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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)

Everything You Need to Know for Registration

Registration for the 2017-2018 school year is fast approaching, and we look forward to welcoming students and parents to campus! Please click here to access information for each individual registration day.

For quick reference, students are to report to Blair on the following dates:

  • Football team members–Friday, August 25
  • Prefects–Thursday, August 31
  • Pre-season athletes (invited by coaches)–Friday, September 1
  • International students–Thursday, September 7
  • All remaining students–Friday, September 8

If you have any questions before you arrive on campus, please contact the student life office at (908) 362-6121, ext. 5600, and we will gladly direct your call. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Order Textbooks Online for 2017-2018 School Year

Beginning Tuesday, August 15, textbooks may be purchased online for the 2017- 2018 school year. Students' course lists will be sent to parents prior to the start of the sale, and books can be ordered through Follett Virtual Bookstores.

Students and parents are able to view course enrollments for the 2017-2018 school year in the OnCampus/OnRecord portal. For assistance in correctly viewing the enrollments, please refer to the August 11 email sent to all parents and students by Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni.

Textbooks are no longer physically sold on Blair's campus and online orders should be placed as soon as possible to guarantee delivery in time for the first day of classes on September 11. To place your order, click the link above or visit the School Store website, where there is also a link to Follett's offerings (and you can download a PDF of frequently asked questions here).

In addition to new books, Follett also offers select titles at a discount for those interested in purchasing or renting used books. For four days (August 15 to August 18), Follett will offer a 10-percent discount on USED and RENTAL books for customers who use the promotional code "TEXT10" at checkout.

Also, from August 15 to August 28, Blair students can save 50 percent off second-day shipping. Once an order is placed, Follett will send the shipment from its warehouse the same or next business day via FedEx. Expedited shipping options are available, but it is best to order early when the used-book selection is most robust.

For students who live more than 500 miles away from campus or those who would rather travel to Blairstown without textbooks, orders may be shipped directly to the School. Such shipments should be addressed to the student who ordered them at Blair Academy, 2 Park St., Blairstown, NJ 07825.

Parents are encouraged to sign up for the Virtual Bookstore email list at www.blair.bkstr.com; by doing so, you will receive direct notifications from Follett about upcoming promotions, buyback events, book availability and other reminders.

For assistance in ordering books online, please call Follett's customer service department at (888) 382-3383. Follett accepts returns on books up to 30 days after an order has been placed or 30 days after the start of classes, whichever is later.

Questions regarding textbook purchases should be directed to School Store manager Reanne Mauriello at (908) 362-6121, ext. 5635, or maurir@blair.edu.

Cuban Musicians Enjoy Blair Hospitality during First-Ever U.S. Visit

Five teen guitarists and their adult chaperones from Cuba's Vocal Clave de Sol, a Havana-based music education program, enjoyed a warm welcome from the Blair community when they visited the School in mid-July. The musicians were in the United States for their first-ever American tour, and their three-night stay at Blair included a joy-filled community concert, a guitar-building workshop in the maker space, and a fun reunion with the teachers and several of the Blair students whom they met last March during Blair's historic spring break trip to Cuba.

"We were delighted to welcome these talented young musicians and their chaperones to campus," said Spanish teacher Joyce Lang, who accompanied Blair students to Cuba last spring along with photography teacher Tyson Trish and history teacher Joanne Brandwood. Mrs. Lang explained that when they visited Vocal Clave de Sol in Havana—a highlight of their Cuban stay—they learned of the group's potential trip to Delaware's Cab Calloway School of the Arts. The Blair teachers were intrigued by the idea of the School being part of Clave de Sol's American experience. "When we heard in June that they had obtained visas, we were thrilled to realize it was actually going to happen!" Mrs. Lang said.

Making Guitars & Sharing Music

The Blair teachers put together a full schedule of cultural and musical activities for their Cuban guests. They began their first day with a trip to the iconic C.F. Martin & Co. guitar factory and museum in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where guitar designer and museum director Dick Boak '68 guided the group on a personalized, behind-the-scenes tour. "The tour was absolutely fascinating, and Mr. Boak went above and beyond to bring these musicians into the world of Martin guitars," Mrs. Lang said, describing how the girls played museum-piece guitars along with Mr. Boak and how he generously provided the group with the makings of a "Cuban tres" guitar—as well as expert guidance on how to construct it. (To watch a video of the girls' and Mr. Boak's music session, click "play" below.)

Upon their return to Blair, the group headed to the Park Street maker space, where they set to work building the Cuban tres, a guitar with three courses of two strings each that holds an important place in the Cuban musical genre. Several local Blair students who had traveled to Cuba in the spring joined in on the project, and, later in the day, everyone enjoyed a barbeque at Mrs. Brandwood's home and an ice cream run to the Blairstown Dairy.

Making music was Clave de Sol's focus during their second day on campus. The group held an open afternoon rehearsal in Chesnutt Chapel, during which Greter, one of Clave de Sol's accomplished musicians, played a tres she had brought with her from Cuba, and the other girls and their teachers played guitars and percussion instruments. Several Blair students, faculty and staff members—and some excited faculty kids—enjoyed and played along with Clave de Sol's lively beat during the rehearsal. That evening, the group presented a concert on Insley Porch that filled the warm night air with song and beautiful guitar and percussion accompaniment.

"Vocal Clave de Sol is exceptional in the strong and welcoming embrace they extend," Mrs. Lang observed. "They exude pure joy when they play and draw people into their music better than the most engaging performers I have seen onstage, anywhere. The Blair community certainly benefited from seeing the world through their eyes for a moment, at the concert and throughout their stay with us."

Music Is a Gift

Founded in 2009 by music teachers Nuria and Yamilé Garcia, both of whom chaperoned the U.S. trip, Vocal Clave de Sol encourages children to become lifelong learners by making the gift of music a part of their lives. Students need only have an instrument and an interest in music to participate—Vocal Clave de Sol helps them develop their interests and abilities through regular instruction and the support of its musical community. The program has grown to include more than 250 students, and the girls who visited Blair—Greter, Thalya, Yesenia, Alegna and Claudia—were accomplished ambassadors for the educational organization.

Fond farewells were said the morning after the Blair concert, and Vocal Clave de Sol continued their East Coast tour over the next several days, sharing their musical gifts in performances at the LadyBug Festival in Wilmington, Delaware, and at Drom in New York City before returning to Cuba. The Blair teachers are optimistic about future opportunities to partner and share the gift of music with Vocal Clave de Sol.

Advanced Photography Class Launches Portfolio Website

Digital photography class

Last spring, Blair's advanced digital photography students shared their artwork beyond the 'Blair bubble' when they launched a website of digital portfolios to exhibit their work online. The website, www.blairacademyphoto.com, now features more than 20 portfolios of student artwork and will continue to grow in the 2017-2018 academic year.

"We are very excited to give our students this opportunity to share their photography with the world," said photography teacher Tyson Trish, a photojournalist who traveled around the world to document events ranging from the Super Bowl to the Iraq War before coming to Blair in 2015. "It is so important for artists to share their work, and this website gives our many passionate and talented artists a new digital platform to do so."

BlairAcademyPhoto.com screenshot

Though Blair's fine artists have ample space from the Romano Gallery to the Black Canteen, and many places in between, to exhibit their work at the School, Mr. Trish has also encouraged his students to pursue opportunities beyond campus. Each year, in addition to sharing their artwork with the Blair community, students submit photographs to local art shows, as well as state and national competitions. In 2016-2017 alone, Blair students won several regional and national awards for their photographic work, he added.

The new photography website extends yet another avenue for Blair students to showcase their work to a range of audiences. And, Mr. Trish added, one of the most exciting features of the site is that the portfolios are as diverse as Blair students themselves, featuring an array of interests, techniques and subject matter.

As evidenced by her online gallery (which can be view by clicking here), Nami Hoffman '18, is passionate about photographing people, whereas Jason Pan '18 is deeply interested in drone photography (click here to view some of his images). Jessica Van Valkenburg '19 focuses on capturing raw expression and emotion through her camera lens (click here to view her photos), while Brad Sigety '18 enjoys digitally editing his photographs to bring out unique elements of each image (see some of his work by clicking here).

Excited about this "new opportunity" to exhibit their work year-round, Nami emphasized the importance of "showcasing your own artwork as a form of passion and self-expression."

She has especially enjoyed sharing her portfolio of portraiture work on the new website, an area of photography about which she is most passionate. "Everyone has a different story; no two photos of people will ever be perceived the same way," she explained. "As the photographer, you have so much power in telling your subject's story, and that's the part I find the most exciting. As their photographer, you need to tell that story appropriately, but also have it fit to what you want to express as an artist. It is a puzzle, but once solved, it makes for the best photographs."

For Jessica, capturing moments that "may quickly be forgotten or overlooked" is one of her favorite aspects of photography. With the new online venue to display her artwork, Jessica enjoys sharing these fleeting instants with an even larger community.

"One of my main goals as a photographer is to send a message or tell a story without using words," she said. "Having the ability to share those stories that I have captured through my very own lens with people all over the world is one of the most exciting feelings ever!"

Another aficionado of photographing people, Jessica said she looks to "capture the expressions and raw emotions" of her peers. "Sometimes, the eyes say what words cannot, and showing those emotions through my pictures really interests and excites me," she said.

'Just the Beginning'

In addition to having a fresh online space to exhibit their work, Mr. Trish's photography students also gained valuable experience in creating the website, as they researched various photographers' websites to determine the best software to use to launch their own site, then spent time learning how to build and maintain the site, which will continue to grow over the next school year.

The original 11 student digital portfolios were "just the beginning," Mr. Trish said, and an additional 14 albums of student work have already been added since the site launch in May. Looking forward, Mr. Trish and his students also plan to incorporate a blog on the site, allowing students to offer their insight on photo processes and analyze of all types of photography.

History, Culture & Cuisine: Blair Group Tours & Tastes Italy


Summer began under the glorious Italian sun for 21 Blair travelers, who explored the history, culture, language, art and cuisine of the European nation from June 20 to July 2. Led by Head of School Chris Fortunato, his wife, Erin, and their faculty co-chaperones, English department chair James Moore, his wife, Wendy Bedenko Moore, and English teacher Douglass Compton, the group experienced a "taste" of everything from ancient civilization to artisan gelato as they toured Rome, Florence, Venice, the Lake Maggiore region and Lugano, Switzerland.

"International travel is invaluable when it comes to gaining an understanding of society and our place in it," Mr. Fortunato said. "There is no substitute for being in a place, with a group of people you trust. During this trip, history, current events, the arts and so much more came alive through our sensory experiences, and we returned home with indelible memories of the places we visited and the people with whom we shared the journey."

Seeing the Sights

Fourteen Blair students—and their "little brother and sister" Matty and Katie Fortunato—enjoyed a robust itinerary of must-see destinations during the trip, as well as time to relax, explore in small groups and really get to know one another. Students had a hand in planning the trip's activities, which featured tours of the Vatican, Colosseum and Forum in Rome; a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; exploration of Pompeii's excavated ruins; a performance of La Traviata; a nighttime gondola ride in Venice; and a half-day hike to a breathtaking view from the summit of Monte San Georgio in the Swiss Alps.

Sampling the delicious foods of Italy was a big part of the trip, too, and the group enjoyed many shared meals, prepared their own dinner one night during a cooking lesson and made it their mission to taste the gelato in nearly every town they visited. Ella Haines '19 experienced her first taste of "homemade" gelato in Rome's Piazza Navona, and she could only describe it as "incredible."

"Experiencing the Piazza is one of my favorite memories of the trip," she said. "It was our first chance to split up into groups and explore parts of Rome on our own. We witnessed the talents of street performers, watched artists set up their easels and paint, stopped in boutiques and gelateria, and found a great restaurant for dinner. I now have a strong appreciation for mozzarella and prosciutto!"

Sharing New Experiences

For Mr. Fortunato, an important aspect of the trip was giving students the chance to try things they'd never done before, whether it was traveling to another country, viewing art in a world-famous museum or personally witnessing the ruins of an ancient civilization. "Sensory and immersive experiences like these lay the groundwork for future inquiry, study and appreciation," he reflected. "As barriers of 'foreignness' fall away, students are primed for their next trip or adventure, knowing how much they'll gain from actually being in a new place."

The alpine hike was a new undertaking for Ella, but she affirmed it's something she'd do again in a heartbeat. "I was not a fan of the large, suspicious-looking bugs or the steep trails on our way up the mountain, but, I have to say, the view at the top was absolutely breathtaking. It was the perfect way to spend our last day together," she said. "I know the memories our group made together this summer are ones I'll cherish forever. I can't wait to be back home at Blair with these people in the fall."

Mr. Fortunato also enjoyed the opportunity to really get to know an "awesome group" of Blair students during the trip—and to question and learn alongside them. "Many great conversations took place, and I loved seeing the expressions of wonder and joy on students' faces, as well as on my own children's faces, as we experienced this adventure together," he said. "I'm looking forward to sharing our travels with the Blair community when everyone returns to campus."
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.

Soon-to-Come

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.

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

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