfanakis moved up to 29th in the SL and won the Hard Charger Award in the super-G, starting 80th and finishing 38th. Mary Bocock then finished off the week with a convincing victory in the super-G.

Qualifying for the upcoming U16 National Championships is Mary Bocock, Lindley Friedman, Carter Louchheim, along with seventh grader Harry Hoffman who dominated at the U14 Championships. The event will be held March 30 – April 4 in Mission Ridge, WA.

*Update 4/1/18: Mary Bocock won the Super-G at the U16 Nationals in Mission Ridge, WA!

The U16s will wind down their season at the last Intermountain Division (IMD) open races scheduled for Snowbird in April.

For more results and photos, please visit Rowmark Ski Academy Facebook page.

Rowmark

Charismatic Katie Hensien Transitions to National Team, Keeps Adding to Career Highlights

Katie Hensien started her Rowmark Ski Academy career strong with a U16 slalom national championship in Sugarloaf, Maine, back in 2015. Rowmark Director Todd Brickson still remembers the middle of Katie's second run, when she suddenly and precariously skied on one foot as the other flew into the air.

"She didn't fall, but picture one ski on the ground and one ski near her head," Todd said, crediting Katie's flexibility. "It all happens in one moment and then she regains her balance and keeps going."

Katie, now a senior, laughed knowingly at Todd's memory. "I did that in Davos, too," she said, referencing her fourth-place slalom finish January 31 at the World Junior Championships in Switzerland.

Katie's incredible recovery to win that U16 title epitomizes her style, Todd said. "She goes all out, she attacks, but she's also a smart skier," he explained. Rowmarkers and their families know all too well that ski racing isn't a judged sport—it's simply about clocking the fastest time. "It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be pretty, and Katie gets that," Todd said.

Katie modestly paints her past year in ski racing as one of ups and downs. But her career has generally followed an upward trajectory, and she's performed in increasingly competitive races:

  • She had a spectacular 2016-2017 season with her first NorAm top 10, plus four International Ski Federation victories in slalom and giant slalom.
  • In May, the U.S. Ski Team named Katie an alpine C-Team member—the youngest American to qualify.
  • This winter, she earned her first two World Cup slalom starts, one of which also entailed her first European competition.
  • In Davos, her first World Juniors, she finished as the top American and fourth overall, a mere 0.71 seconds shy of a podium spot.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Development Director Chip Knight told Ski Racing Media Katie had a great day in Davos and skied well in a heavily stacked event. "She more than held her own," he said, adding she finished third in her second run, and in both runs she was very fast on the bottom of the course.

Katie's World Juniors outcome is even more impressive given an unprecedented blow in her personal life: less than two weeks beforehand, she learned her grandfather, Gil Hensien, had passed away. The 18-year-old had never before lost a family member. "It was hard to deal with that and keep moving forward," she said. "He was kind of an idol of mine." Gil had always supported her racing—even if he didn't entirely understand it—but never got a chance to see her in action. So in Davos, she penned "♥ G. Hensien" on a piece of tape and stuck it on her helmet, front and center. With that dedication, he joined her in spirit on the slope. "Now that he got to watch me, I'm happy," she said.

 

This one was for you grandpa! 💙G.Hensien 1/20/18

A post shared by {KT HENSIEN} (@katiehensien) on

The positive Davos result initially left Katie "speechless," she said with a smile. But beneath the surface, the new career highlight stoked her motivation. "When I can put two solid runs together, nothing is impossible," she reasoned, "just more hard work."

Her determination and ability to learn from past races paid off February 16 in Whiteface, New York. She landed second in the slalom and secured her first NorAm podium, achieving a primary goal for the season.

"It feels great as we head into NorAm finals to recognize that I have the speed needed to challenge for the top of the podium," she wrote on her blog.

She certainly has the speed, and she also has the support. Katie's devoted parents moved their family to Park City from Seattle so she could attend Rowmark. She looked at a few other ski academies, but one chat with Todd and she was hooked.

"I knew right away that was what I wanted," Katie said of meeting Todd and hearing about Rowmark in person. "He's really confident in his athletes and he's determined to make them as successful as possible in school and skiing."

So her folks made it happen, and now they love Utah just as much as their daughter does. The Hensiens, naturally, are known for their optimism. "Katie's parents are the two most positive people I think I've ever met, and she has that same personality trait," Todd said. "It just helps her in so many ways."

 

❄️Thankful For These Two❄️📷: @skitechdad

A post shared by {KT HENSIEN} (@katiehensien) on

Katie said her down-to-earth mom sparked her love of athletics and always told her she could play any sport she wanted, as long as she enjoyed it. Accordingly, Katie still makes time for mountain biking and hiking with her new German Shepherd, Jess. Her passion for skiing, appropriately enough, started with a family trip to Whistler, British Columbia. As reported in the Park Record, the Hensiens put three-year-old Katie in ski school for the day: "When they dropped her off, she cried because she didn't want to ski," reporter Ben Ramsey wrote. "But by the end of the day, she cried because she didn't want to leave."

