Pine School News
PINE’s Senior Capstones allow students to deep dive into a known passion or an unknown exploration. These journeys are even more positive when there is an opportunity to share. Case in point, Whitney Critchfield’s environmental awareness project served as the perfect catalyst to provide our 5th Graders with an immersive experience as they all visited Big Cypress National Preserve - literally walking right into the swamp’s flora and fauna.
Further unpacking of this visit will happen as Critchfield folds-in additional science curriculum touch-points with teacher Justine Habicht.
“It was so exciting to allow the students to see for themselves the unique biodiversity of the preserve,” shared Critchfield. “Students stepped inside a native cypress dome and became aware of the conservation involved in preserving these unique ecological features.”
PINE's Model UN Club attended Gator MUN XX at The University of Florida. Students worked collaboratively on Committees covering a range of issues with more than 800 students from across the state.
Juniors Zoë Berry and Olivia Zaccheo received a Verbal Commendation at the awards ceremony for their contributions as the delegation from Canada in the Committee on the Status of Women.
“Within each of these committees, students enhanced their public speaking, networking, and writing skills by negotiating voting blocs and drafting resolutions collaboratively with other students,” shared Club Sponsor & Academic Dean Sean Carlson.
The 16th Annual 100 Years of Cars car show is officially in the books.
This year's show featured over 200 amazing vehicles owned by car enthusiasts from all over the Treasure Coast. The show was also very well attended (despite the colder than normal south Florida weather), with over 1,800 people visiting our beautiful campus.
Supporting The Pine School Patriot Scholarship - a full-tuition scholarship to a student that is the child of active or veteran United States military personnel - this year’s event exceeded last year's total, raising close to $40,000.
"Despite the colder than normal conditions, we had another incredible turnout for the Car Show," shared Director of Development, John Boyer. "As always, this event is a massive team effort. We are beyond grateful for the hard work of the Car Show Committee, and the numerous teachers, parents and students that came out on a Saturday morning to help out. This was another great day for The Pine School."
Photos of the event can be seen on our Flickr page.
For the 3rd consecutive year, Senior Fiona Ankrom has earned a spot to represent PINE at the State Thespian Festival in Tampa.
Performing "Climbing Uphill" from the musical The Last Five Years, Fiona received Superior & Excellent ratings at the District Meet.
“Fiona has dedicated so much time to promoting the arts at The Pine School,” shared Academic Dean & PINE musical director Sean Carlson. "From taking on roles with unique challenges to being a Senior leader, Fiona has tackled each obstacle with confidence. Fiona's passion and talent have helped to build the foundation for us to continue to grow the Performing Arts at The Pine School."
Fiona will lead a robust Upper & Middle School cast, portraying Maria Ranier, in PINE's 2023 musical, The Sound of Music.
PINE's notable Golf Program continues to draw impressive accolades.
Congratulations to Senior Bri Castaldi for being named the TCPalm All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year. Bri had another impressive season, that included earning medalist honors at the Treasure Lake Conference Championship and the District 13-1A Championship.
Bri has already signed a commitment to attend East Tennessee State University - where she will play on their Division I Women's Golf Team.
Freshman Karen Becher was also selected as an All-Area Honorable Mention.
"It is great to see Bri recognized for the outstanding golfer that she is. Her accomplishments at PINE have been so impressive." shared PINE Athletic Director Jeff Shirk. “She has forged a legacy in a PINE golf program that has seen its share of outstanding golfers and we are so proud of her.”
On the evening of December 22, 2022, members of The Pine School classes of 2012 and 2013 gathered in the Textor Art Gallery (part of our exciting new Arts & Athletic Center) to reunite, reminisce, and tour campus.
Joining the alumni were many current and former PINE faculty and staff members, including former Heads of School Bill Hudgins and Phyllis Parker.
"For our first class specific alumni reunion since the pandemic, I'm thrilled with the turnout," remarked Director of Development, John Boyer. “Many of these alumni had not set foot on campus in close to a decade, so we loved having the opportunity to welcome them back to see how much has changed. As our School grows, we are looking forward to holding more events and reunions for alumni in the coming months and years.”
Between Thanksgiving break & Winter break it truly seems like there was a fun holiday tradition happening every time you turned around.
The Pine School community continued its long-standing tradition of a School-wide toy drive. Hundreds of toys were collected and distributed to local organizations serving families in need.
The School community also gathered for the annual Holiday Program - featuring students delivering spiritual readings as well as performances by musical ensembles & chorus. Junior Keziah Anderson spoke regarding the importance of community service.
"When we all take time to come together in unity to serve each other with a spirit of love, we are helping shape the future for the better," shared Anderson. "I challenge and encourage all of you to go out into your community and impact the people and world around you."
The program ended with a rousing sing-a-long, including PINE's edition of ‘12 Days of Christmas’ - a tradition started by former Head of School Phyllis Parker, who was in attendance.
Lower School students took a ride on The Polar Express, celebrated all things Grinch and enjoyed having Sheriff Deputies read stories to them.
Meanwhile, our Upper & Middle School students threw themselves into a round of friendly competition building gingerbread houses and other holiday-themed contests. There was even a special evening holiday movie viewing.
Additionally, our talented Middle School Chorus took their holiday numbers on the road to perform for our friends at Sheridan Senior Living - including delivering homemade holiday cards to the residents.
It is safe to say that PINE really made sure our students were in the spirit of the season.
As The Pine School has done each Thanksgiving, a Food Drive gathered nonperishable food items to donate to The House of Hope in Martin County - a non-profit organization dedicated to serving those less fortunate.
This year broke PINE records in collecting over 2,000 pounds of food. 5th & 6th Grades went above & beyond helping with collection and loading!
"The Pine School has been such a great and longtime community partner," shared House of Hope CEO Rob Ranieri. “These annual donations make such a positive impact - increasing the number of families we are able to serve each holiday season.”
The Pine School was well represented at the annual Marties Awards - hosted by MartinArts at the historic Lyric Theatre in downtown Stuart.
K-8 Art teacher Amanda Jones was honored with their prestigious ‘Excellence In Arts Education’ Award.
“This honor represents a legacy of commitment that has allowed the arts to be such a treasure in this community,” shared MartinArts Executive Director Nancy Turrell.
Senior Fiona Ankrom was also nominated for Excellence in Visual Arts - tying in a commitment to continue art-related study in college as well as a dedication to service in the community.
"The choice to nominate Fiona for this award was clear because of their innate artistic ability, as well as their commitment to art outside of the realm of creating, including their interest in the study of art history and their passion for using art to highlight causes that are important to them," shared art teacher Emily Faehnle.
It feels a bit redundant to celebrate National Outdoor Classroom Day as our beautiful 174-acre campus serves as a living classroom year round, but celebrate we did!
Our students and teachers (as usual) were out-and-about - enjoying quiet spots to read, grabbing bag lunches to eat under a tree & simply taking in all the nature close at hand.
The day also included opportunities for all students to visit the popular petting zoo and Lower School students ended the day with a special yoga session taught by Admissions Assistant (and certified yoga instructor) Carol Dee Ankrom.
"The ability to count on our surroundings to serve as such an integral part of our unique approaches is truly amazing," shared Lower School science teacher Jackie Brownie. "Whether expanding on lessons focused on the environment or animals, dedicated beyond the classroom opportunities like this make such a positive impact on student learning."
PINE definitely scored an A+ in making the most of this special day.
Congratulations to Senior Brennan Troup for being honored with the Silver Congressional Award.
This national recognition honors student commitment in the areas of community service, physical fitness & personal development.
“The national Congressional Award program offers students a great format through which to set goals and document so much of what The Pine School already promotes,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “Through perseverance and commitment, Brennan has achieved a great honor and is truly serving as a supportive role model to her School community.”
It’s official - our stunning Arts & Athletic Center is the newest addition to our impressive campus.
An intimate ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the official opening. Donors to the campaign, members of The Pine School Board, and representatives from Hooks Construction, Huum Architects, Zabik & Associates, and Professional Bank gathered to see the unveiling of the donor wall and take tours of the gallery, classrooms, auditorium and backstage area.
"This project has been years in the making," said PINE Director of Development, John Boyer. "So many people and organizations - along with supporting the project philanthropically - have given of their time and talent to ensure that this project was completed in line with the vision set out nearly a decade ago."
Additionally, the entire student & faculty School community gathered to celebrate with a special ‘opening assembly’ - including performances by both our Knights of Steel steel pan ensemble & Concert Band as well as our talented Chorus.
Though the new space has already been in use with the extra classroom space it provides, we look forward to the many ways the dedicated stage will be put to use for both the Upper/Middle School and Lower School musicals as well as a range of ensemble and performing arts concerts.
The Center’s gallery space will also be used to host student art exhibitions and showcase impressive work created by Pine School Alumni.
"When considering this exciting period of growth for The Pine School, nothing makes me happier than thinking about all of the student creativity and athletic opportunities that will be showcased and available because of our new Arts and Athletics Center," shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. "This is such a great time to be a Knight!"
The popularity and spirit surrounding Pine School’s Homecoming traditions speaks to the strength of our School’s connected community. Even with the slight detour caused by Hurricane Ian, our Upper School students reveled in the collaborative and team-building spirit that defines this special time of the school year.
"Homecoming totally encapsulates the combination of school spirit and friendly competition that truly serves to make The Pine School so unique," shared Assistant Head of School Kelly Hilton-Green.
From athletic events like Boys Volleyball, Dodgeball, & Powder Puff Football to fun themed dress-up days Homecoming traditions are non-stop all week long!
Traveling boldly to where no one has gone before, our Upper School students also embraced the Homecoming theme of ‘space’ as they creatively worked together to represent Star Wars (Seniors), E.T. (Juniors), Space Jam (Sophomores) & Men In Black (Freshman) in their respective hallways. Truly out of this world!
Of course, the all-school Pep Rally provides the perfect charge to lead into the Varsity Volleyball Homecoming Game - and what Homecoming would be complete without a dance?
Each year, points are tallied and the Homecoming Crown is bestowed on the Class that reigned supreme. This year, Seniors brought home the prize. Congrats to the Class of 2023.
“Homecoming is a fantastic time for the Upper School Grades to come together and bond over a week of fun competition," shared Senior & Student Leadership Committee President Whitney Critchfield. "It is something everyone looks forward to each year and it definitely strengthens our School community.”
Enjoy individual photo galleries on our Flickr page if you missed any of the following traditions.
Homecoming Pep Rally
Homecoming Hallway Decorations
Homecoming Varsity Volleyball Game
Homecoming Boys Volleyball
Homecoming Powder Puff
When you are dedicated to the Arts as The Pine School is, National Arts In Education Week feels almost redundant. With the new school year underway, all of our Arts offerings (from Fine Arts to Performance ensembles) have hit the ground running.
All of our students enjoy a range of artistic discipline exposure, which develops and segues into more advanced focuses as Grades advance.
Providing an amazing art & performance foundation, Lower School Music Teacher Megan Alvarado and Art Teacher Amanda Jones (the recent recipient of the prestigious ‘Excellence In Arts Education’ Award) spark passion and interest in our youngest students.
With our passionate team of Middle School educators (Alvarado & Jones are joined by Dorothy Castle & Michael Rossi leading ensembles and Michelle Foligno heading up 3D Art) taking the lead, students have even more opportunities as both Studio Art and 3D Art are folded in along with Chorus and our award-winning instrumental ensembles, including band and steel pan.
In Upper School, Castle, Rossi & Foligno are joined by Fine Art & Photography teacher Emily Faehnle and Brian Hayden who Chairs the Dept along with teaching Graphic Design & Yearbook.
The entire student body is excited to take full advantage of all that comes with our new Arts & Athletics Center - which includes specifically-designed performance rehearsal spaces and a dedicated stage - complete with state-of-the-art lighting & sound. This stage will get plenty of use - from individual Upper/Middle School and Lower School musicals to a variety of ensemble & Chorus concerts.
"We are certainly proud to formally participate in this annual event, but the simple truth is that PINE has long been dedicated to making the transformative powers of art education an integral part of our successful curriculum approach," shared Fine Arts Chair Brian Hayden.
Our very own History Department Chair Nathaniel Osborn was a featured guest on the weekly ‘Voices For Our Lagoon’ podcast - a series dedicated to covering the history of the Indian River Lagoon.
Osborn wrote and published (through University Press of Florida) Indian River Lagoon: An Environmental History in 2016. Last year he received the well-deserved news that the critically acclaimed book would also be available in paperback.
In addition to leading our History Department and being a beloved member of the faculty, Osborn co-teaches the unique Honors Florida Environmental Studies class with Science Dept Chair Dr. Carolyn Bogaski. Last year's class completed the impressive undertaking of articulating a full adult manatee skeleton.
Enjoy the podcast on Spotify.
If smiles were any indication, it would be safe to say that The Pine School’s first day of 22-23 was filled with off-the-chart positives.
“The positivity is palpable as students have returned to campus refreshed from the summer and ready to learn,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “Classrooms are buzzing, friendships are forming, teams are practicing, and art is coming alive!”
One huge point of pride is that the 2022-23 School Year opened with a 10% increase in enrollment at 426 students total. Nearly 300 applications were processed - resulting in over 100 new students in Kindergarten through 11th Grade who will grace the PINE campus for the 1st time.
Students have joined us from a variety of schools from all 3 counties (Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie) as well as all over the U.S. (CA, CT, IA, NJ, NY, TN, TX) and even from as far away as Germany and Brazil.
Our passionate faculty wasted no time engaging students - setting firm the foundation of the tight-knit community that makes The Pine School so unique. From collaborative team-building activities to fun approaches to fundamental refreshers, our teachers commitment to student success is second to none.
"Our faculty brings with them such an enthusiasm for education,” shared Asst Head of School Kelly Hilton-Green. “I am excited to have such a great group of teachers to support and call colleagues.”
Talk about a great way to start the year! MartinArts (led by Executive Director Nancy Turrell) joined our faculty this morning to recognize K-8 Art teacher Amanda Jones with their prestigious ‘Excellence In Arts Education’ Award. The Award will officially be celebrated at the Marties Awards in November at the Lyric Theater in downtown Stuart.
“This honor represents a legacy of commitment that has allowed the arts to be such a treasure in this community,” shared Turrell.
The Pine School really cleaned up (pun intended) at the Keep Martin Beautiful 2022 Environmental Stewardship Awards banquet - attended by Lower School science teacher Jackie Brownie, Environmental Education Coordinator Justine Habicht, & History Dept Chair Nathaniel Osborn.
Brownie was honored with the ‘Youth Engagement Award’ and our overall "Florida Environment Initiative" earned special recognition. This programming includes a range of dedicated focuses - from our campus garden & recycling initiatives to our innovative Manatee Skeleton Articulation project.
“Watching our students grow as naturalists is amazing,” shared Habicht. “Seeing firsthand the engagement we are fostering in our students because of our programming is exactly what we were hoping for.”
Congratulation to the group of PINE student-artists (Fiona Ankrom, Audrey Foley, Amanda Grodman, Sebastian Mastin, Maya Othman, Carter Polachek, Brett Sarcia, and Sydney Schraier) that were selected to exhibit pieces in the 35th annual Marvin Cone Student Juried Art Show hosted by MartinArts.
This prestigious event showcases the best student artwork from the five high schools in Martin County.
Special recognition went to:
Pine School Purchase Award: Brett Sarcia
Sculpture - 1st Place: Sebastian Mastin
Painting - 3rd Place: Amanda Grodman
Photography - 3rd Place: Audrey Foley
Honorable Mention: Maya Othman
Historical Society of Martin County Purchase Award: Amanda Grodman
Children's Services Council of Martin County: Maya Othman
"Participating in opportunities beyond our campus brings so many levels of positive exposure - key elements in growing as an artist," shared art teacher Emily Faehnle - herself a participant of this exhibit as a local high school student.
Talk about a great Earth Week! Aligning perfectly with our year-long efforts to promote environmental awareness, PINE went all out to shine the light on the many ongoing (and new) initiatives that make up our vibrant GREEN programming.
One example was faculty & students hosting members of the FL Native Plants Society to tour our expansive campus.
"This was definitely a mutually beneficial opportunity as FNPS experts helped us understand our campus's sand pine scrub ecosystem - some of the last in S FL," said History Dept Chair & Environmental Class co-teacher Nathaniel Osborn.
The week also featured theme days with focuses on an e-recycling collection, rewarding students for using reusable water bottles (& thus eliminating plastic), & an all-School campus clean-up.
Our faculty even took the message into the classrooms. Anthony DiGiovanni's led his math classes to survey and graph their daily carbon footprint, while Pascale Marie-Luce's 4th Grade French students compared our country's environmental practices to that of France.
And, of course, there is no better way to cap a successful Earth Week (& celebrate Earth Day!) than with PINE’s annual tradition of Recycled Runway - a true blend of environmental conservation & creative design work. Student-artists design & construct a range of outfits & accessories using only recycled/repurposed elements, followed by classmates taking to the runway to showcase these creations.
"At the Pine School, we strive to raise environmental awareness, while educating our students on how to actively care for our Earth," shared Environmental Education Coordinator Justine Habicht. "Earth Week provides a fantastic additional opportunity to focus on putting this mission into practice by encouraging student activism."
The incredibly popular PINE tradition of the annual Lower School musical continued with the beloved Broadway classic Annie.
Led fearlessly (& passionately) by LS music teacher Megan Alvarado - months of work went into rehearsals, planning & staging.
As is the case each year, 4th Graders held the lead roles (following an audition process) - admirably portraying the world's most famous orphan, her pals, and a cast of memorable characters. Likewise, Grades K-3 provided support through both their singing and movement during the entire production. Each of these Lower School classes also enjoyed a spotlight moment as part of the show - an extension of the curricular material they learned in music class. Even Middle & Upper Schoolers assisted backstage.
The musical numbers were presented with especially infectious energy - showcasing the hard work and natural talent of our rising stars. Many 'graduates' of these LS productions have gone on to participate as cast members in the annual main-stage Upper/Middle School musical production.
The cast had two opportunities to share their hard work - a special all-School show as well as a dedicated performance for parents and guests (which aligned with Grandparents & Special Friends Day and was followed by the LS Book Fair and other special programming for these special guests). Both performances were received enthusiastically.
"I just love that our musicals present an opportunity for the entire Lower School division to work together," shared Alvarado. "It is such a fun and meaningful showcase of their talent and energy."
Band Director Dorothy Castle & PINE’s Performing Arts musicians attended the WorldStrides Heritage Festival at Universal Studios in Orlando. Concert Band, Jazz Ensemble, & The Knights of Steel all competed and were scored Silver, Bronze, & Silver, respectively. Each group performed three pieces & received coaching from the judges.
Additionally, Senior Madeline Restino earned the prestigious "Maestro Award" in the Band category.
“All of the students performed to their best abilities and represented PINE in fine fashion,” shared Castle. “Opportunities like these are key to performance growth as well as an important part of ensemble bonding.”
A huge congratulations to Senior Hannah Squier for being named a National Merit Scholarship Winner! Hannah was one of only 2,500 winners selected from an initial pool of over 1.6 million that took the initial exam.
Hannah’s exceptional Senior year has also included serving as PINE’s Head Girl and leading Varsity Soccer to a District title - while also breaking numerous scoring goals and being named to the FACA Girls All-Star Soccer Team.
“Hannah puts a great deal of time and effort into all she does, and is well-deserving of this prestigious accomplishment,” shared Assistant Head of School Kelly Hilton-Green.
The Pine School’s Off-Campus Education Week provides students (Grades 5-12) to participate in a wide range of travel experiences - all part of the School’s dedicated Beyond The Classroom learning approaches.
Focusing this year on (mostly) Florida trips, our students covered almost every inch of the state - from exploring environmental challenges in the Keys to touring university campuses with our College Counselor. From hanging at a tiger habitat in Tampa to bonding through team-building rope courses at dude ranches.
As has become a PINE tradition, our Senior Class enjoyed quality time at the beautiful National Whitewater Center just outside of Charlotte, NC - the same facility where the US Olympic Kayak Team trains. In addition to prime outside time, the group also took in a professional basketball game and a relaxing dinner cruise.
“These opportunities pair perfectly with PINE’s commitment to educate our students in meaningful and personalized ways, shared OCE Coordinator Patty Woodbury. “The result of also fostering a greater connection to communities beyond our campus is such a great bonus!”
Junior Fiona Ankrom represented PINE at the State Thespian Festival/Conference in Tampa during spring break.
Her overall performance received an 'Excellent' assessment, with several 'Superior' individual category nods. This is Fiona’s 2nd straight year qualifying for the State Competition.
"I was proud to continue the tradition of individual PINE students participating in this unique and exciting experience," shared Ankrom. "As a Senior next year, I hope to encourage others interested in the performing arts to join me."
The Pine School Boys Varsity Soccer brought home a historic, first team-sport State Championship Title with their impressive 3-2 win over Canterbury at the Final Match in Deland, FL.
Led by Olympic Gold Medalist Staci Wilson, the team's undefeated season earned them a #1 seed throughout post-season play.
The School community gathered for a special send-off to wish the team luck - with many students/faculty making the 3-hour trek to see the team win in person while many others gathered on campus for a high-spirited viewing party of the game's live-stream.
PINE's Girls Varsity Soccer also enjoyed a stellar season - earning both a District Championship and a host of individual records (including Senior Hannah Squier being selected for the FACA Girls All-Star Soccer Team).
"Watching the amount of time, effort, and commitment poured into this season culminate with capturing the State Championship is truly magical," shared Athletic Director Jeff Shirk. "PINE Athletics is about much more than just winning, but there is no denying how fulfilling it is when dedication and efforts come together to create seasons like our Varsity Soccer program enjoyed."
The annual Upper/Middle School musical, The Little Mermaid, delighted audiences with a magical journey under the sea.
Directed by first-time PINE director Hailley Nieves (with invaluable participation from Sean Carlson, Megan Alvarado & Dorothy Castle), the cast and crew began preparing for the production back in Sept - with increased long school-day & weekend rehearsals in the weeks leading up to opening night. Both performances were to packed & enthusiastic audiences.
Chorus Director Megan Alvarado led intensive music rehearsals with the cast - many of whom have worked with her in PINE Choruses or in the Lower School musicals she directs annually.
Time was also dedicated to private one-on-one sessions for lead performers.
“It was great to have so many students overlapping from our various Fine Arts ensembles to help boost the musicality of the performances,” shared Alvarado.
Special thanks are also extended to the PINE parents who went above & beyond in their support & help with the production - Cat Altschuler, Stacie McElroy, Margie Moore, Sean & Dawn Loren, & Theresa Naumann.
“The annual musical is such a special time for all of us to come together to make something great,” summed up Carlson. “From the students who helped with set painting and design, choreography, sound, lighting, backstage, to those performing on stage - this whole process allows students to work in a meaningful, collaborative setting that can foster the many different avenues the performing arts offer.”
Dr. Carolyn Bogaski & Nathaniel Osborn have teamed up to lead their Florida Environmental Studies students through a stunningly unique approach to environmental awareness & manatee conservation - the final product of which will be a fully articulated manatee skeleton to be displayed on campus.
In a partnership with the FL Marine Mammal Pathology Lab in St Petersburg, The Pine School was granted special authorization to take possession of a manatee carcass - part of the record number of animals dying from starvation due to loss of seagrass beds.
First steps involved preparing the skeleton for the cleaning process.
“Our class is robustly interdisciplinary - cleaning & building a manatee skeleton offers a powerful vehicle to peel back the layers of Florida's wildlife & ecology (and the history that endangered them),” shared Bogaski.
As part of their research, students visited the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Field Station to take advantage of an opportunity to ask questions of the station’s biologists to gain a deeper understanding of the environmental challenges manatees face locally. They also traveled to FPL's Manatee Lagoon in WPB.
"The students have some engineering problems to figure out," said Osborn. "There is no instruction manual for a project like this, so our students are immersed in hands-on research."
There is nothing quite like Pine School spirit. To celebrate the tremendous efforts of our winter Varsity teams, PINE dedicated consecutive days to all-School ‘White Outs’ - a special focus on cheering on both our Varsity Boys & Girls Soccer and Boys & Girls Basketball teams.
The teams responded in fine fashion. Boys & Girls Soccer turned in very convincing performances against St Edwards School (5-1 & 6-0, respectively).
“The team turned in their most complete game I’ve seen the team play,” shared Girls Soccer Coach Kelly Hilton-Green. “A great effort by all who took the field.”
The Boys team is coached by Olympic Soccer Gold Medalist Staci Wilson.
Likewise Varsity Boys & Girls Basketball (led by Coaches Tony DiGiovanni - Boys & Paxton Ellis - Girls) had very strong showings against Somerset Academy’s teams - 61-55 & 51-34, respectively.
Both nights also presented opportunities to recognize the contributions of our Senior athletes through special dedications with family members present.
Our Student Life leadership (led by Seniors Cat Villano, Simon Ross, & Michael DiEgidio) added to the fun by arranging special PINE spirit shirts as well as food trucks for students to enjoy.
"Our Senior Day events could not have been more fun or more successful,” shared Athletic Director Jeff Shirk. “The teams played hard, were victorious in all games, and the display of School spirit was a sight to see. Great job Knights!"
Gorgeous weather and the backdrop of The Pine School’s beautiful 174-acre campus provided the perfect setting for the most successful ‘100 Years Of Cars’ Car Show yet.
In addition to over 250 cars registered to show (100 more than participated last year), over 1,500 spectators took in a wide array of classic and unique automobiles on display.
This, of course, spelled out a huge win for the School’s Patriot Scholarship as over $30,000 was raised. PINE’s Patriot Scholarship provides full-tuition scholarships to the children of active or retired military veterans.
Beyond the spectacular focus on amazing cars, the day also came with several food and ice cream trucks, performances by our Knights of Steel Band & Middle School Chorus, bounce houses, obstacle courses and an animal demonstration from Busch Wildlife Sanctuary for the kids.
"Our 15th annual Car Show will be one to remember,” shared Director of Development John Boyer. “With a record number of registrants and attendees, we were able to support our Patriot Scholarship fund and come together as a community for a big event which I know we all have missed. We are so grateful to our Car Show Committee, our generous sponsors, and teacher volunteers that helped make this year's show so successful."
The Pine School said goodbye to longtime College Counselor Janet Pacifico in a special Retirement Celebration honoring the 14 years that she has overseen 435 graduates and processed over 3155 applications.
The program included a keynote address by English Dept Chair Greg Squier, whose own children have benefitted from Janet’s expertise.
“Ms. Pacifico knows so much about our students and is so plugged into the admissions world that no one can craft an application package better than she can,” mused Squier.
Both the School’s Concert Band & Chorus gave special performances - the latter to accompany each member of the Class of 2022 as they presented Pacifico with a single yellow rose - a nod to the Commencement tradition that Pacifico has played a key role in for years.
Perhaps the highlight of the assembly was a moving video featuring a range of PINE graduates expressing their gratitude and thanks for the impactful role Pacifico played in shaping their post-PINE collegiate years.
“Though armored with a tough demeanor and always pragmatic, sometimes painful advice - there is no one who works harder or cares more deeply about Pine school students than Janet Pacifico,” shared Director of Admission Beth Lettengarver. Lettengarver, who was part of the committee that hired Pacifico in 2008, oversaw the coordination of the assembly.
PINE welcomes new Director of College Counseling Kathleen Bracken - bringing over 20 years of experience from the Doane Stuart School in Rensselaer, New York.
There is nothing like The Pine School's annual Holiday Program to really kick the spirit of the season into high gear. This favorite, all-School tradition combines commitment to community, opportunities to celebrate all aspects of the holidays, and enjoy seasonal music & singing together.
The centerpiece of the Program certainly is PINE's long-standing dedication to giving back to our surrounding community by each student and faculty member donating a toy. As the School does each year, these are divided between two local organizations who lead important holiday efforts to support families in need - United Way of Martin County's Holiday Project and Natives Helping Natives.
"The Pine School's generosity is truly moving," shared United Way Community Impact Coordinator Sara Aviles. "We are thankful to their giving spirit and to their dedication to partner with many of our community projects."
Sisters Bella & Lili Krastel also shared thoughts about their experiences through a range of volunteering that their family regularly commits to.
And then the singing started - Capping with a high-decibel, rousing rendition of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', a popular addition started by former Head of School Phyllis Parker (who joined the festivities.
Led by Fine Arts faculty members Dorothy Castle & Megan Alvarado, each of The Pine School Performing Arts ensembles participated in the annual Winter Concert. As varied as the widespread talent of our students, the evening included a dedicated Lower School 'production' that featured vocal, movement & instrumental elements.
Upper & Middle School groups - including steel pan, concert bands, Chorus, & jazz ensemble - brought the spirit of the holidays with a selection of inspired selections.
"Our Winter Concert truly showcases the impressive breadth of our Performing Arts Program," shared Fine Arts Chair Steve Naumann. "To experience, firsthand, the staggering amount of work, passion, and love that our amazing faculty and student body put into these performances is so wonderful. I'm truly honored to be a part of a Fine Arts Department that possesses and fosters so much talent and to be part of a School that genuinely values the Arts."
The Pine School family has a lot to be proud of, but the top of that list has to be the way we come together to serve our greater community. Thank you to everyone who donated to this year’s impressive collection of food for our friends at the House of Hope.
“The Pine School's donation of almost 800 pounds of food for our pantry will help out with more than 650 meals for families in need this holiday season," shared House of Hope Donor Relation Coordinator Amy Belisle. "We are so grateful for the School's continued support as a true community partner."
Happy Charlotte’s Web Day!! Katie Humphries & her farmhands (aka, 2nd Grade) have read the classic book, while also learning tons about animals.
They celebrated in true fashion by visiting the petting zoo at the Hobe Sound Farmer’s Market. The fun morning also included tractor rides, mini-pumpkin launching, egg tosses, & a farmyard obstacle course.
"The flexibility of an independent school to provide these sort of experiences makes all the difference in providing our students with an opportunity for deeper learning and fun memories," shared Humphries.
The Pine School held its annual Veterans Day Assembly. Featuring musical performances by our Middle School Chorus & Lower School students, the event also featured a keynote by Billy Vaughn, Co-Founder & VP of Operation 300 - a local organization dedicated to providing mentorship to the children of Armed Forces fallen.
The occasion also provided an opportunity for the School’s fall Open House - with over 75 in attendance.
“The men and women of the Armed Forces made sacrifices none of us can fully repay. We can, though, find ways within our own lives to live out the liberties they have provided for us," said Senior & Head Boy Reece Slater in his opening welcome.
What better way to wrap-up French Week than to stage our own Tour de PINE?
Students & faculty entered into this friendly competition (which included an array of challenging stops along the route) with gusto. Senior Reyn Hyland took the top student prize, while 5th Grade teacher Jess Layman topped for faculty. Seniors took the top team prize.
"Our first Tour de Pine was an exciting, creative event to spread awareness about French culture,” shared French Club President Hannah Squier. “The race received enthusiasm from both the racers and spectators, and the French Club looks forward to making it a new Pine School tradition."
A big thank you to French teachers Maryse Peressin-Hay & Laura Schwartz for their dedication to creating such a memorable cultural opportunity.
Students were treated to a stunning performance of dance & music by the troupe ‘Compagnie la Mangrove’ - who just happens to feature French teacher Pascale Marie-Luce’s daughter, Stacy.
Sharing their Caribbean & Creole identities through art, the troupe wowed the students with an interactive program.
"The students responded in such beautiful ways to the program," shared Marie-Luce. "It was so wonderful to see them engaging in the history and traditions of other cultures."
In partnership with ORCA (Ocean Research & Conservation Association) & the Hobe Sound Nature Center, our FL Environmental Studies students participated in A Day in the Life on the Indian River Lagoon - an annual event that recruits thousands of teachers, environmental experts, & students to collect scientific data at various sites along the 156-mile stretch of the Lagoon.
“The students used hands-on field techniques to measure chemical, physical, and biological parameters - all of which determines how our local piece of the estuary fits into the larger ecosystem,” shared Science Dept Chair Dr. Carolyn Bogaski. “The results help build a better understanding of our local ecosystem’s ecological health and the relationship our site has to the entire watershed; essentially creating an environmental report card of the lagoon.”
The same group of students, under the leadership of Dr. Carolyn Bogaski & Nathaniel Osborn, have also taken on a stunningly unique approach to environmental awareness & manatee conservation. In a partnership with the FL Marine Mammal Pathology Lab in St Petersburg, The Pine School was granted special authorization to take possession of a manatee carcass - part of the record number of animals dying from starvation due to loss of seagrass beds.
The first step of the project involved preparing the skeleton for the cleaning process. The final product will be a fully articulated manatee skeleton to be displayed on campus - serving as a reminder to protect manatees & the environment.
“Our class is robustly interdisciplinary - cleaning & building a manatee skeleton offers a powerful vehicle to peel back the layers of Florida's wildlife & ecology (and the history that endangered them),” shared Osborn.
Our illustrious former Head of School Phyllis Parker returned to campus on the occasion of debuting her book ‘The Pine School: Our First 50 Years’ with a special virtual book release presentation to students & faculty. She was joined by Dale & Mary Hudson (founding Pine School parents and current grandparents to Senior Kendall Eaker).
Mrs. Parker didn’t surrender to retirement easily - entering immediately into using her 26-year association with the School to create a thoughtfully thorough history of every aspect of The Pine School’s growth to date.
“I wrote the book as a gift to the School and all funds collected from sales of the book will stay with The Pine School,” shared Mrs. Parker.
The coffee table-style publication was printed by Board Member & Pine School parent Don Mader’s company, Southeastern Printing - including a great collaboration with designer/editor Debby Keseric.
The book is only $20 and is now available in the School’s bookstore and through our online store - including editions signed by the author.
“We are truly in Mrs. Parker’s debt for creating such a beautiful documentation of The Pine School’s incredible history,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “I know our families will thoroughly enjoy every aspect of this book.”
A favorite Pine School tradition is capping the first week of school with dedicated time for our students to bond through a range of activities - both on and off campus.
“Taking this moment to pause and reflect on the year to come plays a key role in establishing the close-knit community that The Pine School is known for,” shared Assistant Head of School Kelly Hilton-Green.
As they do each year, our Upper School classes participate in individually planned off-campus retreat adventures - with time dedicated during each outing for students to reflect on their goals for the year.
12th Graders spent some high-energy time at the Shark Wake Aqua Park. Juniors took part in a challenging lifeguard competition hosted by the Marine First Responders of the Treasure Coast - which included surfing and paddleboarding. Sophomores worked together to take on the Challenge Course at the Florida Institute of Technology. And our Freshmen traveled to the US Sailing Center in Martin County and spent the morning learning about basic sailing and testing their skills out on the water.
Middle School students spent the day building their sense of identity through team-building activities, including trust exercises, riff-offs, and developing names and mascots for their advisory groups.
Lower School students participated in activities to build connections and community. In addition to painting rocks that will be placed together to create a "LS Rock Garden", they also participated in an energetic Zumba Class with STEM teacher Jackie Brownie.
“The whole day brings such a needed breath of fresh air as students and faculty adjust to the new rhythm of school after a relaxing summer,” summed up Hilton-Green. “I love hearing from our students the many positives they take away from these experiences.”
The Pine School may bleed Blue & Gold, but we definitely think GREEN!
For the 8th straight year, we have been honored with the distinguished Green School of Excellence Award. From our student-led invention to monitor the health of the Indian River Lagoon to a range of recycling and cross-curricular projects, our commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability is second to none. The School’s 174-acre campus also serves as a living classroom to further explore Florida’s unique ecosystem.
“Simply put, our GREEN focus is woven into our School culture and distinguishes PINE as a true educational leader in this area,” shared Environmental Education Coordinator Justine Habicht.
“Our continued Green School recognition really exemplifies the dedication and cooperation of our students and faculty,” agreed Science Department Chair Dr. Carolyn Bogaski.
The Pine School celebrated the Class of 2021 (PINE’s 13th graduating class) during the Graduation ceremonies of Baccalaureate and Commencement. Following a year when health restrictions altered these beloved traditions, the 45 graduates enjoyed in-person opportunities to mark the occasion.
Baccalaureate, held at St. Christopher’s Church in Hobe Sound, presented a more formal setting to begin the weekend. Senior Trent Long spoke on behalf of his Class and English Department Chair Greg Squier was selected by the Seniors to be the faculty speaker.
“We’ve spent these years at PINE learning, and we leave prepared for what is next,” shared Long. “We’ve earned this moment. Let’s love our present, but chase our future for the excitement it promises.”
