student at whiteboard

High School

2020 Drive-By Graduation

News Type:  High School Date:  Monday, August 10, 2020 Byline:  By Beth Rowen

Landmark High School held a drive-by graduation ceremony on Saturday, August, 8, a bright, beautiful summer day that befitted the Class of 2020, which is known for its grit, perseverance, and resiliency. Sixty-three of the 91 graduating seniors attended the event. And while the day was not what anyone expected when the school year began in the fall of 2019, it celebrated the accomplishment of each student with pomp, circumstance, and tradition.

"Despite a global pandemic and the uncertainties that surround us, you safely welcomed us onto campus, making each student feel loved, celebrated and supported," said Christine Jackson, mother of Lydia '20. "We each left a piece of our hearts in Prides Crossing today. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We owe you everything."

Students and their families gathered in the parking lot of the Ansara Athletic Center in vehicles decorated with balloons, flags, banners, streamers, and other adornments in Landmark blue and yellow. For many students, it was the first time they've seen each other in person since the school closed in March and students shifted to remote learning. The students were demonstrably thrilled to be together again, to reconnect and celebrate their moment. It provided them closure.

"It was so cool to see so many of my classmates again after so long," said Margaret Hamilton. "I appreciated how many of my teachers were there to say congratulations."

Cars paraded to Governor’s Landing and paused for students and families to watch a video recording of Liz Theriault's speech to fellow graduates. The parade continued through the Drake parking lot and then up the hill to Alexander. Along the way faculty, staff, and friends cheered the graduates, blew bubbles, and held signs. Our beloved crossing guard, Annie Elso, made a guest appearance at her perch at the bottom of the hill and gave a shout-out to each student as they passed by. 

A stage, elaborately decorated with floral arrangements, was set up in front of Alexander, where students were announced by Head of School Bill Barrett, handed their diplomas by Director of Transition and Guidance Suzanne Crossman, rang the ceremonial Landmark bell—a graduation tradition, and then exchanged elbow bumps with Headmaster Bob Broudo. 

This was not the graduation that any of us could have predicted, but the Class of 2020 will be remembered for its flexibility, tenacity, and optimism.

Watch a recording of the drive-by ceremony and take a look at how we celebrated the Class of 2020.

landmark high school 2020 graduation

Senior Portfolio Art Show

News Type:  High School Date:  Thursday, May 28, 2020

virtual art show

Art Department Co-Heads Kara Healey and Beth Jamieson hung a stunning virtual 3D art show for senior Portfolio students Emily Dirico, Callie Dangel, Abigail Garthwaite, Lydia Jackson, Sarah Mann, Henry Terrien, and Alex Williams.

The art show is divided into two rooms. Room One features the work of Callie Dangel, Emily Dirico, Lydia Jackson, and Henry Terrien. Room Two features the work of Abigail Garthwaite, Sarah Mann, and Alex Williams.

Landmark’s Portfolio course focuses on the processes, components, and structures of creating an effective portfolio. In addition, research and writing about art and artists, gaining professional skills in communication, digital archive creation, organization, curation, and presentation of work are emphasized. Students keep a daily sketchbook, participate in class critiques, and produce a substantial amount of original works, both in and outside of class. 

The spring Senior Art Show is an event that Portfolio students work toward all year and marks a culmination of their art career at Landmark. Ever since the creation of the Inspiration Gallery, this event has become even more of a highlight because students can fulfill the final step of art making by learning to curate, advertise, and host their own exhibit and opening.

virtual art show

"We decided early on during remote learning that we would find a way to make a senior show happen and give students the opportunity to display their work and share it with the community and beyond," said Beth Jamieson. "Students chose work to display and created one final piece remotely to add to the show. They worked together to create a digital flier to advertise the event. We know that this is not the same as a physical show on campus, but our hope is that this virtual show can be seen by a wider audience for a longer duration.

"This virtual exhibit is also an example of how the Art Department and students are seeking to innovate in order to share and celebrate student work during unprecedented times. This virtual senior show demonstrates the resilience and perseverance of the class of 2020 and allows for this group of art students to leave a lasting legacy."

