Zach Korth ’05

PTS Alumnus Zach Korth ’05—a graduate student studying physics at California Institute of Technology (Caltech)—is working on Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), a project aimed at the direct detection of gravitational waves. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory is managed exclusively by Caltech and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As the largest project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), LIGO hopes to make this momentous detection within the next two or three years. Zach resides in Baton Rouge, LA, where he is working directly with the detector on one of two LIGO research sites. Check out his latest post in “Quantum Frontiers,” a blog for the Caltech Institute for Quantum Information and Matter (IQIM).

Garrett deRosset '05

When it comes to “breaking boundaries,” Garrett deRosset is no exception. Graduating from Palmer Trinity School in 2005, he continued his education at the University of Florida—earning a Bachelor of Science in Building Construction in 2010. Today, Garrett is living in Tokyo, Japan, where he teaches classes at the Tokyo HackerSpace, a community center that provides opportunities for research and scientific exploration in a variety of areas. Under the leadership of Mr. Carl Rachelson, currently a member of the Middle School English faculty and Assistant Varsity Boys’ Basketball Coach, Garrett went to Japan in his senior year. Visiting historical icons like Kyoto and Tokyo, and living with a Japanese host family, Garrett had the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture firsthand—and has since always dreamed of living and working there. Upon his graduation from UF, it was time for Garrett to start chasing his dreams. “I learned about the Tokyo Hackerspace from one of my Google Reader subscriptions,” he says. “Before the earthquake happened, I believe I had read an article about their open source Geiger counters. I definitely starred that article and kept the place, Tokyo HackerSpace, in the back of my mind.” Applying for a position, Garrett was ready for an adventure. “Two weeks after I found the job, I was on a flight to Japan.” The Tokyo HackerSpace is a community-operated environment where people can meet and work on a variety of projects, be it technology, building, gardening, cooking, science, sewing, digital art, gaming, and more. At the Tokyo HackerSpace, programmers, engineers, IT administrators, artists, chefs and musicians alike can find the space, the like-minded people, and the infrastructure needed to work on their projects and share their interest in geek culture. As a teacher there, Garrett has the opportunity to teach students about a variety of subjects, while simultaneously learning more about his own educational interests. “If you want to learn about something, you ask if someone knows anything about it,” he says. “Most of the time, people are already passionate about their knowledge and have classes going already.” Foremost, Garrett loves the open communication he finds at Tokyo HackerSpace and the willingness with which everyone learns from, and helps, one another. “I could send out a question and expect a very knowledgeable response within the hour,” he says. “I love the passion I find at the HackerSpace.” Living in Japan as a working American, and not a tourist, Garrett has had many memorable experiences. “Things are more special [here in Japan],” he says. “When your eyes meet with those of another foreigner, there is a special gaze. You have a conversation with a Japanese person, and this is something you couldn’t have with that foreigner you just passed.” His trip has also been marked by invaluable educational experiences, like the one he had learning about RGB LEDs, a semiconductor light source that incorporates red, green and blue lights, a longtime personal interest that he had never had the opportunity to explore. “When I went on a trip to Akihabara, I picked up a RGB LED just to mess around with. With a little help at the HackerSpace—amid some hilarious bickering amidst the hackers about the best way to manage the process—I was able to control every independent color of the LED,” he says. Nothing is more exciting to see than something you’ve desired to learn about come to fruition, in this case, being able to control the color spectrum with an LED. It’s experiences like these that keep me excited about what happens next. With that being said, his greatest experience has been one of personal growth. “This experience has driven me towards an independence I would never find in America. It has certainly driven me out of my comfort zone, and I love Japan for that experience, aside from the beauty to be found here.” His travels are a testament to Garrett’s hard work and dedication; Garrett owes his time in Japan to two very special teachers. “There are two teachers at Palmer who influenced my life in a very large way—those teachers are Mr. [Robert] Moorhouse and Mr. [Carl] Rachelson,” he says. “They opened the gateway to my first experience in Japan.” With his earliest return date set for next May, and even that date set in question, his first experience has become one with lasting effects. “I’ve always stuck with these three rules: have something to do, have something to look forward to, have something to cherish,” Garrett says. “These days I always have something to look forward to and something to do. Cherishing myself has kept me going.”

Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda '98

Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda graduated from Palmer Trinity School in 1998, and went on to receive her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Georgetown University. After graduating in 2002, she earned a Masters of Science in Nursing and Masters of Public Health from John Hopkins University, and finally obtained a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies (Nursing, Epidemiology and Psychology) from the University of Miami in 2008. Currently, Rosa is an Assistant Professor of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Miami, and she was recently awarded a three-year, $350,000 research grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop JOVEN (Juntos Unidos contra la Violencia Entre Novios/Together Against Dating Violence), an intervention program for teen-dating violence among Hispanics. Looking back on her years at Palmer Trinity School, Rosa can recall many fond memories and lasting friendships. “My experience at Palmer Trinity was one filled with opportunities to learn, grow and lead,” she says. As a member of the PTS Girls’ Volleyball, Basketball and Softball teams and Treasurer of Student Government, Rosa still found time to work on the school yearbook, engage in multiple service opportunities and attend various French State competitions. Her classmates and teachers became vital figures in her development as a student, and continue to influence her today. “I enjoyed developing friendships with peers who came from across the globe and had diverse socioeconomic, religious and cultural backgrounds. I was also inspired by teachers, coaches, and mentors that taught me by their examples, motivated me, and provided me with the knowledge, confidence and skills to be successful in my professional and personal life.” Of all of these memories, her favorite was playing Varsity Girls’ Basketball under Coach Judi Jennings, now Dean of Upper School Students. “I loved being coached by her,” Rosa says. “During my senior year, she lifted me onto the basketball hoop, where I sat for our team photo. She made me feel like I was on top of the world. I would never forget that.” Among many mentors who continue to inspire her success, one person at Palmer Trinity School stands above the rest: Danny Reynolds, Director of Admission, Financial Aid and College Counseling. “He opened my eyes to the possibility of going to Georgetown University, when I had not even imagined going away for college, and encouraged me to apply,” she says. “If I had not gone to Georgetown, I would not have gone to Johns Hopkins. If I had not gone to Johns Hopkins, I would not have developed a commitment to evidenced-based public health nursing practice and uncovered the responsibility I had to address health disparities through research. Johns Hopkins actually led me back home, as my mentor there urged me to contact the Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Studies at UM. The Dean at UM inspired me to obtain my PhD and become a faculty member. The faculty member role has allowed me to conduct research, mentor students, serve my community, address health disparities, and influence health policy. Danny opened the first door for me at Palmer Trinity. I just decided to walk through it and ended up here.” Rosa was first attracted to nursing as a high school student, when she began conducting mission work in the Dominican Republic. “Seeing the avoidable causes of disease and death that affected these communities made me aware of the importance of public health prevention efforts—such as clean water, sanitation and health education,” she says. It is this same compassion for others that drives her position as Assistant Professor. “My responsibilities are to conduct research, teach and serve my community, all things I receive tremendous rewards from doing,” she says. As a result of her tremendous success, to no one’s surprise, Rosa has had many memorable experiences. Working with the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Future of Nursing, Rosa was able to recommend specific changes in State policies associated with nursing education, practice and leadership—ultimately benefiting the health of the U.S. population as a whole. She also became a leader in the UM-Coordinated Victim Assistance Center, a communityacademic partnership that assesses the needs and preferences for domestic violence prevention in South Florida’s Hispanic community, which she continues to work with today. Most importantly, she started JOVEN. When Rosa began studying the behavioral health disparities (e.g., substance abuse, HIV, violence) in the Hispanic community of Miami-Dade County six years ago, she realized the prevalence of teen-dating violence there and the harmful effects it has had on the community. With the help of her grant, she hopes to make JOVEN the first evidence-based teen-dating, violenceprevention program for Hispanic youth, and is excited to further her research by working with high school students at Hialeah Senior High School. “Research is always strengthened from these types of partnerships,” she says. Rosa currently lives in Coral Gables, FL with her husband, Luis, and two sons, Sebastian (2) and Marco Andres (2 months). Staying true to her alma mater, Rosa continues to show her support by serving on the Admission Advisory Committee for Palmer Trinity School.

Dawn Hoyt Kidd '80

Dawn Hoyt Kidd joined Palmer Trinity School in her eighth-grade year, the first year middle school grades were added, and was graduated from Palmer Trinity School in 1980. She attended Vanderbilt University until her graduation in 1984, where she pursued a double major in Special Education and Spanish Education in the Peabody College of Education and Human Development. In 1985, Dawn received her Master’s in Deaf Education from The University of Texas at Austin, and later earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the same university. Currently, Dawn is a math teacher at Texas School for the Deaf, a residential school for deaf or hard-of-hearing students in Austin, TX. Like most of our students today, when Dawn was at Palmer Trinity School, she was overly-involved and extremely motivated. Between her classwork, club participation and athletic involvement as a Palmer Trinity School cheerleader, Dawn recalls, “I spent more time at Palmer than I spent at home.” On her summers off, she was already preparing for a future in teaching by working as an Arts and Crafts Counselor at Ransom Everglades Day Camp. It was during those summers that her desire to teach was affirmed—the joy she gained from teaching her students and witnessing their sense of accomplishment continues to inspire her today. Dawn’s decision to work specifically with hearing-impaired children stems from her fascination with American Sign Language (ASL), which she saw at length for the first time in 1979, during Hurricane David, when an ASL translator on a local news station piqued her interest. As a student, she studied Spanish and French at Palmer Trinity School and welcomed the opportunity to learn more methods of communication. She took two semesters of ASL in college, later perfecting her abilities when she worked as a teacher’s aide for a deaf teacher. By the time her position ended, Dawn had attained her interpreter’s certification, and she later worked as an ASL interpreter during graduate school. Though there are many challenges associated with her unique teaching position, they are little compared to the rewards she gains from her students. “Deaf people can do anything except hear, so the communication aspect is vital,” Dawn says. “The challenge is getting all of my students to look at me at the same time.” Teaching at Texas School for the Deaf for over twenty years now, Dawn has made many lasting memories with her students. Her favorite experience was traveling to Rochester, New York, with her middle school math team, for a competition at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Competing against twenty other teams of deaf and hearing-impaired students from around the United States, Dawn’s students placed first! “[The students] were certainly proud of themselves,” she recalls. “This is my favorite experience because they were able to meet and compete against other deaf students who were all excited about learning and furthering their knowledge.” Throughout her tenure, Dawn has also had the opportunity to build lasting relationships with her students. “I have been in this position long enough that I have taught children of my former students!” She says. “I enjoy seeing how [my students] have grown, landed wonderful jobs, and started families.” Looking back on her memories of Palmer Trinity School, Dawn attributes many of her positive career choices to the people she met, and experiences she had, at Palmer Trinity School. “I have a treasure trove of memories I will always remember about Palmer Trinity School,” she says. “Palmer was such an enjoyable school to attend, with an environment of positive support.” Her inspiration to teach, however, came from a very special English teacher whom PTS continues to recognize today: Mr. Bob Yarbrough. “Mr. Yarbrough was the biggest influence. He was an educator with high standards, and he worked with students individually to help us succeed,” Dawn recalls. “I worked hard in Mr. Yarbrough’s class, as well as classes with my other Palmer teachers. Today, I know it still takes hard work to do a good and thorough job, and I have carried this with me through college, graduate school and in my professional life.” From one Palmer student to hundreds of others, what final piece of advice would this Pirate give our current Falcons? “Well, of course it is crucial to do your best and learn as much as you can,” she says. But most importantly: “Get to know at least one teacher very well—he or she can be a wonderful mentor to you.”

1986 Palmer Trinity Boys Cross Country Champions

TWENTY ONE team points tallied at The Florida State High School Cross Country Championships! A FHSAA record for the fewest team points scored in a state meet since the inception of the “Fall Only” Cross Country Championship in 1954. On the morning of November 18th, 1986, when Palmer’s fifth runner crossed the finish line in 7th place, it all came into focus for the coach of this “Off-the- Wall Seven,” a team which undeniably must be considered one of the most unusual championship teams ever. Twenty one points totaled at a state meet was more outrageous than any coach could have dreamed of, even in his wildest of fantasies. Though twenty five years have passed since that day, not only does that record still stand, but so do the memories and lessons of that day—at least to those who were part of that infamous season. The season did not really begin on September 8th 1986, when seven runners from Palmer Trinity School (a school of only 200 boys) defeated 25 schools at the University of Miami’s Greentree Invitational. Nor did the team’s momentum truly get rolling when this rag tag bunch defeated 51 schools of all sizes at the prestigious John I. Leonard Meet at John Prince Park. No, the seeds of this championship team were sown in the years prior. The seeds were sown from the hundreds of miles run on the hot, South Florida concrete. They were sown from the hills run during the team’s summer training camp in New Hampshire, and they were sown from remembering the lingering disappointment of several “runner up” finishes leading up to the prolific 1986 race. After backto- back Class A Cross Country “runner up” finishes in 1984 and 1985, it was apparent that 1986 would be Palmer’s year, the year of the “Off-the-Wall Seven.” To the coach, it was no surprise that by the time the fall of 1986 had arrived, the stage was set and the comedic cast was ready to perform. The job of “coach,” I felt, was to allow all of the individuals on a team to be loose, and to permit them to develop into the type of champions that each was destined to become. It was not the coach’s role, I believed, to try to make each runner to conform to his standards, and to force each to “act and to run” in a certain way. What a year it could be for that coach with this talented group! I have always believed that being a champion first requires knowing who you are, and then staying the course. The individuals on this team certainly always knew who they were, and were comfortable with being rebellious. Cross country runners often rebel, so as to appear to some observers to be a “little out of the mainstream.” But for this team to conclude its season as the most dominant team in its classification in FHSAA State Meet history, it was only fitting for these guys to be “way” out of mainstream. In fact, these guys swam in their own stream. The “Off-the-Wall Seven” possessed an identity and image that were reflected in their uniforms. Though the school had bought team uniforms five years earlier, there was a need for new ones in 1986. But although there was enough money for new football jerseys every year, cross country jerseys needed to last five years. Such logic may make sense to conformists—but not to this team. The 1986 Palmer Cross Country team’s response to this line of reasoning? The design and printing of seven tank tops that read “Space for Rent” on the chest, rather than “Palmer Trinity School.” Of course, this group of harriers needed to have shorts that matched their rebellious tops. After unanimously voting down the coach’s suggestion for plain green running shorts, the seniors went to a local dollar store, bought and ran in $1.00 Mickey Mouse Boxer shorts—yes, that’s right—Mickey Mouse boxer shorts. The uniforms were only the beginning of this group’s desire to assert its affably rebellious spirit. In the days before computer timing, when meets were often scored by tongue depressors given to runners standing in long lines in chutes, this group would take off their bib numbers after their race, and replace their names with titles such as Chuck Wagon and Frank N. Stein before turning in their places. Somehow, we all lived in a less serious age back then, and the meet directors were usually laughing too hard to disqualify the kids. After one race, the team’s captains ordered a birthday gram to be sung to a beloved local meet director, but only after the meet director appeared to be getting fined by that same singer (dressed as a policeman) for administering a meet in a public park without proper zoning. At another meet, before present-day uniform rules, each runner painted his body with water paint to resemble his favorite Smurf, and subsequently proceeded to bleed his colors over the entire 3-mile course. In retrospect, one might think that this group would have been perceived by their competitors as pompous and inappropriate. Upon hearing of their antics today, one would surmise that this group would have been disqualified on many occasions for sportsmanship issues. But just the opposite was true. In fact after every race, the other teams would mingle with this gang that couldn’t run straight, and actually warm up and cool down together. Other teams, and many other coaches, gravitated towards this magnetic bunch so as to see what shenanigans would come next. This team left its mark all throughout South Florida in 1986. Losing only one race all year, to a strong AAAA team, on a day when the its fourth and fifth runners were being rested, Class A Palmer was the top team in all of South Florida that year, defeating many of the state’s powerhouses. But what was more important to the coach than the victories was that this group defined a different way of achieving success; a philosophy that would guide his coaching philosophy for years to come. It has now been twenty-five years since the finest team race I ever saw was completed. Although I have not seen most of the “Off-the-Wall Seven” in years, I have been blessed to have coached hundreds of other successful athletes and dozens of successful teams in the years since. Yet, to be honest, rarely does the week come when my thoughts do not drift back to the team that helped me learn the lessons that I would need to evolve into the coach I am today. When I retire from coaching someday, I am sure that no season will mean more to me than 1986 did.

Tal Berman ’07

Upon graduating from Palmer Trinity School in 2007, Tal took the opportunity to train as a deep wilderness guide, leading adventurous groups of individuals across deserts, arctic tundra’s and other remote, ecological systems. Afterwards, Tal backpacked through Eastern and Western Europe, opting to travel as a “pilgrim” instead of a “tourist” to get a better taste of what life there is really like. He spent the majority of his time in remote countries, taking the time to experience the beauty, people and culture of each location. Coming back to Miami to start college at FIU, Tal received a grant to travel to India and study in a Jain Seminary. Tal’s travels enabled him to discover so much about others, and more importantly, himself—and as a result, he will graduate from FIU, this spring, with a degree in Environmental Science and a minor in Eastern Religion.

Samantha Evans ‘06

“Last summer, I volunteered in Arusha, Tanzania with my fiancé, Robert Moore ’05 for five through a volunteer agency called International Volunteer Headquarters We volunteered at a day school for children who were either orphans due to AIDS or their family has been affected by the deadly disease. POSA (Positive Steps in Arumeru) is an organization that primarily deals with AIDS education in Usa River, which has an abnormally high percentage of the population living with HIV. From our first day, Bobby and I were thrust into a small “classroom,” constructed of tarp wrapped around four trees. No concrete. The children sat on a makeshift mat on the floor. No desks, no tables, no books. The students ranged from 2 years – 7 years old, and yes they were all taught in the same classroom! We were astounded that we were expected to teach addition and subtraction to 2 year olds!

