It’s About Mental Health, Charlie Brown!

Posted on November 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Stressing over homework. Feeling inadequate. Teased by peers. Anxious about a special someone.

Poor Charlie Brown.

Anxiousness, uncertainty, and sadness are just a few emotions that all of us have or will experience at one time or another. In You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, based on characters in Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts comics and on stage this weekend at Allendale Columbia School, we see the characters express those feelings and more.

We witness how Sally becomes so angry because her jump rope was tangled. She is so angry that she found it hard to verbally articulate her displeasure. We then see Schroeder become a sounding board, driving home the point that support comes in many forms including family, friends, teachers, and, in the case of Snoopy, pets.

Lucy is faced with the truth of her crabbiness and then commiserates about all of the unhappiness she has been spreading and bemoans feeling undeserving. Thankfully, Linus encourages her and affirms her reason for living by reminding her that she has a little brother who loves her. It’s meaningful for all of us to receive a reminder from time to time that there is someone in our corner, who values us without qualifiers and recognizes our uniqueness.

We see this again in Lucy’s psychiatrist booth when she strives to support Charlie Brown. Her approach is not seamless, and she may appear to judge him harshly at the start, but she validates his feelings and provides a listening ear. Most importantly, what she relays to Charlie at the end of their session is powerful: “For whatever it’s worth Charlie Brown, you’re you.” Despite any symptoms of depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem, Charlie Brown is remarkably unique. He is a real boy, not the sum of his faults, insecurities, or differences. He’s human. He’s deserving. He’s worthy.

Students can often struggle with identity and self-discovery. As parents friends, and support professionals, we can remember that sometimes all a student needs is a listening ear — though charging 5 cents, as Lucy does, is not necessarily recommended.

All of us, students and adults alike, can take many of the tidbits of wisdom gleaned from You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown to heart as we consider our interactions with others, including those who may be experiencing challenges with their mental health. We can express our feelings. We can acknowledge our faults as well as our strengths. We can listen without judgment. We can accept, even praise, people for who they are.

The good news is, friends often come through when they see someone feeling down. Charlie Brown himself, despite his woes, still manages to look at life with hope and has developed resiliency. And if Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and crew were at AC, they’d know they have a full support network to help them through these emotions.

Even though adults are absent from the script, typical for Schulz’s comics, we should also remember that we can seek help from trusted adults when needed. Allendale Columbia’s students have a team of support professionals offering a variety of resources to help with learning differences, strategies for success, and even stress, anxiety, and other social and emotional issues. (See “Students Supported by Ready Team of Professionals”).

 

You can see the Upper School’s performances of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, with the “Charlie” cast this Friday, November 16th, at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday, November 17th, at 2:00 p.m., and the “Snoopy” cast Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 18th, at 2:00 p.m. in Allendale Columbia’s Curtis Performance Center, 519 Allens Creek Road, Rochester, NY. Tickets are available at the door or online at acs.booktix.com.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Starmeshia Jones

Before joining AC, Starmeshia worked as a School Psychologist in the Indianapolis Public Schools and as a Residential Counselor at DePaul Mental Health Services. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in School Psychology as well as a Certificate of Advanced Study from Roberts Wesleyan College, and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP).
Kristin Cocquyt

Rachael Sanguinetti

Rachael is in her third year teaching music at AC. A recent graduate of the Eastman School of Music with majors in Music Education and Musical Arts with a minor in Psychology and an Arts Leadership Certificate, she's working toward a masters degree at Ithaca College. She brings experience teaching kindergarten-8th grade music in Rochester, 6th-8th grade general music and choir at Burger Middle School, and 2-3 year olds as part of the Eastman Community School Early Childhood Music Program.
Kristin Cocquyt

John Palomaki

After working at a small college in California and some early tech companies, John spent a stimulating 10 years at Microsoft through the 90s as a systems engineer and managing executive relations programs. Since then, John has worked with non-profit organizations and has held leadership roles in independent schools in New Jersey and Connecticut in development, communications, and technology. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences (Biology) from Colgate University.
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Posted in: Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Sound of Music Receives Recognitions at Stars of Tomorrow

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Allendale Columbia’s production of The Sound of Music received a number of recognitions at Rochester Broadway Theatre League’s (RBTL) Stars of Tomorrow ceremony on May 10th, 2018. Catherine Kennedy ’18, who played Maria, was one of four to win Outstanding Leading Actress nods in AC’s Division C, and she received her second nomination in a row to compete for a trip to the Stars of Tomorrow “Jimmy Awards” competition in New York City.