As a senior set to graduate in June, Katie will soon leave Rowland Hall—but not without happy memories and lifelong friends, many of whom are Rowmarkers. Though she applied to college, Katie is keeping her options open for next year. Dreams of competing in the Olympics occupy the back of her mind, but she's taking a zen approach to it all. "I'll keep striving for it," she said. "But wherever my path takes me, I'm just going to go with it."

Rowmark

Breezy Johnson's Unparalleled Work Ethic Takes Her All the Way to PyeongChang

Updated February 20: Rowmark alumnae Breezy Johnson '13 and Alice McKennis '08 placed 14th and 16th, respectively, in the Olympic women's super-G February 16. Breezy finished as the second U.S. skier, just 1.03 seconds out from the winner, while Alice barely trailed at 1.09 seconds out. It only got better from there: in the women's downhill February 20, Alice placed 5th at 1.02 seconds out from the winner, and Breezy 7th at 1.12 seconds out. Along with bronze medalist Lindsey Vonn, they're part of an impressive downhill trifecta: never before has the U.S. had three skiers in the top 10 of this event, NBC analyst Dan Hicks said during the live broadcast.


Jim Tschabrun, the head women's coach for Rowmark Ski Academy, has no shortage of praise for alumna Breezy Johnson '13. He recalled the exceptional work ethic and focus she brought to every task, whether it was conditioning, reviewing video, or inspecting equipment. "I often 'caught her' doing something extra," he said. "She outworked everyone, not only at Rowmark but at any elite club or academy." Breezy's talent and dedication yielded impressive results as a teenager—she medaled in three U18 National Championships—and now she's competing at the highest level: this month, Breezy will represent the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, along with fellow Rowmark alum Alice McKennis '08.

Breezy's ascent in ski racing stems from the work ethic Coach Tschabrun identified, along with a "willingness to dissect her own attributes to determine strengths and weaknesses," which made her unique among athletes he's coached. While at Rowmark, Breezy took it upon herself to supplement her ski training with gymnastics classes and soccer drills that targeted specific skills she wanted to improve. Both Coach Tschabrun and Rowmark Academy Director Todd Brickson commented on her resilience and psychological fortitude as well. In particular, they recounted how years ago, after a horrific crash off a jump at the top of the Super-G course at Mammoth Mountain, Breezy came back the next day to race the same course and win her age group. "She's truly remarkable," Mr. Brickson said. "I have a feeling this [Olympics] is just the tip of the iceberg."

As much as she impressed her coaches, Breezy called her time at Rowmark the hardest thing she ever did. She credited the academy and Rowland Hall with helping her develop resourcefulness and critical-thinking skills and said that she's continued to grow as a professional athlete because of how she trained in high school. Breezy has affection and gratitude for her former coaches. "They provided humor and comfort on the tough days, a smiling face on the good days, and the harsh truth when necessary, too."

Breezy is among the youngest members of the U.S. Olympic Alpine Ski Team, and with a recent fourth-place finish in the Garmisch World Cup Downhill, a podium finish at her first Olympics is not out of reach. Regardless of what happens in the downhill races—tune in 7 pm (MST) Tuesday, February 20, to find out—Breezy understands the significance of being an Olympian. She offered the following advice to aspiring athletes: "Remember that to valiantly try at something so difficult is more than most people will ever attempt, and that true attempt to risk failing at something you love so much is triumph in itself."

Rowland Hall and Rowmark Ski Academy couldn't ask for a better ambassador.

Photo by Jonathan Selkowitz, courtesy of Darigold

Rowmark

Six Years After Near-Fatal Rowmark Car Accident, Tenacious Hank Shipman '13 Sets Sights on Med School

Alumnus Attributes Recovery to Rowland Hall Community, Rowmark Work Ethic

Train daily for a month. Focus on even the smallest details to shave milliseconds off your time. Travel across the country to a race. Crash right out of the gate. Your weekend's over.

It's a seemingly discouraging chain of events for ski racers. But it primed Hank Shipman '13 for perseverance after a near-fatal Rowmark Ski Academy car accident April 9, 2011.

"In Rowmark, there's so much emphasis on conditioning, and nutrition, and time management, and setting goals and accomplishing them," Hank, now a college graduate, rattled off Rowmark tenets. Ski racing taught him to recognize his limitations, objectively evaluate his progress, and not dwell on short-term outcomes. He got used to the sport's ups and downs, and to spending every day training and striving for improvement. And those qualities have continued to serve him ever since he stopped racing, the 22-year-old keynote speaker told the audience at Rowmark's fall barbecue last month (pictured).

Hank Shipman giving speech

Toward the end of the ski season in 2011, coach Scotty Veenis was driving Hank and five other Rowmarkers—Jake Graves, Zach Merrill, Andrew Rutledge, Hunter Stuercke, and Zach Young—north on Oregon's Highway 35, back to their hotel after a race at Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort. A southbound driver in a Jeep Wrangler illegally crossed a double-yellow line to pass a semi-truck. The Jeep struck Rowmark's Chevy Suburban head on—in a potentially life-saving reaction, Scotty swerved, and the front-left corner of the Suburban took the brunt of the impact.

