A small group of AC students approached Amy Oliveri, Director of AC’s Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship, to facilitate a field trip to attend RIT Day of Photo on Friday, October 22nd. This full-day event provided students with an opportunity to learn more about Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Art and Design and the majors available in the Photography Department: Photojournalism, Advertising, Fine Art, Visual Media, and Photo Science.
Students heard from a panel of faculty who spoke about, and showed, examples of student work. An engaging student-led panel discussion followed.
“I liked the student panel. It was really informative,” said Nya ʼ23. “The biggest thing was that I felt like I had to pick what I want right now, and it’s nice to know I can go into one program and move amongst the different programs.” This event piqued Nya’s interest in applying to RIT’s photo program.
AC students also had the opportunity to tour The Cage, a place that Mx. Oliveri described as “magical.” Resident gearheads Thomas ʼ23 and Nolan ʼ23 fell in love with the abundance of cutting edge equipment available for RIT student use.
“My highlight from this event was seeing the gear,” said Nolan. “I was able to hold, shoot, and adjust the camera settings on a Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro with a Canon 200-400 f4 lens worth more than $16,000. I was able to look at two massive cameras in the cage… I didn’t think I would ever get the chance to see stuff on my wish list in person. It was super cool.”
Thomas added, “It was a great experience to be able to interact with the cameras and talk to someone experienced in using them.”
Evelyn ʼ24 really enjoyed the afternoon workshops, where guests visited studios and worked directly with students and faculty on shoots. The three workshops were Thermal Imagine Portrait Demonstration, Advertising Portraits, and High Speed Portraits.
“The afternoon workshops were really cool, especially the high speed one,” said Evelyn. “This workshop gave students a balloon with air and a small amount of water in it. There was a sound activated flash in a dark room allowing the photographer to capture the balloon mid-pop. I thought it was really interesting to see the effect of the flash on the water and to learn more about the flash and how it was activated.”
Rochester and NYC-based portrait photographer Clay Patrick McBride led an Advertising Portrait workshop, which offered students the opportunity to be the subject of a high-end studio portrait session. “I really liked the workshop with Clay,” said Nya. “It was so different to be in front of the camera rather than behind it. I now know that I want to study photography, and I’m excited about what RIT has to offer!”
We are grateful to Mx. Oliveri for facilitating such a valuable experience for AC students to see what our local institutions have to offer in the way of art and technology.
AC students participated in “College Admission Testing Day” on Wednesday, October 13th.
College admission tests (ACT and SAT) can be a helpful addition to a student’s college application, and the AC College Counseling Program provides opportunities for students to achieve their best scores. Students in 10th and 11th grade took the PreACT and PSAT/NMSQT, respectively, and were encouraged to use their score reports and test experiences to inform future test preparation and planning.
Students in 12th grade voted on which test (SAT or ACT) they wanted offered during the school day, creating the opportunity for an accessible test administration. Upper School Math Teacher, Brent Neeley, facilitated calculator workshops with test-takers to sharpen their “calculator agility” for the math sections on the tests. Through AC’s partnership with Chariot Learning, AC students have access to on-site test preparation, and all AC students can participate in free on-site practice SAT and ACT tests.
As students navigate the test-optional admissions landscape, AC’s Director of College Counseling continues to provide guidance on test submission so that students can best position their applications.
One of AC’s most beloved traditions is the annual seventh grader trip to Camp Pathfinder in Ontario, Canada for a weeklong outdoor education experience.
This year, out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to stay in the U.S., so our middle school faculty jumped into gear and organized Seventh Grade Adventure Week.
The week was comprised of a series of outdoor field trips designed to get students to fully embrace the majesty of the Finger Lakes region, escape their comfort zone, become immersed in local history, and work together as one united team.
During Seventh Grade Adventure Week, AC students visited the following regional destinations:
- Bristol’s Aerial Adventure Park
- A Nature Hike on the Finger Lakes Trail (Camp Cutler to Ontario County Park)
- White water rafting at Letchworth State Park
- Mount Morris Dam
- Chimney Bluffs State Park
“It was fun to experience the outside when we spend so much time on our electronics,” said Rylee ’27. Casey ’27 added, “It was a unique experience and something I wouldn’t plan to do every day. There were so many cool things that I have never done before, and it felt good to do that. The ropes course was awesome!”
“The time away from classes was still learning,” said AC Faculty Aaron Shepard. “It was just as valuable as academic time and it was a great opportunity to bond in a different way with our seventh graders. I appreciated the chance to challenge them in a non-academic setting which was outside their comfort zone.”
Higher education is an investment, and developing an understanding of how the financial aid application and award process works will empower your family to make informed choices through the college search and application process.
Zoom in for AC’s annual College Financial Aid 101 program on Wednesday, October 27th at 7 p.m. and learn from an expert in the field, Cameron Feist.
Cameron Feist serves as Hamilton College’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management & Director of Financial Aid. Cameron has been in this role for nearly a decade and oversees all aspects of financial need analysis and disbursement of federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Cameron manages an institutional financial aid budget of nearly $50 million. Hamilton College is one of only a handful of colleges in the country that is need blind during the admission process and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need.
