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Communitas: The Gift of Coming Together

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Spring 2010 Caller

What is a community? It’s undoubtedly different for every person, and each of us may have many different intersecting or distinct communities in our lives. A school community, like the one we have here at Catlin Gabel, distinguishes itself because in the process of education we explicitly teach children how to become good members of their society and their world, and we model behavior constantly for them. We show our students that we are always there for them, and that they are surrounded by caring adults who are ready to catch them if they fall, both literally and metaphorically. Students who have been at Catlin Gabel for any length of time feel that this school community, in which they have been immersed for hours every weekday, and maybe even evenings and weekends, is an enormous part of their lives.

We are fortunate to have the sense of connectedness and formation of social networks here at Catlin Gabel that we do. Grade-level friendships among parents and children, sports team affiliations, interactions among divisions of the school, and extracurricular and other groups help weave the complex whole that is our school. So many different kinds of people make up this entity—from facilities workers to fundraisers, to teachers and students of all ages, and families of all backgrounds— that building community takes time, empathy, and trust.
Scott Peck, in his work The Different Drum, offers some useful ideas on how to think about community. He asserts that when people are able to move beyond fear of controversy or revealing of strong opinions and talk frankly with each other, greater community can occur. Sometimes these processes are difficult, even painful, but, as Peck says, at the end of the process true community can exist.
True community comes to fruition when we are each able to speak our truth about our feelings and ideas, when we are able to listen to and appreciate one another, and are able to subsume our own personal desires to the higher, social good. We endeavor to teach our students to be humane and open to others’ needs, that sometimes the needs of a few spotlight important issues that need to be addressed, that any community needs to order itself through its guidelines, and that often the needs of the community must trump the needs of the individual. That is why the notion of community is so complex and elusive. Good community is like good communication: you know it when you really have it, but sometimes the journey to that point is long and uneasy.
We struggle along on that journey together, for good and bad, old and young, and share our deepest selves in the process. All of the stories in this issue of the Caller explore this notion of community and offer wonderful examples of how we try to live true community every day. How can we not be successful with all of this effort?
Enjoy this issue of the Caller, and please accept an opportunity to come to one of the many events that secure true community here. It’s wonderful to join together and see how our children learn to be part of a greater whole.


"Yale Fan Chooses Harvard"

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The Harvard Crimson, June 2010

Faculty reach 100 percent participation in annual fund

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We are grateful for the outstanding efforts of Faculty-Staff Giving Committee members Kathy Qualman, Lynda Douglas, Ginny Malm, Kate Grant, Ron Sobel, Chris Balag, Chris Woodard, and Spencer White.

Thanks to everyone who made a gift to the 2009-10 Annual Fund. Your contributions directly support our students and our school.

Graduation 2010 photo gallery

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June 12, 2010



Upper School summer reading announced

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Dear Upper School Students,

We hope you will enjoy a summer filled with reading, and we encourage those of you already on campus to stop by the Upper School Library before your departure and pick up a few texts to peruse this summer. In addition to your leisure reading, all students will be required to read a book or two to keep their analytical skills in fighting trim and to prepare for English class in the fall. All Upper School students will read Billy Collins’ Sailing Alone Around the Room, in anticipation of the author’s visit to campus as the 2010 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. In addition, freshmen, sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors will each read another book keyed to their fall courses. All of these books are now available in the Catlin Gabel bookstore, as well as at bookstores in the region. To make sure that everyone is on the same page in fall discussions of these works, your instructors request that you purchase the following editions of these texts:

All Upper School Students
Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, Random House, 2002 (ISBN-13: 978-

English 9
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men, Penguin, 2002 (ISBN-13: 978-0142000670)

English 10
Iris Murdoch, Under the Net, Penguin, 1977 (ISBN-13: 978-0140014457)

English 11
Toni Morrison, A Mercy, Vintage, 2009 (ISBN-13: 978-0307276766)

Senior Electives

Classical and Contemporary Rhetoric
David Foster Wallace, A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, Back Bay, 1998 (ISBN-13:

R. W. B. Lewis, Dante: A Life, Penguin, 2000 (ISBN-13: 978-0143116417)

Modern and Contemporary Drama
Anton Chekhov, Chekhov: The Essential Plays, trans. Michael Heim, Modern Library,
2003 (ISBN-13: 978-0375761348)

Modern Queer Literature: From Whitman to Winterson
Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body, Vintage, 1994 (ISBN-13: 978-0679744474)

Modernity and Modernism
Charles Dickens, Hard Times, ed. Fred Kaplan and Sylvere Mondod, Third
Norton Critical Edition, 2000 (ISBN-13: 978-0393975604)

Please complete this required reading before the first day of classes in anticipation of discussion and quizzes. Enjoy a healthy, restful summer.

