Our Upper School Production and Design class worked this semester to establish monthly Heritage and Cultural Spotlights inspired by Heritage Dinner. As a group, we wanted to do more to educate our community about different cultures. Each month, the team will share educational components around a featured heritage or culture. The team is comprised of Julianna T., Charlie S., Ayla S., Hafsah Z., and Nolan R. who filmed and edited the video of our 2nd graders below.
The second grade class created this land acknowledgment in honor of Native American Heritage Month. This is an important piece of their project-based learning unit which celebrates community. Annie King, believes that,
“Being a good steward of the land is an integral component for our students to engage in. Students research and learn about communities from the past. In doing so, they became super passionate about what activities and traditions communities celebrated. They wondered about which aspects of these communities they would like to bring to AC and their classroom community. The students were really drawn to respect and love of the earth and their ability to be peacemakers.”
Gianna I. told me she really enjoyed reading the book, Hiawatha and the Peacemaker. From this book, she loved the parts about being peaceful. She believes that you should never be mean and always be peaceful. When Gianna is peaceful it looks like being kind and loving and helping people.
Production and Design students collaborated with these young allies to record, edit, and share this spotlight feature.
“Allyship is a process, and everyone had more to learn. Allyship involves a lot of listening.” – Taylor Converse
The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash; crops that form a natural ecosystem as they grow. The corn provides a stalk for the beans to climb. The beans convert nitrogen from the air, and convert it into forms that can be used as nutrients. The squash’s large leaves shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.
The Haudenosaunee were the first to call these crops the “three sisters.” The Haudenosaunee also have a special way of planting the three sisters. In this method, all three types of seeds are planted together in the same mound, which assists with drainage because this region receives lots of rainfall in the summer.
Selected videos highlighting local Native American history from our friends at Ganondagan were carefully curated by the students in the group. This is the second year we’ve worked with Ganondagan. Last year at Heritage Dinner, Mansa B.T. of our Black Student Union presented this Land Acknowledgment to open the event.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Humanities, Lower School, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Higher 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.
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!
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.
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.
Congratulations to the
Allendale Columbia School
Class of 2021!
- Commencement 2021 Program (PDF)
- Commencement 2021 Senior Address by Sarah Ash ’21
- Commencement Address by AC Faculty Member Randy Northrup
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.
In honor of “National Go to An Art Museum Day” today, check out some of the art created by our Lower, Middle, and Upper School students so far this year!
Lower School Art
Lower School Artists have been hard at work in their classrooms this fall! Our hard work is on display in the Lower School hallways. We have explored the Elements of Art through Color, Line, Texture, Shape, and Value. Each class, Nursery through Fifth Grade, has been excited to explore new ways of creating their art. Nursery and Pre-K classes recently painted with marbles and forks. They also used their “teeny tiny” finger muscles to put a 3D pumpkin together by making loops. The Kindergarten classes experienced the magic of leaf rubbings and then painted the leaves with beautiful watercolors. First Graders have practiced multi-step directions as they painted paper with bright tempera paint and then used the painted paper to create pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. The Second Graders cut black cat silhouettes using symmetry as a strategy. There are black bats hanging out upside down in the Lower School, creatively made by the Third Graders. Fourth and Fifth Graders used yarn to wrap mummies and spiderwebs and these became the finishing touches to a beautiful display in Lower School.
During each art class, the Lower School Artists have the opportunity to learn new techniques and also have time to develop foundational skills for strengthening fine motor muscles, applying problem solving skills, and enjoying the benefits that Art can contribute to their social and emotional well-being. I am so proud of the students I teach. I regularly hear laughter and see the joy on their faces as they create art. Spreading happiness and joy to all who walk the halls each day this year is an added bonus of bringing art to the classrooms. Keep an eye on social media for more wonderful work from my Lower School Artists this year!
Sharon EllmakerShari has been an educator for more than 30 years. During the academic school year, she teaches Lower School art and in the summer, she is a valued member of our AC Summer LEAP faculty. Shari brings with her experience teaching second, third, and fourth grade, in both the public school system and independent schools. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Bluffton University.
Middle School Art
I’ve been so impressed by my Middle School Photojournalism students. These seventh and eighth graders started off the semester learning how to compose photographs. One difference in this class is it is “self-paced.” This means that students work through assignments at their own pace. They are allowed to continue to work on a unit for as long as they need. Some of the units students can progress through are Composition, Motion, and Portraiture. As the quarter began, they learned how to operate a DSLR camera. Learners shoot photos manually by adjusting their shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. They also manually focus their lens. While a DSLR can do a lot of this work for you, it’s vital to learn how to do it yourself so you can have far greater control over the image.
As a result of COVID and new health and safety precautions, students bring home the cameras for longer periods of time. They have the cameras every other week for up to 6 days. This gives them ample time to plan, shoot, and reshoot their ideas and experiences. I have seen a noticeable difference in the quality of their work as they have more time to experiment with photography. On our “off weeks” when we don’t have the cameras, students learn how to use Adobe Photoshop to edit their images and use effects. They also spend time curating their photos into albums, getting feedback from their peers, and creating digital portfolios of their work. All of these skills and techniques are industry standards.
Amy OliveriAmy has been a part of the Allendale Columbia Art Department since the fall of 2010 and serves as Director of the AC Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and a Concentration in ASL as well as a Master of Science Degree for Teachers in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I’ve loved working with my students in the Upper School Drawing and Printmaking class this semester. Members of the class include in-person students and several Upper Schoolers who join the class remotely, including three international students in China.
One of the first concepts we study in drawing is “line,” and for this ink landscape drawing project the class chose locations, then worked from direct observation to identify and draw the lines that they saw. Being able to sit outside and work was a terrific opportunity that allowed us to enjoy the immersive experience of drawing while observing social distancing.
Students at AC created these images on our beautiful campus while simultaneously, the three students in China drew a local church, a city boulevard, and a residential building in their own neighborhoods.
Students recorded reflections about their experiences at the end of the project. Here are some things they said:
“The thing I liked most about this project was going outside to find a good view in the city…since I knew I had a mission of discovering beauty in my city, I walked slowly and paid attention to my surroundings.”
“The thing I liked most about this project was that I think I really enjoy the process of drawing, because when I have a picture in front of me, I just concentrate on my drawing, and I feel pretty relaxed.”
“What did I like most about this project? I think it was really nice to be able to just sit outside, at the end of the day, and just draw.”
“The thing I liked most about this project was that we got to go outside when the weather was nice, and we got to choose what we wanted to draw and got to focus on one specific place.”
Lori WunLori has 18 years of experience as an educator and has been an art teacher at AC for 14 of those years. She has taught grades 9-12, elementary, and middle school students, as well as university undergraduates. Lori is a practicing artist with bachelor's degrees in fine arts and art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the College of William and Mary, where she focused on drawing, painting, and modern art history. She earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she concentrated on photography and video.
Posted in: Art, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Nursery, Pre-Primary School, PreKindergarten, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Seven is a lucky number for many, and it’s also the perfect number of colleges to apply to. As you build your college application list, make sure you have the right mix of colleges: 2-3 “reach” schools, 3-4 “likelies”, and 2-3 “sure things” based on your academic profile and the colleges’ published middle-50% ranges. However, even if your academic profile falls into the colleges’ standardized test and grade point average ranges for admitted students, nothing is guaranteed! Here are a few more tips for creating your ideal college application list…
Find Your Major
You do not need to decide right now what you will do for the rest of your life. However, it is good to include on your college application list schools that offer coursework, majors, minors, or concentrations in academic areas that pique your interest. It sometimes helps to think about your favorite classes and teachers in high school — let that help guide your college search as you narrow down options. If you are undecided, make sure you apply to colleges with a variety of academic options. Seek out colleges that are doing cutting-edge research that excites you. Look for faculty who remind you of your favorite teachers.
