Alumnae Calendar

The Cleveland Jewish News recently spoke with Leighann DeLorenzo Laurel's Upper School theater director, who began teaching a Testimony Theater course this semester after visiting Israel in January 2016. In Testimony Theater, survivors of the Holocaust are paired with young people, and the survivors tell their stories. The students then write the stories in a theatrical framework and perform an original theater piece based off the story. On May 4 the 12 students enrolled in Testimony Theater performed the stories of three survivors for a full house. Leighann was quoted in the story saying, “As we move forward as a community, it’s also about extending that lens forward into the now, into the present, whether that has to do with the current refugee crisis, civil rights, equal rights, any other movement where we’re really talking about people that are marginalized." She said having her students learn the stories of these survivors was an important part of their education. “We can really use these painful stories of yesterday that are also incredibly inspiring and really they can be transformative for our students today and turn them into the upstanders they should be and inspire them in their education at Laurel." Click here to read the full article. 

Playhouse Square announced its Dazzle Awards nominees on April 28 and we are excited to share that Nora Hyman '17 received a John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress nomination for her role as 'Audrey' in Laurel's production of Little Shop of Horrors! The Playhouse Square website states that "The Dazzle Awards aim to inspire and honor excellence in high school musical theater, and to recognize the importance of musical theater and arts education within the Northeast Ohio community. A panel of adjudicators attend one production at each participating school, provide educational feedback on the official evaluation form and determine nominees and awards for participating schools. This regional program culminates at the Connor Palace with the Dazzle Awards, modeled after the Tony Awards®, to recognize outstanding musical theater productions and students. The winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress category will have the opportunity to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City." The Dazzle Award winners will be announced on May 20, 2017. The grand prize winners in The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor and Best Actress categories will go on to represent Northeast Ohio at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as “The Jimmys,” in New York City, presented by The Broadway League.   

Laurel School's Annella Fernandez '17 is being recognized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI GC) for her efforts to raise awareness of mental illness among her peer group. Annella will receive the Mental Health Teen Award on May 5 during the NAMI GC Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony. The Awards Ceremony will honor outstanding achievement in promoting and providing mental health services for individuals, families and organizations in the year 2016. Naturally drawn to the study of psychology, Annella has spent time shadowing a pediatric psychologist. In 2016 she wrote What I Learned and What You Need to Know: A Brief Introduction to Behavioral Disorders in Adolescents, a collection of vignettes about the patient cases she shadowed along with factual information about the mental health diagnoses. Congratulations to Annella!

Laurel Headmistress Ann V. Klotz recently lent her voice for NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) Member Voices, a new podcast series about the individuals who make up the independent school community. Each Podcast features a discussion with a different staff member at an NAIS-member school about his or her role, challenges, successes, inspiration sources and more. Ms. Klotz was one of the first to launch in the series, which has been very well received within the independent school community. Click here to listen to Ann’s podcast on leadership, empowering girls and the ways in which the Center for Research on Girls fuels our practice at Laurel. 

Laurel School alum Marne Levine '88 was recently featured in a Wall Street Journal article highlighting her role as chief operating officer for Instagram. Ms. Levine, a former White House official, arrived in the Silicon Valley in 2015 and "has been helping Instagram mature into a full-fledged business." The article quotes Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and chief executive, who calls Ms. Levine "'an efficiency guru' who has helped the app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth."

Prior to joining Instagram, Ms. Levine served as vice president of global public policy for Facebook, where she "grew the policy team, which manages Facebook’s relationship with governments and responds to privacy laws and regulation, from fewer than a dozen people to more than a hundred." The article goes on to state that "once Ms. Levine moved over to Instagram at the beginning of 2015, she dove in with the creation of a formal budget, giving the company a comprehensive view of its spending for the first time. She also pushed to expand the Instagram partnerships team, which manages the app’s relationship with public figures, publishers and others to ensure that they continued to flock to Instagram. She helped hire influential figures such as Eva Chen, former editor of Lucky magazine, to oversee its fashion ties, and Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood, who led Beyonce’s digital strategy, to run music partnerships."

The article details Ms. Levine's path to success at Instagram. Click here to read the full story. 

