On Saturday, June 1, 2019, 71 seniors graduated from Landmark School. Carrying on Landmark tradition, the soon-to-be graduates started their morning parading through campus, each taking a turn to ring the bell, and walking down "the hill" one last time before making their way to the Prep Building where they awaited their cue to line up in the Alice Ansara Athletic Center. A standing-room-only crowd awaited their arrival as they were ushered to the stage by two bag pipers and senior marshals: Anya Crowley, Luke Morgan, Rebecca Morcos, and Shaquan Turner. "This is one of the best days of the year for me. Today is a day to reap the rewards of hard work, persistence, and grit. 100% of our seniors were accepted to college and they are all going off to do remarkable things. We couldn't be more proud," said Headmaster Bob Broudo.
Student speakers included Bayla Corbitt, Patrick Sullivan, and Sigrid von Tetzchner who entertained the packed Athletic Center with humor, nostalgia, and excitement. "The student speakers were poised and articulate about their mixed emotions about leaving a school that has nurtured them through challenging and rewarding experiences," said guidance counselor Rachel Tomaszvic.
Keynote speaker Elizabeth Dello Russo Becker '96, former Landmark School summer student, regaled the audience with tales of her struggles in school and strong work ethic which ultimately lead her to the role of executive director for the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools. The position establishes her as one of the chief advocates in Massachusetts for students who learn differently. One of the most memorable moments of her inspiring talk was when when she invited each senior to reach under their chair to find a pair of sunglasses. She urged them to put them on and praised the graduates for seeing the world through a different lens. The symbolism resonated loudly with everyone in the room—especially the Class of 2019.
2019 Award Winners
Patrick Murphy Scholarship Award
Richard (RJ) Moore
Max E. Clayman Compassion Award
Christopher B. Darcy Scholarship
Nathan Stowes Citizenship Award
Overall Academic Award
Prep Program Academic Award
Peggie E. Cook Landmark Parents' Association Awards
Alumni Council Award
Senior Slide Show
Below is the slide show which was viewed at the Senior Parent Dinner.
Note: Due to copyright laws, audio is not available.
Gallery of Commencement 2019 photos
Through Landmark School's Marketing and Communications department, three students spent a full academic year serving as the School's Social Media Interns. The initiative was the brain child of former Landmark High School math teacher, Kim Hildebrandt, who is now the School's Digital Communications Manager. "Our students have been interested in Landmark's presence on social media for a while, and it made sense to harness some of this enthusiasm to create a program where they could learn, be engaged, and influence a medium that they and other students are value," said Hildebrandt.
The three interns were Isabella Combs '19, Lydia Jackson '20, and Greta Wright '20. Throughout the year they attended many Landmark events during the school day and in the evening and on weekends, where they reported on the activities and took photos. Each week they met with program organizer, Hildebrandt, to strategize, learn about social media best practices, review what they had collected, evaluate its appropriateness for the school's social media sites, and draft and edit posts. Hildebrandt posted most of what the interns generated giving each student credit for the content. See an example of a recent post on the left.
"Toward the end of the year, I wanted to have the interns work on a special project that had some staying power and could potentially go viral," said Hildebrandt. "We brainstormed and came up with a campaign to highlight how talented, but misunderstood, students with learning disabilities are. The interns wanted to ask fellow students to identify a word summarizing what they, as someone with a learning difference, would want the world to know about them. They came up with the 'I am...' project," said Hildebrandt. The result of this effort is a short video that is a compilation of the submissions that the interns collected.
Hildebrandt will supervise the Social Media Internship program next year and is currently interviewing candidates for this role.
Check out two of the culminating projects the interns worked on this year:
"I am..." Project
"Day in the Life"
Landmark High School seniors who took the Senior Study Skills class had an opportunity to participate in an internship program for two weeks in May. The Senior Study Skills course is a skills-based, transition-focused course taken by most seniors. The internship is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a career of interest, learn about workplace values, and exercise real-life communication skills. Landmark faculty serve as mentors for the students. Mentors communicate with the interns, visit them onsite, communicate with their site-supervisors, and oversee an assessment process of their workplace skills and overall performance in the internship.
