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This is a love story. A young bride entered the Cathedral Church of St. Mark on her wedding day, Monday, December 7, 1942—one year after the United States entered World War II. The young woman awaited the arrival of her fiancé who secretly went AWOL from his post in Casper, Wyoming, where he was in training to be a cadet in the Army Air Corps. The night before the wedding, he boarded a train bound for Salt Lake City, risking a formal reprimand. The cadet-in-training, Raymond “Ray” Brim, was in love and wanted to marry his sweetheart, Patricia Condon, a University of Utah student and 1941 graduate of Rowland Hall School for girls. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ray left the University of Utah his sophomore year to enlist in the military. The couple reunited and exchanged vows that Monday, surrounded by young Rowland Hall students and one of Pat's beloved former teachers. The students and their teacher made the short, downhill walk from Rowland Hall to the church to serve as wedding witnesses. Today, Ray still says marrying Pat is the best decision he has made in his life.

Ray and Pat shared 65 wonderful years together. When Pat passed away in 2007, the hole left in Ray’s heart was enormous. Ray longed to find a way not only to honor her memory, but to ensure a little piece of Pat lived on. Pat was an accomplished classical pianist. She had a passion for literature, art, and music, and a long career as an English teacher. From the time she enrolled at Rowland Hall as a sophomore in 1938, Pat became a lifelong champion and steward of the school. She credited her love for the liberal arts to her Rowland Hall education, and said of all the places she studied and taught, Rowland Hall was her favorite. To honor her memory and help future students receive the kind of education Pat appreciated at Rowland Hall, Ray established the Patricia C. Brim Memorial Fund. The fund provides a scholarship awarded annually to three Upper School female students with a record of academic excellence and an interest in literature and writing. Since 2008, the Patricia C. Brim Scholarship has been awarded to eight students. These young women have been the beneficiaries of Pat’s love for Rowland Hall and Ray’s love for Pat.

Alumni

The Story Behind the Patricia C. Brim Memorial Scholarship Fund

This is a love story. A young bride entered the Cathedral Church of St. Mark on her wedding day, Monday, December 7, 1942—one year after the United States entered World War II. The young woman awaited the arrival of her fiancé who secretly went AWOL from his post in Casper, Wyoming, where he was in training to be a cadet in the Army Air Corps. The night before the wedding, he boarded a train bound for Salt Lake City, risking a formal reprimand. The cadet-in-training, Raymond “Ray” Brim, was in love and wanted to marry his sweetheart, Patricia Condon, a University of Utah student and 1941 graduate of Rowland Hall School for girls. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ray left the University of Utah his sophomore year to enlist in the military. The couple reunited and exchanged vows that Monday, surrounded by young Rowland Hall students and one of Pat's beloved former teachers. The students and their teacher made the short, downhill walk from Rowland Hall to the church to serve as wedding witnesses. Today, Ray still says marrying Pat is the best decision he has made in his life.

Ray and Pat shared 65 wonderful years together. When Pat passed away in 2007, the hole left in Ray’s heart was enormous. Ray longed to find a way not only to honor her memory, but to ensure a little piece of Pat lived on. Pat was an accomplished classical pianist. She had a passion for literature, art, and music, and a long career as an English teacher. From the time she enrolled at Rowland Hall as a sophomore in 1938, Pat became a lifelong champion and steward of the school. She credited her love for the liberal arts to her Rowland Hall education, and said of all the places she studied and taught, Rowland Hall was her favorite. To honor her memory and help future students receive the kind of education Pat appreciated at Rowland Hall, Ray established the Patricia C. Brim Memorial Fund. The fund provides a scholarship awarded annually to three Upper School female students with a record of academic excellence and an interest in literature and writing. Since 2008, the Patricia C. Brim Scholarship has been awarded to eight students. These young women have been the beneficiaries of Pat’s love for Rowland Hall and Ray’s love for Pat.

