Reunion 2019

Posted on July 16th, 2019 by acsrochester

Reunion 2019! Join Allendale Columbia School June 14th-15th for Reunion 2019

Reunion 2019 brought out a record-breaking number of alumni, despite being held indoors for the first time in decades. Spirits and energy were high as nearly 287 members of the classes of 1954-2019 gathered together for a weekend of fun!


Check out the links below to view even MORE photos!

Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon
Ultimate Frisbee
HAC Alumni Soccer Game
Paint & Sip
HAC Alumni Basketball Game
All Alumni Cocktail Party


Friday, June 14th

Distinguished Alumni Award Luncheon 
Country Club of Rochester, 2935 East Ave., Rochester, NY, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Members of the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association Board presented the 11th annual Distinguished Alumni Award to Bob Tait ’75. The award was established in 2009 to honor alumni for their outstanding achievements and contributions to both Allendale Columbia School and their local community.

Class of 1969 Cocktail Party
30 The Highlands, Rochester, NY 14622, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Columbia alumnae from the Class of 1969 gathered for cocktails at Sue’s home Friday evening. A dutch treat dinner followed at a location of their choice.

Saturday, June 15th

Alumni Ultimate Frisbee
Lower Field, 10:00 a.m.

Chip Bradford ’99 once again lead the casual morning game to help kick off the day.

The Mark von Bucher ’08 HAC Alumni Soccer Game
Upper Field, 10:30 a.m.

Long-time coach Ted Hunt organized the 13th annual Mark von Bucher ’08 HAC Alumni Soccer Game. The game started at 10:30 a.m. and welcomed back many former HAC soccer players.

Class of 1969 Voyage on the Sam Patch 
Schoen Place, Pittsford, 11:45 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Boat departed promptly at 12:00 p.m.

Members of the Class of 1969 and their guests enjoyed lunch on a private charter going 15 miles down the Erie Canal aboard the authentic packet boat replica: Sam Patch.

All Alumni Lunch
Dining Commons, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Alumni joined us in the Dining Commons for a family-friendly, complimentary lunch that featured drinks, wraps, sandwiches, salad, and dessert. It was the perfect stop between alumni games and before the campus tours!

Tour of the School
Welcome Desk, 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Alumni and their families stopped by the front desk to once again walk the hallways of AC and explore their favorite spaces on campus. They rediscovered the reading nooks in Lower School and checked out newer spaces, like the Design and Innovation Lab. Feel free to stop by campus any time to join us on a guided tour!

HAC Men’s Alumni Basketball Game
Gannett Gymnasium, 1:00 p.m.

HAC boys’ basketball alumni returned to join Peter Gregory ’03 for the 10th annual HAC Men’s Alumni Basketball Game. Check out the “HAC Men’s Basketball Alumni” Facebook group for more information.

Paint & Sip 
Dining Commons, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Alumni of all ages, accompanied by their families, enjoyed our newest addition to the Reunion Weekend lineup: Paint & Sip! Participants sipped their favorite beverage and enjoyed step-by-step instruction from our experienced and enthusiastic art teacher while catching up with fellow AC alumni. Each participant left with a one-of-a-kind creation to remember reunion for years to come.

All Alumni Cocktail Party
Birches Courtyard, 5:00 p.m.

More than 200 AC alumni returned to campus to join us for delicious hors d’oeuvres, open bar, and the opportunity to mix and mingle with former and current faculty as well as friends, old and new.

50th Reunion Anniversary Dinner
Country Club of Rochester, 2935 East Ave., Rochester, NY, 7:00 p.m.

Alumni from the Class of 1969 and their guests enjoyed a special dinner at the Country Club of Rochester in honor of their 50th reunion.

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Posted in: Alumni News

Out of the Mouths of Babes: A Brief Overview of the Allendale Columbia Student Commencement Speakers

Posted on June 18th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

By Ted Hunt, AC History Teacher

“A few weeks ago, I was thinking about A/C and what it has meant to me over the last four years; after all, I had a graduation speech to write.”