The internship program is just in its second year, and has been well received by students and workplaces alike. All of the sites that we worked with the first year were interested in taking part in the program again. The intern sites have come to appreciate and anticipate our involvement. All site supervisors gave their student interns raving reviews. They were able to comment on several areas of strength and also identify ways the student could grow or develop in the future.
The internship experience has been valuable for students to gain understanding of themselves as well as workplace life.
Last week, interns had the opportunity to present about their experiences in front of other students and faculty.
Below is a list of places students completed internships.
- Print & Copy
- Northeast Animal Shelter
- Seaside Sustainability
- Landmark Marketing and Communications
- Landmark EMS PE Department
- Mystery Train Records
- Northshore Education Consortium
- Sperling Interactive
- Study Skills Dept. Curriculum Development
- The Friendship
- Communications and Power Industry
- Woodworking, Landmark School
- Tot Spot Pre-School
Jerry Andreottola '19, Chloe Kinteris '19, Piper Nichols '19, and Julia Ventura '19 were recognized for their outstanding academic achievement on May 14 at the 51st Annual Honor Scholars Recognition Dinner.
"We are proud of these students for the hard work and diligence they have demonstrated throughout their academic careers," said William Barrett, head of Landmark High School. "We are also thankful for the teachers and staff members who have also worked hard in guiding and supporting these students during their time at Landmark. Well done!"
The annual event, sponsored by North Shore Chamber of Commerce, honors the top 5% of graduating seniors from 32 North Shore public and private secondary schools. More than 300 students were cited at the reception held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Danvers. Dr. Patricia Gentile, president of North Shore Community College, delivered the keynote address.
Landmark High School observed the Day of Silence on May 13. The purpose behind the day is to acknowledge the silencing many people feel by not being able to express themselves as individuals. The movement is run nationally by GLSEN and is designed to help honor the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) people who have been silenced by those who do not or have not accepted them. Showing our support is especially important now, as students who identify as LGBTQ face increasing rates of bullying and harassment. These students are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBTQ peers. Landmark is one of thousands of schools all over the country that participates.
Being silenced can mean many things. The most common instance of silencing behavior on our campus is when a student says aloud in a common place on campus, "That’s so gay," or a similar comment that is derogatory toward LGBTQ people. This type of statement implies that the person is not a safe to be around and school in general may not be safe. Further, if this conversation happens within earshot of a faculty member who does nothing to stop it, its effects on the student are compounded and the student feels more isolated.
Landmark Strives for Acceptance
As bullying has become an issue of national concern, we feel proud that Landmark has steadily worked to create a community that strives for acceptance, not just tolerance. Many of our students know what it is like to be left out or mistreated in the classroom, and can understand what it can feel like to be ostracized in a community. We hope that events like the Day of Silence will give needed attention to the struggles of the LGBTQ community, as well as provide a moment to be aware of and grateful for Landmark's supportive environment.
Students who chose to take part in the Day of Silence wore stickers that indicated whether they were "participants" or "supporters."
Capping off a Meaningful Day
Students gathered in the cafeteria during eighth period to share their observations from the day. One student reflected, "I was so pleased to walk around campus today and see how many people were wearing white and pink stickers."
For more information on Landmark School's Day of Silence please contact faculty member Jennifer Moy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Morgan Frazier '20
On April 22, 2019, Robb Genetelli, dean of students at the High School, bravely and selflessly donated 60% of his liver to Guido Meade, the spouse of Assistant Dean of Students Andrea Meade. (Both are doing well and are recovering at home.) I wanted to get an idea of how this heroic act came to be, so I interviewed Mrs. Meade. We discussed how the Landmark community has supported the Meade family through its struggles over the past year.
