AC Food Featured at PACK Coffee Connection

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

What words or images go through your head when you think about school lunches? How about “healthy” and “sustainable?”

At Allendale Columbia, it may start with providing healthy, sustainable, fresh, tasty, and allergy-safe sustenance, Food Service Director, Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch related at Wednesday’s Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) Coffee Connection. But healthy and sustainable goes beyond the food. Laura and her team also seek to contribute to students’ overall well-being and develop practices that will sustain students into their adult lives.

The whole school eats lunch family-style. At each level (Lower, Middle, and Upper School), students sit at assigned tables with students from their Division, as well as an adult faculty or staff member. Table assignments change monthly to help students get to know each other and build connections, one of the school’s core values.

Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch explained how students take turns with various responsibilities, getting the entree and sides, clearing the table, separating garbage, compostables, and recyclables, and even wiping down the table and getting it ready for the next lunch. (Sorry, kids, now your parents know you are capable of doing these things at home!)

Food is sourced locally as much as possible. AC has been one of Headwater Food Hub’s earliest institutional customers. In 2018, Headwater delivered offerings from 62 local area farms, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses, to AC. Some foods come direct from other local farms.

Headwater’s vegetables are often featured for Fearless Friday, when Super Chef Yessy Roman prepares a dish for Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch, who typically doesn’t like vegetables, and guest student taste testers to try. On this day, she had parent testers try Celeriac Slaw. They liked it!

AC also has a relationship with Flour City Bread. Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch gives food tips every day to Lower School students and often preaches about eating only things you can pronounce, and staying away from the stuff that you can’t pronounce or has a lot of ingredients. She sometimes has a child read the ingredients from a Flour City offering, and then has an older student read the list from another mainstream brand as an example. Here’s one example: which would you prefer?

  • Flour City Bread: White Sandwich Bread
    Ingredients: Organic wheat flour, water, organic sunflower oil, organic cane sugar, sea salt, yeast
  • Stroehmann King: White Enriched Bread
    Ingredients: Enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, reduced iron, niacin, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], water, high fructose corn syrup, yeast, salt, soybean and/or canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, calcium propionate (preservative), datem, calcium sulfate, soy lecithin, citric acid, grain vinegar, sodium stearoyl lactylate, wheat gluten, azodicarbonamide, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides.

Partnerships extend to composting food waste and napkins. Fifth-grade students help younger ones sort food into the proper containers, and then they carry the compost buckets out to a larger bin at the loading dock. That gets picked up on a regular basis from Natural Upcycling, which uses an anaerobic digester to produce renewable energy.

In addition to a main entree and side, Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch explained how AC always provides a fresh-made soup of the day and an extensive salad, sandwich, and yogurt bar. The AC Kitchen gladly accommodates special food requests, with vegetarian and vegan offerings every day, and alternatives for those who need them either because of food allergies or other medical conditions, or even just known preferences. As a nut-aware school, all ingredients are nut-free, giving confidence to students (and parents) that they can try the full variety of offerings.

While the menu rotates generally every three weeks, new meals are introduced as ingredients are available, such as last week’s Chicken Curry and this week’s Balsamic Chicken with Baby Tomatoes and Couscous.

Mrs. Reynolds-Gorsuch remained to answer questions and invited parents to stop by for lunch!

Stay Connected with the AC Kitchen!

Our kitchen staff sometimes posts updates on Twitter @ACLunchLadies. Follow them here!


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Posted in: Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper School

SCIENCE FAIR: Movie Screening Jan. 30th

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by cnickels

Join us for a special viewing of SCIENCE FAIR by National Geographic
Hailed by critics as “infectious and exuberant” and “the funniest movie of the year,” National Geographic Documentary Films’ SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at the International Science and Engineering Fair. As 1,700 of the smartest, quirkiest teens from 78 different countries face off, only one will be named Best in Fair. SCIENCE FAIR won the audience award at Sundance and SXSW.

Wednesday, January 30th
6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Allendale Columbia School

$5 General Admission
Students FREE with valid ID
(buy tickets in advance to reserve your seat)


Watch the trailer and see for yourself why science is so cool.


