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 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. 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.
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 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.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Events & Workshops, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Forge a different path
Find what fits for you in Allendale Columbia’s new post-secondary program!
Allendale Columbia is now offering a supported transition to post-secondary life after high school through our “AC Launch” program. This individual mentorship program engages students, allowing them to drive their own path with guidance and support from a team of educators. In this program, we focus on:
Individualized learning plans
Earn micro-credentials and gain real-world experiences
Practice core skills in real-time through a variety of experiences and environments
Work within a team to accomplish a high-investment task
Analyze, reflect, and implement valuable feedback from mentors
Mentor a younger student to practice leadership skills
Turn interests and passions into skill sets
Work with a mentor on a significant public project
Weekly meetings with expert mentors
Connection with other postgraduate peers
Create a networking portfolio
Develop and launch a personalized life plan
Participants will integrate deeper learning and social-emotional growth for a lasting impact that unveils their interests and passions, helping to set them up for success and launch them into their future.
Duration: Two 11-week sessions
Cost: $3,500 per session
- Session I: September 24th – December 11th
- Session II: January 15th – April 8th
Ages: Open to AC and non-AC graduates from the Classes of 2019 and 2020
Director of Equity and Community Engagement
Let us know if you’re interested!
Complete the interest form below.
Meet the Mentorship Team:
Posted in: AC College Consulting, College Advising News, Events & Workshops, Partnerships, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Congratulations to the
Allendale Columbia School
Class of 2020!
Roxy Reisch recipient of the Robert J. Moore Award
Mr. Moore is a former teacher, coach, and athletic director at Allendale Columbia School who played an important role in helping lead HAC athletics. Many players and coaches who worked with Mr. Moore will tell you that his compassion and caring attitude helped to influence them in a positive way. The Robert J. Moore Award honors Mr. Moore for his 20 years as athletic director and his dedication to the Harley Allendale Columbia Athletic program. Mr. Moore retired in 2009 and remained on the Board of Trustees at Allendale Columbia School through 2018.
The Robert J. Moore Award is presented to both The Harley School and Allendale Columbia School students involved in HAC athletics. It is presented to a student athlete who best represents Mr. Moore’s good work ethic, caring attitude, and ability to show compassion for all. I’m extremely proud to announce this year’s Robert J. Moore Award recipient is Roxy Reisch.
Roxy has been a staple on the HAC cross country and track & field teams the past four years, while also competing on the girls swimming team through her sophomore year. She is arguably one of the most accomplished runners in HAC girls cross country and track & field history, having helped her teams capture four consecutive undefeated cross country seasons, four W-FL Division III cross country titles, three W-FL Division III track titles, two sectional titles in cross country, and three sectional titles in track and field. She has represented HAC and Section V in three New York State Championship meets, is a six-time Wayne-Finger Lakes All Star, and has twice been selected to the All-Greater Rochester first team, making her one of only two HAC athletes to earn that distinction in the last 15 years.
All of these successes, however, do not champion the person Roxy is and why she is deserving of the Robert J. Moore Award.
Though her senior year of competition as an HAC athlete was cut short, first by illness during the fall, and then, cruelly, by COVID-19 in this spring, Roxy’s attitude towards this situation and the poise that she carries herself embodies what Mr. Moore and the Robert J. Moore award represents. When Roxy couldn’t compete this fall, she remained a pillar for her team and teammates, supporting them at practices and meets, while taking time to mentor, inspire, and support her younger teammates. As Coach Deckman notes, “Roxy probably has the biggest heart in Section V. She stepped into her role as captain this past fall with ease, leading teammates through her shining example of determination and drive.” When Roxy noticed that a newcomer to the team was nervous about a big mid-season race, she discreetly presented the teammate with a hand-written note of encouragement the night before.
Roxy is often among the first to notice if someone on the team is struggling or needing extra support, and she is among the last to ask for it herself. During her track career, she regularly sacrificed opportunities for individual glory for a tougher work load if it meant improving the team’s chances of success.
Roxy’s compassion extends into her volunteer efforts as she worked to become a certified ‘Girls on the Run’ coach to help lead and guide younger runners and invoke the same passion she has for the sport to those trying it for the first time.
Roxy started her senior track season with bursting energy and promise, so when the season ended a mere week after practice began, and with what happened in the fall, it was indeed a bitter disappointment. However, instead of giving up, she doubled down. She was among the first to start logging workouts via the team’s online training platform and continued to encourage her teammates’ efforts there. As Coach Deckman noted, “Roxy’s accomplishments on the race course are certainly impressive, but her personal growth and dedication to her team’s development will linger for a long time.”
Roxy, your selfless generosity of spirit, genuine care for others, and positive attitude towards all the challenges that you face are the reasons why you are the recipient of the Robert J. Moore award. Congratulations Roxy!
The Gordon F. Smith award is Allendale Columbia’s highest award for athletics. Gordie Smith was a teacher, coach, and athletic director for his career and had coached in over 1500 games at Allendale Columbia.
The Smith award is given annually to a boy and/or girl that meets the following criteria.
- Commitment to Athletics
- Outstanding athletic ability and performance
This year’s male recipient of the Gordon F. Smith Award goes to Gifford Campbell.
Gifford Campbell has been a three-sport athlete since 7th grade. He’s been a leader on the varsity soccer team since earning a sectional call-up his freshman year, a member of the varsity boys basketball team as a midseason sophomore call-up, and a member of the Wolves’ varsity track & field team since his freshman year.
“Gifford is the consummate team player,” said assistant varsity boys soccer coach Rob Richardson who has coached Gifford his entire varsity-career. “He remained positive at all times, and focused on what he could control – his own effort.
As an upperclassman, Gifford seized the opportunity to lead. His leadership and presence was a critical component in the culture change that led to this season’s success.”
“Though he was plagued by injury most of his [senior] season…his leadership qualities never diminished,” said varsity boys soccer coach Ted Hunt. “He came to every game and every practice, providing the ultimate sense of a role model and leadership and helped turn the team’s character back in the direction that coach Richardson and I had always wanted to be reflected in the program: hard work, intensity, and resiliency. That’s what we (the team) became again this year and Gifford was a big part of that.” This past season, Gifford earned 1st Team Finger Lakes West All Star and Exceptional Senior honors as a centre back and key contributor for HAC’s defense.
A two-year starter for boys basketball, as a junior, Gifford helped the Wolves earn their first sectional win in over five seasons scoring seven points in a 50-49 victory over Bolivar-Richburg. This past winter, in what ended up being the last time he’d wear an HAC uniform, Gifford scored a team-high 15 points in a sectional game, demonstrating his leadership and ‘never-quit’ attitude in the game.
“Gifford does a tremendous job of being a floor general,” said assistant varsity boys basketball coach Ryan Johnson. “His IQ on the court has helped us in many ways over the past few seasons. When I think of Gifford, I think of a natural born leader. Gifford’s actions and reactions have fueled the team in practices and games and will be missed.”
In track & field, Gifford is an accomplished sprinter, middle distance runner, and occasional jumper.
When recently asked to name his favorite track and field event, he quickly picked the 4x400m relay.
“I was not the least bit surprised,” said Coach Deckman. “It says a lot about Gifford that he finds more joy in the efforts and accomplishments of his team than in his own as an individual. Gifford is an outstanding and driven runner in his own right but watch him bury himself for his teammates during a relay race and you will know where his true motivation lies. He thrives in the team environment.”
Gifford was a key member of the boys team that finished 2nd overall at last year’s Section V Class C Championship meet. He managed to pass four opposing runners during his leg of the 4x400m relay helping to secure HAC’s victory at the Sectional Championship meet. He also ran a key leg on the4x100m relay team that placed 4th in a season’s best time of 45.49 seconds at the Meet of Champions.
