Allendale Columbia School Hosts Iraqi Students for Summer Leadership Program

Posted on October 16th, 2019 by acsrochester

For the third summer in a row, local Allendale Columbia students participated in the Summer Global Leadership Program, alongside Iraqi students from the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). IYLEP is a four-week exchange program for promising Iraqi students to visit different U.S. cities and learn about leadership, peace building, and civic engagement. It is sponsored and funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by World Learning. Rochester is the only host city that has American students participate in the IYLEP program for the full two weeks, allowing both American and Iraqi participants to build a strong bond and further break down stereotypes and misconceptions.

AC Program Coordinator Tony Tepedino, shares his reflections on this year’s program:

“For two weeks this summer, I was the Program Coordinator for a summer program called the Iraqi Young Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP).  This is the second year I have been in this role, and I have been very fortunate to be able to be a part of this program. IYLEP is a program that brings a group of Iraqi students to the U.S. for four weeks. The first week is in Vermont, then the next two are in one of four host cities, and then the students travel to Washington D.C. for the last week.

Iraqi teens choose to apply to be part of this program. From what the students have shared with me, it’s a highly selective process, and a spot in the program is very sought after. I wanted to share a few things that have really impressed me about these students (and families) I have worked with over the last two years.

First, as a parent, it’s difficult for me to wrap my brain around how hard it must be to send your child to another country, let alone a country that has been at the center of so much controversy, tension and, simply put, war. I really don’t know how I would react if my teenage child approached me to ask to travel to Iraq. The courage they need to have to travel from their home in Iraq, to the U.S., for four weeks is no small thing. The  students arrive here with an open-mind and an accepting nature. They stay with host families for two weeks, and with that comes getting used to a new home, new people, new foods, new routines, and a language barrier (a few students shared that their primary English teacher was YouTube!). Having New York as a destination brings excitement, until they realize that Rochester, New York and New York City are two very different places and that the famous NYC from movies and television is unreachable for a quick day trip.

As our busy two weeks began, I especially enjoyed observing how quickly the U.S. and Iraqi students bonded and came together as a group. This is something we work on and teach at Allendale Columbia, but the cool part is how this happens genuinely and organically. There is a real sense of connection, love, and caring for each other that occurs during our two weeks together.

During our time together, we covered a lot of ground, through the city and beyond, to immerse ourselves in a variety of different cultural and skill building experiences:

We ended our time together with a day trip to Niagara Falls and an exposition at AC to share our experiences and learnings with the community.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with, and to get to know, the students who have been a part of this program. I applaud their bravery and their willingness to travel so many miles to learn, grow, and share their culture and perspective.

I can only speak for myself, but I know that I am forever changed by this experience, and I hope that it has left a similar mark on each of the individuals who were able to be a part of this unique program.”

Anthony Tepedino

Anthony Tepedino

Throughout his 25 years at Allendale Columbia, Tony has played many important roles. He taught physical education for seven years, kindergarten for seven years, and served as the Director of Curricular Technology for five years. Most recently, Tony has taken on two new roles as our Hybrid Learning Coordinator and Faculty Professional Development Coordinator. Tony also teaches in AC's Summer Camp program. He holds a master's degree in Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.

Get Involved!

Allendale Columbia School’s Center for Global Engagement, in partnership with Rochester Global Connections, offers the Summer Global Leadership Program designed for young people in Rochester interested in learning about and engaging in global issues. Students participate in a 2-week, all-day program where they work, eat, and play with highly-selected youth who are part of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). Together the students receive training and engage in hands-on projects that explore leadership skillscivic educationdiversity and inclusionhuman rights, and peace building. Through cross-cultural collaboration, this program provides all participants with a life-changing experience to help make an impact both locally and globally.

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Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Global Engagement, Partnerships, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

Ready for Fun? Get Tickets Now for HAC Seabreeze Nite June 11th

Posted on May 30th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Seabreeze Nite flyer - click to open as PDFJoin us at Seabreeze Amusement Park on Tuesday, June 11th, rain or shine! The water park will be open from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. that evening, and rides will be open from 6:00 -10:00 p.m. Please note that parents must accompany their children, as supervision is not provided.

Tickets are $20.00 and can be purchased from Lisa Shearing in Admissions until Monday, June 10th, at 4:00 p.m. Children age 2 and under are free. (Tickets will NOT be available for purchase on June 11th.)


Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

Strawberry Breakfast 2019

Posted on May 16th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

Spring has arrived, and with it comes preparations for Strawberry Breakfast, which will take place Friday, May 24th, at 8:30 a.m. This is a wonderful, school-wide AC tradition, and students will perform for their families and friends. Afterwards, everyone will enjoy strawberries and donuts in the Dining Commons.

As a reminder, parents must provide transportation on Friday, May 24th, as there is no bus service, and school is dismissed for the Memorial Day weekend after this event.

The following information is to help make you aware of the commitment for your son or daughter at Strawberry Breakfast and what they need to wear:

Nursery – Grade 1:

  • Students in Nursery – Grade 1 will not be performing but are encouraged to attend with family members
  • Uniforms will not be enforced; dressy spring attire is encouraged

Grades 2-5:

  • Students in Grades 2-5 will be performing
  • Dress up/concert clothes required
  • If your child will NOT be able to attend Strawberry Breakfast, please email your child’s classroom teacher or Lynn Grossman immediately so we can plan accordingly

Grades 6-8:

  • Middle School Chorus Students: Dressy spring attire (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)
  • Non-Chorus students in Grades 6-8 are encouraged to attend (dressy spring attire)
  • If your child is in Middle School Chorus and will NOT be able to attend Strawberry Breakfast, please email Rachael Sanguinetti immediately so we can plan accordingly

Grade 9:

  • Students in Grade 9 will not be performing but are encouraged to attend
  • Dressy spring attire is encouraged

Grade 10:

  • Sword Dancers: black dress pants, black shoes, long sleeve white dress shirt
  • May pole dancers: dressy spring attire (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)
  • All Grade 10: Pinning of the Seniors
  • If your child will NOT be able to attend Strawberry Breakfast, please email Diane Broberg immediately so we can plan accordingly

Grade 11:

  • Students in Grade 11 will not be performing but are encouraged to attend
  • Dressy spring attire is encouraged

Grade 12:

  • All seniors will participate in the official pinning ceremony
  • Dressy spring attire required (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)
  • If your child will NOT be able to attend Strawberry Breakfast, please email Diane Broberg immediately so we can plan accordingly

Select Chorus:

  • Performing “Good Cheer”
  • Dressy spring attire (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)

Upper School Chorus:

  • Performing “Now is the Month of Maying”
  • Dressy spring attire (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)

Wind Ensemble:

  • Performing a musical arrangement for the Sword Dance and May Pole Dance
  • Dressy spring attire (Ex.: dress, dress pants, skirt, blouse, shirt and tie)

There will be a rehearsal on Thursday, May 23rd, during the school day.

On May 24th, the students who are performing (outlined above) need to arrive in the Alumni Gym between 8:00 – 8:15 a.m. The program starts at 8:30 a.m. and usually concludes by 9:30 a.m., followed by treats in the Dining Commons.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing everyone on campus!

Ray Istas
Director of Athletics

Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

Coffee Connection May 8th: Good Food Collective

Posted on May 3rd, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

For our final Coffee Connection of the year, Ryan Pierson from The Good Food Collective will talk with our community about how The Good Food Collective works, answer any questions about our upcoming food share option, and also speak about AC’s partnership with their wholesale component, Headwater Food Hub.

Good Food Collective logoHeadwater Food Hub logo

All current parents and grandparents are welcome! Tasty treats and coffee from the kitchen will be served.

Wednesday, May 8th
Dining Commons
8:00-8:30 a.m.: Snacks and coffee
8:30-9:00 a.m.: Presentation 

No need to RSVP! We look forward to seeing Wednesday, May 8th! 

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Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, PACK, The Birches, US Birches

Parent Town Halls to Discuss Intent to Combine

Posted on May 3rd, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School

The Harley and Allendale Columbia boards of trustees have signed a Letter of Intent to combine the two schools. The formal announcement is included in the attached letter. This collaboration offers many exciting opportunities, and each school is moving thoughtfully through the next steps by listening carefully to faculty, staff, alumni, student leaders, and families.

Upcoming AC Parent Town Halls: Below are two opportunities for AC parents to ask questions, listen to the discussion, and better understand the plans in place at this time and the work yet to be done.

  • Monday, May 6th, from 7-8 p.m. in the Curtis Performance Center
  • Wednesday, May 8th, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Curtis Performance Center

Mick Gee and members of the AC Board of Trustees will be in attendance for these town halls.

For both town halls, we invite you to submit questions online in advance. We understand public speaking isn’t everyone’s favorite thing so we’ll address the questions received online before opening up the discussion to more questions.

