Change Provides Car for Afghan Hero

Posted on January 15th, 2019 by Allendale Columbia School
Ellen Smith (NOLB Rochester Chapter Head) and Abdul Wali Akrami receive a ceremonial check from Change We Can Believe In leader Elina Natarajan '22.

Ellen Smith (NOLB Rochester Chapter Head) and Abdul Wali Akrami receive a ceremonial check from Change We Can Believe In leader Elina Natarajan ’22.

Abdul Wali Akrami, a humble hero who helped U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan, received a car and insurance to help him resettle in Rochester as a result of AC ninth-grader, Elina Natarajan’s inspired “Change You Can Count On” fundraiser at Allendale Columbia School.

Natarajan rallied the Community Service Club to help with the project, in which students in each grade and faculty sought to fill 2-liter bottles with loose change. All those coins added up to $743.00 to support No One Left Behind (NOLB), an organization that helps resettle the Afghan and Iraqi heroes who assisted the U.S. as drivers, interpreters, and special assistants.

“I was inspired when I met Matt Zeller and Janis Shinwari after a discussion at school,” Natarajan explained. AC alumnus and 2018 CNN Hero, Matt Zeller ’00, is a co-founder of NOLB with his Afghan translator Janis Shinwari. “I heard Ellen Smith (the Rochester Chapter Head) talk in the evening forum about raising money to help provide vehicles to these relocated helpers, and I thought, we can do that!”

“Wali” and his family fled his home country of Afghanistan to go to Pakistan when it became too dangerous under the Taliban. He returned when U.S. forces arrived to, as he put it, “help restore our country”. He became the trusted driver and special assistant to Fulton Jones, DynCorp International’s Deputy Program Manager for the Ministry of Interior’s Mentoring Program working with the Afghan National Police. Jones is the one who sponsored Wali’s visa. “On two occasions while we were traveling in my vehicle around Kabul, nearby coalition military bases or Afghan governmental institutions were attacked by Taliban insurgents. Wali quickly assessed the situation and realized that we were in danger of being hit,” Jones wrote in his letter of recommendation, and related how Wali got them to safety. “Wali risks his life daily just coming to work…but firmly believes what he is doing is right and worth the risk.”

Wali’s son, Aleem, related some of his father’s story to the packed Curtis Performance Center at AC, while tears of gratitude streamed down Wali’s face. A family friend, Jawad Tawakali, who moved here as a child, translated Wali’s thanks to the group. “It feels good to know we could help,” said Natarajan, who also noticed the tears. “It was a very emotional moment.”

 

Interested in supporting No One Left Behind? Send donations to:

No One Left Behind, Inc.
888 Pittsford Mendon Center Road
Pittsford, NY 14534

You can also email Irwin Solomon at irsolnolb@gmail.com.

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Posted in: Alumni News, Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

AC Alum Recognized as 2018 CNN Hero

Posted on November 9th, 2018 by cnickels

Veterans Day celebrates our soldiers and marines who served this country or, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. But what about all those people who help our troops? The people who live in the country that is being torn apart by war. The people who risk their lives to help our soldiers communicate, navigate, and survive. What about them?

Matt Zeller, an AC Class of 2000 alum, left our campus with ideas of being a lawyer or a politician and went on to earn degrees from Hamilton College and Syracuse University before joining the U.S. Army.

In 2008 his life, and his future, changed forever. (more…)

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Posted in: AC in the News, Alumni News, Authentic Learning, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights

AC Connects with Alumni in NYC

Posted on October 19th, 2018 by Amelia Fitzsimmons

After navigating the tricky feat of holding a reception in Boston during a Red Sox playoff game, Mick Gee, Karen Higman, and Kayla Himelein packed their bags and headed to New York City. Along the way, they had a lovely visit with former Headmistress Miss Joan Twaddle at her home in Rhode Island. 

Then it was on to New York to enjoy the company of a lively crowd of alumni and parents.

Among the guests present was beloved former faculty member Lorraine Van Meter-Cline who, with  celebrity-like magnetism, had alums of all ages flocking to her. Over the course of the night, the drinks flowed freely, as did the stories, and rumor has it, a number of attendees continued the party for several hours after the reception, where AC stories continued to be shared along with many laughs.

Also present at the reception was former staff member Karyn Vella, who was recognized by Mick Gee, Head of School, for her monumental work on the Impact Initiative Campaign. Thanks to the support of AC alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff, AC exceeded its $4 million campaign goal and is now able to provide students with enhanced access to innovative and authentic learning opportunities.

“The energy of the New York City reception was just incredible,” recalled Karen Higman, Director of Advancement at AC. “It was refreshing to see so many recent (within the past five years or so) AC alumni gathered together. And to personally witness the connection they still have with one another… and with Lorraine! It truly shows just how strong those bonds are between AC students and faculty alike.”

We, of course, must also give a special thanks to Mr. Stephen B. Ashley, our gracious host, without whom none of this would have been possible.

We look forward to seeing YOU at an upcoming alumni reception or event soon!

