From the Winter 2010 Caller
Catlin Gabel students are a fascinating and inspiring group of young people who manifest their engagement with the world in equally fascinating ways. We spoke to students from 2nd to 12th grade about the pursuits they really, really love—and here are excerpts from what they said about where their interests take them, and how Catlin Gabel teachers support those interests and help feed their curiosity. Explore their stories below.
By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School
From the Winter 2010 Caller
Animals were my first great passion—and my parents allowed me to have them if I cared for them well and showed responsibility. I was filled with the same passion when I first played school in my room, lining up all of my stuffed animals and dolls, assigning arbitrary grades from A to F and relegating some to smart status, some not so smart. At school I watched with rapt attention how my teachers would teach us. At home I would either try to do it the same way or try to modify the techniques that didn’t work for my little class.
It was not until I became a teacher myself that I understood that, as someone with a passion for teaching, I could go beyond what’s expected and work with students to realize their own personal goals and passions. I finally saw that the very best model for teaching and learning centers on the relationship between the student and the teacher. What happens collectively as a class is important, but the one-on-one time a student and teacher have together is the most critical element.
It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that and learned—thanks to Roland Barthes, John Dewey, and others—that children are not receptacles for knowledge from adults, but teeming petri dishes of their own ideas and imaginations. How little my teachers in the fifties and sixties understood that—although teachers in Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel’s schools certainly did get it.
Catlin Gabel is a school where teachers are drawn to teach, and we select them to do so, because they understand how children’s minds work, and they want to be surrounded by colleagues who feel the same.
This Caller is filled with stories of alumni and students who have pursued interests, passions, and yes, even obsessions. Graduates who fall into this category are legion, and the students and alumni represented here are just a small sample. Why would a school of this size produce so many people who lead with their passions and know themselves well enough to do that?
For one, Catlin Gabel provides an unfettered, free-ranging approach to solving problems, approaching assignments, and celebrating process over product. I learned to be a good rider because I studied my horse, paying heed to her temperament and the look in her eye, and treating her in a way that reflects that knowledge. In the same way, the students profiled here, whether involved in a sport, an academic pursuit, or an art, learn the value of deep concentration and focused attention. For example, visual artists, like the ones you’ll read about, see relationships among all disciplines, in color and in shapes, and takes those elements to create an original. But mostly, we at Catlin Gabel encourage students fully and unabashedly to follow their passions. And of course, there is the child herself, who has the gift inside. Parents, teachers, and the overarching ethos of the school only undergird those passions.
Alumnus, alumna, or current student, their uniqueness binds us all together and makes for a very, very interesting place to teach. Enjoy these stories.
Both the blue and white mock trial teams had a great day at the 2010 regional trial. The Blue Team advances to state to compete against the best teams in Oregon. This year’s case, State v. Lane, is a criminal case where the defendant, a rap artist, is charged with inciting a riot and arson.
Congratulations to Catlin Blue team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Becky Coulterpark, Eli Coon, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.
Catlin White team members include Rohisha Adke, Amanda Cahn, Rachel Caron, Audrey Davis, Layla Entrikin, Brian Farci, James Furnary, Mira Hayward, Thalia Kelly, Jackson Morawski, Grant Phillips, Charlie Shoemaker, Henry Shulevitz, Curtis Stahl, Lynne Stracovsky, Terrance Sun, Karuna Tirumala, and Michael Zhu.
The world looked on in horror when the January 12 earthquake rocked Haiti. Immediately, Catlin Gabel students of all ages got to work organizing fundraisers to help the devastated island. Alumna Caitlin Carlson ’00, communications officer for Mercy Corps, came to campus to talk to about the essential need for cash in the coming months. We set up a web page aimed at inspiring students and consolidating our community efforts. Student-led bake sales and the Lower School read-a-thon raised $28,000 for Haitian earthquake relief. Our contributions will make a difference in Haiti: $16 provides a child’s "comfort kit” that includes a blanket, sketchpad, crayons and toys, $43 buys 110 pounds of rice, and $75 equips a Port-au-Prince resident for two weeks of recovery work.
The Beehive is having an art show in the foyer of the Cabell Center. Families are encouraged to take a tour before or after school to see our children’s exuberant artwork.
The Catlin Gabel community—students, teachers, staffers, parents, alumni, trustees, and friends—began working together to figure out “What’s Next?” at a meeting on January 23. (Join the conversation on our website forum.)
The group of more than 100 met in the Barn for most of the day to figure out what was important to them and to the school and wider communities through self-reflection and a series of various group discussions led by past trustee and parent Mindy Clark. In addition, the event was streamed live on the website, and those off campus were able to participate online. Every idea and contribution was given respectful consideration at all times as the group worked towards final consensus at the end of the meeting. From smaller to larger groups, and then to the group as a whole, participants brainstormed ideas for what’s next, given a set of basic parameters. The final products were a list of events or activities that all agreed on, a list of what was agreed to be common ground, and a list of ideas that not every one agreed to, but that were important to some. No idea was thrown away, however—all ideas were captured and will be kept for future consideration.