Northeast Ohio Parent published an article in April highlighting "Ways Kids in Northeast Ohio are Learning to Help the Environment." The story highlights various local organizations that are working to preserve our environment with the support of kids. Laurel's Outdoor Pre-Primary School, which educates students age 3-5 outside year-round regardless of the weather, is detailed in the article. The piece focuses on how students develop an immense respect for living things, learn about habitats and ecosystems, and develop a stewardship and understanding of environmental responsibility through composting and recycling.

Audrey Elszasz, Outdoor Pre-Primary teacher and Outdoor Education Specialist at Laurel, is quoted in the story saying “above all, they learn to understand the human impact on the Earth and discover how we can interact with nature and do no harm. These students develop such a love for the planet and learn to think about how to always do right by it.”

Laurel parent Rebecca Coley says her daughter’s experiences with the program include “hiking to base camp and traversing down challenging terrain, being independent and excited to put on her gear and get muddy, catching salamanders with her bare hands, and investigating animal tracks.”

 

Laurel School was pleased to host Frank Bruni, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author, on April 6. Mr. Bruni spoke to Laurel parents, faculty, staff, trustees and local alumnae on the college admissions mania and how where you go to college does not define you. The talk, based on his best-selling book, Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, was a lively one attended by more than 250 people. 

Your Teen Magazine had a chance to speak with Mr. Bruni prior to his talk at Laurel and the resulting Q&A, titled How to Pick a College And Other Great Advice from Author Frank Bruni, which highlights the bias of early decision, recent changes in financial aid, open-mindedness and more. In this Q&A, Mr. Bruni states that "Education is about so very much more than the onramp to college or than college itself. It’s an ongoing, all-encompassing, lifelong thing."  

Currents also highlighted the talk in their May 18 issue in an article titled, "Frank Bruni Works to Dispel Myths About College Admissions Process."

Laurel Eighth Grader Isabella (Izzy) A. '21 competed in the 2017 Ohio K-12 Chinese Speech and Essay Contest on April 8, 2017 at Cleveland State University. This annual competition is held for elementary, middle and high school students from Ohio. During the competition, students compete by either composing an essay or giving a speech in Chinese on a selected topic. The contestants are judged by experienced Chinese language teachers, and prizes are awarded during a ceremony at the end of the contests. Izzy competed among 22 students in the intermediate level for Grades 6-8 and placed second in her category! Congratulations to Izzy on this well-earned honor.  

 

A recent EdSurge article titled "What Would Happen if Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?" highlights the abundance of startup and entrepreneurial programs springing up in and around K-12 schools across the country. The article states that "Successful students, like startups, are those who are resilient, constantly absorbing new information and challenging their assumptions. What’s more, an entrepreneurial culture, carefully scaffolded, can help schools transform and unlock learning in ways that more traditional coursework cannot."

Laurel physics teacher Taylor Kaar, who also serves as Director of Entrepreneurship, is included in the story, which highlights both the Capstone Experience and the Veale Venture Challenge, two entrepreneurship programs offered to Laurel Upper School students. Taylor is quoted saying, “At Laurel School, we know that being an entrepreneur is a mindset, one that requires resiliency, problem solving, and passion. These are skills and traits that we feel are universally desirable today, and we know that the skills a girl learns at Laurel School’s entrepreneurship offerings will be transferable to any field.”

Covering four years, the entrepreneurship category of the Capstone Program asks high school students to lead and drive their own learning. The Veale Venture Challenge, through a series of steps—including the development of a business plan and a presentation to investors—aims to help students start a business while they are still in the school.

Laurel students Grace Murphy '17 and Henley Schulz '18 recently earned National Silver Medals in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Grace and Henley have been identified by panels of creative professionals as the most talented young artists and writers in the nation. This year's contest attracted more than 330,000 works of art and writing. Of these, only the top one percent were recognized at the national level.

Grace received a National Silver Medal for her earrings, titled Squiral. Henley was awarded a National Silver Medal in the Photography category for her color photograph titled Surrounded. Congratulations to Grace and Henley for their incredible achievements! 