Hank had been sitting behind the driver's seat. The then-sophomore slept through the accident, but awoke right after. Hank and Scotty endured the most severe injuries of the group. They both suffered significant head trauma. Scotty also had a ruptured lung; a shattered ankle; a broken femur, hip, and ribs; and more. Hank's primary injuries included a compound femur fracture, a broken scapula, and a broken neck resulting in a spinal cord injury. The five other passengers sustained concussions. Everyone experienced some level of traumatic stress.

In the foggy aftermath, while stuck in the Suburban, Hank said he remembered moving his lips to try to tell his teammates he was alive, but he couldn't pull air into his lungs. Those with minor injuries sprung into action—Zach Young grabbed a fire extinguisher from the semi-truck to quell flames on the Suburban. First responders started showing up; they used Jaws of Life to remove car doors, and they life-flighted Hank and Scotty to Portland hospitals.

In the helicopter, Hank started to realize the extent of his injuries. He recalled asking a nurse if he'd be able to race again that season. He heard her request a tourniquet for his compound open femur, and he knew he wouldn't.

Hank, a Rowland Hall lifer, had joined the fledgling Rowmark Junior Program as a second grader in 2002, the same year Rowmark Director Todd Brickson started. Todd watched Hank grow up: he was always a fun, hardworking, good kid, and an incredible multisport athlete, Todd said.

Then, the accident. "We were reeling," Todd said with a nod and a sigh. "That was kind of burned in our memory forever."

The Rowmark and Rowland Hall community rallied. Hank stayed in the Portland hospital for 10 days, then came to Primary Children's Hospital (PCH) here in Salt Lake City. Along with Hank's family, a constant stream of classmates, coaches, teachers, and even skiing stars such as Ted Ligety and former Rowmarker Andy Phillips visited him in the hospital. "The support was everything," Hank said at the Rowmark barbecue. "When you have an entire community pulling for you and lifting you up, it makes it a lot easier to overcome challenges."

After the accident, doctors put a metal rod in Hank's femur and 50 staples in his head. He underwent two spinal-fusion surgeries; the second one, though successful, had complications that left Hank temporarily using a feeding tube. He received cognitive and speech therapy, including revisiting second-grade math.

According to Todd, no one argued with Hank when he said he'd leave the hospital on his feet. "But not a lot of people believed him, either," Todd said. Hank's mom, Julie Shipman, recognized her son's unwavering determination to heal. "He seemed to just know that he would," she recounted in a video. "The walker replaced the wheelchair, and crutches replaced the walker." And when doctors released Hank after about three months in the hospital, he walked out on his own two legs, with help from just one crutch.

At the fall barbecue, Hank told the Rowmark community that his racing mentality kept him dissatisfied—but not angry—during his recovery. "In ski racing, you work for a long time paying attention to tons of details, and you're often deprived of any immediate gratification," he said. So in rehab, he focused on those minor details, and the athlete's trifecta of exercise, nutrition, and sleep. "The progress of my recovery was slow and agonizing, but it was easy to track," Hank said. "From one day to the next, I didn't necessarily feel like anything was happening, but if I reflected on where I was two weeks or a month prior, it was easy to tell that I was regaining significant strength and movement."

 

Hank's rehab—including three years at Sandy's Neuroworx, a renowned physical therapy clinic that focuses on neurological rehabilitation—sparked a new passion. Before the accident, he said, he was narrowly focused on ski racing, and had no other plans for the future. Afterward, he shifted his goals from sports to medicine. As a junior, he volunteered in PCH's Neuroscience Trauma Unit rehab room, where he worked with patients and talked to them and their parents about his own recovery. Since high school, Hank has also intermittently volunteered at Neuroworx, where he makes special connections with patients—he knows exactly what they're going through. In April, he earned a bachelor's in movement science from the University of Michigan, then applied to 25 medical schools across the country. He's keeping his options open, but is interested in pursuing rehab-based medicine and wants a job with significant patient interaction.

 

Todd called the accident a watershed experience for Hank. The skier learned about his own injuries and how to move again, and he befriended kids and adults facing similar—and sometimes more serious—conditions. "He all of a sudden latched onto this," Todd said. "That's kind of where the blessing in disguise is. Being able to learn about what he had to do to come back, and what others were going through, it just became a passion of his, and kind of a calling."

Scotty also made a full recovery and now coaches the US Men's World Cup Ski Team. "You'd hope when anybody goes through that sort of life-changing, traumatic experience, that they'd handle it the way that Hank did and the way that Scotty did," Todd said. "I don't think they could have done a better job of turning a negative into a positive." Hank played varsity baseball and golf before graduating, and even returned to recreational skiing. In spring 2013, Rowmark started giving out the Hank Shipman and Scotty Veenis Perseverance Award in the duo's honor. Hank also won the 2013 Spirit of Sport award from the Utah High School Activities Association.

