Congratulations to McKenna Shearing, Jacqueline Henry, Katie Chapados, Jessica Chapados, and Mackenzie Opira! Each of these students recently received regional honors in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Scholastic is the country’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision. Notable Scholastic alumni who were award winners themselves in Middle and High School include Andy Warhol, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Burns, Truman Capote, Robert Redford, Charles White, and Kay WalkingStick.
McKenna Shearing ’21 received a Gold Key Award in Digital Art for her digital collage, Untitled, and Jacqueline Henry ’22 was awarded a Gold Key in Ceramics and Glass for her ceramic sculpture, Untitled.
Mackenzie Opira ’26 received a Silver Key Award in Photography for her image, “Helping Hand.” Jessica Chapados ’26 was awarded an Honorable Mention in Photography for her photo, “In the Field,” and Katie Chapados ’26 received an Honorable Mention in Photography for her image, “Pride.”
Gold Key Award winners advance to Scholastic’s national-level adjudication in New York City.
More information about the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program can be found here: https://www.artandwriting.org
Eleven enterprising teens pitched creative business ideas from athletic clothing and GPS stickers to affordable rental housing, platforms for mental health, script sharing, and inventors, and even genetically modified fish in the ELEVATE competition at Allendale Columbia School on January 21st, 2021.
In the culminating activity for AC’s semester-long Essentials of Entrepreneurship class, taught by the Director of the AC Center for Entrepreneurship, Amy Oliveri, students learn to develop the mindset and skill set necessary, using design thinking, to turn ideas into viable products, services, and businesses. The class covers the fundamentals of thinking like an entrepreneur, coming up with new business ideas, attracting investors, marketing their business, and managing revenues and expenses.
Judges Rupa Thind (Associate Director of the Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at RIT), Tony Tepedino (AC Dean of Student Life), and Julie Barrett (AC Welcome Desk Associate), awarded Luca Palomaki ’24 first place for “ScriptArena”, an online platform for script sharing, writing, collaboration, and licensing. Second place was awarded to Myles Wilson ’21 for his “Simple Living” affordable work-for-rent housing concept. Olivia Fries ’23 and her “GPX” GPS stickers for locating household items earned third place honors.
“I love acting, theater, movies, and TV, and I know it’s hard to develop a script and get it produced. I thought ScriptArena was a pretty good idea that I could implement quickly and pitch with enthusiasm,” Luca related. “I usually have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head, and this class helped me figure out how I might be able to develop those ideas into real businesses that could maybe make some money and help people.”
The two-minute pitches were evaluated based on how well students conveyed their project’s value proposition, viability research, competitors, definition and marketing to target customer segments, cost and revenue structures, implementation timeline, and social responsibility.
The other participants offered ideas that also could potentially impact their defined areas of need:
- Greg & Jayden: Athletic clothing line
- Evelyn: Mental health salon – Providing education and mental health training to hair stylists, makeup artists, and nail techs to provide people with an everyday safe space
- Cynara: “Gender Forward” – An online site and app to empower and educate people of all ages about an array of issues regarding gender.
- Natalia: “HND Book” – An app that specialized in providing students with mental health resources, including meditation sessions, advice, podcasts, etc.
- Jake & Cameron: Genetically modified plastic eating fish to solve plastic pollution in our oceans
- Lai – An app to connect young inventors with investors to be able to bring a product to market
“The ELEVATE pitch competition has been a fun way to focus the students on not just learning about entrepreneurship but really developing a problem-solving, entrepreneurial mindset and putting it into practice as an entrepreneur does,” Oliveri said. “They learn that these concepts can be applied to help them take any idea they have in their work, school, or home life and turn it into something meaningful.”
The Essentials of Entrepreneurship class provides an introduction to Allendale Columbia’s Center for Entrepreneurship, which launched in 2017 with a commitment to being a hub for community problem solving and social innovation. Its mission is to “create opportunities for our students/participants to make an impact on the world at an unprecedented level by learning to adapt to a constantly evolving world, connecting globally, and carving their own path. This authentic way of thinking and working develops a universally applicable and transferable mindset and skillset.”
Students can also explore entrepreneurship through the Center’s other courses as well as offerings from the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation. Those courses include Design Thinking, Making An Impact (Locally, Globally), Production and Design, and an Entrepreneurs as Innovators Cohort in which students build upon an entrepreneurial, problem-solving mindset and skill set to bring their solutions to market.
A recording of the pitch competition is viewable on YouTube.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Upper School
Written by Mary Cotter ’22
Right before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, I was a member of the 9-10 Allendale Columbia TEAM+S team that included Aidan Wun ‘22, Harmony Palmer ‘23, Chris Smoker ’23, and me, Mary Cotter ’22. We competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, earning the title of NYS Champions! Our win would have earned us a position at the National competition, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was improving zoos. This encouraged us to delve into research about solutions to common complaints about zoos, the costs of such solutions, and the environmental impact.
Before the competition, our team wrote an essay responding to the prompt: “Your team is tasked with modifying an existing zoo within your state to develop innovations that would maximize economic, environmental, and/or societal benefits.” We wrote about modifying the Utica Zoo by planting native plant species, installing more energy-efficient appliances, and transforming the zoo into a sanctuary.
Zoo animals, including those at the Utica Zoo, have been observed as “anxious and bored” creating a “depressing” experience for visitors, according to Google Reviews. And it’s easy to see the reason for bored animals and bored children. Utica Zoo attendance has declined in recent years, and the Zoo has suffered financially. The Utica Zoo depends on government bailouts, but our essay outlined a few changes that could transform the Zoo into a healthier environment for the animals and a fun and educational experience for visitors.
On the day of the competition, we worked together on a 90-minute, 80-question multiple choice test. The topics of the questions were centered around the theme and required us to divide the questions based on individual strengths in math, biology, technology, and creative problem-solving. Then we completed the engineering challenge in which we created the lightest crane to lift the most weight to the greatest height. We were given limited time and resources to create our crane.
This competition was very intellectually stimulating and forced us to work collaboratively to find the best solutions to complicated problems. It was a fun way to explore the field of engineering.
Learn More About the Invent Center for STEM and Innovation
Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Invent, Upper School
Grab a cup of coffee, relax in your favorite chair and relive happy memories from holidays past as you watch the recording of this year’s AC Holiday Breakfast!
0:00 – Wind Ensemble
0:30 – Welcome (Shannon Baudo)
2:33 – Lifer Speech (Cynara Nelson)
3:33 – Kindergarten Intro (Linden Oliveri)
4:32 – Kindergarten “Up on the Housetop”
6:54 – Lifer Speech (Victoria Edwards)
8:26 – Lower School Intro (Leighanna DeWitt)
8:58 – Lower School “3 Rounds for Peace”
11:53 – Lifer Speech (Alicia Strader)
12:53 – Lifer Speech (Gregory Castellano)
13:25 – Middle School Intro (Calla Schwartz)
14:02 – Middle School Chorus “Winter Wonderland”
16:36 – Lifer Speech (Brynn Peters)
18:41 – Storytime with Mrs. Baudo “The Wish Tree”
23:21 – Lifer Speech (McKenna Shearing)
24:23 – Wind Ensemble Intro (Zoe Crego)
24:47 – Wind Ensemble “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”
27:54 – Lifer Speech (Marlin Bassett)
29:57 – Upper School Chorus Intro (Mary Cotter)
30:20 – Upper School Chorus “Sleigh Ride”
33:19 – Lifer Speech (Amaja Elliot)
34:12- Lifer Speech (Jack Wheeler)
34:27 – Dona Nobis Pacem
37:28 – Closing Remarks (Shannon Baudo)
38:46 – Credits
Please join us by spreading cheer and making a gift to AC today.
One of AC’s most beloved traditions is Heritage Dinner, an event typically hosted on campus potluck-style, to celebrate and share the unique cultural backgrounds of our AC families. With this year’s global pandemic and the health and safety of our community at the forefront of our minds, we knew changes would need to be made in order to safely host the event this year. Pulling this off virtually would be a challenge, yes; but it would not be impossible.
Embracing AC’s core values to the fullest — “the importance of connections”, “mastering strategies for learning”, “minds that are curious and creative”, and “developing a resilient spirit that dares to take risks” — we decided to use this real world challenge as a learning opportunity for our students.
Enter AC Production and Design students Ella Prokupets, Mansa Brown-Tonge, Carly Freeman, Jocelyn Wynn, independent study student Chloe Fowler, and global diploma student Brynn Peters. Together, with the guidance of faculty advisor Amy Oliveri, these six students began to analyze the keystone components of the event and the logistics necessary to host it virtually.
Among the goals and objectives identified by the group were:
- The desire to make the event as inclusive as possible
- The desire to provide various levels of engagement to promote the widest accessibility
- The ability to virtually bring people together to enjoy culturally diverse food
- The ability to incorporate local and international partners
To implement these goals, the students set to work connecting with our partners in Senegal, Dubai, Mexico, China, and locally, they reached out to Headwater Food Hub to coordinate the sale of Meal Boxes to our community. These boxes, they hoped, would provide a sense of community with everyone prepping and enjoying the same meal. Driven by the desire to support and shop local during this challenging time, the students also arranged to have extra Meal Boxes donated to our School #17 Summer LEAP families. Additionally, the students curated a list of ethnically diverse restaurants to encourage participants to support local small businesses and try new cuisines from around the world. During this time, they also began building their own website, creating social media content and messaging to help promote the event, and gathering family-favorite recipes and music from our AC community.