Superior Court Judge Makes Virtual Visit

News Type:  High School Date:  Monday, May 4, 2020

Remote learning has started to feel remarkably "normal" as Landmark students have adjusted to attending one-to-one tutorials, gathering in small groups for academic classes, visiting teachers during "office hours," even joining athletic team meetings—all online. So when head of Landmark's High School, Bill Barrett, needed to shift an in-person presentation by Superior Court Judge Jeff Karp to an online session, no one skipped a beat.

On Friday, May 1, more than 20 students, faculty, and staff attended a virtual visit and presentation by Judge Karp. The judge started off his talk by sharing a bit about his personal story as a student who struggled in school. He credits his success to "a lot of hard work and some lucky breaks" leading to a career as an assistant district attorney, as a lawyer in a private firm, and ultimately a judgeship on the Massachusetts Superior Court following a nomination by Governor Charlie Baker. 

He expounded on the structure of the federal and state courts, the difference between trial and appellate courts, as well as civil and criminal cases over which he presides in the Essex County system. Judge Karp also explained how juries are selected and discussed the importance of serving on a jury, a system brought to the colony of Massachusetts by the pilgrims in 1630.

The students asked several challenging questions about how the prison and court systems are functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic and what some of the hardest decisions are that he's had to make since assuming the role in 2017. 

Judge Karp provided honest answers to even the trickiest questions suggesting that being a judge carries a great deal of responsibility and can, at times, be a lonely job. "Every day you are confronted by having to make life-altering decisions that directly impact human lives." He ended by saying that he loves what he does and feels honored to have been appointed to such a distinguished position in the state's legal system and is eager to host Landmark students in person as soon as possible. 

Judge Jeffrey Karp's virtual visit to Landmark School

Virtual High School Debates

News Type:  High School Date:  Friday, May 1, 2020

The High School Study Skills Department held its first-ever virtual debates on May 1. First- and second-year debate students discussed nuclear energy and the drinking age. The students presented meticulously researched evidence and cohesive arguments in an organized, thorough manner, especially considering the medium: Google Meet, which inevitably introduces an assortment of technical glitches. Because students have been learning remotely for six weeks, they did not have a chance to practice their debate skills in person.

Faculty members Derrick Neal and Amanda Doyle, both Study Skills teachers, fielded two teams. A panel of judges comprised of faculty and staff carefully considered each team's arguments, presentation, and depth of knowledge before declaring winners.

“Debate is a skill that encompasses everything we teach in Study Skills, such as time management, note-taking, research, speaking skills, collaboration, and organization,” said Derrick Neal. “Since we have had to go to remote learning, students have fine-tuned their study skills through debate. They researched a topic, took notes on articles, formulated their notes into contentions, and turned their contentions into speaking points. Through this process, the students applied the core study skills that they have been practicing all year, in a home environment, which required them to hone in and rely on their skills.”

The Nuclear Issue

In the first debate, Derrick Neal's team argued against the use of nuclear energy, highlighting the dangers associated with the energy source and nuclear accidents in Chernobyl and Japan. In his introduction, Charles Lopez '23 detailed the causes of those nuclear disasters and the long-term effects on the population and environment. On the pro side, Amanda Doyle's team used data points to argue in favor of nuclear energy. Emma Lopardo '24 listed what she considers the benefits of nuclear energy, including cost, sustainability, safety, reliability, employment opportunities, and emissions. 

18 or 21?

The drinking age was the topic for the second debate. Amanda Doyle's team tried to persuade judges that the drinking age should be lowered to 18. Tyler McSheffrey '21 argued that when people turn 18, they are given the right to vote, adopt a child, serve in the armed forces, and live alone, so they should also be free to drink alcohol. She said that drinking would be less thrilling to teenagers if the age was lowered and that binge drinking may decline because parents could help teach their children to drink responsibly and in moderation. Derrick Neal's team took the side of keeping the drinking age at 21. Nikolaus Guthrie '22 cited neurological factors, including the fact that the brain isn't fully developed until people reach age 25 and drinking alcohol at a young age can impair brain development. He also drew on statistics that people who start drinking at an early age are more likely to become alcoholics than people who start drinking at age 21 or older. In the grand crossfire, the part of the debate when each side challenges each other's argument, Tyler argued that people should be allowed to do whatever they want, even if that means causing harm to oneself. Ethan Kerr '21 countered that certain behaviors, such as prostitution and drug use, must be outlawed to protect the greater good.

In-Depth Debate Prep

In researching their topics, the students were tasked with citing at least 40 sources, taking notes, using time management strategies, and practicing their research skills. The debate followed a structured format: each side presented a four-minute introduction speech, a three-minute rebuttal, a 15-minute grand crossfire, and then a final focus, where students address the judges and articulate why they think they won the debate. 

Given the strong performances, the judges had a difficult time picking a winning side in both debates. After debating among themselves, the judges declared the nuclear energy debate a tie and gave Derrick Neal’s team the win in the drinking age argument.

“As a teacher, this debate was one of my proudest moments. My students were able to apply all of the skills that I have been teaching them in a remote learning environment,” Neal said. “Having a virtual debate was a huge success not only in my book but in our students’. They found a real-life application and joy in competing against their peers. It gave them motivation and something to look forward to during these tough times. Their hard work was not just witnessed by a few, but numerous teachers who stopped by to support their students in their learning. It gave the teachers an insight into what their students are doing in other classes. This would not typically have been possible in a ‘typical school’ setting but was only accomplished because of the remote learning circumstance which allowed teachers to be available during the debates.”

Teaching Knows No Borders

News Type:  High School Date:  Monday, March 30, 2020 Byline:  By Beth Rowen

Three Landmark High School teachers, Michelle Boucher, Doug Musco, and Doug Walker, traveled to Mozambique over March break and worked with more than 100 teachers at three schools. The classes they visited ranged from small and intimate (think Landmark) to large and loud. 

The Landmark team taught their colleagues about conducting open-ended projects with their students, making their classrooms fair and ethical, classroom management and social contracts, and much more. The presentations intentionally involved input from the Mozambican teachers, and the Landmark team also gained new ideas and insights.  

“It was a privilege to be part of the Landmark team, to share our teaching methodologies and philosophies and to learn from our Mozambique colleague,” said Doug Musco. “It was a wonderful reminder that students are students anywhere in the world and education truly transcends borders.”

The trip was Musco’s first with Landmark. Boucher, however, made the trek in 2019 as well.

“Going to Mozambique for the second year is a row, and getting to reunite with so many of the teachers and students I’d met the year before, was truly incredible,” Boucher said. “Seeing teachers light up about a new idea we’d brought, and enthusiastically sharing their own ideas, is something that never gets old. It was phenomenal.”

Reciprocal Teaching

In one of the schools, the Landmark teachers went into a variety of different classes, ranging from a first grade phonics class to a tenth grade physics class. In one tenth grade class that was studying the U.S. Civil War, Musco learned about the Mozambique Civil War from students and then facilitated a fabulous discussion, drawing big picture comparisons between both country’s struggles—a powerful learning experience for everyone! 

“We went into classes just in the Christian Academy of Mozambique, which is an English-speaking school. I taught first-grade phonics, a lesson about the Earth to fourth graders, and a lesson about taste to third graders,” Boucher explained. “In the other two schools, we had ‘teacher workshops,’ similar to professional development sessions, where teachers came and watched a presentation. We presented with a translator, as all of those teachers spoke Portuguese.”

The Landmark teachers presented the Mozambique teachers with 130 bags of school supplies, which included Post-It Notes, dice, highlighters, rulers, notebooks, and more. Members of the Landmark community donated money to buy the supplies.


landmark school teachers in mozambique

Coming Together Like Never Before

News Type:  High School Date:  Friday, March 27, 2020

Life as we know it has certainly changed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the Landmark community has come together like never before. Our teachers are providing an enriching academic experience for our students; supporting each other by sharing tips, tools, and resources; participating in group meditations; and maintaining long-held traditions, such as Purple Day and animated milkbreak meetings.

On Thursday, March 26, teachers donned purple clothing to celebrate Purple Thursday, a weekly tradition started by Assistant Math Department Head Michael Orie in 2005. Teachers shared photos of themselves in purple attire—not necessarily in dress code!

Nearly 150 faculty and staff​ members attended the virtual milkbreak on Friday, March 27. Spirits were high as teachers enthusiastically greeted each other, had their kids and pets say hello, and shared experiences about the first week of remote learning and enrichment.

"It's so fun to see everyone!," was heard repeatedly.

"I want to thank you for all your efforts. Kids are engaging and doing a good job," said Bill Barrett, head of the High School. "It was great to see people's faces and hear their voices and sense of humor. It was wonderful to be together."

Teachers offered shout-outs, praising fellow faculty members for their leadership and efforts under trying circumstances. Sheehan Gotsch presented the first virtual Silver Bullet award, to Kate Kunin, recognizing Kate for her ethics, generosity, sense of humor, and leadership in the classroom and on the soccer field. "She has been an inspiring role model and resource for so many of her students. Her ability to connect not only with her students but everyone on campus is an admirable trait. I look up to Kate."  

Visiting Virtually

Landmark's Admissions Department has also adapted to changing circumstances. The team held its first virtual Informational Visit also on March 26. It went off without a hitch. About 20 people watched a slideshow presented by Associate Director of Admission Melody O'Neil, heard from several administrators, and three students. One parent commented, "I think it was fantastic! You did a great job; especially since it was your first time."

"It was a success, and we plan to do another soon," said Admission Counselor Katie Chhu.


Identity Day 2020

News Type:  High School Date:  Thursday, March 5, 2020

On March 5, the Landmark Genders and Sexualities Alliance (GSA) and the International Group celebrated Landmark's fourth annual Identity Day, a daylong celebration during which students dressed in clothing that represents their identity. Other events included a student panel in the Performing Arts Center, a photobooth, and delectable tres leches​ (three milk) cake provided by Sage Dining Services.

The student panel opened with a quote from Catherine Burns, artistic director of the Moth Radio Hour, that reflected the intention of Identity Day. "Sometimes it is easier to make sense of the world one story at a time. And when we dare to listen, we remember there is no 'other,' there is only us, and what we have in common will always be greater than what separates us."  

Members of the student panel answered questions about race, gender, and sexuality. The students said they welcome questions from others about their ethnicity or sexual orientation as long as they are asked respectfully.

"It's important that people feel comfortable asking questions, but sometimes they use a tone that can be seen as harsh or threatening," said Alice Schwechheimer '20. Ethan Kerr '21, who is Mexican, said he also encourages peers to ask him questions about his heritage as long as they are mindful of the questions they pose. For example, he said he gets frustrated when people ask him, "Are you legal" or "What's your immigration status?"

"This event was a great way to celebrate and build awareness of the varied identities and experiences within our community," said Jennifer Moy, an academic advisor and organizer of Identity Day. "The student panel did a fantastic job articulating those experiences, both shared and unique. The hope was to create more dialogue around identity and inclusion and to expand all of our individual perspectives by initiating the conversation and being authentic with one another."  

students in photobooth

identity day student panel landmark high school

Less Is More

News Type:  High School Date:  Friday, February 28, 2020

For 24 hours in late February, students in Jennifer Kuhns's Environmental Science classes carried every bit of trash they produced in a trash bag. They didn't recycle, compost, or use trash bins.

"The exercise helped make them mindful of the amount of waste they produce, the environmental impact, and how small behavioral changes can have a lasting effect on the economy as well as the environment," said Mrs. Kuhns.

Her eighth period class produced an impressively small amount of trash! A few napkins and tissues, disposable cups, a soda can, a banana peel, and paper. The students reported making conscious decisions to produce less trash. For example, some didn't use paper towels to dry their hands, others forced themselves to clean their plates, while another used a metal coffee filter rather than a paper one. The students didn't seem to see these changes as difficult, except maybe the student who forced down a less-than-palatable hamburger. 