Your college application list should be your own. Ultimately, you will attend college for the next four years. While I recommend you consult with parents, friends, and advisors, this is your college application journey — own the process. You should only apply to colleges where you can picture yourself being happy and intellectually-fulfilled. If school spirit and game days are not your thing, skip those colleges known for diehard fans and top-notch athletics. If it’s not your dream to attend an Ivy-league school, let it be known. Just because a certain college worked for your cousin or parent, it doesn’t mean it’s your perfect match, too.
Consider the colleges you may know best! Having attended Duke University, which is only 30 minutes away from my hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, I definitely appreciated my familiarness with the area and the proximity to my family… but I also made it clear to my parents that they could not just drop by whenever they felt like it! Don’t fall into the trap of overlooking some great local colleges. There are many benefits to attending college closer to home: you may enjoy preferential treatment in the admissions process by being a local applicant, not to mention some financial perks — think about the money you’ll save by not having to purchase plane tickets during school breaks! Even though you’re close to home, you can still have college experience that feels like you’re miles away.
Don’t limit yourself based on geography. If you dream of attending college among the palm trees of California, you should absolutely include some west coast schools in your college application list. In fact, some majors are dependent on their location. For example, it’s hard (but not impossible) to study marine biology without proximity to the ocean. Make sure you do your research to find colleges that are attracting scholars and students equally excited about your interests, regardless of their location.
Reach for the Stars
You will regret not applying to your dream school. Even if your test scores and grades fall well outside published mid-50% ranges, you will always wonder “what could have been?” Just make sure you have a few more realistic options to balance out your big dreams. Also spend time getting the application and essays for your dream school just right, to make sure you’re giving yourself every advantage during the admissions process.
Narrow Things Down
The more you narrow things down on the front end, the less angst you’ll have at the end of the process. Applying to more than 10 colleges is delaying the decision-making process. By narrowing things down on the front end, you’ll have an easier spring when you receive admission decisions and ultimately decide where to enroll. Plus, refining the college application list early means you won’t have to write application essays for school that you’re not seriously considering.
Interested in chatting with a former Associate Dean of Admission and Director of Selection?
With degrees from Duke, Miami, and Rice, as well as 15 years of selective college admissions experience, please consider Emily Nevinger a resource as you compile your college application list. Emily can set up virtual appointments to discuss what is important about your college search and offer strategic, personalized advice about your application process.
Emily NevingerEmily is Associate Director of Admissions and College Advising Consultant at Allendale Columbia School. After serving as the Interim College Advisor in Fall 2018, Emily took on a role to offer students and families outside AC with guidance in the college admissions process. Her role has since expanded to the Admissions team, where she helps prospective families learn more about AC's innovative education. Emily joined AC from Emory University where she directed the selection process for more than 20,000 freshmen candidates each year. She started working at the university level in 2003 and was a senior member of the admission committees for University of Miami, Emory University, and UNC Chapel Hill. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Master of Higher Education Administration and Enrollment Management from the University of Miami, and a Certificate in College Access Counseling from Rice University.
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Students in our multidisciplinary Upper School course “Production & Design” attended the virtual Adobe Max conference October 20-22. This conference provided students with access to interactive workshops and presentations by Annie Liebovitz, Ava DuVernay, and Tim Allen of VP, Design, Airbnb, and many more. Overall, AC students attended more than 20 different sessions, allowing them to learn alongside, and from, leading industry professionals.
At AC, we constantly strive to offer opportunities for students to learn and grow both in and out of the classroom. Bringing global conferences to our students, despite the pandemic, allows our young leaders to continue to make connections and grow their network of resources. We are grateful for the ability and innovation that makes it possible for our students to attend events such as this and then apply their learnings in the events they are organizing this year in “Production & Design”.
This year, our “Production and Design” students are organizing three major events:
- Best Buddies Gala – AC has had a partnership with Best Buddies, a non-profit organization that supports people in our community with developmental disabilities, for about four years. This year, AC students are working with Best Buddies to create their “Champions Gala”, Best Buddies’ largest fundraiser of the year. In a normal year, their gala would be a traditional in-person event. This year, however, is a bit different, and the event will be held virtually. AC students have the responsibility of filming and editing pre-recorded content for the event, in cooperation with Best Buddies WNY and WROC. AC students are also responsible for creating social media content to promote the event. This is a tremendous opportunity for students to do real and impactful work in the community.
- Heritage Dinner – The Heritage Dinner is an annual AC event to celebrate the cultural diversity and heritage of our AC community. This year’s event will take place virtually the evening of December 10th. Our team of student leaders will create meal boxes for purchase in collaboration with Headwater Food Hub, organize performances, publish a digital cookbook of AC family favorite recipes, and provide participants with cultural resources to make this event a success.
- Now. Here. This. – This year’s Upper School musical theatre production is Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, and Jeff Bowen’s Now.Here.This., which has recently been adapted to be “flexible” in these uncertain times. This new flexibility allows for freedom in casting, running time, and performance venue. The adaptation can accommodate casts of 4 to 400 people of all genders, races, and sexual orientation, and can be performed live or online. This means that all students can be involved, whether they are learning remotely or in person! This exciting project is being filmed and produced by AC students, who are currently in the storyboarding stage. Auditions took place last week, and cast members are starting to learn material and prepare for recording and filming. The production will be shown in a live-streamed event on January 22nd, 2021.
Here is what our students have to say about the Adobe MAX Conference…
In “Adobe Spark: How to Build Cross-Team Collaboration” they began by introducing themselves and what they do with Adobe Spark currently. They then went on to explain how you should build a team where everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so the team members can focus on using their strengths to the fullest, instead of focusing on building up their weaknesses. Next, they gave a demo on how to create brands and libraries in Spark that you can share with multiple people to help with the consistency of branding and marketing. They then explain how you can share your projects with other people if you want to co-edit. I learned how to use the Creative Cloud libraries in both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator instead of just in Spark. Before this session, I was downloading the files then adding them to my libraries on Spark. I also learned that Adobe Spark is working on Brand sharing which is also very exciting because this is what we were looking to do for Best Buddies.
The presentation I attended was called “Editing Faster and Smarter in Premiere Pro — Part 1.” The video started off by explaining how to string different clips together. She also went over different shortcut keys and how to make your own shortcuts. I learned a lot of different keys to make my editing go by quicker like how to quickly divide clips, rewind, play, and move bits up and down. I also learned how to create my own shortcuts. I generally thought that the conference was pretty good, and I liked that I could rewind and rewatch segments if I didn’t understand something.
Now. Here. This. – Production Manager
One of the sessions I attended was called “Video in the Spotlight”. I watched the portion of the conference that showcased Ava DuVernay and Zendaya. Ava DuVernay talked about her filming process, and she gave a lot of advice saying that if you want to make a film, you should just do it, and it doesn’t take a lot. One thing that really stuck with me was how she talked about her climb to success. She explained how instead of pushing to get in the room with the big directors, she built herself a room and made the most of it, and that’s how she became successful. Zendaya talked about fashion and film that inspires her, and she talked about how she stayed creative during the quarantine.
Heritage Dinner- External Partner Coordinator
I attended the conference called “Quick tips for creating the most engaging social media videos.” Amber Torrealba was the speaker. I would say that it was about thinking ahead of time, using what you have, being creative, how to create the best videos, and sticking out. I learned about the importance of the first five seconds, lighting, audio, transitioning, planning, words/titles/captions, and to always keep creating. One thing I would change about her presentation would be adding more of the content she has created to show more examples and see other styles besides hers that also are engaging social media videos.
