Celebrating 175 years

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Blair appreciates who you are,

what you stand for & all that you can achieve.


The Blair experience is transformative.

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Blair academics inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Our robust curriculum invites you to explore your passions.


At Blair, students explore artistic interests & discover new passions.

Vibrant fine & performing arts opportunities abound.


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Bucs compete on 30 varsity & 21 JV and thirds teams.


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All together we boldly write Blair’s next chapter.

Our Strategic Plan highlights our “All In” philosophy.


Our faculty members are passionate about education.

They care about & know our students exceptionally well.


‘What do you stand for?’

Blair community members participate in The Leadership Stories Project.


No matter what your interests or where you are from,

you will find your place at Blair.


Amanda Lucas presents underclass prize award

As the academic year comes to a close, underclass students and faculty came together for a night of recognition in the DuBois Theatre. On Monday, May 29, the Underclass Prize Assembly honored members of the ninth, 10th and 11th grades for their outstanding academic and co-curricular work throughout Blair’s 175th year.

“Our prize winners tonight embody the intentionality to make the most of each step along the way to pursue both the totality of the learning and the iterative journey at the same time,” Dean of Academics Nathan Molteni said as he welcomed everyone to the assembly. “In honor of that pursuit, we come together to acknowledge individual achievements in learning and community engagement from the past year.”

Click “play” below to watch the assembly. 

Congratulations to all of the students who were awarded for their accomplishments on Monday!

The Phillips-James Rosen Trophy: Brynne Grant ’24 & Machua Muchugia ’24

The John Kinch Leach Merit Award: Dirk Peereboom ’25 & Minh Anh Vo ’25

The David Avery-Jones Freshman Prize: Faye Allen ’26 & Gerald Negvesky ’26

The Joan and Fernando Marcial Prize: C.C. Boellhoff ’25

The Stephen Curry Prize: Carter Neves ’24
Cum Laude Society: Nathan Bo ’24, Charlene Jiao ’24, Garrett Lee ’24, Nicole Liao ’24, Charlotte Russell ’24, Owen Shin ’24, Oscar Wan ’24, Cooper Winegar ’24, Clara Yan ’24, Hayden Yau ’24, Daniel Zhang ’24 & Jason Zhao ’24

The Edyth Jeffrey Shakespeare Essay Prize: C.C. Boellhoff ’25, Natalie Chamberlain ’24, Sophie Cheung ’26, Kaya Collier ’26, Mary Da ’26, Jaz Dellaert ’26, Yunha Hwang ’26, Charlene Jiao ’24, Zach Kolaja ’25, Arthur Lee ’24, Kazel Li ’25, Levin Li ’25, Eli Maloney ’25, Rita Meng ’26, Khang Nguyen ’26, Dirk Peereboom ’25, Nick Rocca ’25, Charlotte Russell ’24, Sophia Shah ’25, Owen Shin ’24, Josie Tetteh ’26, Oscar Wan ’24, Cooper Winegar ’24 & Louise Wyche ’26

The Henry Cowan Prize: Meredith Abbott ’24 & Jason Zhao ’24

Sophomore English Prize: Madison Guiry ’25 & Levin Li ’25

Freshman English Prize: Liam Green ’26 & Cathleen Zhang ’26

Art Prize - Two Dimensional Art: Peyton Franz ’24

Art Prize - Three Dimensional Art: Libby Russell ’25

Art Prize - Photography: Oscar Wan ’24

Art Prize - The Kampmann Video Prize: Julian Perello ’24 & Leona Su ’25

Art Prize - Graphic Design: William Antunes ’25

Freshman History Prize: Khang Nguyen ’26 & Derek Chen ’26

Sophomore History Prize: William Antunes ’25, Jack Nothstine ’25 & Libby Russell ’25

Junior History Prize: Ksenia Burdiuzha ’24, Richard Li ’24 & Owen Shin ’24

Chinese Language Prize: Gio Choi ’25

Spanish Language Prize: Ethan Anthony ’24

Newton Prize for Calculus: Noah Hu ’25 & Apple Wu ’24

Hypatia Prize for Pre-Calculus: Gio Choi ’25 & Cooper Winegar ’24

Pythagoras Prize for Geometry: Liam Green ’26

Al-Khwarizmi Prize for Algebra: Khang Nguyen ’26

Vocal Music Prize: Ksenia Burdiuzha ’24

Instrumental Music Prize: Ethan Anthony ’24

Underclass Theatre Prize: Julia Twomey ’25

Religion & Philosophy Prize: Lily Yao ’25

Ninth Grade Biology Prize: Derek Chen ’26 & Liam Green ’26

Tenth Grade Chemistry Prize: William Antunes ’25 & Kazel Li ’25

Eleventh Grade Physics Prize: Charlene Jiao ’24

Last week, Dean of College Counseling Niki Applebaum ’01 honored several rising seniors for excellence in areas ranging from technology to leadership with the 2024 Book Awards. Distinct from Blair’s departmental awards and underclass prizes, these book awards carry scholarship opportunities connected to particular higher educational institutions should a student apply, be accepted and choose to enroll at that school. 
THE RENSSELAER MEDAL, recognizes superlative achievement of rising seniors and motivates students towards careers in science, engineering and technology with a four-year scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Jason Zhao ’24

THE SAINT MICHAEL’S COLLEGE BOOK AWARD FOR ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND SOCIAL CONSCIENCE, recognizes an outstanding student who leads with the true spirit of volunteerism with a four-year, full tuition merit scholarship: Ksenia Burdiuzha ’24