Commencement started early the next morning with the Class of 2021 gathering for photos and the tradition of being pinned by Alumni as they themselves made the transition to join this expanding PINE community. Ten Alums joined us to participate, including 3 older sisters of graduates (see details and photos in the ALUMNI section).
The Commencement ceremony was held in the gymnasium and featured Head Boy Sam Levine and Head Girl Savannah Stranigan as the student speakers with Class of 2010 member Emma Akrawi delivering the Commencement Address - marking the first time an Alumna has done so. Following her time at PINE, Akrawi graduated from Yale University, where she majored in Political Science and earned a Master’s in Environment. She also holds a Law Degree from the Vermont Law School and plans to practice Environmental Law in the future.
“If I can offer advice, I’d encourage you to embrace change head-on and tap into your resilience - you’ve handled 2020 in stride, you can handle anything,” Akrawi offered.
After diplomas were awarded, PINE’s Rose Ceremony - an opportunity for graduates to offer special thanks to family & friends with the gift of a yellow rose - guaranteed an emotion close to the morning.
“It is my sincere wish that these newest graduates take with them from The Pine School a genuine love of learning and never let their curiosity fade away,” summed up Head of School Binney Caffrey. “It is marvelous to think about all this Class is sure to accomplish and how you will connect your passions to elevate the world around you.”
Under the spectacular direction of Dorothy Castle, our Middle & High School bands came together to be rated an impressive GOLD at the World Strides Heritage Festival. This highly-competitive international competition was held virtually this year (PINE’s band also earned GOLD at the last in-person Festival in 2019). The ensemble followed up with an online workshop with one of the adjudicators.
“With only one full ensemble practice, I couldn’t be any prouder or more moved by the truly excellent way these student-musicians represented the School,” shared Castle.
After having to skip a year of the beloved Field Day tradition due to health concerns, to say that the return of BLUE & GOLD revelry was welcomed with open arms would be an understatement of monumental proportions!
The entire School community joined together for the event that perhaps best defines all that is unique and special about our School Spirit! Amid all of the friendly competition, nothing shines through more than the sportsmanship and togetherness that The Pine School is known for.
"This year's event certainly held special significance to everyone," shared Assistant Head of School Kelly Hilton-Green. "When so many schools are still in the midst of shutdowns and canceled traditions, no one took for granted the fortunate position our School is in to have the flexibility we do. Go Knights!"
The BLUE team won this year's competition in convincing fashion, but it is more than fair to say that the return of Field Day was the biggest victory!
Our Lower School is creating quite the performing arts dynasty. For the third year, under the skillful and passionate direction of music teacher Megan Alvarado, the students have combined their talents to present another musical production - this year Aladdin Kids. 4th Graders handled the leads & featured roles with Kindergarten-3rd Grade providing a range of special additions.
“Our Lower School musical production is unique in that every student from our K-4th Grades is an integral part of our show,” shared Alvarado. “ It's a treat for our families and community to see because we sing, dance, act, play instruments and perform together as one cast.”
With each of our Lower School Grades contributing a highlighted cameo that included a variety of musical instruments, the whole group continuously participated as a sort of chorus adding sound effects, extra singing, and coordinated movement. The show’s fabulous choreography was created and taught by Seniors Caroline Rouse & Savannah Stranigan as part of their Senior Capstone project. A team of Upper School students, faculty & staff also supported various aspects of the production.
"One of the truly unique aspects of the Arts at The Pine School is the coming together of talent and dedication to pull off the seemingly impossible - like a fantastic musical production during COVID health restrictions," shared Fine Arts Dept Chair Steve Naumann. "Our entire team - and especially our students - deserve the highest of accolades for this impressive accomplishment."
Learning may begin in our classrooms, but it does not remain there. The flexibility of an independent school education means the freedom to explore lessons in exciting and new ways.
Nowhere is this commitment more prevalent than time dedicated during our Off-Campus Education Week (which includes all Middle & Upper School students). The time serves many important roles in our curriculum, provides students with real world experience, and affords students unique opportunities to bond with classmates and faculty alike. All of these are a critical component to the learning and growing process of our young adults that simply cannot be replicated in the classroom.
“Though our Off-Campus Education trips cover a wide range of destinations and activities, in the end, these unique opportunities are about celebrating the flexibility that independent schools have to explore experiences outside of the classroom, while also forging positive school-community connections between our students and faculty,” summed up Off-Campus Education Week Coordinator (and Math Dept Chair) Tamara Litterick.
Even during a time when health restrictions are keeping many schools from engaging in anything but the most basic approaches, PINE's small-by-design size has allowed our faculty to thoughtfully plan meaningful Beyond The Classroom excursions.
All Grades celebrated The Pine School's strong community spirit with overnight Class trips to Circle F Dude Ranch and Lake Aurora Camp (both in Lake Wales). The retreats were as rewarding as they were fun. In addition to team-building through ropes courses and collaborative challenges, students also enjoyed everything from horseback riding and water sports to zip-lines and paintball.
Our creative and passionate faculty also took advantage of the time to expand on classroom lessons with interactive day trips - such as Science Chair Dr. Carolyn Bogaski and History Chair Nathaniel Osborn taking their Honors Environmental class on a canoe trip up the Loxahatchee River to observe flora and fauna, World Language Chair Tiffany Stephens traveling with Honors Spanish Society members to enjoy traditional paella at a local Spanish restaurant, or our 9th Grade biology students taking in the Real Bodies exhibit and expanding their understanding of overall human body health.
Following an epic overtime, tie-breaker shootout 4-3 win over Jupiter Christian, our Girls Varsity Soccer team have earned the District Championship.
“This was the most competitive and longest soccer game of my Upper School career, but it was also the most exciting, happiest, and cheerful victory,” shared Freshman Ava Schulties.
The team will next take on Cambridge Christian in the Regional Quarterfinals at home on The Pine School campus. The match happens Tuesday, February 16 at 2:30 PM. Admission is $7 (cash only) and masks are required.
“It has been an incredible season,” shared coach Kelly Hilton-Green. “We have had to endure a lot of cancellations and some quarantine time, but our girls have played tough and really put in a great effort to secure our last two victories against two great programs.”
The team also picked up some great coverage in a fantastic TC Palm article. GO KNIGHTS!
Members of our Middle School Service Club got an early jump on spreading some Valentine’s love. The students created handmade Valentine cards and then made the short trip over to our neighbors at The Sheridan at Hobe Sound, a local assisted living & memory care facility, to deliver to residents.
“Because of COVID, these seniors have had to greatly reduce exposure. We felt this gesture would raise their spirits, while also fostering a greater sense of the importance in giving back with our students,” shared Club Sponsor Beth Lettengarver.
The Pine School’s World Language Department held a joint Induction Ceremony to welcome 26 new members into the Spanish and French Honor Societies. In addition to showing a deep interest in language study, students must maintain consistently strong GPAs.
“I have had the honor and the pleasure to teach these outstanding students, many for five years,” shared French teacher Maryse Peressin-Hay.
In addition to students taking a Society pledge, history of both groups was shared.
“We are proud to offer a World Language program that inspires and encourages students to both explore and be recognized for their achievements and service,” summed up Spanish teacher & World Language Chair Tiffany Stephens.
The Pine School's Varsity Soccer program has greatly benefited from Olympic Gold Medalist Staci Wilson assuming the role of Head Coach of the boys team.
Wilson received the Gold Medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Wilson, who is a graduate of the University of North Carolina (where she was named the 1994 National Freshman Player of the Year) was also honored as an All-American while at high school in Virginia. She has since coached at Florida Atlantic University.
In her first year as PINE’s Coach, she led the Boys team to its first Regional Championship in 2020.
“Our Captains have provided responsible and respectful leadership resulting in a notably positive team culture in which there is tremendous support of everyone's talents and contributions,” shared Wilson. “The hard work and commitment of the team has resulted in scoring by ten different players of all four classes.”
The Pine School community officially kicked-off the season celebrations with the annual Holiday Program. A virtual portion featuring student holiday readings was followed by homeroom/advisory processions to deliver donated toys. For years, The Pine School has partnered with two prominent local non-profits - The United Way of Martin County & Natives Helping Natives - with donations being distributed to hundreds of local children.
The fun continued with an outside sing-a-long (including the iconic "Twelve Days Of Christmas") and special class celebrations. Many even wore their "best" holiday sweater.
But wait, that isn’t all!! Our Kindergartners & 1st Graders celebrated Grinch Day and Polar Express Days - with each class enjoying a range of themed activities (including Chef Rebecca even building a special Grinch gingerbread house).
Nothing says THANK YOU quite like our Kindergartners surprising you with a handwritten card of gratitude and a boisterous cheer to let you know how special you are.
The Pine School Performing Arts Department has been proud to present “12 Knights of Holiday” - a collection of special musical numbers that are sure to get you into the spirit of the season. Holiday videos can be seen through our YouTube channel.
And, of course, our Seniors never fail to impress with the undeniable “talent” on display as they deliver the annual Holiday Sing-A-Grams. Watch out BTS!!!
“There really is never a shortage of community spirit at PINE, but it definitely hits its zenith around the holidays” shared Academic Dean Sean Carlson.
The Pine School wishes everyone a joyful and safe holiday season.
Three Pine School students have dedicated time this past week to participate in the Student Diversity Leadership Conference - a multiracial, multicultural gathering of Upper School student leaders from across the U.S. and abroad. The PINE students (Sophomore Fiona Ankrom and Freshmen Zoe Berry & Audrey Foley) were selected to represent the School after submitting applications.
SDLC focuses on self-reflecting, forming allies, and building community. Led by a diverse team of trained adult and peer facilitators, participating students develop cross-cultural communication skills, design effective strategies for social justice practice through dialogue and the arts, and learn the foundations of allyship and networking principles.
"This unique Conference provides our student leaders with a new set of tools for increasing diversity in our School, ensuring equity for all, and creating spaces where everyone feels included in our community," shared Science Department Chair and Conference faculty sponsor Dr, Carolyn Bogaski. "I'm excited to see where we go from here! "
The students took part in large group sessions as well as SDLC "family groups" and "home groups" - allowing for dialogue and sharing in smaller units. Additionally, five PINE faculty participated in the People Of Color Conference - the flagship of the National Association of Independent Schools' commitment to equity and justice in teaching, learning, and organizational development.
"This was such a rewarding experience," summed up Fiona Ankrom. "I would really like to help bring a more inclusive space to the students at PINE."
The Pine School’s World Language Department is fortunate enough to have not just one, but two native French speakers as faculty members. Maryse Peressin-Hay and Pacale Marie-Luce - from Strasbourg, France and Martinique, respectively - bring the unique distinction of not only an expertise approach to improving language skills, but also an impressive range of special insight to the customs, culture and traditions of the country they teach about.
As part of their ongoing efforts to expand on lessons to include a bigger picture of all things French, the duo have teamed up to present a popular annual PINE event - French Week. This dedicated time allows for a range of activities and events that highlight French customs and traditions.
The week also provides an opportunity for cross-curricular approaches involving not only all of our French students, but also our Lower School students. Great examples included the coming together of Pascale Marie-Luce’s 7th Grade French students with 1st Grade world language students to share information about Senegal as well as Maryse Peressin-Hay’s French III students sharing fun facts about Madagascar with our Kindergartners.
Sometimes you have to take one for the team! Faculty members made the ultimate sacrifice in agreeing to serve as ‘taste judges’ for the pastry bake-off that Maryse Peressin-Hay & Pascale Marie-Luce challenged their students to. Focusing on popular recipes from Martinique and Guadeloupe, students definitely seemed to hit the sweet spot.
“The smells and tastes of a foreign location are inseparable from the experience of these places and can often be more evocative than the sights and sounds,” shared Peressin-Hay. “Our students had the opportunity to reflect on how food can help to reveal a country's culture and history.”
French students were also treated to a special live Google Meet opportunity to hear from, speak with, & enjoy a performance video of Correspon'danse - a youth-led dance troupe from Guadeloupe.
“As a new teacher at PINE, I was thrilled to share elements of my culture,” shared Marie-Luce. “This was a great opportunity to show our students how diverse French culture is and to allow them to ‘travel’ despite current restrictions.”
Wrapping up French Week, 4th Graders were visited by AP French students Senior Caroline Rouse & Junior Hannah Squier. After reviewing some animal names in French, the group moved to the main event - The Waiter’s Race! With roots in France, this test of balance & teamwork dates back to the early 20th century.
“I loved spending time with the younger students,” shared Rouse. “It was very exciting to help them learn new words, and we had a great time with the race!”
Led by History Department Chair Nathaniel Osborn, The Pine School moved its annual Veterans Day assembly to a virtual video format.
PINE's Veterans Day event has been an indispensable part of our School culture for decades. Setting aside time to honor those who protect us is but one manifestation of our School's honor code, in which students pledge regularly to embody the virtue of "respect." Over the years our student body has meditated on the insights offered by veterans from all branches, who have served in many capacities.
In this spirit of broadening student perspectives, our community was pleased to hear thoughtful comments from this year's speaker, Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Chaplain Fred McFarland, who shared his experiences offering comfort in battlefield hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program also included a special musical portion coordinated by music teachers Dorothy Castle and Megan Alvarado - featuring the talents of our student performers.
"Although our campus is huge, it seems small compared with the scale of perspectives and experiences of those who have served around the world," shared Osborn.
Amid health safety concerns, The Pine School moved their annual Evening of Celebration to a virtual format, but that didn’t stop the School community from supporting.
Between the Silent, Watch Party & Live Auctions, Sponsorships, and the Cash Call, the School raised over $170,000 to support financial aid, scholarship and faculty professional growth. Over 100 bidders placed 775 bids placed on over 100 donated items & experiences.
A huge THANK YOU to our parent volunteers - Kasey Mullen, Stacie McElroy, Cat Altschuler, Nicole Kerr, Debbie Deering, & Sheila Levine. We are also extremely grateful to our Title Sponsor, Great Smile Dental and the office of Dr. Aaron Schmaback, as well as our other sponsors - Professional Bank and Lively Orthodontics.
The Pine School also wishes to thank our faculty and staff, many of whom donated items and experiences or helped deliver catered meals on Saturday.
“This was a team effort, and during these times of uncertainty for many of us, it stood as a stark reminder of how supportive PINE’s community is,” shared Director of Development John Boyer.
Let's be honest - The Pine School pretty much celebrates Outdoor Classroom Day EVERY day! But when it becomes a nationally recognized opportunity, you know we will show up in a big way.
“Outdoor Classroom Day is a global movement that celebrates outdoor play and learning,” shared Environmental Coordinator Tessie Kerslake. “Even though our amazing faculty make the most of our large and beautiful campus on a regular basis, today exemplified the spirit and flexibility of a true independent school.”
You didn’t have to look far to see the wide and impressive ways our faculty and students were enjoying the outdoors.
PINE Board Member Wendell Cave, who has been instrumental in helping to establish a dedicated butterfly garden on campus, led students in adding more plants and as well as sharing with students the
Kindergarten teacher Diane Hollowell, who is also our resident Green Thumb, used the day as just another reason to bring students to our campus garden to begin planting seeds that will ultimately return produce that has been used previously in the School’s Dining Hall.
“My students spend time outside every day, so this was fairly regular for us, but I just love seeing the creative ways all of our faculty use this beautiful space,” added Hollowell.
Even some of our academic classes were out and about. Sonya Houseman had her Upper School math students using maps and calculations to complete her popular orienteering course. Nat Osborn traveled to sites on campus with his history students to explore specific Ais Indian shell middens that were built between 500 BC and AD 1513. Our Environmental class surveyed and recorded data on found invasive plants. And everywhere you turned, classes and students were finding quiet spots - the shade of a tree, one of our outside class spaces - to read, write poetry or pull samples for science labs.
Do you hear that? The beautiful sounds in the breeze were courtesy of our steel drum, band & chorus members - all who found perfect spots outside to practice and share their music.
Despite all of that, perhaps nothing was more exciting than the portable Petting Zoo - giving students an up-close-and-personal chance to bond and relax with everything from a llama and pig to longhaired bunnies and chicks.
“Time outdoors makes children happier and healthier,” summed up Kerslake. “Our special outdoor lessons serve to remind students that learning goes beyond the classroom walls.”
Pine School faculty are experts in creating meaningful cross-curricular opportunities for our students. A great example (and just in time for Halloween) is a Day of Dead mask project combining Lynne Barker’s 7th Grade Spanish students and Emily Faehnle’s 9th Grade art students. Connecting important cultural traditions with the creative process, students worked collaboratively in developing a deeper understanding of this holiday.
“The ability to work across disciplines on a project that required trust and cooperation between Upper & Middle School students is invaluable,” shared Barker. “This opportunity highlights the ‘endless possibilities’ that PINE is so known for.”
To further the experience, the students proudly displayed their finished pieces to Lower School students through a festive parade - like the one held annually in Mexico City.
“This collaborative project reinforces the importance of art in everyday life,” summed up Faehnle. “Having students create art in response to learning new material allows them to step out of their comfort zones and explore subjects from different perspectives.”
Truly, one of The Pine School’s greatest assets is our beautiful campus. At 142 acres, it is the largest independent school campus in FL and serves as a unique living classroom for our students.
While PINE has taken advantage of this fact for years - and has been recognized for our many Environmental initiatives - we continue to expand our offerings. Case in point - Dr. Carolyn Bogaski & Nathaniel Osborn (Science & History Dept Chairs respectively) pooled their field expertise to create the new Honors Florida Environment Cohort.
“It is really exciting to offer students the opportunity to gain both an ecological and historical framework,” shared Dr. Bogaski.
Using on-campus access to Banner Lake in engaging hands-on learning, students gathered initial data to support preliminary hypotheses as they design student-led research projects focused on the ultimate restoration of Banner Lake. This included water and soil quality testing, Species inventory, and qualitative observations of vegetative/cattail overgrowth.
"Sweat on the brow and dirt under the fingernails is the only way to really understand Florida's ecosystems," summed up Osborn.
The Pine School is passionate about ensuring that every aspect of our students' experience here is second to none. In that same approach, we take great care in documenting our School community experience. During the time of COVID-19, when we must limit campus guests in the name of student health, this is more important than ever.
Not only do we encourage families to stay connected through these platforms, being engaged in 'Liking' and 'Sharing' posts is a great way to help get the word out about PINE while also showing your #PineSchool spirit!!
DID YOU KNOW that The Pine School also has a Flickr page that features, literally, hundreds of new photos each week across all Divisions of School life? Best of all, these high-quality photos can be downloaded for free!!
