Tag Archive | "Ross School"

Ross Freshman’s a Rubik’s Cube Whiz

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web Gavin Nelson_0386

By day Gavin Nelson appears to be an average high school freshman.

But put a Rubik’s Cube in his hands and Nelson becomes a phenom.

Nelson’s fingers move frenetically as he manipulates the cube. Two red blocks swirl into a glimpse of blue followed by a haze of green, with flashes of orange and white. The clicking sounds of the small squares snapping into place offer an audible sign of a master at work.

Fifteen seconds later, Nelson is done. He sets the cube down, each side restored to its distinctive field of color.

Nelson discovered his passion for “cubing,” a term coined by fans of solving Rubik’s Cube and related puzzles, at age 13 when he first unlocked the secret of the cube that has stumped millions since it was invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor Ernö Rubik.

In the past three decades, the Rubik’s Cube has gained the reputation of a toy understood only by mathematical geniuses, beyond the grasp of the layman. For most people, that seems to be the case. They’ve been available in this country since 1980 and many American households have at least one scrambled Rubik’s Cube forgotten in a closet or attic, abandoned after a frustrated and ill fated attempt to solve the puzzle.

Nelson first stumbled upon a Rubik’s Cube in the basement of his family’s home. He immediately went online and discovered a treasure trove of tried and true methods for solving the puzzle. What astonished Nelson in his research was the simplicity of the cube.

Most people, explained Nelson’s twin sister, Kate, who is also adept at the cube and teaches others how to master it, focus on completing one side of color first — but this is often their undoing.

The “cuber,” explained Gavin Nelson, should break the puzzle down into manageable parts, and instead solve layers of color until the puzzle is complete. And although a knack for math is useful in solving the Rubik’s Cube, an ability to recognize sequences of visual patterns is far more helpful.

“There is quite a bit of memorization, but its visual memorization. I try to memorize patterns,” explained Nelson at his Noyac home. After years of scrambling and solving the Rubik’s Cube, Nelson has created a mental filing cabinet of corresponding moves for almost every color combination of pieces he encounters while working the puzzle. This has helped him lower his average solving time through the years. His fingers, too, have learned the drill, working in concert with one another while also seemingly independently — a flick of a pinkie is often all it takes to complete a section while his other hand is already focused on a different part of the cube. Another trick of the trade Nelson has picked up is coating his cubes with a silicone spray, which allows the blocks to turn more easily.

Nelson’s skill at the cube has taken him to competitions throughout the U.S. hosted mainly by the World Cube Association. Nelson particularly excels at three different events: solving the cube blindfolded, completing the puzzle with just one hand, and the megaminx — a type of “super Rubik’s” with 12 faces and 11 pieces per side.

“I went to my first competition in November of 7th grade. I was 13 and one of the youngest people doing it,” remembered Nelson. “There are a few tables up front where you compete. There are timers and the judge calls you up [to the stage]. You bring your cube and they scramble it for you. You have fiften seconds to look at it before they start the time.”

At the 2009 U.S. national championships, Nelson placed fifth in the final round of the megaminx challenge and nabbed 17th place in the first round of the blindfold event. When solving the cube with his eyes covered, contestants are first given the opportunity to study the scrambled cube before the blindfold is administered. When Nelson first competed with the Rubik’s Cube, his time hovered around two minutes — but his average is now in the 15-second range. In competition, Nelson’s best score was clocked at 13 seconds.

During competition, Nelson isn’t going toe to toe with teenaged players — all competitors are placed into the same group regardless of age. Most cubers, explains Nelson, are between 18 to 20-years-old, though the pack is peppered with a few 40 to 50-year-olds, and the players often aren’t the stereotypical math whiz.

Nelson’s mother, Christine, noted that unlike many sports, the intense competitive aspect of the matches rarely spills over into the interpersonal relationships between the players.

“It is 99 percent guys competing and there is huge camaraderie,” remarked Christine. “[In the off hours] they teach each other new moves and tricks. They become ‘cubing’ buddies and Nelson is in constant contact with them.”