—The Members of the English Department


Lifers photo gallery

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Members of the class of 2010 who have been at Catlin Gabel since preschool, kindergarten, or 1st grade

Click on any photo below to start the slide show.

Poet Billy Collins speaking at 2010-11 Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture

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Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will return to the Catlin Gabel campus this fall, as a Karl Jonske Memorial Lecturer. His last visit was in 1999, the year of Karl Jonske's graduation, as a Jean Vollum Distinguished Writer.

The date for the Karl Jonske Memorial Lecture will be announced in late summer. Due to space limitations in our theater, this event will be open to Catlin Gabel community members only.

Upper School students will prepare for the lecture by reading Collins' Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001) this summer. This volume will soon be available in the Catlin Gabel bookstore.

We also highly recommend Collins' latest collection, Ballistics (2008) to those who might be interested in his most recent work.

The "Billy Collins, Action Poetry" website, which offers a series of animated versions of his poetry, is a flat-out hoot: http://www.bcactionpoet.org

The Poetry Foundation has a bio and links to several poems and audio files: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=80600

Publication history for Collins can be found at http://www.billy-collins.com

The Karl Jonske '99 Memorial Lecture Series honors a devoted student of English and lover of the written word. Karl graduated from Catlin Gabel in 1999, where he was a National Merit semi-finalist, a member of the varsity tennis team, and a captain of the varsity basketball team. He went on to attend the University of Chicago, where he was active in community service, sports, and the Model United Nations.

His many interests included reading, writing, scuba, and travel. He had a passion for working with young people and volunteered with middle school youth as a math tutor. He hoped to become a professional writer. In addition to the lecture itself, the memorial has provided for the acquisition of 687 titles to date by the Upper School library.

Past lecturers have included poet and essayist Ted Kooser, journalists David Lamb and Sandy Northrop, photographer Anne B. Keiser, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder.

What's Next for What's Next?

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Introducing the Catlin Gabel Service Corps

By Middle School head Paul Andrichuk and communications director Kitty Katz ’74

We’re going to cut to the chase and announce the What’s Next plan, then we’ll review how we got here. After months of consensus building, research, and input, we are excited to launch the Catlin Gabel Service Corps: Multigenerations Working Together for the Greater Good. The Service Corps preserves many of the best attributes of Rummage, is sustainable and doable, and is consistent with the mission of the school. We are not replacing Rummage, which had become unsustainable. We are doing something new.

The Catlin Gabel Service Corps initiative will take time to grow and become an institutional tradition. After all, Rummage began when one parent organized a small secondhand sale to meet the Catlin-Hillside School’s budget shortfall in 1945. The sale was not immediately embraced as an annual ritual: it grew over time.

A Corps Core group of faculty, staff, and volunteers will work on the details and long-term planning for the CG Service Corps. The Corps Core will be composed of can-do people who have demonstrated leadership in community service.

How did we get here?

Readers of this newsletter will recall that early in the school year we announced that the Rummage Sale would retire after 65 years. The people closest to the sale had concluded that it was not a sustainable operation, when it raised only 7 percent of our financial aid budget and volunteer numbers were declining. After the final sale was over, the What’s Next process began. A steering committee with representatives from all school constituent groups led the consensus-building efforts. At a community-wide workshop on January 23, more than 100 people generated four ideas for the steering committee to consider. (People who could not attend were invited to send ideas via the website.)

• Expand campus days to include a bigger work force that would encompass parents and alumni. Out-of-town alumni would be invited to volunteer in their communities on the same day(s) in solidarity with the events on campus.

• Enhance the current garden projects to engage people of all ages year round and cultivate more produce to use in the Barn.

• Create a multigenerational Catlin Gabel service corps to volunteer in the Portland community as well as on campus. Again, out-of-town alumni would be invited to represent Catlin Gabel in their own communities. We imagine that Catlin Gabel volunteer T-shirts would be an important part of this initiative.

• Find opportunities for the community to “barn raise” on campus, such as building a greenhouse, painting classrooms, or replacing siding. The Lower School playground project is the model for this initiative.

The steering committee broke into four sub-committees to research the ideas and explore the feasibility of launching them. The committee members met again after spring break to report on their findings and determine what needs to happen, so that Catlin Gabel can officially adopt one or more of the big ideas. The ideas were brought to Lark, division heads, and department heads for their input and reaction.

