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.

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.


Elizabeth Cotter

Elizabeth Cotter

Liza Cotter '20 was the captain of Allendale Columbia's TEAM+S team for the 2019 competition. She also is the Vice President for the Upper School Student Government, and a member of the ACHax club. She runs cross country, swims, and runs track for HAC and does triathlons during the summer. In her free time she likes to watch "The Great British Baking Show" while petting her cats. In the future she hopes to pursue a career in biomedical engineering.
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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.


Andrew Ragan

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, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School

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 Yessy 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

  • 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
  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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Congratulations to AC Second Semester Honors Students

Posted on March 9th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Congratulations to the following Middle School students who earned High Effort Honors for the second semester:

Grade 6

  • Ria Bansal
  • Olivia Caschette
  • Jake Crane
  • Natalia Dandrea
  • Gabby Harper
  • Caitlin Vella
  • Shane Whiteside

Grade 7

  • Gabriela Barelli
  • Joelle Blankenship
  • Ashleigh Cameron
  • Lilah Costanzo
  • Faith Faulkner
  • Kai Polozie
  • Josh Nozik
  • Nathan Roof
  • Maya Voloshin


Grade 8

  • Mansa Brown
  • Cadence Burke
  • Mary Cotter
  • Ava Douglas
  • Owen Kacprzynski
  • Nathaniel LaRussa-Trott
  • Sean Li
  • Elina Natarajan
  • Ella Prokupets
  • Margot Queenan
  • Jonathan Ragan
  • Aidan Wun
  • Ronan Wun
  • Jocelyn Wynn
  • Hafsah Ziauddin


Congratulations to the Upper School students listed below who made High Honors for the second semester.

Grade 9

  • Sarah Ash
  • Yueying Bai
  • Chase Franz
  • Adrian Fuller
  • Madeleine Gee
  • Zihan Jiao
  • Ryan Mogauro
  • Michelina Nicodemus
  • Jong Won Park
  • Emma Vella
  • Garrett Wilson

Grade 10

  • Annabelle Blake
  • Nicolas Ryan Chapados
  • Zhengye Chen
  • Elizabeth Cotter
  • Jaina Dinino
  • Ava Gouvernet
  • Riley Leibeck
  • Megan Mogauro
  • Cassandra Northrup
  • Roxana Reisch
  • Daniel Saedi
  • Benjamin Smoker
  • Yiming Tang
  • Xinxin Wang
  • Yiran Wu
Grade 11

  • Marissa Frenett
  • Ruilu Gao
  • Noah Levine
  • Haoze Li
  • Hanyu Li
  • Tristan Nicosia
  • Nathaniel Pifer
  • Dongming Shen
  • Yunfang Xu

Grade 12

  • Emily Atieh
  • James Bourtis
  • Lila Campbell
  • Jason Coupal
  • Tingyan Deng
  • Danielle Fuller
  • Lennon Green
  • Aditi Seshadri
  • Anjana Seshadri
  • Connor Surkau-Parkinson
  • Nathan Yax
  • Alison Zell
  • Hanlin Zhang
  • Rui Zhou

Congratulations to the following Upper School students who earned Honors for the second semester.

 Grade 9

  • Robert Bassett
  • Gregory Castellano
  • Marc Chuprun
  • Victoria Edwards
  • Ciarra Franz
  • Mara Goodyear
  • Brynn Peters
  • Sama’Ja Scott
  • McKenna Shearing
  • Elesavet Stathopoulos
  • Alicia Strader
  • Eshmeron Subba

Grade 10

  • Sixiong Cai
  • Gifford Campbell
  • Kyla Carter
  • Matthew Duver
  • Caden Kacprzynski
  • Fiona Lutz
  • Danielle Monti
  • Henry Nicosia
  • Laura Pinkney
  • Evelyn Van Arsdale
 Grade 11

  • Makayla Cappon
    Cassidy Draper
    Victoria Furdey
    Emilia Granat
    Cruise Hawkes
    Zitong Jin
    AnnMargaret Mealey

Grade 12

  • Sion Dorancy
  • Adelaide Flood
  • Rotsirohawi Galban
  • Alan Johnson
  • Catherine Kennedy
  • Giovanni Marino
  • Caroline Mealey
  • Brandon Medina
  • Kenneth Mogauro
  • Francesca Quatela
  • Kennedy Robinson
  • Grant Turner
  • Nathaniel Wood
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Jump Rope for Heart

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

February is Jump Rope for Heart month dedicated to victims affected by heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) runs a program that AC has participated in for the past several years called Jump Rope for Heart. Our students participate by raising money for a great foundation while also jumping their way through the month for exercise and fun!

I’ve received some questions about the process of Jump Rope for Heart and when money students raise is due as well as when fundraising prizes from the American Heart Association are distributed so I wanted to share the details of this process.

If your child is fundraising using the packet he/she received, he/she should hold onto the money raised until the end of the event. If your student has registered online or has handed in the $5 cut out, he/she will be given one of the instant prizes provided by the American Heart Association on Friday in PE class. At the end of the event, the American Heart Association then orders all other prizes based on the amount the student has raised and the prize level earned.

Packets will be collected on Tuesday, February 27th, and Wednesday, February 28th, during PE class. If you have any questions, please email me. Thank you for your donations, and Happy Jump Rope for Heart month!

Kate Sullivan

Kate Sullivan

Kate holds teaching certifications in both Physical Education and Health Education, having earned an Associate's Degree in Physical Education Studies from Monroe Community College and a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Health Education from the SUNY College at Brockport. She student taught in the Spencerport School District, where she worked with students in kindergarten through 8th grade, and brings experience serving as a lead counselor at Creative Themes Day Camp. At AC, Kate teaches Physical Education to Lower and Middle School students as well as a few sections of Health to Upper School students.
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Music and Stories Bring Tradition to Life at Holiday Breakfast

Posted on December 21st, 2017 by Allendale Columbia School

Bountiful music and touching stories brought one of Allendale Columbia’s oldest and dearest traditions, Holiday Breakfast, to life on Friday, December 15th, kicking off the winter break.

The AC Brass Ensemble greeted family members with holiday songs, the Kindergarten children thrilled all with their traditional number, choruses sang, and joyful tunes from students across the school joined together for a rousing finale.

Click to order from

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In between, students spoke of heritage, history, and the future, and the “Lifers” (students who have attended AC since Kindergarten — and some since Nursery!) regaled the crowd with humorous and heart-felt tales of their experiences at AC. Head of School Mick Gee continued the tradition of reading a story. This year, he told the tale of “The Penguin and the Pinecone”, complete with prop penguins, a giant pinecone, and scarf-wrapped trees, reminding us all of the importance of nurturing friendship and kindness.

Please enjoy the gallery below of some highlights from the event, and have a very merry holiday break!

Want 300 more photos? Click here to open the Holiday Breakfast Google Photos Gallery.

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Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, The Birches, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches