Students, faculty, staff and guests welcomed Marne Levine back to the Laurel community on June 9 as the 2015 Commencement speaker. Marne is a member of Laurel’s class of 1988 and is the first Chief Operating Officer of Instagram. Marne is also a current board member of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization.

Before taking the role of COO at Instragram, Marne served as a Facebook VP and was a protégé of Larry Summers. She was Chief of Staff under Mr. Summers when he was President of Harvard University and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary under Summers when he was Secretary of Treasury in the Clinton Administration.

Marne captivated a full house at Severance Hall when she spoke about her time at Laurel:

I still remember how excited I felt 27 years ago…and how proud I felt watching my friends walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

I also remember the butterflies…and the creeping concerns I had about life after Laurel.

I worried about whether I was going to the right college...whether I would make good friends, what I was going to major in, and whether I would fit in.

I also worried about what it would be like to study and live in dorms…with boys.

And most of all, I worried about my closet!

In the real world, every day was Civies Day – a whole sea of options, not to mention colors, I hadn’t touched in years. What would I wear?

Except for the initial shock that I actually missed my uniform – big time – I quickly realized that my fears were misplaced when I got to college.

Laurel had prepared me for more than I’d ever imagined. And it went so far beyond the math formulas and historical dates – like how the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. Still remember that.

In the classroom, Laurel taught me to think critically.

My Senior year, I took an Ethics class. We tackled hard questions – euthanasia, the death penalty, among others – questions that don’t have obvious answers.

And as our teacher, Mr. Huston, guided us through these minefields, we learned how to question our assumptions, debate effectively, take risks, listen with intentionality, and challenge each other to think more deeply. 

These lessons have served me well. Because here is the thing, life is full of questions that don’t have obvious answers. You have to open your mind in directions you didn’t even imagine. 

View video of Ms. Levine's Commencement address at Severance Hall.

Read more about Marne in the Cleveland Jewish News.



Emma Brandt, member of Laurel’s Class of 2010 and Brown University’s Class of 2014, was recently offered a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant to Serbia for an English Teaching Assistantship.

Since graduating from Brown, Brandt has been in an AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) program at Blackstone Charter Academy in Pawtucket, RI. She will be there until August of this year.

Brandt is one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens who will travel abroad for the 2015-2016 academic school year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in the government, science, the arts, business, philanthropy, education and many other fields. Fifty-three Fulbright alumni from 12 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 82 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes.

Click here for more information about the Fulbright Program.

A now regular contributor to the New York Times’ "Motherlode" blog, Lisa Damour, Director of Laurel School's Center for Research on Girls, writes about gap years in her latest piece. In “Getting In to College Doesn’t Mean Students Are Ready to Go.” Dr. Damour, discusses gap years based on her experiences with college-age students. The article provides insight into how taking a gap year after high school may benefit some students.

Read Dr. Damour’s article here.

NEOSEF Winners 2015

Six Upper School STEM Research students and two from Middle School competed in the four-day Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair (NEOSEF) in March and ALL of them earned honors and special awards. Congratulations to Aleena Brown ’16, Brooke Siegler ’17, Katie Whitmoyer ’18, Maryum Ali ’18, Sophia Downey ’18, Yui Ishihara ’18, Ria Desai ’19 and Linzy Malcom ’20!

600 students from over 80 area schools set up their displays, discussed their projects with 260+ judges and competed for more than $20,000 in prizes.

Aleena Brown ’16: Aleena undertook an ambitious Engineering project modeling how a heart defect called ventricular septal defect impacts flow in the heart. Aleena built a prototype and iterative model that was really impressive and she earned honorable mention and a ribbon for her efforts.

Brooke Siegler ’17: Brooke selected a Behavioral Biology project and studied the dangerous influence of American media on body image in teenage girls by surveying her fellow students after they watched a television show with or without advertisements that focused on ideal and unattainable images of beauty. Brooke was recognized as a 2nd place winner and was rewarded with a ribbon, a medal and a cash award.

Katie Whitmoyer ’18: Katie chose to do an Environmental Science project on the Chagrin River. Her project, entitled “H20 vs. HBO: The effect of suburbia on water quality” was well researched and she was out sampling water in December. Katie was recognized as a 3rd place winner and she received a ribbon and a medal. She also received a special award - the Stockholm Junior Water Prize from the Water Environment Federation.