Beside these obvious infrastructural barriers, our munchkins did not speak a word of English. Bobby and I quickly learned the most essential words in Swahili: sikileza (listen), andika (write), hesabu (count), angalia (look), and of course, acha piga (don’t hit). After our first transitional day, we came back to POSA with posters and books and decided to split up the students into two classes: baby class and big kid class. The students are in class from 8 a.m. till noon. At around ten, the school serves ugi (porridge), which for many of these children is the only substantial meal of the day. Bobby and I knew how hard this experience emotionally would be for us, but we couldn’t truly grasp the hardships these children’s families go through.

We visited many of their homes while we were there. Most of our students live in mud houses with only one room, one bed, and with about 6 family members. We fell completely in love with our students and knew our connection couldn’t end once we left Arusha. Tanzania does have affordable public education (government schools) for the students to attend once they “graduate” from POSA, but the price of these schools is still too much for the families of the students we were with. Also, the percentage of students who actually finish primary level at the government schools and the percentage of students who enroll in secondary school are incredibly low. Our buddies living in harsh conditions have the odds against them. Education IS the way out for these students.

Bobby and I have sponsored two students to attend a private boarding school in their area, which enables them to be entirely surrounded by a positive, educational environment. We are currently working to create a nonprofit organization that would help us find sponsors for the children. Bobby and I, as well as my family, went back to Arusha over spring break to visit the school and to fortify our relationship with POSA. It is our hope to assist the school at POSA itself, as well as to send the students who “graduate” from POSA to this great school (called Usa River Academy) which would greatly help improve their lives.”

Laura Vogel ‘09

Laura Vogel, PTS Class of ’09, has embraced the world of research at the University of Miami. Prepared with a strong background in mathematics and science, she faced many choices for major study at the university level. The tipping point for her decision came from a discussion about the green initiatives taking place at Palmer Trinity. Remembering her readings and coursework from the senior seminar Universe Story, Laura realized that the future of the environment depends on changes we make now. Deciding to major in Environmental Engineering, Laura was accepted into a National Science Foundation, Oceans and Human Health, in the Spring of her freshman year – conducting experiments to study microbial bacteria issues in sand on public beaches. She worked with a research team collecting sand samples, testing their bacterial content, and analyzing the enormous amount of collected data. The study resulted in the submission of an academic paper to the journal Environmental Science & Technology. During her sophomore year, Laura continued her laboratory research, working as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates program sponsored by National Science Foundation. The sand analysis was expanded to a multibeach study, involving a wave tank, where laboratory simulations were tested against real life results.

Outside of the laboratory, Laura continued to work on the analysis of the data and the conclusions that could be drawn from the results of the various experiments. She submitted her research to the EPA National Beach Conference and was accepted as a poster session presenter in March 2011. A week after that conference, Laura traveled with a team of engineering students to the American Society of Civil Engineers Southeast Student Conference. There, Laura placed third in the environmental engineering competition, where she treated water for humic acid. She was also recognized for her research work in the 2011 Research, Creativity, Innovation Forum hosted by the University of Miami Office of Undergraduate Research. Her poster presentation won third place out of the 50 student submissions in the microbiological sciences category. Recognized for her academic achievements, Laura was recently inducted into Chi Epsilon, the Engineering Honor Society, and will be one of ten students selected from the University of Miami undergraduate body to present at the 6th Annual ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference. A recent alumna of Palmer Trinity School, Laura is just one example of a PTS student taking her knowledge and passion to new heights at the university level.

Chip Walter ’95 & Ian Wogan ‘04

Chip and I showed up the day before the Challenge on SUP (Stand Up Paddleboards), and as we were the first two racers to attempt the Challenge, many people questioned whether or not we would actually complete it. This was great motivation for us, and we needed it!

On the first day of the race, we launched from Ft. Desoto and went straight across Tampa Bay It was difficult from the start, and we spent seven hours fighting a headwind and waves for ten miles. It was physically and mentally exhausting, but we kept paddling through the first day for a continuous 25 hours.

By the end of our first day, we had paddled about 50 miles. We beached our boards and gear, laid everything out to dry, and allowed three hours for warm food, rest, and rehydration. When the tides flowed in our favor, we complete the “Ultra marathon” portion by reaching our first checkpoint, 70 miles from Ft. Desoto to Placida, FL.

Upon arrival in Placida, we began to understand how difficult this challenge would actually be. Veterans of the race, including the “Chief” and race manager “Pelican,” said this year had been the worst for weather. By this point, the Coast Guard had already been called to rescue a racer who had been blown three miles out to sea. Over 25% of the racers had dropped out, and one was even sent to a local hospital to be treated for hypothermia. The conditions were treacherous, but we were determined to finish the race.

After recovering, we set off on sunny day three to reach the next checkpoint. As we sailed past sailboats that had launched 30 minutes before us, we began to face strong headwinds in the open water of Charlotte Harbor, just near Three Sisters Island and Devilish Key. After two hours, we made it across a six-mile stretch of open water, finding shade and shelter amongst the mangroves. It was good to get out of the sun to once again plot our route, but as we came out of the mangroves, we were surprised and delighted to catch a tailwind! We opened our “chutes”–a Palmer Trinity School Sandy Golf Tournament umbrella and “wind” paddle–and cruised along Pine Island, riding the wind for 18 miles. We found ourselves in absolute darkness at the southern tip of Pine Island, navigated a few channels, and arrived at Ft. Myers Bay. After 30 miles of paddling, we stopped at a nearby dock for some rest and relaxation. We came across a boat crew who proved very helpful! Not only did they give us a place to park our boards, but they also housed us, fed us a warm plate of couscous and venison, and quenched our thirst with ice-cold wheat sodas. This experience alone made the trip worthwhile, and we set off the next day with a stash of Captain Kibbe’s own smoked fish!

After this departure, we found ourselves victim to one of the most difficult stretches of the trip. We felt like we were going nowhere as we paddled four hours against the wind and tide, completing only eight miles. From there, it was another open-water paddle for 10 miles.

After a much needed rest, we found a sheltered inter coastal waterway to cruise, and continued 12 miles until we arrived, by nightfall, at the greater Naples area. Stopping to review the maps, we realized we were still 70 miles out from the next checkpoint, and a massive storm front was approaching. As we continued on, it dawned that we were about to embark on the most treacherous portion of the journey, and had to make a critical decision on whether or not to continue. Whatever decision we made, it had to be made fast. Nearly midnight, we realized we would need to cover 10 more miles that night, and another 50 miles a day for the next four days.