She added that two years ago she couldn’t have imagined becoming a “cubing” mother and traveling to at least 10 competitions a year. But her son, noted Christine, has finally found a passion.

“He played soccer. He played the cello. But he became passionate about the ‘cubing.’ It is neat to see something that he was in love with doing,” said Christine. “It opened up a whole new group of long distance friends who are excellent role models for him.”

An unlikely byproduct of Nelson’s new found talent is that he can always be tracked down in his house by following the clicking noises.

“[My husband and] I would joke and say ‘can anyone make a silent Rubik’s Cube?’ There was a constant clicking in the house,” remarked Christine. “To find him you just had to follow the clicks.”

Sunshine’s the Best Medicine: Ross senior raises money for Camp Sunshine

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It was Halloween and Harley Braun was at a dance. But at this dance, Braun, a petite 17-year-old with brown hair and a wide smile, wasn’t surrounded by peers at school. Instead, she was in Maine at Camp Sunshine, a not-for-profit retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
As parents and children shimmied in their costumes around her on the dance floor, Braun spotted one mother sitting alone at a nearby table. Braun walked over to chat with the mother. What started as a casual conversation quickly turned into an intense discussion of the mother’s feelings about life after treatment. Her 12-year-old son had just been discharged from the hospital after being treated for a brain tumor. The mother had been at her son’s side almost 24 hours a day during his hospital stay, despite having three other children at home. Though out of the hospital, the son expected the same relationship to continue at home.
“She doesn’t know how to change the dynamics. They are still adjusting to life out of the hospital. As she was telling me this, she was crying and letting go,” recalled Braun. “She came off as a very strong woman. It always seemed that she knew what she was doing, but this shows that no one knows how to react.”
Camp Sunshine, said Braun, uniquely focuses on supporting the whole family in coping with these feelings as opposed to just the ill child. The camp runs week-long programs throughout the year and is free of charge. Braun has had a hand in charity work for several years. She founded the “Cause for a Cure” club, which raises money for cancer organizations, at the Ross School, where she is a senior. While researching different programs to donate to last year, Braun stumbled upon the Camp Sunshine website and decided to volunteer.
This Saturday, November 14, Braun with the help of her school will host “Camp Sunshine 2009 Carnival @ Ross” to raise money for the organization. It costs around $1,500 to help one family attend a week-long session. Braun is aiming to send at least five families to the camp and has almost reached her $7,500 goal. The Fraternal Order of Police in New York, with whom her father volunteers, made a sizable donation of $5,000. After lobbying her cause at a Ross Lower School parent association meeting, Ross parents who were complete strangers to Braun made financial contributions on Braun’s website and wrote notes of encouragement.
“I didn’t expect to have so much support. I went to the parent association meeting and when I got home that night someone donated $500,” said Braun, with her characteristic enthusiastic charm.
No doubt the Ross parents were impressed by Braun’s effusive spirit. Braun beams when talking about the week she spent volunteering at the camp over the summer. Despite the unfortunate circumstances that bring families to the camp, Braun calls it “Disneyland.” The children are paired off into ages groups to do activities. while the parents are given some much needed free time and a chance to reconnect with their spouse or other adult family member.
“Everyone wants to make each other feel better. The parents feel like they are home and the kids come to have fun. They realize that there are other children who know what they are going through,” explained Braun. “These children aren’t the typical children. They have so much more insight. They know how life is such a gift.”
Throughout the week, Braun spent her free time and meals getting to know the families. During the day, she was a camp counselor to the six to eight-year-olds. Braun loved the work so much she returned for a weekend over Halloween this year. Over the course of her Camp Sunshine experience, Braun said she formed particularly close relationships with the siblings of the ill children.
As part of her senior year at Ross, Braun is hosting the fundraiser and writing a paper on the effects a diagnosis has on the family, especially the siblings, for her senior project.
“Through my observations, I could tell the siblings wanted more attention. It is hard to say what I would do as a parent. They need people to support them as well,” noted Braun.
Braun hopes to continue working with children in the future as a psycho-social worker. She plans to study the field in college and her experiences at Camp Sunshine influenced this choice. At Camp Sunshine, Braun found she not only had a knack for helping children through difficult issues but genuinely enjoyed working with them.
“Growing up, I’ve always found that when I give back it makes me feel better. When I am with kids it makes me smile. At the camp, there was never a minute where I felt I wasn’t doing good enough,” remarked Braun. She still keeps in contact with many of the families she made connections with at the camp. Braun expects two of the families to attend the carnival on Saturday.
Braun’s carnival will offer a zany list of kid oriented activities including ring tossing, bean bag races, a toilet paper throwing contest, nail painting, magic tricks, a raffle and a bouncy castle. The Hampton Coffee Company has donated the use of their mobile coffee truck. Other local business donated the decorations and gifts for a raffle. All of the proceeds from Saturday’s event will be donated to Camp Sunshine.