Save the Date
Thursday, December 20th
Annual Alumni Holiday Reception (Rochester, NY)

 

 

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AC Connects with Boston Area Alumni

Posted on October 19th, 2018 by Amelia Fitzsimmons

Each year, members of the Alumni Office travel around the country to reconnect and reminisce with AC alumni.  This year’s first stop was Boston!

On Tuesday evening,Head of School Mick Gee, Karen Higman, and Kayla Himelein enjoyed catching up with alumni and friends at the Union Club of Boston. Among the distinguished guests was former Head of Upper School, John Harrison. Alumni and friends reconnected with former classmates and shared stories of their time at AC over drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Regardless of background or graduation year, many of their stories revolved around the shared experiences they had with beloved faculty and the personalized care and attention they received as students at AC.

Mick Gee and Kieran Draper P’19, Current Trustee, also spoke to the group about the progress of the school as we come out of the Impact Initiative Campaign and the establishment of AC’s new Centers for Impact. Thanks to the support of AC alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff, AC exceeded its $4 million campaign goal and is now able to provide students with enhanced access to innovative and authentic learning opportunities.

Save the Date
Thursday, December 20th
Annual Alumni Holiday Reception (Rochester, NY)

We hope to see YOU at an upcoming alumni reception or event soon!

 

 

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Are You Smarter Than an AC Student?

Posted on March 20th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Ted Hunt

How is your knowledge of current events? Take our 2018 Current Events Test, and measure your results. Even though you’re downloading the test on a connected device, you may not consult any sources other than your own memory while you take the test.

2018 Current Events
Test Questions (PDF)
(open this for the questions)
2018 Current Events Test
2018 Current Events
Answer Sheet (PDF)
(mark your answers)
2018 Current Events Answer-Sheet (PDF)
2018 Current Events
Answer Key
(print to check your answers)
2018 Current Events Answer-Sheet (PDF)

(more…)

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Posted in: Alumni News, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

AC Reception in Key Largo

Posted on March 7th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Image: AC Reception in Key Laargo

Allendale Columbia will meet with members of the AC community in and around Florida at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo on Monday, March 26th, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. Head of School Mick Gee will be there to meet and give an update on AC to our extended community in the area, including alumni and parents and grandparents of current and past students who would like to make the visit. The event is hosted by Mr. Anton Schutz, parent of alumni Katelyn ’10, and Anton ’12.

Ocean Reef ClubThe reception will be held at the Ocean Reef Club at The Point, 35 Ocean Reef Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037 (map). Attire is Club Casual. Those interested in attending should register in advance at allendalecolumbia.org/keylargo.

Overnight accommodations may be independently reserved at the Ocean Reef Club. To book your reservation, please contact Aedin Brennan ’12 before March 12th at 585.770.1776 or abrennan@mbcap.com.

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Posted in: Alumni News, Highlights, LS Birches, MS Birches, The Birches, US Birches

LS Students Wake Audience with “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!”

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Lower School students in Grades 1-5 should rest well now, having thrilled audiences with their musical, “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!” Last performed when this year’s seniors were in 5th grade, this home-grown story mixes popular lullabies and a theme song written by an alumnus with the background of a sleepover at school and students’ playful attempts to resist the teachers’ plans to have them get to sleep.

Students acted, sang, played instruments, and even became puppeteers for memorable songs like “Puff the Magic Dragon” and a spectacular black-light rendition of “All the Pretty Little Horses”. And what’s a sleepover without a pillow fight?

Click to open 2018 Lower School Musical Program“Sleepy” was written and directed by 5th grade teacher and Artistic Director Randy Northrup, with musical direction from music teachers Lynn Grossman and Rachael Sanguinetti and assistance from all of the Lower School faculty. The main song was composed by AC alumnus Carson Cooman ’00! A professional composer now, he is a graduate of Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University and currently serves as the Composer in Residence at the Memorial Church at Harvard.

Students also conducted a pajama drive, collecting 100 pairs of PJs that will be delivered to the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network (RAIHN)!

Click here for a Google Photos album with song videos and more pictures.

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Posted in: Alumni News, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Kindergarten, Lower School, LS Birches, MS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches, Third Grade

“Sleepy” Students Start Pajama Drive

Posted on February 8th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Lower School students in grades one through five are bringing community service into their annual musical, which will take place on Thursday, February 15th, at 7:00 p.m. This year’s show, I’m Not Sleepy…Yet, tells the story of a large sleepover party in the Lower School, where the teachers try desperately to get the students to fall asleep. Needless to say, they are not terribly successful.

Students start pajama driveWe always look for opportunities for our students to develop a sense of responsibility to self and others and to engage globally and in the community around us to make a positive impact, key elements of our mission and vision statements. So, fitting with the sleepover theme, the cast and production team are excited to host a pajama drive in conjunction with the show to support the Rochester Area Interfaith Hospitality Network (RAIHN).   (more…)

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Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, MS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches, Third Grade, US Birches