In fair conditions, this would have been attainable, but not with the approaching ominous weather, over 40 mph winds, and temperatures dropping in the low 40s. It was a tough decision to make on many levels–physically we were ready, but to continue into an uncontrollable situation meant defining our efforts as reckless. Regretfully, we were forced to stop. However, we now have an opportunity to use this program as a jumping off point for awareness programs about sustainability at an elementary school level.

Over the next few months, Chip and Ian will participate in several other races around the country. Stay tuned!

Christopher "Kit" Faiella, Class of 2007

Christopher “Kit” Faiella ’07, a Chi Phi Fraternity president at Ohio Wesleyan University, is organizing and leading a Greek-oriented Mission Team to help residents of Nashville continue to recover from the floods that devastated the Mid-South and killed 19 in the Nashville area on May 4, 2010. Kit has been involved in missions since high school. “I went to Honduras for three summers and was the coordinator for two of those trips. And I was part of an Episcopal youth team that worked in Mississippi immediately after Hurricane Katrina,” he says. As a History and Spanish major and an intern in the Office of Admission, Kit may continue in service work following graduation. “I’ve been thinking about Peace Corps,” he says. He recently participated in a “Theory to Practice” trip to Nicaragua to study economics and business organization in the developing world.

Lauren Santa Cruz-Yepes, Class of 2005

This summer as part of my last semester of grad school I had the opportunity of traveling to Eastern Europe. This project was part of a collaborative initiative with local European journalists and 10 University of Miami Multimedia Journalism graduate students. In an effort to break down negative stereotypes of Roma gypsies we travelled over a period of 4 weeks to Sofia, Bulgaria, Bratislava, Slovakia, and Prague, Czech Republic. The product was a website containing 25 short video stories about 3-5 minutes in length all telling stories of Roma people in 5 countries in Eastern Europe. I am very fortunate to be able to do what I love which is tell people's stories and travel the world. You can check out our stories for the Roma project at http://roma.glocalstories.org/
Also, in March I also travelled to Calcutta, India as part of an effort to shed light on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. You can check out those stories at http://mdg.glocalstories.org/ I am currently working on my MA thesis and following the last traveling train carnival in the US. That has definitely been an adventure all on its own!

Gil Lang, Class of 1997

My experience at Palmer Trinity was incredible. I transferred to PT as a Sophomore from Minnesota and found a welcoming community. My first experience was three-a-day football camp where I made some great friends and was mentored by excellent coaches. I was Class President both my Junior and Senior year. From there I met such teachers like Ms. DV who taught me more than just Math. Overall, PT helped prepare me for college and life afterwards.

After graduating, I attended Hobart & William Smith College in Geneva, NY where I majored in Political Science. While I was there, I was active with community service, which to me means any type of commitment or engagement that enriches a community and its members. As a Junior, I helped start a chapter
of Big Brothers Big Sisters and I was Student Body President my Senior year. I was also a founding member of a two-year Genocide symposium series, which brought topical debate/awareness/information and survivor testimonials to campus.

After graduating from college, I joined the Peace Corps/Romania where I had the privilege to work two years with HIV+ orphan youth in a little town in South Eastern Romania called Slobozia. After the Peace Corps I stayed in Romania for another three years to work for an NGO called Population Services International (PSI) which is the world’s largest non-profit social marketing organization. As the Youth Program Manager, I helped to design and implement behavior change models and programs to prevent HIV.

I got involved with Project Concern International after a former colleague of mine recruited me to join the team. I moved to Cape Town in November 2008 and I became the Communications Manager for the organization. It is my role to develop, produce, and launch mass media communications that amplify messaging and activities generated from grass roots. For example, we distribute brochures which provide a comprehensive snapshot of Project Concern International in South Africa, the partners, and our collective mission which is to reduce the transmission of HIV by changing social norms that drive violence against women.

Working for Project Concern International has changed me in the sense that as a man working among networks of hundreds of women’s organizations, their movement, and their struggle, I realized I have an important role to play. That is to challenge and change attitudes, myself included. Service means different things to different people, but to me the more you enrich the lives of others, the more you enrich yourself.

The best advice I can give students today is to study/learn what you are passionate about. It’s all relevant in the ‘real’ world. My goals for this coming year are to contribute toward a reduction of violence against women in South Africa and surf at least two times per week. In the future, I see myself living in another country that’s outside the U.S. & South Africa, perhaps Asia or maybe a return to Eastern Europe.

Ciara Michel, Class of 2003

Ciara Michel '03 officially signed a contract to play professional volleyball taking her talents to Alemannia Aachen, a member of Germany's 14-team national first league, Bundesliga.

Michel, a four-year standout for the University of Miami at the middle blocker position from 2004-07, established herself as the sixth all-time in kills (962), seventh in total attempts (1,993) and 10th in kills per set (2.24). In 2007, she was selected to the Preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference Team while also serving as a team captain for the Hurricanes.

Upon graduation from UM, Michel ventured to Australia, spending two-and-a-half years there while also spending a semester studying abroad at Monash University in Clayton, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne. Most recently, she was working on a Master's Degree from the University of Melbourne. She also worked at a not-for-profit organization, Foundation for Young Australians, which provides scholarships and education opportunities to underprivileged youth. In the meantime, she found time to play professionally for the Melbourne University Team.

Michel was noticed while playing for the University of Melbourne. In order for Michel to prepare for the Olympic Games, she decided to now make the move to Europe and the country of Germany with the "Ladies in Black."

Ariel Moger, Class of 2008

  • What was your educational/social experience like at Palmer Trinity?
    I had an incredible and well-rounded experience at Palmer Trinity. The teachers were wonderful and the courses were challenging without being overwhelming. Homework was always manageable, even when I was running cross country or singing in a musical. Aside from academics, I had a wonderful group of friends with whom I am still very close. I also developed great relationships with other students, not only from my grade but both older and younger, and with the faculty. I feel that Palmer Trinity was the perfect balance of rigorous academics without the cut-throat atmosphere that sometimes accompanies comparable competitive schools.
 
  • What opportunities have you had your freshman year at school regarding academics, community service, job opportunities, and travel?
    Columbia offers countless opportunities. In my freshman year I took advantage both in academics and in extra-curricular activities. The majority of my classes were fulfilling requirements for the Core Curriculum, but in my second semester I signed up for Ancient Law. I was the only freshman in a class full of juniors and seniors. At first I was extremely intimidated, but then it ended up being my favorite class. The professor not only knew the material, but he actually knew Ancient Greek and Latin and gave us his own translations and interpretations. Also, I enjoyed being with upperclassmen and I benefited from their contributions during class. Ancient Law was just one example of the great classes I took this year. Outside of the classroom, I was on the Campus Life Committee and I helped plan Homecoming, College Days, and many events of all sizes throughout the year. CLC gave me a unique opportunity to meet upperclassmen and Columbia’s administration.

Did PTS prepare you for college?
I definitely feel that PTS prepared me for college. Before I started at Columbia I was so nervous that the classes were going to be impossible. But then I read my book list for Literature Humanities and realized that I had already read more than half of the books in 9th grade! It was a relief to know that I was already familiar with most of the material we were going to cover. Of course, our class went much deeper into the text then we had in high school, but reading these texts for the second time gave me the confidence that allowed me to succeed. Literature Humanities was not the only class in which I felt confident. Even in Ancient Law, which was almost all new information for me, I knew about the Greek and Roman gods and I had heard about Plato and Socrates. I did well in all of my classes and made the Dean’s List for both semesters.

Annie Jensen, Class of 2008

  • What opportunities have you had your freshman year at school regarding academics, community service, job opportunities, and travel?
    As cliché as it sounds, the opportunities living in New York and attending NYU really seem endless. It was a little overwhelming at first, but then exciting. Regarding academics, NYU offers a great program called Speaking Freely. The program provides free language classes at convenient times without the pressure of credits or GPA. Regarding community service, I spent time visiting with an elderly woman through a program called The Caring Community. We mostly went to museums and plays and it was a fun way to explore the city. Regarding job 
opportunities, NYU has a great online database to find work. I interned with a local real estate agent. It was a lot of work, and a strange time to be learning about the real estate market but it was an amazing experience. Regarding travel, NYU has a great study abroad program and I will be spending my fall semester in Florence, Italy.
 
  • Do you have any advice for current PTS seniors?
    I would advise current PTS seniors to be honest with themselves. I owe a lot to luck and chance that I ended up at a great school for me. Schools usually know the types of students who will do well in their environment. As much as they want to accept everyone, they can’t and their choices aren’t personal. Being honest with them and yourself is the easiest way to avoid disappointment. I didn’t get into my “first choice” but today I couldn’t be happier.

  • What are your goals for yourself this coming year?
    This coming year I hope to become proficient in Italian, get a job in the current economy, and do well in school.

Dax Tejera, Class of 2003

  • How did PTS prepare you for a career in journalism?
    Ironically, one of the reasons I got into journalism was because I regretted not writing for The Falconer while at PTS. I felt holding office in student government precluded me from joining the paper, so when I got to Dartmouth, I avoided campus politics and joined the ranks of America's oldest college newspaper. I spent two years reporting before I was tapped Publisher. As graduation neared, I couldn't fathom leaving the business - so I chased for a job at NBC. The network hired me in large part for my writing ability - a skill I developed in nearly every class at PTS. Writing is a fundamental part of the prep curriculum at PTS, and it's opened many, many doors for me. PTS also empowers its students, encouraging them to find solutions and champion causes. The encouragement and resourcefulness that defines PTS has paid endless dividends.
 
  • Do you have any suggestions for students as to how they can prepare themselves for a career in journalism?
    Journalism was always a tough business, and today it's tougher than ever as we contemplate how the internet - and blogging, and Facebook, and Twitter - can serve as partners and not competitors. That said, journalism isn't going away, it's just evolving, and it's essential we feed talent into the pool. Never stop writing and never stop asking questions. Join The Falconer and pick a beat. Be informed: Read a newspaper, watch a newscast, surf a reputable website. Discover what topics you have a passion for, and then let your creativity lead you to exploration. Take notes along the way. That's what I do every day - and now they're paying me for it!
 
  • What pieces have you worked on since you have been with NBC?
    Soon after I walked through the doors at NBC headquarters, I was thrust into one of the biggest stories of a lifetime - the 2008 election. It's been pretty non-stop since then. In no particular order: We broadcast the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. We've covered disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods. There have been scandals: Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and of course Bernard Madoff. Politics have dominated the news: The inauguration of Barack Obama, the Sotomayor nomination, the death of Ted Kennedy. And who could forget Michael Jackson, the financial crisis, and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In each case I was either breaking the news, telling a small part of the story in a 2-3 minute package, or working on the logistics, planning, and execution that bring live television to life. As for the future: stay tuned.
 
  • What have been the most interesting stories you have worked on thus far?
    The financial crisis has fascinated me. It's a story that has impacted every single viewer, and it has produced some of the most dramatic headlines my generation has known. Last September it seemed as if we reported on the collapse of financial giants daily (in some cases this was literally true). Fear swept the nation, the political agenda was rewritten, and Americans suddenly became educated about topics and concepts they never thought relevant. TV played a big role in telling this story, and in educating the public - as we ourselves worked feverishly to understand the news developing around us. The work continues to this day.

    Another story that captured me was Barack Obama's inauguration. Across the news division, my colleagues and I worked to report on the nation's response to a moment of extraordinary historic value - from the tiny towns to the city centers. It was the party of a lifetime - in DC of course, but also across America and indeed the world. Our job was to be there, to convey the feeling, lend context, and put on a show. What a rush! I don't know if I'll get the chance to cover another inauguration quite like that one.
 
  • What was it like reporting on Senator Ted Kennedy's death?
    I was in the newsroom when word came that Sennator Kennedy had died. We knew the Senator was in extremely poor health, so we had a plan in place. But you can never be sure of the details or the timing. When we confirmed Kennedy's passing, it was just past 1:00 am, and my job was to coordinate efforts to break into the network and report the story. I had never been under such acute pressure in my career. TV is competitive, and timing is everything. When you've got the story your natural instinct is to report it, but doing so when you're not already on the air is a complicated task. The next few days consisted of very little sleep, lots of quick thinking, and a countdown to the main event, the Senator's funeral. In the end the ceremony amounted to what is expected at a presidential funeral, and by day's end, exhausted, I reflected on how much I had learned - and how much I've gleaned from just a few years working in this business. I've always said the day I stop learning I'd resign. Thankfully, I've yet to have a reason to act on that decision.
 
