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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Visual Arts


Laurel School believes the fine arts enrich daily life at many levels. The arts are basic to a well-rounded education. Through varied experiences, visual, aural and tactile senses are developed and the student learns to communicate through non-linguistic expression. Creative ideas are transformed into various art forms through the development of specific skills. Viewed as a link to the past, the arts help students look at civilization, culture and experience as contributing to the making of modern society. Performance, creativity, analysis, research and criticism are all vital components of the fine arts program.

Students choose to take visual arts classes for a variety of reasons including the desire to attend an art school, to pursue a career in a STEAM-related field such as engineering or architecture or because they find that the visual arts provide a satisfying balance to their academic course load. Critical thinking, observational awareness and the act of creating are key to student development and carry over into all areas of study.

2D and 3D Art classes are offered each semester and have a four-semester rotation. The emphasis of each class varies between fall and spring semesters and from one year to the next. Thus, it is possible for a student to take four semesters of these courses and work with differing mediums and emphasis each semester. Semester-long classes serve as the foundation for more advanced classes such as Portfolio Prep, Advanced Photography and AP 2D Design. Students who are committed to their work in the visual arts often create portfolios to submit with their college applications. They have opportunities to show their work in the gallery spaces on Laurel’s main Upper School hallway and in exhibitions such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition, Laurel’s annual Beam show for Juniors and Seniors, and other local, regional and national venues. Interested advanced photo students may apply for a Katie Mills grant. Each year one student is awarded funding to advance her study of photography and to exhibit her work at Laurel.

2D Art Courses

Laurel’s 2D Art offerings include studio art, digital art and photography courses. Students in studio art have the opportunity to experience a variety of two-dimensional media in courses that are developed to advance artistic skills and to increase visual awareness. Instructed in the elements of successful design, students are given classroom assignments that encourage individual direction and creative expression. Incorporated into the fabric of each course is an emphasis on drawing, both observational and experimental. Line, value, form, color, shape, positive/negative space and balance are explored as elements of composition. Studio art materials and techniques vary and may include charcoal, conté crayon, pencil, pastel, gouache, acrylic painting, printmaking, mixed media and collage. Photography courses use some of these same techniques, but a photo student’s tools are a conventional (film) and/or a digital camera. Many art classes, in particular Art on the Computer, make use of digital tools and media. Through classroom discussions and presentations, students acquire an awareness of both current and historic artistic trends as well as increase their critical thinking skills and their observational acuity. Students may be expected to work outside of class to develop ideas through research or sketching.

2D Art: Mixed Media and Observational/Experimental Drawing (first semester, .5 credit)
In this course, students investigate the elements and principles of design by using mixed media and collage to create new imagery. Often students create unique compositions by combining and altering images from books and magazines and adding their own hand. Students also have the opportunity to explore a variety of drawing techniques and to use new materials that allow them to more skillfully complete their assignments. They learn to create and value a well-crafted image. Class discussion and group observation is crucial throughout the creative process, and students learn to develop a personal style and direction.

2D Art: Introduction to Prints & Multiples Observational: Experimental Drawing (second semester, .5 credit)
The art of printmaking encompasses several different techniques that allow for the creation of multiple images. In this course, students gain an understanding of printmaking through an overview of its history and the explanation of its various forms. The class focuses on offering students techniques and instruction to translate and transform individual drawings into multiples or small editions. Students draw using various techniques and with a number of different materials in order to develop ideas for imagery. Elements of composition, observation of value and attention to craftsmanship are fundamentals that are addressed throughout this course.

Portfolio Prep
This course is designed for students who have a serious interest and background in 2D or 3D media, including photo and digital art, and who wish to either develop a portfolio for college or art school admission or who plan to take AP 2D Design in their Senior year. Portfolio Prep meets in a serious and inspiring studio environment, where group discussions and observations are prevalent. Students create works specific to their chosen medium and think carefully about how their pieces might communicate when grouped together in a portfolio. This class may be taken multiple times in order for students to have time to explore various interests within the structure of the class. Students, including those who have taken visual art electives, should discuss their intention to register for Portfolio Prep with a member of the art department who is familiar with their work prior to submitting their course registration form.
Prerequisite: recommendation of the department

AP 2D Design (students select the 2D Design emphasis or Photography emphasis)
AP 2D Design demands self-motivation and a commitment to the pursuit of personal artistic expression. This course presumes that students have a solid background in composition, which incorporates understanding and application of line, color, value, texture, pattern, shape, light, form and volume, and positive/negative space. The development of ideas from concept through process to aesthetic resolution is pursued at the level of a first year college course. This Advanced Placement curriculum requires a volume of work that demands students spend some of their free periods in the studio. By the end of the course, students have produced work that fits two criteria: an in-depth artistic concentration and the demonstration of expertise with a breadth of media. After they have amassed this body of work, students are expected to submit a portfolio to the College Board for evaluation. Students who wish to prepare an AP 2D Design portfolio with an emphasis in photography will work in a somewhat different way but with the same end result.
Prerequisite: Advanced Photography for the Photography emphasis; recommendation of the department

Art & Design on the Computer (second semester, .5 credit)
Students in this class will use computers as a creative tool, working with professional software on iMacs. Students learn how to use the Adobe Creative Suite (which includes PhotoShop, InDesign and Illustrator) to complete a number of creative and practical assignments designed both for personal benefit and for use in the school community. Students work with hardware including flatbed scanners, negative/slide scanners, printers and digital cameras. Along with photographic manipulation and compositing techniques, students learn basic layout and design skills and concepts which, among other things, enable them to become involved in student publications such as Laurel Leaves, Gallimaufry and The Voice if they so desire. Along with the Adobe software, students are given the opportunity to work with 3D software to design and produce objects using one of school’s 3D CUBE printers.

