All In The Campaign for Blair Academy 2018-2025
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Blair appreciates who you are,

what you stand for & all that you can achieve.

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The Blair experience is transformative.

Find out how it can change your life.

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Blair academics inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Our robust curriculum invites you to explore your passions.

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

Vibrant fine & performing arts opportunities abound.

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Athletics are part of the fabric of our community.

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

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Blair’s 460-acre campus is filled with history & natural beauty.

Experience the highlights by taking a virtual tour.

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Let us introduce you to Blair!

We'd love to welcome you to campus for a tour and interview.

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All together we boldly write Blair’s next chapter.

Our Strategic Plan highlights our “All In” philosophy.

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Our faculty members are passionate about education.

They care about & know our students exceptionally well.

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‘What do you stand for?’

Blair community members participate in The Leadership Stories Project.

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No matter what your interests or where you are from,

you will find your place at Blair.

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Summer 2024 Reading Assignments

Summer 2024 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 encouraged to read a minimum of five fiction or nonfiction books over the summer.

Students should read a minimum of five books over the summer months, including titles of their choosing in addition to those required by their teachers, and depending upon their courses, they may also have associated assignments and/or assessments to complete.

Titles for 2024 summer reading assignments are listed below. New and returning students enrolled in certain language courses for the 2024-2025 academic year must also complete summer work. Details about the summer work for language courses are linked in the list below. 

Requirements for Selected Courses (listed by department) for 2024-2025:

English

Students are required to read one class-specific book and one additional book from a curated list provided by the department in the link below. Here are the class specific books:

English 1: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
English 2: Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
American Studies and Rhetoric: Into the Wild by John Krakauer
Advanced English Seminars: Students enrolling in these courses should check back on August 1 once enrollments are finalized for the 2024-25 school year. The summer reading for each specific section will be listed at that time. 
Meaning of Life: Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The English department has curated a list of recommended books for summer reading in the following link:

Summer Reading 2024

All students are expected to read at least one book from this list. In the first week back, every student will complete a writing exercise on the book they read from this list. Please plan to return to Blair with a hard copy of one of the books you read from the list.

History

Modern European History: Please read the article shared here. The first page has a writing assignment to complete and bring with you for the start of school. All work is due at the first class meeting. 

Advanced Survey US History: Read this selection from Charles Mann’s 1491: here. Annotate as you read, write down three to five main ideas from the reading and develop a discussion question to guide our talk about the reading at our first meeting. 

Advanced Survey European History: Mrs. Brandwood requests students complete this assignment.
 

Fine Arts

Advanced Survey Art History: Culture: The Story of Us, From Cave Art to K-Pop by Martin Puchner

 

Language 

Summer work in language courses differs by grade level and language studied. Please review the below requirements closely and click on the appropriate link.

Spanish 2/2H: Click here for the assignment from Mr. Devaney and Mr. Ince.
Spanish 3/3H: Click here for the assignment from Dr. Mundo and Mr. Coronado.
Spanish 4 Regular: Click here for the assignment from Dr. Mundo.
Advanced Seminar Spanish-American Film & Culture: Click here for the assignment from Ms. Castillo.
Advanced Survey: Spanish Language: Click here for the assignment from Mr. Devaney.
French 2: Click here for fun ways to stay connected to French.
French 3/3H: Click here for fun ways to stay connected to French.
Advanced Survey: French Language: Click here to join the 24-25 Google Classroom and complete the summer homework.
And, here are more fun ways to stay connected to French.    
Advanced Seminar: French Current Events: Click here to join the 24-25 Google Classroom and complete the summer homework.
And, here are more fun ways to stay connected to French.    
All Chinese students entering level 2 or higher: Click here for the assignment from Mrs. Wang.
All Latin students entering level 2 or higher: Click here for the assignment from Mr. Harvard. 
 

Mathematics

Precalculus/Calculus A: Mr. Molteni and Mr. Link will share an assignment with enrolled students to be completed in August in advance of the first day of classes. This will be a study guide assignment which reviews key building block concepts for the fall term. 

Advanced Seminar Differential Calculus: Mr. Murray and Mr. Grady will share a review problem set in August to be completed before the first day of the fall term. 

Advanced Survey Integral Calculus & Sequences and Series: Mr. Browse and Ms. Chen will share an assignment with enrolled students to be completed in August in advance of the first day of classes. This will be a study guide assignment which reviews key building block concepts for the fall term. 

 

Science

Chemistry Honors: Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-made World by Mark Miodownik. Dr. Sayers and Ms. Ehrenwerth ask that you review and respond to this document as part of the assignment.

Advanced Survey: Biology: Chapters 1-3 reading and notes in Campbell Biology in Focus AP Edition 3rd Edition. Complete all of the Active Reading Guide questions for each chapter (Chapter 1 Active Reading Guide, Chapter 2 Active Reading Guide, Chapter 3 Active Reading Guide).

Advanced Seminar: Organic Chemistry: Please read this document; contact Dr. Sayers with questions or concerns.
 

athletic facilities

Blair is proud to share news of a remarkable number of athletes who have continued to make an impact in their respective sportsThese former Bucs have made headlines over the past weeks and months for their collegiate and professional athletic achievements beyond the hilltop. 

Our football program has graduated several notable alumni who have gone on to successful careers, but Odafe Oweh ’18 and David Ojabo ’19 of the Baltimore Ravens have been in the headlines for their NFL playoff appearances against the Houston Texans. Both alumni not only played at Blair but have also ended up on the No. 1 seeded AFC team heading into the playoffs.

Adding to this legacy now is Sanoussi Kane ’20, who was also recently drafted to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2024 NFL Draft. Sanoussi had a standout career at Purdue University, leading the team in total and unassisted tackles with 72 and 54, respectively. He will join David and Odafe this summer at training camp, resulting in three alumni now playing for the NFL franchise. 

The boys’ basketball team has had an exceptional number of alumni in the headlines over the past few months as well. Dexter Akanno ’19 served as captain at Oregon State, where he was a senior guard. Jabri Abdur-Rahim ’20 had a great year as a senior guard for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, scoring 354 points. Michael O’Connell ’20 and Jaylen Blakes ’21 have both helped North Carolina State and Duke advance to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2024 NCAA Mens’ Basketball Tournament. Internationally, Tucker Richardson ’18 is playing professionally in Finland for the BC Nokia team in the Finnish Korisliiga league after attending Colgate University. Also in Europe, Jack Rauch ’16 is playing forward for Switzerland’s Vevey Riviera team. In the Middle East, Julius Coles ’07 is playing guard in the Bahrain-Premier League for Al-Muharraq. Former NBA star and Buc Charlie Villanueva ’03 was formally inducted into the University of Connecticut’s Huskies of Honor alongside his 2004 national championship team.     

Blair squash powerhouse Youssif Mostafa ’22 assisted Colby College with its first victory over Bates College in more than 20 years. Youssif was an Insley Hall prefect and respected leader on Blair’s campus.

Blair Wrestling had a few alumni who made headlines. Skylar Grote ’16, Matt Kolodzik ’15 and Joey McKenna ’14 all competed in the Olympic Trials this year. Joey placed third, earning him a spot on the USA Wrestling Men’s Freestyle National Team. Former Blair wrestler TJ Stewart ’22 won the ACC Freshman of the Year award after his dominant season for Virginia Tech, finishing the year with an overall record of 14-4 at 184 lbs.

Jordyn Humphrey ’20 has been dominant for the Stetson University women’s lacrosse team, leading the team in goals and points for the 2024 season.


Mallory Allen ’23 continues to stand out as a top pitcher for Skidmore College this softball season. She currently has a 1.96 ERA with 15 strikeouts in nine games. 


Lucy Barton ’23 and Chloe Barton ’23 led Gettysburg to a second place finish in the 2024 Centennial Conference Women’s Golf Championship. The Barton sisters both shot the lowest round of the weekend with a score of 164. Additionally, they earned all conference honors by both placing second in the championship.


Colby College’s Sydney Landau ’20 won the 2024 NESCAC Senior Sportswoman of the Year award. She is only the second Colby player in program history to receive this award, and earned 12 wins playing at second and third singles this season.

To share your athletics updates after leaving Blair, please email Assistant Athletic Director Rhett Moroses ’13 at morosr@blair.edu. Go Bucs!
 

How ‘Looping’ in the Arts Makes All the Difference

Each has a story to tell. Kate Sykes, chair of Blair’s fine arts department, remembers a day in the ceramics studio when her pregnancy made it difficult to lean into the pottery kiln. Feeling a sensation that hinted at labor, a dawning realization crossed her face. Art student Batouly Camara ’15, who had been in class with Mrs. Sykes for years and stood helping at the kiln, noticed. “I got you, whatever you need,” the student said. Now, almost a decade later, Mrs. Sykes still remembers the moment fondly.

Director of Vocal Music Ryan Manni lost two close relatives last year in quick succession and quietly took a few days away from school to attend the funeral services. He didn’t tell his students where he was going, just that he would be gone. Singer Justin Baggett ’23, who had studied with Mr. Manni for four years, sensed that something was wrong. “He didn’t ask any questions,” Mr. Manni recalls, “he just took the lead and agreed to run rehearsals while I was out.” When Mr. Manni returned, Justin didn’t ask for details; he simply looked at Mr. Manni and asked, “Are you okay?” These small yet profound moments shared between teachers and students, where genuine connections form, are the foundation of everything Blair espouses as a community.  

While many at Blair have similar anecdotes of students reciprocating the care and connection that teachers extend, the faculty members of Blair’s fine and performing arts departments have an abundance of stories.

Part of the reason is the practice of “looping.” Looping involves matching students with the same instructor for several consecutive years, and it occurs in Blair’s fine and performing arts departments. Instead of switching to another teacher at the end of each year, students in an orchestra, ceramics, theatre or vocal class often remain with the same teacher and peers for years as the group progresses together. 

The Practice of Looping
As one U.S. News & World Report article noted earlier this year, the concept of a teacher spending multiple years with a cohort of students isn’t novel; in fact, “about 12% of public schools across the U.S. used some form of teacher looping in the 2017-2018 school year.” This centuries-old pedagogical practice has regained popularity in educational circles as its rigorous benefits, to both students and their teachers, have been studied and documented. In Montessori and Waldorf schools, students routinely stay with the same educator for several years, as do children in more than half the schools across the state of Vermont. 

While looping may not be a new concept, its benefits, which extend beyond academic progress and into the realm of socio-emotional development and classroom dynamics, are undeniable. According to a recent study from Brown University, the academic and behavioral gains acquired from studying under a teacher for more than one year increase with the proportion of repeat students in a class. The Department of Education’s Institute of Educational Sciences has documented that looping “increases student achievement, supports instructional time, and provides enhanced teacher-student relationship.” When students and teachers spend more time together, it naturally fosters a deeper understanding of individual learning styles, strengths and areas needing improvement. Teachers can then tailor their instruction more effectively to meet the needs of each student, leading to improved outcomes.

All of this comes as no surprise to the students and teachers in Blair’s fine and performing arts programs. 

Director of Instrumental Music Jennifer Pagotto, with 19 years of experience guiding Blair’s musicians, has witnessed the strong impact of looping, particularly in the Orchestra. Despite the additional workload that looping entails–crafting four-year lesson plans so that students encounter fresh challenges each year–she finds that the depth of learning that results justifies the effort. For example, ninth graders initially focus on following directions literally, Mrs. Pagotto explains, but they gradually transition to playing intuitively, thanks to the detailed knowledge and nuance that come with years of performing together. “By the time a student has been playing for four years, there is almost no need for words. In a performance, we all play together organically, following the cues of one another without speaking. It’s the time and years of repetition–together–that allows us to get to that organic stage.”  

Alto saxophone player Ethan Anthony ’24 can speak to the positive culture that developed as he and his fellow musicians reached that level of symbiosis. Ethan spent four years in Blair’s orchestra and jazz band, practicing with his friend and fellow saxophonist, Andrew Antunes ’24. In that time, Ethan and Andrew have been through thick and thin under the careful tutelage of Mrs. Pagotto. They toted their instruments to practice in the open air of the Bowl during the pandemic their first year and warmed up in the awe-inspiring acoustics of ancient European cathedrals during their third. “We’ve both certainly come a long way as musicians since then,” Ethan muses. Amid those changing landscapes and lessons, one constant remained–learning, three days a week, year after year, together. Ethan credits the sense of community fostered by Mrs. Pagotto and his bandmates with building incredible bonds. “It was very hard to say goodbye.”

That close-knit culture, which results when a cohort of students grow together, is one of the defining characteristics of looping. It makes sense. On sports teams, the same phenomenon happens. Athletes who work together toward a common goal, growing together for years, bond. The same thing happens in the arts. “When you have a group of student leaders who have been there for a while, they become partners in teaching the younger kids,” Mrs. Pagotto says. “you trust them to convey the right attitude in class. I’m so grateful for all the students who have become part of that.”

Looping not only benefits students by building bonds and proficiency, it also leads them to take risks within their craft, something that Mrs. Sykes has seen in her students’ art. “Bigger ideas, riskier ideas come from these trusted relationships that build over years,” Mrs. Sykes explains. “People knowing each other, allows them to feel comfortable and confident to take risks that push them as artists.” Mr. Manni concurs, having seen the same phenomenon occur with the Singers. “Over years, you see their confidence grow as they try to reach new levels, and their leadership skills build as their confidence grows. It’s one of the best parts of the job–to see kids take those risks and develop over time, through a formative period in their lives.”

Finding Meaning in One’s Work
The years spent connecting to each student personally enriches the lives of teachers, too. Not only do they gain a deep and nuanced understanding of each student’s strengths and challenges, but they develop the sustained relationships that make one's work rewarding. Over the course of two decades teaching at Blair, Mrs. Sykes has found that the process of working through challenges together builds a deep and collegial relationship. “A deep respect develops,” she says, “that often carries long past graduation.” Today, as Mrs. Sykes admires the pottery gifted by her ceramics students or the student artwork adorning her walls and thinks of the notes she’s collected that often begin with “I thought of you the other day when…,” she remains deeply grateful for those ongoing relationships.

 Mr. Manni also continues to be a supportive presence in his former students’ musical lives, embracing opportunities to collaborate anew. “It’s incredibly gratifying when students come back, after their first year in class,” he says, “because they’ve chosen to come back to work together. That feeling is magnified when students graduate.” Mr. Manni started the alumni choir over Alumni Weekend, he notes, so that the musicians who once performed together regularly can capture the magic of performing together once more. Recently collaborating with Kendra Payne ’20, he commissioned an impressive original piece that was premiered by Blair’s choir in last year’s Spring Concert. “Working on a new piece together can be mutually beneficial–for her as a young professional composer, and us as a choral program,” he says. 
 
With her most recent senior students heading off to college and a fresh wave of ninth graders awaiting their first venture into her classroom, Mrs. Sykes looks forward to the new school year. “We are lucky in a way that not every teacher experiences,” she muses. She knows that the incoming students aren’t like family yet, but they will be. She will spend hundreds of hours “looping” with them. As for her departing seniors, Mrs. Sykes pauses, a moment of reflection passing over her before she breaks into a wide, warm smile. “You’ve known them for four years. You still get to have that relationship with them. It was strengthened over time. Why would we give up on this friendship now?”

class of 99 AW
catering 2024

Home means something different to everyone. To some, it is a place of comfort and familiarity. For others, home is a feeling—or even a person. As Maya Angelou once said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

The experience of venturing home was felt across the hilltop during Alumni Weekend this June, as classmates returned to the School to relive fond memories and forge new ones. The festivities kicked off with the traditional Blair Cup Golf Scramble on Friday, followed by a tennis and pickleball tournament. Players came together for an awards ceremony for the winners before freshening up for the Welcome Back, Bucs, Party that evening. The Class of 1974 celebrated their 50th Reunion with a dinner at the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration (CECIC). Taking over their own corners of campus by class, alums retreated to dorms they haven’t stayed in for years, swapping stories while burning the midnight oil.

peachey awards 2024

“I am beyond excited to see everyone back on campus to celebrate 25 years,” shared Bridget (Brennan) Hodakowski ’99. “It is wonderful reconnecting with so many in a place that has felt like home since the fall of 1995. I can hardly believe that 25 years have passed since we graduated on the front hill of Blair—and yet it feels like just yesterday we stood in our white dresses and navy jackets excited about what the future would bring.”

Joined by an influx of fresh faces on Saturday, the community took part in myriad activities spread across campus that celebrated the bonds forged on the hilltop, regardless of time passed. Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed campus tours and hikes of the Siegel Property, while an Arts Open House in the CECIC maker space welcomed creative guests to craft keepsakes to remember the weekend. Standout athletes and artists were honored at the Athletic Hall of Fame and Arts Guild induction ceremonies, and the Blair community celebrated outstanding volunteers and class representatives at the Head of School Assembly. To cap off another terrific Alumni Weekend, everyone gathered for a delicious dinner full of food, camaraderie and laughter with DJ Jeremy Duncan ’01 providing the perfect soundtrack for the night.

“Alumni Weekend is a wonderful opportunity to relive memories and reconnect with the people and places that contributed to our shared experiences,” Jo Wrzesinsky ’94 said. “To return to Blair is to return home.”

chrysta quote

Stival Court Dedicated

During Alumni Weekend, the Blair community dedicated Stival Tennis Court in honor of former faculty member Lewis Stival. Over their 33 years at Blair, Lewis and his wife, Lois, served in many roles, including advisors, mentors and dorm heads. In addition to her position as day student coordinator, Lois planned many Blair events over the years, including the prom, Parents’ Weekend, Alumni Weekend and various fundraisers. A former English teacher, Lew headed up the School’s college counseling office for most of his Blair tenure and coached girls’ and boys’ varsity tennis for many years.

A New Look Coming Soon to Mason & Freeman 

In the 1970s, Rob Sigety ’75, P’16 ’18 ’20 ’21 called Blair’s Mason Hall home, sharing the space with 31 of his fellow juniors and seniors. Acquainted with all the nooks and crannies of his former dormitory, Rob’s knowledge serves him well today as a Blair Trustee and head of the Board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. Back then, Mason stood as one of the newer buildings on campus, rising from the expansive green field now known as “the Bowl.” The dorm boasted lime-green tiled bathrooms and a modern split-faced masonry exterior that embodied the architectural trends of the time. Now, Rob happily shares, Blair’s Board of Trustees has greenlit a renovation of the 58-year-old boys’ dorm, alongside its neighbor, Freeman Hall, which was constructed the same year. 

“We’ve been talking about this on the Board and Buildings and Grounds Committee for a long time,” Rob explains. “Prior to the construction of Kathryn and Lakeside halls, we recognized that the architecture of Mason and Freeman needs to be more compatible with the other buildings on campus.”

Now, Mason and Freeman are set for a makeover. The dormitories will undergo a transformation—with new and updated exteriors made of limestone, stone and brick, as well as new windows that should lend the dorms more visual compatibility with the neighboring buildings.  

While the general layout of the dorms will remain unchanged, lighting, carpeting, floor coverings and wood trim will all receive upgrades, along with a complete refurbishing of all the buildings’ bathrooms. Currently, residents on the dorm’s first floor use bathrooms on higher levels. That, too, will change, with a new bathroom being added to the ground floor.

One thing Rob is glad will not change is the central atrium concept of the dorms. The current open plan, with a center atrium extending from the bottom floors to the top, “gives students a much more social experience.” That social aspect is crucial, Rob says, and the current project involves adding new features that promote greater socialization and circulation, such as outside recreational spaces and a common patio between the two dorms with chairs and space for students to relax and sit together. 
 
While not as glamorous as some of the cosmetic changes, plans also include implementing much-needed energy conservation measures. Improved insulation, new heating systems and thermopane windows should reduce energy consumption for the buildings, leading to lower utility bills and a decreased environmental impact that benefits everyone.

“These are well-built buildings. They are solid,” Rob says, “and I am glad that we can utilize their sound, existing structures. But, these renovations are needed because of the age of the dorms. It’s going to make them so much more attractive. We feel really good about it.”

Look for construction to begin in spring 2025. Work will be conducted over two summers, when the dorms are not in use by students, and is expected to finish in the fall of 2026. 

 

Note: The attached photos illustrate potential designs for the renovated buildings. These visuals are not final and are subject to change.

Matthew Tung ’19 Powers toward Victory

Blair’s Matthew Tung ’19 made international headlines recently as the first athlete to represent Hong Kong in Olympic-style weightlifting in more than a decade. Making his professional debut at the Asian Championships in Uzbekistan in February 2024, Matthew clinched fifth place in the 96 kg. division, Hong Kong’s highest placing in the competition.  

“This competition was a good step for me and Hong Kong. People know we have a team now,” Matthew told the South China News. 

Matthew’s journey into competitive sports began during his first year at Blair, sparked by a YouTube video that introduced him to Olympic-style weightlifting. Under the guidance of his advisor, Blair biology teacher Joe Wagner, and aided by online tutorials, Matthew soon began refining his skills. Within a year, he was regularly lifting close to a combined total of 400 pounds over his head and winning his first competitions. When he turned 16, Matthew participated in an international competition hosted by weightlifter and U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Cheryl Haworth. When Matthew won and Cheryl encouraged him to turn professional, a dream was born.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in health science from Northeastern University, where he founded the school’s Olympic-style weightlifting team, Matthew returned home to Hong Kong in 2023. Eager to continue international competition, he approached Hong Kong’s Weightlifting and Powerlifting Association (HKWPA) with a proposal to represent the region in the Asian Championships. The HKWPA agreed but stipulated that he must fund the trip himself. Without having sponsored an Olympic-style weightlifter for more than a decade, the HKWPA lacked a uniform to provide for the competition. With characteristic determination, Matthew accepted the conditions and, borrowing an officially branded Hong Kong football uniform from a friend, brought home the win.

Today, Matthew is lifting combined totals of over 600 pounds regularly and has acquired a competition coach. He balances his training regimen during lunch breaks and evenings with working as a research assistant for sports medicine at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. His talent and dedication have earned him well-deserved accolades. “As a part-time athlete with minimal support, Matthew has reached a level where he can lift with some of the best in Asia,” his coach, Mike Wong Ho-yin, told the South China News. “It is an incredible achievement.”

Matthew, it comes as no surprise, remains focused on the future. “I’m aiming to go to the Asian Championships again next year and the Asian Games in 2026.” All of us at Blair wish him the best!

spring athletic award recipients

Blair Academy is proud to announce the 2024 spring varsity award winners after another memorable spring season. The Buccaneers earned many accolades this spring—from MAPL championships in boys’ tennis and girls’ crew to personal bests in track and field. Many teams earned winning seasons and have ended this year leaving their respective programs in a better place than where they started back in March.

“I’d like to give praise to all the student-athletes this spring for another successful athletic season,” said Paul Clavel ’88, Blair’s Director of Athletics. “All teams have shown a tremendous amount of growth on and off the fields and courts. They have continued our legacy of athletic excellence.”

The following student-athletes earned varsity awards this past May.

Blair Lacrosse Prize: Avery Andrasek ’24, Yaneik Gallego ’24, Carsten Viravec ’24 & Kendall Waag ’24

Brooks Baseball Prize: Carson Bowman ’25 & Achylles Pons-Beltsyk ’24

Hurley Crew Prize: Lyra Phelps ’24

Kemp Crew Prize: Aleksa Bazylevsky ’24 & Allie Wolff ’24

Blair Girls’ Golf Award: Jass Sanchez ’24

Zimmerman Golf Trophy: Alex Lyu ’25

Stowell Softball Award: Jocelyn O'Keeffe ’24 & Ruby DeFrank ’24

Pender Track Award: Petra Taylor ’24 & Grant Krueger ’24

Paul Tennis Award: Gio Choi ’25

Anzel Tennis Trophy: Guy Phisuthikul ’26

underclass students with Maria Issenchmidt in French class

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 27, the Underclass Prize Assembly honored members of the ninth, 10th and 11th grades for their outstanding academic and co-curricular work throughout Blair’s 176th year.

“Our prize winners tonight embody the intentionality to make the most of their learning, to be as close to always as possible in their pursuit of excellence,” Assistant Head of School for Academics Nathan Molteni said as he welcomed everyone to the assembly. “There are always more accomplishments worthy of merit than we can celebrate here, and if your work is not recognized tonight, please know that it is certainly not unrecognized by our faculty for the investment you have all made in learning this 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: Atlas Akinyemiju ’25 and Genesis Medina ’25

The John Kinch Leach Merit Award: Michael Antonelli ’26 and Cat Zhang ’26

The David Avery-Jones Freshman Prize: Joseph Schinder ’27 and Adison Thatcher ’27

The Joan and Fernando Marcial Prize: Guy Phisuthikul ’26

The Stephen Curry Prize: Michael Lynch ’26
 
Cum Laude Society: Riley Bacinski ’25, Gio Choi ’25, Stephanie Dos Santos ’25, Emily Dou ’25, Casey Gottlieb ’25, Andrew Hong ’25, Serrena Khanna ’25, Natalie Kislin ’25, Kazel Li ’25, Levin Li ’25, Alex Lyu ’25 and Leona Su ’25

The Edyth Jeffrey Shakespeare Essay Prize: Megan Bacinski ’27, Grace Dai ’27, George Gimbel ’27, Cake Ongnithiwat ’27, Binh Phan ’27, Adison Thatcher ’27, Kaya Collier ’26, Liam Green ’26, Ashley Hur ’26, Mayan Muchugia ’26, Ava Momsen ’26, Khang Nguyen ’26, Jessica Neary ’26, Josie Tetteh ’26, Louise Wyche ’26, William Antunes ’25, Morgan Celley ’25 and Jack Nothstine ’25

The Henry Cowan Prize: Kazel Li ’25 and Téa Vukosavljevic ’25

English One Prize: Ella Poliquin ’27 and Brayden Yau ’27

English Two Prize: Naomi Limann ’26 and Cat Zhang ’26

Art Prize: Eli Maloney ’25

Art Prize - Two Dimensional Art: Minh Anh Vo ’25

Art Prize - Three Dimensional Art: Weston Trish ’25 and Téa Vukosavljevic ’25

Art Prize - Photography: Serrena Khanna ’25

Art Prize - The Kampmann Video Prize: Leilah Elkholy ’25

Ninth-Grade History Prize: Ella Poliquin ’27

Tenth-Grade History Prize: Derek Chen ’26 and Khang Nguyen ’26

Eleventh-Grade History Prize: Kazel Li ’25 and Atlas Akinyemiju ’25

Chinese Language Prize: Mackenzie Smith ’25

Spanish Language Prize: Casey Gottlieb ’25

For Outstanding Achievement in the Study of a Foreign Language: C.C. Boellhoff ’25

Newton Prize for Calculus: Gio Choi ’25 and Khang Nguyen ’26

Hypatia Prize for Precalculus: Eugenie Kwon ’26

Pythagoras Prize for Geometry: Cake Ongnithiwat ’27

Al-Khwarizmi Prize for Algebra: Liam Green ’26

Vocal Music Prize: Cheyenne Joachim ’25 and Fionna Lee ’25

Instrumental Music Prize: Ben Lo ’25 and Tony Ni ’25

Underclass Theatre Prize: Leilah Elkholy ’25

Religion & Philosophy Prize: Kazel Li ’25 and Valentina Rosario ’26

Ninth-Grade Biology Prize: Grace Dai ’27 and Brayden Yau ’27

Tenth-Grade Chemistry Prize: Liam Green ’26 and Khang Nguyen ’26

Eleventh-Grade Physics Prize: Levin Li ’25


At a School meeting earlier in May, Dean of College Counseling Niki Applebaum ’01 honored several rising seniors for excellence in areas ranging from technology to leadership with the 2025 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: Levin Li ’25

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: Cheyenne Joachim ’25

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: Libby Russell ’25

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: Avery Cheng ’25

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: Atlas Akinyemiju ’25

XEROX AWARD FOR INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY, awarded to a student who exhibits a strong interest and achievement in innovation or information technology: Anastasiia Feskova ’25

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: Minh Anh Vo ’25

Also at the School meeting, The Alexander “ARob” Roberts Award for Spirit was presented to Libby Russell ’25. The award is given annually in honor of Alexander Roberts ’18 to a member of the rising senior class who embodies his characteristics. Like ARob, the students selected fully immerse themselves in all that Blair has to offer and are distinguished by their character. They are known to be compassionate, humble, innately curious, passionate and committed to Blair. Both faculty and students describe the recipients as unifiers on campus, excelling both on the field and in the classroom. These students bring out the best in those around them and will leave an indelible mark on the Blair community—with an impact as large as the hearts and minds of those they have touched.
 

textbooks

As the 2023-2024 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.
 

sea of grads with one female grad looking at camera

Every graduating class of Blair Academy—for 176 years—has been unique in its own right. Each class faces challenging experiences designed to enrich students and unexpected happenings that test their grit and determination, creating a transformative experience. For the Class of 2024, truer words have never been spoken.

peters grad quote

With a will to succeed, these students entered the Academy amid a global pandemic that upended educational traditions. From social distancing to the return of intercultural learning experiences around the world, these students persevered through it all, growing into the best version of themselves in the process. At the 176th Commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 23, Blair honored their triumphs and celebrated their victories as they continue on in their academic careers as prepared undergraduates and global citizens contributing to the greater good.

Even Mother Nature couldn’t dampen Commencement spirits, and after a brief rain delay, the Class of 2024 marched to the Sharpe House lawn, supported by faculty, staff, family and friends who have cheered them on since their arrival on the hilltop. It was an occasion flooded with love and support, as distinguished faculty and members of the graduating class addressed their peers and special guests in attendance and were honored for outstanding achievements before diplomas were presented.

“We, the Class of 2024, are a class of contradictions,” said Charlene Jiao ’24, class speaker and recipient of the George P. Jenkins ’32 Prize as valedictorian of the class. “Our Blair journey began with an era of quarantine, social distancing and isolation, yet we leave with lifelong friends and mentors whom we can always lean on for support. While it may seem contradictory that this is our final hour as a class, focus on the joy of the present. Savor this bittersweet day as we prepare to step into the world alone, together.” 

The entire Blair community extends heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2024!

FACULTY AWARDS

Apgar Award for Teaching Excellence: Mathematics teacher Will Murray

John C. & Eve S. Bogle Teaching Prize: English teacher Douglass Compton

Riether Residential Life Award: History teacher Anders Fogel & health-and-wellness teacher Cency Middleton

Lillian & Samuel Tedlow Teaching Prize: English department chair James Moore, Hon. ’93

Headmaster’s Faculty Prize: Director of Integrated Science Research and science teacher Dr. Nadia Abascal

STUDENT AWARDS

Headmaster’s Prize: Kady Seck & Carter Neves

Blair Academy Trophy: Brynne Grant & Machua Muchugia

George P. Jenkins ’32 Prize: Charlene Jiao

Appointments to the United States Naval Academy: Joshua Anthony, Nicholas Barra, Elizabeth John & Andrew Keesey
 

CLass of 2024 Baccalaureate march

Following a night of dancing at prom and on the brink of Blair’s commencement ceremony, the Class of 2024 assembled in the DuBois Theatre for a poignant gathering. This marked one of their last collective moments to honor the remarkable accomplishments of their peers at the Senior Prize Assembly. Surrounded by classmates, faculty and family, outstanding students were recognized for their unwavering dedication, hard work and contributions to the Blair community.

“It’s not merely the product generated, but the characteristics of the person themselves in pursuing their goals that we celebrate as a School,” Assistant Head of School for Academics Nathan Molteni said, addressing the class. “You all share a piece of these accomplishments as classmates, teammates, friends and supporters. So when we call a few names tonight, we hope you’ll feel a collective pride for the exceptional efforts of your class.” 

The evening began with the presentation of awards for academic excellence, with department chairs expressing pride in acknowledging their outstanding students. English teacher Kaye Evans revealed the seniors who had attained membership in Blair’s Cum Laude Society, while Paul Clavel ’88, Director of Athletics, commended the Buccaneers for their remarkable achievements as part of Blair’s athletic teams. Following these recognitions, the Class of 2024 presented Mr. Curran with their gift, a collective $1,639 for the class scholarship and Blair Fund, marking the conclusion of the awards ceremony with prizes honoring overall student development across all facets of campus 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 admission associate Chase Palanca ’15 by Dean of Faculty Life Leucretia Shaw. In a presentation earlier in the week, Mrs. Shaw was honored with this year’s ACTA yearbook dedication, selected by the senior class.

“It has been a privilege to watch you mature, grow and take advantage of all that Blair has to offer,” Head of School Peter G. Curran P’27 ’27 shared on behalf of faculty and staff. “As you officially join our alumni ranks tomorrow, please know how proud we are of all of you and how special it is for me to hand you your diploma—an appropriate bookend to my sending many of you your acceptances all those years ago.”

Congratulations to all those recognized at the 2024 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: Daniel Zhang

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: Charlotte Devereux & Charlene Jiao

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: Ruby DeFrank & Cooper Winegar

THE EDYTH JEFFREY SHAKESPEARE ESSAY PRIZE, awarded to a Blair Academy student to recognize excellence in the study of William Shakespeare: Natalie Chamberlain & Daniel Zhang 

ART DEPARTMENT PRIZES, recognizing outstanding work in these areas:

TWO-DIMENSIONAL ART: Julia Twomey

PHOTOGRAPHY: Maddie Tuffnell & Tania Lau

THE PAUL R. WHITE HISTORY PRIZE, awarded to the students considered to be the most proficient in history in the senior class: Kseniia Burdiuzha, Richard Li & Kady Seck

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

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

SPANISH LANGUAGE PRIZE: Machua Muchugia

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

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

THE DALE ROSENSON DRAMATICS PRIZE, awarded to the senior who demonstrated excellence in lighting, sound, special effects and set management for theatrical productions at Blair: Julia Starikoff

THE HARDING MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to the students who contributed most to musical organizations: Emma Clavel & Abdoulaye Sylla

THE JOSEPH F. EBERLE MEMORIAL PRIZE, awarded to the students who exhibit outstanding achievement in music: Arthur Lee & Amy Kim

THE ROBERT F. HARRIS DRAMATICS AWARD, presented to the members of the student body who have shown the highest standard of excellence in dramatics: Grant Breckenridge, Julian Perello & Julia Twomey

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: Kseniia Burdiuzha, Apple Wu & Jazon Zhao

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: Emma Sng & Jack Gerdsen

CUM LAUDE INDUCTEES: 
Ethan Anthony
Natalie Chamberlain
Ruby DeFrank
Peyton Franz
Aria Goswami
Angela Han
Arthur Huang
Leo Li
Machua Muchugia
Leo Munasinghe
Zeynep Ozel
Joon Park
Jass Sanchez
Kendall Waag
Apple Wu

SENIOR ATHLETIC AWARD:
Avery Andrasek
Ethan Anthony
Emma Clavel
Chris Couri
Morgan Edwards
Morgan Frame
Peyton Franz
Yaneik Gallego
Owen Granahan
Brynne Grant
Isaac Greene
Luis Jimenez
Grant Krueger
Jocelyn O’Keeffe
Simisola Onakomaiya
Mackenzie Schreiber
Piper Summers
Petra Taylor
Cooper Winegar
Allie Wolff

WILLIAM ZESTER MEMORIAL AWARD: Brynne Grant

ROBERT DALLING PRIZE: Yaneik Gallego

HERBERT J. SIEGEL ’46 PRIZE: Jayden Williams & Morgan Edwards

LEE ROSE MEMORIAL TROPHY: Emma Clavel & Allie Wolff

FRANKLIN PRIZE: Yaneik Gallego

ELAINE & JAMES KELLEY PRIZE: Sydney Incarnato

SELENA & JAMES HOWARD PRIZE: Clara Yan & Ethan Anthony

HAROLD F. WALKER MEMORIAL PRIZE: Ruby DeFrank & Hayden Yau
 

A group of students climb an obstacle at Orientation.

Commencement Week went to new heights Tuesday as the upperclass dressed to impress at prom! Before jetting out for a night to remember, students gathered with parents, faculty and the underclass to take photos at Sharpe House. Director of School Photography Tyson Trish was on hand to capture the moment in the way only he can!

For more photos of the evening, please check out Blair Academy on Photoshelter.

bball team at prom
 
sydney and yaneik at prom
junior class council prom
 
prom family photo
 
junior girls at prom by lake
prom rainbow
students in black at prom by lake
senior boys at prom
 
prom karate kick
zeynep and parents
 
boys linked arms prom
senior girls prom
 
bout pin at prom
scc prom
luis and sam at prom
 
emma clavel at prom
 
green watch prom

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

kady senior speech

In an event revered as the kickoff to Commencement activities, a select group of seniors stole the stage last week, captivating the audience with their narratives. The Senior Public-Speaking Contest brought out the best of the Class of 2024 in the DuBois Theatre, imprinting their words on the hearts of the community that will bid them farewell as they graduate Thursday. Before leaving, they took to sharing just a little bit more about themselves, hoping another student could resonate with their experience.

“Once again, the senior speakers displayed an inspiring combination of close observation, narrative structure and polish as they reflected on their own lives and those of others through topics that ranged in scope from how to approach one’s choice of ice cream to the challenges of living in two distinctly different cultures,” English department chair and contest organizer Jim Moore, Hon. ’93 said.

One by one, the seniors took to the stage, elected to represent their English class by their peers and teacher. The contest, a quintessential Blair rite of passage, offers students a platform to practice core skills they will need as they look to continue their journey after graduation: projection, pacing, enunciation and reading the audience. Preparations for the speeches begin earlier in the year, teaching the art of brevity and drafting a speech that accurately conveys your final thoughts leading up to Commencement.

“Public speaking is a risky venture for even the most experienced speaker, so it poses a substantial challenge for many of our students,” veteran English teacher Bob Brandwood explained. “What is always surprising and gratifying is just how well our students step up to that challenge, producing interesting, thoughtful and compelling statements of their beliefs, experiences or opinions.”

No two speeches were alike, and in the end, Kady Seck ’24 was awarded first place for her narrative detailing how spending her afternoons at her mom’s job in a salon helped shape who she is today. Richard Li ’24 and Eric Ihekwaba ’24 secured second and third place, respectively, and Mr. Moore commended all speakers for putting their best foot forward.
 

mural painting DOS

Equipped with shovels and paintbrushes, clay and blankets, the Blair community got to work, delivering on one of the seven principles that guide learning on the hilltop. “Real-world engagement and service to others engender meaningful experiences,” and one of the most meaningful during the academic year is the annual Day of Service. Ten years from the inception, the all-School event lent a helping hand to 25 service projects at Blair and in the extended community, showcasing the best of Blair—genuine care for others.

Service is built into the routine of a typical year at Blair, with students volunteering regularly. Clubs like La Conexión regularly tutor Spanish-speaking students in nearby schools and Project Esperanza hosts fundraising events on campus to raise money and awareness for ​​underprivileged children in China. On Day of Service, however, the entire hilltop puts aside their busy schedules to make a difference in the lives of others.

To kick off the day and motivate the community for the important work ahead, everyone gathered in the Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the Arts’ DuBois Theatre to hear from Margaret Schiller P’12 ’13, president of the Ridge and Valley Conservancy. Ms. Schiller shared her work with the Conservancy, promoting the preservation of natural areas in our area. During the day, one group of students joined the organization, removing invasive plants on a hiking trail. Ms. Schiller encouraged students to find a volunteer organization they are passionate about and help make a difference by volunteering, using today as a launching pad.

“Volunteers are our lifeblood,” Ms. Schiller explained. “Nonprofits can’t survive without volunteers, and that’s where you come in.”

Along with trail maintenance, students served lunches and stocked shelves at a local food pantry, translated brochures from local non-profits into Spanish, crafted blankets for victims of domestic violence and so much more. For the first time, Day of Service partnered with Habitat for Humanity to stock merchandise and build a relationship for further service in the school year ahead. Blair’s Project Ally provided social-emotional lessons for local children in kindergarten through second grade, another added program to this year’s list of projects.

In anticipation of another successful Tag Sale next year, students worked to collect and organize items from around campus that students have donated as they prepare to depart for the summer. Last year’s sale raised $6,000 for local food pantries and the independent nonprofit Blair in Kenya. With the help of Day of Service volunteers, the Tag Sale team is on track for next year’s event. Also supporting Blair in Kenya, ceramics students crafted nearly 80 bowls for the Empty Bowls project.

“Everyone can make service a part of their lives,” Day of Service coordinator and history teacher Joanne Brandwood said. “On the Day of Service, the Blair community builds on its tradition of giving back, empowering others while engaging in rewarding work.”

To view more pictures of the day, visit Blair Academy on Photoshelter.
 

2024 Bogle Brothers Luncheon

Former Board of Trustee Chair John C. “Jack” Bogle ’47 loved engaging with the recipients of The Bogle Brothers Scholarship at Blair Academy. He and his wife, Eve, pored over hundreds of letters from students at Blair sharing their academic pursuits and daily life on the hilltop. Their dreams and aspirations resonated with him, and he committed himself wholeheartedly to both their success and the School’s.

Jack Bogle established this scholarship in 1968 in honor of his brothers, the late David C. Bogle ’47 and William Y. “Bud” Bogle III ’45. His mission was to give students the same opportunity afforded to the three brothers to attend Blair. The scholarship has been given to students “of special promise to obtain necessary funding for their Blair education,” after demonstrating financial need, academic ability, character and determination.

Jack Bogle enjoyed returning to his alma mater regularly, but no visit more so than the Bogle Brothers Luncheon, when he dined with current students and former scholars to get a pulse on their lives on the hilltop and beyond at the end of each school year. After Jack’s passing in 2019, his brother Bud took the helm, continuing the tradition of connection and celebration with those impacted by his brother’s generosity.

On May 13, Bud ventured to the hilltop once more—a year shy of his 80th Reunion—to honor his brother’s legacy. A terrific opportunity to network, the luncheon brought students and alumni together to learn more about one another and share their Blair stories. Bud hosted Chloe (Brooke) Holderness ’94, Kristen Bogart Salmon ’01, Emmanuel Bello ’04, Sam Tilney ’08 and Corey Downey ’20 alongside current scholarship recipients at Sharpe House for an afternoon of memories and delectable bites. Jack would have loved the occasion.