Mr. Meade was diagnosed with liver cancer in the fall of 2018. Three decent sized tumors had formed in his liver, but thankfully the cancer hadn't spread to other parts of his body. His doctors told him the treatment that offered the best prognosis was a liver transplant. Unfortunately, it took a lot of hard work and time just for Mr. Meade to become eligible for a new liver. In the two months after he was diagnosed, he had 32 appointments that involved lots of testing. In December, he was finally put on the transplant list. When someone gets accepted into the transplant program, testing scores determine where they are placed on the list, and it would have taken almost 12 months for Mr. Meade to get to the top of that list.
A Perfect Match
His doctor had given the Meades a link to share with friends and family to see if they could find a living donor that was a match. To be a match for an organ transplant, potential donors need to meet strict health criteria and have the right blood type and organ size. Five people applied to undergo the testing to find out if they could be the donor, and after 32 appointments of his own, Mr. Genetelli was officially determined to be a match in March.
The Landmark community has been very helpful throughout this process: many Landmark staff and faculty have given Mr. and Mrs. Meade's kids rides to and from school when appointments conflicted with these times. Mrs. Meade also stated that people have offered to bring her food and that she is extremely grateful with how everyone has been during this process, from the time off given to Mr. Genetelli, Mr. Meade, and Mrs. Meade, to the thoughts and prayers people have given them.
A Community That Keeps Giving
It's truly something special to know that in times like this when someone in our school community is struggling, everyone can help out in their own way. I don't think we students always realize how lucky we are to have the faculty and staff that give up so much of their time, even when they have such big things going on, to be able to help us when we need it. Even when we are having a hard time with friends or struggling with academics, it shows that we should be grateful for what we have here, because not all schools would find ways to help give someone a new liver. Think of it this way, part of Mr. Genetelli will always be with Mr. Meade, just like how part of Landmark will always be with us.
Time for spring cleaning? Properly dispose of all your unwanted electronics at our Electronics Recycling Collection on Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. – 12 noon, Landmark's High School campus, 429 Hale Street. Acceptable electronics include:
$5.00 will be charged for anything electronic like but not limited to…
air conditioners, fans
cell phones, land line phones
computer batteries, keyboards, chargers
battery operated tools
car and marine batteries, box of small items (cords, phones, etc).
$5.00 for computers, and an additional $5.00 for any destruction of hard drive. Certificate provided.
$10.00 for CRT computer monitors (with a tube), $15.00 if they are jumbo CRT’s.
$15.00 for TV monitors under 30” and less than 50 lbs.
$25.00 for TV monitors over 30” and over 50 lbs.
$35.00 - $45.00 for jumbo TVs
Proceeds help fund retreats and community service trips.
For more information contact Chaplain Bill Ferguson
In early April, as students noticed the greening grass and new buds on the trees, Chaplain Bill Ferguson looked ahead to the Passover and Easter holidays and wanted to ask students to reflect on the existential notion of having faith in a higher power.
He invited Rabbi Alison Adler, of nearby Temple B'nai Abraham, to address the packed house of students and faculty members in Landmark's Black Box Theater, about maintaining one's faith despite experiencing loss, illness, or another tragedy.
Rabbi Adler brought along a Torah, the holiest document for the Jews, containing the five books of Moses, also known as the Old Testament. She explained how sacred each Torah is—how even today, each one is made in the ancient tradition with "paper" made from the hide of a kosher animal, and text hand lettered by a special scribe. She described that in spite of experiencing the horrors of the Holocaust, many Jews were able to remarkably maintain their faith in a higher power and that the Torah was a symbol of that faith. Students had a chance to study the scroll close up and asked many questions of the Rabbi.
Toward the end of the program, Rabbi Adler and Chaplain Ferguson shared a video produced by well-known Hasidic filmmaker, Menachem Daum, sharing the story of his father who came to America as the sole survivor of a family who perished in the Holocaust. In the film, Daum addresses the struggle to understand his father's commitment to his faith after all that he has lost. Watch the video.
Students had a chance to process the weight of the film and ask questions. Many agreed that maintaining some sort of belief system helps heal—even wounds as painful as those suffered during the Holocaust.