Gifford’s HAC career is a model of consistency and a template to follow when it comes to sportsmanship and leading the right way. He makes those around him better, without making it about himself. Gifford, you are truly deserving of the Gordon F. Smith award Congratulations Gifford!
Liza has been a member of the varsity girls cross country and track & field team since 8th grade and is also a four-year member of the varsity girls swim team. She has been the ideal representation of an HAC athlete and the model for success for student-athletes to follow across her unprecedented career that totals 14 varsity seasons.
Throughout that time, she has earned Wayne-Finger Lakes All Star honors six times, has been selected as an All-Greater Rochester Honorable mention four times, and has been a part of nine sectional championship teams!
“It is no accident that the girls’ cross country and track & field teams have enjoyed an impressive stretch of success all five years that Liza has been a member,” said HAC cross country and track & field head coach Dan Deckman. “As an 8th grader, she was a scoring member of the 2015 girls’ cross country team that won a Section V Class D title, and she (has) never looked back – scoring in every meet she competed in, including two more Section V titles and two trips to the NY State Championship meet.”
Coach Deckman continued on to say, “Liza demonstrates incredible willpower in everything she does…whether in practice, or in competition, whether encouraging her teammates to do another round of core, or zipping past an exhausted rival late in a race. While many runners approach the sport with the speed of a gusting wind, fast, explosive, and fleeting – Liza is more like the force of gravity, tireless, relentless, always quietly working, a constant formidable presence.”
As a runner, Liza competes with a toughness and inner grit that influences her teammates to do the same. As a teammate, her cheerful personality and thoughtfulness allow her to transcend different social circles and connect with everyone regardless of talent, age and experience.
In swimming, Liza mainly competed in the 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle events, arguably the hardest events in high school swimming, “Yet she never, ever begged out of an event and often asked to swim them when she was given alternate events during an easier meet,” said head swimming coach Peter Mancuso. “She’ll be missed greatly as reliable team members like her are very hard to replace.”
“The one attribute that stands out for me having coached Liza for four years on the girls varsity swim team is her work ethic. She gave you all she had that day in practice and it was impressive. The example she set for her teammates with her constant work in the pool and desire to improve helped push them all to get better. These are some of the reasons why she was a team captain both her junior and senior year.
Liza has indeed been a critical member of each of the teams she’s been on, and this past winter she out-swam her seeding time by nearly seven seconds in the 200-yard freestyle to help the girls win the Genesee Region-New Orleans Intersectional Championship.
Liza’s track & field career and team successes are equally impressive. Her performances in the 1500m and 3000m runs, along with running a key leg in 4x800m relay helped the girls track and field team rally-from-behind to secure their 3rd straight sectional championship last spring.
“If there is something Liza is unwilling to do for the good of her team, then after five years, I haven’t figured out what it is yet,” said Coach Deckman. During last year’s Section V Track and Field Class C Championship meet, Liza competed in an exhausting lineup of three distance events, helping to amass just enough points for HAC’s girls to earn a third consecutive team title.
A leader by example, an advocate for her teammates and team, and one of the most genuine and talented student athletes to grace a HAC uniform, congratulations, Liza on being selected as the female recipient of the Gordon F. Smith Award!
AC’s Social Worker and Student Counselor, Kate Dunlavey, recently spoke with parents of graduating seniors to provide support techniques to help students navigate the wide range of emotions they may be feeling during these uncertain times. Throughout the session, Kate focused on the importance of students finding closure nearing the end of the their high school careers and preparing for the next chapters of their lives. She also discussed coping strategies for to process the grief students may feel in response to the potential cancellation of senior milestone events.
Below is some of her parting advice to parents.
A – Plan for right now
When we don’t have answers we begin to fill in the blanks for ourselves. We get stuck in future and past thinking which increases feelings of anxiety and depression. We need to get off the hamster wheel and the way to do that is to get focused on the present.
What can I do right now, in this moment?
What do I have control of right now?
- Use techniques such as mindfulness (defined as anything that gets you focused on the present like taking a walk/reading/yoga/meditation).
