Reflecting on a Year of Music Making at AC

Posted on May 19th, 2017 by klapa

Allendale Columbia’s music students have been active throughout the school year in many different county events. The students who participated in these events rehearsed on their own time to prepare their music, had extra lessons with music faculty, and gave up their weekend time to participate in an ensemble. Their participation shows a high level of commitment to their musical learning, and they all did a great job representing AC!

We began the year with the All State Festival. Catherine Kennedy was chosen to participate in the Jazz Chorus, a select group of 24 students from across the state. They performed in December in Eastman Theater to a packed house. Catherine was featured with a scat-solo in one of the pieces. Catherine was later selected to participate in the All-Eastern Music Festival, which features the best singers from the East Coast. This is the first time an AC student has been selected for this ensemble. She traveled to Atlantic City in April to join a choir of 350 singers for four days of music making.

The month of March was full of Monroe County Festivals. Rebecca McQuilken was selected based on her high Solo Festival score to be in the Monroe County School Music Association (MCSMA) All County Jazz Chorus, an honor she also received last year. Though the festival was cancelled because of the wind storm, Becky is hoping to teach one of the pieces to AC’s Select Chorus next year.

The Middle School MCSMA All County Festival was full of AC students; six students represented AC in the choir and one AC flutist was in the band. The chorus students (Cynara Nelson, Michelina Nicodemous, Brynn Peters, Jonathan Ragan, Gunnar Rorapaugh, and Grace Rundberg) joined 113 other students to fill out the choir. Grace was also chosen to sing a solo in the beginning of the piece, “Coming Home.” Middy Vella participated in the Junior High All County Band’s flute section, an honor she earned through her performance of a challenging level-V solo at the January MCSMA solo festival.

Elementary All County followed shortly after Middle School. Lilah Costanzo was selected as the first-chair French Horn player in the band, making this her second year to earn this position. Nathan Roof and Andy Clinton were selected to participate in the chorus and spent two days with over 150 other students in the chorus.

The year concluded with the PEAK (Parents, Educators, and Kids) General Music Festival at Spencerport High School. Adrianna Williams and Ethan Truong both participated in the festival along with 124 other fourth-grade students from across the county. They enjoyed a full day of music making and performed a short concert at the end of the day.

This year was was full of music making both on and off campus. Congratulations to our talented students on all they’ve accomplished!

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kid Kudos, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

“Music for All” Plays Allendale Columbia

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by klapa
On Wednesday, March 22nd and Thursday, March 23rd, Lower School students had the opportunity to hear one of the three chamber music ensembles who visited as part of “Music for All,” an Eastman School of Music program that places outstanding student musicians in various venues throughout the local community for free performances. The musicians were both entertaining and informative, taking questions from our young audiences, explaining what was happening in the music, and igniting students’ imagination with the music they played.

On Wednesday morning, fourth and fifth graders heard a program of French impressionist music by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, performed by two pianists. On Thursday afternoon, the second grade attended a performance by a piano trio (violin, cello, and piano) that featured two movements of a piece by Clara Schumann. Also on Thursday afternoon, the kindergarten and first grade enjoyed a performance of music by J. S. Bach, Antonin Dvorak, Reinhold Gliere, and John Philip Sousa, performed by a tuba quartet (that’s right, FOUR TUBAS!).

All of these performances were amazing. We were very fortunate for the cultural enrichment and listening pleasure that the students from the Eastman School of Music shared with our young students through the “Music for All” program.

Here are a few links of video excerpts from the performances:
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Posted in: Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Kindergarten, Lower School, Second Grade, Third Grade

AC in the News – Winter 2017

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 by klapa

Check out AC’s recent media coverage below!

Please note that the clips below will display best on desktop or laptop computers as opposed to mobile devices.