One of the cornerstones of Landmark’s approach is teaching self-advocacy and encouraging students to put the skill into practice. Isabel West ‘20 and August Reid ‘20 did just that when they recognized a problem on campus, sought a solution, and approached the administration with a proposal.
The problem was food waste. Tons of it. Day after day, Isabel and August watched as students dutifully cleared their plates of food scraps into trash cans. They were driven to eliminate the waste and reached out to Jennifer Kuhns, a science teacher at the High School. With her support, they began researching composting options in the area and took their plan to William Barrett, head of the High School.
"I grew up in a home where composting all of our food waste and eating leftovers to minimize our environmental footprint was the norm, so we had very little food waste," West said. "Once I came to Landmark, I was immediately struck by the amount of food being wasted on a daily basis. I learned that Ms. Kuhns had been pushing for a composting system for a long time, and she and I started meeting to talk about how make it happen."
Ms. Kuhns gave Isabel direction and encouraged her to take charge of the initiative. Isabel enlisted August, who shares her passion for environmental issues.
"When students become well informed about environmentally unsustainable behavior, they can make a huge impact!," Kuhns said. "I am proud of the efforts and the positive changes that Isabel and August are making in our community."
Keeping It Local
After researching several composting companies, they decided on Black Earth, a company in Manchester-By-the-Sea, which provides sealable animal-resistant containers. Black Earth will make daily pickups Monday through Friday.
“Starting the process of composting was the easy part,” said August. “The hardest part of the entire composting campaign was connecting it with the school. The size of the school posed numerous problems, but the administration dealt with them.”
The cafeteria in Alexander produces approximately 750 pounds of food waste each week, according to David Seiter, director of facilities. That figure includes food thrown away by the kitchen staff and items discarded by people eating in the cafeteria. Because of health regulations, certain food items that sit out for prolonged periods cannot be donated or served at subsequent meals.
“I’m very excited about composting on campus,” Seiter said. “We’ve been trying to do this for years. The program is a result of a student-led initiative, which makes it even more exciting.”
August and Isabel worked with the administration to produce informational posters about the environmental impact of composting. Students and faculty members volunteered to guide peers through the composting process for the first few days of the program.
Isabel’s father taught her from an early age the benefits of composting. “Growing up with a father who was a huge composter, I knew this was doable.” Her family’s composting reputation earned Isabel and her a brother a spot on the 2008 composting episode of Curious George: “Much Ado About Nothing/What Goes Up.”
If composting proves successful, they hope to expand the program to the residences and the Elementary•Middle School.
Landmark High School celebrated its Sixth International Day on Wednesday, April 3. The program included presentations, videos, and slideshows in the Black Box Theater by members of the International Group and faculty. Each year, the group selects a theme, and for 2019 the group chose "The Danger of a Single Story."
The concept of the danger of a single story was introduced in the powerful 2009 Ted talk by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She explained how humans, races, countries, and situations can be reduced to a stereotype when people make assumptions or generalizations rather than considering the rich tapestry and complexities of a culture. The result is an incomplete picture and misunderstanding of others.
The "problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story,” Adichie said in the talk.
Celebrating Landmark's Diversity
The purpose of the day and mission of the International Group is to foster a sense of identity, acceptance, and belonging for the international community, as well as to explore, raise awareness, and honor Landmark's rich cultural and ethnic diversity.
Landmark High School teacher Kanella Zaralides spearheaded the effort. "As humans, we are wired for bias and often prone to adopting these single stories. However, one should not feel guilty of that intrinsic bias but, rather, work to reduce its potential effects,” she said. “We can use this awareness to motivate ourselves to learn a more complete story beyond the stereotypes. As our societies become more global, collaborative, and inclusive, our interactions should ideally grow to be more nuanced and respectful of the diverse backgrounds that create the rich tapestry of our community."
Personal Experiences with the Single Story Concept
Jamaal Dixon, a teacher at the High School, explained that when he first attended a private middle school that was predominantly white, he made his own assumption—he assigned his peers to a single story. "I assumed all the white kids were rich. But I found out many of them were middle class like me," he said.
