Blair's New Website Makes It Even Easier to Connect

In mid-June, Blair launched a new website and mobile app that makes it easier than ever to connect with fellow members of the Blair family and stay up-to-date about the latest news from campus.

What's New?

For the first time, Blair's website is responsive to screen size, meaning it shrinks and expands for easy viewing on mobile phones and tablet devices as well as computers. With all-new text and images and an easy-to-navigate structure, the site also offers a new interactive campus map, a series of just-produced videos highlighting Blair's academic, artistic, athletic and student life programs, and customized and more user-friendly athletic team web pages that can be accessed from the "athletics" drop-down menu in just one click.

Most-Clicked-On Resources

Users can find a list of our most-visited pages in the new "quick links" menu on the homepage and shortcuts to our school calendars and athletic schedules and scores in the site footer. The site also includes a variety of password-protected resources for students, parents, alumni and trustees, including online community directories.

Students, alumni and parents can login to search for faculty members, classmates or fellow parents, respectively, and authenticated visitors will soon be able to connect through discussion groups now being piloted by a small number of volunteer groups.

Members of the Blair community can learn more about their respective sections of the new website by watching these videos:

The Mobile App

A new Blair Academy mobile app will be launching in the coming days, and it will replace our existing app in the iTunes store. Because the number of Android users were so few, the new app is only available for Apple devices. To download our app, please go to iTunes and search "The Official Blair Academy App" (note that the correct app will be by Finalsite; there are a number of unofficial versions that have been produced over the years).

Should you have any trouble logging in to the website or downloading the app, please contact the tech office at tech@blair.edu. We hope you find our new website to be user-friendly and look forward to having the site continue to serve as a daily source of news and information for all members of the Blair community.


In fact, this winter, the School will be launching a networking directory and discussion groups for those who opt to be part of its networking program in 2017-2018; the new website will offer users the ability to search for mentors and job providers and connect in group spaces with other like-minded alumni who are willing to offer general advice, lessons from past experiences or specific opportunities.

Summer 2017 Reading Assignments

Reading broadly and intelligently are essential components of a good education, and Blair faculty members encourage reading throughout the year. The summer is no exception, which is why all Blair students are expected to read a minimum of four fiction or nonfiction books over the summer, and they are urged to read even more.

Noting that there are many exciting and informative titles included in this year's required summer reading list, Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni reminds students that they must read all books assigned for the courses in which they are enrolled for the 2017-2018 academic year (see list below). In addition, every Blair student must read Chemistry by Weike Wang, this year's all-school summer reading book. Students may choose the other books they will read to make up their total of four (or more), and depending upon their courses, they may be examined on one or all of their choices.

New and returning students enrolled in language courses for the 2017-2018 academic year must also complete summer work. Click here visit the "Parent Information & Forms" webpage, where details on all summer assignments can be found.

Titles for 2017 summer reading assignments are listed below. For a printable version, click here.

Requirements for Selected Courses for 2017/2018:

All-School Read: Chemistry by Weike Wang

English 1: Bird by Bird (Lamott)
English 2: Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury)
English 3: Into the Wild (Krakauer)
English 3 AP or 4 AP Literature: Let the Great World Spin (McCann)
English 4 AP Language: All English 4 AP Language students will read Chemistry during the summer and Assassination Vacation (Vowell) during the winter break

Global Issues; Western Civilization; US History: In lieu of summer reading, these courses are allowed to assign a book over either the winter or spring break.
US History AP: Students are to read Part 1: "Liberty and Slavery," which includes chapters 1-6 of America: Empire of Liberty (David Reynolds). Be sure to purchase a paper copy of this book; it will be used throughout the year.
European History AP: Darkness at Noon (Koestler); email Dr. Miller (millem@blair.edu) for an assignment associated with the novel.
Economics Theory (Honors): Freakonomics (Levitt and Dubner)
Microeconomics AP: The Undercover Economist (Harford)
Comparative Government AP: TBD; Mr. Jenkins will email you during August 2017

Chemistry Honors: Disappearing Spoon (Kean)
Chemistry AP: TBD; Ms. Hall will email you over the summer
Biology AP: Riddled With Life (Zuk); Campbell 10th Ed AP Biology text, chapters 1-3
Physics AP C (Mechanics): 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know (Joanne Baker)
Physics AP C (Electricity & Magnetism): Relativity Simply Explained (Martin Gardner)

Music Theory AP: The Complete Book of Scales, Chords, Arpeggios and Cadences...(Palmer, Manus, Lethco)

Debut Novel 'Chemistry' Is Blair's All-School Summer Read

Blair community members' summer plans include everything from backyard barbecues to global travel, but one activity that all students and English teachers will have in common is reading Chemistry, the debut novel by 28-year-old writer Weike Wang. Named a "Most-Anticipated Novel of 2017" by Entertainment Weekly, The Millions and Bustle, the book is Blair's first all-School summer read, and English department chair James Moore has high expectations for the shared literary experience.

"The fact that Chemistry is a debut novel by a young author is important," Mr. Moore said, explaining that one of the reasons the book was chosen as this year's all-School summer read was to "reduce the distance" between students and authors and perhaps encourage some students to become writers themselves.