When the day of the event finally came, we had just shy of 100 people in attendance! Through a combination of pre recorded presentations and live discussions, we were successfully (and safely!) able to come together, yet again, to break bread and broaden our understanding of the world and those in our community. This event is always such a wonderful reminder of the richness and diversity of our AC community.
We are proud to be Rochester’s most diverse school, and we are committed to continuing to build a community that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion for all people.
00:00 – Welcome
02:01 – Intro & Land Acknowledgement
05:20 – History of Heritage Dinner
08:06 – Student Speaker #1 (Lizzie)
13:14 – Student Speaker #2 (Ziqi)
15:58 – Student Speaker #3 (Victoria)
20:03 – Faculty Speaker (Mr. Camara)
36:25 – Breakout Rooms
50:17 – Closing Remarks
50:33 – Solidarity Circle Intro
51:41 – Solidarity Circle Video
53:31 – Closing Remarks
*This year’s Heritage Dinner program was organized and produced by students in the Production & Design Class. Thank you to Mansa Brown-Tonge for hosting the evening’s event and Ms. Oliveri for her oversight and guidance.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Global Engagement, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School
Each year, we typically conclude our Holiday Breakfast with a group sing of Dona Nobis Pacem, and while we cannot physically be together this year, we are hoping that we can include some of our families in a special rendition of this song! If you would like to participate, please submit a video recording of you and/or your family. You can access the instructions and materials you’ll need for creating the recording below.
The deadline for video submissions is Friday, December 11th!
Posted in: Alumni News, Art, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper School
This fall, AC’s Production and Design students were given a choice of partnerships they could participate in, and seven of the students selected a collaboration with the Western New York chapter of Best Buddies, a global nonprofit organization that strives to create one-on-one friendships between volunteers and children with developmental disabilities to maintain an environment of inclusivity. Since about the third week of school, these dedicated students have worked countless hours to help produce the Best Buddies Champions Gala. This annual gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year, and this year, due to the pandemic, the event needed to be held virtually.
For their part in this collaboration, AC students were given the responsibility of creating and producing vignettes, commercials, and promotional social media content for the gala, and their work culminated in the creation of a 30-minute pre recorded segment that aired December 5th on WROC Channel 8. Throughout the collaboration, students were in contact with the Best Buddies Program Manager, Lindsay Jewett, for nearly two months, often meeting with her via Zoom multiple days of the week as they planned and executed the various aspects of this project. They also had a virtual meeting with WROC to review the formatting requirements needed to properly air their videos on TV.
“Before Thanksgiving break, our group went to the Arbor Loft in Rochester to film for the prerecorded virtual gala. Students in our class also took on the responsibility of filming and editing hours worth of footage to make commercials to play on Channel 8 during the event. Throughout this process, each of us discovered that we were capable of doing big projects such as this, and we put our leadership skills to work identifying peer leaders within our group to help manage the program efficiently. We are very thankful to not only the Best Buddies Organization for letting us help with such a big project, but to our peers and teachers for helping us work on this safely and efficiently and, ultimately, leading us to success.” — Alicia Strader, AC Senior
The Gala raised more than $35,000 for programming in WNY. To learn more about Best Buddies or to get involved visit https://www.bestbuddies.org/.
Watch the Virtual Gala Segment
Behind the Scenes
Social Media Content Designer
Videography and Editing
Videography and Editing
Social Media Logistics Lead
Videography & Editing
Project Lead and Graphic Design
Tony TepedinoSince starting at Allendale Columbia in 1994, Tony has taken on many different roles. He has coached a variety of sports, including Varsity Girls’ Basketball and Varsity Golf. He taught physical education for seven years, kindergarten for seven years, and served as the Director of Curricular Technology for five years. Tony is currently serving as a faculty member in the Center for Entrepreneurship where he teaches electives for both middle and upper school students. He is also the Faculty Professional Learning Coordinator and C0-creator of TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool. Recently, Tony was Co-chair of the NYSAIS Accreditation Steering Committee and is a member of the Upper School Student Success Team responsible for Student Life. During the summer, Tony also works as Program Coordinator for the Iraqi Youth Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP). He holds a master’s degree in Education from Roberts Wesleyan College. Tony is the proud father of two children, Gabi and Trip. He enjoys hiking, reading, travel, cooking, and learning about new things.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Highlights, Upper School
This year has brought about a unique set of challenges for educators, including how to safely continue our music education program. We know singing and playing instruments is incredibly important for students at AC, and instead of saying “no” to music education, as many other schools have done this year, we’ve worked hard to ensure we can continue to make music, while keeping all of our students safe.
In the midst of this pandemic, there is nothing quite like hearing voices singing. I’ll never forget hearing the 4th graders, who are in chorus for the first time, singing during their first rehearsal in the CPC. It was magical. They overcame all of the obstacles we threw at them and continued to make music. That is what it’s all about. — Rachael Sanguinetti, Music Teacher
Posted in: Art, Highlights, Lower School, Middle School, Upper School