Common ground—values that all thought should undergird what’s next—included attributes of multiple generations, physical activity, a learning component, a local connection to the community, a service component, financial sustainability, ability of students to run or organize the activity, and a way for the school community to bond or connect.
Projects, activities, or events that drew consensus were something to do with gardens, farms, or growing food (what one called a “Honey Hollow Farm resurrection”); a “Barn Raising” as a metaphor for building and working together on a specific project on or off campus; one specific event; a Catlin Gabel service corps; and an annual Campus Day connected to a worldwide day of service so that those who don’t live nearby can take part.
Members of the What’s Next steering committee will consider all the input and come back to the entire Catlin Gabel community with proposals for consideration. Whether it be one event, or many, or what shape it will take, remains to be seen. But what’s definite is that the community will decide, and try it out, and see what works. A new tradition may be born, or it may take time, but we will do it together.
Susan Koe, co-chair, parent
Don Vollum '84, co-chair, parent, trustee, alumnus
Stephanie Broad, parent
Li-Ling Cheng, faculty MS, parent
Roberta Cohen, former faculty-staff, parent of alumni
Annette Cragg, parent
Spencer Ehrman '68, alumnus
Qiddist Hammerly, student
Herb Jahncke, faculty LS, parent
Karen “Kitty” Katz '74, staff, alumna, parent
Debbie Ehrman Kaye '73, alumna, parent of alumni
Ted Kaye '73, alumnus, parent of alumni
Art Leo, faculty US, parent
John Mayer, faculty LS
Heather Renjen, parent
Robin Schauffler '68, alumna, former faculty member
Colleen Shoemaker, parent
Tom Tucker '66, faculty MS & US, alumnus, parent
Peg Watson, former faculty, parent of alumni
Patrick Wheary, parent of alumna, current grandparent
Alumni, parents, students, and friends of Catlin Gabel are encouraged to join the workshop online.
To participate in chat, you will need to register a user account when prompted.
We also welcome you to make suggestions for how Catlin Gabel can keep the spirit of the Rummage Sale alive through a new activity. Post your ideas on our website forum.
Senior Kevin Ellis won a Best of Category award in computer science at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2009 in Reno, Nevada. Intel presented Catlin Gabel with a check for $1,000 in recognition of Kevin’s outstanding achievement. The funds are intended to further support excellence in science, math, or engineering education at Catlin Gabel.
Senior Lauren Edelson’s op-ed, “Taking the Magic Out of College,” was published in the New York Times.
Sophomore Megan Stater placed first in the recent Oregon Music Teachers Association Classical Piano Festival.
Lauren Reggero-Toledano’s Spanish V Honors students presented their research project, "The Hispanic Presence In Oregon: From the Great Depression to Today," to the Latin American studies program at Lewis & Clark College. Kudos to seniors Sam Bishop, Kalifa Clarke, Abby Conyers, Becky Coulterpark, Lauren Edelson, Eddie Friedman, Ollie Garnier, Molly Hayes, Leslie Nelson, and Leah Weitz, and junior Josh Langfus.
Seventh grader Conner Hansen received his second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
All five Middle School robotics teams came home from the league tournament with trophies. Three teams are advancing to the state championships on January 17. Veteran 7th grade team the Green Dragons won the Champions Award, the top award at a local tournament. This award recognizes the team with the best overall score covering robot performance, robot design, research project and presentation, and teamwork. Green Dragons Maddy Bunnenberg-Ross, Claire Fitzgerald, Sophie Paek, Jillian Rix, and Chloe Smith are headed to state.
The other veteran 7th grade team, Team Delta, scored 305 points on the course (the highest of any Catlin Gabel team) and was the first runner up Champions Award winner. Max Armstrong, Evan Chapman, Conner Hansen, and Elliot Lewis are on their way to state as well.
First-time 6th grade Team Echo members Julian Baynes, MacGregor Beatty, and Jake Hansen pulled off the Young Team Award, which qualifies them for the state tournament.
The 6th grade Screaming Eagles with Harry Alterman, Anna Dodson, Alex Richardson, and Calissa Spooner won the robot performance award for the team with the highest scoring robot that didn’t qualify for state. The 6th grade team Catlin Gabel Champions with Nicolas Bergen, Jack Bishop, Justin Tung, and David Vollum brought home the Research Project award for the team with the best research project that didn’t qualify for state.
Congratulations to recent 6th grade Poetry Box winner Hayle Meyerhoff for her poem Lonely. (Click on poem title to read or listen to the winning poem.)
Twelve Lower School chess players participated in the annual Ridgewood Elementary fall invitational. Avi Gupta, 3rd grade, took second place in the overall tournament ratings. Grade level prizes were awarded to 5th grader Lila Reich–second place, 4th grader Ben Karp–second place, 3rd grader Avi Gupta–first place, 2nd grader Evan Karp–first place, and 2nd grader Jimmy Maslen–third place.