In partnership with the West Point Society of New Jersey, Blair Academy recognizes through the DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER LEADERSHIP AWARD exceptional performance in academics, athletics and community service while exhibiting a strong moral character in line with the values exemplified by President Eisenhower: Ethan Anthony ’24 & Clara Yan ’24

The University of Rochester sponsors four awards with accompanying merit scholarships to recognize high school juniors:

THE BAUSCH & LOMB HONORARY SCIENCE AWARD, recognizes high achievement and rigor in science and math classes for a student who also offers positive contributions to her school and within the larger community: Charlene Jiao ’24

THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS AND SUSAN B. ANTHONY AWARD, awarded to a junior who demonstrates commitment both to seeking understanding of and to addressing concerns about difficult social issues with a dedication to community action while earning strong grades in rigorous courses, especially those in the humanities and social sciences: Simisola Onakomaiya ’24

XEROX AWARD FOR INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY, awarded to a student who exhibits a strong interest and achievement in innovation or information technology: Jack Gerdsen ’24

GEORGE EASTMAN YOUNG LEADERS AWARD, awarded to a junior who portrays strong leadership in her school or larger community, while earning high grades in challenging courses and displaying extensive involvement in extracurricular activities: Emma Clavel ’24

FIona Han addresses class of 2023
Peter Pull Quote

For 175 years, aspiring learners have ascended the hilltop of Blair Academy to pursue a superior educational experience. Through generations, aspects of life at the School have evolved to meet the differing needs of each era, but many traditions have stood the test of time and become the common threads that tie a vast community of Buccaneers together, no matter where their journey takes them. As the Class of 2023 looks to their bright and promising futures, they leave Blair with strength, knowledge and skills, confident that their time here has prepared them for all that is to come.

On May 25, as the School's demisemiceptcentennial approached its close, the Blair community spilled onto Sharpe House lawn, filled with exuberance and pride as the commencement celebration began. As they took their seats, ready to join the School’s alumni ranks, the graduating seniors felt the support of the parents, grandparents, family and friends gathered behind them celebrating their success.

As she addressed the crowd at Blair’s 175th Commencement, class speaker Fiona Han ’23 encouraged her classmates to bring the best of their hilltop experience into the world to generate a positive change of their own. “Approach one another with empathy and compassion to see beyond our disconnected apathy and the superficial differences that may divide us,” Fiona said. “This era desperately needs the impactful work that the talented people in the Class of 2023 will do.” 

The entire Blair community extends heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2023!


Apgar Award for Teaching Excellence: Pamela Schulman

John C. & Eve S. Bogle Teaching Prize: Michael Ryerson

Riether Residential Life Award: Allan & Maria Issenchmidt

Lillian & Samuel Tedlow Teaching Prize: Kate Sykes

Headmaster’s Faculty Prize: John Redos ’09


Headmaster’s Prize: Mallory Allen & Michael Diaco

Blair Academy Trophy: Carnegie Johnson

George P. Jenkins ’32 Prize: Fiona Han

Appointments to the United States Naval Academy: Sydney Beitler, Carnegie Johnson & Liam Kilrain

Photos from Blair’s commencement can be found here

To watch the commencement ceremony in full, click "play" below.


Students walk to the Baccalaureate

After dancing the night away at prom and on the eve of Blair’s commencement ceremony, the Class of 2023 gathered for one of the final shared moments in the DuBois Theatre to celebrate the outstanding achievements of their class. Alongside classmates, faculty and family members, exemplary students were awarded for the dedication, effort and value they brought to the Blair community.

“Each of you have made your mark on Blair, uplifted and shared the importance of our values, and, as a result, you leave a legacy for the students who will follow in your footsteps,” said Head of School Peter G. Curran. “I know I speak for all faculty when I say we cannot wait to applaud all of your future successes and hope you remain closely connected to us, and to Blair, as you enter the next chapter of your educational journeys.”

The first awards of the evening were presented for academic excellence, and department chairs from across Blair took pride in recognizing their top students. English teacher Kaye Evans announced those seniors who had earned membership in Blair’s Cum Laude Society, followed by Director of Athletics Paul Clavel ’88, who celebrated Buccaneers for their noteworthy accomplishments as members of Blair’s athletic teams. Before the Class of 2023 presented Mr. Curran with their gift, the awards concluded with the presentation of prizes for overall development in all areas of student life. 

In addition to the senior awards, 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, was presented to history teacher Anna Raley by Dean of Faculty Life Leucretia Shaw. Fifteen-year veteran language teachers and power couple David Facciani and Lian Wang were honored with the class yearbook dedication earlier in the week.