  • How has working for NBC challenged you?
    TV is fast - audiences have short attention spans and the competition is always itching to jump ahead of you. And at NBC, we're not just creating content for NBC, but for our sister networks: MSNBC, CNBC, The Weather Channel, and msnbc.com. My job is to have quick instinct, agility, insight, and common sense. There's a lot going on in the world and we've got to figure out how our resources are best positioned. And we have to figure out how to make more of what we've got. NBC has made me think about the world outside of the bubbles I've been accustomed to - like PTS, or Dartmouth. It's required me to neutralize my opinions and political partisanship. And it's forced me to keep up with extremely talented story-tellers. I think I get a little smarter every time I walk out the door.
 
  • What are your goals for yourself this coming year?
    Every week I look back and think about what I would have done differently - and then I resolve myself to improve when the opportunity next arises. I hope to uncover some stories that aren't in the "mainstream" but important nevertheless. I'd like to find some stories off the beaten path so I can spend some time on the road. I want to do some more writing for the internet. And of course, I want to beat the competition by being first and being right - that goal never subsides.
 
  • Where do you see yourself 10 years down the road?
    It may not be in TV. I'd like to get another degree soon - likely a law degree. Going back to school probably means a pause from work - and that means that new opportunities will arise that I must pay attention to. But inevitably it'll have a media angle and it will be as part of an organization with the resources to have far reach. And come to think of it, wherever I am, I'll likely be coming home to a wife and - this is scary - kids! How did that happen? PTS seems like yesterday.

Kyle Rutter, Class of 2004

Kyle Rutter was recently selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft! During his PTS career, Rutter was an All Miami Dade selection who helped the Falcons win a District Baseball Championship. Kyle also just wrapped up his senior season at North Carolina State, where he has been an outstanding pitcher for the Wolfpack baseball program. Congratulations to Kyle Rutter - and best of luck with the Red Sox organization!

Alba Gosalbez, Class of 2006

While at Palmer Trinity, I was very involved with the Impact trip to Nicaragua. I went on this trip during my last three years at Palmer Trinity. It was a beautiful experience. To be able to go to a foreign country with the purpose of helping those in need and actually see yourself and the "impact" you have on those you have helped is such a blessing. Now, I feel so incredibly lucky to have had such good experiences because I realize that not everyone does these things. However, now this awareness has grown and I look back and think "yes, this is absolutely something I need to be doing for the rest of my life. I need to help people." I guess you could say I found "my calling" very early on and didn't even realize it.

Currently, I am a Junior at FIU and I became involved with the YES!+ Program through The Art of Living Youth. YES!+ is an innovative and dynamic educational and life skills program for
young students and professionals. YES!+ empowers young people with tools to eliminate stress, rid the system of negative emotions, develop strong social and leadership skills, heighten awareness and increase mental focus. This intense program also includes practical sessions on entrepreneurial skills, maximizing individual potential and physical, mental and emotional health. It also challenges young people to reach their highest potential and has made a difference to thousands across the world.

Currently, I am committed to the Haiti Relief project. My other YES!+ teacher, Uma, has been working very closely with the Haitian community here in Miami and in Haiti. After the hurricanes devastated Haiti this past year, Uma and Amanda organized over 40 public schools to collect and donate canned food and goods to be shipped to Haiti. With the help of volunteers, all of the supplies were picked up in one day. It took a day and a half to re-pack everything, transfer over to the port and put it on the ships. Even though this project only took a full week, it taught me that you can do absolutely anything you want to if you put your mind to it. Young people truly can make a difference in the world, and we're doing it right now. It's becoming a revolution.

Over the Winter Break I head to India to begin the YES!++ course which concentrates in silent meditation. We will go into silence for a period of days. It's designed to enhance self-discovery and recharge the mind and body. Then, we will be taking the Sahadj Samadhi Meditation course. This course teaches you a simple and practical way to practice meditation every day. It allows you to focus and remain in the present moment, which is extremely important. The third course is called DSN. It translates into "Creating a Divine Society - Do Something Now". This course teaches you how to break through personal inhibitions and barriers. It empowers you and allows you to have such a solid core that no outside event can shake you. After the coursework, we participate in a service project and then visit rural schools and temples, while participating in sustainable development projects. I am 20 years old and I already have a life dream being fulfilled. I feel so lucky.

There are so many problems in society that it doesn't make sense to focus your attention on something unproductive; it's a waste of energy to do so. Now that I have become so involved with the Art of Living Foundation and YES!+, I don't see myself doing anything else other than continuing to work with the foundation and aiding those in need.

The message I would like to send to others is that you are the only person in control of your destiny. You can do anything you set your mind to. If you go into a situation thinking "this will never happen, it's impossible for this to work" then it won’t. But if you have a positive attitude and you are convinced that you can do this, you will. Things are not as complicated as they seem…we make them that way.

After graduation, I would like to become a YES!+ teacher. I want to be able to work with children who have been mistreated and abused and help them find a way to express and release their traumas in a positive and healthy way. I don't know how long after graduation this will take, but I have a feeling that I won’t have to wait for too long.

Gitanjali (Angie) D'Sa, Class of 2005

Reconciling Cape Town's Paradoxes, One Hopeful Entrepreneur at a Time

Cape Town is a city of beguiling mountains, stunning beaches, world class museums, unique festivals, open air theater, and diverse night life. But for all its natural beauty and cosmopolitan flair, Cape Town is still plagued by an ugly racial legacy. Inequality and segregation, the vestiges of Apartheid, are still apparent everywhere.