LLE Research Lands Local Teens in Semifinals
for National Science Competition
January 23rd, 2017

Two local teens have earned recognition in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search (formerly the Intel Science Talent Search) for research projects they carried out last summer at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). AC senior Nathan Morse is among the 300 semifinalists nationwide chosen from more than 1,700 who entered the competition. Click here to read more!

TEDx Rochester Returns to Illuminate
January 12th, 2017

TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool is mentioned as one of the TEDx events taking place in the Rochester area in this Democrat and Chronicle article about the return of TEDxRochester. Click here to read the full story!

Victor Resident Joins Allendale Columbia School
January 12th, 2017

This article announces John Palomaki’s appointment as Allendale Columbia School’s development and communications associate. In this role, John is responsible for managing the donor database, gift processing, research, reports, and the development and implementation of a social media plan to extend AC’s reach and engagement online. Click here to read more!

Allendale Columbia Robotics Team Competes in Tournament
December 27th, 2016

AC’s Robotics Team, the Chrononauts, competed in the Finger Lakes FIRST Tech Challenge Tournament at St. John Fisher College. The team placed 15th overall and was awarded the Rockwell Collins Innovate Award, advancing them to the Excelsior NY Regional Championship in February. The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award is given to one team per tournament that thinks outside the box and has the most innovative and creative robot design. Click here to see the full article!

No Bologna: Lunch Ladies and a Meal Man
Share their Favorite Holiday Recipes
Winter 2017

This article is a reprint of the feature story that appeared in 585 Magazine and highlights Laura Reynolds-Gorsuch, AC’s Food Service Director. In the article, Laura shares her recipe for AC Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, a favorite among AC faculty, staff, and students. Click here to see!

High School Athlete of the Week – Addy Flood
December 1st, 2016

This High School Athlete of the Week article and video feature AC junior Adelaide “Addy” Flood. She states that, “This year as a captain, I hope to encourage my team like the seniors last year and the year before encouraged me.” Click here to see!

Local Teen Performs in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
November 24th, 2016

Several news outlets featured AC tenth grader John Phillips as he performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Click the following links to see the coverage from 13WHAM, Time Warner Cable News, and

Allendale Columbia School’s Production of “Cinderella”
November 15th, 2016

AC students Phelan Conheady and Catherine Kennedy, and ASL Interpreter Steph Regan, appeared on Good Day Rochester to talk about AC’s production of “Cinderella” and the use of sign language during the show. Click here to see the interview!

Allendale Columbia School to Host Book Event Series
November 11th, 2016

This Brighton-Pittsford Post article highlights AC’s Book Event Series. Throughout the year, AC will host events so that members of the community can discuss the best-selling book about transforming education, Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. Click here to learn more!

New Hires
November 11th, 2016

This Rochester Business Journal article announces three individuals who joined the AC team this year: Margarita Chaves as a World Language Teacher, John Curatalo as a Physical Education Teacher, and Angie Burch as an Accounting Specialist. Click here to see!

Author Charles Benoit Visits Allendale Columbia School
November 2nd, 2016

The Brighton-Pittsford Post highlighted AC’s recent author visit by publishing a photo of AC ninth grader Roxana “Roxy” Reisch introducing Greece author Charles Benoit before he presented a talk called “Stuck in High School: Why I Write Young Adult Fiction (and Why You Should Read It)”. Click here to see!

Allendale Columbia School to Host Open House
November 2nd, 2016

The Brighton-Pittsford Post highlighted AC’s fall open house, at which attendees had the opportunity to meet teachers, students, and administrators and tour the campus. Click here to see!

Local High Schooler to Perform in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
October 30th, 2016

This television news story highlights AC tenth grader John Phillips as he prepared to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As part of this experience, his trumpet skills were seen by an estimated 53 million people. Click here to see the story!

What You Need to Know About the Current State of Rochester’s Kids, Teaching Election 2016 and More
October 27th, 2016

AC’s Summer LEAP Program is mentioned at the 10:43 mark of this television show, which discusses the ongoing effort to improve outcomes for Rochester-area children. Click here to see!