"I think sometimes students see writers as vaguely accomplished figures with dozens of books under their belts, standing in some distant Pantheon," he continued. "Weike Wang is only about 10 years older than our students, giving them a different view of who a writer might be: someone energetic and real, who sits down to write like they sit down to do homework. That alone might spur students to pursue those story ideas they have in the back of their minds."

In addition to providing inspiration to budding novelists, Mr. Moore also values the all-school summer read for the literary conversations the experience is likely to kindle in English classes and around campus this fall. He would like to arrange an author visit as well, to help build a dynamic relationship between the Blair community and writers. "Such relationships can open us to new voices and ideas while helping us better imagine what William Shakespeare or Willa Cather had in mind when they sat down to write," he said.

The all-school summer read builds upon the success of the spring 2017 all-school read of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing that culminated in the Blair Academy Players' production of the work in May. As Mr. Moore and his English department colleagues continue to foster Blair's literary community, he reiterated one of the key reasons reading literature is so important: it helps us develop empathy for characters that will hopefully extend into our interactions with others throughout our lives.

"I hope that in reading Chemistry, students will not only discover a connection with the novelist herself, but also gain a sense of why the unnamed narrator, who fails and then experiences unexpected triumph, is someone worth getting to know well enough to understand," he concluded.

Read more about Chemistry here.

Alumni Reconnect During 'Epic' Reunion Weekend

From June 9 to 11, Blair Academy welcomed hundreds of alumni back to campus for Alumni Weekend. The much-anticipated annual event was a fun-filled trip down memory lane and a wonderful opportunity for alumni and their families to see everything that's new at "dear, old Blair."

Among the weekend's many highlights were several unique events celebrating the life and times of Blair Academy founder John I. Blair; hard-hat tours of the Center for Innovation and Collaboration; a "Tell Your Blair Story" Leadership Stories Project workshop led by Carolyn Conforti-Browse '79; and the induction of the Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 honoring Robert M. Novogratz '55, Michael J. Lieberman '71, Laura Cochran Morris '75, Tamara Parrott '97 and Luol Deng '03. To watch the ceremony in full, please click "play" below. To watch the remarks delivered about individual athletes, click on their names above.

Of course, the weekend included the traditional memorial service, Alumni Parade and Head of School Assembly, family picnic luncheon and 5K run. In addition, returning alums had many opportunities to relax and reconnect at Friday night class parties, Old Guard gatherings and the Saturday evening cocktail party, dinner and dancing to The Good Times Band.

"We put together a fun weekend that brought out everyone's Blair spirit, and we enjoyed welcoming our alums and their families back to our beautiful campus," said Director of Alumni Relations Jenny Maine, who organized her 16th Alumni Weekend this year. "As John I. Blair promised on our invitation, it was 'epic!'"

Leadership Dinner Celebrates Blair Loyalty & Philanthropy

The School honored more than a dozen generous benefactors at the 2017 Leadership Dinner, held April 28 in the Romano Dining Hall. Head of School Chris Fortunato welcomed 140 guests to the event, including Trustees, alumni, parents, faculty and friends of the School. "Your support of Blair, and, even more, your belief in our School, is inspirational," he said. "We are delighted to demonstrate our gratitude this evening."

Students played a number of special roles throughout the Leadership Dinner festivities: Pianists and string musicians provided musical interludes during cocktail hour at Sharpe House and as guests entered the dining hall; recipients of named scholarships hosted their scholarship donors at dinner; and Hannah Ochtera '17 and Alec Valle '18 each spoke movingly about what the School means to them and thanked those who had made their Blair experiences possible.

Mr. Fortunato accorded recognition to the evening's honorees, noting their many contributions to the School. In gratitude for their philanthropy and devotion to Blair, a print of the iconic Blair Arch was presented to Mrs. Valerie A. Besthoff P'10 '17; Mr. Olin A. Cramer P'72 '75; Mr. and Mrs. Craig U. Dana Sr. '60, P'87 '92; Mr. Worthing F. Jackman P'20; Mr. Andrew Jeffries and Mrs. Annabel Vartanian Jeffries '96; Mr. and Mrs. Mike Kahn; Mr. Zheng Yao Lu and Mrs. Li Chun Guo P'20; Mr. and Mrs. Brian P. Riano P'20; Mr. and Mrs. George T. Stern '39, P'73 '76; and Ms. Hong Xu P'19.

Mr. Fortunato also announced that Mr. Richard K. Orr '48 and his wife, Setsuko, had been inducted posthumously into the John C. Bogle '47 Circle of Benefactors, an honor that acknowledges extraordinary dedication to Blair Academy. Mr. and Mrs. Orr, who passed away in 2013 and 2011, respectively, donated the bulk of their estates to Blair to establish the Orr Scholars Program, a named scholarship program that gives promising young men and women of many backgrounds the priceless opportunity of a Blair education.

Former Chair of the Blair Board of Trustees James P. Jenkins '66 was the final honoree of the evening—he received a standing ovation as his official Blair portrait was unveiled. Mr. Jenkins has been a Blair Trustee since 1992 and served as Board Chair from 2006 to 2013, following in the footsteps of his father, George P. Jenkins '32, who served as Board Chair from 1978 to 1986. Current Board Chair Doug Kimmelman P'12 '13 '15, lauded Mr. Jenkins' for his longstanding, selfless service to his alma mater.

Mr. Jenkins' portrait was unveiled by this year's recipients of the Class of 1966 Scholarship and the George P. Jenkins '32 Scholarship, two scholarships that Mr. Jenkins has generously supported. The painting now hangs in the gallery outside Armstrong-Hipkins' Center for the Arts' DuBois Theatre, alongside portraits of Chairman Emeritus J. Brooks Hoffman '36, Chairman Emeritus John C. Bogle '47 and Mr. Jenkins' father.

Underclass Prize Assembly Celebrates Student Achievement

As the 2016-2017 school year came to a close, freshmen, sophomores and juniors gathered in Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts to celebrate their accomplishments at the Underclass Prize Assembly. To watch the assembly in full, click "play" below.

The May 30 ceremony is an annual event that includes the presentation of subject prizes and major department prizes, junior-class cum laude induction, and the installation of prefects for the following school year. The hour-long event included presentations from Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni, Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto '97, heads of seven academic departments, president of Blair's chapter of cum laude Robert Merrifield, Associate Dean of Students Andee Ryerson, Dean of Students Carm Mazza, Head of School Chris Fortunato and chaplain Russell Powell.

"This assembly traditionally marks the end of the school year," said Mr. Molteni, as he opened the ceremony. "So, too, do the exams you are taking and preparing for each night. I'll let you in on a poorly kept secret tonight: It is a bit of a fake ending. These things are one end, but they are the end. I see so many of you deeply invested in ending the year in the right way, and for that, you have my congratulations on learning in the best of ways. In celebrating the names we call today, we celebrate the journey alongside the destination."

After presenting special student prizes, Mr. Fortunato addressed students and encouraged them to finish strong over the next two days.

"You can bring the best, not just of what we saw here today, but the best of your experiences at Blair, your own versions of the Blair bubble, to all that you do," he said. "You will return in the fall for your first day of classes in our 170th year refreshed and with stories and a commitment to work every day in this place to honor the promise of the people around you. So, when exams are done, enjoy. Learn, relax, have fun, do something new and interesting, or go back and do the things you love to do this summer and enjoy a well-deserved break. To end this year, to stand before you today, is truly my honor. Congratulations and have a wonderful summer."

Following a benediction from Mr. Powell, students watched the class of 2017 video at the end of the assembly, which marked the last time they will convene as a group this school year.

Congratulations to the students who were recognized at the Underclass Prize Assembly, including:

THE JOAN AND FERNANDO MARCIAL PRIZE, awarded to that foreign student who in the first year at Blair, overcoming difficulties and deficiencies in knowledge and use of the English language, has shown meritorious improvement in adjustment to life in an American boarding school as well as in the pursuit and fulfillment of academic responsibilities: Onome Akinbode-James

THE STEPHEN CURRY PRIZE, awarded to a first year student who has made dramatic progress both socially and academically: Apaar Singh Anand

THE PHILLIPS-JAMES-ROSEN TROPHY, awarded to those members of the junior class whose records have been marked by devotion to the School, and who have, while performing creditably as students and citizens of the School community, displayed uncommon leadership: Elisabeth Catherine Pinkerton & Ronan Timothy Smarth

THE JOHN KINCH LEACH MERIT AWARD, awarded to those members of the sophomore class whose records of scholarship, participation in activities and general citizenship have been a special credit to the School and an example for others to follow: Madison Ann Jones & Jacob Harrison Leddy

THE DAVID AVERY-JONES FRESHMAN PRIZE, awarded to those members of the freshman class who, while maintaining satisfactory academic records, have participated actively in and made significant contributions to School activities: Alexandra Leigh Kirby & Aidan Gilmore Riano

THE PETER L. AMERMAN RELIGION PRIZE, awarded to that student of religion who has been most challenged by the material encountered and who has demonstrated an effort to re-evaluate the philosophy of life accordingly: Cleary Ruth Waldo

THE HENRY B. COWAN PRIZE, awarded to members of the junior class for outstanding achievement in the study of English: Ethan Nicholas Amato, Ernst Lippert & Rebecca Eve Xi

CUM LAUDE SOCIETY membership is awarded to students having achieved good character development and high academic standing:
Ethan Nicholas Amato
Alexa Marie Bazsa
Savannah Rae Doelfel
Nami Caroline Hoffman
Seth Sehyun Kim
Seung Min Lee
Ernst Lippert
Grace M. Miller
Huong Thi Nguyen
Sienna Isabel Tipton
Rebecca Eve Xi
YiJin Zhang

The PURCHASE ART PRIZE, awarded to an underclass student for the purchase of their artwork to be displayed at the School: Seung Min Lee

Freshman English: Cameron Goodwin Bentley & Chloe Liquan Axelson Rayer

Sophomore English: Eleanor Marie Haines & Anthony Augustus Moore

Freshman Science (Bio H): Noah Xavier Bryan & Cameron Goodwin Bentley

Sophomore Science (Chem H): Hai Thanh Phan & Jessica Lee Schable

Junior Science (AP Chem): Seth Sehyun Kim

Global Issues: Priscilla Arpana Sharma

Western Civilization: Ryan L. Green & Linda Kaihua Tong

U.S. History: Rebecca Eve Xi

Pythagoras Prize for Geometry: Timothy M. Launders

Gauss Prize for Algebra: Anthony Augustus Moore

Euler Prize for Analysis: Rebecca Eve Xi

Vocal Music: Savannah Rae Doelfel & Emma Jayne Mohlmann

Instrumental Music: Glenn Everett Bechtler & Rebecca Eve Xi

Theatre: Ernst Lippert & Siena Isabel Tipton

Spring Athletes Recognized at Sports Assembly

At one of the final assemblies of the school year, Blair athletes were recognized for their sportsmanship, commitment and hard work as Head of School Chris Fortunato, Director of Athletics Paul Clavel and spring coaches commended the Bucs on a job well done in a short, but grueling, athletic season.

The following individuals were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts, contributions and achievements this spring:

Blair Lacrosse Prize: Emily Deehan '17
Blair Lacrosse Prize: Dylan Benson '20
Paul Tennis Award: Vishal Chugani '17
Anzel Tennis Trophy: Ignacio Ybanez '18
Hurley Crew Prize: Marta Bugen '17
Hurley Crew Prize: Chris Berry-Toon '17
Kemp Crew Prize: Catharine Berry-Toon '17
Kemp Crew Prize: Cortney Klein '18
Pender Track Award: Natasha Baker '17
Pender Track Award: Lucy Pennell '17
Pender Track Award: Ekrem Ayhan '17
Pender Track Award: Justes Nance '17
Blair Girls' Golf Award: Kaitlin Robertson '17
Zimmerman Golf Trophy: Brian Li '19
Stowell Softball Award: Andrea Dorsa '17
Stowell Softball Award: Jesse Schable '19
Brooks Baseball Prize: Kyle Walker '17

Class of 2017 Graduates at Blair's 169th Commencement

The members of Blair's class of 2017 celebrated their many achievements and looked forward to bright futures ahead at the School's 169th commencement, held on May 25. Rainy weather brought the ceremony under a tent on Marcial Field, where students and their families radiated pride and happiness on the momentous occasion and enjoyed the many traditions that make Blair's graduation special. (To watch a video of the commencement exercises, scroll down and click "play" below).

Head of School Chris Fortunato welcomed the assembled guests, including Trustees, faculty, parents and students, and introduced Senior Class Council members Lucy Pennell '17 and Jacob Saxton '17 who each shared welcoming remarks with attendees.

Attention turned to the faculty next, as senior administrators presented four prestigious awards that recognize the outstanding work of Blair's teachers: The Apgar Award for Teaching Excellence was presented to Spanish teacher Joyce Lang; The Riether Residential Life Award was presented to Day Student Coordinator Lois Stival; The John C. and Eve S. Bogle Teaching Prize was awarded to Chinese and economics teacher David Facciani; and The Tedlow Teaching Prize was awarded to Associate Dean of College Counseling Joe Mantegna.

The program continued with recognition of students who will attend United States service academies. Assistant Athletic Director and head varsity wrestling coach Brian Antonelli '93, a 1997 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Marine Corps captain, presented appointments to the United States Naval Academy to Caroline Peppard '17 and Madison Peterson '17.

Mr. Fortunato, Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto '97 and Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni then presented the School's highest student honors to three outstanding members of the graduating class: Liam Heino '17 received the Headmaster's Prize, given to a senior who has conspicuously displayed loyalty to the School, outstanding leadership, a fine influence in sportsmanship and Blair spirit in athletic competition; Emily Lunger '17 was awarded the Blair Academy Trophy for the highest all-around achievement; and Yinuo Xu '17 received the George P. Jenkins '32 Prize for outstanding scholarship.

As the George P. Jenkins '32 Prize-winner, Yinuo was also the Class Speaker, and she reflected on the many ways she and her classmates had changed during their Blair journeys, encouraging her peers to take the time as they approach their 20s to "pause and think" about those changes. "Slow down and figure out who you truly are and what you truly need," she said. "On our car rides out from Blairstown, say farewell to this campus, but don't say farewell to the changes this campus has brought to you; embrace the new journey, and also embrace a new understanding of who you truly are. Because every bit of change is worth celebration, especially today." (To read the full text of Yinuo's speech, please click here.)

Mr. Fortunato then presented diplomas to the members of the class of 2017, sharing handshakes, hugs and personal congratulations with students as they crossed the podium. He addressed the new graduates—the class that entered Blair the year he began his tenure as Blair's 16th Head of School—one final time before they began their lives as Blair alumni.

"Mrs. Fortunato and I are so proud of all of you, not just for the things you have achieved, nor because you're great (which you are), but because you are good," he said. Returning to the theme with which he opened the school year at Convocation, he reminded the new alumni to look up more than down and "truly see the people before you, so you can know them and, in turn, become known;" to stand firm as builders of friendships, service projects and so much more, while resisting the temptation to become cynics; and, especially, to continue to be kind, even when others are not.

"Most of all, remember that you are loved," he said, urging the class of 2017 to carry the best of Blair with them wherever their life's journeys take them and to share the best of Blair with all whom they encounter.

The commencement ceremony ended when Jeffrey Mohler '67, a member of this year's 50th reunion class, presented the class of 2017 pennant to a Jingyi Chi '17, the class member who was elected to represent the new graduates for the traditional exchange. Pennant flying, Jingyi led her exuberant classmates out of the tent and into the waiting arms of friends and family members to close the celebration.

Congratulations to the class of 2017!

Baccalaureate Reflects on Seniors' Experiences & Accomplishments

On the eve of graduation, the class of 2017 celebrated Baccalaureate, a traditional and spiritual service at which soon-to-be graduates reflected on their Blair experiences and looked toward the future as they prepared to leave campus following commencement on May 25. To watch a video of the service, click "play" below.

As is tradition, the evening Baccalaureate ceremony began with a bagpiper-led procession through the Arch, down Blair's front hill and up to Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts, where chaplain and religion and philosophy department chair Russell Powell welcomed the audience and began the service with a prayer. Before Head of School Chris Fortunato introduced the evening's class-elected keynote speaker, history teacher Christopher Cameron, the Blair Academy String Orchestra and Singers offered musical meditations, and two student leaders (Genevieve Lewis '17 and Max Bonzulak '17) read from the Hebrew scriptures and Christian testament.

Mr. Cameron then offered seniors his best advice for successfully navigating the transition from high school to college and adulthood. "We now stand at the threshold of our next chapter, hesitant to leave the safety and predictability that we have created here at Blair, but also drawn by the possibilities of a new life," said Mr. Cameron, a 2013 graduate of Williams College. "While I cannot tell you exactly what to expect, I can reassure you that you are ready. You are ready to face all of the unforeseen challenges and obstacles that will present themselves in the years ahead."

Mr. Cameron encouraged students to embrace those challenges instead of avoiding them and summon the courage to experience discomfort and vulnerability. "If you take anything away from my speech today, remember the power of growth," he noted. "You can do anything you set your mind to, but you must be willing to commit yourself to achieving your goals. Also, remember that 'transformations are more than a moment.' Your transformation will not happen overnight, but as you learn and grow, you will slowly evolve into a better version of yourself. So when you leave campus tomorrow, take the goodness and kindness of Blair with you and never stop learning."

Following Mr. Cameron's address and Mr. Powell's litany, Blair's student-led A Cappella group sang the School song ("The Blair Love Song" by former faculty member H.C. Thorpe). The ceremony came to a close with a piano recessional as seniors and faculty dispersed for the last time before commencement.

Awards Presented at Class of 2017 Assembly

Seniors gathered with their families and faculty on the eve of graduation to celebrate class members' many achievements at the Class of 2017 Assembly. As he welcomed students and their guests to Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts, Head of School Chris Fortunato urged seniors to take a moment to appreciate their surroundings and thank their friends, teachers and loved ones. "This moment will not come again," he said. "Take a look around and soak it in. Remember the good times and the challenging times, because they have helped you become the person you are today. And we would not have it any other way." (To watch a video of the assembly, click "play" below.)

Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni took center stage to announce academic awards that had been presented on Monday evening at the Senior Prize Assembly, and he was followed by Associate Head of School Ryan Pagotto '97, who recognized senior leadership groups including prefects, the Senior Class Council and athletic team captains. Next, science teacher Rob Merrifield, president of Blair's Cum Laude chapter, inducted 12 seniors into the academic honor society, and then Blair administrators stepped to the podium to present some of the School's top honors for the year (please see the full list of Cum Laude Society inductees and award recipients below).

The program continued with the presentation of the class of 2017's Blair Fund gift. Annicka Haines '17 and Chloe Beam '17 gave a check for $5,782.76 to Mr. Fortunato, which included contributions from 80 percent of seniors. Annicka and Chloe worked closely with interim Director of Annual Giving Colleen Smarth throughout the year to raise awareness among their classmates of the importance of alumni Blair Fund support. For the 16th year, Trustee Emeritus Jim Krugman '65 and his wife, Connie, maximized the class gift by generously contributing a 3:1 match of every dollar raised by seniors.

Seniors and their families enjoyed a screening of "Looking Back: The Class of 2017 Video Perspective" before the event concluded with a benediction from Blair chaplain and religion and philosophy department chair Russell C. Powell.

Congratulations to the students who received prizes at the Class of 2017 Assembly:

The Franklin Prize is awarded to the student in the senior class who has shown the greatest development and improvement throughout the course (presented in memory of Dr. Louis Franklin).
Misa Kim

The Harold F. Walker Memorial Prize is awarded to a member of the senior class who has made significant contributions to the life of the School.
George Louis Pektor & Chase Keith Singletary

The Selena and James Howard Prize is awarded to a member of the senior class who has made significant contributions to the life of the School.

Yu Jin Choi & Tys Mcgovern Sweeney

The Elaine and James Kelley Prize is awarded to that student who best represents the spirit of the postgraduate program by strengthening academic skills and his or her horizons through meaningful participation in the life of the community.
Caroline Elizabeth Peppard & Ratchanon Pornmongkolsuk

The Lee Rose Memorial Trophy is awarded to the senior, who while performing with merit in the classroom, has made significant contribution to Blair life.
Moyinoluwa lmisioluwa Adeniji

The William Zester Memorial Award is presented to the female athlete who has best represented Blair Academy in athletic competition.
Melissa Reade von Stade

The Robert Dalling Prize is presented to the male athlete who has best represented Blair Academy in athletic competition.
Chase Keith Singletary

The Herbert J. Siegel Sportsmanship Prize is presented to that senior whose sportsmanship, spirit and selfless dedication to his or her teams best represent Blair Academy athletics.
Ekrem Melih Ayhan & Emily Grace Deehan

Cum Laude Society membership is awarded to students having achieved good character development and high academic standing.
Charlotte Austin Buck
Caroline Elizabeth Devlin
Andrea Rose Dorsa
Yeon Soo Jang
Sadie Alexis Loeber
Emily Elizabeth Lunger
Yixiao Luo
Alecia Hana Mund
Hannah Lang Ochtera
Ratchanon Pornmongkolsuk
Kaitlin E. Robertson
Fiona Julia Walsh

Senior's Design Comes to Life in the Maker Space

When David Ryd '17 decided to apply to design schools for college, he soon realized that he needed to assemble a portfolio in order to showcase his potential as a product designer. The best way to do that, he determined, was to undertake a design-and-build project and document every step of the process from concept to completion. During the winter and spring semesters, David spent many after-school hours in Blair's Park Street maker space working on his original concept for an oversized deck chair; as graduation approached, he happily deemed his prototype a success.

"Design schools want to see how you think and how you deal with problems that come up when you take an idea and try to actually build it," David said. His mom having recently started a furniture manufacturing business, he knew he'd focus his efforts on furniture, and he shared a few sketches of deck chairs with her. "She only liked one," David said with a grin, and that's the chair he chose to build.

David had invested time in online research before he began sketching, and the work of the late American woodworker, architect and furniture maker, George Nakashima, influenced his design. Mr. Nakashima is known as a father of the American craft movement in furniture, and David liked his use of natural woods and the way he connected joints—he kept these points in mind as the project progressed.

Making use of all the resources available to him in the maker space—including a 3D printer, power and hand tools, and the guidance of technology teacher Michael Garrant—David set to work on his chair prototype in January. He taught himself how to use Google SketchUp ("it took a long time!") and printed three prototypes of his chair on the 3D printer, refining his design with each iteration.

Then he and Mr. Garrant were off to the lumberyard in Blairstown. "Being able to see and touch the actual stock lumber gave David some insight as to the constraints he would have to deal with when selecting materials," Mr. Garrant said. When David realized that the store did not stock the oversized wood he needed to build an oversized chair, it was back to the drawing board to re-scale the chair to half-size. When the wood was finally in hand, it was time to machine the pieces and put them together.

As challenges cropped up, David developed workarounds and tried new approaches, including changing from a glue-and-nails joining process to using more aesthetically pleasing dowels, at Mr. Garrant's suggestion. He documented his work throughout the process, and as a finishing touch, he purchased another student's original artwork—a depiction of a snake—and with the help of photography teacher Tyson Trish, he learned how to use InPhoto to print photos on wood to decorate the chair.

Pleased with the outcome of his unique chair prototype, David counts his in-depth knowledge of 3D design programs as a key takeaway of his time spent in the maker space, confident that the future of design work will be in the 3D realm. "Experiencing the entire process was very important, too," he reflected. "It was similar to the progression that takes place in a real furniture business: You start with an idea, get the right materials, fix things when they go wrong, change your design if needed."

Mr. Garrant noted that throughout the winter and spring, David was focused to realize his vision for the project. "He encountered various obstacles and surprises that did not deter him—in the end, he was quite happy with the process and the results."

With an eye to his future in product design, David is planning to take courses in design and architecture next year to deepen his knowledge of the field in which he is keenly interested before heading to college in fall 2018. He is also looking forward to crafting a full-size version of the deck chair in his home workshop in Sweden.

Students Make Memories at Prom

Blair seniors and juniors gathered on Sharpe House lawn in their finest attire on Tuesday afternoon to exchange corsages and boutonnieres and pose for photos before departing campus for prom.

The annual event was held at the Farmhouse at the Grand Colonial in Hampton, New Jersey, where attendees enjoyed hors d'oeuvres, dinner and dancing all night long, said Day Student Coordinator Lois Stival, who organizes the much-anticipated affair each year.

"Prom-goers always look forward to getting dressed up and spending a special evening celebrating the year with friends," she said. "For our seniors especially, it is a wonderful part of graduation week and one of their final nights to make new memories with old friends before they become alumni."

To view more photos from prom, click here to visit Blair's Flickr page.

Commencement Week Begins with Senior Prize Assembly

The Blair community kicked off commencement week by recognizing the accomplishments of the class of 2017 at the May 22 Senior Prize Assembly. (To watch the assembly in full, click "play" below. The full list of prize recipients appears at the end of this story.)

Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni welcomed students and teachers to the evening ceremony and introduced the presenters of special academic prizes and department awards, noting the significance of the assembly in seniors' overarching Blair careers. "Tonight we pause to celebrate the achievement of students who most consistently displayed academic excellence as defined by individual departments," he said. "Last week, we collectively paused to express gratitude to and for one another. Hopefully, if you have not already, you can take a moment to say thank you to those who have contributed to your academic success at Blair—not just the teaching faculty but friends, advisors, parents and all others who offer support in their own ways."

As the last student prize recipient accepted an award, Director of Athletics Paul Clavel '88 recognized class of 2017 varsity athletes who have earned more than six varsity letters during their time as Buccaneers, and Assistant Head of School and Dean of Faculty Lorry Perry recognized mathematics teacher Danyelle Doldoorian, the winner of the James M. Howard Jr. Fellowship Prize, which honors a faculty member early in his or her career who has especially impacted the Blair community over the course of the school year.

In presenting the award, Ms. Perry described Ms. Doldoorian as someone known for her "radiance and warmth, her enthusiasm about all things, her ability to make anyone's day just a little brighter. She is someone who knows how to be a teacher, friend and coach, all at the same time, flawlessly. She is known and sought out for her genuine care for and engagement with all aspects of our students' lives. Both her positivity and work ethic make her a true role model for students and faculty alike in the community."

Head of School Chris Fortunato closed the ceremony by thanking students and teachers for making 2017 an especially memorable year.

"I look at you, our seniors, and I think how extraordinary it is what you have done here since that time, four years ago, when you and I began our freshman years together at Blair," he said in his closing remarks. "Looking at what you've done to distinguish yourselves as scholars, performers and athletes, I don't know if you realize how much it truly inspires all of us and serves as a wonderful model for those who aspire to be on this stage in the many years to come. You are a remarkable class in many dimensions, and your individual achievements are only amplified by what you've accomplished collectively. I can't tell you how proud we are of you today."

Mr. Fortunato's remarks were followed by a benediction from Russell Powell, Blair's chaplain and chair of the religion and philosophy department, and a special dinner for the senior class in the Romano Dining Hall.

2017 prize winners:

THE HARDING MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to that student who has contributed most to musical organizations: Juno Park & Yinuo Xu

THE ROBERT F. HARRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY, awarded to a member of the senior class for special interest and outstanding achievement in the study of English literature: Jane Corin Fitzpatrick & Taylor Evan Attix

THE ROBERT F. HARRIS DRAMATICS AWARD, presented to that member of the student body who has shown the highest standard of excellence in dramatics: Charles Stafford, Harrison Mitchell Moore & Emmila Hastings Gazo

THE PAUL R. WHITE HISTORY PRIZE, awarded to that student who is considered to be the most proficient history student in the senior class: Harrison Mitchell Moore

THE CHARLES H. BREED LATIN PRIZE, awarded to an outstanding student in advanced Latin: Caroline DeLoren & Emily Elizabeth Lunger

THE DALE ROSENSON DRAMATICS PRIZE, given in memory of Dale Rosenson '72 and presented to a senior who has demonstrated dedication, reliability, imagination and technical proficiency in lighting, sound, special effects and set management for theatrical productions at Blair: Eleanor Flagg Ryan

THE DUMONT ENGLISH PRIZE, awarded to the member of the senior class who ranked highest in English and presented in memory of the late Senator Wayne Dumont and his father, Wayne Dumont Sr. by Mrs. Helen Dumont: Yu Jin Choi & Elayna Jade Daniels

THE JOSEPH F. EBERLE MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to that student who exhibits outstanding achievement in music: Emily Elizabeth Lunger

THE WINSON D. EWING PRIZE, awarded to that student who is considered to be the most outstanding mathematics student in the senior class: Yinuo Xu & Jingyi Chi

THE DURLAND PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE, awarded to that student who has demonstrated extraordinary ability and interest in computer programming or computer applications while at Blair: Yinuo Xu

THE MARGUERITE DEYSSON HABERMANN MEMORIAL FRENCH PRIZE, awarded to that student who has done exceptionally well in French: Jingyi Chi

THE AP SCIENCE PRIZE, presented to that student who exhibits an overwhelming passion and commitment toward science and who has written a superior academic record in multiple AP science courses: Yinuo Xu

THE DONALD E. LAWSHE PRIZE, presented in memory of former Blair physics teacher Donald E. Lawshe and presented to that student who has consistently demonstrated a passion for science, and a dedication to interests beyond the classroom: Natasha Grace Yuen-Kei Baker

THE KAMPMANN VIDEO PRIZE, named for Blair video program creators Judith Kahan Kampmann and Steven Kampmann and awarded to that student each year whose exceptional talent, enthusiasm, dedication and accomplishment in visual expression and storytelling not only meets the highest standards of excellence, but uniquely sets him/her apart from all others: Eleanor Flagg Ryan

AN ART PRIZE, awarded to the student who, in her study of art, is widening her life by sharpening his perceptions: Sadie A. Loeber

PURCHASE ART PRIZE, awarded to the student for the purchase of their artwork to be displayed at the School: Rio J.Manu Hito-Shapiro & Misa Kim

Other prizes given for outstanding performance were:

Newton Prize for Calculus: Juno Park & Caroline Elizabeth Devlin

Chinese: Alecia Hana Mund

Spanish: Yu Jin Choi

Two-Dimensional Art: Misa Kim

Three-Dimensional Art: Kaitlin Robertson

Photography: Hannah V. Ciancarelli

Watches given to seniors for participation in athletics:


Ekrem Melih Ayhan

Christopher Joseph Berry-Toon

Chinonso O. Chima-Anyanka

John Michael Groves

Justes Donald Nance

Jacob Newhard Saxton

Napat Tanakulthon

Harley Stephens Wedholm


Catharine Berry-Toon

Emily Grace Deehan

Andrea Rose Dorsa

Lucy Ades Pennell

Caroline Elizabeth Peppard

Bryn Paget Rhoads

Samantha Judith Shaw

Lindsay Anna Sofia Stahlkrantz

Melissa Reade von Stade

Boys' Golf Wins Second-Consecutive MAPL Championship

On May 16, the boys' varsity golf team won its second-consecutive Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championship with a seven-shot victory over second-place Peddie in the annual MAPL tournament.

The tournament is unique in that it is played Ryder Cup-style, with pairs playing nine holes of alternate shot, followed by nine holes of better ball. Blair's pair of Will Rand '17 and Robbie Donnelly '20 won medalist honors with an even par 72. Their front nine 36 was among the lowest alternate scores ever shot at the tournament.

Blair's second group of Juno Park '17 and PJ O'Rourke '19 shot an 80, leaving Blair and Peddie tied for the lead, each with one group still on the course. Blair secured the title when Brian Li '19 and Apaar Anand '18 came in with a two over par 74, the second-lowest score of the day.

"It was a terrific victory for our guys, especially coming on Peddie's home course," said head boys' varsity golf coach Andrew Sykes. "Winning this tournament in this format reinforces the team aspect of the game, something that our guys fully embraced this year."

It was the team's second championship of 2017, having opened the season with a victory against one of the strongest fields of the year in the North Jersey Open.

Sun Shines on Blair's Day of Service

Nearly 500 Blair students, teachers and staff members mobilized throughout the region on the bright and warm morning of May 19 to serve area nonprofits on the School's fourth-annual Day of Service. Working in large and small teams, Blair community members took on 20-plus individual projects that addressed needs including food insecurity, animal welfare, environmental concerns and much more, all in an effort to make a difference for neighbors in Blairstown and the surrounding area.

"The Day of Service has become woven into the fabric of the Blair community, and, as we've established relationships with area nonprofits, they've come to count on the help we can provide," said history teacher and community service coordinator Joanne Brandwood, who once again led the event's planning and complex logistics. "Advisee groups had some choice in the types of work they did this year, and there was a palpable feeling of excitement around campus in the lead-up to the day. Kids were ready to help."

Serving with Hands & Hearts

Blair groups "dug in" on all kinds of projects throughout the Day of Service. Actual digging took place at several sites, including the Hardyston Charity Garden in Hardyston, Project Self Sufficiency in Newton, and the Foodshed Alliance's Main Street headquarters and the "pocket park," both in Blairstown, as ground was cleared, garden beds were built, and flowers and vegetables were planted.

Construction skills were put to good use at Women's Resources in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, where students and teachers assembled desks and a swing set; at Camp Johnsonburg in Johnsonburg, where canvas tent cabins were erected; and at the Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton, where a group painted a portable labyrinth for use as a therapeutic counseling tool for victims of addiction.

Projects at other sites focused more on human services than heavy lifting, and teachers and students put their hearts into their work. One group served lunch at Manna House, a soup kitchen in Newton; another visited adults with special needs at St. Joseph's Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania; while a third group assisted at Project Self Sufficiency's daycare center.

Several teams remained on campus, too, where their efforts went toward making the world a better place for others as they baked bread for a local food pantry, created pottery bowls to donate to an "Empty Bowls Project" hunger-awareness fundraiser and sorted donations for the annual "Blair in Kenya" yard sale. Three groups also worked on projects that will benefit fellow members of the Blair community, including clearing trails and building a meditation labyrinth on the Siegel Property and maintaining the Robert J. Evans Open Air Theatre.

Making a Difference Together

Even though Blair community members worked in many different locations from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, the Day of Service began and ended with all-School gatherings. Author and corporate training consultant Brian Kathenes kicked off the day by sharing his passion for volunteering at the morning School meeting.

"I volunteer because I believe it makes the world a better place," he said. "As a volunteer, I've met some of my best friends, including the love of my life, my wife, Nancy." Having served his Hope, New Jersey, community in countless ways, Mr. Kathenes has also shared his theatrical talents with the Blair Academy Players on occasion. He urged the Blair community to make the Day of Service a grand adventure. "You're going to make a difference in someone's life!" he said.

When all the buses and vans had returned to Blair, the community came together again to relax and enjoy one another's company at a barbecue dinner. Both Mrs. Brandwood and Head of School Chris Fortunato shared messages of thanks later that evening, with Mr. Fortunato reflecting that serving others and doing good work are not about any single day, but about choices we make throughout our lives. "That said," he added, "never doubt what a few hours working together on a beautiful day to help others can do for them and for us."

The Blair community served the following organizations during the 2017 Day of Service:

  • Hardyston Charity Garden
  • Manna House
  • First Presbyterian Church of Blairstown Food Pantry
  • The Empty Bowls Project
  • Project Self Sufficiency
  • St. Joseph's Center
  • Women's Resources
  • Ridge and Valley Conservancy
  • Pocono Environmental Education Center
  • Blairstown Township
  • Foodshed Alliance
  • Barnyard Sanctuary
  • Camp Johnsonburg
  • Blair in Kenya
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