Best Buddies – Social Media Content Designer
I attended a session by Zachary Silverstein and Stephanie Newcomb in which they showed off some of the features of Adobe Spark. I learned how to change the style of text, animate a graphic, add a background, and delete the background of a picture. These things will be very useful to me as I continue to create social media content for the upcoming Best Buddies Virtual Gala, and in life, as I need to use Adobe Spark to create marketing content. If I could change anything about this presentation, it would be to allow viewers to play along with Spark as the hosts do. I think that this would make for a better learning experience.
Now. Here. This. – Logistics, Social Media
I learned that you can’t become better or do better without the help of others. Even if you think you reached your max limit, you have so much more potential. When it comes to making our own content, we have to know our community, our audience, and what they want/desire. It is important to become comfortable with your audience and maintain a formal relationship with co-workers and people you are making content for. Be respectful. Be confident in your expertise as the leader of our own online community. Build business relationships based on trust and good experiences.
Heritage Dinner- Marketing and Content Creator
In the conference I attended each speaker spoke a bit about their life and inspiration for art. Each artist had a different style and thought about their artwork. They talked about what their artwork means to them as well as what it means to other people. They also talked about grabbing their audience’s attention with just a simple poster or painting. I learned about the importance of color in artwork and how to be able to tell how other people will interact with your artwork.
In this conference, the leader took the audience through examples of how to begin the editing process as an introduction to Premiere Pro. He used different clips that were provided by Adobe that you could follow along with. I learned a lot of cool tips and tricks about Premiere Pro that will definitely help me in the future. One example of these tips was when he showed us how to organize files and frame a timeline in file form before you actually start working on the timeline. This makes the process of editing the actual clips together a lot easier because now you don’t have to stumble around in search of a specific clip the whole time. The one thing that turned me off from the presentation was the fact that he never actually played the clips he was editing. He would show the files before he put them in the timeline, but after, he would simply drag the marker along without showing what the edit looked like. If I were to change something about this presentation, I would have played the clips for the audience to see fully.
Best Buddies- Video recording, editing, and design
In the conference I attended the presenter talked about how too many creative people just fall into their positions rather than going for the position they want. He talked about some common career paths for people to follow. I found it interesting that he recommended creative producers be open to any position they might be good at, like a CEO or someone on the business side. I did not think that creative people would want to be CEO, but when you think about it, it makes sense. We need more creative business leaders. He did a excellent job, and his presentation made sense and was well thought out.
Best Buddies – Social Media Logistics Lead
I watched “Creating Great Images With Your Phone Part 1”. In this session Katrin Eissman spoke about Adobe Lightroom which is basically a professional photo editing app for iphones. She showed us her phone while using adobe Lightroom. She showed us all of the cool features that the app has to offer such as changing the exposure of the photos (which I liked the most about the app) and changing the different tones of the photo. I learned a lot about this new app, and I am even thinking about downloading it on my own phone because of how useful it is for professional photo taking. I learned that the better quality the photo (the more professional it appears) the more pleasing to the eye it is thus, the more appreciation for the photo.
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. Tony was also the 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.
If you could do any job in the world besides what you do now, what would it be?
I would co-host the T.V. show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. Who wouldn't enjoy touring the country discovering the best food places and sharing that with the world?!
Amy OliveriAmy has been a part of the Allendale Columbia Art Department since the fall of 2010 and serves as Director of the AC Center for Creativity & Entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Illustration and a Concentration in ASL as well as a Master of Science Degree for Teachers in Art Education from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Amanda Meldrum-StevensonAmanda holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy from SUNY Fredonia, has studied Vocal Performance and Music Education at Eastman School of Music, and is currently completing a master’s in Creative Arts Therapy at Nazareth College. She brings experience as a board-certified music therapist, rehabilitation therapist, private voice instructor, and youth community musical theatre director. At AC, Amanda manages and directs the Upper School musicals and plays, teaches Upper School theatre classes, leads the Boys Ensemble, and teaches Middle School music electives and Drama Foundations.
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