Camp Sunshine 2009 Carnival @ Ross will be held at the Ross Lower Campus, at 739 Butter Lane in Bridgehampton. The Carnival will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m. For more information call Harley Braun at (516) 313-3854. To make an online donation to Camp Sunshine visit http://www.campsunshine.org/familysponsorship/members/member.php?mem_id=494.

Enrollment Skyrockets at Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor

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On the first day of school at Bridgehampton, superintendent Dr. Dianne Youngblood remembers seeing several new faces in the bleachers and watching as principal Jack Pryor introduced each one to the student body. Over in the neighboring Sag Harbor School District, school superintendent Dr. John Gratto was preparing to add another biology class for the children who recently joined the district.

This September, both the Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor School Districts noticed a sizable uptake in enrollment. The Sag Harbor School District welcomed 70 new students, while Bridgehampton received 27 additional pupils.

“Over the past three years there has been an increase, but this is statistically significant over the other years,” explained Pryor. Both Dr. Gratto and Pryor believe the recession and changing perceptions of the school districts impacted this trend.

“This [increase] is rare, but I think it is reflective of the economic times and indicates the quality of education kids will get here,” reported Dr. Gratto.

At Bridgehampton, Pryor noted that a large portion of the incoming students transferred from private schools. Of the 70 additional Sag Harbor students, about 18 formerly attended the Ross School which raised tuition to $30,000 this past year. However, Pryor and Dr.Gratto added that several other children moved to the area from New York City and many were pulled from private schools in the city, added Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matt Malone.

For Bridgehampton resident Chris Hoyt, transferring her children from a local private school to Bridgehampton Elementary had more to do with academics than economics. Her elder daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability and after touring all of the area public schools Hoyt felt Bridgehampton was the best match. The school, she said, appeared better equipped to handle her child’s needs. One family, said Pryor, moved to the East End from Indonesia, while other students were from out of state.

“We went to Bridgehampton and fell in love with it that day. My daughters started two weeks ago and it has been a smooth transition. They are completely embraced and treated like members of a family,” remarked Hoyt.

Other families who live out of district are choosing to pay to attend Bridgehampton or Sag Harbor. Dr. Youngblood reported that there are at least five new students paying tuition this year and in Sag Harbor two Bridgehampton residents have opted to enroll in the Sag Harbor School District.

At the Ross School, however, there has been a seven percent decrease in enrollment, though head of school Michele Claeys expects mid-year admissions. Students hailing from Sag Harbor account for one-fifth of the Ross student body, but this year that figure also decreased by seven percent. However, the school is noticing a significant increase in the number of boarding students.

“Our boarders have added a wonderful new dimension to Ross School. They represent ten countries and are a natural part of our global

mission. The boarding program is a terrific opportunity for both our boarding and day students to engage with peers who have a wide variety of life experiences and points of view,” said Claeys.

As yet, the increases in the student populations haven’t forced the schools to hire additional staff. The change has only slightly affected programming in Sag Harbor, specifically with the biology program taught in tenth grade. Dr. Gratto explained that the school has only 22 seats in the lab station of the science classrooms, but some classes had already filled up with between 24 to 28 students. The school opted to create an additional class for 14 students. Instead of teaching five classes, the biology teacher will now instruct six classes plus a lab resulting in an additional cost of $13,000 to $14,000.