We are so proud of all that our students accomplish and love to share their successes. We don't want you to miss a thing.
Under the high-energy expertise of K-5th Grade science teacher Jackie Brownie, our students are benefiting from an exciting range of hands-on projects to engage in fun STEM activities.
Our Kindergartners & 1st Graders wasted no time starting the school year as they were introduced to the idea of “engineering” and, with the aid of our well-stocked Maker Space cart, got creative in designing their very own magnificent things!
After reading the book “If I Built a School”, 3rd Graders put on their own engineer hats and focused on the design process to create a plan for their own two-story school.
“Watching my students asking, thinking, planning, creating, testing, and improving just a few days into the School year has absolutely been the best,” shared Brownie.
4th Graders took on the challenge of designing and building their own popsicle stick ‘tower’ that not only had to be over an inch off the ground, but also had to be able to support the weight of paperback books.
5th Grade STEM Class students tapped their creative muse as they were put to the task of engineering a paint brush out of items found in nature on our beautiful campus.
“Giving students the opportunity to use their imaginations while creating is always such an exciting process,” summed up Brownie.
Masks and social distancing can’t put a damper on the excitement of a Pine School first week!
“It's been a school year opening like no other in that we are rethinking and reshaping so many of the rituals and habits that define the way we come together as a community,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “The effect is that what we value most as a School is distilled down to the core; at The Pine School, that means what's left are the personal points of connection.”
We kicked things off with our Lower School students & faculty as they jumped right in like pros. First day went smoothly and everyone enjoyed a fun day that included a welcome parade, delicious picnic lunches hand-delivered by Flik Dining, and a chance to reconnect with old friends & make new ones!
Following in equally impressive fashion, Middle School students joined two days later and got off to an awesome start. Students spent time with their Advisory, participated in an icebreaker with School Counselor Heidi Kaye, & enjoyed ample time outside. We look forward to welcoming back our Upper School students on Tuesday the 18th.
“We had an amazing start to our School year today,” shared Middle School Coordinator Jonathan Tolliver. “It was so exciting to see our Middle School students - both on campus and remotely. Above all, our faculty and staff proved again that they are second to none and I couldn't be more proud of everyone for such a spectacular day!”
Upper School students began their 20-21 school year a week after Lower School, and The Pine School community was together again. Following the lead of Academic Dean Sean Carlson, Upper School faculty have been working tirelessly to prepare for a strong start and look forward to a productive and positive experience - both for students on campus and those participating currently in PINE@Home. Their first day included a range of activities - including scavenger hunts, a check in with School Counselor Heidi Kaye, and extended time with their Advisory.
As expected, our faculty have been taking full advantage of our small class sizes and beautiful 142-acre campus (the largest K-12 campus in FL!) in getting things off to a great start while keeping student safety a number one priority.
“I am so, so grateful for the positivity and flexibility our Pine School teachers have shown and am also incredibly thankful for the patience and understanding Pine School families have extended to us,” added Caffrey.
Faculty (in-person & remotely) participated in an exciting hands-on presentation by Psychologist Dr. Alicia Braccia entitled "Tour of the Brain" - providing opportunities to explore an array of approaches designed to further engage students in all areas of learning and adding to PINE's exceptional relationship-based education.
Dr. Braccia brings over 30 years of experience as a Certified Teacher and School Psychologist from Preschool through 12th Grade - with a mission to ensure that individuals with learning differences and exceptionalities have the resources and services they need to reach their highest potential and become productive members of our community.
"Understanding the inner workings of the brain are essential to being able to reach diverse learners," offered Academic Dean Sean Carlson. "As we move into new dimensions of education, it is imperative for us as a faculty to find creative ways to keep our students engaged and learning."
Photos can be seen on our Flickr page.
The Florida Athletic Coaches Association has awarded the Pine School The Cary McDonald Award for Athletic Program of the Year for the state of Florida (Class 2A).
This award is given annually to only one school in each of the 8 classifications in the entire state. The criteria is based on whole-school results in the overall FHSAA standings for all High Schools sports combined. The Pine School had a historical year athletically:
- 4 coaches were named TC Palm Coach of the Year for the area in their respective sport (Boys Cross Country, Girls Golf, Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer)
- Boys Cross Country and Boys Soccer won Regional Championships
- Boys Soccer advanced to the State Semi Final Championship game
- Girls Soccer earned a District Championship for the first time is school history
- Girls golf finished six overall in the state with two Girls finishing tied for 5th place
- Andie Smith (Girls Golf) won the individual district championship and was named Girls Golfer of the Year by TCPalm
- Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer and Girls Golf won the Treasure Lakes Conference Championships
- Seniors Addi Textor & Hallie Isdaner were honored with the Scholar Athlete Award from the Treasure Coast Sports Commission
"This year, even with an abbreviated Spring season, was a record-breaking one - earning well-deserved accolades to our teams as well as individual successes for our athletes and coaches,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. “It has been a pleasure watching our program continue to grow and I absolutely credit our success to the dedication of our great coaches and even more outstanding student-athletes."
The Pine School continues to add to its long list of honors for its commitment to Environmental Education.
The latest comes as The Florida Federation of Garden Clubs has selected The Pine School over 134 other Palm Beach & Martin County schools to be recognized as the top school in the area of habitat improvement - specifically noting the School’s exceptional job in supporting native habitats and connecting them to curriculum and activities.
“The Pine School’s Green Team is so excited to continue our already outstanding environmentally-aware efforts while also establishing new ways to expand our offerings and unique focus,” shared Environmental Education Coordinator Tessie Kerslake.
The Pine School was recognized in 2020 as a Green School of Excellence for the 7th straight year as well as recently being honored with The Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award - a national award given by The Garden Club of America - for its "Environmental Education and Conservation in the Classroom”.
At 142-acres, it is the largest independent school campus in Florida and truly serves as a living classroom - providing plenty of natural inspiration for wanting to learn more about our area’s unique ecosystem. The range of Environmental initiatives expands from an award-winning water monitoring system, a campus garden and focused recycling efforts to a student-designed rainwater collection system and arts offerings like our annual Recycled Runway fashion show.
Size does matter! In this case, The Pine School's small-by-design makeup provided the flexibility to celebrate our Seniors in unique fashion. The Class of 2020, joined by their immediate family, were able to come to campus to receive their diplomas, honor cords, a personalized Parent Association memento, & a Pine School Alumni pin. Our tradition of sharing a rose was also included.
"As much as I like the big ceremony, this day had an incredibly special feel," shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. "I was able to see each student and visit for a few minutes, which I don't get to do when they walk across a stage. I could award their diplomas and give them a book I had picked out for each one of them."
Five Pine School Seniors were nominated for the prestigious Pathfinder Awards.
Our nominees were Maria DiEgidio (Agriculture), Aliya French (Music Instrumental), Hallie Isdaner (Community Involvement), Lindsey Levin (Sports), and Allison Sanchez (Art).
“The competition is so fierce for the Pathfinder Awards and it is absolutely an honor to be recognized,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “I'm so proud of our students who represented the School.”
Sponsored by The Palm Beach Post, these honors recognize graduates in Martin & Palm Beach Counties that have excelled in defined categories. The annual event, normally held at The Kravis Center, was broadcast as a video presentation last.
The Pine School's Recycled Runway is a special event that aligns with the School's Green/Environmental Education Program. This unique project - which combines the arts and conservation awareness - provides opportunities for student-designers to create outfits and accessories using only recycled and re-purposed materials.
"I am especially proud of our student-designers this year for showing tremendous dedication and perseverance in working independently during this time of Remote Learning," shared fine art teacher Maria Miele.
Head of School Binney Caffrey and members of the Admin team delivered caps & gowns as well as Pine School Graduate yard signs to all the members of the Class of 2020. Look for shared photos of our Seniors with their gowns & decorated caps soon.
“We miss all of our students right now, but it’s especially tough for our Seniors,” shared Caffrey. “This is meant to be a time of togetherness and celebration - they’ve all worked so hard to reach this point! Today was about showing them, in a tangible way, how very much they mean to us. Go Knights and go Class of 2020!”
Remote Learning hasn't slowed down The Pine School's commitment to Learning Through Service. Our students and faculty remain focused on doing what they can to give back.
Many of our students and their families have played an especially important role in helping to create protective masks for our local healthcare providers and first responders. Students have also committed time to online tutoring and volunteering with local non-profit.
Our ongoing focus to make environmental awareness a priority also continues to shine. Even as our many and varied GREEN initiatives flourish, there are always examples of ways our teachers use community involvement as a learning experience and lifestyle model for our students.
For the second year, Jackie Brownie continues to proudly lead her 2nd Graders in the TREX Plastic Film Recycling Challenge - this year earning a 2nd Place finish! After collecting over 500 pounds of plastic last year, her students rallied our School community to gather more than 600 pounds of plastic this year. These impressive efforts will play a positive role in keeping the plastic out of landfills - instead allowing it to be made into other products like composite lumber.
"I enjoy participating in this challenge - both for the fun of the competition and the awareness that our students glean from the experience," shared Brownie.
Even in the face of the required additional screen-time that comes with Remote Learning, Pine School faculty are incorporating creative ways to get students outside and away from their computers.
One great example is the recent Land Art project art teacher Brian Hayden had his Middle School students take on. Inspired by Land Artists like Andy Goldsworthy and natural structures like Stonehenge, students were challenged to use materials found in the outside space that they chose to create in.
“The amazing thing about Land Art is that the process continues and the work evolves even after the artist is finished because of weather and other natural elements,” shared Hayden.
Our music classes have also taken advantage of encouraging continued instrumental and vocal practice through one-on-one video sessions and virtual ensemble gatherings, but have also celebrated taking the love for music outside.
Sisters Bella & Lili Krastel (8th & 7th Grade, respectively) took this to heart as they performed "Under The Sea" for their neighbors.
“The dedication of our students is so evident during this time of Remote Learning,” shared band director Dorothy Castle. “Not only did some borrow extra instruments for extra practice, but they all have worked diligently at home on recordings and playing together during online classes. It is a true honor to teach such passionate students.”
Nothing will stop our talented Class of 2020 from receiving acceptances to some of the best colleges in the country.
The past weeks have seen a wave of acceptances, including to Dartmouth, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Trinity, University of Richmond, Boston University and SMU among many others. The School’s highly personalized College Counseling Program, led by Counselor Janet Pacifico, features a hands-on focus that includes ongoing dedicated class sessions, and college tours & visits. Even during Remote Learning, Seniors gathered virtually with Pacifico to celebrate their good news!
“Most of our Seniors will be making final decisions in the next month, though many have already committed,” shared Pacifico. “The Pine School family is so proud of all of their successes.”
The Pine School has kicked off its dedicated Remote Learning Program this week
“I definitely feel our Remote Learning opening day was a big success,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “The energy and excitement was real! Teachers were so happy to connect with their students in virtual classrooms and everyone loved seeing each other.”
Students were reunited with their teachers and classmates in virtual ‘classrooms’ and immediately jumped into enjoying the range of creative and unique approaches thoughtfully designed by our faculty.
“I am profoundly grateful for The Pine School and the tremendous support our School community came together on with such short notice,” added World Languages Department Chair Kelly Kelly. “My students inspire me every day, but seeing their faces and hearing their voices gave me the extra motivation we all need right now. I look forward to seeing all that we can create together in this new space.”
“It can be difficult for students to connect back with their teachers during this difficult time, but The Pine School's new Remote Learning approach not only gives students an opportunity to reconvene with their teachers, it also provides a positive feeling knowing that we are all in this together,” shared Sophomore Celena Budd. “Online learning feels like just another authentic day on campus and I so greatly appreciate the support of my amazing teachers!”
The range of Remote approaches will include everything from Lower School ‘Bingo’ activities to Middle School online science labs as well as more in-depth Upper School lessons and special suggestions for students staying engaged in Arts and Athletics.
“I must also extend a big thank you to all of our parents who I know stepped up in a big way,” summed up Caffrey. “Thank you for providing support at home! We're all looking forward to finding our new rhythm as Remote Learning continues - and we can’t wait to welcome our students back to campus in time!”
The Pine School’s Performing Arts Department presented its annual musical - Footloose.
The cast & crew wowed audiences with two energetic and joyful performances - showcasing the performing talents that so many of our students possess. Grades 5-12 collaborated on the musical take on this classic 80’s film and enjoyed enthusiastic audiences.
“It was great to be part of such an amazing cast,” shared Junior Solana Rudnitsky.
“I love that The Pine School provides chances for students to express themselves through the arts,” added Freshman Fiona Ankrom.
With a cast of almost fifty students, the production allowed Upper and Middle School students to work together - building on the unique close community feel The Pine School is known for.
While these performances were presented at the Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter, construction of The Pine School’s new Arts & Athletic Complex continues - working towards providing students their own stage on the Hobe Sound campus.
“The unique demands with choreography, costume changes, and a pop soundtrack made this one of the more difficult productions that we have attempted, but the cast responded with focus and passion,” summed up director Sean Carlson. “I am always in awe of how quickly it can come together with various levels of experience on stage.”
At The Pine School, we take pride in creating a culture of kindness and implement special initiatives such as Bully Prevention Week to continue growing a positive School environment in which students feel safe, supported, and respected.
Aspects of this special week included inspirational guest speaker Kelsey Tainsh - who delivered a moving presentation to various Grades. She also had lunch with some of our Upper School student leaders and took time to visit with our Kindergarten Class.
The School also participated in Pink Shirt Day - highlighting solidarity across the School community to stand against bullying.
Students had the chance to review and commit to the School’s Anti-Bullying Pledge as well as participate in a range of activities focused on bully prevention.
“Research has proven that when a student feels cared about and has healthy relationships in school, this has positive effects on learning as well as their happiness and well being,” shared Director of School Counseling Heidi Kaye.
Pine School Varsity Soccer has enjoyed a highly successful (and historic!) 19-20 season.
Winning difficult matches on the road - impressively besting Circle Christian School 6-0 to take the Regional Quarter-Finals, knocking out St. Ed’s 5-2 in the Regional Semi-Final, and then digging in deep after traveling to Tampa to hold-off Carrollwood Day School 2-1 - our Varsity Boys Team earned the Regional Championship Title.
All of this qualified them for the State Tournament - taking on the 2A Number-One-ranked Maclay in Tallahassee. The Knights responded with true grit, falling short in a challenging 4-0 loss.
Beyond the absolute excitement of this exceptional play, what makes this so special is that these victories and games are historic firsts for The Pine School.
“It is impossible to overstate the amazing achievements our Boys have earned - especially considering the remarkable streak they held together on the road,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. “The success they have experienced is a true testament to their fortitude and the leadership of our coaching team.”
The Pine School is fortunate to have two highly-experienced coaches that bring to the table an array of talent. Staci Wilson, who holds the Head Coach position, has played professionally for the Carolina Courage (helping to lead that team to season and tournament Championships) and, perhaps even more impressively, was a member of the US Women's National Team - winning the first-ever US Olympic Gold Medal. Staci is also a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and has extensive coaching experience. She is aptly assisted by local Coach Tom Palmer.
“It has been a true joy watching the boys come together to apply everything we’ve worked on this year,” shared Wilson. “Their commitment and the support the School has provided has made this such a positive coaching experience.”
Our Varsity Girls Soccer team, coached by K-12 Director Kelly Hilton-Green and Kindergarten teacher Diane Hollowell, also enjoyed a Pine School first as the team became District Champions and fought its way into the Regional Quarter-Finals.
The strong play and admirable sportsmanship of our student-athletes was also recognized by the TC Palm PrepZone as three of our Soccer players earned Player of the Week nods. Senior Fabricio Solano, Sophomore Hannah Squier, & 8th Grader Ava Schutlies. In fact, Solano & Squier each earned two nominations.
“The momentum created by all of this fantastic play will absolutely create positive ripples throughout all aspects of Pine School life,” summed up Sofarelli. “This is a moment for Knight pride as well as energetic looking forward to great things to come.”
The Pine School has earned another environmental nod as it was honored with The Marion Thompson Fuller Brown Conservation Award - a national award given by The Garden Club of America - for its "Environmental Education and Conservation in the Classroom” display at the Jupiter Island Garden Club Flower Show.
The display included information on our Lower School garden as well as Maria Di Egidio speaking about her Senior Capstone Observational Beehive.
Notes from the judges included a citation reading that the display was ‘An impressive endeavor that will be significant for future generations.’
A big thank you to Pine School Board President Debbie Textor for coordinating our inclusion.
The Pine School has proudly received Green School recognition for six consecutive years - all part of The Pine School’s commitment to environmental awareness.
The Pine School’s unique observational beehive, driven by Maria Di Egidio’s Senior Capstone and housed in Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake’s classroom, has caused quite the buzz.
“The observation hive allows students to see all of a hive's parts interacting as a whole, as well as learn about the role bees play in our environment,” shared Kerslake. “With bee populations declining globally, we want to foster student observation, inquiry, and an appreciation for these fascinating and critically important insects.”
The hive has provided students with an opportunity to replace fear with knowledge and a greater understanding of these vital pollinators.
As part of her Project, Maria has dedicated time to meet with Lower & Middle School students - sharing information & fielding questions. She has even gifted each student with a personal batch of honey harvested directly from the hive.
“I have been so excited to teach younger students about something that is so important to me and to the environment,” added Di Egidio.
The Pine School, in recognition of National Girls & Women in Sports Day, welcomed former Canadian Women’s National Lacrosse Team member & local Lacrosse Coach Sarah Burlingame to address all Middle & Upper School students - speaking on the importance of participation and perseverance.
“Sarah is someone I respect and look up to,” shared Senior Hallie Isdaner, who introduced Mrs. Burlingame. “She is a true mentor and leader to girls of all ages and is the true definition of an athletic role-model.”
The talk was followed by an opportunity for some of our Varsity Athletes to lead Middle School girls in basic basketball and lacrosse drills.
This National annual observance is dedicated to acknowledge the accomplishments of female athletes, recognize the influence of sports participation for women and girls, and honor the progress and continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.
"The Pine School has a long-standing reputation of our girl Athletes excelling across a wide range of sports,” summed Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. “With both our Girls Varsity Soccer & Basketball teams heading into post-season play, recognizing National Women & Girls In Sports Day is a natural extension of the importance we put into fostering the love of competitive play & healthy lifestyles."
Under the direction of Band Director Dorothy Castle, The Pine School’s Band Program has folded in opportunities to participate in State & National Assessments.