Congratulations to all those recognized at the 2023 Senior Prize Assembly:
THE DURLAND PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE, awarded to the student who has demonstrated extraordinary ability and interest in computer programming or computer applications while at Blair: Seleena Desai

THE DUMONT ENGLISH PRIZE, awarded to the member/s 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: Alexander Tsekov & Emily Wang

THE ROBERT F. HARRIS MEMORIAL TROPHY, awarded to members of the senior class for special interest and outstanding achievement in the study of English literature: Fiona Han & Chloe Lau

THE EDYTH JEFFREY SHAKESPEARE ESSAY PRIZE, awarded to a Blair Academy student to recognize excellence in the study of William Shakespeare: Zach Bertoldo

ART DEPARTMENT PRIZES, recognizing outstanding work in these areas:

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Christine Jeong 




THE PAUL R. WHITE HISTORY PRIZE, awarded to the students considered to be the most proficient in history in the senior class: Adriana Gogioiu & Ellie Walker

THE MARGUERITE DEYSSON HABERMANN MEMORIAL FRENCH PRIZE, awarded to a senior who has done exceptionally well in French: Sloane Hamlin

THE CHARLES H. BREED LATEIN PRIZE, awarded to a senior who excelled in Latin: Julian Huang



THE WINSON D. EWING PRIZE, awarded to the senior considered to be the most outstanding mathematics student in their class: Qiya Zhang

KATHERINE JOHNSON PRIZE, awarded to the senior considered to be the most curious and creative mathematician in the class: Carnegie Johnson

THE HARDING MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to the students who contributed most to musical organizations: Bertrand Li & Patrick Payne

THE JOSEPH F. EBERLE MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to the students who exhibit outstanding achievement in music: Michael Diaco & Julian Huang

THE ROBERT F. HARRIS DRAMATICS AWARD, presented to the members of the student body who have shown the highest standard of excellence in dramatics: Marc Lui & Hanna Wilke

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: Ellie Walker

THE SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD, 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: Betsy Kim

THE DONALD E. LAWSHE PRIZE, presented in memory of former Blair physics teacher Donald E. Lawshe to students who have consistently demonstrated a passion for science and a dedication to interests beyond the classroom: Mia Leddy & Chelsea Thatcher

Mallory Allen
Maya Ciminello
Bella Conway
Seleena Desai
Mia Leddy
Marc Lui
Michael Mangino
Haruki Ono
Chelsea Thatcher
Alexander Tsekov
Hanna Wilke

Mallory Allen
Justin Baggett 
Ellie Hyder
Betsy Kim
Pierce Kopcak
Ali McEachern
Patrick Payne
Ella Sloan
Rosy Sun
Nathaniel Zawoiski



HERBERT J. SIEGEL ’46 PRIZE: Mallory Allen & Patrick Payne


FRANKLIN PRIZE: Katie Usher & Gowen Coates


SELENA & JAMES HOWARD PRIZE: Chandler Glickman & Ellie Hyder


To watch the prize assembly in full, click "play" below.


As the 2022-2023 school year enters its final weeks, Blair’s School Store shares information regarding textbooks that students rented or purchased for use in their coursework this year.

Click here for instructions on setting up an online book buyback account, including how to process a quote for your books and print out the free shipping label. Access Blair’s online bookstore at https://bnck-12.com/blair to get started on a quote now. 

Rentals are due exactly seven days past the course end date. Students should start receiving automated emails about rental returns about two weeks prior to the course end date.

For more information or if you need extra assistance, contact School Store Manager Reanne Mauriello at maurir@blair.edu or 908-362-6121 ext. 5635.

Fairy House Construction at Day of Service

Across the United States, the percentage of the population that takes time out of their busy schedules to volunteer is dwindling, according to a recent report released by AmeriCorps and the U.S. Census Bureau, and the total number of hours donated by volunteers has plummeted to less than half of what it was just two decades ago. In this environment of charitable decline, ensuring students understand the importance of becoming global-minded citizens is among the top priorities at Blair. Beyond professional and personal success and fulfillment, we want Blair alums to make a positive impact on their communities, and that mission is never more prominent than during the annual Day of Service.

For the eighth year, the entire Blair community put aside their day-to-day routine to take part in a tradition of giving to support the greater area in a variety of ways. On May 19, more than 500 students and faculty gave their time and effort to more than 20 organizations in need. Before setting off to divide and conquer their busy schedule, McKenziee Belton ’16 addressed the crowd of eager volunteers about the meaning of the day and the value of service. Working in the child life department at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, McKenziee shared that community service is ingrained in her, both professionally and personally. Her dedication to service was no different during her time at Blair, when she was a prefect and served on the committee for Relay for Life, the Community Service Club and the Healthy Relationships Committee. McKenziee also spearheaded the first student-initiated service trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and has participated in every subsequent Blair trip to St. Jude.

“Community service provides so many opportunities for personal growth, mentorship and self- reflection,” McKenziee told the crowd in the DuBois Theatre. “It allows you to learn more about yourself, your goals and who you hope to be, all while helping others.” McKenziee encouraged students to consider these points while they were out making someone’s day a little brighter by giving back.

On campus, volunteers hosted guests from SCARC and Rebecca’s Homestead, two nonprofit organizations in Sussex County, New Jersey, committed to working with individuals with developmental disabilities. Nearly 125 volunteers joined forces at Project Self-Sufficiency (PSS) this year, an organization that helps individuals and families in the New Jersey counties of Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon become economically self-sufficient. Led by language department chair Joyce Lang, students proficient in Spanish also volunteered to help translate brochures for PSS. Another group helped collect, organize and store items for Blair’s Tag Sale in the fall, with proceeds going to both Blair in Kenya and local charities. New this year, the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, New Jersey, hosted students from film teacher Robert Hanson’s class, where they filmed a PSA for the non-profit that offers educational guided tours, photography sessions and options to see wolves, bobcats and foxes.

“I love seeing how much fun the students have,” said Joanne Brandwood, history teacher and director of Blair’s Day of Service. “I think they often end up enjoying volunteering more than they expected.” 

Aside from serving those in need and strengthening connections between Blair and the local community, the Day of Service also promotes leadership among students. Within each group, a site leader is assigned for the project. These students are responsible for assisting faculty leaders, generating enthusiasm and helping facilitate a successful day.