At an extremely small school like Bridgehampton, the increase in students was welcomed as a way to diversify the classroom discourse.

“It made our classes more robust in terms of discussion. There are more students to interact with one another,” said Dr. Youngblood. “That has been one of our delights … and not having to increase teaching staff.”

Hoyt can testify to her daughter’s positive transition experience, although she wasn’t always keen on the Bridgehampton School District.

“I was apprehensive about the school because you heard so much about people trying to close it down,” recalled Hoyt. “[But now] I am confident in my daughter’s education and I am confident in the district.”

Tuition Hike at Ross Leaves Some Parents Wondering

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By Marianna Levine


Earlier this month, an email went out to all Ross School families announcing an increase in tuition of approximately 25 percent, a sum that shocked some parents and has many questioning their commitment — or their ability — to send their kids to the private school. However the letter also assured parents that the school was committed to retaining as many students as possible.

The March 4 email said tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year for the lower school would be $26,000, and increase from about $20,100, Middle School would be $28,500, up from 22,500, and the Upper School will be $30,000, up from $25,000.

Michele Claeys, Ross’s Head of School, explained, “For years we’ve charged a tuition lower than the value of the education we provide, and it has always been a part of the Board of Trustees’ strategic plan to increase tuition annually.” She added, “ because of the current economy we put the flexible tuition assistance plan (FTAP) in place to help our families.”

The new plan is meant to reflect sudden losses of income that many families may have recently incurred. Laura Bauer of Sag Harbor, a Ross class representative explains, “FTAP is different from a regular financial aid form, which takes note of all your assets. The flexible tuition plan looks more at sudden changes in income – liquid assets.”

In order for a family to join the flexible tuition program they must submit their financial information online to Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS) and they  recommend a tuition amount based on that information.

Linley Whelan of Sag Harbor, the parent of a current high school junior, whose three other children graduated from Ross said, “The letter was a complete shock, and I was quite angry. It said we were having a meeting about this the next night. It didn’t give anyone time to think about it.” Several families concurred, saying they were blind-sided by the size of the tuition increase, and in some cases felt betrayed that the school didn’t prepare them for it.

“I understand the school is in a very tough spot, but I wish they talked to the parents about it first,” Whelan continued, noting that the educated and accomplished Ross school parents are an under-utilized resource.

However, most families, despite their initial shock are very committed to the school. Franz von Walderdorff, who has one child at the Ross Upper School and one at Pierson High School commented, “The tuition increase is difficult for parents but understandable for the school. When compared with the schools in the city it is still more reasonable. Those who can afford it will have to help those that can’t.”

Another parent, Susy Kramer, with a child in middle school added, “They do have a unique curriculum, and it is making a difference in my child’s education. I understand they have to close their budget gap.”

Bauer, who moved to the East End specifically for the school, explained, “it’s a developmental stage for the school. I understand it has to happen for the school to be sustainable and independent. It’s just tough timing.”

Other parents don’t feel like they have another viable option for their kids, either because their children are happy at the school or because they are not satisfied with their public school.

“Fifty percent of the decisions we are making now are emotional. You think about your child’s social circle which is so important to them, and that may justify the expense,” stated a parent, who didn’t want to be named since they are still deciding were to place their child.

“If you have a student going into their senior year, its really a tough time to move them to a different school,” Whelan notes, and adds, “The kids are the collateral damage from all this, and people are worried about the repercussions for their children.”

In order to insure every family understands the new flexible tuition program the school has held several meetings and workshops over the past two weeks. Also the administration has made themselves available to meet with families individually according to Claeys. Additionally, the Board of Trustees will hold a meeting with families on March 20 in response to requests for further information on the tuition increase and the school’s financial sustainability.

 “They say they are very committed to having every family currently enrolled stay,” Bauer said. It was her opinion that as many as 65 percent of families currently in the school would qualify for aid under the flexible tuition plan.

Laurie Gordon, who has children in the second and fifth grades, explained “We’ve been at Ross for six years and we’ve never applied for financial aid before. It is my understanding (the administration) will work with us.” 

The school has encouraged everyone to fill out these financial forms. Yet some parents demure at having to do this, not wanting to expose their financial situation, and stating they live in a small community and feel uncertain about who will see this information. However the school has hired a new agency, Tuition Aid Data Services (TADS), to evaluate all applications. The March 4 email stresses that the financial process will be “highly confidential.”

In the end the Ross School Community seems to rally around the school and its programs. Claeys notes the teachers have agreed to a pay freeze, and also mentions this year’s annual appeal has already surpassed all others, even though it is only March.

Whelan reflects, “I’m less angry now. I’m still not over-joyed but I want to make sure the school survives and thrives.”

It remains to be seen how the school will be affected once parents know the exact amount of their tuition assistance.


Little League Prep and Winter Track

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Spring is Here


The weather forecast for the weekend has a lot of wet and cold in it, but so do most of March and April. Already looking ahead to those months, the Pierson softball and baseball teams are helping the Little Leaguers get ready for their season, with player clinics at Pierson High School starting this Sunday.

Incoming varsity softball coach Melissa Edwards and her Lady Whalers will start Sunday’s session, working with Little League softball players 7-and-up from 1 to 2 p.m. and those 9-and-up from 2 to 3 p.m.

Little League coaching coordinator Jeff Warne will be leading the baseball sessions this week, using much of the indoor gear the Whalers will train with in a few weeks. Baseball players 7-and-up are welcome to work out from 3 to 4 p.m. and the players 9-and-up are expected to go from 4 to 5 p.m.

Little League player registration will be available at the clinics and board members will be on hand to answer questions parents might have. Registration forms are also available online at sagharborlittleleague.org.

Anyone interested in coaching the Little Leaguers this spring is asked to attend the clinics. A coaching clinic has been scheduled for Sunday, February 1 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Attendance at this special clinic is a prerequisite for all managers and coaches, as is CPR and AED safety certification.

The Little League player clinics will continue throughout the winter with sessions set for January 24, February 1 and 8, and March 8 and 15, all in the Pierson gym. Completed registration forms will also be accepted at the clinics.


13-and-up Baseball at SYS


Whaler varsity baseball coach Sean Crowley will be leading a series of wintertime workouts for baseball players 13-and-up at SYS. The workouts will make use of the facility’s batting cages, arena court and pitching lanes.

The first of those workouts is set for this Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with subsequent sessions January18 and 25, February 1 and 8, and March 1 and 8. There is a $90 fee to participate in all the sessions and a $20-a-day drop-in option.

Coach Crowley has also asked Dr. Steve Petruccelli, a local chiropractor and former collegiate pitcher, to provide specialized training and video analysis for players interested in those additional services.


Early Tops in Track


Ross boys’ winter track coach Jim Kinnier has his team running in tomorrow’s League Relay races at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood. Last Sunday those boys competed in their last crossover meet on that same track, Stephen Early winning his section of the 300-meter race in 43.1 seconds.

Early was also a top finisher in the 55-meter dash, coming in second at 7.6 seconds in his heat. Teammate Mike Remkus also finished second in his 55-meter heat, posting a time of 8.7 seconds. Peter Skerys ran the 1600-meter race in six minutes 17.7 seconds.

Coach Kinnier, who is Pierson math teacher and coach of the Class D champion Pierson girls’ cross-country team, is pleased with his team’s performances, pointing out, “They are improving almost every time.”

Ross Nixes Most of its Season

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After a barrage of advertising and publicity, the Ross School has dropped all of the events from its summer @Ross series calendar, except for the Aretha Franklin concert, according to an email sent to its volunteers from events coordinator Jennifer Rockford. These events, which included a night of cuisine and wine hosted by restaurateur Danny Meyer, a day of well-being sponsored by Donna Karan and a Broadway musical revue, will apparently be rescheduled and integrated into the cultural events series during the fall and winter.

The @Ross series was just kicked off last week with a successful concert given by teen sensations The Jonas Brothers. The tickets for the concert were the most expensive of those offered this summer, at $1500 each.

Two events, a night of stand-up comedy and a concert by the B-52’s, had already been removed from the list of benefits earlier this summer. These benefits were also postponed to as of yet unannounced dates during the school year.

According to director of development and public relations Diana Aceti, they would like to be able to accommodate those members of the Ross community who are away during the summer and unable to attend.

“We might have something every month, which would be great,” said Aceti, adding that the participants involved have all shown “lots of interest” in rescheduling. “They’re all happy to work with us during the school year,” she said.

The benefits at Ross this summer marked the first events series organized by the school on its own. Last year’s “Social” concert series, which included such performers as Prince, James Taylor and the Dave Matthews Band, were held on the Ross upper school campus, but managed by the for-profit Manhattan based Bulldog Entertainment Group.

The school was excited by the prospect of being able to truly portray the Ross philosophies in their own benefits, as they have for years in their annual Starlight Ball. In other words, as Aceti noted in an earlier interview, “Ross knows how to do Ross best.”

Also, all proceeds from the events this summer would have gone directly to the school, each to a different department. Profits from the theater event were to go to the theater department and from the well-being event to the wellness department. Proceeds from the cuisine night were to go towards a café program on the Ross lower campus in Bridgehampton.

The Aretha Franklin concert, for which there are still tickets available, will be on Saturday, August 23, and will benefit the scholarship fund. A portion of the ticket price is tax deductible.  Franklin is donating her time to the school, as she did when she performed there in 2006. Also, an Aretha Franklin Scholarship will be given for the second time to a current Ross student.

The Hawkman Cometh

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Skateparks are not built in a day. And they’re not cheap either. So six years ago the most famous ambassador of the sport, Tony Hawk, decided to establish a foundation to both raise money to build safe, legal places for kids to skate and to help empower the armies of youths that are picking up the sport at break-neck speed.
This weekend, the man himself will arrive in the Hamptons with his own army of supporters and big time celebrities that have lent their names and their wallets to his cause. For the last five years Stand Up for Skateparks has been held exclusively on the west coast in glitzy Beverly Hills, California. But this year the east coast version of the star-studded event will take place on Sunday at the Ross Lower School.
When asked about some of his favorite moments from past events, Hawk recalled, “Raising $60,000 in a matter of minutes for a skatepark project in Compton, and watching Shaun White try his first 900.”
Director of the Tony Hawk Foundation Kim Novick said holding the event in the Hamptons had nothing to do with the area’s reputation as being the Beverly Hills of the east coast.
“We chose the Hamptons, to be honest, because there’s wide open space,” said Novick.
She said the foundation would have been hard-pressed to find even a venue that could hold Hawk’s personal ramp.
Each Stand Up for Skateparks event is essentially a pledge drive so the foundation can execute its mission throughout the year. The foundation builds skateparks in low-income areas all over the country. Novick said other than California, New York has the highest concentration of foundation-built parks. In total, over the last six years the foundation has awarded $2.3 million to over 390 skatepark projects in 47 different states. Sunday’s event will target their latest project in New York City, the Manhattan Bridge Skatepark.
There is also an educational aspect to Hawk’s foundation, particularly in attempting to shatter the old perceptions about skaters. While many kids that skate are still viewed as troublemakers, often when they’re hanging out in public places, skating where signs say they shouldn’t, a goal of the foundation is to prove that stereotype wrong.
“The general public has come to realize that skating can have a positive impact on a child’s life, and it’s not just an activity for outcasts and daredevils,” said Hawk.
“That is definitely a misperception, these kids are choosing this as a healthy sport. Kids are starting to pick up boards rather than bats and balls,” said Novick.
She said they’re finding that many skateparks are even being built on old tennis courts and baseball diamonds. She said municipalities often approach them and say they have some land for a park and it turns out to be an old baseball field.
“There’s 12.3 million skaters out there,” she said. “It is one of the largest growing sports in America right now. It is surpassing baseball and football. We need to find these public safe and legal places for them to practice the sport.”
Hawk hopes his message reaches out not just to kids but also to city planners, to parents and to law enforcement to help them realize that skateparks do more than benefit skaters.
“It not only empowers the kids of the community, but it betters the community as well.”
For more information on Sunday’s event, visit www.tonyhawkfoundaiton.org