Alumni

Explore More People Stories

Tyler Dennis, PGA Tour executive

Utah Golf Association's Fairways magazine featured Rowland Hall alum Tyler Dennis ’95 in the November issue, spotlighting how the PGA Tour senior vice president and chief of operations has helped his organization efficiently implement health, safety, and scheduling changes in response to COVID-19.

Read the full story below. Republished with permission from Fairways magazine, the official publication of the Utah Golf Association, and author Kurt Kragthorpe, one of Utah's legendary sportswriters and senior writer of Fairways Media.

Alumni

From Social-Emotional Learning to Deliberate Dialogue: How Rowland Hall's Focus on Mental Wellness Supports Today's Students

2020 may well be remembered as the year of overwhelming stress, and research shows that it’s not only adults feeling the pressure—students feel it, too, and it plays a big role in how they learn.

Schools have long known that they play a critical role in supporting students’ mental well-being. Even before 2020, a heightened understanding of how mental health initiatives contribute to students’ welfare and their ability to learn shifted curriculum and priorities at Rowland Hall. Today, a strong social-emotional learning (SEL) thread runs through all school divisions, and a variety of resources that support students’ mental well-being—from trained counselors, to grade-level advisories, to SEL-based curriculum—are in place. Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund explained that the shift toward this support structure began in 2010, as educators across the country began to better understand how an overly anxious mind affects learning.

You're not learning if your brain is engaged in worry and stress—learning is a higher-order thinking skill.—Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education

“You're not learning if your brain is engaged in worry and stress—learning is a higher-order thinking skill,” Ryan said. “We knew we needed to focus on the whole child, giving them tools to free their cognitive load so they can give greater attention to learning and social connections.”

Upper School Social-Emotional Support Counselor Dr. Mindy Vanderloo said that a good way to think about this approach is to remember the phrase “Maslow before Bloom,” which underscores the theory that human beings must have their basic needs met before they can take on higher-level desires or thinking.

“If you don't have your basic needs—home, security, food, mental health—then you can't do those things that are higher up on hierarchy,” said Mindy. “Research has demonstrated the relationship between academics and mental health. We understand the importance of identifying and treating mental health problems; we also know that incorporating SEL can improve mental health.”

And while this is true in any academic year, it has become even more important in 2020, when heightened anxiety around issues including COVID-19, the election, and social unrest can further impact students’ mental well-being—which was already concerning mental health professionals. Mindy pointed to American Psychological Association research released in 2019 that found that the percentage of young Americans experiencing certain types of mental health disorders—serious psychological distress, major depression, or suicidal thoughts—has risen significantly over the past decade. Though there isn’t a clear cause why, she said, issues like social media, political divisiveness, and climate change may play a role.

“Mental health disorders have increased over time, and there isn't a known cause,” Mindy explained. “Prevalence rates are going up—and it could be we feel more comfortable talking about it now, and so we notice it more—but there is something categorically different that has changed over generations. Schools, appropriately, have responded and said, ‘This is a bigger problem than it used to be, for whatever reason, and we need to address it.’”


Resources that support students’ mental well-being are available in all Rowland Hall divisions, starting in the beginning and lower schools, where a supportive SEL foundation is first established. Guided by Emotional Support Counselor Chuck White, Rowland Hall’s preschool- and elementary-aged students begin building their social-emotional skills through programs like Second Step and Responsive Classroom. Faculty and staff also cultivate strong partnerships with caregivers during these years, providing resources that advise adults on how to talk to young learners about issues such as COVID-19 and social unrest or the election, as well as how to have healthy conversations around topics such as race.

As students move to the Middle School on the Lincoln Street Campus—and begin a phase of life known for a great deal of change—educators take even more action to help them understand and manage their own mental wellness.

“It's important to remember that in middle school brains are changing at a high rate,” said Middle School Social-Emotional Support Counselor Leslie Czerwinski. “Then on top of brain changes, hormones start to change.”

Middle schoolers on the Lincoln Street Campus.

The middle school years are an ideal time to practice health coping strategies.