  • May 2017
    • FriMay26 After School at Laurel Classes End
    • FriMay26 MS Green and White Day
    • FriMay26 US May Term
    • FriMay26 LSPA Volunteer Thank You Morning 8:15 AM to 9:30 AM
    • FriMay26 CCIS Grade 8 Promotion Dance 8:00 PM to 10:15 PM
    • SatMay27 MS Homework-Free Weekend
    • SatMay27 Ramadan Begins
    • MonMay29 Dream Week
    • MonMay29 Memorial Day: NO CLASSES - BUILDING CLOSED
    • TueMay30 US May Term
    • WedMay31 After School Supervised Play and MS Den End
    • WedMay31 US May Term
    • WedMay31 Primary Gator Day 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • June 2017
    • ThuJun01 US May Term
    • ThuJun01 Pre-Primary Early Dismissal (Last Day of Classes) 11:30 AM

Alumnae Spotlight

alumnae spotlight banner

Alumnae Spotlight showcases amazing Laurel women and the paths they have charted since graduation. Whether they are doctors, designers, artists, authors, scientists, lawyers, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, pharmacists, or civic activists or volunteers, Laurel women inhabit nearly all careers and corners of the world helping to make it a better place. Our alumnae and the journeys that they have taken speak to the essence of a Laurel education and what makes this School and the community of women who call it their own distinctive. This space highlights their fascinating lives and the mountains they continue to move.

If you would like to be featured in our Alumnae Spotlight, or know of an alumna who might, please email Megan Findling.

May 2017 Alumnae Spotlight

Elizabeth Schaul ’04

Proud Green team member Elizabeth Schaul ’04 received her Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and Psychology, cum laude, from Boston University. After college she stayed in Boston and is a social media project manager for State Street Global Advisors. If social media at its core is about relationship building through connection, interaction and information sharing, then relationship building has featured prominently in her life, long before the advent of Facebook and other social media platforms. She and Jessica Grogan Burnett ’04 have been best friends since Third Grade in Miss Crissman’s class and in addition to other classmates she is close to, especially Nicole Brown ’04 and Lauren Chrien Brown ’04, she stays in touch with alums from the classes below and above her own. Social media helps her continue those relationships.

You entered Laurel in Prekindergarten. Why Laurel?

My enlightened parents let me choose between Laurel and Hathaway Brown, as long as I was at an all-girls school. They recently had read the research produced by Carol Gilligan and Harvard about women having better long-term outcomes if they were educated in an all-female environment. I chose Laurel because there was a strawberry-scented doll in the classroom I visited that I fell in love with at first sight. I was crestfallen when on my first day at Laurel, the doll was nowhere to be found. I never saw her again.

Obviously, you found new things to love at Laurel! What is the most important thing you learned at Laurel (something you draw upon even now)?

Establishing confidence and faith in myself and knowing my own abilities and limitations. Once you leave Laurel, and then after you leave college, you are for the first time adrift— it will be the first time in your life that you don’t have school to attend in the fall (unless you head directly to graduate school directly after college, which I do not recommend), the first time you aren’t part of an automatic community, and the first time that you will not be with peers of the same age and life stage every day as you have been to this point.

There is an Emerson quote, which I think of often: “'If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.” Retaining that faith in myself has been key for me in periods of my life that were less stable, consistent, or structured. I have found that even when others doubted or questioned me, I wasn’t bothered by their perception because I realized it had no bearing upon what I am capable of or who I am. Many don’t have that belief in themselves and it is a gift, one I recognize and appreciate and largely attribute to my time at Laurel.

You’ve noted that Laurel allowed you to beat to your own drum…can you explain more about that?

Laurel does an excellent job of allowing each student to be herself. I think if I had attended a coed school, I would not have been nearly as comfortable expressing myself every day in class because I would have felt more pressure to conform and more anxiety about answering a question incorrectly or doing something that would have made me feel or look silly. At Laurel, even at a young age, I usually sat in one of the front rows near the middle, eager to answer the teacher’s questions and participate. I felt— and still feel —that Laurel created space for students to be themselves and really allowed and nurtured students to grow within that space, to explore who they were, and to express that wholly.

There also was a tremendous amount of freedom and opportunity to try new things provided you worked hard and did your best—how many other high schools would have allowed their Seniors to go off to New York City for a month? Yet that’s what Jessica Grogan and I did on our Senior project (our project was to create a Laurel girl’s guide to New York). I always had a strong sense of possibility while I was at Laurel, that anything I could conceive of and put the effort into creating, I could make it happen. That optimism and sense of opportunity is a wonderful gift and I draw upon it even now.