Cameron also has experience as a high school college counselor, which gives him a heightened awareness of the many dimensions involved with the college search and application process. His direct, yet empathetic, approach to financial aid education is highly effective!
Together, we will review the federal methodology for determining financial aid and the various resources colleges use to build financial aid packages. All Allendale Columbia families are welcome, and friends and colleagues from other school communities are also welcome!
Students at Allendale Columbia celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday, September 24th. The event was part of AC’s commitment to emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. The celebration engaged all students from the Little School to the Upper School in an array of culturally authentic activities and entertainment.
The Festival commemorates the brightest full moon of the year. Mid-Autumn Festival is considered one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture and is sometimes called the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival.
“When the bright moon shines over the sea, from far away, you share this moment with me.”
Little School assistant teacher Mengqian Ou performed live music on the pipa, a pear-shaped Chinese musical instrument similar to a lute. Students made greeting cards, designed hand fans to raffle off, and participated in a Chinese calligraphy writing workshop. Mooncakes, a traditional pastry treat, were served during the festival. Storytelling selections included “The Shadow in the Moon” by Christina Matula, and “Thanking the Moon” by Grace Lin.
For many AC students, this was the first time they celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival. Students expressed their revived interest in exploring different cultures and were thrilled to partake in this school-wide event.
Congratulations to AC’s nine Upper School students whose photography work is being exhibited in a professional gallery setting: Jacqueline ’22, Sophie ’22, Ava ’22, Jonathan ’22, Jennifer ’22, Yuxiang (David) ’22, Fenshuo (Adam) ’23, Mara ’21, and McKenna ’21. These students are included in Image City Photography Gallery’s eleventh annual Through the Student Lens show, which introduces work by local high school photographers to the public. AC is one of thirteen high schools participating in this year’s exhibition. All of the work has been professionally printed and is for sale.
Through the Student Lens 2021 runs from March 23 – April 18th, and there are two ways to view and enjoy this show–in person and online! Image City Gallery is located on University Avenue in the Neighborhood of the Arts, near the Memorial Art Gallery. Click here for hours, directions, and information. You can view the entire student show online here.
Congratulations to McKenna Shearing, Jacqueline Henry, Katie Chapados, Jessica Chapados, and Mackenzie Opira! Each of these students recently received regional honors in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Scholastic is the country’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision. Notable Scholastic alumni who were award winners themselves in Middle and High School include Andy Warhol, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Burns, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Charles White, and Kay WalkingStick.
McKenna Shearing ’21 received a Gold Key Award in Digital Art for her digital collage, Untitled, and Jacqueline Henry ’22 was awarded a Gold Key in Ceramics and Glass for her ceramic sculpture, Untitled.
Mackenzie Opira ’26 received a Silver Key Award in Photography for her image, “Helping Hand.” Jessica Chapados ’26 was awarded an Honorable Mention in Photography for her photo, “In the Field,” and Katie Chapados ’26 received an Honorable Mention in Photography for her image, “Pride.”
Gold Key Award winners advance to Scholastic’s national-level adjudication in New York City.
More information about the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program can be found here: https://www.artandwriting.org
PACK (Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids) recently hosted Allison Zukoski, co-owner of Laughing Gull Chocolates, to treat our AC community to a night of all things chocolate!
Normally throughout the school year, PACK hosts a handful of events to give faculty, staff, and parents opportunities to casually socialize and make connections. Since most in-person events this year have been canceled, and conventional travel is extra challenging, Allendale Columbia teamed up with Laughing Gull Chocolates to virtually travel the globe and learn the ins and outs of the history of chocolate, as well as a chance to sample eight different varieties.
We were delighted to find chocolate samples from Tanzania, Ecuador, and Madagascar, each having their own unique flavor. Allison instructed us to use all of our five senses when trying each sample to get the most of the experience. Attendees asked questions about the way the chocolates were crafted and Allison shared her wealth of knowledge on the different methods chocolates are grown and produced.
It was also very interesting to hear different opinions about the various flavors we tried throughout the evening. I heard words like “sweet”, “buttery”, “creamy”, “bitter”, “fruity”, and “grainy”, just to name a few. Some participants were surprised that they enjoyed a certain chocolate that they didn’t think they would. For example, one of the samples was a cranberry orange bark, and many people were surprised to enjoy the blending flavors. My personal favorite was the white peppermint bark that had a sweet and smooth base but a nice blend of a minty punch. From Taza super dark chocolate, to the Qantu goat milk chocolate, there was something for everyone’s palates. Overall it was an evening of smiles, laughter and chocolate! What could be better than that?
PACK is always looking for fun events to bring our AC community together.
If you have an idea for a fun, virtual, event, please feel free to reach out to PACK President, Marie Timpani, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie BarrettAs AC’s Welcome Desk Associate, Julie collaborates with several AC departments and ensures that everyone who visits or calls campus feels welcome. Prior to joining AC, she worked for Mattiacio Orthodontics, Rochester Wedding Magazine, and Cardiac Life. She received her Associate’s Degree in Sports Tourism and Marketing from Finger Lakes Community College and is in the process of earning a Certificate in Business and Entrepreneurial Studies from Monroe Community College.