Upper School Calendar
  • January 2019
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman
  • February 2019
    • ThuFeb07 Upper School Parent/Advisor Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
    • FriFeb08 Onee Bergfeld Lowe '82 Chapel 10:20 AMLyman

The 2019 winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Competition have recently been named by the Cleveland Institute of Art and 14 Laurel students received 16 honors in the visual arts and writing categories. Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Open to students in Grades 7-12, applicants can submit in 29 different categories of art and writing.

Students submitted more than 350,000 works of art and writing in this year’s competition. Award-winning work best exemplifies originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through local exhibitions and ceremonies. Congratulations to the following Laurel students who were recognized:


Gold Keys:

  • Celeste Bohan '19, Photography
  • Jordyn Goldstein '20, Painting
  • Linzy Malcolm '20, Photography (pictured, above left)

Silver Keys:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Victoria Hagen '20, Photography (pictured, above right)

Honorable Mentions:

  • Caroline Abbey '19, Photography
  • Rachel Estafanous '19, Photography
  • Mei Hashimoto '20, Mixed Media
  • Erin Thomas ’22, Painting 


Gold Keys:

  • Melanie Nance '19, Poetry
  • Jacqueline Marshall '21, Poetry

Silver Key:

  • Olivia Savona '19, Critical Essay
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21 (awarded two Silver Keys), Poetry

Honorable Mention:

  • Emi Cummings '20, Personal Essay/Memoir
  • Nadia Ibrahim '21, Flash Fiction
  • Barbara Yang '21, Critical Essay 
Ria Desai '19 was recently featured as an unsung hero in the Chagrin Valley Times for her local volunteer work and bone density research, which she presented at a recent American College of Rheumatology conference. In the article Ria explains that when a serious car accident sidelined her tennis season, she "Started working more with an organization called The Up Side of Downs that offers Buddy Up Tennis clinics to children with Down Syndrome in Northeast Ohio. She also increased her hours volunteering with Inner City Tennis Clinics, a summer camp for Cleveland children that incorporates tennis, literacy, wellness, poetry and fitness." 
In addition, Ria launched a STEM-based research project utilizing her Dream. Dare. Do. (D3) period time that looked at the relationship between physical exertion and bone density in girls. She states that, "It came from my mom always telling me to drink milk because of bone issues and a lack of calcium. And then, though I wasn’t playing at the time, I was still an athlete, so I combined those two ideas and developed the project." Ria is now working on turning the project into a manuscript and hopes that it gets accepted into a journal and paper. She also hopes to expand the study to include more ages as well as boys. Click here to read the full story.
On October 10, several members of the Laurel community, including 12 alumnae, spent the afternoon with students in Grades K-8 leading activities focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The goal was to empower and spark entrepreneurial spirit in the students. Activities were designed by VentureLab and incorporated using the girls' resourcefulness, problem-solving skills and curiosity. Many of the activities focused on idea generation, creating a business model, design thinking and pitching. The Sun Press and Sun Messenger included a recap of this fun and engaging afternoon on their front pages.
Primary School teachers Shannon Lukz and Emily Felderman were both featured, along with several Grade Four students, in a recent Girls in STEM segment that aired on WKYC Channel 3. Shannon and Emily have been instrumental in designing and leading a month-long immersion learning unit at Laurel's Butler Campus called "Power & Purpose," which focuses heavily on science, math and the many components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) learning. Throughout the unit students surveyed the land and created topography maps, tested the water quality of Griswald Creek, and learned all about the mechanics of a bike, which they used as their main mode of transportation for the month. WKYC visited Butler on the final day of the unit to capture the work of the students, who designed and built the "Adventure Rivulet Bridge," which is now in use at Butler. Click here to watch the full story.

Maggie Hilkert '19 was featured in Currents Magazine highlighting her love for finance, which she discovered through her participation in Laurel's Capstone Experience. In her Sophomore year, Maggie traveled to San Francisco and after meeting a Laurel alumna who is a venture capitalist, stated that, "She had the coolest job I ever saw. I loved talking to her. I was fascinated with her job and that helped me narrow that aspect of my project." As Maggie progressed with her Capstone Experience, she "interviewed venture capitalists around the country, shadowed Cleveland-area business owners, interned at an equity research firm, and decided to start an Investment Committee at Laurel." The article goes on to say that, "Earlier this month, Maggie moderated a panel of women in finance as part of Laurel's Day of the Girl celebration which, this year, had a theme of financial literacy." 

Click here to read the full story.