With those words, Brandon Block, Class of 1985, began the first senior Commencement speech in Allendale Columbia School history. The list of student speakers now numbers thirty-five, and what a group it has been: articulate, poised, thoughtful, and diverse in just about every parameter imaginable: gender, race, and ethnicity; urban, rural, suburban.  Over the course of the last thirty-four years, these speakers have had two commonalities. First, their speeches collectively represent some of the most impressive student prose imaginable and, secondly, I have had the pleasure to work with all of them as they crafted and rehearsed their speeches. Year after year, our student speakers were able to distill the essence of Allendale Columbia, its programs, and its people as well as any group of professionals we could have hired to market the school. I saved each and every one of those thirty-five speeches and I would like to share some of their highlights. (more…)

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Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Commencement 2019

Posted on June 14th, 2019 by acsrochester

Congratulations to the
Allendale Columbia School
Class of 2019!

Commencement Ceremony

Commencement Photos

Senior Class Dinner



Posted in: Alumni News, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Robert (Bob) C. Tait, II ’75 Honored with 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award

Posted on June 14th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

This year, we recognized Bob Tait ’75 as the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. Bob has been a tremendous contributor to Allendale Columbia School throughout his lifetime.


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Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights

Alumna Mary DeMocker ‘80 Shares Tips for Climate Revolution

Posted on April 5th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Mary DeMocker ’80 discusses her book at the PACK Coffee Connection.

“First, relax. Get together with other people. Start with one thing. Get off screens and get outdoors,” encouraged Allendale Columbia alumna Mary DeMocker ’80, in her talks with parents and students while visiting her high school alma mater. She talked about her book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep, which is a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Award.

“Parents are hardwired to protect their kids,” she said at the event and in her book, providing them with food to eat, providing care and comfort when they’re sick, helping make sure they get their homework done, and more. And that’s why, she says, parents are the key to saving children from the chaos of climate change. She started when she became a parent and realized she needed to do more than recycle and change lightbulbs, that change would only come from community and political action. (more…)

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Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights, Middle School, PACK, Upper School

Special PACK Coffee Connection April 3rd, 8-9 a.m.

Posted on March 22nd, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

PACK invites you to a special Coffee Connection with AC alum, Mary DeMocker ’80.

Author Mary DeMocker presents an inspiring talk about how to feel empowered in the fight for a healthy planet. Leave with at least three ways even the busiest parent can help change our system – not just our light bulbs. Her book, The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution, is a finalist for the 2019 Oregon Book Award, and has been featured on Yale Climate Connections and recommended in The New York Times. Mary will have copies of her book available for purchase.

Wednesday, April 3rd
8:00-8:15 a.m. Treats and coffee
8:15-9:00 a.m. Presentation
AC Library

No need to RSVP! We’ll see you there on April 3rd!


Why bring this message about system change specifically to parents?

Every parent I know would do anything to keep their child safe. We’re great at teaching kids to cross the street safely, or to alert an adult if they’re being bullied, or not to text while driving. But we also want to protect our kids in the long run, and that means protecting their habitat.

Can you describe your book?

Gladly! It has 100 chapters divided into eight sections, such as “Save Time and Money,” “Care For Your Soul,” and “Raise Empowered Kids.” You can read it start to finish, or crack it open and see what title appeals to you. Each chapter has a short story—I choose the funniest or most moving moments from my 21 years of parenting—and ends with two to ten ideas for busy people with varying levels of time and money to try.

Aren’t parents too busy to take on climate change?

We are busy, and that’s why we need easy, affordable, fun ideas that fit into busy family lives. Many of the ideas take only a minute or two and cost very little or nothing. I want to emphasize that this book isn’t about doing more. It’s about doing some things a little differently.

Read the full interview with Mary DeMocker here.


Coffee Connection is the monthly parent social for all AC parents, host parents, and guardians. It’s organized by the volunteer group, Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK). If you have any questions or want to get more involved with PACK, please email the PACK President, Kristin Rorapaugh, at


Posted in: Alumni News, PACK

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