Sophomore & Cellist Madeline Restino was selected to perform at the Florida Orchestra Solo & Ensemble Competition and earned the top rating of Superior. This is the second consecutive year that Madeline has managed this impressive accomplishment.
Following that, Pine School Band members, Sophomores Michael Boyd, Hannah Squier, & Cat Villano all performed at the FBA Solo and Ensemble Competition. Each student prepared a solo and played in front of a judge. Cat and Hannah each earned top Superior ratings, with Michael bringing home an Excellent rating.
All four musicians are members of The Pine School’s Concert Band and participated with that group at last year’s World Strides Onstage Competition in Orlando where they earned a top Superior Gold rating & placed 2nd out of all the bands in their category.
“Competitions such as these help students understand how to improve as musicians - setting them up perfectly to serve as leaders in our School Band,” shared Castle. “Their accolades are a result of their dedication to music and built confidence as performers.”
Perfect timing as the School’s entire Concert Band will participate again this spring at the next round of the World Strides Onstage Competition.
Among the many creative ways our faculty foster deeper student comprehension, using the approach of student-created study games has proved to be extremely successful.
Recent examples include Jonathan Tolliver’s 6th Grade history students designing & playing games based on their study of Ancient Egypt. Classmates played each other’s games and them took time to reflect and offer suggestions.
Justine Habicht’s STEM class was challenged to create Multiplication games that they would then share with 3rd & 4th Graders - not only showcasing their work, but giving them the opportunity to gain extra confidence in being able to clearly explain their reasoning and knowledge with younger students.
“Rather than engaging in a traditional assessment, performance-based tasks enable students to demonstrate their knowledge of the curriculum in truly collaborative and effectives ways,” shared Tolliver.
Pine School band students have been sharing their talents in several recent Honor Ensemble opportunities.
Sophomore Madeline Restino holds the special distinction of being the first Pine School musician selected for the IRSC Honor Orchestra.
Upper & Middle School band students (Luke Altschuler, Shelby Carlstrom, Michael DiEgidio, Kinslee Ewing, Amelie Galbraith, Bella Krastel, Lili Krastel, Christina Shute, Hannah Squier, & Bella Tancillo) also took part in the IRSC Honor Bands showcase - which featured a dedicated concert performance.
Additionally, Band Director extraordinaire Dorothy Castle attended the annual Florida Music Education Association Conference - benefiting from a range of sessions that covered everything from student motivation to steel pan ensemble sound quality.
“Our students are representing the School in fine fashion, and I am so excited to share the knowledge I’ve gained from the conference,” shared Castle.
The Pine School’s 13th Annual 100 Years of Cars Car Show was another huge success! With 150 cars on campus & more than 1,000 in attendance, the event raised over $30,000 in support of the Pine School Patriot Scholarship for children of retired or current military personnel.
In addition to the wide array of cars (and even a helicopter) on display, the event also featured a performance by our Jazz Ensemble & the National Anthem sung by Junior & Patriot Scholarship recipient Solana Rudnitsky.
“This is a big event that requires a lot of hands,” shared Development Associate Tara Martin. “From our amazing Sponsors to all of our dedicated volunteers, this a true team effort and our impressive results are a testimony to everyone involved.”
Title Sponsor Audi/Maserati/Infiniti/Alfa Romeo of Stuart showcased some of their finest vehicles and the event included bounce-house for kids, and several food options, including the grill team from the Martin County Sheriff Department.
The Car Show is a wonderful community builder and an excellent opportunity for outreach beyond our campus,” summed up Director of Development John Boyer. “I was truly impressed with the enthusiastic outpouring of support."
A huge advantage of being a small-by-design, K-12 school on one campus is that it allows Pine School students to benefit from the proximity of all of our teachers and, especially, unique opportunities for students of all Grades to collaborate on a range of projects and lessons.
Some of the most impressive examples of these come when our Upper School students participate in hands-on projects with our youngest students.
“In addition to older students gaining confidence through clearly explaining what they are learning, these interactions strengthen the bond that exists within our School community,” shared Academic Dean Sean Carlson.
Recently, Daryll Martino & his 11th Grade Environmental Science students paid a visit to Diane Hollowell’s Kindergarten Class to help jump-start a hydroponic tower to grow basil & mint - which they earlier grew from seeds. All part of the many hands-on opportunities our Lower School students have to explore nature & science.
“It is incredibly powerful to be able to provide time for students in different Grades and classes to collaborate,” shared Hollowell.
Of course, Hollowell’s students are no strangers to working on their Green Thumb, as the class plays a big role in maintaining the on-campus sustainable garden.
Here’s a question - What do you get when you combine a Senior Capstone dedicated to observing a beehive, a productive campus garden, and inquisitive Kindergarten & 3rd Grade students? How about honey-pickled jalapeños? Jess Layman & Hollowell had their students use garden-fresh jalapeños & peppers along with honey collected from our observational beehive to collaborate on making the tasty (and spicy!) treat. Every single student (along with Head of School Binney Caffrey) was brave enough to try them!
To compliment this activity, each Lower School class has had dedicated time to meet with Senior Maria DiEgidio to get an up-close look at the observational beehive housed in Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake’s classroom.
"I am so excited to be teaching the younger students about something that is so important to me and to our environment," summed up DiEgidio.
The Arts provide another area where our more experienced performers are happy to share their talents with our Lower School students. A fun example was the get-together arranged by our student-led Arts Prefect Committee. Members of our Upper School concert band brought their instruments to the Kindergarten classroom to play passages of music and then challenged the young students to interpret what they heard through drawing.
“I don’t know who had more fun, the Kindergartners or the older students,” shared Head Arts Prefect and Senior Allison Sanchez.
Led by the Outreach Prefect Committee, The Pine School’s combined donations from our Bahamas relief fundraiser helped supply over 500 filled backpacks to children and families in the Bahamas still recovering from Hurricane Dorian. Additional help will be extended to over 300 students displaced from schools damaged by the storm.
“I am so proud to be part of such a caring and giving School community,” shared Head Outreach Prefect and Senior Maddy McDonald. “It is so rewarding to know we have made such a positive impact to our not-so-far-away neighbors.”
One of The Pine School’s favorite holiday traditions is our Winter Concert - a festive performing arts showcase featuring the instrumental & vocal talents of students K-12. Packed with songs from the season, this special program highlights the impressive range of performing arts the School has to offer.
For the first time, Lower School (under the direction of Megan Alvarado) presented a musical short called “The Littlest Christmas Tree” - a charming story of Santa & Mrs. Claus’ search for a tree that really understood the true spirit of the season. The piece included breakout opportunities for each Grade (Kindergarten through 4th Grade) to a dedicated number that included singing, dancing & instruments.
“This particular performance was selected as it is structured to have every student on stage the entire show - giving students ownership and autonomy of their hard work, as well as showcasing the talents of our Lower School as a whole,” shared Alvarado.
Act Two of the evening was dedicated to the School’s rich Middle & Upper School performing arts offerings. From our Knights of Steel (steel drum ensemble) & concert bands to our Chorus & Jazz Ensemble, our accomplished students ran through a wide range of numbers paying tribute to all the excitement and meaning of the season.
“The Pine School is so lucky to have such robust performing arts offerings and it is a true joy to have the opportunity to share the talents of our students through special events like this,” summed up Band Director Dorothy Castle.
The Pine School has once again participated in the National Computer Science Week’s Hour of Code event - a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. Led by Technology Directors Paul Needham & Jorge Salas, students participated in activities that require critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity on topics such as Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence.
“Technology is transforming every industry on the planet,” shared Needham. “We know that regardless of what our students do when they grow up, having an understanding of technology will give them confidence and a competitive edge.”
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code" - showing that anybody can learn the basics. The event also sets the stage to broaden participation in the field of computer science. The Pine School participates in this movement in an effort to give students access to coding beyond what is traditionally approached in Tech and STEM classes, expanding it throughout all Grade levels.
"Taking a collaborative team approach, we coordinate our efforts to build a unique experience that engages students in directed computer science activities,” added Salas.
Gamification of instruction has become a very important tool for educators and Pine School faculty use it in many ways.
“Using gamification as one of the means of instructional delivery instantly lowers the barriers of resistance with all students,” explained Salas. “Using games in instruction helps to maximize student's desire to learn independently. Students may think they are simply playing a game, but they are actually engaging in hands-on coding which teaches them the basics of how to program computers."
Say good-bye to the boring science fairs of the past and say hello to The Pine School’s Science Night! This popular annual event engages our entire School community in all things Science - highlighting the impressive array of unique offerings hosted by our innovative Science Department.
“Science Knight is a wonderful opportunity for students to display their knowledge of the scientific process,” shared Middle School science teacher Kayla Berger. “As teachers, we are here to guide their curiosity and investigations and help them to develop not only their love of science, but also to encourage collaboration, perseverance, and grit.”
In addition to Middle School students sharing their science exhibit findings & portraying world-famous scientists, the Treasure Coast Astronomy Club set up for amazing views of Saturn and Upper School students provided a range of activities, including a virtual reality demonstration & a chance to make Brush Bots - providing another unique chance for the range of our students to benefit from interaction.
“The preparation for an event like this really does ignite a passion for investigation and an intrinsic motivation to solve a problem,” shared science teacher Justine Habicht. “They develop a range of skills that includes logging data & creating graphs as well as building communication skills to present their projects. The whole process helps them build a growth mindset.”
The Pine School’s science offerings have long earned local recognition and honors. Our InvenTeam, which created a water-monitoring system, was the only school in FL to receive the prestigious MIT-Lemelson Foundation Grant. The School also has an organic community garden and has been named a Green School of Excellence for six straight years. We also have the freedom to let students & faculty implement unique approaches such as our observational beehive and student-created rainwater collection system.
“All of the exciting science happenings at The Pine School gives both students & parents a chance to further engage in the world of science,” summed up Science Dept Chair Tessie Kerslake.
The entire Pine School community celebrated the School’s 50th Anniversary with a weekend that included all the fanfare an important milestone like this deserves.=
“Though much has changed over the course of the last 50 years, the principals that the School was founded on in 1969 remain the same and will continue to ring true for graduates to come - principles of kindness, service above self, being better today than you were yesterday, serving as good stewards of our environment and fostering personal relationships that can stand the test of time,” shared Director of Admission and Semi-Centennial Committee Chair Beth Lettengarver.
The festivities kicked off with a formal assembly marking this moment in the School’s history. Head Boy Prefect William Baratta ‘20 and Alum & member of the Founders Class Joacim Borg ‘09 both spoke and offered keen insight on the student perspective of The Pine School’s place in offering an inspiring and unique college-prep independent education in the Treasure Coast.
“When I joined Pine School our classes were held in trailers while the exciting new campus was under development,” reflected Borg. “We were lucky to be the first to experience exploring the new facilities and programs, and I am truly thankful for all the people that make up The Pine School community.”
“It is impossible to be at The Pine School and not believe in your heart that you are a part of something very special,” added Baratta. “I have no doubt that our culture of teamwork and the work of future visionaries will lead Pine through 50 more years of greatness.”
The special assembly also included moving performances by both the Upper School Band and the Middle School Chorus. Special guests were in attendance, including former Heads of School Phyllis Parker and Dr. Jim Cantwell. And as no birthday would be complete without cake, there was plenty of celebratory cupcakes to go around.
The marking of this moment in the School’s history continued into the evening with an intimate mini-reunion for the Class of 2009 (the Founders Class) - catered magnificently by Chef Kelly Moore.
PineFest - a full-on Anniversary party open to the entire community - capped the revelry. The family-fun of inflatable water slides, faculty dunk tank, fun run, food trucks and much more guaranteed that this was an event that wouldn’t be forgotten. The day also included performances by our Steel Drum and Jazz ensembles as well as dedications of both a commemorative Middle School art project and a Middle School curated time capsule.
“Marking this important anniversary for the School inspires those of us here now to look to the future - something that fills me with tremendous hope and excitement,” summed up Head of School Binney Caffrey. “There is so much incredible possibility and potential still waiting to be realized for our exceptional School.”
The Pine School’s Varsity teams for the Fall 2019 enjoyed stellar seasons and all saw postseason play.=
“While The Pine School prides itself on exceptional sportsmanship, it is always especially rewarding when our teams hone that competitive edge and return impressive results in play,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
Varsity Boys Cross Country captured the School’s first-ever Regional Championship after earning 2nd Place at Districts (which The Pine School hosted). This run led to a 26th finish at States in a very competitive 1A Division. Varsity Girls Cross Country finished 4th at Districts and also ran well at Regionals, barely missing a chance to compete at States. A total of 35 students ran XC, participating in 12 separate events!
Varsity Golf (both Boys & Girls) had strong seasons. Returning star Andie Smith walked away with wins at the TLC & the Sailfish Invitational. She also won the District Tournament and helped the team qualify for the 1A State Tournament where she placed tied for 5th along with Pine School Freshman Bri Castaldi (helping Bri to be recognized as a TC Palm Athlete of the Week). 6th Grader Gabby DeGasperis also stormed onto the scene with solid finishes in District, Regional and State play. Boys Varsity placed 2nd in both the TLC & Martin County Tournament and placed 15th overall in a very tough field at Regionals. Sophomore Ben Loomis was also voted TC Palm Athlete of the Week.
Varsity Swimming had an impressive season making it to Regionals in 7 events - with all swimmers contributing to the team’s great results.
Varsity Volleyball team showed continued success in one of the toughest districts, with a 2nd place finish in District play and a strong run at Regionals.
“We all couldn’t be prouder of our student-athletes, both on and off the field,” summed up Sofarelli. “It is a real pleasure to head up an Athletic Department that thrives on true collaboration and team spirit.”
The Pine School community gathered for an opportunity to salute those serving our country through the military with the annual Veterans Day Assembly. This reverent program pays special salute to each of the armed forces through a combination of music, readings and a special guest speaker.
This year’s speaker was former US Army Captain Brittan duBose. Mrs. duBose spoke about how her military experience gave her the courage and confidence to take on challenges that her life has presented over the years.
“Brittan is someone who has taught me, simply by her actions, what it means to embody service above self,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey, who has known Mrs. duBose since they were counselors together at a Mt. Holyoke College Summer Math Program.
The program also included performances by the Upper School Band and Middle School Chorus as well as a rousing rendition of the “Armed Forces Medley” by our Lower School students.
The Assembly also provides a perfect opportunity to invite families interested in learning more about The Pine School to visit during our fall Open House.
“The Pine School will help our students understand the structure and origins of our national Constitution, but ensuring that the rights of the minority faction are not trampled by the majority requires the daily diligence of us, the active citizens,” shared History Dept Chair Nathaniel Osborn. “This important assembly allows us to reflect and gain a renewed appreciation for those who served.”
What do you get when you combine one of The Pine School’s most anticipated annual events with a celebration of the School’s 50th Anniversary? A crazy fun party, that’s what!
2019’s Evening of Celebration / Golden Knights was the perfect mix of formal salute to this noteworthy milestone with a celebratory good time.
With over 230 attending, the elegant setting and joyous occasion brought a true touch of class to the evening. While there were many Alumni in attendance, it was especially great to have a strong showing from the Founder’s Class of 2009.
Tami Skelly & Lisa Harmon served as Co-Chairs and led a time of tireless and dedicated volunteers as part of their Golden Knights Planning Committee. Special thanks to Terri Smith, Lisa Afshar, Cathryn Rabiei, & Molly Markulics for their appreciated efforts above and beyond the call of duty.
“Having attended these events for so many years, it was especially important to me personally to ensure the whole evening had a special feel to match this significant moment in the School’s history,” shared Skelly.
Huge thanks go to our event Title Sponsor - Great Smile Dental & The Schamback family Thanks also to the evening’s other important sponsors - Be a Man Buy Land & The Gazza Family, Simpson Chiropractic Pain & Wellness Center & The Simpson Family, The Deering Family, The Baum Family, Sparkle Car Wash & Detailing, Professional Bank, Dunn Capital Management, Southeastern Printing & Co, The Textor Family, The Cummings Family, CaniSun & The John Family, The Harmon Family, Audi of Stuart, The Skelly Family, The Jeweled Longhorn, and the Parents of the Class of 2020.
“Our sponsors and volunteers are beyond impressive,” shared Development Director John Boyer who, along with Development Administrative Assistant Tara Martin, oversees the annual Evening of Celebration. “In addition to the fantastic financial support, events like this build a closer School community - a complete win/win situation.”
In addition to a delicious dinner provided by Flik Executive Chef Kelly Moore and her excellent team, the fun included aerial silk performances provided by Florida Aerial Dance & Circus Arts and music & a photo booth by 'Turn it Up” Deejays.
Of course, the amazing Silent & Live Auction, is always a highlight. Led again by the incomparable talents of auctioneer Abra Annes from Generosity Auctions, over $50,000 was raised as part of the Live Auction, which included top items like a mom’s getaway in Nantucket, tickets to the Jingle Ball concert, & a day with Congressman Brian Mast. The Silent Auction drew another $55,000 and an impressive Cash Call to support on-going Professional Development for faculty inspired additional giving of over $70,000.
The evening was capped with Head of School Binney Caffrey, joined by former Heads Phyllis Parker and Dr. James Cantwell, ceremoniously led everyone in attendance through a special recognition of the School’s 50th Anniversary with the cutting of a “50th” cake before dancing into the wee hours followed.
“As my daughter is poised to graduate this year, I wanted to be able to give back to a community which has shown much love and support to my child and our family,” summed up Harmon. “This night will add to the many wonderful memories our family will take from The Pine School.”
The Pine School is serious about our Halloween traditions.
In a spooky sea of fun events, all will agree that the Lower School “Things That Go Bump In The Knight” musical extravaganza was a top highlight. Led by Lower School music teacher Megan Alvarado, students Kindergarten through Grade 4 sang, played instruments & danced their way through a rollicking program that was full of Halloween favorites.
“I am so grateful to be a part of a School that supports music and performances,” shared Alvarado.
But don’t think for a second that this was all we had in store. Our wildly popular Pumpkin Decorating Contest drew large submissions with the over-all winner award going to 4th Grade.
The day also included a costume parade, with Middle & Upper School students lining the way and cheering on our Lower School students as they showed-off their creative costume choices.
Where were they headed? How about a special Trunk-or-Treat hosted by our Senior Class? With their cars made up with a range of creative decorations, candy flowed like water.
The special day was capped with Lower School Class parties.