“I am so proud of the students. They are out there doing fantastic work. It makes Blair proud and serves the community in such a positive way.” Mrs. Brandwood noted. “Hopefully this day sparks a lifelong habit of service.” After the dust settled on another inspirational Day of Service, volunteers returned to campus to swap stories and relax. As Blair traditions go, the Day of Service is one of the most uplifting and heartwarming, and instills a life lesson of service and gratitude in those that participate.

Tobenna Esomeju Senior Speech Contest

One of the most anticipated events of the spring and the culmination of the public-speaking curriculum that begins with the ninth grade Leadership Story, the Senior Speech Contest provides all seniors with an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the School during their final weeks at Blair. On Monday, May 15, Blair’s soon-to-be newest class of graduates took a moment to reflect on their time on the hilltop and the moments in their lives that brought them to this point. It was an opportunity to address the community that has supported them through their journey of self-discovery for one of the last times. ​​With a broad mandate in terms of speech content, students discussed who they are, revealed an interest or goal, speculated on life or revisited something meaningful.

“Our hope is that seniors have developed a sharpened sense of identity during their time at Blair and are able to articulately express that identity in a public setting,” Doug Compton, English teacher and Master of Ceremonies for the evening, explained. “The purpose of this assignment is to render that self-awareness, whether previously expressed in writing or produced for the purpose of this assignment alone, in a formal, spoken format. Indeed, while the written content is an important component of this effort, the Senior Speech Contest is primarily a speaking competition.”

In the lead up to Monday evening, students delivered their individual speeches in English classes and their teacher decided, with the aid of student recommendations, the best one to represent each section in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre. Michael Beydoun ’23 admitted the hardest part of the process was not the delivery, but actually writing his speech about the struggles he faced in his community at home, drafting it as though he was having a conversation with someone and eventually trimming it down to fit within the time parameters of the contest without losing any meaning. 

“When I took the stage, I was nervous for my first paragraph but as I got going, I never wanted to stop because I was having so much fun,” Michael said. “In the end, it was easy because I found something I was passionate about.”

One by one, the students took the stage to revel in their own moment and share their story with a common goal: make the audience feel something. Throughout the evening, students and faculty cheered as the orators rose to the occasion. They smiled at their witty remarks and laughed at their clever jokes, always offering a round of applause at each speech’s conclusion. 

“The Senior Speech Contest is one of my favorite Blair traditions because it gives our students the opportunity to share with the community their life experiences and how much they have grown and changed during their time here,” said Head of School Peter G. Curran. “A number of this year’s speeches focused on belonging and connection to classmates and teachers, which was especially moving and poignant as our seniors get ready to join our alumni ranks. We couldn’t be prouder of all they have accomplished and can’t wait to applaud all of their successes moving forward.”

After her moving speech about the self-identity associated with one’s name, Sydney Beitler ’23 took a moment to echo Mr. Curran’s sentiments and thank one of those teachers who helped her on her journey to the stage one final time. “I think that the Senior Speech Contest is such a great Blair tradition,” Sydney said. “I have to thank my English teacher, Mr. Moore, who has been monumental in my growth as a writer this year. It was because of him I was able to take the lessons I have learned and the experiences I have been through and express those into words. Thank you, Mr. Moore, and thank you, Blair Academy, for all of the amazing opportunities this year.”

After a week of anticipation, Mr. Compton announced the winners at School Meeting as graduation week commenced. Chosen by a “celebrity” list of faculty judges, Tobenna Esomeju ’23 won first place with his captivating narrative about finding those “dandelion moments” in life and cherishing them, while Michael Beydoun came in second and Ava Satasi ’23 received third. “It was one of the best portfolios of speeches I have witnessed in my nine years,” Mr. Compton said. 

A student poses for a photo with her parents during Family Weekend 2022.

The culmination of a year’s worth of work for Blair’s AP Portfolio art students was on full display at the spring student art exhibit in the Romano Gallery on Thursday, May 11. Students and faculty gathered among pottery, paintings and photographs to discuss the pieces on display and celebrate the fine arts at Blair. Photography teacher Tyson Trish captured the evening in the visual essay below that celebrates one of the beloved spring traditions on the hilltop as the year comes to a close. 

If you missed the reception, the student art exhibit will be open to the public until May 22.

Pottery on display in the Romano Gallery student art exhibit
Romano Gallery reception for the spring art show
A copper dress on display in the Romano Gallery Student Art exhibit
Student art on display at the Spring Art Exhibit
paintings and photographs displayed at the spring art show
A family admires work at the student art exhibit.
Students admire work in the student art exhibit

For more photos of happenings across campus and beyond, please check out Blair Academy on Photoshelter, where we regularly post images.

Love's Labour's Lost poster

The Blair Academy Players’ final production of The Year of the Bard ends with Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost in the Robert J. Evans Open Air Theatre on May 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. Having performed Shakespeare in Love (High School Edition) and Something Rotten!, the players will finish off their season with a production penned by the famed dramatist himself. In this year celebrating the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, it is all the more appropriate that the season focused on the greatest playwright in history. 

Love’s Labour’s Lost is a comedy in which the King of Navarre (played by Marc Lui ’23) enlists three friends (played by Grant Breckenridge ’24, Matt Falsetti ’25 and Amogh Katare ’24) to devote themselves to a scholarly retreat void of distractions, including women. Their plans go awry when the French Princess (played by Ari Albino ’23) and her three ladies-in-waiting (played by Hanna Wilke ’23, Ev Rutt ’26 and Cathleen Zhang ’26), attended by elderly Lord Boyet (played by Stella Baceda ’25), arrive to settle a dispute, among other activities, including hunting lessons from a forester (played by Topher Antonelli ’24) for their amusement.

Ari Albino Love's Labour's Lost Cast 2023

“I am looking forward to closing my time at Blair with a successful production that is amusing and captivating for the audience,” Ari said. “My favorite part has been watching the scenes slowly come together. It’s a really fun process that takes time but is well worth it in the end.”

As the play progresses, each man falls in love with one of the ladies. Furthering the rocky course of true love is Spaniard Don Adriano de Armado (played by Anton Arriola ’23) falling in love with the serving girl, Jaquenetta (played by Leilah Elkholy ’25), who has also been spending time in the garden with the court jester, Costard (played by Tony Zhang ’24). Served by page Moth (played by Eli Maloney ’25), Don Armado enlists a local curate (played by Julian Perello ’24), and a schoolmaster (played by Richard Gimbel ’24), to perform a play for the enjoyment of the royals. During the play, news comes from Marcade (played by Luisa Scripsick ’26), sending the proceedings in a surprising direction. The play is student directed by Julian Perello. 

“The production is full of clever word play, switches in direction, and love’s labour’s lost,” said English teacher and theatre director Craig Evans.

The Open Air Theatre is the perfect whimsical, lakefront setting for a comedy that the British Evening Standard reviewed as full of “ripe laughter at the expense of youthful passion and its boastfulness.” The spring play is general admission with no reservations necessary, but in case of inclement weather, the play will move into the Wean Studio Theatre in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts. Reservations will be taken in the event of moving indoors, so please email Craig Evans at evansc@blair.edu with how many tickets are needed on what nights. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Ella and Milaw USA National recap

In April, Ella Gaitan ’24 and Milaw Clause ’24 competed for the USA U18 Junior National Women’s Field Hockey team. During their European tour, they traveled to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. As nationally ranked field hockey players, both of these Blair stars played well through international competition representing the United States. 

Ella played forward and earned a total of three goals and one assist during the games. She scored two goals against the Netherlands. She was also named team captain for the tough 3-4 loss against Belgium.

“Representing the United States in and of itself is an honor, being abroad was just the cherry on top. I have been dreaming of this since I started field hockey in second grade, and to see it all come to fruition is surreal,” said Ella. “Finally getting some recognition for my hard work has been very rewarding, but it's more about this amazing opportunity that I was blessed with and the people who have helped me get there, including my club coach Brett Clay and Coach Schulman. My favorite part of the trip was getting to try different cuisines and be engulfed in different cultures. It was my first time out of the country and it was just an unforgettable experience.”

Additionally, Milaw was a strong contributor to the team, who made a lot of scoring plays for the Americans. She played multiple positions, including defense and midfield, and was involved in defensive corners as the fly or post position. The team's overall record was 1-2-1. 

"It was a once in a lifetime experience and a dream come true. Putting on the USA uniform for the first time was a surreal experience. I feel lucky and blessed to have been given this opportunity to play for my country," said Milaw. "For the past few years, I have worked extremely hard and sacrificed many things. I finally feel like the hard work and dedication has paid off. My short period of time at Blair has helped me in many different ways. I have met many positive coaches, teachers, classmates and teammates that have given me the confidence to believe in myself. Coach Schulman’s positive attitude, coaching style and stress of teamwork, along with her support have been extremely influential in my recent accomplishments."  

Both Ella and Milaw were key players in this year’s historic Blair field hockey season that ended in securing the 2022 NJISAA prep A state championship. 

“They have worked so hard to become the best athletes and teammates they can be,” said Pamela Schulman, Blair's head field hockey coach. “We are thrilled they were given the opportunity to play for and represent the United States abroad. To have not one, but two Blair players on the team is amazing. We are very proud of them, and we are looking forward to their senior season.” 

Members of the International Board of Governors (IBOG) met in Singapore in April 2023.

Since its inception in 2021, the International Board of Governors has met virtually, with the purpose of building an even stronger Blair Academy brand across the globe, speaking firsthand with families about their international experiences with the School, attracting the best prospective students from around the world and increasing philanthropic support. For the first time, members met in person on April 15 in Singapore during Blair’s recent trip to Asia.

“The Blair community is built on connections, so it was refreshing to finally share a room with the International Board of Governors and engage face-to-face with current parents and alumni,” said Susan Long, Associate Director of Advancement.

Mrs. Long was joined by Head of School Peter G. Curran and Chief Advancement Officer Craig Hall to attend the meeting with the board of international parents and alumni. International Board of Governors co-chair William Bao Bean ’91 P’23 ’25 opened the meeting by thanking those in attendance for joining them and aiding the board’s mission. As a current Trustee and alum, Mr. Bean furthered the Board’s message, stressing the importance and strength of the Blair network and how each member plays a vital role.

Throughout the meeting, Mr. Curran addressed the Board on the state of the School, sharing news of the most recent admission cycle that concluded in April and the upcoming events that will take place through the end of the school year. Mrs. Long took time to connect with current international families, sharing resources available to them and discussing the needs many encounter as a growing population within the Blair community. Currently, Blair students represent 29 countries and 17 percent of enrollment is international students.

“Over the past few years, this Board has been instrumental in opening avenues of access for Blair Academy to educational and cultural opportunities,” Mr. Hall noted. “I am grateful for all the members who have supported the School and assisted the advancement office by advocating for the needs of Blair today and in the future.”

Also on the agenda for the Board meeting was an update on the All In campaign. Mr. Hall shared the details of this dynamic and evolving blueprint for Blair’s future as we look to celebrate Blair’s 175th anniversary in June and beyond. Honoring and amplifying the core values of relationship-based learning and superior academic preparation, more than 60 Trustees, parents, alumni and faculty members collaborated to create this plan, which focuses on four key priorities: faculty talent and excellence, forward-thinking programs, our historic and state-of-the-art campus, and Blair’s long-term financial strength. The International Board of Governors looks forward to supporting Blair in their efforts to achieve the vital objectives of our 2018-2025 Strategic Plan and ensuring that the Blair experience continues to be enriching and impactful for generations of students and that the School is stronger than ever.

Continuing to Build Blair’s Robust College Counseling Program

Listening to Dean of College Counseling Niki Applebaum ’01 speak passionately about how to best support Blair’s students in finding the right college fit for them, it is hard to believe that she once had plans to go into any area other than college admissions.

Though she has always been an educator, early in her career, Ms. Applebaum taught English at a series of independent boarding and day schools where she coached field hockey and lacrosse and choreographed musical productions. She then moved to the college admissions and higher education realm and gained broad experience serving as an admissions officer and territory manager for Stanford University, as well as a senior admissions officer and assistant director of financial aid at Harvard University. There, she was the founding director of Harvard First Generation, a program designed to encourage first-generation students to apply to colleges and support them once there.

“Developing that program taught me so many valuable lessons about leading a team and developing new initiatives,” Ms. Applebaum says. “As a first-generation college graduate myself, I wanted it to best support the students it aimed to serve.” 

Today, Ms. Applebaum has found her calling back at her alma mater, inspiring, motivating and directing students to reach their full potential in the next steps of their educational journeys. 

In her third year as Dean of College Counseling at Blair, Ms. Applebaum has made it her mission to continue supporting the robust college counseling program, one focused on helping students identify their own goals and interests, navigating the rapidly changing college-application process, and making informed and confident decisions with students and families about the college or university that will fit them best.

It is no small task. 

Sitting down recently in Ms. Applebaum’s office overlooking Hardwick lawn in the center of Blair’s campus, she talked with excitement about the many ways in which she and her team work to give students and families a deeper understanding of the college admission process and peace of mind. Our conversation covered the strong foundation built by longtime Dean of College Counseling Lew Stival (who was Ms. Applebaum’s own college counselor!) and many other talented colleagues, as well as more recent additions to the office’s offerings—such as introducing college counseling classes as part of Blair’s weekly curriculum for juniors this year, taking students to visit nearby college campuses, hosting Saturday coffee chats with  parents on a variety of topics, and the formation of Blair Bridges, an advisory board of college and university admission professionals that helps Blair best prepare its students for success as they pursue higher education.

Q: Tell me about Blair Bridges. What is this new program and how did it come about? 
A: This year, we started the Blair Bridges program to bring together college professionals from a wide variety of schools to have conversations about their university’s practices to guide our programs at Blair. We live by the motto, “We know our students,” so we wanted to be sure we heard from those who represent the places and the people who will know our students in their next steps, too. Our goal is to gather input from a wide array of post-secondary schools—state flagship public universities, single-gender colleges, historically black colleges and universities, urban private research institutions, highly selective schools and less selective schools. By establishing regular touchpoints with them, it’s easier to keep our finger on the pulse of what's happening on a variety of post-secondary campuses across the nation, so that we can shape our programs here and best prepare our students for what happens at college.

Q: Which schools are currently serving on the Blair Bridges advisory board? 
A:  The advisory board of eight colleges that have partnered with us for a two- to three-year period currently consists of Elon University, Georgetown University, Grinnell College, Lehigh University, Middlebury College, Rice University, Penn State University and Spelman College.

Q: What occurred at the Blair Bridges summit held last week?
A: We invited the deans of admission from a number of colleges and universities to Blair for our first annual gathering. They got to know us better - taking a tour of our beautiful campus, meeting with Blair’s senior leadership, and listening to students talk about our signature programs - while we got to know more about them and what’s percolating on their campuses. We also discussed topics like enrollment, demographics, health and well-being, and we took a deep dive into moving beyond advanced placement classes and how we can best communicate the changes in our curriculum. 

Q: Can you tell me about the college counseling program that was already in place at Blair when you arrived in 2020? 
A: Thanks to the work of colleagues like former Dean of College Counseling Lew Stival and longtime college counselor Joe Mantegna, Blair already had a well-developed program focused on knowing our students well and guiding students through their processes with a huge wealth of institutional knowledge. 

The college process really starts by taking stock of all our students have done and continue to do. Activities then start in full force during students’ junior year. In 2023, our kickoff event occurred on February 8 when the deans of Fordham University, Lafayette College and Princeton University were here to talk to students and their families. 

Almost every Saturday morning since then, we have  also held virtual coffee chats to keep parents involved and informed. Each session covers different topics making the most of visits, understanding athletic recruitment and paying for college. We have past parent panels, too.

We’ve also created a college counseling class for juniors, with each section co-taught by two members of the counseling team. Small sizes really allows for hands-on work. The students get to know two members of the team, in addition to their counselor, and become comfortable with what they need to do throughout the process. 

Additionally, we’ve continued the tradition of in person college fairs and added visits to nearby campuses as well. This April, our college fair welcomed representatives from more than 100 institutions.

We’ve also planned trips to Rutgers University, Lehigh University, Princeton University and New York University. At each, we take a tour, meet an admission representative and, often, the best part is when we meet with a Blair alum currently at that school. It’s a great way to give our students a comprehensive look at what their lives may look like next year, even if the institution itself is just representative of the type of school at which they ultimately end up enrolling.  

Q: The college application process can seem daunting. How do you hope to put families’ minds at ease? 
A: By providing students and families with the right information. We want to put in place a process that students trust and don't feel intimidated by. The idea is to provide more information up front. Having knowledge about those next steps - and a relationship with those who will be guiding them - helps reduce anxiety, because it expands understanding and promotes confidence.

Q:  Finally, what are you most excited about? 
A: I'm so excited to have four full-time counselors, which allows us to have small caseloads and support students robustly. The team of people who work with our students is just as important as the offerings, and I couldn't do it without my amazing colleagues who work here and support our students. I’m excited to tell students, “You’re prepared to tackle these challenges, and Blair college counseling is by your side!”

Atlas Sophomore Speech

As the lights shone on the stage of the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre, ten anxious sophomores waited with bated breath for their opportunity to stand at the podium and address their class. Each student—selected by their teacher and classmates—came equipped with weeks of preparation for this very moment.

The Sophomore Speech Contest is an annual rite of passage for Blair sophomores. After recording their Leadership Stories Projects as ninth graders, taking the stage is the next step up in the School’s mission of preparing our graduates to communicate effectively as they become the leaders of tomorrow. Effective storytelling and the ability to convey values are key leadership skills students learn throughout their time at Blair as they build relationships on campus and beyond.

On April 24, the ten chosen orators rose to the challenge, answering the prompt “Where I Am,” a question asking them to consider a space or place that impacts their identity and that of others. With wit, charm and humor, the speakers captivated the audience, using the tools they’ve learned throughout their time at Blair.

“This is a fantastic assignment,” English department chair Jim Moore says, explaining that the contest requires students to learn and engage in a variety of skills. “They have to focus on narrative essay writing, knowing their audience, enunciation and pace. The question challenges them to think about the places they keep going back to and why, what’s the meaning in that.”

To prepare for the speeches, English teachers take several different approaches. Amira Shokr asked her classes to analyze the rhetorical techniques of ethos, pathos and logos used in commercial advertisements. “This served to help students understand how to connect a message to audiences through credibility, emotion and logic and how to be effectively persuasive in doing so,” Ms. Shokr explained.

Fellow English teacher Caroline Queally encouraged her classes to analyze winning speeches from previous years to understand effective techniques to incorporate when conveying their own message. “All of the classes, regardless of their teacher, have practiced speaking confidently through R.E.A.L. Discussions over the past year,” Ms. Queally noted. “It is a fast-paced process that builds on skills taught and practiced throughout the year, and each year seems to top itself in terms of how talented and well-done the winning speeches are.”

After an intense deliberation, the faculty judges awarded first place to Atlas Akinyemiju ’25, second place to Minh Anh Vo ’25 and third place to Joss Miller ’25, who reflected upon the impacts of their bed, the nail salon, and the middle seat on an airplane, respectively. The next speaking event will be the Senior Speech Contest on Monday, May 15.

Blair Singers perform in the 2023 Spring Concert.

In what promises to be an aesthetically evocative evening, Blair Academy will present the annual Spring Concert on Friday, April 28. 

The School’s student musicians, including the Singers, Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra, will take the stage to perform a variety of pieces, from James Brown’s bluesy, brass-heavy “I Got You (I Feel Good)” to Antonin Dvorak’s symphony “From the New World,” among others. The finale, a sweeping orchestral anthem, builds to a resounding crescendo that will captivate listeners. Jennifer Pagotto, Performing Arts Department Chair and Director of Instrumental Music, is excited to hear the students’ repertoire performed before a live audience. 

“All of the music is special to the ensembles for specific reasons, but one piece in particular that we’re excited about is our concert closer,” Mrs. Pagotto explains. “It’s amazing to see the level of musicianship our students bring to the piece. It’s a very cinematic piece, which will translate well to the concert stage.” 

Preparing on the International Stage

Blair’s musicians have spent months preparing for the Spring Concert. In addition to academic-day music courses, rehearsals and private lessons, 70 of the School’s musicians have just returned from a European performance tour that offered the opportunity to practice their musicianship in the soaring, ancient cathedrals of England and France.

Director of Vocal Music Ryan Manni credits the European tour with pushing Blair’s student vocalists to new levels. Adapting quickly to new environments and performance spaces, Blair’s Singers learned to make adjustments extemporaneously to the challenges presented by unheated cathedrals and minute sound reverberating off stone. “We had a chance to build on our skills and refine with each performance,” he says, “and our choirs did so with aplomb.”

Getting by with a Little Help from Friends

As for the School’s instrumentalists, they also rose to the occasion in Europe, interacting with new audiences and learning to play alongside renowned musicians. One of those student instrumentalists, violinist and concertmaster Julian Huang ’23, notes that both the European tour and this concert hold special meaning for him, as they mark his last performances before graduating. “I'm really going to miss the Orchestra and playing with my friends,” he says. Julian and fellow violinist Arthur Lee ’24 struck up a friendship at Blair, and Julian notes that the pair have traveled the world together, pushing themselves to be better musicians along the way. “We’ve been making music for four years, and this concert will be the culmination. It will show off everything we’ve learned.”

Senior Justin Baggett ’23, who has been a member of the Singers all four of his years at Blair, can relate to that sentiment. Justin joined the Singers during his ninth-grade year “just to fulfill a requirement,” but quickly got hooked. “My first year, I just loved it. It was super fun and I found it hard not to be happy at practice. You could be having a hard day and you go in there and turn it around.”

In addition to attending music class three times a week, Justin and a number of classmates started putting in the extra time to listen to rehearsal tracks outside of class, to stay up to date with upcoming pieces. Like Julian, Justin found that a camaraderie was born. “It’s interesting, the group dynamic in Singers is so strong. It’s a cool thing to do together.” 

This Friday, Justin will make his debut at the Spring Concert as the School’s student conductor. In that leadership role, he selected “Simple Gifts” as one special song for the group to perform. “This is a really nice piece we’re excited to sing. We've been preparing once a week every Friday, working through the different sections of the song. I taught the tenors and bases their parts and then taught the altos and sopranos their parts. We are very excited to share it with our family and friends and for the audience to see all our hard work come together.” 

Tomorrow night’s repertoire is the culmination of months—and for many graduating seniors, years—of practice, and our student musicians have traveled everywhere from the towering cathedrals of Europe to the practice rooms and stages of Blair in an effort to hone their skills. Join us in the DuBois Theatre tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. for an unforgettable performance.



Alumni and Trustee Victoria Bailey '97
Alumni and Trustee Victoria Bailey '97

Barron’s Magazine featured Blair Trustee and alum Victoria Bailey ’97 in a recent article this March titled, “Morgan Stanley’s Victoria Bailey: Why I Stopped Trying to Be Perfect,” highlighting her successful career as a wealth manager in Silicon Valley.

“I honestly think the moment I stopped pretending to be something I’m not was the moment I actually started being successful,” Victoria told the magazine, ringing true to one of The Five Fundamentals of Blair Academy—know yourself and practice honesty.

In fact, the article details how Victoria has built her career on one of the principles of Blair: the people and the connections you make are what matter the most. After a chance encounter with a friend led to an analyst job at Barclays Capital more than a decade ago, Victoria climbed the financial industry ladder and now serves as managing director of Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management’s 415 Group in San Francisco, helping to manage $6.5 billion. Speaking with Barron’s, Victoria explained how she built her network of venture capitalists by constantly making new connections and nurturing those relationships.

“I kept in touch with every single one of them and built this database where I was also providing them with information,” Victoria said in her interview. “It was trying to provide value in as many creative ways as possible so that when they needed something, they called.”

In 2022, Victoria and her firm were also featured as one of Barron’s “Top 100 Private Wealth Management Teams: Serving the Complex Needs of Silicon Valley’s Elite.” That feature highlighted more of her successful, humanistic approach to a mostly data-driven industry.

Victoria’s optimism, energy and commitment to Blair are noted by many fortunate to work with her at the School, both as a student and dedicated alum. After graduating, Victoria matriculated at Princeton University where she studied economics and received a bachelor’s degree in 2001. After a brief stint in New York City as an opera singer, she turned to the financial world and never looked back. In her current role based in Morgan Stanley’s Silicon Valley office, Victoria is a managing director and private wealth advisor to the company’s Private Wealth Management division. She currently lives in Woodside, California, with her husband, Peter, and her three sons, Will, Andrew and Christopher. Mrs. Bailey was appointed to the Blair Board of Trustees in April 2018.

Kendall Fitzgerald

In early 2022, Kendall Fitzgerald ’16 found herself patiently waiting for a flight to Madagascar, where she and a group of life scientists would spend the next couple of months studying a variety of flora and fauna. The fauna, including bats that harbored coronaviruses, had made international headlines for their potential to spread disease.

On Tuesday, April 25, Blair Academy is most excited to welcome back the alum, who plans on speaking about her international fieldwork as a field project manager for the University of Chicago’s Brook Lab, where she studies “zoonotic infections–pathogens transmitted from wildlife to human hosts.” She will also discuss her experience filming independent documentaries and her reflections on being an early career scientist.

“One thing I hope students take away from my talk is that they should feel free to think about unconventional careers,” said Ms. Fitzgerald in a pre-event interview, talking about her own experience choosing a career. “They should seriously consider what they want in life and, in each step, think ‘What’s the best thing that can happen?’”

Not only will Ms. Fitzgerald speak on her incredible work abroad at Skeptics, the former class salutatorian will also share her Blair memories and words of advice.

“It’s special to be able to talk to young students, and especially my alma mater, as an early career scientist myself. I am only still finding out just how many things you can do with your life, and what ‘doing science’ really means. So, I hope this talk, like other Skeptics talks, provides comfort for students who might want to know that there are a million careers out there, and they don’t have to choose just one.”

What’s also special for the University of California, Berkeley, graduate, who obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in integrative biology, is that her talk will round out the Skeptics for the season–an event she enjoyed while a student at Blair.

“I loved Skeptics during my time at Blair and wish I had gone to more! I remember well one Skeptics speaker’s powerpoint slide that showed a career path resembling a pinball machine more than a straight line, and that gives me comfort to this day. If I can provide a moment like that for students—to find relief and excitement amid large expectations they might experience—I’d be very happy.”

All are welcome to hear Ms. Fitzgerald speak in the forum of the Chiang-Elghanayan Center next Tuesday at 7 p.m.

History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.