At the same time, students are learning to navigate the world in new ways, with an increase in online time—including, for many, access to social media, which can add new layers of pressure, such as the need to present perfection. It is therefore important to help these students find healthy coping strategies that they can practice in Middle School and carry into their Upper School years, and beyond.

That notion of productive struggle is that if I'm not stressed, I'm not learning; if I'm overstressed, I'm not learning. What we really want to find is that yellow zone where I'm challenged. I've always used this canoe analogy: I want you to rock your canoe, but I don't want your canoe flipping.—Ryan Hoglund

“The goal is not zero stress; that's really important to emphasize,” said Ryan. “Stress is normal—it drives us to deadlines that keep us accountable. But how do you keep it productive?” To do this, he said, Rowland Hall focuses on productive struggle, also known as the zone of proximal development, a sweet spot for each learner where the student has found balance between being too comfortable and too overwhelmed.

“That notion of productive struggle is that if I'm not stressed, I'm not learning; if I'm overstressed, I'm not learning. What we really want to find is that yellow zone where I'm challenged,” said Ryan. “I've always used this canoe analogy: I want you to rock your canoe, but I don't want your canoe flipping.”

Productive struggle not only prepares students to build resilience and succeed under the pressures of life, but to learn how to head off more serious issues, like chronic anxiety, that can develop under too much stress. In the middle and upper schools, this skill is purposefully encouraged by faculty and staff in classroom conversations as well as in advisory, a program designed to help build community and promote student wellness. Advisory now plays a major role in the Rowland Hall experience—one that is so important that sixth graders’ placement into their advisory groups is a thoughtful process handled by the middle and upper school counselors, principals, and assistant principals, who understand that identifying the best advisor for each student can lead to strong relationships that support mental well-being throughout their years on the Lincoln Street Campus. This is necessary, Mindy noted, because research shows that one of the biggest ways to protect students against mental health problems is to give them access to consistent, healthy adult mentors.

“Individual connections to supportive adults is one of the best things we can provide for students as a school,” she said.


Healthy adult role models also help students discover their own leadership capabilities. During their time at Rowland Hall—particularly as they move from sixth to twelfth grade—students are given more autonomy and ownership of their learning and self-governance, which builds their confidence.

During their time at Rowland Hall students are given more autonomy and ownership of their learning and self-governance, which builds their confidence. This includes giving students opportunities to support their own and others’ mental well-being by letting them lead critical conversations, make essential connections, and even help to develop curriculum.

“In the Upper School, what we want to do is build self-efficacy and empower students to take care of themselves. They've learned skills in advisory through informal discussions with teachers—and so how do they take the next step?” Mindy said. “We shift from a focus on adults teaching students to what students can teach each other and take into their own hands.”

This includes giving students opportunities to support their own and others’ mental well-being by letting them lead critical conversations, make essential connections, and even help to develop curriculum. In support of this goal, in 2019 Mindy created a student group called the Mental Health Educators, whose mission is to help build awareness of and combat stigma around mental health issues. Since its founding, Mental Health Educators has played a vital role in normalizing mental health discussions on the Lincoln Street Campus—members address peers at chapels and morning meetings, and they build long-term relationships with students through advisory groups, where they lead discussions around topics like stress and anxiety, as well as offer tips on areas like healthy coping mechanisms.

“The school’s been doing a good job trying to reduce stigma around mental health,” said Samantha Lehman, a Rowland Hall junior and Mental Health Educator. “The Mental Health Educators are working to improve mental health resources, and I think we’ve already seen a lot of improvements and a lot of good feedback from the student body.”

Two students presenting Deliberate Dialogue skills in an advisory class.

Mental Health Educators Max Eatchel and Amanda Green presenting Deliberate Dialogue in October.