Allendale Columbia School presents this event as part of our commitment to exposing students and the Rochester community to STEM and entrepreneurship opportunities. Learn more about the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation and the AC Center for Entrepreneurship.


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Posted in: Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School

Fearless Friday: Ginger-infused Edamame

Posted on January 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

It’s Fearless Friday, and Super Chef Yessy Roman made a vegan, protein-rich side or snack for cold winter days. Food Service Director Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch, who generally does not like vegetables, and some Lower School taste testers gave it a try before it was available to everyone. While the first few tasters loved it, the last two had a different opinion.

Recipe: Ginger-infused Edamame


  • 2 lbs cooked shelled edamame
  • 1 large red or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or cilantro)
  • 2 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon


  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add to edamame.
  3. Enjoy!
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Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

Change Provides Car for Afghan Hero

Posted on January 15th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School
Ellen Smith (NOLB Rochester Chapter Head) and Abdul Wali Akrami receive a ceremonial check from Change We Can Believe In leader Elina Natarajan '22.

Ellen Smith (NOLB Rochester Chapter Head) and Abdul Wali Akrami receive a ceremonial check from Change We Can Believe In leader Elina Natarajan ’22.

Abdul Wali Akrami, a humble hero who helped U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan, received a car and insurance to help him resettle in Rochester as a result of AC ninth-grader, Elina Natarajan’s inspired “Change You Can Count On” fundraiser at Allendale Columbia School.

Natarajan rallied the Community Service Club to help with the project, in which students in each grade and faculty sought to fill 2-liter bottles with loose change. All those coins added up to $743.00 to support No One Left Behind (NOLB), an organization that helps resettle the Afghan and Iraqi heroes who assisted the U.S. as drivers, interpreters, and special assistants.

“I was inspired when I met Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari after a discussion at school,” Natarajan explained. AC alumnus and 2018 CNN Hero, Matt Zeller ’00, is a co-founder of NOLB with his Afghan translator Janis Shinwari. “I heard Ellen Smith (the Rochester Chapter Head) talk in the evening forum about raising money to help provide vehicles to these relocated helpers, and I thought, we can do that!”

“Wali” and his family fled his home country of Afghanistan to go to Pakistan when it became too dangerous under the Taliban. He returned when U.S. forces arrived to, as he put it, “help restore our country”. He became the trusted driver and special assistant to Fulton Jones, DynCorp International’s Deputy Program Manager for the Ministry of Interior’s Mentoring Program working with the Afghan National Police. Jones is the one who sponsored Wali’s visa. “On two occasions while we were traveling in my vehicle around Kabul, nearby coalition military bases or Afghan governmental institutions were attacked by Taliban insurgents. Wali quickly assessed the situation and realized that we were in danger of being hit,” Jones wrote in his letter of recommendation, and related how Wali got them to safety. “Wali risks his life daily just coming to work…but firmly believes what he is doing is right and worth the risk.”

Wali’s son, Aleem, related some of his father’s story to the packed Curtis Performance Center at AC, while tears of gratitude streamed down Wali’s face. A family friend, Jawad Tawakali, who moved here as a child, translated Wali’s thanks to the group. “It feels good to know we could help,” said Natarajan, who also noticed the tears. “It was a very emotional moment.”


Interested in supporting No One Left Behind? Send donations to:

No One Left Behind, Inc.
888 Pittsford Mendon Center Road
Pittsford, NY 14534

You can also email Irwin Solomon at

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Posted in: Alumni News, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Now in College, AC Grads Sound More Like Their Parents and Teachers

Posted on January 10th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

By John Palomaki

Get to bed earlier.
Don’t wait to the last minute to start your homework.
Get out of your room and make friends.
Do your laundry.
Talk to your teachers.
Manage your time.
Find your passion.
School work comes first.
Surround yourself with good people.
Turn your homework in on time.
Make sure you get enough sleep.
Just do the work.
Think about who you are.

Admonitions from parents or teachers? Not this time. These are some of the many tips Allendale Columbia graduates gave Upper School students based on their college experiences. (more…)

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Posted in: Alumni News, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Empty Bowls Proceeds Presented to Ugandan Water Project

Posted on January 9th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Allendale Columbia School’s Middle School Ceramics class presented a check for $717.00 to Maddy Campbell, Event Coordinator and Executive Assistant of the Ugandan Water Project, on Wednesday, January 8th, 2019, the proceeds from their fourth annual Empty Bowls project.