School leadership response

All-School Campus Day
An all-school campus day was initially appealing, but further investigation and input from the grounds crew caused us to reconsider. The current campus days are very successful and provide important services (leaf raking and bark chip distribution). Finding work and managing larger numbers all on a single schoolwide campus day could compromise the success of what we currently do. Working toward increased participation from parents and alumni and adding a celebratory element are positive outcomes of this investigation.

Garden Project and Fall Festival
The garden project is taking off, which is a great thing for our community. As the garden expands there will be more opportunities for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. However, there is not enough work for masses of people all at once. The idea of a harvest festival is very attractive, but fall of 2010 may be too soon. Perhaps Spring Festival could include a homegrown food and garden component.

Barn Raising
We are keeping our eyes and ears open to opportunities. However, there is not a large-scale on-campus project suitable for a significant crew of volunteers to undertake at this time. Building codes and safety regulations make this a difficult undertaking.

Community Service “Job Fair” (offshoot idea from the Service Corps subcommittee)
There was limited interest in a service fair and adding an event to our calendar. Students would not likely get this project off the ground without a great deal of supervision and staff support. However, if the Service Corps concept outlined below takes off, we can imagine adding a Service Job Fair to expand our reach and diversify our service.

Catlin Gabel Service Corps
This proposal gained the most traction with the admin team. It seems to best embrace the Rummage attributes we hold near and dear. The leadership team pursued the Service Corps proposal with greater specificity and looked for ways to combine it with other ideas such as campus day, the service fair, and a food festival or potluck.

Creating a Service Corps Committee (the “Corps Core”) of representative constituents was proposed. This long-term group will consider schoolwide themes, establish guidelines, and set school community goals that chart our progress.

What? Another committee?

Funny, yes. The What’s Next steering committee’s assignment is complete. They were charged with getting us to this point. Forming a new group to manage the Catlin Gabel Service Corps is essential for this initiative to successfully take root. the Corps Core will begin their work this summer. (It is premature to announce the members, but we have some great folks on the invite list.)

We are excited about the possibilities and know many Catlin Gabel community members will have great ideas for the Corps Core to consider. Here are a few suggestions the steering committee kicked around: How about a specific day when local community members and alumni around the world serve on behalf of Catlin Gabel? Drop everything and serve. Let’s kick off the Catlin Gabel Service Corps idea homecoming day – we’ll have a built-in celebration! Students could have a Rummage contest knockoff with blue and white teams collecting on behalf of the Oregon Food Bank or the Community Warehouse or Outside/In. We hope you are as enthusiastic as we are about the What’s Next: the Catlin Gabel Service Corps.

Urban studies student presentation impresses at PSU graduate school, come see for yourself at public forum

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Students in the PLACE urban studies class have been working with Portland State University graduate students on a food security project involving Zenger Farms in outer southeast Portland. The students will report their findings at a public meeting for planning professionals and community members on Wednesday, June 2, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at Portland State’s Smith Union, room 238. Food and drink provided. Come early to get a seat.

The audience raved about how well prepared and engaging our young community stewards were when they presented their findings and recommendations to professors and students in the PSU School of Urban Studies and Planning.

This is the first time high school students have collaborated with graduate students on an important community project. Come support our students and our city. For more information about PLACE, contact George Zaninovich at PLACE@catlin.edu.

» Link to student projects

Honor your child’s teacher

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Show your gratitude for the amazing teachers who educate your child by making a gift to the school in their honor

Make your gift online or call 503-297-1894 ext. 306.


Remember, your contribution is 100% tax deductible.


Upper School Final Exam Schedule 2010

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Upper School Final Exam Schedule

This year the timing of finals exams will be determined by subject, rather than class period, to allow for all the sections of each class to take a test at the same time. Finals will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, June 7th, 8th, and 9th according to the schedule below.

Parents, please note: students are only required to be at school when they have a final exam, although we expect many students to be on campus during regular hours.


* The 9th and 10th grade English classes will meet as discrete sections over these days. This is the pattern they will follow:
TUESDAY: Art 1, Nichole 1, Brett 1,
WEDNESDAY 1ST BLOCK: Art 2, Nichole 2, Brett 2, Ginia 1
WEDNESDAY 2ND BLOCK: Art 3, Nichole 3, Brett 3, Ginia 2


Summer Borrowing in the US Library Kicks Off on June 1st!

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you can check out books and magazines for the whole summer...

Summer Borrowing is your chance to check out books and magazines to enjoy all summer long.  All returning students and fac/staff may participate.  Beginning on Tuesday, June 1st, stop by to browse our big, big displays.  We'll be glad to help you find something of interest, or an armload of good reading.  This is YOUR chance to decide what you want to read. 

See you soon!  --Sue


==Historical Fiction==

Do you enjoy novels set in the past?  We have hundreds of good choices.  Whether you like stories from the Civil War era, ancient Egypt, India, or France during the Revolution, we've got something you will enjoy.  Ask Sue for help if you need it!

