First Graders Seek to Save Amazon Rainforest

Posted on May 4th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Annie King and Stephanie Williford

As part of a Project Based Learning (PBL) unit focusing on the Amazon Rainforest, Allendale Columbia’s first graders continued their research on the rich biodiversity of this amazing natural resource. We have been studying the rainforest and its creatures all year long and have discovered many troubling facts about the 28,000 species that live there.

This information gave us the idea to begin our campaign to raise $1,200 so that we can adopt 30 acres of land in the Amazon Rainforest — the same size as our Allendale campus! Allendale Columbia’s 1st grade Rainforest Rescuers launched their own GoFundMe page with the hopes of raising $1,200 for the Amazon Aid Foundation. After just 4 hours, they had raised $555, and they have already surpassed their goal! This group’s love and passion for the Amazon Rainforest is truly making an impact on our world.

Our 1st graders are truly experts about many of the animals in this area. We Skyped with Sarah DuPont, the president of Amazon Aid Foundation. The first graders worked hard to come up with thoughtful questions for Sarah, and she was impressed with their commitment to saving the Amazon Rainforest. Sarah was also able to teach us much about the challenges facing the Amazon Rainforest and the crucial work her organization is doing.

In math, we continued working on measurement this week by practicing drawing lines and crafting bookmarks to spread the word about the plight of the Amazon Rainforest. The bookmarks will be going on sale soon so stay tuned!

Next Thursday, May 10th, the first graders will be performing a puppet show they wrote based on the book The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry, and they will be singing a song they wrote based on nursery rhyme titled The Rainforest Grows All Around.
Kristin Cocquyt

Ann King

After pursing her passion for teaching, Ann became a long-term substitute at Allendale Columbia before beginning to teach first grade full-time at AC. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Ann was in the financial industry as an Assistant Vice President, Financial Analyst, and Corporate Trainer at two different regional banks. Ann earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Penn State College and her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Roberts Wesleyan College.
Kristin Cocquyt

Stephanie Williford

Stephanie joined Allendale Columbia in the fall of 2012. She holds an associate's degree with a concentration in Psychology, a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Inclusive Education, as well as Quad-Inclusive Teacher Certification for grades 1-9. Prior to coming to AC, Stephanie served as a kindergarten teacher at Children's Creative Learning Center and supervised the Child Care and Preschool Summer Fun Camp at Pittsford Recreation Center.
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Posted in: Entrepreneurship, First Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, The Birches, Uncategorized

AC CodeX Club Teams Compete at Lockheed-Martin Code Quest

Posted on April 27th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Elizabeth “Liza” Cotter ’20

On Saturday April 21st, six Allendale Columbia Upper School CodeX club members traveled to sunny Owego, NY, to compete in the 6th Annual Lockheed Martin Code Quest competition.  Code Quest is a 2.5 hour computer programming event where teams of up to three students are challenged to solve a collection of 15-20 questions.

Here’s a question from the 2017 competition:

The home keys on a keyboard are imperative to quick typing if you are a touch typist, but what if you are off just one key? Imagine you accidentally placed your left index finger at D instead of F and your right index finger at H instead of J. 

Translate the following messages as if you were retyping it with the wrong home key finger placement.

Example:
Hickory dickory dock    Guxjiet suxjiet sixjm

(If you find problems like this interesting, ask Mrs. Crosby or me for more information about Code Quest and other programming competitions!)

The day started with the competition, which included some difficult problems that required teamwork, persistence, and attention to detail. The most significant item I learned that day was the importance of asking a well-thought-out question when clarification is needed.

We also went on a great tour of the Lockheed Martin plant, including an up-close look at US Navy Seahawk helicopters. While inside the hangar, we learned about the stages of production that each helicopter goes through. The best part was standing in the soundproof chamber of the hangar. We all got to ask questions about the helicopters and about Lockheed Martin and have a closer look at a possible future career path!

AC’s “hACkers” Aditi Seshadri ’18, Anjana Seshadri ’18, and Liza Cotter ’20 competed in the “Advanced” Division. AC’s “Aces” Luke Dioguardi ’20, Matt Duver ’20, and Cameron Perry ’20 competed in the “Novice” category where they won 3rd place and an excellent trophy to add to the AC STEM trophy case!  Even though all six of us are members of the CodeX club, we were all relatively new to programming competitions. This made the competition all the more challenging, and a little scary, but everyone agreed that it was a fun event and that we should return next year.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Elizabeth Cotter

Liza is a sophomore at Allendale Columbia School. She enjoys being on the Cross Country, Swimming, and Track teams at AC, as well as participating on the Robotics team, Math team, and TEAMS (engineering) team. She spends her (minimal) free time cooking, petting her cats, and watching Emma Chamberlain videos with her sister Mary.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches

8th Graders Welcome Honor Flight Veterans

Posted on April 20th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Members of the 8th grade greeted veterans from Honor Flight Mission 58 at Rochester International Airport last Sunday, part of a collaborative Capstone Project between History, English, and Science centered on World War II.

Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that flies WWII and now Korean and Vietnam vets to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII, Korean, Vietnam, and other memorials. For many of these vets, now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, this will be the last opportunity to see the memorials built in their honor.