Ceramics students organized and ran the entire Empty Bowls event. Members of our AC community created over 75 bowls for the silent auction, held on December 12th, 2018, including Upper Schoolers, faculty, and of course the Middle School Ceramics class. Additionally, artists in Rochester donated 7 vessels for a raffle, and local businesses contributed delicious food and coffee for the fundraiser.

The Ugandan Water Project is a global, non-profit humanitarian organization that provides clean water, sanitation, and hygiene resources to communities in Uganda. A representative from the Ugandan Water Project visited the Ceramics class on Monday, December 3rd, to talk with the students and answer questions about their work.

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots project to fight hunger, personalized by artists and art organizations on a community level.

For more information on AC’s Empty Bowls Project, go to

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade

AC Events Preview 2019

Posted on January 2nd, 2019 by cnickels


Mark your calendars for these fun events happening with the Allendale Columbia community in 2019:


  • January 16th: Movie Screening, Science Fair (open to the public)
  • January 18th: Open House
  • January 23rd: Kindergarten Breakfast
  • January 26th: VEX IQ Robotics Qualifier (Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse)
  • January 31st: Class of 2020 Coffee Klatch
  • February 1st: Lower School Friday Night Delight
  • February 5th: Third grade field trip to Roberts Wesleyan Orchestra
  • February 6th:  Middle and Upper School Next Steps
    Current students will visit the Middle or Upper School to attend classes, meet faculty, and join students for lunch.
  • February 8th: Lower School Next Steps
    Lower School parents with students entering Kindergarten through Grade 5 are invited to hear from Michelle Feiss, observe classes and speak with teachers. 
  • February 13th: Lower School Musical (open to the public)
  • March 1st: Lower School’s Faculty/Parent Side-by-Side Concert (open to the public)
  • March 6th: Sophomore Forum
  • March 7th: PACK All Parent Dinner
  • March 15th: Innovation Day (open to the public)
  • March 15th-16th: Middle School Musical: Peter Pan (open to the public)
  • March 21st: Open House
  • April 5th-6th: Upper School Drama Play (open to the public)
  • April 11th: Freshmen Forum
  • April 26th:
    • Science Writing & Research Symposium (open to the public)
      Science Writing & Research class will be presenting the results of their year long research project at St. John Fisher College.
    • Lower School Friday Night Delight
    • Middle School Dance
  • April 29th: Start of Lower School Kite Week
  • April 30th: Spring Chorus and Band Concert (open to the public)
  • May 1st-3rd: 8th Grade Trip to D.C.
  • May 4th: Open House
  • May 6th-17th: AP Exams
  • May 8th:
    • Lower School Spring Concert (open to the public)
    • 8th Grade Project Exhibition
      8th grade students present their capstone project that explores how the science and technology of World War II influences our lives today. 
  • May 10th:
    • Mother’s Day Tea in Pre-K
    • PACK Middle School Swim Night
  • May 18th: Prom
  • May 20th – June 6th: May Term
  • May 24th: Strawberry Breakfast
  • May 29th-31st: 5th Grade Whale Watching Trip
  • May 30th: Kindergarten Variety Show
  • June 6th: May Term Exhibition Night (open to the public)
  • June 7th:
    • Lower School Moving Up Ceremony
    • Middle School Recognition Ceremony
    • Upper School Convocation
    • Senior Dinner
  • June 9th: Commencement
Posted in: Highlights

Nicaraguan Partners Visit AC Spanish Classes

Posted on December 20th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Kate Western

On Tuesday, visitors from Rochester’s sister city of El Sauce, Nicaragua, met with Middle and Upper School Spanish classes to raise awareness of the existing needs of Nicaraguan children. Marta Rojas and Ashley Sullivan, a Hilton native, both live in El Sauce, and they have dedicated their lives to making an impact on children of need in their community through the Ciudad Hermana (Sister City) Scholarship Project. (more…)

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Global Engagement, Highlights, Middle School, Upper School