Now, Hank's daily life is barely inhibited. He has incomplete quadriplegia and Brown-Séquard syndrome—he lost strength on the left side of his body, and lost feeling in the right side. But in true Hank style, he pursues new ways to continue his physical therapy. Since July, classmate and fellow med-school applicant Saeed Shihab '13 has been helping Hank learn to rock climb—an activity the former Rowmarker said bolsters his grip strength and range of motion in his shoulder.

On the precipice of hearing back from med schools, Hank still extols his college-prep education. "I'm one of the students that constantly brags about Rowland Hall," he said. The writing, study, and communication skills he acquired here gave him a leg up at Michigan, he added. And he praised the expertise and helpfulness of Rowland Hall teachers—and not just from an academic standpoint. He still remembers his first day back at school in fall 2011, after the accident. He shuffled in on crutches, and the late Peter Hayes grabbed his backpack, helped him up the stairs, and cheered him on. Today, the Rowland Hall community can't help but continue to cheer for Hank, who'll be anxiously checking his email until at least one of his 25 med school applications proves successful.


Update August 15, 2018: Hank is starting at the University of Utah's School of Medicine this fall—read the news story. Congratulations, Hank!

Rowmark

Alumni

Linda Hampton with sons

May we all flirt a little more, read a little more, go adventuring a little more, and put in the work to make the day-to-day special.

Linda Hampton, former administrative assistant to the Upper School principal and a beloved Rowland Hall employee since 1989, passed away December 25 following a sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in August. Though our community continues to reel from Linda’s loss, a January 5 Celebration of Life service in St. Margaret’s Chapel on the McCarthey Campus provided some much-needed comfort and laughter—something Linda, the life of the party, would have wanted us all to have. Here are three sets of remarks from Linda’s family and friends, as read at the service. Lightly edited for style.

Jacob Hampton ’04, Linda’s son

When I started thinking of ways to highlight who mom was as a person, one of the first things I thought of was the day she stood us in the hallway and said, “Today is the day you learn that the words 'mom' and 'maid' are not synonymous.” Being direct was a hallmark of her personality.

She was one of the most genuine people I knew. She told me she once volunteered to discuss dress-code issues with one of the Upper School classes and ended up threatening that she’d start showing her underwear if they kept showing theirs. She was fiercely independent and stubborn when she had to be. Years ago she needed some work done on her sprinklers and balked at a local company’s quote. They explained the price was so high because they’d need to bring in a backhoe to dig a hole large enough to work in. She asked for the size of the hole and then proceeded to spend the day digging it by hand, no doubt throwing her back out in the process. Years ago her washing machine broke. She went to a local home-improvement store and asked one of the employees some questions to try to figure out the problem. He said her husband or one of her sons could probably do it for her. I wasn’t there, so I don’t what her response was, but I do know she worked on that machine until it was up and running again (probably more out of spite than anything). 

She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

But she wasn’t all gristle and sarcasm. She had such a strong, goofy, fun side to her, and that’s the side we saw most. She took us to Disneyland when I was 12 and my brother was 16. We went two more times after that, always reveling in the chance to act like three-year-olds together. She loved taking long walks with us and would spend the whole time talking about absolutely anything. She never shied away from serious or tough topics, including the eventuality of her death. We spent countless hours watching the Chiefs disappoint us so, so many times. These were our formative moments for the art of cursing. In the final weeks of her life, I always knew she was feeling pretty good if she cursed a few times during a Chiefs game. She used to love singing and dancing in public because it embarrassed us, and now I find myself carrying on the tradition with my wife as my primary victim.

We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Mom said she wanted today’s memorial to be focused on memories and stories that make us smile or laugh. And I have plenty more I could share. But the most important memory I have of mom isn’t any one specific event or tradition. It was simply the feeling of being home with her. She told us she was so happy we weren’t interested in doing many extracurricular activities growing up because she was selfish and only had 18 years of us in the house. But it wasn’t selfish; it was so good for us to be with her. We were together a lot, and we were lucky to be so unconditionally wanted and loved by someone at all times without fail. She gave us a perfect home.

Before I finish, I need to fulfill a request that my mom desperately wanted me to do for her. She told me to tell everyone who reached out to her during these last few months: Thank you. Thank you for making her feel special and loved. She knew at the end how many people cared for her. And for that I’m so grateful.


Lee Thomsen, former Upper School principal and Linda’s former boss

We all know how much Linda loved books, and writers often articulate better what we mean to say, so I quote from George Saunders’ book Lincoln in the Bardo—a beautiful meditation on sadness and loss. 

“His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow, that all were suffering; and therefore, one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.” 

For those of you who worked in the Upper School with me, particularly in the office, you know that I tried to live by the mantra, “If that’s the biggest problem we have today we’ll take it,” but today is not one of those days, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Linda, seemingly was always a part of Rowland Hall and always would be. When I arrived 15 years ago, it seemed like she’d been here forever, and when I left three years ago, I assumed she would be here forever.

