AC Participates in Computer Science Education Week

Posted on December 16th, 2021 by swilliams

The Allendale Columbia Invent Center for STEM and Innovation celebrated Computer Science Education Week December 6th-12th. CSEdWeek is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn about computer science, advocate for equity, and celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field. CSEdWeek is held annually during the week of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday (December 9th).

At AC, students are exposed early to the world of computer science through robotics, coding, and more. In Lower School, students are introduced to coding during weekly STEM class starting in Kindergarten. For our youngest learners, STEM instructor Susan Layton’s platforms of choice include Kodable, Scratch, and robot kits like Ozobots and Dash. The robots are connected to visual programming applications that are easy to understand and familiarize students with basic concepts of coding. As students progress through Lower School, they further explore coding through Lego Education and building EV3 robots.

In Middle School, students participate in an Hour of Code activity. Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify the world of coding and broaden participation in the field of computer science.

In Upper School, the Applying Programming class has been extra busy this year, exploring impressive forays into what coding can accomplish. Mary ’22 built an interactive matrix that supports a two-player game of Connect Four, which she recently presented at the Rochester Maker Faire. She is currently working on tweaking the code so the game can be played with one person versus A.I.

The Connect Four game was created using Arduino, an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs and turn it into an output. Mary wrote all the code needed to create a “set of instructions” for the Arduino’s microcontroller.

Owen ’24 and Jake ’24 are also students of AC’s Applying Programming class, where they are creating a robot who will move through a maze. They are working on installing a gyroscopic sensor, a device that can measure and maintain the orientation and angular velocity of an object, to help the robot go in a straight line. They are hoping this will improve the robot’s ability to find its way through any kind of maze.

In Geometry, students applied systems of inequalities to code a simple game. A system of inequalities is a set of two or more inequalities, and they can be used to describe geometric shapes, such as triangles and rectangles. Keyboard inputs can be used to change variables used in the system of inequalities allowing for shapes to be translated (moved) across the screen. Amani ’25 demonstrates this in a short video below:

Students at AC are lucky to have access to accomplished computer science faculty, including:

Maya Crosby: Director of AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation
Maya earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Rochester, where she studied science and communications, and then worked in biotech and scientific publishing. While at the University of Maine for a Master of Science degree in marine microbiology, she loved being a teaching fellow so much that she shifted her focus to fostering science education and experiences for all students. After several years of teaching science, computer science, and technology, she became the Director of Innovation and Technology at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, Maine. She also brings experience as a Developmental Biology and Microbiology Instructor at Bowdoin College, an Education Coordinator at the Gulf of Maine Foundation, a Science Editor for Blackwell Science, and a Research Technician for ImmuLogic Pharmaceuticals.

Susan Layton: Lower School STEM Instructor
Susan joined the AC faculty after serving as the Head of School and Teacher Programs at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. Prior to her work at the RMSC, Susan worked at a number of science centers in Massachusetts, including the New England Aquarium, the Needham Science Center, and the Boston Museum of Science. Her career has also taken her into schools as a teacher in Georgia, and she has been a researcher of aquatic birds at the Bronx Zoo in New York and a researcher of bottlenose dolphins at the School for Field Studies in North Carolina. Susan earned her undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in French from Hiram College, and she also has her Masters of Education in Middle Grades Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Teresa Parsons: Middle School STEM Instructor
Teresa joined the Allendale Columbia team as a Middle School STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) teacher after spending 15 years in the engineering industry. She was a product engineer, then she transitioned into marketing and business development. As a business development manager, she created and provided product training, and it was in that role that she discovered her passion for teaching. Teresa earned a Master of Science Degree in Education from Nazareth College, and also holds two bachelor’s degrees in Interdisciplinary Engineering/Management from Clarkson University and in Physics from the State University of New York College at Geneseo.

Alexander Reinhardt: Upper School STEM Instructor
Mr. Reinhardt brings a decade of teaching experience to AC. He has held numerous teaching positions throughout North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC before moving to New York. He’s taught STEM, math, physics, coding and computer science. Alex earned his B.A. in Physics and received his 9-12 Science Certification through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also earned a Master’s in Software Engineering from RIT.

Philip Schwartz: Head of Upper School & Computer Science Instructor
Phil began his career in academic technology, teaching computer science for over 20 years before pursuing leadership in independent schools. Phil holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management from Elmhurst College and went on to receive an M.A. in Educational Technology and Curriculum Development from Illinois Benedictine University.

Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Uncategorized, Upper School

Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship Produces First-Ever Student Makers Market

Posted on December 16th, 2021 by acsrochester

Allendale Columbia Middle and Upper School students participated in the first-ever Student Makers Market on Friday, December 10th. Held in the STEM Commons, the event was organized by Ayla ’22, who is working towards earning her Entrepreneurship Engagement Diploma. With the help of Amy Oliveri, Director of the AC Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship, Ayla was responsible for the conceptualization and execution of what AC hopes to be an annual event.

“The makers market had a really nice turnout with many people who showed up to support,” said Ayla. “I learned a lot through planning this event and was happy to be able to include so many of my friends who received recognition on their handmade products.”

Amy Oliveri shared, “Students tapped into their entrepreneurial mindset with a socially responsible goal. This team of creative entrepreneurs had a blast selling their work at the first ever Student Makers Market. Proceeds from the event will benefit Action for a Better Community (ABC), an organization helping Rochester’s low-income families become self-sufficient. Our goal as a Center for Creativity and Entrepreneurship is to teach social innovation through action in alignment with our DEI initiatives.”

The vendors at this year’s Student Makers Market included:

OTN Productions: OTN was founded by Oliver ’25, Thomas ’23, and Nolan ’23. This crew is available for all your live streaming needs. Have an upcoming event but there are still restrictions on attendees? Call this crew and they will make everyone feel like they’re in person at your event while participating from the comfort of their own homes. Learn more about OTN Productions at http://otnproductions.acstudents.site

Frog Nursery: Founded by Lee ’22, Frog Nursery is an exclusive collection of stickers and keychains featuring Lee’s quirky, original art and illustrations. Follow @frog.nursery on Instagram to see more of Lee’s incredible work.

Holiday Ornaments: Evelyn ’24 creates stunning hand-painted ornaments, which make gorgeous keepsakes for your Christmas tree or as year-round decor.

Leatherwork: Kai ’23 creates extraordinary custom hand-stamped leather keychains that make the perfect stocking stuffer for your friends and loved ones. 

Art Above Ground: Maya ’23 is a prodigious digital artist whose work focuses on bold, graphic portraits of artists, geometric patterns, and more. View her work on Instagram at @art.above.ground.

ChaosCraft: Created by Nora ’27, ChaosCraft has some incredible handmade trinkets ready for gifting or for yourself! Her work includes miniature food sculptures, handmade polymer jewelry and pins, Harry Potter-inspired wands, and slime.

MareBear: Mary ’22 is a senior who enjoys making all kinds of art that is inspired by the world of STEM. Mary sells hand-lettered holiday cards, and you can view more of her work on Instagram at @marebear_c.

Lil Miss Sweet Shop: Lanae ’27 is a talented pastry chef who specializes in creating cupcakes. With flavors like Very Vanilla, Chocolate Lovers, Red Velvet, Luscious Lemon, and Strawberry Crunch, there is something for everyone. Follow @lilmisssweetshop on Instagram to see more of Lanae’s work.

Nolan’s Workshop: Upper School Junior Nolan ’23 is an incredibly skilled craftsman working with handcrafted wood, including coasters, cutting boards, and more. See his work on Instagram at @nolansworkshop.

Ayla’s Christmas Wreaths: Budding entrepreneur Ayla ’22 is behind this lovely collection of custom, high-quality wreaths made from all-natural trees from Crossroad Christmas Tree Farm in Conesus. Follow Ayla on Instagram at @aylas_christmas_wreaths.

 

Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Uncategorized, Upper School

Upper School Students Attend RIT Day of Photo

Posted on October 27th, 2021 by swilliams

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.

 

Posted in: Art, Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Upper School

AC Hosts College Financial Aid 101 Seminar on October 27th

Posted on October 12th, 2021 by swilliams

College Financial Aid 101Higher 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.

Click Here to RSVP to College Financial Aid 101

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!

Register for College Financial Aid 101!

Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Commencement 2021 Address: Randy Northrup

Posted on July 8th, 2021 by acsrochester

By Randy Northrup, AC faculty member

Thank you Mrs. Baudo. 

We thank you for the tremendous job you have done for all of us during this past year. You took on what seemed an insurmountable task and steadied the ship as we charted a course of full, in-person instruction like no other school could. Thank you too, to Connie, Henry, and Chris for sharing you with us. We are very grateful to you.

And now, Mrs. Baudo, members of the board of trustees, families and friends of the graduates, my beloved friends, members of the faculty and staff, and most importantly on this wonderful day – Allendale Columbia School’s Class of 2021.

Well here we are.
Look around you.
Take it all in. 

All this will be over in the blink of an eye. Your parents sitting there are saying, “Where did the time go?” You may even be looking back to your days in Kindergarten and thinking that it seemed like only yesterday…

I can relate. 

I have been teaching at this school for 40 of its 130 years. I’ve been around a while. And yet it has gone by so quickly. Yes, I’ve been here long enough to have many memories. Some of you lifers, and others with almost as many AC years, have amassed Allendale Columbia memories as well, but some of you are more recent recruits. I should share with you that I relate to you as well. There are times I feel like a newbie, a bit like a fish out of water myself. You see, there are plenty of people, alums, former faculty, and families whose Allendale Columbia experiences reach back much farther than mine. I am always aware of the people who came before me, the people who set the stage and set the tone, the people who built both the brick and mortar facilities, and the foundations of learning and traditions that we, that you, each one of you, have had a part in.

In preparing this address, one theme that I considered led me to another. I hope that I can connect these two thoughts today. First, I hope you aren’t expecting me to go on about how resilient you have been during “these challenging times.” I hope you have already heard enough of that for now. I’d prefer to speak not of resilience but of fragility. The pandemic has made us aware of fragility, the fragility of life and of health. Our confidence in the ability of medical science to keep us safe has been shaken. Health care workers, despite herculean efforts, could not save the lives of many tens of thousands of people. Life is fragile. But that is not the only example of fragility we have encountered.

Harder this year than ever before in my career has been the difficulty of helping my students understand what is going on in the world. Starting each day with a discussion of current events as I have for many years, I not only had to help my students navigate a global pandemic, but from the very first day of school, I had to help them navigate the issues of racial reckoning as protests and the subsequent responses were right at their doorsteps here in Rochester. Peace, justice, equity— things that should be solid bedrocks of this world we share, all seemed so fragile.

Politics of a presidential election? The truth seemed fragile. And then came the current events discussion of January seventh. 

I had to face a room of fifth graders who were full of questions that I could not answer. Had I been naive to have thought that democracy was not fragile?

I’m afraid I even have to say that I have been confronted by concerns that our humanity is more fragile than I ever would have thought. By our humanity I mean my belief in the basic goodness of people. Humanity- humaneness, kindness, consideration, understanding, sympathy, empathy, tolerance… I must really sound like that old fogey now. That gotcha moment we can’t resist – the “Watch them get triggered by this” tweet – slamming each other, scorching each other – canceling – counter canceling. 

We are better than this.
We should do better. 

Can these things happen here at our school? OUR school? But then, how can AC possibly be an island when all of this surrounds us and encroaches?

We hear often about the importance of traditions at Allendale Columbia. You must know how important those traditions are to me. Strawberry Breakfast, Blue White Day, family-style lunches. Those are all great, but they are hollow rituals compared to what I have always considered the greatest tradition and value of Allendale Columbia: civility and civil discourse. 

Words matter.
Yes, actions matter more, but words do matter. 

As you go off from here, please remember the lessons I hope you have learned about civility. You will find that you disagree with others. Speak up, dissent, protest as you should— as you must— but don’t do it to trigger someone or roast them. Don’t repay pettiness with pettiness, evil intent with evil intent.

I suppose you didn’t expect such sermonizing. Well now, how am I ever going to tie this all together? 

Let me move on to my final example of fragility that leads to the other thought I’d like to share with you today. Here is the example. It is something that hit me hard…

Last year’s parking lot commencement ceremony was unique for sure, but I’ll look back two years to a more traditional AC commencement celebration. In 2019 we gathered in the Gannett Gym on a warm Sunday afternoon, but a dark cloud hung over the event for most of us. At that point, there was to be just one more class graduating from Allendale Columbia School.

Several weeks earlier it had been announced that we would merge with another institution. As it turned out, the manner of communication led many of us to see this as more of an absorption that would extinguish. It seemed doubtful that most faculty and staff members would be retained, and even the fate of this beautiful campus was in doubt. I sat in the gym and, except when I was listening in rapt attention to the commencement address being delivered by my friend, Mr. Hunt, I looked around wondering what would happen to my friends and to this place. The school I had spent so many years serving, an institution so valuable with such strong roots and fruitful branches – was it all really so fragile?

I would be retiring soon, but how could I come back to visit my friends, and was I never going to see this place again? Yes, a school is more than the four walls, more than the books in the library, more than my old classroom, but there is something deep-rooted in many of us, a desire to visit and to re-experience once familiar places. Places help us to reminisce.

I looked around the gym where we were saying goodbye to the Class of 2019, and I turned to look at the crowd. I don’t know if you ever noticed it. On the wall just to the right of the bleachers, there is a portion of unpainted brown bricks. Hidden in the wall behind those bricks is a time capsule. There seems to have been a resurgence of interest in time capsules during the pandemic. Many teachers assigned time capsules during lockdown. But my thoughts went back 28 years from that day, 30 years ago from now. It was Allendale Columbia’s centennial year, a year of many festive and reflective celebrations. Each class from nursery school through grade twelve was charged with contributing something to this capsule. I only recall one specific item that was placed in that capsule, the photos from my fourth grade class. When they were in fourth grade, the Class of 1999 was interested in this pressing concern. They wanted to let people of the future know what they thought about the Lower School uniform. They contributed two photos. In one, they are wearing Campbel plaid jumpers and navy blue slacks with plain white polo shirts. In the second one, they are modeling what they wished they could wear to school. 1991— you can imagine the neon, the jelly shoes, the oversized basketball jerseys, and hawaiian print visor caps.

However, sitting there that day, one of many unsettling thoughts regarding the pending merger, not as important as teachers and traditions – what would happen to that time capsule? Would anyone care?

Actually, we all know the answer to that last question. People DID care. Behind the scenes, the wheels were turning. A month or so after that commencement day, there was a collective sigh of relief. The merger was off. AC would stay AC. Relief, yes – but trepidation. We were aware of the fragility of our precarious situation. The rally has been remarkable. I for one will be eternally grateful to all of those who didn’t lose faith, who worked and gave, who offered so much. Many of us under this tent kept the faith and hung on. And Graduates, I am grateful to you and your families for sticking with us. We are helping Allendale Columbia to thrive, building on what is good from the past with the best of new ideas.

And what about that time capsule? It should stay there for at least 100 years, I think. That is the purpose of time capsules, to share with people far removed from current times a glimpse of contemporary values, interests, and concerns.

And why did I carry on about fragility and time capsules on this day when we are sending you off into the world from the safety of this nest in the birches? I don’t have all the answers, that’s for sure, but first of all, when things are fragile, we take care with them. We do things to fortify them and keep them sound, just as we have done together for Allendale Columbia. I can commit to do the same myself with the other things that I identified as examples of fragility – justice, equity, truth, and civility. I am retiring, but my work is not done and neither is yours. 

Strengthen the things that are fragile.

Don’t take for granted that everything around you can easily continue as you’d like it to stay. If it really is important to you, be prepared to show it by your actions.

Second of all, although this may sound like something I would say to my fifth graders, this is my favorite part: you don’t need a time capsule sealed up in a wall. You have that time capsule right inside you. Remember when I said that the contents of a time capsule represent contemporary values, interests, and concerns? What are your values, interests, and concerns on this day? 

Some time ago I asked you to look around, to take it all in. That moment is gone, but perhaps you’ll find you have stowed something away that you can recall when you’re as old as I am. While it may be as simple as the scent of your roses, or how warm it is under this big top, or most likely the feeling of impatience and wishing Mr. Northrup would stop talking— but I hope that one of the values or qualities you identify today is one of gratitude

You know what you should be grateful for and to whom you should be grateful as you consider your Allendale Columbia career – that special joke shared with friends, grilled cheese and blond brownies made by a kitchen staff who care, that encouraging compliment when you really needed it, kindergarten naptime. And yes, I know, not all memories are happy, sappy ones. There were tough times too. Ones that are especially tough are when people disappoint you, or when you disappoint yourself. These are important things to keep in your time capsule too because they are often the things that we can learn the most from if we try to move beyond resentment. Can those hard memories fade or give way to forgiveness of others or forgiveness of yourself? Maybe yes, maybe no.

So, now I ask for your indulgence as I look into my own time capsule. You see I am moving on today just like you. There is beauty in this place. How fortunate I have been to teach in spacious classrooms with windows that look out onto the everchanging seasons. Many people who have worked here share my favorite tree – the tall sugar maple outside the music and art building, the first to blaze with color soon after we repeat the annual cycle of returning to school. Shrieks of joy as little sledders hit the jump they made just right on the snowy hill. The referee’s whistle and cheers across the soccer field. The students who made teaching a joy, and perhaps more importantly, the students who challenged me. Some of you are sitting right there. You made me think, and learn, and care. Teachers can’t reach students if they don’t care about them. Most of all, my time capsule holds gratitude— gratitude to the leaders now and those from the past who encouraged teachers like me to be creative, to try new things, and to realize that many old things are valuable as well. I am grateful that this was a wonderful place for my own four children to spend their years as lifers. I am grateful for my colleagues whose example inspired me through the years.

Allendale Columbia School Class of 2021, congratulations. Godspeed. I am proud to be graduating with you, even though it’s taken me a few more years. Enjoy the rest of this wonderful day. Store it in your time capsule. Years from now when you recall this, the memories can tell you what was important to you, what you valued. Are those things fragile? Are they sustainable? 

Today in my heart is a feeling of immense and sustained gratitude.

 

 

Related Pages:

Commencement 2021

Posted in: AC in the News, Events & Workshops, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Commencement 2021

Posted on July 7th, 2021 by acsrochester

Congratulations to the
Allendale Columbia School
Class of 2021!

Commencement Ceremony

Commencement Photos

Posted in: AC in the News, Alumni News, Events & Workshops, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Commencement 2021 Senior Address: Sarah Ash ’21

Posted on July 7th, 2021 by acsrochester

By Sarah Ash ’21

Hello everyone, and welcome to the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2021! I’d like to start off by thanking my classmates for electing me to speak today, and I’d also like to thank everyone here for supporting our class throughout all of our years at Allendale Columbia— whether we’ve been here for only one year or for thirteen. I am so happy to say that, despite the pandemic, not only have we all graduated, but most of us are also able to be here to celebrate our accomplishments. 

At this moment, I’d like to give a shout out to our international students who cannot be here today because they’re in their home country. We miss you dearly and wish that you were here to celebrate with us. 

As a class, I believe that we’ve taken our ability to succeed through these circumstances for granted. Even though we may not realize it, being able to graduate during a pandemic, when a substantial amount of our learning was online, is an amazing feat that shows our passion and commitment to succeed.

I’ve been a student at Allendale Columbia since third grade, and many of my classmates have been here for even longer, effectively meaning that at this point, many of us have spent just about half of our lives growing up together. Throughout these years spent together, we’ve made a lot of memories. We tipped a boat over during our Pathfinder trip, lost our lounge several times a year for a few years because it was always messy, consistently had our all-around-famous lounge debates, which sometimes got a little bit too loud and heated, caused a fire hazard, and experienced second hand trauma when Victoria’s ankle completely dislocated during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, which was followed by us being forced to continue the tour in the rain while our classmate was rolled out in an ambulance. 

In addition to making our own unique memories, we’ve also taken part in a lot of our school’s traditional events. Year after year, we attended and performed at events that make Allendale Columbia, Allendale Columbia. One of my favorite events is Strawberry Breakfast, with donuts and strawberries, the sword dance and the maypole, singing and music, and the crowning and pinning of our senior class. We also have Holiday Breakfast, with speakers, food, and singing, plays, music concerts, forums, and Blue and White day, which many people are convinced always has fake scoring— especially because we all know that the blue team should win every year 😉

Watching each other grow up over the years has been such an interesting experience, and I am so glad to have the ability to say that I strongly believe our class is full of potential leaders. As a class, we’ve matured together, becoming incredibly passionate, strong, and charismatic in many different ways. As we’ve grown together, I’m sure that we have learned a lot of lessons together, and taught each other some too. One of the most important lessons that I can say I’ve learned is about failure. It’s very cliche, but it is the truth. I’m sure that almost everyone who has taken a Neeley class has heard him say, whether directly or indirectly, something like, “one bad grade on a test won’t change your future”. As someone who has failed, or nearly failed, their fair share of tests and quizzes, especially in those classes, I can say with certainty he is absolutely right. At the time, I absolutely hated hearing it, and it kind of sounded like a lie, but it’s true. Failure has taught me a lot of things, the first and most important being that you don’t have to stop when you fail, and you shouldn’t. Revisions and retests were a grade and life-saver. However, I also learned that sometimes, you can try and try and still not really master a concept. On that note, I just want to say a quick thank you to Dr. Spragana for being extremely patient and kind with me through AP Euro because to be quite honest, against her best efforts, I still don’t think I ever really grasped how to correctly answer a DBQ. But that is the important part of failure: learning where your weaknesses lie, doing your best to surpass them by working towards success, and remembering that while everyone can’t be good at everything, everyone is good at something. I’m sure several of my classmates have also learned and grown from not only failure but other necessities of life in these past years.

Believe it or not though, today is when and where our growth as a class ends. From this day on, all, if not most, of our paths will continue to diverge from each other as we learn where we want to go in life, whether it be STEM, like Eshmeron, Lena, and myself, law, like Ellie and Chinara, or even “to be decided”, like Jack and Myles. I, for one, am beyond excited to see what we do with these next few years, as they are the springboard to the rest of our lives. As we look forward to our next chapters, I hope that we continue to establish and maintain strong relationships with both new and old people. I hope that we find passion, drive, and commitment in our lives; academically, recreationally, and beyond. I hope that we discover what makes our lives more meaningful, such as hobbies like traveling, painting, yoga, hiking, and dancing. 

Before leaving the school grounds today, I would like to thank the faculty for making our experience here as amazing as it was. Thank you to our teachers for answering our last-minute emails about tests the next day, teaching us through our incessant chatting, moving deadlines when nobody did the work, and grading late work that may have been turned in way too late. Honestly, I would not be surprised if some of us still have an assignment or two that still says missing in big red letters. Thank you to the lunch staff for cooking for us daily, having the utmost amount of kindness, and giving us anything we asked for, even if it was an entire extra tray of desserts. Thank you to the maintenance and cleaning crew who went the extra mile this year by consistently sanitizing the school to help keep us healthy on top of keeping our grass cut, floors clean, trees trimmed, and effectively, our campus beautiful. 

I personally would like to say that I am extremely grateful to my family and Allendale Columbia for helping to mold me into who I am today: someone strong, passionate, driven, devoted, and ready to take on the world.

As the Class of 2021 leaves campus this year, I would like to remind you all to keep an eye out for business cards that we hid during prank day. Some of them are a little too well hidden, so hopefully, you’ll be finding them for years to come. 

I only have one thing left to say to my classmates as I close my speech today: we have left our mark on Allendale Columbia, and now we’re off to leave our mark on the world.

 

 

Related Pages:

Commencement 2021

Posted in: AC in the News, Events & Workshops, Upper School

AC Morning Visits

Posted on June 29th, 2021 by acsrochester

AM@AC

Get a sneak peek into life at AC! We invite your entire family to join us at our summer AM@AC events, where students and parents will enjoy a special presentation followed by a campus tour and conversation with our Admissions Staff. 

VISIT SCHEDULE

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.      Welcome & Introductions

9:15 – 9:45 a.m.       Featured Presentation

9:45 – 10:15 a.m.     Campus Tour

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.   Q&A with Admissions

All of our AM @ AC events are FREE and open to the public! Register below.

UPCOMING SESSIONS

Friday, July 16th
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Making the Most of your High School Experience

Emily Nevinger, AC College Advising Consultant

What types of classes, extracurriculars, and recommendation letters make a college application stand out? With 15 years of experience in selective college admissions, Emily Nevinger will share tips on how to discover and build a strong foundation for students’ academic and extracurricular interests and establish meaningful connections with faculty. 

>> REGISTER NOW

Friday, July 23rd
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Understanding Yourself as a Learner

Seth Hopkins, AC Learning Advocate

Looking for a way to positively impact your studies? Start by discovering more about yourself as a learner! In this workshop, students will identify their personal goals and investigate their learning profile and preferences to better understand themselves as learners. They will then use this information to more actively “own” and drive their learning.

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Friday, July 30th
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
STEM Primer for Middle & Upper School

Crissy Colson, AC Physics Teacher

What science classes can set you up for success in middle, high school, and college? Find your interests and build from there to maximize your STEM goals. Determine which electives and projects you can explore to be the best scientist you can be.

>> REGISTER NOW

Please contact our Admissions Office at 585.641.5344 or admissions@allendalecolumbia.org if you have any questions or require additional information.

Posted in: Admissions, Events & Workshops