Oaks and Acorns

September 6, 2019

We Rattled the Rafters

Never have I been so eager to belt out the alma mater as I was in yesterday’s school-wide Opening Assembly. And boy, was it a rousing rendition. Our alma mater is really a beautiful, stirring tune, with the lyric by the Class of 1941 and the music by Samuel Webbe. It’s always beautiful to sing, but this was special. For those who haven’t heard it, here’s a lovely version by our own Vocal Chords from a few years ago:

The process of Merge-NotMerge was complex and elicited all sorts of feelings. But it was also clarifying. We thought we had an angle on creating something great, of course, otherwise we wouldn’t have been in it; but when it was time to move on, we all felt a rush of pride and passion for the green & white, and for the work of this extraordinary school. 

Music department Chair Ben Burroughs—keeper of all sorts of wonderful trivia about the history of music—tells me that Mr. Webbe composed the tune “as the ‘theme song’ for the for the London Glee Club in 1787, and the original title was Glorious Apollo.” Glorious, indeed. 

New Faces!

Ell Hobbs comes to Harley with a background in both visual art and early childhood education, and will be our Lower School Art & Mindfulness teacher. For the last few years Ell has been working as a lead teacher and freelance art instructor in Rochester. Hailing from Oklahoma, Ell was drawn to our fair city by the Photography program at RIT, and ultimately also earned a MST in Art Education from that fine institution.  

Alek Suter will serve as our Middle School Counseling Intern, with the oversight of our own Sisi Chen. Both Alek and Sisi will be here about half-time, so we will again have roughly full-time coverage in the Middle. Alek is currently a Master’s student at the Warner School of Education at the U of R. 

Gillian Barberich is joining our Horizons program as a Counselor and Director of Year-Round Programs. A Buffalonian, Gillian holds a BA and a Masters in School Counseling from Canisius, and served as a school counselor in the City of Hammond (Indiana) Schools for five years before returning to be closer to family. 

Jean Oswald

Jean Oswald is teaching Hospice this fall as Sybil Prince ’00 is out on maternity leave (congrats to Sybil and Adam on the arrival of tiny Maeve!). Jean is an experienced nurse and a long-time volunteer at various comfort care homes in Rochester, where our Hospice students provide end-of-life care. At our new faculty orientation, Jean shared that she thinks of her work in Hospice as a calling—beautiful. 

M Campbell ’00

M Campbell ’00 joins their Harley classmate Sybil Prince ’00 in the Upper School as US Counselor (looks like the Class of 2000 is taking over!). As part of our expanded commitment to providing counseling services, M will join John Dolan in supporting our Upper School students. After Harley, M went on to Mt. Holyoke for a BA and then to Columbia, where they earned an MSSW, and is now moving back to Rochester from Brooklyn. Welcome home!

Sarah Murphy

Sarah Murphy is our new Director of Auxiliary Programs. Sarah brings expertise as a STEAM education specialist and coordinator of interdisciplinary learning in the museum world; most recently, she served as the program director at the Buffalo Niagara YMCA. Sarah earned her undergraduate degree from Daemen College in Buffalo. 

Sharon DuPan

Sharon DuPan has replaced old friend Sherry Edgecombe (off to a happy retirement) as the School Receptionist. Sharon was a front desk receptionist at Faraci Lange for 19 years before moving to the “school side” at Rochester Academy Charter School. Outside of her work in schools, Sharon is a writer.

Tanya Farnung-Morrison

Tanya Farnung-Morrison joins the Upper School as a Spanish teacher. After earning her PhD in Spanish from SUNY Buffalo, Tanya went west, ultimately teaching at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, where she also lived. Also fluent in French, Tanya is excited to be back in her hometown, having grown up in Irondequoit!

Feeling Pretty FLI

It has been an exciting week, but it’s not over! Tonight (and tomorrow morning) I’ll be back at Harley for the Freshmen Lock-In, or FLI, as Upper School Head Kim McDowell refers to it. This is the brainchild of the US faculty and the students in the Global Youth Leadership Institute, and is meant to help with the transition to the rigors of the Upper School. 

In addition, Erin Berg, teacher of 9th grade English, is doing a two-week crash course for the 9th graders on how to be an Upper Schooler at Harley: communicating with teachers, organizational skill-building, managing a planner, what “Elf Day” is, etc. The divisional faculties and admins have focused a great deal of energy and time on these transitions; as students move through our school, the nature of the engagement shifts a bit from year to year, as we gradually prepare our students for the independence of college. 

Devorah Heitner at Harley: Children in the Digital Age

So much great stuff going on this fall, but I want to call attention to this one in particular. On Monday, September 23 at 6:30pm we’ll welcome Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise, for a presentation on guiding children through the digital age. Today many parents feel their kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices; however, Heitner believes that technology provides children with great potential, as long as their parents can help them navigate it.

Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise. 

The event is free and open to the public. Invite a friend!

First Day Flowers

This beautiful tradition, brought to Harley by former Head of School Tim Cottrell, now the Head at the ’Iolani School in Honolulu, is part of what makes the opening of school here so very joyful. A few of the many gorgeous photos:

Grade 10 student, Alex Sassaman

Grade 8 student, Rebecca Lee and her brother Noah, Grade 12.

Grade 11 student, Zenebe Kelley along with Grade 10 students Lili Lindahl, Asose Kelley, and Lucy Rose.

Visiting student Violette Evans (from Dinan, France) with her host siblings: Ella Novy-Marx, Grade 11, and her brothers Harlan Grade 6, and Roman Grade 10.

Grade 6 student, Piper Overton, whose glasses and flower tastefully match the school bus she just leapt out of.

Henry (K) and Georgia (Nursery 4) Townsend and their big people!

Stephen Brundage of Nursery 4.

And, though you can’t see his flower, I couldn’t resist this bigger-than-Broadway scene stealer, Madiba Lantum. If only he weren’t so shy…

It is so utterly delightful to have the students back at Harley! Here’s to a great year, and have a lovely weekend.