We’re doing so many exciting and interesting things here at AC and look forward to sharing more media coverage with you in the future!

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Posted in: AC in the News, Alumni News, Highlights, Kid Kudos, Lower School, Middle School, Pre-Primary School, Upper School

Programming Drone Aerial Navigation: Elementary S.T.E.M. Project-Based Learning Unit

Posted on May 16th, 2016 by ssorrentino

Drone Logo Image2

In a culminating event, young Allendale Columbia School students “stretched their wings” with programming drone aerial navigation as part of an Elementary S.T.E.M. PBL Unit. Project-Based Learning (PBL) entails a collaborative learning experience as students work in teams on long-term, multidisciplinary projects that are structured around real-world, relevant, and probing questions. Collaboratively facilitated by their S.T.E.M. and homeroom teachers, fourth and fifth grade students at Allendale Columbia School have been participating in this joint PBL Unit since the beginning of the school year.

This was an amazing teaching and learning experience for everyone, and we invite you to peruse the steps along our PBL journey as portrayed in the images below…

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Posted in: Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School

Designing, Programming, and 3D-Printing in 3rd Grade S.T.E.M. Class

Posted on April 12th, 2016 by ssorrentino


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Unit background PRIOR to 3D-printing original designs in 3rd grade S.T.E.M. Class…

Throughout their Sound Unit, aptly named The Sound of Music, our 3rd Grade S.T.E.M. students focused on how sound works and how physical environments and culture play an important role on the specific materials used to create musical instruments. To introduce this part of the unit, the students participated in various station activities centered on the percussion, string, and woodwind families of musical instruments. Each station activity compared and contrasted different types of materials used to create the instruments. For example, does pitch change if an instrument is filled with one type of material versus another? What happens when different materials (wire, rope, cord) are used for transmitting sound waves? Students learned even more from our visiting musicians Dr. Keith Jones, Mr. Artie Cruz, and Mr. Gabe Costanzo who each demonstrated and played some of the lesser known instruments from various countries, including: Didgeridoo, Harmonium, Theramin, Guzheng, and more! Visit STEMspotlight to view more photos and videos of these classroom learning experiences.


Back to 3D-printing original designs in 3rd grade S.T.E.M. Class…

For their Sound Unit final project, our 3rd grade S.T.E.M. students each devised their own story behind an imaginary discovery of an ancient musical instrument. Students documented details on the location of this discovery, the history and culture of the imagined community, as well as the general design and function of their musical instrument. Culminating this writing activity, the remaining Sound Unit classes resumed in the new Design & Innovation Lab housing the school’s 3D-printers. In the lab, students continued with further designing their “ancient musical instruments” by initially sketching and then diagramming, scaling, and providing specific measurements to be programmed using Tinkercad.

To get started on the next phase of this project, the students were provided class instruction on using the computer-aided design (CAD) programming software under the direction of the Lower School S.T.E.M. Team and in collaboration with Middle School Hybrid Learning Coordinator, Mr. Tony Tepedino. Students quickly grasped the programming concepts, were highly engaged with seeing their original designs evolve into actual CAD models, and did a great job with also assisting their classmates with design and programming suggestions.

Mr. Tepedino also demonstrated and explained the 3D-printing process as well as the design implications with ensuring structural integrity in the final, 3D-printed projects. Most exciting of all, our S.T.E.M. students were thrilled with the physical models they first imagined, then designed, programmed, and successfully 3D-printed!

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3D Printing_3

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Posted in: Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School, Third Grade

4th Grade S.T.E.M. Students Initiate Exciting School Partnership with Vortex Bladeless

Posted on March 23rd, 2016 by ssorrentino


For a following Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit of study, student teams of four began extensive research to identify a specific global problem to solve as active participants in the 2016 DuPont Challenge.