You can help elect Catherine as a Fan Favorite at Stars of Tomorrow NYC Bound by sending the text SOT06 (that’s letter S, letter O, letter T, number 0, number 6) to 75327. The contest allows one vote per phone number per day, so please set a reminder to vote every day! Go to http://www.rochesterfirst.com/stars-of-tomorrow-2018 for details. 

Before the evening got underway, the Children’s Ensemble from The Sound of Music learned from the program that they received a Future Stars recognition for Outstanding Performance by Elementary and Middle School students in a High School Musical. Also given a “Tip of the Hat” in the program was Assistant Stage Manager Connor Surkau-Parkinson ’18.

Allendale Columbia received a recognition for Outstanding Singing Ensemble. Senior Rebecca McQuilken was one of the Outstanding Supporting Actresses recognized for her role as Mother Abbess, despite having been in a wheelchair after undergoing knee surgery shortly before the performances.

Kennedy next competes on Thursday, May 24th, at RBTL in Stars for Tomorrow NYC Bound. In the first round that evening, she sings a segment of one of her songs from The Sound of Music. If she makes it to the second round, she sings a song she selects from a list provided by the judges. She might then advance to the final round, as she did last year, to perform once again. The judges select just one male actor and one female actress to advance to the competition in New York. Tickets will be available soon; return to this page or http://www.rbtl.org/stars-of-tomorrow-nyc-bound/ for details when they are made available.

(Revised May 13th, 2018)

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

Get your Tickets for the Middle School Production of “Into the Woods JR.”

Posted on March 6th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Click to open Into the Woods JR. posterAC’s Middle School students present Into the Woods JR. at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 16th, and Saturday, March 17th. This production is based on the Broadway show that won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress in a Musical. The musical follows a Baker and his Wife who learn they have been cursed with childlessness by the Witch next door. The couple embarks on a quest – swindling, deceiving, and stealing from such already-victimized characters as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Jack (fresh off the beanstalk!) – to get the special objects required to break the spell. However, the story doesn’t simply end “happily ever after” as each character must now face the consequences of his/her decision. Into the Woods JR. is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Come see the amazing production that our Middle Schoolers have created! All tickets are $10 purchased in advance (either online or at school) and $12 at the door the night of the show. AC Middle School students are eligible for one complimentary ticket using promo code ACMStudent. You can get tickets for family and friends online here: acs.booktix.com.

PACK (Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids) will also be running a bake sale before and after the show and at intermission. To bring baked goods or to volunteer, please sign up here.

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Posted in: Eighth Grade, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, 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

Lower School Staging “I’m Not Sleepy…Yet!” February 15th

Posted on January 16th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

What might happen if the Lower School students held a great big sleepover? Will
their teachers ever get the kids to settle down and sleep? On Thursday, February
15th, students in grades 1-5 will perform “I’m Not Sleepy… Yet!”, this year’s Lower
School Musical. Familiar and international lullabies are joined by an original
theme song written for AC by alumnus Carson Cooman ’00, and fun visuals
created by the students will enhance each number.

Show time is 7:00 p.m. Students are asked to be in their class’s special meeting
spots by 6:45. Teachers will be on deck for supervision at 6:30.

Costumes will consist of custom-printed tee shirts, and students should wear
pajama pants and comfy socks on the 15th for both the daytime “dress rehearsal”
(performed for the rest of the school) and the evening performance.

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