(Photos by Andrew Ragan et al. Additional photos and video are available in this Google Photos album.)

Our students wrote over 120 personalized letters to the more than 50 Honor Flight Mission 58 vets. When the flight reaches 20,000 feet, the vets will experience their first “mail call” since their service days. According to Honor Flight representatives who have spoken to our students, the reading of students’ letters is one of the most emotional times of the trip for our veterans.

Honor Flight Rochester invited our eighth graders to a “Welcome Home” celebration at Rochester International Airport on Sunday, April 15th. Our students joined hundreds of people cheering on the returning vets and met and took photos with the recipients of their letters. It was a great way to show these military members of the “Greatest Generation,” the “Forgotten War” (Korea), the Cold War, and Vietnam how much we appreciate their service. They are “living history” that we must embrace while we can.

According to the Honor Flight Rochester website, this is the Rochester hub’s 10th year. AC has been involved since their second year, making this our 9th year of writing letters. We started after Juliana Levinson ’14 volunteered with Honor Flight back when she was in Upper School and asked if 8th graders could write letters. The Capstone Project combines 8th grade History, English, and Science and explores how the science and technology of World War II influences our lives today. It culminates in a science-fair-style Exhibition Night on May 14th with formal presentations to share their research paper findings.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Andrew Ragan

Andrew came to teach Middle School History at Allendale Columbia School after 20 years in educational publishing and living in Pittsburgh, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, and the Adirondacks. He began writing for young people at Junior Scholastic magazine and has since published hundreds of articles in such magazines as JS, Scholastic News, Disney Adventures, Creative Classroom, and more. After teaching freshman composition at the University of Southern California for several years, Andrew served as the Senior Editor for Disney Adventures Magazine. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Communications, with honors, from Carnegie Mellon University and his master's degree in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, MS Birches, Partnerships, The Birches, Uncategorized

AC Teams Take 1st Place in TEAM+S Competition

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Danielle Fuller, Aditi Seshadri, and Anjana Seshadri

A total of 17 students from Allendale competed in the annual TEAM+S (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition on March 3rd. The 9/10 team and the senior 11/12 team both won first place at this regional competition. For the senior 11/12 team, this win was particularly significant because they toppled 3-year champion McQuaid. (more…)

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches

Fearless Friday: Mediterranean Snap Pea Potato Salad

Posted on March 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

On the day before St. Patrick’s Day, Super Chef came up with a more cosmopolitan take on potatoes and green food with a Mediterranean Snap Pea Potato Salad. Chef Laura liked all but the Kalamata olives, and the students…well, you’ll have to watch the video.

On Fearless Fridays, four Lower School student volunteers join AC Lunch Lady in Chief Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch, who doesn’t often like vegetables, to try a new vegetable dish created by Super Chef Yessie Roman and give their reviews. The dish is then available to everyone, and you’d be surprised at how many adventurous students try and enjoy these healthy and delicious veggie treats. Make them at home!


Recipe: Mediterranean Snap Pea Potato Salad

Ingredients
  • 8 cups diced cooked local red potatoes, cold
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 2 Tbs garlic
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill weed
  • 1 pound fresh snap peas
Instructions
  1. Wash the snap peas, cut them in half, and saute for 2 minutes to just barely soften them but not lose crispness. Add a pinch of garlic and sea salt to taste, and cool in the refrigerator.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add spices to taste.
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Students Share Their Voices in Response to the Parkland Tragedy

Posted on March 14th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

On March 14th, a group of Upper School students planned and organized a walkout coinciding with student events across the country related to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida that happened on February 14th. As planned, the walkout took place from 10:00-10:30 a.m. in the Gannett Gym, with approximately 140 students supporting the national movement. All Upper and Middle School students had a choice whether to participate or not.

The event was planned with the safety of students as the top priority and implemented according to that plan. The campus was closed to visitors from 9:45-10:30 a.m., and two Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies were on campus during that time. Faculty and administrators were stationed in the gym, throughout the hallways, and outdoors, supporting all students regardless of whether they decided to participate in the walkout or not. Lower School students did not participate in this event, and classes across campus carried on as usual.

During the event, students held a moment of silence for the victims in Parkland, Florida and then had the opportunity to speak in an open forum. About a dozen students shared their thoughts and feelings about the need to support one another, lift each other up, the impact of violence, the need for safety,  and the need for change.  They talked about what they feel needs to change and how it can change, the importance of continuing to use their voices for change beyond today, and the outcomes they hope for as a result of making their voices heard. The walkout ended with students signing letters to Congress that Upper School students drafted in support of specific legislation.

As a mission-driven school, AC supports all students in reaching their potential and to gain a sense of responsibility to themselves, the school community, their families, and society. Guided discussions with Upper and Middle School students offered several opportunities to share and discuss the facts as are known of this and similar tragedies, their opinions, and their ideas on how to best move forward. Students were respectful and supportive of one another while sharing their thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner.

“As the Head of School and an educator for over 25 years,” said Mick Gee, “one of my goals is to empower students and ensure they have opportunities to participate in important national debates and have their voices heard. While we are living in very challenging times, my hope is that our children are able to make a positive impact in the world they are inheriting.”

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