The students of the University of Cape Town (UCT) are not oblivious to this disparity and are committed to reversing it. As a "semester abroad" student, I have quickly understood the desire to promote empowerment and equality in this stratified society. I have joined a student-run community service program which teaches
entrepreneurship skills (basic accounting, marketing, and asset management) to 18-35 year olds in the city's townships. Masizikhulise, meaning "let us grow together," in the local language of Xhosa, strives to build self-esteem and business knowledge in a generation of youth that has been alienated from the formal school system and the formal market economy. I am currently cooperating with these young entrepreneurs to develop solid business plans and to seek funding or contract loans to start their own businesses.

Though my formal position is their "teacher" or "tutor", I am learning just as much as these hopeful entrepreneurs. I am beginning to appraise life from a non Western-centric vantage point. I am learning that there are many innovative ways of overcoming deprivation. And as a student of development economics, I am privileged to be observing first-hand what cannot be taught in the classroom. Of all this city has to offer, immersing myself in its service may be the most valuable thing I take away.

Captain Michael H. Davis, Class of 1997
Captain Michael H. Davis graduated from PTS in 1997 and from The Citadel in 2001. He is a Captain in the US Army and is currently deployed to Iraq. He is assigned to a Border Transition Team located on the Iranian border. Part of his responsibility is to work with the Iraqis to help them become self sufficient so that they will not need US assistance any longer. Captain Davis states, “This is my second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (though this is my first tour in Iraq.) Currently I am assigned to a Port of Entry Transition Team (POETT). We are located on the Iran - Iraq border, and see many tourists who pass through on the way to the Iraqi holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. Our job is to coach, teach, and mentor the Iraqis who work at the Port of Entry on Customs and Border Enforcement techniques. As a result our daily duties put us in close contact with numerous
Iraqis and Iranians. The conditions at the POE are very rough, and involve long periods of waiting in extreme heat (115 - 120 degrees for August) for the travelers. Something we have taken to doing is passing out toys to the children who pass through. So far the toys have come exclusively from our family and friends who have been generous enough to support our efforts out of their own pockets. That said, the toys we receive usually do not last longer than a couple of hours. What I had been hoping for PTS to do was to send a shipment of small, inexpensive toys that we would be able to pass out to the children at the border crossing. In doing so it would enable the soldiers assigned here to create some goodwill between the United States and the Iraqi and Iranian travelers.” On a personal level, he and his wife, Jennifer, welcomed their second daughter, Claire Mackenna, into the world on December 7th, 2008. Her older sister, Maegan, is very thrilled about being a big sister and is actually quite protective of her. They call Atlanta, GA, their home and love it there.

Alejandro Melean, Class of 2005

Internship Fulfills Lifelong Dream

“My days were filled with smiles, frowns, laughter, tears, disagreements and hugs…” reports Alejandro Melean after spending two months volunteering as an intern at the Monte Alegre School. Currently a student at Holy Cross College, Alejandro has always wanted to work with children and describes the internship as among the best and most rewarding experiences of his life.

The internship program was made available through the BR-111™ Foundation and coordinated by Marcia Pagano. “I knew very little about the school prior to arriving in Brazil,” said Alejandro. “I was only aware the children came from very poor neighborhoods and many of the students had difficult family situations, including physical and sexual abuse. And while I speak English and Spanish, it was a challenge to learn Portuguese to communicate with the children and the staff.”
Alejandro worked closely with teachers in the classroom and had the opportunity to interact with psychologists who meet with the children weekly. “Every child has a story. Some are truly heartbreaking, like Cassia, who still will not speak a word. Hopefully she will emerge from her shell as she spends more time in the program,” continued Alejandro.

Overall, Alejandro reports that classes are similar to elementary school in the United States. The daily routine includes reading and spelling, arts and crafts, physical education and mealtime. In addition, a nutritionist speaks to the children weekly about growing fruits and vegetables and a martial arts instructor teaches Judo classes.

Alejandro also had the opportunity to visit the “Bosque” community center located in a very poor neighborhood where many of the children live. “It was a real eye opener to see the poverty these children come from,” said Alejandro. “Even so, it provided me the opportunity to meet many of the mothers of the children I was working with daily.” “Throughout the internship I was greeted with warmth and smiles from the children and staff alike,” said Alejandro. “The school is incredible and it was truly rewarding to be a part of the program, even for a short time. Thanks to all at the BR-111™ Foundation for providing me the experience of a lifetime.” Alejandro Melean is a defender player on the Holy Cross College soccer team.

Tony Blazejack, Class of 2000
Dear Friends,
 
Two years ago, a tragic boating accident claimed the life of Daniel Eric Pemsler, my friend and fellow Outward Bound alumnus. For those that knew Daniel, hardly a day goes by in which we do remember him.

In our freshman year of high school, Daniel and I participated in a week-long Outward Bound expedition in the Florida Everglades. Daniel went on to do a second course backpacking in the Rockies, and I participated in a course in the Lower Exuma Islands of the Bahamas. Years after our shared and individual experiences, we frequently discussed the positive influence Outward Bound had on our lives.

Following his death, Daniel's parents, Barry and Pamela Pemsler, set up an Outward Bound memorial scholarship fund in his name to benefit Florida youth. Since 1975, Outward Bound programs for struggling teens have provided an alternative for at-risk and committed delinquent youths in Florida. The program has expanded to serve kids in South Carolina and Alabama and is a nationally-recognized program that reinforces character development, leadership, environmental awareness, academic achievement and social responsibility.
On October 25, 2008 I will be participating in the Great Floridian Triathlon in Clermont, Florida. This will be my first Ironman-Distance triathlon, which incorporates a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a 26.2-mile run all in a single event. It is my goal to not only complete this race, but also to use my first Ironman experience to send at least one student on an expedition through Daniel Pemsler's Memorial Scholarship Fund. In my days of training that lead up to the big day, I am collecting donations for the fund and respectfully request your support. With your generosity, we can use this event to reach my fundraising goal of $2,500 which will send at least one troubled youth on an Outward Bound expedition.

Click here to read my training blog, check on my fundraising progress and find out how you can help me achieve my goal.

Thank you for your time and support. With your help, Dan's spirit will live on and continue to have a positive impact on our communities and our world.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tony Blazejack
 
7900 SW 176 Street, Miami, FL 33157
Tel: 305.251.2230 | Fax: 305.251.2917
An independent, college preparatory, co-ed, Episcopal day school serving a community of students grades 6-12.