Our students don’t just check off volunteer hours to satisfy a requirement, they dig deep and truly discover how rewarding good citizenship is. To help foster this authentic love of giving back, time is dedicated during school hours to give students the chance to learn about & volunteer with many of the great nonprofits that serve our community.
A recent example had our Seniors visiting our friends at House of Hope. In addition to getting a tour of their facilities, they helped to sort, stock & package in their community pantry (which serves 6k folks a month!). The Pine School has a long-standing association with the House of Hope, including being the only school to ever participate in their innovative Poverty Simulation Program - an interactive exercise allowing for the opportunity to gain perspective on those living with economic challenges.
“We appreciate The Pine School’s ongoing support,” shared House of Hope Chief Executive Officer Rob Ranieri. “It is always great to have the chance to partner and the students did an outstanding job.”
Meanwhile, our Freshmen partnered once again with the United Way of Martin County - helping to round out their efforts to create holiday cards that will be used in a number of ways this season.
“The earnest way our students respond to opportunities to serve isn’t only impressive, it is downright infectious,” shared Director of Communications Robert Ankrom who works with a number of local non-profits and coordinates these service projects for students.
In an ongoing effort to instill our students with environmental awareness, The Pine School is buzzing with excitement to welcome our newest addition to campus. Head Environmental Prefect Maria DiEgidio is using her Senior Capstone project as an opportunity to provide an observational beehive for our campus. This unique addition will allow students across all Grade levels greater insight into the importance of these vital pollinators and their role in our environment.
The observation beehive is a closed habitat that allows viewing of hive activity through a completely safe and secure window. The hive will be housed Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake's Middle School classroom and Maria will be sharing resources and information with students throughout her Capstone project. The observation hive is yet another amazing teaching resource that The Pine School can utilize to help ensure that our students will develop into the environmental stewards of the future.
“Allowing for projects like this that truly impacts and nurtures student curiosity is what makes The Pine School the amazing place that it is to learn and work,” shared Kerslake. “The Pine School is more than just an Independent School environment, it is a student-centered culture - a place where students and faculty can partner in endeavors such as the observation beehive that fosters deeper understanding and brings unique learning experiences to the whole school community.”
Dr. Carolyn Bogaski and Dr. Darryl Martino led their Environmental Science students to participate in the "A Day in the Life of the Indian River Lagoon" project. Students from over 40 different schools along a 156-mile stretch simultaneously collected biological, chemical and physical data. Pine School students specifically worked up measurements of the aquatic ecosystem at the Hobe Sound Nature Center.
“Science is not a spectator sport, so having the opportunity for students to spend the afternoon being a scientist and doing science in invaluable,” shared Dr. Martino. “Activities like these give students the opportunity to go beyond just learning facts and allows them to collaboratively and actively engage with the material they are learning.”
The project aims to collect sufficient data to report on the "health" of the lagoon, so that this information can serve as a database for future academic studies and allow decision makers and other groups to make the best choices for our environment.
“We are so honored to be able to work with S.E.A. a Difference, Inc., & ORCA to collect real-time data as part of a bigger project aimed towards the conservation of Florida's ecosystems,” summed up Dr. Bogaski.
Of all of The Pine School’s many beloved traditions, perhaps none is quite as popular as Homecoming Week. A true student-led affair, The Senior Class selects an overarching theme - in this case “British Invasion” with each of the Upper School Grades choosing a focus under the theme to create special hallway decorations (Seniors went with Harry Potter, Juniors with Peter Pan, Sophomores with Alice In Wonderland, & the Freshmen took Sherlock Holmes). Seniors took top prize for their presentation.
Leading up to this spectacular show of creativity and teamwork, the days of Homecoming Week were filled with an array of special events such as themed dress days and fun-spirited games ranging from Conquering Dodgeball to Powder Puff football.
“Student creativity really shines through during this special week,” shared Senior and Athletic Head Prefect Lindsey Bruns. “I love how Grades push each other to be better than the year before. ”
Middle and Lower School students get in on the fun as well - working collaboratively to design & create special banners and classroom door covers to show their School spirit. 4th Grade won the door contest and Mrs. Kerslake’s Advisory walked away with the banner trophy.
Of course, what is Homecoming without a game and a dance? The Pine School proudly hosts both! It started with an all-School pep rally - which includes games, a performance by concert band, dance contest (which the Junior boys won) & lots of pep!
Varsity Volleyball played their hearts out in the annual Homecoming game (topping Somerset Academy in a convincing three straight set victory). This was followed by a celebratory bonfire for Upper School students. Saturday night found students returning to campus for the Homecoming Dance.
"Our Homecoming Week traditions are really at the core of all that is special and unique about The Pine School community," shared K-12 Director Kelly Hilton-Green. "Friendly competition, bolstered by supportive collaboration and lots of fun, simply brings our students closer in inspiring ways."
Photos can be seen on our Flickr page:
Homecoming Boys Volleyball
Homecoming Conquering Dodgeball
Homecoming Powder Puff Football
Homecoming Hallway Decorations
Homecoming Pep Rally
Homecoming Varsity Volleyball Game
The entire Pine School community gathered to celebrate the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the School’s new Arts & Athletic Complex.
“When I joined the School community back in the fall of 2017, I quickly felt the enthusiasm for the planning and preparation surrounding this addition to the School’s already beautiful campus,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “I said then, and I know now, that The Pine School is perfectly poised to take the next step forward in our future in completing our campus consolidation here in Hobe Sound.”
The impressive new Complex will feature a permanent stage, a showcase gallery to exhibit student art, dedicated music practice rooms and specialty classrooms, as well as a working gym to support the School’s popular Athletic offerings.
“The Pine School has seen many big and positive changes with one common thread - our wonderful School community,” added Board of Trustees President Debbie Textor P‘18, P’20. “It is with great excitement that we celebrate this next step in seeing our vision become a reality - and I look forward to seeing all the amazing ways our students will impress us as they express themselves creatively, academically and athletically.”
The involvement of students has been an important part of each step The Pine School has taken in the development of this new addition. To highlight this, Senior Allison Sanchez, herself a talented artist and Head Prefect of the Arts Committee, was asked to speak on behalf of the student body.
“I’ve always had an excitement for the Arts and The Pine School has only encouraged me to polish my lens for artistic success,” said Sanchez. “I know this highly anticipated facility will support generations of students as they cultivate their passions.”
In addition to the student body, faculty, parents and Board of Trustees, The Pine School welcomed a host of distinguished guests to celebrate this historic moment - including building architect Scott Hughes, Steve Hooks and associates from Hooks Construction, owner representatives Larry Zabik and Lindsay Krutz from Zabik & Associates, Michael Woody & Melissa Norman from Professional Bank, Lauren Carroll of Carroll Insurance, Alumni Connor Mortell ‘15 (Legislative Aide to State Representative Toby Overdorf), and CEO of the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce Lainey Muenich.
At The Pine School, everyone is committed to Environmental sustainability. From our student-led Upper School Environmental Prefect Committee to the Middle School Environmental Club to our Lower School garden - each and every Knight lends a hand in making sure that we live up to being honored as a Green School of Excellence for 6 years straight. Tied into these efforts are some very special (and fun!) traditions.
A perfect example is our “Waking Up The Garden” party. Led by Kindergarten teacher Diane Hollowell’s legendary Green Thumb, our youngest Knights gather in our campus garden and uncover the raised garden boxes, turn dirt, & prepare for seed planting. The School’s garden not only contributes to School-wide Green initiatives, but produce grown goes directly to the salad bar in our Dining Hall.
“We start by planting basil, lemon thyme, parsley, dill, thyme, and cilantro,” shared Hollowell. “The students were so excited and this sort of unique hands-on activity really makes such a positive impact on their learning.”
Just one of the ways our faculty share their passions for sustainability with students. At any given moment on our campus you can see Middle Schoolers collecting classroom paper for recycling, 2nd Graders leading a drive to gather plastic grocery bags in a partnership with local turtle research facility, or Upper School STEM students fine-tuning their rainwater collection system.
Did you know that The Pine School, whose InvenTeam created a water monitoring device to study the Indian River Lagoon, was the only School in Florida to receive the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Foundation Grant? Or that two recent Pine School graduates, who also happened to help form River Kidz - a student-focused environmental activist group, published a book they wrote called Stuck In The Muck, which draws attention to the importance of preserving quality water? Just more examples of how our students (with the expert support of our dedicated faculty) are making great strides in furthering these efforts.
"The way our School community comes together in being environmentally aware is really something special," shared Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake. "Our students don't only participate across a range of initiatives, they actively seek-out new & exciting ways to further these efforts."
The Pine School has a passion for passions. We believe that natural creativity is innate, and we strive to develop it in every one of our students. We encourage creativity and offer our students a range of opportunities to contribute to our School and community through their artistic expressions.
While this approach is always found to be true, we especially love to celebrate all things Arts during focused times throughout the year. A perfect example is National Arts In Education Week.
For National Arts In Education Week, The Pine School Fine Arts faculty look for ways to expand their already highly creative approaches, including having Lower School students attend Upper School Ceramics and Studio Art classes. For our Middle and Upper School students, the wide range and unique Arts offering (like Steel Pan Ensemble and Graphic Design) provide ample opportunities to express their creative side.
“These opportunities not only get those younger students excited about what their artistic future at Pine might hold, but it also allows our older students the chance to gain additional confidence in the skills they have developed as they share technique,” shared art teacher Maria Miele.
It’s not just our Upper School students that get the chance to explore visual arts under highly experienced teachers (who also just happen to be professional working artists!). Our Lower & Middle School art students are lucky to be under the talented eye of Brian Hayden.
During this National Arts In Education Week, whether students are exploring elements of design in Paul Klee's art or discussing approaches of Pop Artists like Roy Lichtenstein when working on portraits, our young creators are building skills and developing a love for art that is rivaled by no other local age-comparable program.
“Independent schools allow creative freedoms which are being removed from public schools,” shared Hayden. “I am very invested in creating a studio-like environment where students can explore ideas in a semi-structured way. I want to supply them with tools they can use in any career field and promote innovative thinking processes so that they will be valuable assets to whatever they apply themselves to.”
Our music classes (both instrumental and vocal) have been using the week to get the jump on pulling together their various ensembles to learn and perfect numbers that they will all get the chance to perform throughout the year.
"As an educator, my job is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students to learn and grow,” shared Lower School music teacher and Chorus Director Megan Alvarado.
"Each student taps into his or her artistic inspiration in very individual and personal ways," summed up Fine Arts Department Chair Steve Naumann. "The Arts are alive and well at The Pine School and National Arts in Education Week is a wonderful way for us to showcase and share what we love to do with the rest of our School community. "
Though Pine School students and families are grateful to be spared the worst of Hurricane Dorian’s destructive powers, the entire School community has approached the aftermath in a range of meaningful ways.
Student leadership are considering and coordinating possibly both immediate and long-term relief support projects to tie-in with the School’s longstanding commitment to giving back - especially in times of need.
“There are so many important and varied support opportunities in place, and I know our student body and School community will be mindful in finding a great match for the best ways to bring aid to an area that is so close to the hearts of so many of us,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey.
Faculty are also using the experience to delve further into understanding the various factors surrounding Dorian. Case in point, Kayla Berger’s 5th Grade science students, who were already following the track of the storm, used thinking routines Berger picked-up while attending Project Zero at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Focusing on fostering deeper thinking and comprehension, students viewed aerial photos of Dorian’s destructive path and shared thoughts and impressions. Students will then use this knowledge to better inform their reading of The Cay in English.
“Tracking the named storms in science started out as something supplemental to our 5th grade curriculum, but has turned out to be so much more,” shared Berger. “The opportunities for students to think critically have developed authentically through their interest in the events happening around them. It is exciting to see how invested our students are in wanting to help those that were not as lucky as we were through this storm."
All Pine School students are part of a small-group Advisory. However, unlike most schools, we design ours to be much more than just a place to check-in daily. Our Advisory Program provides a wide range of collaborative support and peer/faculty connection - covering everything from important logistics to thoughtful activities focusing on character development.
A great example of this is an activity Sophomore Advisor Kelly Kelly recently led her group through. Students painted canvas boards with one meaningful word that reflects the year they would like to create for themselves.
“I was so excited to start the year with this activity as I believe it is critical that they understand that they are the creators of their lives,” shared Kelly. “They were extremely receptive to the activity, and I was so touched by the thoughtful process they took in choosing their words.”
Middle School and Upper School Advisory groups are tight units that share a through-line for their time together in each division - allowing for more intimate and deeper bonds to be established. In addition to daily touch points and weekly time dedicated to spend together, Advisory groups in the Upper School pair with “buddies” from the Lower School. This popular tradition even further expands the all-campus community spirit that makes The Pine School so unique.
“We are committed to building a community of trust, caring and positive character, with Advisory being a critical component of relationship building and character development,” summed up Director of School Counseling Heidi Kaye. “Students are more apt to take risks in the classroom and improve academic performance when they feel supported, safe, and appreciated as unique individuals valued by their teachers and peers.”
The Pine School has a long-standing tradition of starting each school year with special retreats for Grades 5-12.
"Starting our year with individualized retreats for Grades 5-12 really highlights the flexibility of an independent school education," shared K-12 Director Kelly Hilton-Green. "Not only do our students & faculty benefit from these unique opportunities to bond, but our activities are planned with a focus on goal setting and building a strong foundation of positive collaboration."
High School students enjoyed a range of experiences on and off-campus. Seniors traveled to Shark Aqua Park, enjoyed time together at the beach, and capped things by participating in a lock-in on campus. Juniors enjoyed activities at Flying Panda - challenging themselves and their classmates in activities like the Ninja Obstacle Course and Extreme Dodgeball.
Our Sophomores gave back through a community service beach clean-up project before testing their teamwork and creative problem-solving skills at a local Escape Room. Freshmen participated in, perhaps, the most loved Pine School retreat tradition - the “No Such Thing Night” sleep-in, an all-night on-campus lock-in that included movies, games, a dance party, and a late-night sundae bar.
All of the retreats dedicated time to focus on goal setting and looking forward to a successful and productive school year.
Not to be left out, our Middle School students enjoyed a full day on campus working together (and in individual advisories) on a wide range of collaborative projects - including a special focus on environmental awareness. The group participated in teamwork-based competitions and also designed individual environmentally-focused identities for their Advisory groups.
If you measure a successful first day of school based on student smiles, you’d have to say The Pine School experienced a total home run.
"The start of each new school year is always exciting," shared Head Girl Prefect and Senior Aliya French. "It is especially encouraging to come back to a School that is such a supportive and encouraging family to me."
Student Prefects greeted students as they arrived and the entire School community joined for an Opening Assembly to kick things off. The day also provided students (new & returning) & faculty opportunities to connect. All students in Grades 5-12 will also get the chance to further bond during dedicated Class Retreats - an array of on & off-campus experiences designed to foster Class identities and closer student/faculty connections.
“The faculty and staff have been working so hard to get ready for opening day,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “It's fabulous to feel the energy crescendo, to finally have the students here for what promises to be an awesome year. From a new schedule to a new construction site to a 50th birthday, so much is coming our way at The Pine School!”
Not simply content to be a Green School of Excellence (for 6 years straight!) or the only school in FL to receive the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Foundation Grant, Pine School faculty dedicated time during pre-planning week to focus on ways to further incorporate environmental awareness as a connecting thread for all Grade levels and disciplines. The faculty even traveled next door to Jonathan Dickinson State Park to learn about and help remove invasive plants.
“Florida's unique environment is unfortunately facing serious threats,” shared Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake, “From the high nutrient content of the Indian River Lagoon, invasive plant & animal species out-competing natives to coastal sea levels rising, Florida's fragile ecosystem is under attack and it is our responsibility as educators to develop the scientists, artists, legislators & educated citizens of the future to help protect it.”
In addition to a student-led Prefect Environmental Committee and a Middle School Environmental Club, students benefit from a wide range of ways that faculty use specific approaches that that advantage of our beautiful (and historic) 142-acre campus - the largest of any independent school in FL. From land survey & environmental studies classes to a campus garden & disc golf course, the range of campus provides a perfect backdrop to serve as a living classroom.
"Our classrooms sit in the middle of a vast living laboratory of endangered Florida sand pine scrub, wetlands bursting with life, and mysterious pr-Columbian archeological sites,” added history teacher & author Nathaniel Osborn. “Pine's faculty is excited about integrating this rich environment into our curriculum."
Locals experts Lauren Butcher of the FAU/Pine Jog Green Initiatives Program and Jonathan Dickinson Park Services Specialist Corey Kerkela joined the faculty to discuss past successes and new approaches - including an on-campus observable bee hive (as part of a student Senior Capstone project), further exploration of Banner Lake, & a possible on-campus mountain bike trail. The conversation also tapped into the wide range of local resources The Pine School continues to build as they partner with area organizations.
“There is no greater time than the present to help our students become environmental stewards to this amazing environment that we call home,” summed up Kerslake.
“The Pine School prioritizes faculty and staff recruitment; I couldn't be more pleased to welcome such a talented bunch of new colleagues to our School,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “We have searched nationally to find the best educators who share our passion for teaching and learning. The enthusiasm is palpable as we lead up to the opening day of school!”
Meet our new faculty members:
Carolyn Bogaski is an Upper School Science teacher, teaching all levels of Biology and Environmental Science. Carolyn spent 16 years working within independent schools and has taught students of all grade levels, K - College. She earned a BS in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biotechnology, a Master’s degree in Biology/Teaching, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. An active member of Phi Kappa Phi, Carolyn’s love of learning ensures that she will always seek pathways for continued growth, while sharing her passion with others.
Fun Fact: Carolyn enjoys spending time with her family doing outdoor activities like snorkeling, canoeing, hiking, and biking.
Vanessa Bowers teaches 7th and 9th Grade English. Vanessa taught history and English at a private school in Houston, TX before moving to Florida to teach at The Pine School. She has a husband, who is also a teacher, a son, a daughter, and a hamster.
Fun Fact: Vanessa enjoys growing flowers, raising rabbits, and photography.
John Boyer is the Director of Development. In this role, John oversees all of the school's fundraising and parent volunteer efforts. John came to The Pine School from Nashville, where he served as the Director of Development at Oak Hill School for seven years. Prior to his career in independent school advancement, John worked for eight years in Washington, DC directing the government affairs for a public policy organization. John has his undergraduate degree from the University of the South in Sewanee and a master’s degree from George Washington University. John's passions are cooking, reading, following politics and global affairs, and spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, his twin two-year-old children, Jack and Salley, and his dog, Tucker.