The Cleveland Jewish News has named Jami Morris '21 as its Player of the Week. Jami earned the honors after finishing in a tie for first place at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II state girls golf tournament October 12-13 at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Gray Course in Columbus. She shot a 73-74 for a total of 147, plus-7, tying for lowest score. In the article, Jami said she wasn’t surprised she performed so well in the tournament. "I think I worked extremely hard this past summer. I feel that all paid off and I hope to continue next year, and the year after, and hopefully in college. Except on the first day, I didn’t even think I was playing in the state tournament. Walking off the 18th green, I thought, 'I’m happy with how I played, I could have played better, but there’s always next year.'" 

Laurel golf coach Marti Hardy said she was impressed with Morris’s performance, but she wasn’t surprised. "I’ve watched her all along work hard to get where she has. I think the harder thing is, when you play at states, you’re not necessarily playing with the players that are scoring what you’ve been scoring the last day or so. It’s an unknown, they’re out there somewhere on the course playing. Maybe it’s a good thing that you don’t know, but I watched Jami just keep it all together really well and not doubt herself. I saw her hit two phenomenal shots that two golf pros who were near me said, 'she’s the real deal, she really knows how to play this game,' and it’s true."

Click here to read the full story.



Congratulations to these seven members of Laurel's class of 2019 who have received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise, based on their Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test scores. More than 1.6 million juniors took the PSAT in 2017. Catherine Amaddio, Grace Cousens, Ria Desai, Meredith Hilkert, Cameron Kaye, Simran Surtani, and Daania Tahir all scored in the top 50,000 of those participants.

Early childhood education is just as rewarding for educators as it is for students. This was the theme in a recent Cleveland Jewish News article that featured interview excerpts from Laurel Prekindergarten teacher Kathryn Marshall. In the story Kathryn states that, "Children keep me in the moment and help me rediscover the joy of being in the moment. I get to have the same awe with children right there with them." She goes on to explain that she is "Always trying to find new, innovative ways to teach children. The sense of joy and wonder of living in the moment also translates into my life." Click here to read the full story, including the sage advice Kathryn would give her younger self.
Jami Morris '21, who competed in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals in Augusta earlier this year, recently conducted a Q&A with Cleveland Magazine where she talked golf, fashion, the perfect miniature golf hole design and her hobbies off the golf course. Her story was featured in the magazine's Private School Special Section. When asked what her favorite golf attire is she replied "I have these crazy bright pink shorts. If I had 20 pairs, I would wear them every day. They brighten my game and encourage me to be the best golfer I can be." She also touched on equality in her interview, stating that "Women should be able to play with the men, on the same courses and with the same yardages. That would be a big step up for women's golf, and we will rise to the challenge." 

Click here to read her full interview.  

Jackson to work together with Ann V. Klotz and Board members to maintain the Laurel School Mission

SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH – (August 22, 2018) Laurel School is pleased to announce Lynnette Jackson ’93 as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jackson, a Relationship Manager and Vice President at Key Private Bank, has been on the Board since 2012, most recently serving as Vice Chair. Prior to joining the Board of Trustees, Jackson held the role of Laurel Alumnae Board President from 2009-2012.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve in this role as Board Chair,” said Lynnette Jackson. “It is an opportunity to give back to my alma mater who, through academic rigor, enriching experiences and leadership opportunities, has inspired me and my family to dream, dare and do. As Laurel embarks on its 125th Birthday, the work of this Board will certainly shape the next 25-50 years of the school.”

In her Relationship Manager role at Key Private Bank, Jackson delivers integrated strategies and forward-thinking, objective advice to her clients. These skills will continue to serve her well in her new role as Board Chair where Jackson will work closely with Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz and other Board members to continue to set and maintain a vision and strategy for the school. Together, they will ensure sound financial management, appropriate stewardship of resources, and accountability towards goals.

“I am so pleased to be working hand-in-hand with Lynnette and the entire Board of Trustees to continue living Laurel’s mission and building on our long-term vision,” said Ann V. Klotz, Laurel Headmistress. “The Board has been instrumental in the development of our Strategic Roadmap and it is an exciting time for us as we embark on our next goal. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”

Other updates to the Board include Kristine Swails Bryan ’80, who has been named Vice Chair. Bryan is an Equity Research Consultant with Private Harbour Investment Management, LLC, and has been a member of the Board since 2015, most recently serving as Chair of the Investment Committee. Megan Lum Mehalko ’83, Chaundra King Monday ’95, and Suzanne Schulze Taylor ’81, have all been newly elected to the Board with three-year terms commencing June 2018.