Please note these events are for our AC parents, only. We ask that you not share this with the media or those in our neighborhood. There will be other opportunities for communications with those groups.

These internal connections, including the online survey, town hall-style meetings, and one-on-one conversations, will be conducted during the end of this school year and through all of next year.

Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

Adopt the AC Garden this Summer

Posted on April 25th, 2019 by cnickels

AC’s Garden received some TLC on Earth Day thanks to faculty members Gabriel Costanzo and Andy Ragan and AC Middle School students. Check out the photo album of the Earth Day Campus Clean Up here!

Allendale Columbia 6th-graders and 8th-graders spent the sunny afternoon clearing leaves and branches from the garden, weeding and mulching the perennial beds, and painting the bench and bird house. The garden includes flowers, butterfly bushes, the AC beehive, and a fenced-in vegetable garden. Last year, the vegetable garden produced ample green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes enjoyed on the AC salad bar. As gardening season gets into full swing, this natural treasure on AC’s campus needs community help to keep it going.

What used to be two homes on Allens Creek Road is now a growing haven for flowers, bees, and vegetables. After the homes were torn down, AC faculty took the opportunity to teach students about gardening through numerous workdays with families and faculty, Middle School “mini-courses” (2008-2013), and various May Term courses such as “What Makes Your Garden Grow?”, “Grow Your Own Food,” “The Buds and the Bees,” and “Inch by Inch, Row by Row.” The 2018 May Term class planted the entire vegetable garden. This year, another May Term class will get things started by preparing and planting the vegetable garden and then pitching opportunities to volunteer in the garden during the May Term Exhibition Night on June 6th.

Volunteers are needed to adopt the garden for one week during the summer. Last year, we had the whole summer covered! AC’s Summer LEAP students also spend time in the garden, bringing the fun and fascination of vegetable gardening to students from RCSD School No. 17. When students are not on campus, volunteers can keep the produce that is ready for picking. When school starts in September, the vegetables go to the kitchen for all to enjoy! (If you ate with us last September, you likely ate some green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes from the AC garden!). With your support this summer, the AC garden can produce another bounty of vegetables and great memories.


Adopt the AC Garden This Summer!

Volunteers are needed all summer to help tend to the vegetable garden, harvest the food, and keep this natural treasure going!

Contact Gabe Costanzo or Andy Ragan.


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Posted in: LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

Interest Form for AC’s Good Food Collective

Posted on April 10th, 2019 by cnickels

AC is currently gathering interest from our families, faculty, and staff for participation in The Good Food Collective.

The Good Food Collective delivers fresh, sustainably grown food year round and is part of Headwater Food Hub, AC’s partner for locally-sourced ingredients in our daily family-style lunches. We’ve heard from parents who want to bring some of that family-style lunch home, and now you can! We’re excited to announce that now parents, faculty, and staff can order local goodness through The Good Food Collective and pick it up at Allendale Columbia.

Are you interested?
Fill out the form below by April 22nd (Earth Day!) and we’ll keep you posted!


Posted in: Highlights, LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

AC’s Student Artists to Exhibit at Anderson Alley May 3rd

Posted on April 5th, 2019 by cnickels

(Updated May 10th, 2019)  Honors Art students will be exhibiting their works at the Richard Margolis Art + Architectural Photography Studio during First Friday and Second Saturday in May! The spring exhibition is the student thesis project and incorporates a taste of the “real world” art scene.

WROC featured Allendale Columbia students on its Honor Roll this week, highlighting the art class’s recent exhibit. Messenger Post also picked up the story.

See the finished works May 3rd and 11th!

“Precipice” Exhibition by Allendale Columbia
First Friday: May 3rd 6-9 p.m.
Second Saturday: May 11th 12:30-3:30 p.m.
Anderson Alley Artists Studios
250 N. Goodman St. #408

Cheney Chen, Grade 12, is working on an abstract mixed media painting inspired by figure studies.

Tsioianiio Galban, Grade 12, is throwing high fire clay on the wheel to create altered figural pottery.











Mara Goodyear, Grade 10, is working on lithographic prints inspired by botanical patterns.

Thalia Delvalle-Londoño, Grade 12, is using acrylic paint and tape to create a color field painting.
















Thank You!

The students would like to thank Richard Margolis for loaning his studio space to for the exhibition for the second year in a row. The class visited with Richard Margolis to plan the show back in March.




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Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches