Tag Archive | "Ross School"

Summer Camp @Ross Empowers Kids With Quacks

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Summer Camp @Ross Director Christopher Engel, right, and counselors greet campers on their way into camp Tuesday, July 1. Photo by Kristen Hyland.

Summer Camp @Ross Director Christopher Engel, right, and counselors greet campers on their way into camp Tuesday, July 1. Photo by Kristen Hyland.

By Tessa Raebeck

“Pablo Picasso says,” Christopher Engel shouts, before aggressively flapping his arms and quacking like a duck. The crowd of some 250 kids gathered around him begins quacking too, perhaps to the dismay of the late Pablo Picasso.

For Mr. Engel, director of Community Programs at the Ross School in East Hampton, which includes the Summer Camp @Ross, now in its seventh year, doing ridiculous things is a means to set the stage for children to feel comfortable in their own skin.

“We try to make it imaginative and fun,” Mr. Engel said Tuesday, July 1, adding that the goal is to “make everyone feel good about who they are [and to] empower them to try and do things.”

Campers start their day by walking underneath a giant rainbow canopy, held by their counselors outside the entrance to the Wellness Center at Ross’s Upper Campus. Music blasts and the counselors dance with an energy you don’t often see among those under 25 at 8:30 a.m.

Ross Campers hang out before morning meeting Tuesday, July 1. Photo by Kristen Hyland.

Ross Campers hang out before morning meeting Tuesday, July 1. Photo by Kristen Hyland.

After dancing their way through the rainbow, campers go inside to check in with their counselors and hang out. Most of them chat excitedly, a little girl shows off her magic tricks to tennis program director Peggy Stankevich and another girl can’t seem to stop doing cartwheels.

One particularly tall counselor, Gari Blackett,  a basketball coach at the camp who is associated with the New York Knicks organization, holds a basketball up while some 10 boys jump at him.

At the campwide meeting each morning, assistant camp director Nick Behrens shoots a basketball backward over his head, aiming for the hoop at the other end of the gym. According to campers, he makes the difficult trick shot a lot, but today is not his day.

Backward basketball, although fun and somewhat ridiculous, has a serious intent behind it, Mr. Engel said. It is about empowering kids to try and do things and to feel comfortable being a little silly.

Campers can personalize their experience to pursue their own interests in sports, science, the outdoors and the arts. There are over 25 camp majors, including Junior Crime Investigators, Fashion Design, Filmmaking, Photography and Gymnastics. During the eight-week program, campers choose minors and majors. They go to their majors for the bulk of the day in the morning then regroup at lunch and do minors in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, Mr. Engel asks campers whether they think Jon Mulhern teaches tap dancing—as Mr. Mulhern does a little jig—or culinary—Mr. Mulhern pats his belly—or if he leads the Inventor’s Workshop. The tap dancing jig gives him away as the Inventor’s Workshop director.

Mr. Mulhern and counselors fashion a bridge made entirely of Popsicle sticks, hot glue and string in between two tables. A weight is hanging from the makeshift bridge. A volunteer from the mass of campers comes forward to hang on the weight and, somehow, it holds him, then another camper, a junior counselor and eventually counselor Lily-Anne Merat.

Inventor’s Workshop is one of the programs offered at the Innovation Lab, Ross’s science, math, engineering, media and technology academy. Jr. Crime Investigators, a new major in which campers are challenged to become detectives for the summer, learning forensics analysis skills like fingerprinting and ink chromatography, as well as collecting crime scene evidence and interviewing and interrogating suspects, is also offered at the lab, as are Stop-Motion Animation, Naturalist Explorers and Robotics.

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Photo by Kristen Hyland.

Inside the lab Tuesday, Summer Term students are trying to replicate the pieces of a Mr. Potato Head on a 3D printer. The three boys work with instructor Creighton Wirick and Dr. Dave Morgan, dean of science at the Ross School and director of the Innovation Lab. One of them has refashioned Rio de Janeiro’s famed statue “Christ the Redeemer” from his home country Brazil.

Campers can supplement time in the lab with outdoor activities like basketball, golf and rugby. On Tuesday, the multisport and dodge ball majors combined on the fields, with kids aged 6 to 14 competing. One would think the advantage went to the preteens, but counselor Bailey Arens insists the 6-year-olds are a threat, as they are prone to “sneak up on you,” he said.

From horseback riding to sneaking up on bigger kids to pelt them with dodge balls, the intent at Summer Camp @Ross is to help campers do what feels best. Or, as Mr. Engel said, “If you’re smart, make the sound of a dog—Pablo Picasso says woof.”

Dance Troupe Spends Summer Teaching and Performing in East Hampton

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A performance by BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance. Photo courtesy of Teresa Fellion. Photography by Andy Phillips

By Mara Certic

Teresa Fellion was a hyperactive toddler. When she was about two-and-a half, her mother decided it was time to get her involved in an energy-expending hobby. And that’s how she started dancing.

Ms. Fellion’s New York City-based dance company, “Body Stories: Teresa Fellion Dance,” returns to the East End this summer to teach, perform and inspire.

In the past, the contemporary dance troupe has held a few performances on the East End during the busy summer season. This year, however, a partnership with the Ross School’s summer camp program will have the modern dancers posted in East Hampton until mid-August.

Ms. Fellion was traditionally trained in a regional ballet company, but her dancing is anything but traditional. Since she graduated from college, Ms. Fellion has had quite an eclectic dancing career. In a phone interview on Sunday she told the story of how she danced with Phish at their would-be farewell concert.

“My brother is a huge Phish fan, and in 2004 they were breaking up and it was a big thing. I had just graduated from conservatory and I knew I wanted to choreograph—I wanted to make dances,” she said. “And I thought to myself, ‘I bet they need dancers!’”

According to Ms. Fellion, Trey Anastasio and the other members of the band were receptive to a press kit that she put together after her epiphany and “they invited us to perform five or six times with them at the Coventry Festival in Vermont on several different stages.” Plans fell through to do a warehouse performance for a recent album, but Ms. Fellion added that “I’m in touch with [Phish]; someday we’ll do something with them again.”

Ms. Fellion, three teachers from her company and an intern will run the dance curriculum during the seven weeks of the camp. Summer Camp at Ross offers 27 one- or two-week long “majors” that allow participants to explore a certain area in depth, be it dodge ball, surfing, photography or dance.

Those who choose the dance major will learn about technique, improvisation and composition—and even learn some parts of the company’s current repertory.

Like Ms. Fellion, many of the dancers in her company are classically trained and will teach that technical precision during the summer program at Ross. Ms. Fellion also looks for something else: “diverse backgrounds, that’s something that I covet,” she said.

Ms. Fellion spent a year dancing in Cameroon and performed at the country’s national soccer cup finals. “I had never been to a soccer game before. I went to the national soccer cup finals, the stadium was on fire and then you’re on the field, dancing in the halftime show,” she said. “It was a real out of body experience.”

“I want dancers with that versatility,” she said.

But the classes will also be geared toward the students’ needs, she said. A large portion of them will be dedicated to improvisation and composition exercises. “We very much want the students to have self-generated movement,” the dancer said.

In addition to the classes at the camp, the company will also put on a series of drop-in workshops (pre-registration requested!) for adults on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Again, she will cater to her students’ needs and mentioned that she is yoga-certified, and that she could happily teach a yoga class but “if people want to incorporate dance into yoga that’s a class I do too.”

One class would be what she described as a “dance/fitness/fun class.” “This will meet everyone’s needs. It’s lively, there’s some conditioning but also dancing for expression,” she said, adding that all of her classes are open level.

 

For those who would rather observe, on top of a few informal performances for campers, the company will dance for the public on Thursday, July 31, and Saturday, August 2.

 

“The show will be a mix of four of our five active repertory pieces,” she said.

 

“No One Gets Out of Here Alive,” is a humorous tongue-in-cheek piece about junior high school. Whereas “Fault Line” is an all-female piece that starts out balletic “and then gets more and more intense.” “The Mantises Are Flipping (P.S. I’ll Have Whatever They’re Having)” has amusing moments but also “interesting partnering” she said. “They are all so different.”

Pierson and the Ross School Win Big at the 12th Annual Teeny Awards

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Pierson High School students rehearse the final dance number of "A Chorus Line" in the high school auditorium January 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

Pierson High School students rehearse the final dance number of “A Chorus Line” in the high school auditorium January 26. Photo by Michael Heller.

By Tessa Raebeck

Up against 15 other competing high schools, Pierson High School and the Ross School took home 10 awards between them at the 12th Annual Teeny Awards ceremony at Longwood High School Sunday, June 8.

Hosted by East End Arts, the Teeny Awards recognize exceptional acting, directing and technical work in the theatre productions at local high schools. The 2013-2014 awards saw the entry of over 30 dramas, comedies and musicals, with more than 1,000 students involved in the casts, crews, pit and production teams.

“Whatever position you hold in a theatrical production–it is of the utmost importance,”  Teeny Awards Coordinator Anita Boyer said in a press release Sunday. “Each member of the troupe relies on the others in order to pull off a show and being a part of it is such a unique and incredible experience.”

 

Pierson High School

Before a crowd of past Teeny Award winners, theatre owners, local politicians and other distinguished guests, Pierson students performed the number “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line,” warming up for what would be a long night of shaking hands and grabbing trophies.

Pierson took home one of the biggest awards of the night, winning “Best Ensemble” for its production of “A Chorus Line.”

The technical end of “A Chorus Line” was also featured in a heavy showing during the awards. Shelley Matthers was recognized for her role as stage manager and Shane Hennessy took home a technical design recognition award for his role in lighting design for ”A Chorus Line,” as well as Pierson’s other productions “A Murderer Among Us” and “The Fantasticks.”

Emily Selyukova was also recognized for technical design for her work as set designer and student director for “The Fantasticks.”

Emily and the entire cast of “The Fantasticks” took a Judges’ Choice Award home to Sag Harbor for their work as a student run and directed production.

The Lead Actress in a Drama award went to Rebecca Dwoskin of Pierson for her performance as Olga Buckley Lodge in “A Murderer Among Us.”

 

The Ross School

The Ross School also had a strong showing. Joannis “Yanni” Giannakopoulos was named best supporting actor in a drama for his performance as Scotty in “Median.”

Ross also earned best supporting actress in a drama, with Amili Targownik winning the award for her solo showing in “The One-and-a-Half-Year Silent Girl.”

The supporting actress in a comedy award resulted in a surprising tie, but the twist simply gave Ross School two awards instead of one; For their performances in “The Grand Scheme,” Daniela Herman, who played Bethel, and Naomi Tankel, who played Clarice, were honored.

Inga Cordts-Gorcoff was awarded a prize for her role as stage manager for “One Acts” at Ross.

Ross School Students Test Exploration Challenge for National Geographic Kids

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Jeong Ho Ha, Harrison Rowen, Caio Garcia, Sunny Gou work on the National Geographic challenge at the Innovation Lab @Ross. Wil Weiss photo.

Ross School students Jeong Ho Ha, Harrison Rowen, Caio Garcia and Sunny Gou work on the National Geographic Kids Engineering Exploration Challenge at the Innovation Lab @Ross. Wil Weiss photo.

By Tessa Raebeck

Building a camera that can withstand a tiger’s attack, another that can be raised and lowered into a forest canopy and a wearable power system that can charge devices for explorers in the field, students at the Ross School recently tested three tasks for the National Geographic Kids Engineering Exploration Challenge.

For a week in February, students at the Innovation Lab @Ross, an academy within the school that seeks to develop entrepreneurship in science, mathematics, engineering, media and technology for advanced students, tackled real-world problems faced by explorers. The Ross students served as the official testers of the challenge for National Geographic, which publicly released the guidelines to the rest of the world in a launch March 6 in the April issue of National Geographic Kids magazine.

“Since they found out about the Innovation Lab and the sort of hands-on project-based stuff that we do, they got the idea that it would be good to have a school to sort of test these engineering challenges before they went live,” Dr. David Morgan, dean of science and director of the Innovation Lab, said.

“The education review has always been a key part of our process at National Geographic before we launch new programs,” Kathleen Schwille, vice president, education design and development of Education Programs at National Geographic, said in a statement. “We asked Ross School to participate in the assessment of this project because we recognize a great deal of synergy between our philosophies, which is specifically evident in programs like the Innovation Lab @Ross.”

Some 20 students in grades four, six and high school participated in the test challenge. The younger students are part of the Junior Innovation Lab, an after-school program for grades four through eight that is also academic and for which students receive grades.

“The challenge gives budding engineers worldwide the opportunity to try to solve some of the technical problems that National Geographic explorers face in the field every day,” a press release issued by the company stated.

The challenge had three different levels, so students could participate in their respective test based on their age and ability.

The first challenge, tested by the youngest students, asked them to design, build and test a camera that can withstand an attack from wild animals in the field. In “Eye in the Sky,” the second challenge, students created a system that can raise a camera at least 10 feet in the air and safely lower it back down. The third and most challenging of the tasks was “Wearable Power,” in which high school students were asked to design, build and test a wearable way to generate at least 1 watt of electricity without the help of an electrical outlet, to enable those in the field to charge their cameras, equipment and other devices.

For the most part, fourth grade students undertook the animal-proof camera challenge, sixth graders tested “Eye in the Sky” and high school students constructed wearable devices for generating power, although Dr. Morgan said there was some overlap.

“They were actually able to create working prototypes [in a] nice range of levels and projects and the students came up with some really, really interesting ideas,” he said.

In addition to testing the actual tasks of the challenge, Ross students explored different means of doing so. Some students completed the project in a “day-long hack-a-thon,” working straight through from noon until 5 p.m. from beginning to end, designing, building and testing all at once. Other groups completed their projects by working on them for an hour a day for five days.

“One of the things we try to do in Innovation Lab in general,” explained Dr. Morgan, “is to give students big blocks of time to work on something. And the students accomplished way more in that big block of time, where you don’t have to pack things up and put them away at the end of every class. You can really do the whole thing at once and not interrupt your train of thought, so it was actually really successful.”

In the challenge to develop a wearable power system that can generate electricity to charge devices in the field without using an outlet, one group of high school students at Ross made a device resembling an orthopedic knee brace. They outfitted it with an electric motor, so that every time the person wearing it flexes their knees, electricity is generated, effectively creating power just by walking. Another group used hand-cranked electric flashlights embedded in the heel of a shoe, to generate electricity every time the wearer steps down and their heel hits the ground.

Through its participation in the challenge, the school was able to test several different formats at once, seeing how students worked in small groups versus big groups, the hour of time versus the hack-a-thon, and how the different age groups related to the challenge. Feedback on both the challenges and the Ross experience was provided to National Geographic and that guidance was incorporated into the public challenge.

Students enjoyed the projects so much that many hope to also participate in the public, worldwide competition, Dr. Morgan said.

After entering their designs online, along with a short description, video and photographs, students in the actual competition are judged “not just on which one works the best, but they’ll be judged on their creativity and their perseverance and their imagination,” he said. “So it’s not just about who’s generating the most volts of electricity, it’s about who has approached the engineering process with the right mindset…the challenge isn’t so much about winning, as it is about getting students to be creative and use their imaginations.”

During the official launch event of the public challenge, Ross students were invited to Skype with the personnel at National Geographic, to share their feedback and solutions.

National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet,” said Ms. Schwille in a statement, “and we firmly believe that today’s most pressing global issues will be solved by tomorrow’s engineers.”

Ross School in East Hampton Unveils New Marine Science Program

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Students from the Ross School working aboard a SoMAS research vessel.

Students from the Ross School working aboard a SoMAS research vessel.

By Tessa Raebeck

One scientist is looking at the medical applications of 3D printing technology, another is working on a Hydrogen-powered fuel cell and a third is developing an inexpensive way to have a prosthetic limb that responds to brain control. What do the three scientists have in common? They’re all in high school.

The projects are just some examples of independent research taking place in the Innovation Lab at the Ross School. Now in its second year, the program is adding marine science to its curriculum, which already includes diverse subjects like engineering, computer programming, woodworking, metalworking and welding.

“The Innovation Lab is a unique program that uses applied science and education to meet current problems of our society,” explained Paul Flagg, a teacher at Ross who was brought in to lead the marine science program. “So we are going to be working locally, regionally and globally in our efforts.”

In addition to the Ross School core curriculum, students in the Innovation Lab spend an extra hour at school each day working on their independent projects, which they choose and design themselves.

“The students are given a lot of latitude to select a project that they’re interested in,” Dr. David Morgan, the director of the lab, said. “What I tell students is if they’re not looking forward all day to when the Innovation Lab time comes around and they get to work on their project, then they probably chose the wrong project.”

“I really want the students all working on something they’re passionate about,” he added, “that is the kind of thing they would be doing anyway if they weren’t in school. Those are the kinds of students we’re looking for and the kinds of projects we try to steer them towards.”

Drawing on local resources and global ideas, the marine science program aims to broaden the Innovation Lab past engineering-type sciences to include life sciences and allows students to choose their focus from a large and diverse field.

“I think of the marine science program as more broadly than just fishing and plankton,” said Dr. Morgan. “It’s about global environmental issues. It’s about sustainability.”

“There’s room for students,” he added, “who are interested in genetics. There’s room there for students who are interested in resource management, fisheries, oceanography, computer modeling of global climate change…it’s a pretty big field.”

Flagg, who has an extensive background in fisheries and marine biology, designed the new program’s first course, “The Earth and its Oceans,” which is focused on physical oceanography and marine theology, currently in the fourth of 12 weeks.

Students are building a ROV (remote operated vehicle), “basically a robotic submarine,” said Dr. Morgan, and developing data collection packages to test the water for things like salinity and dissolved oxygen content.

In all projects, students are encouraged to look at problems in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Following the course, 22 students and five faculty members will travel to Mo’orea, a remote island in French Polynesia, for 20 days during the Ross School’s midwinter term.

In collaboration with National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institute, they will conduct field research for a bio-code project at University of California at Berkeley’s Richard Gump Research Station.

“It’s an inventory of all life that exists” in Mo’orea, said Flagg. “We’re working on that inventory, including the genetic identity of each species, and so far the project has been going for five years and we’re coming to support it.”

Dr. Morgan said such trips are going to be an important part of the program.

“Getting students working not just in our local waters,” he said, “but getting them to experience environments that they might not otherwise get a chance to experience.”

Some students, he said, are conducting research on using the oceans to generate power through wave and tidal power generation or generating electricity from the temperature difference between the surface water and water 100 meters below.

“[We are] looking at the oceans as a source of energy and not just a place that we pull things out of to eat,” said Dr. Morgan, adding that the Ross School encourages students to think about global environmental impact in all their projects and “how this technology might be able to help mitigate things like environmental effects of human existence on this planet.”

The Ross School is offering three full tuition merit-based scholarships, including stipends and support for all four years, for marine science students from the local community.

Two scholarships have already been awarded to Evi Kaasik Saunders and Liam Cummings, but one is still available. To apply for the remaining scholarship, visit ross.org/apply or email admissions@ross.org.

“We feel committed,” Flagg said, “to supporting the community with research and students that are interested and would like to be involved in matters of local concern — such as the effects of sea-level change, effects of mismanagement of fisheries — so we think there’s a lot of opportunity for high-level participation and support of local resource management in the marine environment.”

Although students are doing work on a global scale, the program is committed to the local community.

“We feel that we’re part of a community that has a long relationship and dependence on the ocean for its survival,” said Flagg.

 

National 9/11 Flag Visit

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By Candace Sindelman

 

The National 9/11 Flag has been almost everywhere. During its historical restoration tour it has been to all 50 states from the top of Mount Rushmore to the Crazy Horse monument. Now the 20’ x 30’ foot flag, transported in its very own triangular bag, will make its appearance in Sag Harbor where it will be displayed to honor those participating in the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Game this Saturday.

The flag originally flew on 90 West Street in New York City, until the neighboring World Trade Center was destroyed in the attacks of 9/11. It was eventually removed when Charlie Vitchers, the construction superintendent for the clean up at Ground Zero ordered a crew up the scaffolding to rescue the remains of the tattered American Flag. Vitchers’ original plan was to have the flag be nobly retired as tradition with any American flag that has been tattered. However, in 2008, Vitchers still had pieces of the American flag in a plastic bag at his home in Pennsylvania.

That same year, on the anniversary of 9/11 the organization New York Says Thank You travelled to Greensburg, Kansas to aid in rebuilding after a deadly tornado, Vitchers had brought the remains of the flag with him. The condition was poor; approximately 40 percent of the flag was missing. All the ladies from the Senior Citizen Center in Greensburg, Kansas stitched the flag back together. Where there was no original material the volunteers took American flags that had also survived the tornados and sewed them to the existing flag. Those flags were eventually returned to the people of Greensburg as the restoration project continued toward 2011 and were instead replaced by retired flags from several states as well as special patches to honor disaster victims and heroes.

Over 20,000 people from all over the country have placed at least one stitch on the flag aiding in its restoration including the family of Martin Luther King, Jr., World War II veterans, soldiers and schoolchildren who survived the shooting at Fort Hood, 20 members of Congress, and thousands of everyday heroes in the service.

Denny Deters, who is in charge of Restoration and Protocol for the National 9/11 Flag is confident that the flag has exceeded the 50,000 stitches they had approximated it would have by the end of its tour. Adding to its history, the flag consists of 90 patches, one of which is a remnant of the flag that cradled Abraham Lincoln’s head when he was shot at Ford’s Theater as well as another patch that includes several threads from the original Star Spangled Banner.

Phil Ingram, one of the honored guards and volunteers for the flag is proud to be a part of the activities and the New York Says Thank You Foundation, which is an organization that serves, as he put it, “as healing for us as a country, but also as a way of giving back and saying thank you to everyone that has helped New York” (after 9/11). “(The National 9/11 Flag) has been to amazing places,” he said.

The National 9/11 Flag’s final destination is the World Trade Center, where it will become part of a permanent collection at the National 9/11 Memorial Museum.

On Friday the National 9/11 Flag will be displayed at the Ross School for public viewing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Innovation Lab to Immerse Students in Science

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By Claire Walla

The jobs of tomorrow might not be here today, but a new program at the Ross School is aiming to help high school students prepare for them.

That’s the concept behind the school’s new science academy, Innovation Lab @Ross, which was announced this month and is now accepting applications for the coming academic year.

According to David Morgan, who is returning to Ross after 10 years teaching undergraduate science courses at The New School, the program is being developed for those students who have already demonstrated an early passion for scientific innovation. Primary fields of study will include mathematics, engineering, media and technology; though within those realms Morgan said instruction and lab work will ultimately be attuned to students’ particular interests.

“The idea is that students will come with an interest in one of these fields,” he said. They might not be absolutely sure precisely what they want to pursue, he added, “but they’ve identified that this [path] is what they want.”

Ross has also announced a scholarship for local students hoping to be part of the Innovation Lab.  The deadline for the award is Tuesday, June 12, and information can be found at www.ross.org/scholarship.

Like the Ross tennis academy, the innovation lab students will take the same core courses as students in the regular school for the first half of the day. During the second half of the day, however, instead of playing tennis, students in the Innovation Lab will have hours to devote to science, focusing on “in-depth projects, independent research and labs that are two- to three-hour blocks,” Morgan explained.

“There’s a huge desire in today’s world for students to be connected to these fields,” added Patty Lein, Ross’ Director of Academics and Professional Development (also former chair of the science department). “A lot of professors are jazzed about the idea of bringing that innovative thinking into Ross; these students will be leaders in the field at some point.”

Morgan further impressed that the Innovation Lab would not only foster an environment where scientific exploration would be supported, it would give students a certain business sense, teaching them how to bring their ideas into the marketplace. The idea is for students to learn how to write grants, and even apply for science grants during their time at Ross.

“What we need to do is give students the skills to do independent research and be able to work with a mentor,” Morgan explained.

The Innovation Lab will tap into a list of well-established science researchers who will be available to consult with students throughout their time at Ross. These mentors include professors Morgan himself already has working relationships with, as well as professors from around the world.

These resources include mathematics professor Dr. Ralph Abraham of the University of California — Santa Cruz; professor of neuroscience Dr. Antonio Damasio of the University of Southern California; Dr. Kurt W. Fischer of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, mathematics professor Dr. Victor Katz of the University of the District of Columbia; and researcher Dr. Hideaki Koizumi of Tokyo, Japan, among others.

Of course, local scientists, like famed environmentalist Carl Safina, have agreed to participate on a consulting basis as well.

Ross is currently accepting ninth and tenth grade applicants ($49,850 base fee for day students, $66,150 for boarding students) with what both Morgan and Lein referred to as a demonstrated passion for science.

“The most important thing is an indication that the student is passionate and curious about something,” Morgan said. Although a track record of high achievement and good test scores will be considered as well, Morgan emphasized, “We want students whose eyes light up when they find out that they’ll get to spend part of their day with free time [to research, or conduct lab work].”

Morgan said the focus of the program is still evolving, and will continue to morph based on students’ interests. However, he anticipates putting a lot of energy into robotics and engineering, as well as 3D design and fabrication. (The school will be purchasing a 3D printer and scanner, which will allow students to create a digital prototype of a part — a robot claw, for instance — and the “printer” will essentially create it.)

“It’s a pioneering program,” Lein continued. “We want the voice of the first student body to help design the program’s next steps.”

Morgan agreed, adding that he’s excited to see how the program evolves over time.

“My greatest hope is that three years from now there will be students doing what I can’t even imagine now,” he stated. “My job is to make sure I can make that possible.”

Dr. Gregg Maloberti

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The interim head of the Ross School who will officially take over for current Head of School Michele Claeys when she leaves the position this July.

You’ve been in the admissions department at various private schools for many years, currently serving as dean of admissions and financial aid at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. How easily do you see yourself transitioning into the role of interim head of school at Ross?

The things I did [as dean of admissions] — like changing the student composition and creating new summer programs to make it easier for new kids to transition into the school — those were systemic changes. I did these things in concert with lots of different issues, all really with the mind that I would eventually like to run a school one day.


What’s one of the challenges you think a head of school faces these days?

Understanding what kind of curriculum is needed today. If you want to train doctors, lawyers and businessmen, then you know what to do. But what if we’re talking about graduating the people who are going to invent the next version of the Internet, or — who knows — interplanetary travel? You’re going to need a different kind of education, one that’s not so focused on set boundaries.


What’s one specific task you’ll have to tackle when you officially come onboard at Ross in July?

The school is now 20 years old, so one of the first things we’ll be doing is looking at the next decade, hopefully the next 100 years. It’s time to think about how the school can become sustainable over time.

The second priority is the boarding program. It’s brand new, so we’re looking to figure out how that boarding program can grow.


With the whole world at your fingertips, where do you even begin?

Strategically, we look at areas around the world that have an interest in boarding schools and have elementary and middle schools that can [prepare] kids leaving them [for boarding school abroad].


I know there are currently a lot of students from China. Do you try to balance where the students come from?

There is a disproportionate number of students at Ross from China. But, for one thing, Ross has just introduced a Mandarin program K-12, so it was the school’s initiative to get some kids who speak Mandarin on the campus. The other thing is that China is the newest big market for boarding schools.

You’ve alluded to the fact that a lot of boarding schools are taking in a lot of Chinese students. But, are they doing more than just filling their beds? A lot of them aren’t. Because Ross has a mission to create a sense of globalism, Chinese history is an active part of the academic curriculum.

Just this February, 100 kids from Ross actually went to China for M-terms.


At the end of the school year you’ll officially make the move from New Jersey to Long Island. Are you excited to move to the East End?

Thrilled! I don’t want to get on that bandwagon of dissing New Jersey, but… I’m interested in being in a location that’s naturally beautiful [laughs]. The clean air, the sunshine — it’s paradise!


Cosmos Seek Hat-Trick

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by Andrew Rudansky

At the Ross School in East Hampton, tennis is king.

With their six court Tennis Center located on the school’s Upper Campus, and top tier international coaching staff, Ross has separated themselves on the East End as the dominant force in Section XI tennis.

Nothing exemplifies this success in tennis more than the boys varsity team, which is the two-time defending League VII champions, having gone undefeated in league play in both 2010 and 2011.

In both those years, Ross had finished in the finals in the Suffolk County tournament, both times losing out to powerhouse Half Hollow Hills East.

This year Ross is off to another hot start, starting the season with a league record of 5-1. The one loss came at the hands of Southampton in a close 4-3 decision on April 2. It was Ross’ first loss in over 29 league games.

Ross is currently locked in a three-way tie for first place with the Westhampton Hurricanes and the Southampton Mariners.

Ross is led by senior Felipe Reis, the number one singles player on the team. Last year Reis made it to the state quarter finals in doubles, and this year he is off to a great 6-0 start to the season.

“[Reis] is definitely the strongest player,” said coach Vinicius Carmo. “He is strong mentally, even if he is down he is always fighting.”

Junior Ben Okin, the number two singles player, currently holds a record of 3-3 this season. Carmo said the tall junior has been using a big forehand shot and side-to-side ball placement to outmuscle his opponents.

Seventh graders Jonas Linnman, 5-1, and Mike Petersen, 4-2, occupy the third and fourth singles spots on the roster.

Carmo said that two teams have been fighting it out for the first doubles spot on the roster. Juniors Jack Brinkley-Cook and Louis Caiola are currently slotted in at number one, however the team of junior Pedro Zagury and freshman Harrison Rowen are close behind.

Freshmen Will Greenberg and Jordan Schwimmer occupy the third doubles team spot.

“The doubles teams have been very strong. I feel that we have a solid team, they can all play,” said Carmo.

Most recently Ross defeated William Floyd 6-1 on Wednesday, April 4. Reis, Linnman, Petersen, as well as the teams of Rowen/Zagury and Brinkley-Cook/Caiola won their matches in two sets.

While the team is still racking up League VII wins, the recent addition of the The Ross School Tennis Academy to the school could ultimately threaten Ross’ dominance in interscholastic tennis competition.

The Academy, which opened up in the fall of 2011 is a specialized training program at the school dedicated to intensive tennis training.

This year six Ross students were named ineligible for the Section XI Spring 2012 tennis season by the New York Public High School Athletic Association (NYPHSAA) for their involvement with the newly formed Academy.

Carmo said he was frustrated by the ineligibility of his students.

“Section XI, they said that it wasn’t fair because of the recruiting. We try to advertise, of course, because it is a private school; but we don’t say come and play for Ross. We don’t give athletic scholarships. To me that is not recruiting,” said Carmo.

The next home match for Ross will be on Wednesday, April 18 at 4:30 p.m. when they host Eastport/ South Manor (1-4).

Track Sends Six to Championships

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The Ross/Pierson Track & Field squad ended their 2010 season with six athletes competing in the Division III Championships on Tuesday May 25 at Connetquot High School.

Pierson’s Stephen Early, who had qualified for the pentathlon, was scratched from that race so he could be a member of the 400 meter relay team. Also on the relay team were Charles McIntosh and Brandon Zeidner from Ross and Oliver Lauro from Pierson. The team ran a time of 47.64 seconds, which was not their best time and did not qualify them for the final.

Charles McIntosh also competed in the 100-meter dash, finishing with a time of 11.83 seconds. McIntosh missed qualification for the final by nine-hundredths of a second.

Christian Gonzalez of Pierson ran the 400-meter dash in 58.33 seconds, also narrowly missing qualification for the final.

Despite the fact none of their competing athletes qualified for further rounds, this is the first time that Ross/Pierson has had this many athletes competing in the championship. With quite a few returning athletes, next season looks promising.

“Hopefully, we will continue to improve and go further in this meet and beyond,” said coach Jim Kinnier.