Fun Fact: A dedicated football fan, John can be found rooting for the Arkansas Razorbacks and Green Bay Packers.
Paxton Ellis is the K-4 Physical Education and Middle School Health instructor. His goal is to create lifelong health conscious individuals. He coaches Golf, boy's Basketball and Tennis. Paxton grew up in the deep South and Midwest. He attended Oklahoma State, earning his BS in Psychology before receiving his MS in Physical Education from Pittsburg State. He is the father of 4.
Fun fact: Coach Ellis served as an over-the-wall crewman and Pit Coach in NASCAR.
Jason Herbert teaches 8th Grade American History and 11th Grade American History, including Honors and Advanced Placement courses. He is a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota, where his research focuses on indigenous Florida from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. He was also awarded a Dissertation Fellowship from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Fun fact: Jason has lived in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, Minnesota, and Florida.
Michelle Liebowitz teaches French and World Languages. She began her teaching career in New York City before moving to Florida, where she worked in the Martin County School District. Prior to teaching she worked for several international companies and also ran her own tutoring business for 13 years. She has undergraduate degrees in both French and Spanish as well as a Masters in Education. Michelle has always loved learning languages and her goal is to spark that same love in her classroom.
Fun fact: Michelle is certified yoga instructor and has been a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor since 1990.
Darryl Martino teaches Chemistry and Environmental Science. He is an aficionado of all things STEM. Dr. Martino is a graduate of Texas A&M University where he earned a Doctorate in Oceanography. He has been teaching high school Science and Math at independent schools for the past 19 years.
Fun fact: Darryl summited Denali, the highest peak in North America.
JT Mass is the Director of Facilities and Transportation. JT has spent the last couple of years repairing commercial kitchen equipment and the first 20 years of his career as a Chef in private country clubs in Hobe Sound. He and his wife Emily are the proud parents of two boys.
Fun Fact: Caught a 10lb Tarpon on 10lb test line.
Marc Weisbrot is a Middle and Upper School mathematics teacher. Marc is returning to The Pine School to teach and coach. A resident of Hobe Sound, Marc enjoys time with his wife, son, and dog.
Fun Fact: Marc’s mother did not throw out his baseball cards years ago, consequently Marc has over 25,000 baseball cards in his collection.
For the 5th consecutive year, a group of Pine School faculty attended Project Zero Classroom at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
“Participation allows The Pine School to join educators from around the world as they explore learning experiences and assessment practices that will best prepare our students for a successful future,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey.
To date, over 70% of Pine School faculty have benefited from this prestigious and groundbreaking conference.
“I cannot express the immeasurable value of having the opportunity to attend Project Zero,” summed up Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake. “All the amazing ideas and insights that are shared are often times described as a beach - and I am so excited to take the seashells that I picked up and use them to help students go beyond knowledge to reach deeper understanding.”
The Pine School’s Class of 2019 celebrated individual Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies - a unique Pine tradition that includes student, faculty & guest speakers as well as student performances.
“This Commencement embodies our vision of education as an engaged and dynamic partnership between The Pine School and our students and families alike,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “Today we celebrate our collective commitment to respect, responsibility, honesty and equality, to creating a better and more just world.”
The Senior Class selects speakers for both events. This year, Assistant Head of School Nathan Washer and Senior Gabe Tettamanti spoke at Baccalaureate - with Seniors Noah Kalter and Macy Washer speaking at Commencement. The Commencement Address was delivered by architect Scott Hughes, founding principal of Hughes Umbanhowar Architects - the firm that is designing The Pine School’s new Arts Complex.
“Growing closer to my classmates helped me form a foundation and sparked my growth here at the Pine School,” summed up Kalter in his address. “Graduates - go out into the world and embrace it’s adversity. Take the positivity of the people who cross your path to success and learn from the negativity of others. Create a new perspective.”
As the name indicates, the Evening of Academic Excellence recognizes Upper School students that have demonstrated work ethic and dedication exemplifying academic distinction.
“It is so important to pause at the end of the year to focus on honoring the commitment and drive that so many of our students possess,” shared Academic Dean Sean Carlson. “This event provides dedicated time for us to recognize the dedication of our students.”
Complete Awards Listing
The Potsdam Award (highest award given) - Noah Kalter
Head of School Award - Gabe Tettamanti
Academic Achievement Awards
12th Grade - Anna McGovern
11th Grade - Aliya French
10th Grade - Trent Long
9th Grade - Hannah Squier
Community Achievement Awards
12th Grade - Jacqueline Rouse
11th Grade - Hallie Isdaner
10th Grade - Sara Velcani
9th Grade - Michael Di Egidio
Service and Spirit Award - Aaron Chimelis
Brown Book Award - Aliya French
Dartmouth Book Award - Maddie McDonald
Sewanee Book Award for Excellence in Writing - Maria DiEgidio
Johns Hopkins Book Award - Zach Ehrlich
Penn Book Award - Addison Textor
Harvard Book Award - Lucas Pereira
Rollins College Alumni Book Award - Ryan Renz
Boston College Book Award - William Baratta
George Washington University Book Award - Hallie Isdaner
Pathfinder High School Scholarship Award - Noah Kalter and Gabe Tettamanti
2019-20 Head Prefects
Head Girl: Aliya French
Head Boy: William Baratta
Ambassador Prefect: Sophie Rabiei
Athletic Leadership Prefect: Lindsay Bruns
Communications Prefect: Brian Rodgers
Environmental Prefect: Maria DiEgidio
Fine Arts Prefect: Allison Sanchez
Outreach Prefect: Maddy McDonald
Student Life Prefect: Addison Textor
U-Knight Prefect: Hallie Isdaner
2019-20 Deputy Prefects
Ambassador Deputy Prefect: Jack Squier
Athletic Leadership Deputy Prefect: Michael Powers
Communications Deputy Prefect: Angela Charles
Environmental Deputy Prefect: Rachel Goldman
Fine Arts Deputy Prefect: Nell Hutchinson
Outreach Deputy Prefect: Solana Rudnitsky
Student Life Deputy Prefect: Savannah Stranigan
U-Knight Deputy Prefect: Sydney Stranigan
Pat Stuart English Award - Alyssa Schoettle
12th Grade - Olivia Siegel
11th Grade - Addison Textor
10th Grade - Sam Levine
9th Grade - Celia Wilson
Hugh Willoughby History Award - Noah Kalter
12th Grade - Michael Agrama
11th Grade - Brian Rodgers
10th Grade - Trent Long
9th Grade - Cat Villano
The Jonas Salk Science Award - Anna McGovern
12th Grade - Jeffrey Ehrlich
11th Grade - Hallie Isdaner
10th Grade - Angela Charles
9th Grade - Celena Budd
Euler’s Award of Achievement - Jaden Mekled
12th Grade - Gabriel Tettamanti
11th Grade - Aliya French
10th Grade - Savannah Stranigan
9th Grade - Hannah Squier
Jose Marti Spanish Award - Aaron Chimelis
12th Grade - Alyssa Schoettle
11th Grade - Maria Di Edgidio
10th Grade - Alaya Fagan
9th Grade - Kendall Eaker
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry French Award - Aaron Benoit
10th Grade - Nia Einhoff
9th Grade - Mitchell Fahey
Congratulations to Pine graduates of Youth Leadership. This motivated group of Sophomores & Juniors participated in the prestigious 9-month program - learning about our community as well as developing personal leadership skills. Topics included the Environment, Health & Safety, Arts, and even bonding through a challenging ropes course.
Students are selected for this highly-prestigious program through an application process. Twelve Pine Schools students participated - the largest from any participating school.
“This really was an eye-opening and interesting program,” shared Junior Brian Rodgers. “I am so glad Pine that sees the importance of allowing students to experience this unique opportunity.”
In addition to parents & family, the ceremony was attended by Head of School Binney Caffrey and Adult Leadership graduates Beth Lettengarver & Robert Ankrom.
Middle School students celebrated their accomplishments - ranging from Academics & Arts to Service & Spirit - during a dedicated Awards Ceremony.
“Honor, integrity, accountability, and the encouragement to achieve one’s personal best are all important aspects of our everyday activities here at school,” shared Middle School Coordinator Sarah Visagie. “Students have every opportunity to do well at Pine because of the commitment of our excellent faculty & beautiful facilities. This Program gives us the opportunity to honor their dedication.”
Complete Awards Listing
Class of 2023 Pine Scholarship Recipients
Brennan Troup and Meryn Rubenstein
Head of School Award
Athletic Maturity - Dylan Markulics
Arthur A Smith Spiritual Award - Lilly Parr
Academic Maturity - RJ Lichten
Named 8th Grade Awards
Ashley Carroll Writing Award - Fiona Ankrom
Dale Hudson Service Award - Brennan Troup
Jeff Bruner Athletic Award - Sandy Hardin
Environmental Steward Award - Allie Smith
Exceptional Student Award
7th Grade - Caroline Smith
6th Grade - Isabela Adler
5th Grade - Maddie Parr
7th Grade - Amelie Galbraith
6th Grade - Tyrah Othman
5th Grade - Brody Starr
School Pride Awards
8th Grade female - Skylar Jones
8th Grade male - Aidan Skelly
7th Grade female - Ava Schulties
7th Grade male - Matthew Sofarelli
6th Grade female - Alice Villalba
6th Grade male - Noah Rabiei
5th Grade female - Julianna Giambalvo
5th Grade male - Luke Parr
8th Grade female - Olivia Higley
8th Grade male - Shiv Patel
7th Grade female - Arabella Garcia
7th Grade male - Jake Kroeger
6th Grade female - Christina Shute
6th Grade male - Kyle Dixon
5th Grade female - Mackenzie Beckman
5th Grade male - Max Brodie
8th Grade - Fiona Ankrom
7th Grade - Arabella Garcia
6th Grade - Sydney Schiff
5th Grade - Pippa Hilton-Green
English/Language Arts Awards
8th Grade - Olivia Higley
7th Grade - Melanie McDonald
6th Grade - Luke Altschuler
5th Grade - Ella Morey
Social Studies Awards
8th Grade - Sam Abraham
7th Grade - Haven Stroh
6th Grade - Madeline McElroy
5th Grade - Brody Levin
8th Grade - Chris Elkan
7th Grade - Adelaide McKeon
6th Grade - Lili Krastel
5th Grade - Audrey Gordon
8th Grade - Allie Smith
7th Grade - Reese Habicht
6th Grade - Shelby Carlstrom
5th Grade - Ty Schoppe
World Language Awards
8th Grade - Kate Parr
7th Grade - Bella Krastel
6th Grade - Isabela Adler
5th Grade - Ethan Murray
8th Grade Director's Award - Jack Vrana
7th Grade Director's Award - Bella Krastel
6th Grade Director's Award - Kinslee Ewing
5th Grade Director's Award - T.J. Kelly
7th Grade Outstanding Performance Award - Adelaide McKeon
6th Grade Outstanding Performance Award - Alice Villalba
5th Grade Outstanding Performance Award - Luke Parr
7th Grade Most Improved Award - Amelie Galbraith
6th Grade Most Improved Award - Christina Shute
5th Grade Most Improved Award - Maddie Parr
8th Grade - Derek Paredes
7th Grade - Lucy Kentoff
6th Grade - Stephen Morris
5th Grade - Jules Giambalvo
Physical Education Awards
8th Grade female - Ava Merckle
8th Grade male - Michael Blotnick
7th Grade female - Aubrey Williams
7th Grade male - JD Long
6th Grade female - Sydney Schiff
6th Grade male - Kyle Dixon
5th Grade female - D'sani Escobedo
5th Grade male - Ethan Murray
Safety Patrol Award - Daniel Van Riper
The Pine School has a wide array of popular and meaningful traditions that pepper our school-year. Perhaps nothing screams Pine School spirit quite like our annual Field Day. Pitting Blue versus Gold in friendly competition across a wide range of challenges - including the infamous tug-o-war battles - this is an event that highlights teamwork & the love of all things Pine.
For the 2nd year in a row, Gold pulled off a stunner of a victory, but everyone enjoyed the camaraderie that was truly palpable throughout.
“The sportsmanship and ultimate respect that our students show throughout this special day really sums up what is so special about The Pine School,” summed up Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
The Pine School - for the 6th year in a row - has been named a Green School of Excellence by FAU and the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center.
This is awarded for continuing to be a model of environmental stewardship & sustainability for Palm Beach & Martin County. Schools are judged on factors such as school grounds enhancement, school sustainability, curriculum integration, community involvement, and school-wide culture.
Special initiatives include rainwater collection, campus garden, recycling efforts, waste composting, & our annual Recycled Runway event.
The Recycled Runway event is an especially popular School-wide event and a perfect example of how Pine incorporates a range of cross-curriculum approaches in unique and exciting ways. As a cap to Earth Week celebrations, student-designers - using only recycled or re-purposed materials - create a range of fashion designs. Their pieces are then showcased on our courtyard “catwalk” to the entire School community.
“It has always been fun to be able to express creativity in exciting ways like this,” shared Sophomore Caroline Rouse who had multiple designs featured in the show. “The show gives students the opportunity to explore art with an awareness of true sustainability. I love that inspiration can come from anywhere and that we are free to create anything we want."
“The Pine School continues to work on developing new environmental initiatives and enhance those that are already in place,” summed up Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake. “This is definitely a team effort and is thanks to the involvement of everyone in our School community.”
If you need any evidence that Pine School Arts are alive and well, look now further that the recent performance events on our campus and in our community - including students from Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
The celebration of Arts at Pine was perhaps best displayed with the popular 9th-12th Grade Evening of the Arts held at the historic Lyric Theater in downtown Stuart. Students shared their amazing talents, which included everything from vocal & instrumental performances to dance & special numbers by Pine’s array of ensemble groups. Arts awards - both for fine arts & instrumental performances - were also included.
“I am so happy to see all of our student’s hard work pay off,” shared Band Director Dorothy Castle. “They are dedicated to their talents and their love of the arts shined throughout the evening.”
Middle School students had a chance as well as they thrilled a packed audience on The Pine School campus during the annual 4th-8th Grade Evening of the Arts. This special evening highlighted the exceptional performing art talents of our students - ranging from dance & vocal performances to group ensembles & our unique Knights of Steel Drum Band. The evening also featured a Middle School art exhibit & award ceremony led by art teacher Brain Hayden.
“This event is a great way to showcase the musical & artistic opportunities we provide at Pine while also giving our talented students a stage to share their exceptional talents,” shared music teacher & program coordinator Megan Raedy.
And not wanting to leave out our youngest Knights, Kindergarteners-3rd Grade all perfectly supported our 4th Grade leads in impressive fashion by presenting the long-anticipated performance of Lion King Kids. The show was indeed a feast for the ears & eyes and special performances were held for the School Community as well as Grandparents Day.
“The entire week was so much fun and very inspiring” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “There is nothing better than seeing students share their passion for the arts - especially knowing the amazing support our Art Department faculty provides.”
Photos can be seen on our Flickr page.
Double congratulations are in order for Senior Gabe Tettamanti. In addition to being named to the Florida High School Athletic Association All-State Academic Team (qualifying him as a finalist for the top FL honor), Gabe also earned the distinction of being one of only 15k students nationwide to be recognized as a National Merit finalist - qualifying him for possible scholarships. Gabe will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall.
“Research tells us that the best preparation for SAT & ACT testing is taking quality classes at a strong college-preparatory school like Pine,” shared Director of College Counseling Janet Pacifico. “Gabe has certainly had that experience here and his outstanding results certainly help to validate the research.”
The Pine School Concert Band, led by Director Dorothy Castle, earned a top Superior Gold rating & placed 2nd out of all the bands in their category at the World Strides Onstage Competition in Orlando. This high-level event featured bands from 41 schools (over 1,400 students) from 13 different states.
Perhaps more impressively, the band was one of only three to win the coveted Gold Festival Award (for receiving the top overall scores in the competition) - which includes an invitation to perform at a special encore performance with the top concert bands in the country in 2020 at a major music venue to be determined.
Additionally, Freshman Cat Villano also was honored with the Judge’s Choice Award for her bass performance.
“All of our hard work paid off this trip,” summed up Castle. “This experience has helped us all grow as musicians and I am so proud to be their teacher.”
Senior Anna McGovern for being nominated as one of the “Rising Stars” at the 2019 Women Of Distinction ceremony last night in Martin County.
Sponsored by Soroptimist International of Stuart, Rising Star nominations are high school age young women who demonstrate outstanding commitment to giving back to her community.
In addition to being a student leader and Varsity athlete, Anna planned and coordinated a community garden for The Pine School's campus. The garden promotes organic growing and provides opportunities for Lower School students to engage in hands-on learning. Anna also played a key role in the development of a community garden in neighboring Banner Lake.
Anna was supported at the event by Head of School Binney Caffrey & Director of Admission Beth Lettengarver.
Five Pine School students were awarded Congressional Award medals for the 18th Congressional District (Matthew & Michael Powers earned Gold, Erica Forster & Conner MacDonald earned Silver, and Jack Posey earned Bronze) at a special ceremony held in Palm Beach Gardens.
Students have to complete hundreds of hours collectively in each of three areas: community service, physical fitness, & personal growth. Collectively, this group from The Pine School has completed over 1,300 hours of service - tying in with Pine’s complete commit to Learning Through Service initiatives.
“Earning a Congressional Award takes planning, perseverance, and a deep commitment to improving our community,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. I couldn't be prouder of these students for all their effort.”
Following her oustanding showing at District Competition, Sophomore Solana Rudnitsky earned a Superior Rating at The Florida State Thespian Festival Competition in Tampa. The Competition required Solana to perform a solo piece in front of musical theater educators from
Solana regularly performs at Pine - including holding leading roles in the past two Pine musicals, the most recent being Bye Bye Birdie.
“Solana’s talents are truly exceptional and she represented the School with her usual style and grace,” shared Music Director Dorothy Castle.
One of The Pine School's most unique & popular traditions is Off-Campus Education Week. Grades 5-12 each travel to unique destinations that cover a range of exciting experiences and opportunities.
Grades 9 through 12 all participate in designated trips that are as fun as they are thoughtfully planned. Freshmen learn about environmental awareness in the Everglades & FL Keys. Sophomores take another step in their college search process as they tour a range of schools in the DC-area while also exploring a rich array of historical sites in VA and MD. The Junior Class participates in, perhaps, the most popular of all our offerings - the innovative and eye-opening Outward Bound backpacking adventure through the Boroughs of New York City.
