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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Performing Arts

College Preparatory School Auditorium In Novelty, OH Photo - Laurel School


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.

Laurel School’s approach to the Performing Arts curriculum balances process with product. Emphasis is placed on building technical skills and making informed artistic choices. We encourage girls to embrace creative challenges and to think critically and creatively about the arts. Through their classroom experiences in technique and performance, students leave Laurel with both an appreciation for and the skills necessary to allow them to enjoy the arts for the rest of their lives.

Dance Courses

Dance I (first semester, .5 credit)
Dance I is a class designed for students who are interested in learning the basics of dance. This course will cover a variety of movement styles including modern, contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip hop and West African. This class will help students build their understanding of how to learn and perform, create and critique dances. Students will incorporate the different forms of technique into different exercises that will expand their range of movement, strength, and flexibility. Students will engage with relevant videos, articles and written responses in order to deepen their understanding of modern dance and their awareness of themselves as dancers. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education or one semester of Art credit.

Dance II (second semester, .5 credit)
Dance II is designed for students who are interested in engaging with a more challenging level of dance curriculum. The class will teach and help students to develop more complex technical abilities in modern, contemporary, ballet, jazz, hip hop and West African. Students will engage in conversations and exercises that focus on the intention that drives dance. Through the observation of themselves and of peers, students will reach higher levels of musicality and expressivity. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education or one semester of Art credit.

Music Courses

Glee Club (year-long course, .5 credit)
Glee Club is a large choral ensemble open to all Upper School students who enjoy singing and performing while possessing a desire to be a member of a committed ensemble that tackles an exciting and diverse women’s choral repertoire. Through the music they perform, students are exposed to the fundamentals of music theory, including rhythm, pitch, form and style. Students also learn proper rehearsal technique, vocal health and how to practice outside of rehearsal. The repertoire is dominated by works from female composers and poets and spans centuries of choral music representing the medieval and renaissance periods to the romantic and contemporary eras. Examples include Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, Vivaldi’s Gloria, excerpts from Thompson’s Frostiana, Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs and Fauré’s Messe Basse. Glee Club performs frequently throughout the school year including in two major Upper School music concerts as well as off-campus in collaboration with other Independent School choirs. Glee Club is graded Pass/Fail only.

Choir (year-long course, .5 credit)
Laurel Choir is the graded and auditioned chamber choir that is open to all members of Glee Club (students must be in Glee Club to participate in Choir). Laurel Choir provides strong musicians the opportunity to develop their understanding of music theory, broaden their exposure to high-quality women’s choral repertoire, and practice their sight reading skills through practice and individual assessment on solfeggio syllables. The Choir sings demanding and varied repertoire that is mostly unaccompanied, features non-traditional harmony, and contains text that is set by composers in foreign languages that include Spanish, Latin, French, German, Italian and Russian. Students in Laurel Choir are expected to demonstrate musical leadership in their participation in Glee Club, and are offered formal leadership opportunities on the Choir Board which works closely with the Director to govern the two choral ensembles. Laurel Choir performs at Senior Speeches, All-School Assemblies, two major Upper School music concerts, and sometimes at regional choral festivals, adjudications and domestic tours.

Chamber Orchestra
Chamber Orchestra is an instrumental music ensemble open to those Upper School students who are experienced musicians (have played an instrument for three or more years) and who are interested in being a member of an instrumental chamber ensemble. The make-up of the ensemble changes each year with regards to the instruments played by the students who enroll. The focus of the ensemble is on building a repertoire of chamber music with exposure to a variety of musical styles, genres and composers. Examples include arrangements of Fauré’s Pavane, Barber’s Sure on This Shining Night, “Inverno” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and Haydn’s String Quartet in F Major. Members of the Chamber Orchestra are frequently featured as soloists and in collaboration with Laurel’s choral ensembles. Students are expected to practice regularly outside of rehearsals and are highly encouraged to enroll in private lessons either through Laurel’s After-School Music Academy or with a private teacher outside of school. The Chamber Orchestra performs frequently throughout the school year including in two major Upper School music concerts and at All-School Assemblies and programs. Chamber Orchestra is graded Pass/Fail only.