Let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Those of us who adored Linda are devastated today, but we also know she’d be pissed if we moped around too long. So, in service to Saunders’ words let’s choose to remember those qualities that were so essential to who Linda was—generosity, honesty, hard work, and integrity.

Among those things she loved: The Chiefs, books—especially dark mysteries (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Silence of the Lambs, the darker the better). This because, of course, she had studied criminal justice in college. 

She loved pie; guys with big, burly forearms; a well-cooked French fry; musicals; dance and choir concerts at Rowland Hall; Kansas City barbecue; and of course, DOGS. And sometimes those loves overlapped.

I knew Linda mostly during the Diesel era. I’ll never forget one weekend when the Upper School was running one of the musicals. Because both my girls were in it, Linda knew I would see it at least two if not all three nights. So, Friday morning, she asked me how the show had gone the night before, and she ended asking, “Did Alan go last night by any chance?” to which I answered, “Yes.” She said, “Good! Because I really want to see the show, but I can’t leave Diesel alone from 7 am to 10 at night. I’ll run home and smuggle him into the show. Alan would kill me if he caught me doing that.” Sure enough, come show time, there was Linda in the first row of the balcony of the Larimer Center, with Diesel tucked inside her jacket. But then she left at intermission. When I asked why she said, “Diesel started singing along with the big group number right at the end of the first act, so I couldn’t risk staying.”

Linda was a no-BS person. She disliked meanness and untruth. One day when someone was rude to Angela at the front desk, Linda was ready to go out there and rip that person a new one.  

She HATED when a parent would call and excuse their child from a test or something else when she suspected they weren’t really sick. And forget about anyone saying Doug Wortham’s class was “too hard.” 

The other night Abby reminded me that when she graduated from Rowland Hall, Linda said, “I have a graduation present for you that I want to bring by.” And, of course, what would you think Linda would give a student going off to college? A book, right? But no, the gift was a can of pepper spray, because Linda told her, “The world can be a very hard place.”

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on.

She ADORED our children—she watched with parental pride as kids came, grew into themselves, graduated, and moved on. The Bynum boys, Micha Hori, Jamie Pierce, Sofia Diehl, just to name a few—she had a soft spot for the singers and dancers and admired their talent and grace.

For faculty and staff kids, she was their “school mom.” Frequently taking the afternoon shift for our kids who took the shuttle from the other campus, clamoring into the office to grab a piece of candy. She’d get a special sparkle in her eyes when she got a hug from Hazel, Meg, my two, or the Tschabrun girls. I’m sure she carried on the same for Ingrid and Dave and the next generation.

And she loved all things Rowland Hall. Yes, she would occasionally complain that too many of us would gather in the office and talk and laugh making it impossible for her to talk on the phone or get any work done, but she kept that candy dish filled knowing that we’d keep coming back, and she kept real half-and-half in the faculty-room fridge so we didn’t have to use that powdered gunk.

And…she loved her boys. Zach and Jake—she was so proud of everything you two accomplished, and she loved her travels with you. The generosity you gave by spending her last days at home with her was a reflection of her generosity to others that she instilled in you. When I visited with her, the only time she cried was at the thought of leaving you behind. All of us appreciate how you kept us connected to her through Caring Bridge these last several months and how you took care of your mom.

Finally, to close, back to George Saunders who reminds us to keep the happy memories in our hearts.

“What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand... We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.”


Director of Ethical of Education Ryan Hoglund and Upper School psychology teacher Diane Guido

We’ve had the pleasure of working alongside Linda for 20 and 25 years. We want to first express gratitude to this community for taking care of its own through this difficult and poignant process. Thank you to Jeremy, Ann and operations, Linda’s family—Jacob, Emily, and Zach—and all of you in this community who have rallied to provide support, labor, and financial assistance, all to preserve Linda’s memory, dignity, comfort, and final peace. Tough love was Linda’s spirit and you have honored her well. 

Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

In addition to being Salt Lake’s most notorious zucchini square dealer, Linda was a mentor and friend we could all count on. Her Lutheran tradition believes salvation comes through grace, but we all in this space know she would achieve peace through works as well. Linda was always easy to love, would talk your damn ear off, and was as generous as one could be.

The blessing of our friendship, as it was with many of you here, was the magic in the mundane, day-to-day routines with Linda. Schools are labor-intensive places and behind the scenes are cycles, a hamster wheel of yearly to-do lists, tasks, checklists, and grind. Linda humanized the process. Annual events such as back to school and graduation would have happened without Linda, but she always gave them her touch—she knew those days were important to students and families. She made the mundane special. In fact, she insisted on it.

For example, while cleaning out student folders one summer, she came across sets of pre-digital school portraits that showed kids growing up year to year. Instead of seeing it as the detritus of student record-keeping, Linda insisted we mail them to each family. So we spent two days in the summer mailing these photos back to each family. As a parent now, I understand how powerful that gesture was.