==Mysterious Mathematics==

If you need a little bit of inspiration from the big names in mathematics, or you love to solve difficult problems, browse these wonderful titles.


Prime Numbers:  The Most Mysterious Figures in Math--D. Wells

A look at the math and mystique of prime numbers bringing to life the strange attraction of primes, from their current use in codes and cryptography to the Fermat and Fibonacci numbers, Goldbach's Conjecture, the Mersenne primes, and the number mysticism of old Pythagoras; from prime records and mathematicians' ingenious efforts to find primes (including a 2002 breakthrough algorithm), all the way to the unproven Riemann Hypothesis and the extraordinary zeta function.


Knotted Doughnuts and other mathematical entertainments--M. Gardner

Do you like Scientific American?  This book is a collection of Martin Gardner's Scientific American columns including mathematical games, problems, paradoxes, teasers, and tricks.

Rock, Paper, and Scissors:  Game Theory in Everyday Life--L. Fisher

Game theory reveals various aspects of social behavior, with an analysis of how social norms and peoples' sense of fair play can create cooperative--rather than competitive--solutions to problems, and shows how mathematics applies to daily dilemmas.


The Jasons:  The Secret History of Sciences' Postwar Elite--A. Finkbeiner

Reveals how a highly secretive team of scientists known as Jason have been working since 1960 to solve highly classified problems for the American government. 


The Math Book:  From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics--C. Pickover

If you want the big picture in short entries, check out this anthology of descriptions of 250 significant achievements in the history of mathematics, arranged chronologically from circa 150 million BC to 2007.  Now that's coverage!


A Beautiful Math:  John Nash, Game Theory, and the Modern Quest for a Code of Nature--T. Siegfried

This book examines Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash's game theory and the ways it has shaped evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and quantum physics, linking the three sciences in a way that could lead to a science of human social behavior, or "Code of Nature."

  The Millennium Problems:  The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of our Time--K. Devlin

Solving one of these problems is the hard way to obtain $1,000,000.00, but you could try!  The book tells the stories behind seven extraordinarily difficult mathematical problems, the solutions for which the Clay Foundation of Cambridge, Massachusetts is offering one million dollars each, and discusses what they mean for the future of math and science.


==Rebels, Pirates, and Gangsters==

Under the Black Flag:  The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates--D. Cordingly

Johnny Depp didn't really give us the whole story.  This book takes a closer look at the real lives of historical pirates.  

Gang Leader for a Day--S. Venkatesh

The author, when a first year graduate student in Sociology,  managed to work his way into one of Chicago's must brutal crack-dealing gangs.  This is the story of learning about gang life from the inside. 


The Motorcycle Diaries--C. Guevara

Guevara's book documents his 1952 motorcycle road trip from Buenos Aires through South America.  This is the Che before he became a famous Cuban revolutionary.


American Mafia:  A History of its Rise to Power--T. Reppetto

A fascinating account of the rise of the American Mafia from the 1880s to the 1950s, discussing the political, governmental, bureaucratic, economic, and social conditions that facilitated the success of the crime syndicate.

On the Road--J. Kerouac

A fiftieth anniversary edition of Jack Kerouac's thinly fictionalized autobiography chronicling his cross-country adventure across North America on a quest for self-knowledge as experienced by his alter-ego, Sal Paradise and Sal's friend Dean Moriarty--Kerouac's real life friend Neal Cassady.


One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--K. Kesey

Quite famously made into a film, this story is a classic.  Here's the official description:  The tale is chronicled by the seemingly mute Indian patient, Chief Bromden; its hero Randle Patrick McMurphy, the boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who encourages gambling, drinking,and sex in the ward, and rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorial role of Big Nurse. McMurphy's defiance which begins as a sport-develops into a grim struggle with the awesome power of the "Combine", concluding with shattering, tragic results. In its unforgettable portrait of a man teaching the value of self-reliance and laughter destroyed by forces of hatred and fear.


==Graphic Novels & Nonfiction==

The Complete Persepolis--M. Satrapi

The author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime.

Watchmen--Alan Moore

This is an Alan Moore classic, which Time magazine called "a masterpiece."  Two generations of superheroes, including Dr. Manhattan, who deals with the responsibility of his powers, and Nite Owl, who wrestles with letting go of the past, dissect their collective histories while trying to determine who is methodically killing them all off.


The Photographer--Guibert, Lefevre and Lemercier

This amazing books documents a visit into Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders.  If you are interested in current events, graphic novel-style storytelling, and or medicine, check it out.