Theater Courses

Fundamentals of Acting (first semester, .5 credit)
“Acting is doing” in this semester course that explores the fundamentals of acting through experiential learning. Daily exercise encourage girls to discover characters’ intentions and motivations; gain practical tools to pursue character objectives; and develop strategies for approaching Shakespeare’s text. Students explore physical action through non-verbal movement, open scenes, improvisation and sonnets, even as they building interpersonal skills, self-awareness and an understanding of collaborative “creating” through a theatrical context.

Introduction to Stage Production I (first semester, .5 credit)
This hands-on course introduces the basic elements of technical theater and their applications. Students learn about lighting and sound systems by working with theatrical equipment; after an introduction to electronic and hand tools, they are primed to discover the fundamentals of set construction. This is a practical course that focuses on technical information, safety, theatrical vocabulary and creativity. Assessments for the class consist of daily participation credit, class projects and written personal responses. This course can be taken more than once as each semester of the course will focus on new topics and skills.

Introduction to Stage Production II (second semester, .5 credit)
Students continue to develop an understanding of the elements of technical theater and their applications in this course, deepening knowledge of lighting, sound, equipment and tools. Students will work on the technical side of the Upper School musical production as well as other performances during the second semester. Completion of Introduction to Stage Production I is not required for enrollment in this course. This course can be taken more than once as each semester of the course will focus on new topics and skills.

Scene Study (second semester, .5 credit)
Find your mark, look the other fellow in the eye, and tell the truth.—James Cagney
In this performance-based class, students develop their theatrical skills as they discuss, analyze, create and perform scenes from both classical and contemporary plays. Theater games and exercises provide students with character development skills that allow them to play their scene work with purpose, passion and intention. Scene Study provides girls the opportunity to play and create in the comfort zone of a character.

Testimony Theater (second semester, .5 credit)
This course is for students interested in creating theatrical works based on survivor experiences. Students will meet and collaborate with Holocaust survivors of the local Cleveland community and create a dramatic piece using voice, movement, simple costumes, music and props. We will perform in an event open to the entire community at the end of the semester. Prerequisite: completion of Fundamentals of Acting

Voice and Movement I (first semester, .5 credit)
Expand your range, increase your acting potential and acquire the tools needed to play the roles you want to play! This course provides young actors with a strong foundation in voice and movement technique specifically designed to increase vocal range as well as to increase your physical ability to perform a wide range of characterizations. Students pursue a dynamic and physically demanding exploration of Laban’s principles of movement for the actor and Bogart’s Viewpoints, as well as unarmed hand-to-hand combat. These exercises are designed to connect the thought to the voice and to the body and to build skills that will elevate the student actor to the next level of her potential. This class may be taken to fulfill one semester of Physical Education OR one semester of Art credit.

Voice and Movement II (second semester, .5 credit)
A continued exploration of techniques introduced in the first course in this sequence, Voice and Movement II offers students the opportunity to perform monologues and to delve into scene work; in the latter, they discover ways to deepen character connection and increase the power of relationship. Students do not need to have taken the Voice and Movement I course to be successful in this course. Students also explore the fundamentals of the Suzuki Acting technique and physical disciplines. Curriculum is fluid and students can take this course more than once for arts credit. Students can also receive Physical Education credit for participation in this arts elective.

KAP Theater
In this college level course students examine how theater differs from other arts and how theatrical artists bring an event to life on stage. Working independently and/or collaboratively students complete a series of playwriting problems and one acting problem. Students read at least five plays and a number of essays about the theory and practice of theater, complete a series of brief written assignments and take written examinations. As a culmination of the course, each student writes, directs and presents a final short play on which she has worked with her classmates. Any student with a general interest in the theater will find this a challenging course, regardless of previous experience. Open to Juniors and Seniors.
Prerequisite: departmental recommendation and acceptance of the student’s KAP application by the US Office and Kenyon College

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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