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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in: Alumni News, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper 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…)
Posted in: Alumni News, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper 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 https://allendalecolumbia.org/emptybowls.
Posted in: Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Partnerships, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade
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
- Science Writing & Research Symposium (open to the public)
- 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
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…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Global Engagement, Highlights, Middle School, Upper School
Should celebrities speak out on political issues?
Jessica Sherin (as Barbra Streisand), Gifford Campbell (as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones), Matt Duver (as Penguins coach Mike Sullivan), and Riley Leibeck (as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham) discussed the topic at AC Junior Forum Thursday, December 13th, with moderator Evelyn Van Arsdale.
They addressed whether athletes should be allowed to kneel during the national anthem, First Amendment freedom of speech rights, who is really “qualified” to state political opinions, and more in a riveting discussion.
Forums are conducted in each of the four Upper School grades. The seniors went first discussing whether civil discourse was possible in today’s democracy.
When life gives you challenges, some people build an app! Noah Levine, a senior at Allendale Columbia School, knows that life on the autism spectrum can be overwhelming at times. He was born and diagnosed with autism and has worked hard at self regulation. He was inspired by the therapeutic content that he found helpful and started building an app that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help kids on the spectrum self-regulate when they are overwhelmed. It also gives health providers valuable data about what content works for kids so they can adjust their care accordingly.
On National App Day, December 11th, we celebrate apps that people couldn’t imagine living their lives without. One day soon, Noah’s app will be one of those.
If you are thinking about creating an app, here are 4 things Noah recommends you consider:
Have a clear idea.
Noah saw the need for a tool that would help kids living with autism to self-regulate. He knew that therapeutic videos and content worked for him, but some kids can’t ever access this content in the first place, much less tell their doctors about what’s working. He knew he wanted to make it easier for more kids to access the therapeutic content and for doctors to see what’s been working for each person. When creating your own app, figure out a clear vision for what you want to accomplish before you get started building it.
Network. Network. Network.
Noah found helpful people through LinkedIn, family connections, and his Allendale Columbia community. His idea first got started with help from teachers during May Term, a three-week independent study opportunity for all AC Middle and Upper Schoolers. Telling people about his idea was the first step to making it a reality.
Always ask questions.
Like anything new, it’s natural to not have all the answers. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said Noah. When developing his app, Noah reached out to experts from Duke and University of Rochester to help him resolve issues that came up.
Make the most of your opportunities.
What started during May Term has become an everyday project for Noah. Through the help of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, Noah was able to continue working on his idea while getting critical feedback and mentorship from teachers on business, technology, and so much more.
Noah will graduate from Allendale Columbia in 2019. His app, called Horizon Autism, is still in development but he hopes to launch it soon. To connect with Noah (Network. Network. Network!) or to stay updated on his app, you can visit Noah on LinkedIn.
About the AC Center for Entrepreneurship
We believe our students must identify and solve problems creatively. The AC Center for Entrepreneurship will create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. Learn more about the AC Center for Entrepreneurship.
Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
By Lynn Grossman
Many folks associate the word improvisation with one thing: jazz music.
But creativity and improvisation are crucial aspects of comprehensive music learning. Improvisation is recognized as one of the four components of the National Core Arts Anchor Standards in music (Creating, Performing, Responding, and Connecting). What’s more, improvisation is a learned skill, and perfect for learners of all ages.
I have made creativity and improvisation a central part of my curriculum within Allendale Columbia’s elementary general and instrumental music classes. As a result, I was invited to present two sessions relating to my work at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Conference in Dallas, TX (Nov. 11th-14th). (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade