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High School

Keeping the Faith

News Type:  High School Date:  Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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. 

Landmark's Green Day

News Type:  High School Date:  Wednesday, April 17, 2019

landmark school compostingOne 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.

2019 International Day

News Type:  High School Date:  Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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.

Debunking Stereotypes

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.


Track Team Breaks Four School Records

News Type:  High School Date:  Monday, April 8, 2019

landmark high school girls relay teamThe varsity track team started the season off with a strong showing at the Concord Relays on April 6, breaking four school records!

The girl's sprint team of Nevada Fehay, Kindred Hurtado, Julia Kautz, and Lily Martin stole the show, breaking school records in the 4x100 (by 2.5 seconds!) and in the 4x200. Nevada also bested her own school record in the long jump, winning the event with a jump of 15' 4.5".

The girl's high jumpers showed their immense potential with Lucie Lott, Kindred Hurtado, and Olivia Moran jumping over four feet. This is the first time in school history we've had three girls jump higher than four feet in one meet.

The boys excelled in the sprint relays as well. In the 4x100, Arlo Grey, Sam Lagan, Sam Knight, and August Reid won the event, missing the school record, by a mere .09 seconds!

The boys 4x200 put on a show, with Sam and Sam building up a massive lead over the first two legs. Luca Miranda and August held the other team's closers off for the win—and a new school record. 

The distance boys ran the meet as a workout. Ryan Shea set a personal record in the mile, 800, and 400. 

Brett Cicciolo cleared 5' 8" in the high jump, narrowly missing 5' 10"—an excellent first competition of the season! 

Dashing Through the Gym

News Type:  High School Date:  Monday, March 18, 2019

sam lagan 40 yard dashMore than 60 Landmark High School students and faculty dusted off their running shoes and sprinted across the gym in March, competing in the first-ever 40-yard dash competition. Tom O’Riordan, Landmark’s esteemed cross country and track coach, organized the event. Perhaps he had recruiting in mind? Nine females clocked in under six seconds, and 14 males under five seconds.

Top Three Boys

Matt Balestracci ‘19: 4.623

Sam Lagan ‘19: 4.658

Sam Knight ‘19: 4.664

Top Three Girls

Merryl Green ‘19: 5.114

Nevada Fahey ‘21: 5.538

Bella Cahill ‘21: 5.542

Wellness Week

News Type:  High School Date:  Thursday, March 7, 2019

During the week leading up to the High School March break, students were encouraged to strap on their sneakers, whip up a green smoothie, and take time each day to practice mindfulness. Wellness Week is a new initiative organized by high school faculty members, John Michaud and Lauren Torres. “The goal is to help students develop an interest in and strategies to support their physical, mental, and emotional health”, said Torres. The idea came from a conversation she had with Michaud about how challenging it can be to get students to enthusiastically participate in physical education classes. The two fitness enthusiasts planned the week with the goal of getting students to recognize the benefits of healthy choices and buy-in to establishing some healthy habits.

Study Skills teacher Lindsay Banks and Science teacher Jennifer Kuhns co-teach a health and wellness class and worked with the PE and marketing departments to help students distill some of what they learned to generate a series of posters promoting health (see below). Other faculty members filled out health and wellness questionnaires sharing their views on exercise, diet, managing stress, and more (see links below). Torres and Michaud sent out helpful links to fitness tracking and meditation apps as well as myths and facts about health and wellness. Afterschool activities held during the week included a three-on-three basketball game and a 40-yard dash competition. 

Students are heading in to their vacation fueled with information, insight, and hopefully inspiration to get and stay healthy over the break and throughout the year. 

Meet some of our High School faculty members and learn about how they stay healthy: 

Bill Barrett
Scott Blanchette​
Michelle Boucher
Mary Guinee
Chris Hunt
Kathleen Kiely
Kate Kinsman
Betty Tremblay
Steve Walcowicz
Christine Vander Werf

Selected posters courtesy of the High School Health and Wellness class:
Thank you Bella, Clyde, Josh, Lucy, MacKenzie, Nick, and Violet






High School Faculty/Staff Art Exhibit

News Type:  High School Date:  Tuesday, March 5, 2019

On Wednesday, February 27, as the late winter sun was setting, high school faculty and staff members, joined by their parents, children, and friends, gathered in the Inspiration Gallery to share the creative pursuits of their colleagues. This first-ever faculty/staff art show featured audio recordings, quilts, pottery, photography, weavings, woodwork, knitting, carvings, light fixtures, short stories, calligraphy, and everything in between.

Headmaster, Bob Broudo said, "I'm always impressed by the talents of our faculty and staff but this exhibit, and the creativity and the high caliber of this work, is truly remarkable. This community continues to blow me away."

The exhibit, curated and hung by the high school art department heads, Kara Healey and Beth Jamieson, will undoubtedly be the first of many.

The show is currently on view and open to members of the Landmark community.





Evening of Dance 2019

News Type:  High School Date:  Tuesday, March 5, 2019

landmark school evening of dance 2019On Feb. 21 and 22, 2019, members of the Performing Arts Department's Dance Troupe impressed audiences with their poise, teamwork, and talent. Twenty high school students performed an ambitious selection of performances, from large group numbers to solos, in genres spanning hip-hop to modern jazz to lyrical. 

Kelli-Ann Camacho, head of the Dance Department, choreographed most of the dances, and Paige O'Connor, the after-school dance instructor at the High School, choreographed a selection of the solos and duets. Piper Nichols '19 and Nellie Maxwell '19 self-choreographed their solos. Nellie incorporated sign language into her performance. An Evening of Dance, an annual two-night celebration of dance, gives students the opportunity to showcase their dedication to their art. 

"Each dance had different themes or stories ranging from hope, struggle, bullying, ghosts, and love. I have been doing this show for 10 years now and every year it continues to get bigger and better," said Ms. Camacho. "I’m very lucky that I get the opportunity to watch the students evolve as dancers and performers. I get to see their confidence grow. It’s the best feeling seeing them come off stage with the biggest smile on their faces because they have a huge sense of accomplishment. I am beyond proud of my students. "

Wrestlers Advance to Regional, National Competitions

News Type:  High School Date:  Wednesday, February 27, 2019

landmark wrestlers at new englandsIn February, six Landmark wrestlers qualified to compete in the 72nd Annual New England Independent School Wrestling Association (NEISWA) Championships at Greens Farms Academy in Wesport, Conn. George Athanasiadis '21, Isaiah and Josiah Castellucci, '19, '21, Ethan Kerr '21, John Simpson '20, and Rudy Wurlitzer '22 all performed admirably and represented themselves and Landmark with class and great sportsmanship. 

Isaiah took sixth and Josiah fifth in their respective weigh classes, and both advanced to the National Prep Championships at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. They were two of four students in the Eastern Independent League who made Nationals. The top six finishers in each weight class in New Englands receive an invitation to Nationals.

Landmark Represented at National Competition

At the National match on February 22, Josiah was pinned twice, pushing him out of the double elimination castellucci wrestling nationalstournament. Isaiah lost his first match but went on to win his next two decisions. He needed to win again to wrestle on February 23. He lost his match by injury disqualification when his jaw collided with his opponent's head, forcing him out of the tournament.  

While neither student placed, it was an accomplishment to receive an invitation to participate. It is an honor few others from Landmark have enjoyed. Jason Haley '02 placed seventh at Nationals his senior year and then placed fifth with Northfield Mt. Hermon as a post-grad in 2003. David Giovannacci '14 placed just outside the eighth and final medal spot at ninth for the 220 weight class.

Coaches vs. Cancer Raises Thousands

News Type:  High School Date:  Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019 coaches vs cancer landmark schoolThe Landmark High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball team hosted the Fourth Annual Coaches vs. Cancer game on Friday, February 22, at the Ansara Center. The event raised more than $4,000 for the American Cancer Society. All funds will go directly to the American Cancer Society, which works to prevent cancer, save lives, and reduce cancer-related suffering. 

The evening began with the Boys Varsity Basketball win over Covenant Christian Academy (CCA), followed by a silent auction, bake and t-shirt sale, pizza dinner, and culminated with the girls' season-ending game against CCA.

The stands were jammed with students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends and the excitement was palpable. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to organize this memorable community event. 

Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide program organized by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). 


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