Linda was the personification of tough love. Manners, hard work, and refinement were the bars she set for teens and adults alike. 

No dog or baby that came into the community made it past Linda’s caring heart. This is evident by the cross-stitch birth announcements hanging in many of our children’s rooms, and the coloring wall outside her cubicle. 

When my daughter Meg was born, Linda was a sweet hand—just as enthusiastic as I was with Meg’s arrival—and offered sound advice to a nervous and joyous parent. Mostly ways to make sure she feared for her life.

While Linda loved the Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Rowland Hall alums Zach and Jacob. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic.

While Linda loved the Kansas City Chiefs and dachshunds, those loves pale in comparison to the love she has for her two sons, Zach and Jacob, who graduated from Rowland Hall. Their travels to Ireland, Disneyland, and Disney World—and their road trips through the Black Hills and the Badlands—were epic. Linda always spoke about that drive through Spearfish Canyon as one of her favorite memories with you two boys. How beautiful that canyon was. She said it was her idea of heaven.

When you all went to the Star Trek convention (in, I think, Las Vegas), Linda was shocked you spent three days there without leaving the convention center. “A real testament to their upbringing,” she joked. I didn’t have the heart to explain to Linda the decadence that is cosplay culture. Your secrets are safe there.

When Zach got certified to do SCUBA, Linda wanted to as well. She joined me and students at the crater in Heber once, and talked about one day returning to dive with Zach. Linda loved the water. 

When we honored Linda for 30 years of service to the school this past fall, I asked Jacob what it was like to have his mother on campus. He said: “For a lot of teenagers entering a new school, having their mother in the main office would be some combination of embarrassing and terrifying. For me it was a blessing, as it gave me the chance to spend more time with the person most responsible for making me who I am. I'm extremely proud of what she's done.”

Zach mentioned: “I remember the sailing interim trip where I was the only guy on a boat full of women, including my mom! It wasn't bad though. I had a great time. I too am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with mom at Rowland Hall and even fondly recall going into the office during the summers to hang out or help with the bookstore.”

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults.

As much as Linda could be a fun-slayer for teenagers, she was a fun-starter for adults. At her and Diane’s 50th birthday party, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a great picture of their anatomically correct birthday cake. Diane is petrified in the picture, and Linda looks like she’s in it to win it. Linda was naughty, and never missed the opportunity to point out a double-entendre that would make all of us blush.

Linda spoke fondly of her childhood in Missouri—from what a role model her father had been growing up (Linda inherited her love of home improvement and her fix-it attitude from him), to her antic-filled tales of college, where she studied criminal justice. She had a voracious appetite for true-crime fiction. She and Diane would game the holiday book-exchange to pick each other and each secure a stack of the-gorier-the-better books. 

Diane and I were blessed to see her awe in Sorrento, Italy—the way she giggled through seeing the David, her silence as we walked Pompeii (well, except for the low-level swooning over our hot male Italian tour guide).

My favorite ritual we shared was the occasional beer on the porch with she and Diane on a lazy summer day or impromptu afternoon, joking, debating, or just catching up. We could sit for hours with the conversation easy...and one-sided mostly. Near the end of her life, Diane and I sat one afternoon with Linda. Linda was no-nonsense that she was going to die and was as sweetly resolved and brave as you would expect her to be. 

Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once.

We mere mortals joked that Linda was superwoman. We even had her wear a cape when we honored her for 30 years of service to the school. But Linda was a superhero, and I’m glad I got to see her save the day more than once. 

What makes death so difficult are dreams and plans unfulfilled. In Linda’s honor I hope all of us flirt a little more, read for pleasure more often, share a drink with friends on the porch, take the time and put in the work to make the day-to-day special, and take a selfish adventure—a crazy adventure—that you have been putting off for responsible reasons.
 

People

Married couple smiling at each other.

This video wins for originality! The couples were hilarious and very comfortable on film.—InspirEd School Marketers Judge

As our community gathered to celebrate our sesquicentennial last year, we were amazed to see how many Rowland Hall friendships have carried on through the years. So in the spirit of Valentine's Day 2018, we had heart-to-hearts with alumni couples whose relationships have grown into lifelong love stories.

In December, we learned this project—produced by alumni brothers Christopher and Alex Lee of TWIG Media Lab—captured first place in the holiday video category of the InspirEd School Marketers 2018 Brilliance Awards. Congrats to the project team: TWIG, Director of Marketing and Communications Stephanie Orfanakis, Director of Events Mary Anne Wetzel ’01, Director of Alumni Relations Hilary Amoss ’96, and our charismatic alumni couples—the camera loves you and so do we.

Sample Judges' Comments on Our Winning Entry

"Solid gold winner! What a great idea for a video!"

"This video wins for originality! Loved that RH chose a non-traditional holiday (Valentine’s as opposed to Christmas or New Year’s), the couples were hilarious and very comfortable on film. As a school that has quite a few couples as current parents and faculty, I may have to 'borrow' this for 2019."