Ndaua Ndilula '20, who is from Namibia, said when he first came to the United States, he was asked if he wore clothes at home. In the media, most of what people see about Africa is "violence or poverty," he said. "It would be like if the U.S. was only known for the violence that happens here."
Ms. Zaralides, the lead faculty advisor of the International Group, asked the audience what they consider to be the single story of Landmark students. People in the audience offered, "stupid," "can’t read," "dyslexic." She affirmed that these are just one side—the single story—of many students here but there are many more attributes that define us.
In another session, students presented biographies of prominent figures and activists, such as inventor Otis Boykin; the Black Panthers, an activist organization that challenged police brutality; and rapper/criminal justice reform activist Meek Mill. Aliyah Knudsen '21 shared her experience being adopted from Ethiopia and making the transition to an entirely different culture.
International students and those with close ties to foreign countries debunked stereotypes about those cultures and countries.
Sunaina Hoon ‘22 highlighted several common misconceptions about life in India, including poverty, overpopulation, and whether there are elephants everywhere. She said that someone once even asked her if she kept an elephant in her basement. “No!” She acknowledged that there are places in the country where there is extreme poverty and overpopulation, but there is also a growing middle class there. Technology has brought with it the ability for many people to rise out of their impoverished backgrounds. She said that India is more modern than most people think. “We have everything you have here except Chipotle!”
Andy Leshaw '21, from Colombia shared, "Everyone wants to know if you are related to Pablo Escobar if you are from Colombia, which I’m not! People assume that you have some relationship to individuals in the drug culture of my country. It’s a common misconception we are working really hard to correct, but we have a long way to go with a longstanding civil war still raging.” He talked about the natural beauty of the country and its rainforest, orange groves, and diverse climates.
Yasmine Mostoufi ’22 said that her father, a doctor from Iran, sometimes faces discrimination from patients who make assumptions about him. She visited Iran eight years ago and remembers it as one of the most beautiful places she’d ever been, ripe with gorgeous art, rugs, and culture.
Pedro Slomp ‘19, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has faced similar assumptions about his country. He acknowledged that there are many pockets of his country, especially Rio, that are unsafe and known for violence. “A Landmark student once asked me if my dad was a drug lord. No, my dad is not a drug lord.” He confirmed that some stereotypes are accurate. “We do eat a lot of rice and beans — even for breakfast. And yes, kids learn to play soccer at a very early age and it’s a huge part of the culture. It is also true that we love to dance and it’s a big part of our culture and especially Carnivale. Something people don’t know about Brazil is that it has one of the largest populations of Africans outside of Africa. We are a very diverse culture.”
Isabel West '20 and Lydia Jackson '20 discussed a monthly roundtable discussion they initiated. On the first Monday of each month, students meet at the Atomic Cafe in Beverly to discuss controversial topics, which have included age discrimination, border security and immigration, climate change, and mental illness. The concept is to learn about the views of others without judgment.
Travel for a Cause
Landmark teachers who spent March break volunteering at schools in Mozambique recounted their life-changing journey. Scott Blanchette, Michelle Boucher, and Mr. Dixon showed slideshows of the schools they visited. The classes ranged from small and intimate (think Landmark) to large and loud. But the students all embraced their studies and their American visitors. The presentation and the meaningful Q&A session that followed gave the Landmark community valuable perspective.
Two groups of Landmark students visited the Dominican Republic over spring break. Gillian Garvey '19, Gaby Kenney '20, and Jamie Pehl '21 reported on their visit to Nuestros Hermanos Pequenos (My Little Brothers and Sisters) orphanage, where they had spent a week working with the children. Ethan Kerr '21, Erin Morrisseau '20, and Violet Tetel '21 shared their stories of mixing concrete to build and restore people’s homes in area villages.
Katya Leikikh '20 told the audience about her summer trip to Nepal, where she lived with a family there and did infrastructure work.
Other faculty members closely involved with the initiative include: Jennifer Day, Mr. Dixon, Kylie Murphy, Eleni Nikitas, Victoria Tansey, and Caroline Teague.