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Leslie Knox ’97 seems to always follow her heart and is ready to jump at the next opportunity to better the world around her. I asked her why she joined The Harley School in 10th grade and she said, “My mom discovered I was teaching my 9th grade social studies class at my former school.” It turns out that Leslie’s social studies teacher was not doing much in the way of teaching, so Leslie, who read her beloved National Geographic magazines cover-to-cover, took over and taught the class on occasion. After attending Harley, she says she has benefited career-wise with writing guidance from Alex DeSantis and that she uses the wonderful writing foundation and teachings quite often. 
 
After she graduated from Harley, she decided to go to Kalamazoo College. When I asked her if it was because of a particular major they offered she said, “No. They had a wonderful study abroad program and a well-regarded humanities department. I could travel and study while graduating in 4 years.” She appreciates new places and new people. Her family moved around a lot so this is what she was used to. Leslie leveraged the college study abroad program to her full advantage. She studied in Japan for six months during her junior year. The summer between her junior and senior year, she traveled to Kenya where she worked on her senior thesis: The study of organizations created due to the problem of poverty.
 
Following her time at Kalamazoo, she worked for 15 years doing community outreach and social service with Americorps, Catholic Family Services, Thresholds and the University of Rochester, focusing much of her time on co-morbid, forensic mental health for the homeless, felons, and the elderly. She went back to school for a Master’s degree in Business Adminstration at the Simon School at the University of Rochester with a concentration in medical management. She is now focusing her time on urban farming and is currently the Director of Farm Operations and a Board Member at Taproot Collective, a nonprofit organization formed to help implement models of resilient local food systems. They have recently opened up First Market located near Rochester’s Public Market. First Market will be a place where the community can learn about, and acquire fresh food, while in a safe space. It’s an opportunity to create beauty while practically addressing several community concerns including quality food access, self-sufficiency, youth empowerment and infrastructure. You can often find Leslie, her husband, and daughter, Myree (3) working in the garden on the weekends. She also takes on a leadership role in community activism through additional board involvement with the Friends of the Rochester Public Market and the Police Training Advisory Council. Leslie strives to be the change she wants to see, after all, becoming what thou art can be a lifelong, evolving process. There’s no reason not to enjoy the journey. 

Students may create independent studies with supervising teachers throughout their Upper School experience or, during Grade 12, they can design Capstone projects—intensive collaborations with Harley faculty and off-campus mentors—involving rigorous academic study and culminating in public presentations. They are empowered to create their own curriculum, set goals, and work on time management skills in order to accomplish their objectives.

Independent Studies run the gamut from The Psychology of Sports to Furniture Design to The Neuroimaging of Alzheimer’s Disease. Capstones, meanwhile, are as diverse as the students who pursue them: Fictional Rochester, Autobiographical Art, Biomimicry Education, Organic Fuel, and Rochester Refugees. 

Indicative of Upper School curiosity and creativity, pursuits such as these distinguish our graduates in college. Through deep dives of this sort, Harley students master more than speaking, writing, and computing: they learn to communicate, advocate, collaborate, organize, listen, and empathize. 

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Enrollment

Letter from the Head of School

Letter from the Editor

Features

Central Work that Matters: DEI

Harley Black Alumni Network

Climate Crisis Curriculum

Citizen Scientists

Joy Moss: Storytelling Roots

In Every Issue

Class Notes

Diane Donniger Award

By the Numbers

From the Archives

What’s (Who’s) New at Harley

Divisional Highlights

Alumni Profile: Vandebroek

Alumni Profiles: Keller

HAC Athletics

2021 Lives of Great Purpose Awards

1000 Words

Commencement 2022

Reunion 2022

In Memoriam

Retirements and Fond Farewells

Letter from the Head of School

Letter from the Editor

Features

Central Work that Matters

Affinity Group Forms

Climate Crisis Curriculum

Citizen Scientists

Joy Moss: Storytelling Roots

In Every Issue

Class Notes

Diane Donniger Award

By the Numbers

From the Archives

What’s (Who’s) New at Harley

Divisional Highlights

Alumni Profile: Vandebroek

Alumni Profiles: Keller

HAC Athletics

2021 Lives of Great Purpose Awards

1000 Words

Commencement 2022

Reunion 2022

In Memoriam

Retirements and Fond Farewells