"What a fun way to showcase an endearing part of a school's history! I'll admit that I groaned when I saw that the video was six minutes long, but I watched to the very end because the stories of each couple were engaging and they revealed a lighter, more personal side of the school."

"So original—I smiled all the way through it! High production values with great editing. Very well done!"

"A really funny, refreshing piece to celebrate alumni romances through 150 years of Rowland Hall."

Alumni

InspirEd School Marketers 2018 Brilliance Award Winner badge
Christopher Von Maack ’97 Appointed Next Board Chair

We are pleased to announce that Christopher Von Maack ’97 has been elected Rowland Hall’s next chair of the Board of Trustees. He will begin his term in July 2020. Current Board Chair Jennifer Price-Wallin will continue in the role for the upcoming academic year. 

I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community.
- Christopher Von Maack ’97

Chris joined the Board in July 2014 and has served as Chair of the Alumni Association and Development Committee. A Rowland Hall lifer—a student who attended the school for 12 or more years—and parent of two current students, his long-standing relationship with the school and dynamic leadership skills made Chris the clear choice to guide the Board during the transition to a new head of school and ongoing Capital Campaign. “It will be an honor to serve as Board chair during these important times,” Chris said. “I look forward to helping preserve and enhance our strong institution and community and acclimate a new head of school—something that the school has not done in 28 years.”

Chris graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. He obtained his J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif and was a writer and editor for the McGeorge Law Review. A civil trial lawyer, Chris and law partner Jason McNeil recently founded McNeil Von Maack, a downtown firm focusing on complex business, intellectual property, and government contract disputes.

Chris and his wife Alexandra ’99 are parents of fourth-grader Charlie and first-grader Juliet. Alexandra is currently serving as the chair of Rowland Hall’s 2019 Auction, A Night in Havana, and both alums have dedicated countless hours as school volunteers over the past decade. Chris also serves on the board of the R. Harold Burton Foundation and previously served as a trustee for Preservation Utah and the Salt Lake Honorary Colonels.

“I am thrilled Chris has agreed to chair the Board of Trustees in 2020,” Ms. Price-Wallin said. “He is a visionary and understands the school very well. Rowland Hall is in excellent shape, and under Chris’s leadership, the school will continue to provide an exceptional education for years to come.”

People

Alum Dr. Jon Bone at a Rowland Hall parent forum.

In Q&A, Dr. Bone Still Credits Rowland Hall for his Sense of Community and Strong Critical-Thinking Skills

Dr. Jonathan Bone '94 and Dr. Amy De La Garza from Equilibrium Clinic dropped by the Lincoln Street Campus Café December 7 for a Coffee and Conversation with Rowland Hall parents on the physiology of addiction. The chat revolved around how addiction operates in the brain and how to help our children avoid this all-too-common disease.

The event echoed a November 7 Freedom from Chemical Dependency Parent Forum, as well as ongoing school efforts to educate middle and upper schoolers on addiction.

Listen to event audio, and read some paraphrased nuggets of wisdom from both experts followed by a Q&A with Dr. Bone.

 

Kids don't respond well to 'should' or 'shouldn't.' I have kids and young adults ask themselves the question, 'How's this behavior going to help me, and how's it going to hurt me?'—Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94

Highlights from the doctors:

  • "Kids don't respond well to 'should' or 'shouldn't.' I have kids and young adults ask themselves the question, 'How's this behavior going to help me, and how's it going to hurt me?' Get them to pause for two seconds to ask that question and to think about it. If they can get that integrated into their thinking—how it will help versus how it will hurt—it lets them feel like they're making that choice for themselves."—Dr. Bone
  • "Addiction is a disease of the brain. Kids' brains are so plastic and dynamic: think about how fast they can learn language, skiing, or math. They could learn addiction just that fast."—Dr. De La Garza
  • "Kids that use substances before they're 21 have a 20% greater chance of developing a substance abuse disorder when they're older."—Dr. De La Garza
  • Both doctors agreed parents should start teaching kids at a young age about addiction—around fourth grade.

On assessing the situation after discovering substance use:

  • "We don't want to be alarmist about it. If you look at it diagnostically, you look at the different domains of life: health, relationships, education, occupation, legal, financial—how is use impacting each of those domains? That's how we differentiate between mild, moderate, and severe substance-abuse disorder. We can take that approach with our kids: how are they doing socially, how are they doing academically? Are they sticking with their sports team? Do they give stuff up? You take an inventory of what is going on with them globally. And if you find a joint, that's different than finding a bottle of oxycodone. You're also looking at the risk of the substance."—Dr. Bone
  • "Emergency rooms, detox centers—those are really scary places for kids and it stigmatizes them. You have to do a good risk assessment, and if you can't do that yourself, call someone: your pediatrician, your family practice doctor, one of us."—Dr. De La Garza
  • "We want to keep kids at the lowest level of care possible for as long as possible. I'm very conservative with raising that level, and it's really well-contemplated. If kids have a plan to hurt themselves, for example, that's when they go to the hospital."—Dr. Bone
     

Q&A with Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94

Dr. Bone, a 1994 Rowland Hall graduate, holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver, and he's worked with substance-use disorder patients since his medical internship. Following the Coffee and Conversation, we talked to him about what his job is like, and how his time at Rowland Hall left an impression on him. Q&A lightly edited for style and context.