Fifth grader Claire Rosenfeld, 3rd grader Layton Rosenfeld, and 2nd grader Will Attig were among 50 winning contestants from all of Oregon whose art pieces were selected for the “Super Hero” exhibition in the Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum in Eugene. There were well over 400 contestants. The winning art is on display at the JSAM through May.
Thanks to a generous anonymous gift from a Catlin Gabel community member, the entire 7th grade class attended a presentation by activist Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. The class began the year by reading the young adult version of Mortenson’s book. Elayna Caron was inspired to write, “After reading Three Cups of Tea, I was really moved, but not as much as I was last night. Greg is one of the most amazing people out there. How he dedicated his whole life to changing these people’s lives — I don’t see how he can do it, but at the same time, it made ME want to go out and change the world. He was talking about the soldiers being more afraid of the children’s pens than of bullets. It really makes sense to me now, why they would be scared. This was an amazing, amazing experience.”
IT support technician Johny Nguyen completed CompTIA certification, the industry standard for computer support technicians. The international, vendor-neutral certification proves competence in areas such as installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security, and troubleshooting.
All Kinds of Minds named Catlin Gabel a School of Distinction.
Alumna Sonja Lapinski '99 featured in Oregonian newspaper article, "Pet Talk: Reaching beyond Oregon to help animals"
Letter from Hannah Whitehead, Beginning School head
Dear Beginning School Parents,
I am happy to share with you some exciting news about next year’s Beginning School program. Two years ago Beginning School parents answered a survey about the length of the school day. We learned that a large majority of Catlin Gabel families, especially those with children in other parts of the school, found the 1:30 pm dismissal time challenging. Teachers also felt some limitations from the short day. The Beehive staff has worked for several months to address these concerns. As a result, we have a plan that we believe will strengthen our kindergarten program by increasing valuable classroom time, and also add something exciting to the preschool curriculum.
Preschool. Because we have preschoolers who are old hands at school, and also children for whom five mornings a week is a stretch, we will keep our present format of 8:20 am-1:30 pm, but with the assurance that there will now be space for every child whose family would like to take advantage of an extended day program. We are thrilled to add drama classes with one of our Catlin Gabel drama teachers, Deirdre Atkinson, on Wednesday mornings, three weeks of the month.
Kindergarten. The kindergarten day will start at the same time it does now, but will extend to 2:45 or 2:50 pm. The new ending time will allow families who do not have other children at Catlin Gabel to slip in and out before the pick-up line gets too busy. It will also give families with other children in the school time for an unrushed Beehive pick-up before setting off to Lower, Middle, or Upper School to collect the rest of the family.
The kindergarten afternoon will be full of opportunities for children as they rotate through drama with Deirdre, extra shop time with Jennifer, and a special music curriculum with Rhonda, along with more campus exploration, craft projects, play with the Honeybees, and open-ended time to imagine and create. We are very excited about the richness of the longer kindergarten day.
The tuition has not yet been set for next year. The longer kindergarten day will likely cost somewhat more than at present, but Lark and the board of trustees are committed to keeping the increase as small as is fiscally prudent. We will keep you informed when the budget is passed.
The boys varsity soccer team faces OES for the state title after beating St. Mary's of Medford 1-0.
Game time for the boys: Saturday, 1 p.m., Wilsonville HS.
The girls varsity soccer team won their semifinal match against Sisters, 4-3, and take on Gladstone for the championship.
Game time for the girls: Saturday, 6 p.m., Wilsonville HS.
Adults - $8, Students - $5 at the door
VISA / MasterCard accepted
Come cheer on the mighty Eagles as they play for the state championships!
Video of game-winning shot from the boys semifinal game against St. Mary’s of Medford. Thanks go to Jennifer Davies, parent of alumni, for shooting video.
The 65th and final Rummage Sale was an AMAZING success thanks to energetic volunteers and loyal customers. We generated $274,000 in sales, just $1,000 shy of last year's total.
The Catlin Gabel community spirit is epic. We do great things together — we always have and we always will.
Thank you very much!
So, what’s next?
Do you have ideas about what Catlin Gabel might do to recreate the wonderful sense of community and commitment to service we have experienced through Rummage? Share your after-Rummage Sale ideas with us on the After Rummage Forum or send your ideas by e-mail to AfterRummage@catlin.edu. Ideas will be considered at a community-wide meeting in January. Stay tuned for details.
From the fall 2009 Caller
AWARDS TO OUR TEACHERS
7th grade history teacher Paul Monheimer was awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Award in Teaching from the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to conduct research in Israel. He plans to spend the spring semester in Israel researching and creating meaningful virtual exchanges, using graphic software to overcome language barriers. . . . Upper School Spanish teacher Lauren Reggero-Toledano received a grant from the American Immigration Law Council to work with students on a project about the Hispanic presence in Oregon during the Great Depression and today. Students will create interactive, multimedia presentations for display at Teatro Milagro/Miracle Theater.