Yui Ishihara ’18: Yui’s project was in Behavioral Biology. She studied the impact of cell phones on task performance and accuracy. Yui’s findings are a reminder that while an important resource at times, cell phones are indeed a significant distraction. For her efforts, Yui was recognized as a 2nd place winner with a ribbon, a medal and cash prize. She also earned a special award for Best Psychology Project for Grades 9 and 10 from Cleveland State University’s Department of Psychology – an award that includes a certificate and another cash prize.

Maryum Ali ’18: Maryum studied the effect of reliable and unreliable information sources (such as the BBC vs. Tumblr) on people’s confidence in that information. Not only were her findings revealing, but she earned 2nd place honors including a ribbon, medal and cash prize.

Sophia Downey ’18: Sophia, an avid horseback rider, wanted to find a way to use a horse’s family tree to predict the success of former race horses in a different type of competition. For her efforts and clarity, Sophia earned 2nd place honors including a ribbon, medal and cash prize.

Additionally, Maryum and Sophia each earned the NEOSEF Board of Directors Award for an Outstanding Project. This award was given to only 18 participants in the entire competition regardless of grade level or project category. Each received a certificate and a cash prize.

Ria Desai wins awardRia Desai ’19: Eighth Grader Ria earned 3rd place at NEOSEF for her independent research project entitled “Water vs. Gatorade™: Which is better?” She competed in Medicine and Health Category for Grades 7 and 8. Ria’s work was also recognized with two special awards! The Cleveland Chapter of the American Statistical Society awarded her with the honor of “Best Statistical Project, Grades 7/8,” while the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital honored Ria’s work as the “Best Health/Medicine Project Grades 7/8.”

Linzy Malcolm ’20: Linzy entered an independent research project in Behavioral Sciences studying the possible health effects of a common habit of competitive swimmers and earned honorable mention in the Grades 7/8 age group.

STEM Research at Laurel: Laurel students have the option to engage in STEM Research both on and off campus. Research work that takes place at Laurel is under the mentorship of a Laurel science faculty member. Students meet together and also spend hours outside of class engaged in independent, original research. The course culminates in a research presentation (oral, written and/or visual) to audiences that might include the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair and/or a research journal.

Or, students may utilize the STEM Research Protégé Internship option where research is conducted at an off-campus laboratory/site under the mentorship of a university- or industry-based researcher. Students meet weekly with the Protégé coordinator, spend significant time in the research lab and commit additional time to analysis of their work. The STEM Protégé Project also culminates in a research presentation (oral, written and/or visual) to audiences that might include the Northeast Ohio Science and Engineering Fair and/or a research journal.

Scholastic’s prestigious 2015 Art Awards have been announced and Laurel has two national winners! Rachel Rabin ’16 won a Gold Medal for her digital art piece, “Letting Go,” and Emma Bachman ‘15 won a Silver Medal for her drawing titled “Forest Fire.” This recognition determined by panels of creative professionals, identifies Rachel and Emma as two of the most talented young artists in the nation.

This year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards saw over 300,000 submissions from students in grades 7 – 12 and fewer than 1% of entrants received National Medals. Both students are eligible to travel to New York’s Carnegie Hall this June to accept their awards at a special ceremony. Congratulations to these two artist-scholars on their amazing accomplishments!

Click here to read more about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

Rachel Rabin '16

Letting Go, Rachel Rabin '16 - Gold Medal


Forest Fire, Emma Bachmann '15 - Silver Medal

Ninth Grader Morgan Goldstein is no stranger to media attention. Last summer she competed in Food Network’s "Teen Chopped Tournament". In January, she was named one of Cleveland Magazine’s "Most Interesting People of 2015" and on Monday, March 23, Goldstein was featured on the Fox Morning News where she flawlessly executed a spring risotto on live television.

Watch Morgan’s appearance on Fox and get her spring risotto recipe here.

On March 6, 16 members of Laurel’s Speech and Debate team traveled to Youngstown to compete in the 2015 Ohio High School Speech League (OHSSL) State Tournament. After two grueling days of competition, Laurel crowned its fourth State Champion! Berthy Feng ’15 was named best in the state for US Extemporaneous Speaking! Laurel has dominated US Extemporaneous at the state tournament over the past four years, with two state champions, two finalists and four semifinalists.

In addition to Feng’s incredible win, Jayne O’Dwyer ’15 was in the top 12 for US Extemporaneous Speaking, Hannah Lauster ’16 finished in the top 8 for Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Audrey Fratus ’15 was in the top 24 for Original Oratory, Julia Saltzman ’17 was top 24 in US Extemporaneous Speaking and Tess Willmott ’17 finished in the top 25 for Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Congratulations to all of these Laurel girls!

Click here to see a complete list of results from the 2015 OHSSL State Tournament.

Lisa Peng ’14, Laurel alum and current Harvard University student, was an accomplished Lincoln-Douglas-style debater during her years at Laurel. She made consistent appearances at the state and national competitions and as a Senior, Peng won last year’s City Club of Cleveland High School Debate Championship.

Jennifer Keirn of Inside Business recently spoke with Peng about lessons she learned as a high-achieving debater. In “Right Club,” Keiren summarizes Peng’s advice that can benefit us all.

Read the entire article at


Laurel’s Headmistress Ann V. Klotz knows a lot about fostering resilience in children. She recently wrote, “Nurturing Resilience: Reminding Ourselves What Kids Need” for Independent Ideas, the Independent School magazine blog hosted by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS).

In the piece, Klotz lists 18 reminders for teachers and parents on how to build resilience in children. She reminds us to “celebrate success but do not fear failure. It’s not the mistake that matters; it’s what we learn from it as we move forward that counts.”

Read the entire article on NAIS’s Independent Ideas blog.

New to the 2015 Summer at Laurel programming is a partnership with Illinois-based Game On! Sports Camp 4 Girls. Game On! is in its ninth year and is expanding to Boulder, CO and Northeast Ohio this summer. Laurel is proud to partner with this one-of-a-kind sports camp for girls. The camps will be offered for six weeks beginning June 15 and are open to girls of all athletic abilities entering Pre-K through Grade Eight.

Read about Game On! Sports Camp 4 Girls and a recent open house at Laurel School on

Register here for Game On! Sports Camp 4 Girls and discover all of the 2015 Summer at Laurel programming.

  • August 2015
    • SatAug01 US Fall Sports Begin
    • FriAug07 Summer at Laurel Ends
    • ThuAug20 Grades 9 & 12 Retreats
    • FriAug21 Grades 9 & 12 Retreats
    • MonAug24 Grade 5 and Middle School New Student Orientation
    • MonAug24 Grade 9 and Upper School School New Student Orientation
    • WedAug26 After School at Laurel Begins
    • WedAug26 FIRST DAY OF CLASSES K-12 (half-day for Kindergarten) Lyman Campus
    • WedAug26 MS Fall Sport Practices Begin
  • September 2015
    • TueSep01 FIRST DAY OF CLASSES for Pre-Primary
    • MonSep07 Labor Day: NO CLASSES - BUILDING CLOSED
    • MonSep14 Rosh Hashanah: NO CLASSES - BUILDING CLOSED
    • WedSep23 Yom Kippur: NO CLASSES - BUILDING CLOSED


An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus

Laurel's Mission Statement:

To inspire each girl to
fulfill her promise and
to better the world. 



All-School Open House

Sunday, October 25, 2015
1:00-3:00 p.m.

"Laurel transforms students into strong women through an exemplary education and an atmosphere built on growth." Caitlin Cronin '16

"During my time at Laurel, I developed the mental aspect of my tennis game -- staying focused and staying in every match. The support that I've gotten from my team and my coaches has really helped me to do that." Danielle Buchinsky '15

"Laurel encourages its girls to try things they think they can do, things they don't think they can do, and even things they never thought about doing." Jazlynn Baker '16

"Laurel is a place where almost every girl can find a home. The community here is extremely accepting and diverse, and every student has her own ideas and opinions that are valued by everyone."Rebecca Brichacek '16

"Confident, independent, open-minded, fearless. That's what comes to mind when I think of what Laurel has given to my daughters." Laurel Parent


“The greatest gift Laurel gave me was the gift of lifelong friendships with classmates, teachers and parents of classmates. We have a special bond based on our shared experiences.” 
Betsy Sweeney Backes ‘78

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