A Month of Benefits at Ross

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Diana Aceti  said she couldn’t believe it when two years ago she spoke to the Queen of Soul personally on the telephone.

“They said, ‘Oh Diana, Aretha Franklin is on the phone for you,’” she remembered, “And I said, ‘You’re kidding!’”

Aceti is director of development and public relations for the Ross School, and was more than happy to take Franklin’s call from Detroit in 2006 when the legendary songstress happily agreed to give a benefit concert for the school’s scholarship fund. Franklin is apparently enamored of the East Hampton private school founded 15 years ago by Courtney Sale Ross. She donated her time in 2006, and will be giving another concert coming up this August 25.

The concert is the last of a series of events held at Ross this summer to benefit the school, which now runs from pre-nursery through grade 12. This will mark the second year Ross is holding such a series on its grounds. The concerts last year, which included Prince, James Taylor, Billy Joel and the Dave Matthews Band, were run through a separate entity, Bulldog Entertainment Group, a for-profit corporation.

This year the school has organized and produced the events themselves, while having Empire Entertainment act as a consultant and overseer. Aceti explained that in this way the philosophies of the school can most truly be represented throughout the series.

“We realized that Ross knows how to do Ross best,” she said.

Another advantage is that the full net proceeds from each event will go directly to its respective Ross department. For the first time according to Aceti, there will be a summer benefit for just the Ross theater department, one for the Ross School Café, and one for the wellness program. The concerts go toward the scholarship fund. For the second time, an Aretha Franklin Scholarship will be awarded to a current Ross student with an interest in the performing arts.

The first concert, which will kick off the summer “@Ross” series on the afternoon of August 9,will feature teen sensations The Jonas Brothers.. The intimate setting of the upper campus Great Hall is an unusual space for the pop stars, who have been selling out stadiums across the country to play for their “tween” fans.

Their tickets, at $1500, are the most expensive of the Ross events, but according to Aceti this is just to cover the cost of putting them on. “We wanted something healthy and good from the kids,” she said. A portion of all ticket prices are tax deductible.

Next on the schedule is a musical review given by such Broadway stars as three-time Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara, currently of South Pacific, Tony winner Laura Benanti of Gypsy, and Daphne Rubin-Vega from the original cast of Rent. The event will be held on the night of August 18 and will benefit the Ross School theater program. Tickets are $500.

Two days later Ross will be hosting a day dedicated to well-being, in collaboration with the Urban Zen Foundation founded by Donna Karan, who will be in attendance. The day, which begins at 1:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30 p.m., involves a series of lectures and hands-on activities with well known experts. Tickets are $750, and all proceeds go to the Ross wellness department.

On August 22, the school will host a night of cuisine and wine, a four hour culinary experience featuring seven different acclaimed chefs. Tickets range from $850 to $1000, and proceeds will go towards the commencement of a dining program on the Ross lower campus in Bridgehampton.

Aretha Franklin will bring the series to a close the next night. She reportedly could not wait to come back, and apparently loved that at the last concert she could see all of the children in the audience dancing and singing along.

A few acts that had previously been scheduled to appear were dropped from the list of summer events. Aceti assured that those performances will not disappear. “We decided that because there are so many events out here during the summer, it would make sense to spread some of them out over the year,” she explained.

The B52s, who were slated to play August 2, may instead play at next year’s Starlight Ball, although this is not confirmed. The comedy event that had been scheduled may take place in the fall. Said Aceti, “We will release the dates as soon as they are confirmed.”