Revisiting their learning about wind power, one team of students discovered how dangerous wind turbines are for wildlife since it is estimated that wind turbines are responsible for the deaths of 500,000 birds and bats each year. As a result of their findings, the students identified their PBL driving question:

Is it possible to harness the wind without hurting wildlife?

Next, students brainstormed some initial ideas on how to solve for this real world issue:

After brainstorming some possible solutions, students researched the feasibility and implications of the specific ideas they came up with. However, the team soon found out…

Instead of giving up on solving for this real world problem, the team of students persevered and researched other innovative ideas. Eventually the team stumbled upon an isolated image of a bladeless wind turbine which piqued their interest. With no references available on this intriguing image, the students dug deeper to uncover more information on the device, its creator, how it functions, etc. until finally identifying Vortex Bladeless, located in Madrid, as the start-up company behind this innovative technology.

Through further investigation, the students were also able to track down the direct contact information for one of the Co-CEOs of the company, David Suriol. The team eagerly emailed David and shared their strong interest in learning more about the Vortex Bladeless System. David responded almost immediately – and a new and exciting global partnership was formed!

With so many questions to ask, an initial Skype session was soon scheduled. Prior to the Skype meeting, the team prepared their specific list of questions for learning more about how the Vortex Bladeless System works, how the idea first developed, etc. Throughout the exciting Skype session, the team learned a lot about the system, how it efficiently functions while also being safe for wildlife, and how it is currently in final testing stages inside of actual wind tunnels.

Video covering product conception and development:

In addition, the students also learned that a company goal is to break into the U.S. marketplace. Learning about this particular company goal, the team voiced their strong interest in bringing this innovative technology to the Allendale Columbia School campus. In order to take the first step toward achieving this goal, the team scheduled a time to present their idea to the school’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. In preparation for this meeting, the students created a new presentation specifically for the committee, and on February 26th, the students pitched their idea on why AC should consider the installation of the Vortex Bladeless System on the school campus. The presentation was enthusiastically received by the committee, who requested that the students take the next step by scheduling and actually leading a second Skype session with David and the entire Buildings and Grounds Committee for the purpose of further investigating the students’ exciting proposal.

Gr4_Skype with Committee

The students worked on developing a specific set of questions that were submitted to Co-CEO David Suriol prior to the next Skype session. Questions included requests for information on product specifications, shipping, installation, maintenance, and so on. The global Skype meeting, held on March 18th, was very informative and engaging for everyone involved. Plans are now in place to continue this real world, collaborative partnership with the Madrid-based company offering to provide a first generation, one-hundred watt Bladeless Vortex Wind Turbine to be installed on the AC school campus.

Working alongside the Buildings and Grounds Committee, the student team will be involved in all phases of installation, maintenance, data acquisition, and reporting back to Co-CEO David Suriol of Vortex Bladeless. Further development and implementation of this technology will continue to evolve throughout this exciting global partnership!


For the DuPont Challenge, students work in teams of four to choose a specific global problem to solve for. The team topics chosen this year include:

(1) developing the best way to plant milkweed for yielding optimal results in an attempt to help the drastically dwindling population of monarch butterflies;

(2) devising alternative ways to grow food with the shrinking availability of land coupled with an increasing global population;

(3) innovating a way to make wind turbines safer for wildlife (since it is estimated that wind turbines are responsible for the death of 500,000 birds and bats each year); and,

(4) investigating the feasibility of Allendale Columbia School going solar to reduce its carbon footprint.

Visit our LS STEM Spotlight to view all the 4th grade DuPont Challenge final project submissions in their entirety – you will be impressed with the collaborative, real world learning our young S.T.E.M. students continue to enthusiastically demonstrate!

Gr4_DuPont Projects ALL 4

Last of all, let’s wish all our student teams the best of luck with their DuPont Challenge 2016 project submissions!

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Posted in: Fourth Grade, Highlights, Lower School