I also learned at Laurel that speaking up for what you care about and what you think is right is a very effective way to bring about change. My sense of activism, my willingness (even eagerness) to do what I think is right, and my sense of conviction when it comes to my various beliefs and causes are an integral part of who I am. Laurel gave me the space and the education to understand how to ask questions, dig for answers, how to be an involved and active citizen who cares for and gives back to her community, how to be resourceful and creative when it comes to finding solutions, and how to develop and expand upon my own opinions and ideas.

You are on the social media team for State Street Global Advisors. Social media has exploded and changed the landscape about how many of us communicate. Is there a typical day and if so, can you describe it? What are some of the positive experiences you’ve had doing social media? What are the most important skills to have to be successful in what you do?

Social media really varies depending on the size of the company and what is being marketed—a product versus a service —and to whom it is being marketed which affects the platform you use and the way you promote and advertise. I have done social media for a very small company selling a service, and now, in a much larger company, that is selling a product, and the experiences are polar opposites. In a smaller company, marketing is usually an afterthought. In that environment, usually it’s a very small number of people working on social media, and it is a small part of their role, so it doesn’t always get the attention it requires. In a larger, more-established organization, we have an entire team that supports social media, and there is more in the way of strategy, planning, and analysis. Each piece of output may be seen or touched by over a dozen people.

A typical day can involve examining current stock market sentiment (which will impact the mood of our audience), reviewing the publishing calendar, checking in to ensure content we want to promote is ready, strategizing potential content to promote in the future, reviewing social media posts, looking at what our competitors are saying or doing, analyzing results, and working with external vendors and internal teams to make sure everything is on schedule.

I like the immediacy of social media; you are able to start measuring impact right away. I like having the ability to tweak our approach on an ongoing basis—I am an inquisitive person and having the ability to get real-time feedback is ideal. In order to be successful in social media, and really any type of marketing, one must know one’s audience, be willing to explore and try new things, and to make mistakes. Also critical is being organized, flexible, and analytical, a strong communicator, and open to new concepts and ideas.

What do you do in your ‘spare time’?

I volunteer a lot— I am a Clinic Escort at my local Planned Parenthood affiliate, and I am also a founding member and on the Steering Committee of their Young Friends group (a group of young professionals who support PP). I am also a marketing/social media volunteer for a local refugee resettlement nonprofit, called Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center. My friends call me The Encourager— I like to lift up other people, especially other women, advising them professionally and encouraging them to go after their dreams. In this capacity, I mentor friends and younger relatives.

When I need to rejuvenate, I enjoy swimming, the beach (I love living near the ocean), salsa dancing (Boston has a large salsa community) and Boston’s restaurant scene.

What advice would you give to current Laurel girls?

Study abroad in college.

Don’t be afraid to take risks or to try things on your own and to chart your own course.

Appreciate Laurel— it is such a unique place and you won’t fully recognize how unusual it is until you are gone. Laurel offers you the time and space to explore your talents and gifts and to start to imagine how your future will take shape, so do not waste this opportunity. Value the special connection created amongst Laurel students and alumnae as a result of being educated there (and in an entirely female environment)— I was quite shocked when I got to college and was no longer with other Laurel girls and discovered that while I valued my female roommates and classmates for who they were as individuals, they viewed me as competition and kept me at arms’ length. I think the social climate between women is (hopefully) changing, but at the time, I felt this gap in my college female friendships as a loss and it was an adjustment and made me miss Laurel all the more.

Also, take a women’s studies class in college, even if you are not a social science or liberal arts student— it will open your eyes to a different perspective of history, biology, etc., than you have previously considered.

What has been the most surprising life lesson you have learned so far?

How frequently and with unnerving regularity my parents have been right. And, also, how people’s personalities never really change—I see this in myself and in others. My father says there is nothing like old friends and it’s true. I can count on my Laurel friends to be exactly as they were 10, 15, 20, 25 years ago. It is refreshing and comforting at the same time and always brings me back to the earliest years of my life.

If you could write your life’s philosophy for a message in a fortune cookie, what would it be?

Live with integrity, be brave, and never lose your childlike sense of wonder.  

An All-Girls’ Independent College Preparatory School for Grades K-12 and Coed Pre-Primary
Lyman Campus Butler Campus
216.464.1441


Laurel's Mission Statement:


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

 

All-School Open House

October 2017
exact date and time coming soon
Lyman Campus


"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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