They’re also continuously finding new ways to bring their mental health training to their peers. For example, Samantha used some of the topics the group discussed—like motivation, relationships, and the importance of mental breaks—to create Instagram challenges that engaged and connected students during the long weeks of quarantine this spring. Senior Mena Zendejas-Portugal applies her mental health knowledge to her work as a member of the student Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee. And this fall, the entire Mental Health Educators group partnered with Dr. Carolyn Hickman, English Department chair, and Mike Shackelford, political science teacher and debate coach, to present Deliberate Dialogue, an initiative Carolyn and Mike designed to help reduce student stress during a contentious election season by giving them opportunities to practice civil discourse. Over two weeks in October, the Mental Health Educators taught the five skills of Deliberate Dialogue—open-mindedness, speaking, listening, responding, and reflecting—to all students in grades nine through eleven, as well as helped them practice constructive conversation techniques, which center around exchanging perspectives openly, challenging viewpoints respectfully, and building empathetic understanding. Samantha said the initiative fits in well with the Mental Health Educators mission “because you’re coming to the conversation seeking to understand, seeking to listen.”

We are making meaning, we are creating purpose, and those are the things that are going to help prevent us from being completely demoralized by stressors such as COVID.—Dr. Mindy Vanderloo, Upper School social-emotional support counselor

Mena added, “Once you learn how to have Deliberate Dialogue in your everyday life, that really helps you better your mental health and your relationships. The conversation turns toward building bridges and relationships, which then translates into how you perceive yourself and others.”

And this is a big deal, said Mindy, because by taking action to fight the stressors that affect their well-being—like a divisive election within a global pandemic—students feel a sense of purpose amid chaos.

“We are making meaning, we are creating purpose, and those are the things that are going to help prevent us from being completely demoralized by stressors such as COVID,” said Mindy. “If you can take a difficult or tragic event, take action, and decide to make change, it is so good for not only your mental health, but other people's mental health.”

Mena agreed. “You see students confront problems in such an elevated manner—they’re incorporating all these skills we’ve taught them, and they’re able to relieve themselves of so much stress,” she said. “It makes you feel a sense of joy and pride, not only in yourself, but in your community and in those students.”


Banner photo: Junior Remy Mickelson presenting Deliberate Dialogue skills during an advisory class.

Academics

Senior Carson Burian running for Rowland Hall track and field.

This month, Rowland Hall senior Carson Burian committed to the University of Alabama’s track & field and cross country team as a distance runner. He will join the NCAA Division I team next fall as a member of the 2021–2022 roster.

Carson’s dedication to cross country has helped set the tone for Rowland Hall’s team since 2017. Though he will doubtlessly be remembered for his many athletic achievements—among them, four first-place finishes at the Region 17 Championships, a four-year membership in First Team 2A All-State, and recognition as Most Valuable Player, 2017–2020—he will also be remembered for his leadership. As a team member and team captain, Carson was instrumental in leading the boys’ team to a third-place finish at the State 2A Championships (2017 and 2018), a first-place team State finish (2019), and a second-place State finish (2020).

“Carson's discipline and conscientious training are beyond compare,” said Dr. Laura Johnson, Rowland Hall’s assistant cross country coach. “He's built upon his native talent through consistent effort, listening to his body, and pushing himself even during off seasons. But what's been more exciting to watch as a coach is his growing self-awareness as a runner. The development of that faculty led Carson to offer feedback to other runners on their training and form, externalizing his focus in a way that's helped to unify and improve our team. I wish him much success at Alabama, in the form of further self-knowledge as well as top finishes.”

Congratulations, Carson!


We asked Carson to share more about his experience at Rowland Hall and what he’s looking forward to as a member of the Crimson Tide. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Congratulations on signing with Alabama! How does it feel?

It feels great. I cannot thank everybody enough who helped me get where I am. It is extremely relieving, knowing I accomplished what I set out to do freshman year. The feeling I have gained—knowing all the emotions tied with my academics and athletics have paid off at the highest level of NCAA play—is everything I could ask for.

Tell me about your athletic journey up to this point. How did you discover your love of running?