Beginning Photography (full year)
In this course students are introduced to both traditional and digital black and white photographic processes and techniques. Each student needs access to a working 35mm single lens reflex camera: a number are available from the school for loan. While the school supplies most of the materials for the class, students do have to purchase some materials, a cost that usually runs around $35.00 for the year. Students learn to process film, to print black and white photographs and to present their work in a finished manner. They also learn basic digital imaging techniques, working with PhotoShop and Lightroom. Through discussion, critique, slide presentations, viewing original works and reading assignments, students are exposed to the medium of photography as an art form and are encouraged to express themselves and their ideas through this medium. Open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.

Advanced Photography (full year)
Advanced Photography is open to any student who has successfully completed Laurel’s Beginning Photography class. This class builds upon the work done in that course and goes on to explore advanced techniques. Students will work in both black and white and in color. Students with work with alternative cameras, lighting techniques, bookmaking and a variety of alternative techniques and materials. All students, whether they choose to work with traditional cameras and film or with digital cameras, gain facility with the digital imaging software programs Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Lightroom and have opportunities to exhibit their work in the Annual Beam Art Exhibition and in other venues outside of school. As is the case with Beginning Photography, students need access to either a traditional film SLR camera or a digital SLR camera; the school has some for loan.
Prerequisite: Beginning Photography and recommendation of the department

3D Art Courses

Students investigate a variety of approaches to create both functional and nonfunctional sculptural objects, including installation art and other experimental concepts. They learn and practice technical skills while exploring the limits of their media and are encouraged to keep a sketchbook to work through their ideas. Students are urged to take artistic risks and are assessed on the design, craftsmanship and concept of their work. They are exposed to the works and thoughts of artists, both contemporary and historic, through videos, books and web links both in class and through Haiku. Classroom discussions ask girls to consider how memory, history or personal environment affect the work an artist produces. They collaborate further during critiques of projects, as they discuss their own work and that of their classmates with an eye towards constructive criticism and insight.

3D Art: The Clay Surface (first semester, .5 credit)
Working both on the potter’s wheel and with hand-building, students focus on creating pieces with both visual and tactile surface decoration, using both underglazes and glazes to enhance the surfaces of their work. Students look at and sketch textures and patterns found on historical and contemporary ceramics to develop a working repertoire of techniques and watch videos about throwing technique and about artists whose work focuses on surface treatment. Using hand-building techniques, they create tiles and vessels, learning to revise and rebuild as necessary. They gain focus and learn about the physics of centrifugal force as they center and throw on the wheel. In critiques, students discuss both failures and successes with working in clay. Students are assessed on design, craftsmanship and continued progress at the wheel.

3D Art: Exploration of Form (second semester, .5 credit)
Students explore sculpture with traditional materials such as paper, wire, plaster, cardboard, wood and clay. Their experience of a variety of media allows them to discover how materials affect the thought process, design, engineering and conceptualization of a piece. The work of contemporary sculptors and architects informs class discussion as students grapple with scale, balance, symmetry, asymmetry, and positive and negative space. Sketchbooks provide the opportunity to record ideas as well as serving as a natural tool to work out design and composition in sketches of potential pieces. Students learn to constantly rotate their pieces as they work to gain an understanding that sculpture needs to be compelling from every viewpoint; taking risks and revising are also constant practices. Critiques assess the successful aspects of the pieces including overall composition, concept, craftsmanship and intent.

Fabrics and Fibers (offered each semester, .5 credit)
Students in this class have the opportunity to create art by investigating a variety of textile art techniques. Among the creative methods they may employ are embroidery; quilting; fiber sculpture and installation; knitting and crocheting and clothing reconstruction and reuse. Students learn the basics of hand sewing, as well as the rudimentary use of the sewing machine as a tool in the creative process. Both traditional and contemporary applications are discussed, and historical art references are often used as visual influences in assignments.

Metals (offered each semester, .5 credit)
Working with copper, brass and nickel silver, students learn basic cold-working metals techniques including, wire-working, cold-forging, surface embellishment, stamping, sawing, filing, drilling, riveting and hammering. They put those skills to work as they use a variety of hand tools and explore the components of good craftsmanship. They also learn about the basic physical properties of non-ferrous metals. Students start by investigating and sketching images of historical and contemporary art jewelry and viewing and discussing videos about contemporary metalsmiths. Projects are technique-based, culminating in a final piece that asks each student to choose a technique(s) to create an object or series of objects. Critiques allow students the opportunity for self-assessment and practice in giving constructive feedback to peers on the design, concept, craftsmanship and intent.

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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