Founded in 1896, Laurel School is a nationally recognized school for girls in Kindergarten through Grade 12, with a coeducational Pre-Primary School. Its mission is “to inspire each girl to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”


SARAH MILLER, PR MANAGER, 713.578.0281, sMiller@LaurelSchool.org

KATE FLOYD, DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, 216.455.0152, kFloyd@LaurelSchool.org

  • January 2019
    • MonJan21 Martin Luther King Jr. Day: NO CLASSES - OFFICES CLOSED
    • FriJan25 Middle School CTP-4 (ERB) Meeting 8:15 AM to 9:00 AM
    • SatJan26 Upper School Dance 8:00 PM to 11:00 PMLyman
    • MonJan28 Parenting Your Adolescent Daughter (for MS Parents) 7:00 PMLyman
    • TueJan29 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • WedJan30 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
    • ThuJan31 Middle School CTP-4 (ERBs)
  • February 2019
    • SatFeb02 Groundhog Day
    • TueFeb05 Chinese New Year
    • WedFeb06 Global School Play Day
    • ThuFeb07 Upper School Parent/Advisor Conferences 3:30 PM to 7:00 PM
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Upper School Co-Curriculars

As part of our mission to know each girl, Laurel’s faculty and staff are at their best when guiding young women toward the discovery and sustenance of passion and purpose.

Upper School students have the opportunity to explore traditional leadership through school government, club and athletics leadership positions. They are also encouraged to find and share their voices with the local, national and global communities. Upper School students have been members of the Ohio delegation to the World Food Prize and active participants in Students Shoulder to Shoulder; in 2014, our school government president took the stage at TEDxCLE to advocate for the release of Chinese prisoners of conscience.

Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Building confidence is the mainstay of a Laurel education. Our alumnae go on to stand out at highly-selective colleges, run businesses and better the world, in part because of the leadership opportunities they were afforded during their time at Laurel.

Whether elected to a position of leadership in Student Government, establishing a club or school organization, managing a stage production or shepherding her soccer team to victory, there are endless ways for a Laurel girl to lead in the school community and to find her voice. One of the many leadership opportunities available to Laurel girls is the Entrepreneurial Program.

Entrepreneurship means fostering in girls a spirit of possibility coupled with business savvy. Laurel’s Upper School encourages girls to find their passions and fulfill their promise by fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. If you can dream it, you can do it. Through our Entrepreneurial Program and our partnership with the Veale Youth Entrepreneurship Forum, Laurel girls have the opportunity to develop and present original business ideas – and, in some cases, see them come to fruition as well as winning school-sponsored and local competitions. Whether it be pitching a new business idea to C-level executives from the Cleveland Cavaliers, establishing Gator Books (a student-run book buy-back program) or marketing and selling products at the Young Entrepreneurship Market at Shaker Square, Laurel girls are problem solvers, often collaborating to bring ambitious, real-world businesses to life.

Examples of Laurel girls excelling in entrepreneurship include:

Capstone Entrepreneurship Cohort

Laurel’s Capstone Experience, by design, cultivates purpose, relationships and leadership using one of four lenses—Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Studies, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Students in this program explore issues through guided research, intellectual discussion, relevant internships and purposeful travel. Girls in the Entrepreneurship cohort experience the start of a new business initiative, the building and execution of an idea from the ground up and the risk of failure. This year, students will be leading a trip to San Francisco and Silicon Valley to study how one of the hotbeds of American entrepreneurship works. Students also planned a daylong outing visiting and interviewing local business owners in the Coventry neighborhood. Like entrepreneurs, Laurel girls are leading the way.

R3 - Recycle, Reuse, Refashion

Julia Saltzman ‘17 created her business R3 (recycle, reuse, refashion) after being the runner-up for Laurel’s “Entrepreneurship Challenge” and winner of “promoting sustainability and stewardship through entrepreneurship”. Julia repurposes clothes from current brands and scraps of material to make new clothes. She has had the opportunity to sell her items at the Shaker Square Farmer’s Market and Laurel’s Artisan Bazaar. She was also featured in the September issue of Cleveland Magazine.


Berthy Feng ‘15 took second place honors in the 2014 Regional Veale Business Plan Competition. Berthy is the creator of the all-natural lightweight protein snack “ProFrut”. She was the winner of Laurel School’s second annual business plan competition. Berthy competed against eight other independent schools giving a 10-minute "pitch" about her business in front of a panel of judges, followed by a 10-minute Q&A period.