I started cross country in sixth grade; however, I didn’t really have a burning desire to do it. I never trained for any of my three seasons in middle school, and I did not really train that intensely going into high school. However, once I found myself in high school, and competing with remarkable athletes across the country, I realized my love for running, but even more so my love for competing. Once I found the love for both, I didn’t set limits on how far I could go.

You've had an impressive cross country career at Rowland Hall. What is one of your favorite memories of your time here?

I want to let all athletes at small schools know that you are not limited because of your school’s size. It isn’t going to be easy by any means, and you are going to have to put everything you have into it, but you can reach anything you desire.

I have many great memories, but I would have to say my junior year at State was the most memorable. We were the favorites going in, but bad races struck members of the team, leading to an uncertain finish. The pain that I saw some of my teammates go through on the final straightaway was the most pure form of competitive spirit I have seen in my life. The willingness of my teammates to put themselves on the line for a State title, to go through that amount of pain for a trophy, is one of the most respectable things I have experienced, and I am extremely proud to say I was their teammate.

What skills did you build at Rowland Hall—both on the track and in the classroom—that you'll be taking with you to college?

Definitely maturity in every aspect in life. The rigorous academics and elite-level athletics crafted me into a time-efficient student-athlete. I learned how to manage everything I wanted with my athletics, and maintain high levels in each respect.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the Rowland Hall community?

I want to let all athletes at small schools know that you are not limited because of your school’s size. It isn’t going to be easy by any means, and you are going to have to put everything you have into it, but you can reach anything you desire. I also want to thank Rowland Hall Athletics for supplementing me with help for my recruitment process.

Athletics

Two Rowland Hall Middle School students work on an assignment.

After four months of work—including meeting with Black alums and current students—alums Ikwo Frank ’13, Julia Bodson ’12, and Shelby Matsumura ’13 emailed Rowland Hall leaders a Black Lives Matter call-to-action letter last month and invite anyone who supports their cause to add their name.

We believe that Rowland Hall must move beyond words of solidarity and take actions that promote antiracism and diversity in our school community.Call-to-Action Letter

In their October 26 email to Head of School Mick Gee, Board Chair Christopher Von Maack ’97, and Inclusion, Equity, and Outreach Committee Chair Bing Fang, the alum trio wrote that the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor motivated them to craft the call to action. The letter, in turn, implores their alma mater to “move beyond words of solidarity and take actions that promote antiracism and diversity in our school community.”

In addition to meeting with current and former students to write the document, Ikwo, Julia, and Shelby collaborated with members of the greater community—including Pastor Robert Merrills of Murray Baptist Church, who helped them “deliver concrete and attainable goals for making Rowland Hall an antiracist institution.” Indeed, the powerful two-page letter contains 16 bulleted suggestions divided into four categories: improving the representation of Black people and people of color within the school community; integrating antiracism learning into curriculum and diversifying library and classroom materials; giving back to the local and national Black communities; and staying accountable in tackling these issues.

“We hope this letter is received with an open, critical, and forward-thinking mind,” the trio wrote in their introductory email. “Compared to other educational institutions in Utah, Rowland Hall offers an inclusive, diverse, and progressive education. We are grateful to have learned in such an environment; it's why we think Rowland Hall will be receptive to this cause. We can do better, together.”

Rowland Hall is incredibly thankful for Ikwo, Julia, and Shelby’s efforts. We’re committed to becoming an antiracist organization and we’ll use their suggestions to develop a comprehensive plan for improving racial equity. We’ll release that plan by summer, as requested. One pivotal action we plan to accomplish by then: hiring a new director of equity and inclusion, an endowed position Mick announced in a November 16 community-wide email.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been school priorities for the past decade, but this alum-written letter plays a meaningful role in propelling Rowland Hall forward and focusing and formalizing our efforts. Ikwo, Julia, and Shelby have asked us to share the letter, so on their behalf: if you concur, please add your name.

Sign the Letter

alumni

You Belong at Rowland Hall