I chose a career that fosters my continued development of relationships and I think this foundation emerged during my time at Rowland Hall. —Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94

How did Rowland Hall impact you and your career path?
Rowland Hall impacted my career by shining a light on the importance of community. I formed bonds with people at the school—teachers, coaches, peers, administration—that have lasted until today, and I hope they continue to thrive. I began to learn about and appreciate the interconnectedness of humanity while a student, although I certainly was not cognizant of that as a teenager. I chose a career that fosters my continued development of relationships and I think this foundation emerged during my time at Rowland Hall.

During my undergraduate, graduate, and internship, my training professors, supervisors, and colleagues often spontaneously commented on how well-developed my writing skills are. I think that one of the most impactful aspects of Rowland Hall is the importance placed on thinking critically and being able to synthesize data from multiple sources in a cogent essay, thesis, etc.   

What is it like working and treating patients here in Utah, where the opioid epidemic has hit especially hard?
It is frustrating and rewarding, on a daily basis. Opioid dependence is a brutal condition that changes how people behave in such drastic ways it is difficult to describe. When I lose a patient to overdose or suicide, or they simply fall out of treatment, I am pained beyond words. However, when I have a patient with six months sobriety who is interpersonally, emotionally, and physically healthy again it is incredibly rewarding. Utah has a significant problem at present. It is time we no longer hide the disease so we can treat it aggressively.

Top image: From left, Dr. Jonathan Bone '94 and Dr. Amy De La Garza from Equilibrium Clinic on December 7 led a Lincoln Street Campus Coffee and Conversation on the physiology of addiction.

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.

More Information

Alumni

Matthew Redd on yearbook staff in 1988.

Cattle rancher and Rowland Hall alumnus Matthew Redd '88—director of The Nature Conservancy's Dugout Ranch and Canyonlands Research Center—graces this month's National Geographic for their cover story, "The Battle for the American West."

National Geographic published Aaron Huey's photographs of Redd on the cover of the printed magazine, and in a two-page interior spread. In the especially stunning second shot, Redd is on horseback rounding up cattle in the foreground, with Southern Utah scenery and a rainbow in the background.

Journalist Hannah Nordhaus quotes Redd and writes in the story:

"It is a diverse, iconic, some say spiritual landscape," says rancher Matt Redd. His family sold their 5,247-acre ranch to the Nature Conservancy in 1997, and it's now the largest private tract inside Bears Ears. Redd still runs the cattle as part of research on how to manage land in a changing climate.

Read more about Matt and his family—including wife and fellow '88 Rowland Hall alum Kristen Redd—in this Nature Conservancy story from last year.

Related photos on social media:

Top image: Matthew Redd as a senior on Rowland Hall's yearbook staff in 1988—view the yearbook.

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

New med students in white coats.

The University of Utah School of Medicine welcomed 127 students into its ranks at Friday's annual White Coat Ceremony, and six of of those newly cloaked scholars graduated from Rowland Hall.

Congratulations to our young alumni, pictured above. From left: Madeline Foley '13, Hank Shipman '13, Saeed Shihab '13, Kellyn Maves '12, and Sophie Janes '12 don their new coats Friday, August 10. Not pictured: Emma Naatz '12. (Photo by Julie Shipman)

Both Hank and Emma also competed for Rowmark Ski Academy while at Rowland Hall. Hank has an especially inspiring story—a tragic Rowmark car accident and his subsequent recovery spurred him to pursue a medical degree.

According to the U's med school, the White Coat Ceremony makes student-physicians more aware of their professional responsibilities and conveys that doctors should ultimately "care as well as cure." Watch the ceremony video.

It's no small feat that these six Rowland Hall alums have matriculated to the med school just up the street from their alma mater.

It's no small feat that these six alums have matriculated to the med school just up the street from their alma mater. The U is well-known for its robust health-care community, and U.S. News and World Report lists the med school among the nation's best in research and primary care.

During the White Coat Ceremony, Interim Executive Dean Dr. A. Lorris Betz said the med school received 4,227 applications for the class of 2022. After officials review initial applications, they interview approximately 500 candidates each year. In the comprehensive admissions process, evaluators explore applicants' "motivation for seeking a medical degree, awareness and understanding of the medical profession, leadership, problem-solving skills, understanding of medical ethics, and interpersonal skills," according to the school.

Our alumni who have pursued careers in medicine often credit their well-rounded Rowland Hall education for helping them succeed in that field: read our 2014 story on the subject.

Alumni

I feel like a shepherd, with my little flock. I’m just making sure they are all heading in the right direction.—Academic Support Counselor Lori Miller in our story Support Superstars