First Place at 2015 Bizdom.com Pitch Contest

Last September, Laurel Upper School students attended the Bizdom.com Pitch Contest hosted at Quicken Loans Arena. Students spent the day developing pitches with students from around northeast Ohio to address the prompt "how can the Cleveland Cavaliers improve the fan experience for people not at the game?" Rachael Grossman’18 developed the winning idea for the competition, taking first place! Rachael suggested a format for a Cavaliers’ game virtual reality experience and was awarded the top prize in the competition. In addition to Cavs’ gear, Rachael’s group earned a private meeting with Len Komoroski, CEO of the Cavs, to discuss the feasibility of their idea and how it can improve fans’ experience.

STEM and Entrepreneurship Opportunities

This fall, Laurel students had the opportunity to attend the STEM Forum on Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, a program that opens students’ eyes to the future, inspires creative and outside-the-box thinking, and facilitates interaction with an impressive group of STEM and venture development thought leaders who are creating part of the entrepreneurial future in Ohio. Students at the forum attended four interactive talks on topics that ranged from biofuels to biomimicry and NASA missions to medical advancements.


Gatorbooks is Laurel's student-run school-based textbook business that offers Laurel's Upper School students a convenient way to buy next year's school books at reduced prices. There is also a buyback program.

In 2016, Kana Cummings ’18 and Catherine McCarthy ’18 retooled their “Gatorbooks” business after facing some issues with inventory and cash flow. Kana and Catherine undertook a rigorous study of their own strategies in order to improve their profit margin and they were recognized for their hard work and clever strategizing with first place at the 2016 Laurel Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Speech and Debate

Development of each student’s individual voice is a cornerstone of Laurel School’s curricular philosophy. To serve this objective, Laurel School offers coursework in speech in Upper School, with a three-year progression integrated into Ninth Grade Lifeskills and Tenth and Eleventh Grade Guidance classes. In addition, Laurel maintains a long-standing commitment to the Senior Speech and a highly successful interscholastic Speech and Debate program.

Speech Curriculum

  • Each Upper School student completes a full credit in speech by the conclusion of her junior year. This is accomplished through modules in Lifeskills and Guidance classes in Grades Nine through Eleven.
  • Students in Ninth Grade Lifeskills complete a two-week module in speech dynamics.
  • Students in Tenth Grade Guidance complete a two-week module in argumentation.
  • Students in Eleventh Grade Guidance complete a two week module in oratory and writing for speaking.
  • Each Laurel student presents a ten-minute Senior Speech during her senior year. The student works with a faculty advisor to prepare her speech. Senior Speeches are presented in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They are attended by the entire Upper School faculty and student body.

Interscholastic Speech and Debate

  • Laurel’s Speech and Debate team competes under the Ohio High School Speech League and the National Speech and Debate Association. The program is ranked in the top 10% of all programs nationally for 5 consecutive years.
  • Approximately fifty students participate in Speech and Debate each year, making the team both the largest co-curricular program and the largest competitive team in the school. Between 20% and 25% of Laurel students participate in Speech and Debate during their Upper School careers. There are no try-outs and no cuts; any student who wishes to participate may do so.
  • Students compete in nine different speech events and four different debate events. The season lasts from September through March, with tournaments each weekend from late October through early March. Each student practices twice per week during this time.
  • Experienced team members occasionally have opportunities to compete in prestigious national circuit tournaments. Recently, Laurel has competed at tournaments in Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts (Harvard) and Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania).
  • Laurel has consistently ranked in the top five teams in the Cleveland district. Laurel has crowned four state champions (including 2015 state champion in Extemporaneous Speaking), numerous state finalists and many district champions. In every year from 2012 through 2015, more than one-third of the Laurel team qualified for the state tournament. In the past five years, Laurel students have debated at the City Club of Cleveland three times, more than any other school except University School.
  • Laurel School placed in the top six in nine tournaments during the 2014-2015 season.
  • Berthy Feng ’15 won the 2015 OHSSL State Championship in US Extemporaneous Speaking and was named the top speech competitor in the Cleveland District for the second consecutive year.
  • Berthy Feng ’15 and Jayne O’Dwyer ’15 competed at the 2015 National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Finals in Dallas this past June. It was the second trip to the National Finals for both students. Jayne finished in the top 60 competitors in the nation, and Berthy finished in the top 30 competitors in the nation.
  • Laurel students won 14 individual tournament championships in the 2014-2015 season, including seven by Berthy Feng ’15 and three by Emma Wolinsky ’16.
  • Lisa Peng ’14 won the 2014 OHSSL Cleveland District Championship in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and won the 2014 City Club of Cleveland Debate Championship.

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. 


Pre-Primary & Primary School
Open House

Saturday, January 12, 2019
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Lyman Campus

More information


"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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