"I had to make some changes in my day to day life. For instance, I started to air dry my hands after I washed them to not only minimize, but eliminate my paper towel consumption," said Andre Richard '20. "I also began to only take what I knew I could eat during meals to decrease food waste. As a result, I ended up throwing no trash away. This activity made me feel like I was in control of the waste that I produce as well as helped me discover that it really isn't that hard to make little to no waste." 

trash produced in experiment

Citizen Bee 2020

News Type:  High School Date:  Friday, February 21, 2020

On February 21, Landmark High School students prevailed over the faculty team in the annual Citizen Bee, a friendly trivia match that pits Citizen Bee All Stars against faculty polymaths. Competition was fierce, with students narrowly beating their teachers 20–19.

Championship Round a Nail-Biter

In an equally close competition, Mr. Murphy's economics class defeated Ms. Morrow's psychology class, 22–21, in the championship round of the Citizen Bee. Students in social sciences classes competed in a series of matches throughout February, and the two teams with the highest score advanced to the final round. Winning team members included Ned Barrett '20, Kindred Hurtado '20, Evan Kane '21, Alden Martin '20, Ndaua Ndilula '20, Sam Stein '20, and David Warmack '20. Ms. Morrow's team featured Lee Dalzell '20, Morgan Frazier '20, AJ Hughson '20, Daniel Kanaracus '20​, Erin Morrisseau '20, Ndaua Ndilula '20, and Miles Renney '20.

Social Sciences Do-Department Heads Mr. Talbot and Mr. Chuu organized the annual event. Categories in the championship round include geography, history, famous people, current events, and sports and entertainment. They wrote each question themselves, and the current events questions were, well, current. For example, "The Internal Revenue Service just announced that this game’s virtual currency does not have to be reported on tax returns." Answer: Fortnite. There were two rounds in the finals. In the second round, teams were asked to identify pictures, ranging from fast food to animals to currency.

"Citizen Bee is a creative way for students to review some of the concepts they have learned in their classes, be introduced to information they might not otherwise hear about, and hopefully add to their collection of historical and contemporary knowledge," said Mr. Talbot. "We aim to include questions that tap into students' wide array of interests, providing room for them to shine during a trivia competition which might otherwise feel inaccessible." 

landmark school citizen bee winner

Science Fair—30 Years Strong

News Type:  High School Date:  Tuesday, February 18, 2020

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, the annual Science Fair was held at Landmark High School's Swalm Science Center, marking the 30th anniversary of this tradition, started by former head of the Science Department, Dan Crossman. 

More than 50 students participated this year with projects ranging from testing the efficacy of ski wax on ski performance at varying temperatures (Kyle S. and Anika J.), whether the size and number of holes placed in the cap of a Coke bottle would affect the distance the soda would be propelled when Mentos candies were added to the liquid (Garland W.), how music genres of rap, easy listening, rock, or pop affect concentration (Anna R.), and much more. 

Lily M. explored the difference in time and efficiency of lasers to produce cutouts and engravings. "I got the idea during the Fall Parents Days. My dad manufactures lasers and I thought this would be something I could test and be able to access his expertise as a primary source," said Lily M. Using her knowledge of the technology and to test out her hypothesis, she also designed the magnets for this year's Fair (see gallery below). Mr. Gasowski produced the magnets and designed and produced the medals.

Landmark's sophomore Physical Science and Marine Science classes, as well as the junior Ecology class participated and began setting the foundation for fair entries in mid December. These projects not only allowed students to dive deeply in to their specific topics, but also challenged them to exercise research, time management, and study skills.

Christina Scanlon, assistant head of the science department said, "Students presented their projects throughout several periods during the day which were judged by faculty members and administrators. Judges evaluated each student's use of the scientific method, content, oral presentation, and display. The day was a great way for students to share a self-directed project that they developed and fine tuned over two months. And it was great to see how proud they were of the hard work they invested in their projects."

This year's winners are:   

1st place, Running and Memory, Emily V.
2nd place - Which Golf Ball Will Perform the Best?, Ethan C.
3rd place - AI vs. Humans, Matt F

Gallery of some of the many highlights of this year's Science Fair:


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