- Use the Pay it Forward Challenge to reconnect with a sense of purpose, self control and agency. What can you do to infuse positive messages of hope and support into the world? Examples from Kate’s family, my kids chalk jokes and happy messages to neighbors at the end of our driveway, we put rainbows in the windows to represent hope and good things after the storm, etc.
- Use visual imagery exercises like the Container Exercise (script below) for a safe place to store worries and feelings until we need to or are ready to do something with them.
Container Exercise script:
We are going to create a container that is big enough and strong enough to hold all of your worries and all of your feelings about what is going on right now.
How big is your container? (the size of a box, a room, a house, a building, a mountain, etc.)What is your container made of? (metal, wood, plastic, etc.) Can people see inside?
How does it open and close? Does it lock? Can anyone go in and out or just you? If it locks/unlocks with a key where do you keep the key so it is safe? *this can be magic too!
If a hurricane comes, does your container survive? If there is damage, what changes are needed to fix the damage and make the container stronger?
Once the container feels complete, visualize opening the container in your mind.
Name what color your worried feelings are inside you.
Name what color calm and peaceful energy is, and picture it all around you.
Take three deep breaths. On inhale, picture the calm energy going in and pushing the worried feelings out on exhale. Worried feelings go into your container safely.
[Check in after three breaths to see if there are more worried feelings to get out or if what is left is stuck.]
Visualize closing and locking the container.
Your feelings are safe.
B – Plan for the short term (next few weeks/months)
IF senior events are canceled we can expect a disruption in closure milestones and a disruption in launching milestones.
- Saying good-bye to AC community/friends/etc.
- Processing the end of a chapter with one another
- Graduation parties
- The “what are you doing next year” conversation
- Sharing future plans
This is a loss, and we will all likely experience grief around this.
The Kubler-Ross 5 Stages of Grief (image below) can help us understand the emotional wave we will experience from denial to anger, to bargaining, to depression and finally acceptance (I don’t like it, I can’t do anything to change it, I am going to make my peace with it) and then back through them all again.
Parents and children will all experience this grief. It is critical for parents to model self-care. Children do what we DO not what we say. If you are managing your grief and taking care of yourself, it gives them permission to do the same. Let them see you grieve this and process it together. The best way to help our children through this process is to bear witness (definition below), to let them know we see them and hear them. To validate their feelings. Sometimes, when we try to make it better for our children, we accidentally invalidate their feelings. They don’t need us to make it better, they need us to see and hear them. Reflect feelings back to them (“This is really hard. I don’t blame you for being super upset about this.”).
Definition of Bearing Witness from “Psychology Today”:
“Bearing witness is a term that refers to sharing our experiences with others, most notably in the communication to others of our experiences. Bearing witness is a valuable way to process an experience, to obtain empathy and support, to lighten our emotional load via sharing it with the witness, and to obtain catharsis. It is widely confirmed in the literature that validation in the course of and bearing witness is vital and necessary in remembering and in the healing process.”
A reminder to all that, when we face loss, grief is a NORMAL process. This is a great time to help children create connections and develop networks with peers or other adults to process thoughts and feelings. We can also invite our children to have hard conversations with us (“You are older and more mature now, and if you want to sit down and talk about anything, I will give it to you straight.”). We have an opportunity to teach our children how to manage challenging information, decision making, and longer term planning. This included financial conversations if necessary (around college options).
C – Plan for the long term
We will adjust to this new way of living. We will keep, and honor, what we need to, and we will mourn and let go of what we need to/have to. Rituals help us process, heal, and integrate life experiences. In the midst of this, it is important to create new rituals. We can help our children find closure and meet launching milestones by finding new ways to meet those needs and new rituals to honor them. An example of a new ritual that has already emerged is birthday drive-by’s. These are a meaningful way of celebrating and honoring someone in a new and thoughtful way. We can get creative and work together to find new ways to celebrate and honor our seniors. Most importantly, we must stay connected.
Posted in: Twelfth Grade, Upper School