The special Senior Class trip revolves around an exhilarating visit to The National Whitewater Center in NC. In addition to taking on rafting the challenging waters the U.S. Olympic Kayak Team train in, the Center includes state-of-the-art ziplines and high rope course - all promoting teamwork and individual motivation.
Lining up with Pine’s dedication to Learning Through Service, each of the trips also feature elements of community service - from volunteering at local organizations focused on helping children in need to assisting with area Habitats For Humanity.
Even our Middle School Grades (5th - 8th) all get to experience trips of their own - including a range of unique experiences such as visiting the Wildlife Reserve at Busch Gardens theme park, riding horse at Circle F Ranch, & the extremely popular 8th Grade adventure to South Carolina’s amazing Camp Greenville - a beautiful location that boasts activities ranging from canoeing & archery to rock climbing & wildlife survival.
“The positive impact these trips have on our students can’t be overstated,” shared Program Coordinator Tamara Litterick. “They seem to get stronger each year and they always rank at the top as a favorite experience when students look back at their time at Pine.”
The Pine School takes great pride in our attention to detail. Whether it is the way our students benefit from our commitment to a relationship-based education or favorite traditions that seem to be around every corner, our School community thrives on all the unique ways we stand-out when compared to other schools. Nowhere is that more true than the amazing lunches served in our dining hall. Seriously - just ask our students how great the food is!
The Pine School has developed a long-standing partnership with Flik Dining in providing our students with a delicious lunch - as healthy as they are varied. In addition to a regular hot meal and vegetables daily, Flik also provides sandwich & fresh salad bars (sometimes even featuring produce from our campus garden), a pasta station, and homemade soups. And best of all - lunch is included in the price of tuition so you will never have to pack a lunch again!
As a continued sign of that partnership, Flik treated Pine students & faculty to a smoked BBQ extravaganza this week. For two days a dedicated Flik chef and smoked meats expert permeated the campus with the tempting smalls of ribs & chicken being slow-cooked and naturally smoked. Everything was served with favorite sides and plenty of specialty sauces.
Flik has also been great about working with our students and faculty for a range of special request meals - such as an international spread for our Multicultural Festival, unique dishes for French Week, or Senior privilege requests like breakfast for lunch. In rounding out this fantastic relationship, Flik has also fully committed to the School's dedication to staying Green by utilizing a composting machine that turns food waste into natural fertilizer for our School garden.
Standing side-by-side with Pine in exposing our students to world views, Flik coordinated a recent visit to campus by celebrity chef, TV host, and Korean Food Ambassador Jet Tila - providing time for students to ask questions and even participate in a cooking demonstration.
The Pine School’s commitment to developing strong reading habits while cultivating a true love of reading is a School-wide priority. In addition to reading Florida Sunshine State Books, Lower School students also read a wide range of books that drew individual attention.
“We are so proud of our student who worked diligently towards their reading goals and met them,” shared Lower School Coordinator Suzanne Carlino.
As has become an annual tradition, our Lower School hosts a Reading Celebration - an opportunity to highlight successes with reading goals. This fun literacy-filled event covered lots of ground and included opportunities to share books with Upper School students, Bingo, flashlight reading, and even an epic Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament that tied-in to one of the books read.
“As more kids turn to electronics instead of reading great books, we continue to strive towards the goal of creating an empathetic community of readers that can't help but get lost in the world of a book,” summed up Literacy Coach Jen McDonough.
The Pine School’s Performing Arts Dept presented Bye Bye Birdie as this year’s musical.
The cast and crew of 35 - ranging from 5th-12th Graders - turned in two energetic and entertaining performances. All should be congratulated for their long hours of rehearsals and commitment to giving this production their all. The performances were staged at The Els Center of Excellence in Jupiter as Pine puts together final fundraising to build their very own stage and performing arts building.
"I was honored to lead this group of performers, 2/3 of are first time Pine School performers, as they developed confidence & a commitment to the performing arts" shared director Sean Carlson. "I'm in awe of how this small program has grown & developed over the years."
The Pine School's World Language Dept hosted the annual Multicultural Assembly - a student-led celebration of inclusion.
In addition to featuring student speakers and performances by both our Knights of Steel & Lower School students, the program included a fun game guessing the heritage of Pine faculty. Suzanne Cordero, Executive Director of El Sol Resource Center in Jupiter (with whom The Pine School has a long-standing service connection) delivered a keynote address.
"We owe it to these young minds and to give them a platform to explore topics such as multicultural awareness so that they can lead the charge in creating a community of love and respect for all people," shared World Language Dept Chair Kelly Kelly.
The Pine School, as it does each year, celebrated Woman & Girls In Sports Day - a nationally recognized opportunity to encourage female athletic involvement at the High School & College level.
Guest speakers Nan O’Leary and Alison Nicklaus (from a prominent sports family and both multi-sport athletes themselves) shared words of encouragement and supporting facts pointing out the benefits of athletic involvement. Their talk was followed by members of Pine’s Athletic Leadership Council running through a range of sports drills with Middle School girls.
“The Pine School has a longstanding reputation of producing some of the areas finest female student-athletes - a result stemming from our total commitment to providing a structured and safe environment that suits seasoned athletes to first-timers at a particular sport,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
Jackie Brownie’s 2nd Graders are reaping the substantial benefits that are gained from the interactive and hands-on learning that is so prevalent at The Pine School. Two recent classroom projects are prime examples.
As part of their unit on animals, students were challenged to design a new species. The students learned how to gather information from several resources (including responsible internet searches) as well as how to turn that into informational paragraphs. They folded all this info into creating their own ibook (using the app Book Creator). They then had to make a habitat diorama - using a recycled shoebox and showcasing the environment and other species that might be found there. The project also contained another unique cross-curricular opportunity - designing their creature in clay with the help of Fine Arts Chair Steve Naumann. As a finale, the class presented their finale project to other Pine students at a Special Species Exhibition.
Up next was the popular Living Wax Museum. Each student selected an important figure of interest from the past or present. To learn all about their choice, they read and researched to write the informational dialogue they would deliver. They were also challenged to design & create their outfit and a prop that would represent their character. It all led up to the finale exhibition. Dressed and in character as the person they selected - “came to life” as other Pine students as well as family & friends triggered a response by pushing a red button.
"Giving students opportunities to show off knowledge with their very own creativity is so exciting to see,” shared Browning. “The process makes such a positive impression on their future willingness to engage creative problem solving."
The Pine School has once again swept up at the annual Scholastic Art Awards - the largest & most prestigious art scholarship competition in the country. Over 2,500 works were submitted regionally from schools throughout Martin & Palm Beach Counties this year and only about 20% of those works receive Silver or Gold Keys.
This year Pine received 35 awards - 14 Honorable Mentions, 16 Silver Keys, and 4 very elusive Gold Key Awards (2 snagged by Senior Jacqueline Rouse and one each to Seniors Ryan Ehrlich & Patricia Ramsay). All recognized work will be on display at the regional show at the Armory Art Center with an awards opening reception on February 9th. Gold Key recipients will go on to be adjudicated at Nationals.
“It is one of the most exciting times of the year and I think I'm as thrilled as my student-artists to get such impressive results,” shared art & photography teacher Maria Miele.
Does it sound like a big deal to say that out of over 80 submitted 5th Grade essays submitted from all private & public schools in Martin & Palm Beach Counties to the Daughters of the American Revolution writing contest, that 3 of the top 4 were awarded to Pine students? It should!
Add to that the fact that The Pine School was the only school to take home so many awards in one category as well as the only school that did not have essays disqualified for failing to follow the rubric and writing guidelines, and you’ll get a real sense of the amazing accomplishment achieved by 5th Grade teacher Lisa Vrana and her students.
Daughters of the American Revolution (Seminole Chapter) Board Member & Librarian Dara Hatten attended our Community Meeting to award Holden McKeon 2nd Place, Brody Starr 3rd Place, and Gabriella DeGasperis 4th Place.
Each year, DAR sponsors a writing contest focused on a topic from American history. Typically, 5-8th Grade students are asked to write a fictional narrative incorporating historical details from the time period into their writing. This year's topic revolved around the women's suffrage movement.
“To prepare for their essays, the students spent about two weeks learning about the women's suffrage movement - including lots of historical context,” shared Vrana. “I am beyond proud of this exceptional outcome.”
“The Pine School’s students and teaching faculty are to be highly commended for their outstanding efforts,” summed up Hatten.
The Pine School’s 12th Annual 100 Years of Cars, presented by Audi Stuart, was another great success. Hundreds of visitors were welcomed to our beautiful campus and enjoyed an incredible day with over 150 cars on display - the largest amount of cars ever featured.
In addition to all the fabulous cars, the fun included a kids play section, car painting, a performance by The Pine School’s band, & great food compliments of the Martin County Sheriff Department grill team.
The day was capped with an awards ceremony. Congratulations to Tracey & Mike Barnard (and their 1968 Shelby Mustang GT 500K) for taking home the top prize.
“This event always represents such a great opportunity to engage the community while showcasing our School and it just seems to become more and more popular each year,” shared Director of Development Kelly Hilton-Green.
A huge thanks goes out to our amazing Car Show Committee and volunteers.
All proceeds from 100 Years of Cars benefit the Patriot Scholarship: a full-tuition, renewable scholarship awarded to a High School student whose parents are active or veteran military personnel. Over the past 11 years, 100 Years of Cars has raised over $400,000 to help children of active or veteran military personnel attend The Pine School through the Patriot Scholarship.
The Sophomore & Junior Classes dedicated the morning to participating in local non-profit House of Hope’s Poverty Simulation Program. This unique Program is a highly interactive experience designed to provide real perspective on the daily challenges that face the less fortunate in our community.
Expanding the connection Pine has developed with House of Hope in donating food annually, this opportunity marked the first time this Program has been offered to High School students - making The Pine School the only school in Martin County to participate.
Through their “Learning Through Service” initiatives, Pine students get regular opportunities built into the school day to experience a range of service projects - both on and off campus. Past projects have included sorting food donations at a local food bank, gleaning produce on local farms, and assisting with maintenance & landscaping at area child-care centers. There is even a dedicated Middle School Service Club which promotes a spirit of giving to those students.
“I was impressed with the thoughtful way students approached tough decisions,” shared Director of Communications Robert Ankrom who, along with Pine parent Marie Duenas-Weller, helped to coordinate the event. “Ultimately, as we hope is the case with all of the community service opportunities we expose our students to, the desired outcome is that our students gain a deeper awareness of and empathy for the needs of others - discovering the rewards inherent in giving back.”
The Pine School has a long-standing tradition of graduates benefiting from the expertise and personalized approach of College Counselor Janet Pacifico. Graduates have been accepted to some of the country’s finest colleges and universities - with an impressive 93% attending their first-choice schools. The Pine School’s College Process includes specialized workshops & seminars, a dedicated college tour trip in the DC area, numerous on-campus college rep visits, and personalized hands-on attention with Pacifico.
As a salute to the talents and hard work of our seniors, we plan to share news as these students make the big decision of committing to to schools.
“The Class of 2019’s hard work and personalized one-on-one sessions have paid off and they are off to a good start with 40% of the Class already committed to their first choice schools,” shared Pacifico.
Ronald Riley Davis - Mercer College. Riley is a member of the Varsity Soccer team.
Erica Forster - Tulane University. Erica has been honored with the Silver & Bronze Congressional Awards. She is a member of the Varsity Lacrosse team as well as a competitive Equestrian.
Richard Jacobs - Xavier College. Richard is a member of The Pine School’s Varsity Golf team.
Katherine Pescinski - Dickinson College. A two-sport athlete, Katherine is a member of both the Varsity Tennis & Basketball teams.
Matthew Powers - Furman University. Matthew received both the Gold & Bronze the Silver & Bronze Congressional Awards. He is a three-sport athlete, playing on the Varsity Lacrosse, Soccer, & Cross Country teams as well as being a member of the School’s band.
Evan Shute - Florida Atlantic University. Evan is a member of the Varsity Soccer team and a member of the Concert Band.
Matthew Stevens - Ringling College of Art and Design. A talented multi-discipline artist, Matt is a member of the Yearbook staff as well as being on the Varsity Track & Field team.
Gabriel Tettamanti - University of Pennsylvania Wharton College. Gabe serves as the Head Ambassador Prefect and is a three-sport Athlete - participating as a member of the Varsity Tennis, Soccer, & Cross Country Teams.
Macy Washer - Flagler College. Macy has served as the Head Girl Prefect. Additionally, she has been honored with both the Gold & Silver Key Art Awards and is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team.
We look forward to sharing more good news as students continue to make decisions.
The Pine School’s annual Science & Engineering Night takes the average science fair and turns it upside down.
This popular event provides our School community the chance to celebrate science at all levels. Middle Schoolers present student-driven science projects - using the opportunity to share & display their findings, while entertaining questions from faculty, parents, student peers & guests. Meanwhile, our Upper School students lead a range of fun science-related hands-on activities - allowing Lower School students to get excited about what they will be learning in the future. You might even run into students dressed as some of the most famous scientists in history - each having prepared, through research, the ability to discuss their proudest moments. It definitely is a night that brings science - and all of The Pine School’s unique approaches - to life.
“Science night is a true collaborative effort and is always such a wonderful way to highlight all the amazing approaches to science we offer. Giving students the chance to take the lead and learn through hands-on inquiry is such an awesome thing to witness,” summed up Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake.
Jaimal Page led his 8th Grade Spanish students through a tour of Little Havana in Miami in preparation for an upcoming unit on Cuban-US relations in the 20th century. In addition to visiting the iconic Bay of Pigs monument, the group sampled sugar cane juice, visited a Cuban art museum, and the historic Ball & Chain music hall. The day was capped with a traditional Cuban meal and even some of Azucar’s famous artisanal ice cream.
The students will also use a reflection of the trip to improve their Spanish vocabulary and sentence structure.
“Nothing can replace a hands-on opportunity to see, touch & taste when exploring cultures that are new to students,” shared Page.
The Pine School has been fortunate to host a three-week residency by leading literacy educator Kim Yaris. Working closely with Lower School Coordinator Suzanne Otero and Literacy Coach Jen McDonough, Yaris has led and modeled a number of classroom practices with our teachers and students helping them learn to question, think, and interact with text for a deeper reading experience.
“With Kim Yaris's guidance, students are strengthening their comprehension skills and learning to be readers that question and think deeply about text,” shared McDonough. “Our teachers are getting the benefit of embedded professional development as they watch the teaching moves that bring about these deeper understandings.”
Yaris is a writer and thinker and part of Burkins & Yaris—Think Tank for 21st Century Literacy. Their blog and instructional resources have drawn a national audience and made them thought leaders in the field of literacy instruction. In her role as a school staff developer, she works closely with schools - facilitating staff development, conducting in-class demonstrations, and developing curriculum.
“At The Pine School, we strive to help kids move from being passive, backseat readers to active readers in the driver's seat,” added McDonough. “The work that Kim Yaris is doing with our teachers and our students not only helps them tremendously to reach this immediate goal, but also gives them the skills to be successful learners and thinkers in Middle and High School when the text gets more complex.”
"This type of embedded professional development is an extraordinarily exciting gift for our teachers to experience," agreed Lower School Coordinator Suzanne Otero. "Having Kim not only share these great approaches and practices with our teachers, but giving them the opportunity to see them in action in the classroom, makes such a powerful and positive impact for our students."
Maryse Peressin-Hay led all of her French students on a language & cultural adventure through the world showcase of Disney’s Epcot park.
In addition to soaking in the architecture & culture of the French & French/Canadian pavilions and viewing short films that highlight both countries, students had the unique opportunity to practice their conversational skills through interviews with French natives. St
Students also took photos and video of the pavilions and follow-ups to the trip will include classroom writing & speaking lessons reflecting on the experience.
“The Epcot trip was a unique and exciting way to connect the French culture and language lessons we’ve learned in the classroom with something we could actually see and feel,” shared Sophomore Jill Salach.
"My interview with a native French speakers really gave me a sense of what it is like to live in France,” added Sophomore Caroline Rouse.
“There is nothing that can replace the direct contact with a native speaker in terms of improving language skills. Our students really embraced this trip and represented the School beautifully,” summed up Peressin-Hay, herself a native of France.
Lillian Novoa and her AP Spanish Honor Society students visited El Sol Community Resources Center in Jupiter.
This group of high-level Spanish language students got to practice their conversational Spanish through interviews with clients and even helped with some Spanish-to-English translation.
They also got to learn about all the important work this organization does through conversations with the Program Directors and even toured the on-site community garden.
“I love how a trip like this can expose students to becoming more empathetic to challenges that others in their very own community face. These sort of opportunities are a continuation in making our students the leaders we know they will become,” shared Novoa.
The Pine School is proud to host our annual Zombie Knight Run & Haunted House on Friday, October 19. This family-friendly 5k event features a challenging race course - packed with zombies on the loose - and culminates with a spectacular haunted house put on by Pine School parents.
Visit the event's page to learn more and register online.
Learning Through Service has become such an important part of The Pine School’s overall approach, that dedicated off-campus time has been regularly figured in - allowing our students to experience how rewarding good citizenship really is, while also making a positive impact in our community.
With this in mind, our Senior and Freshman Classes committed to a morning of off-campus service today at the Hobe Sound Early Learning Center and The Treasure Coast Food Bank, respectively. Freshmen helped sort and stock a wide selection of donated good at the Food Bank, which distributes food to those in need all over the Treasure Coast. Seniors helped with painting and gardening, but also managed to squeeze in some time with the kids.
Additionally, our newly formed Middle School Service Club also got into the action - earning their own opportunity to volunteer at the Food Bank.
All of these service opportunities have been arranged through the School's on-going working relationship with The United Way of Martin County.
Upcoming projects include The Pine School’s annual food and toy drives for the holidays. Additionally, the Junior and Senior Classes already have their own mornings of off-campus service scheduled.
“There is nothing quite as awesome as seeing our students totally engaged in this sort of work - especially when it is making such a positive impact in our community,” shared Director of Communications Robert Ankrom, who works to coordinate volunteer opportunities for The Pine School. Ankrom also serves as a Board Member with The United Way's Leaders United - a service-focused group of likeminded professionals.
The Pine School’s science department is always alive with lots of exciting undertakings, but a recent wave of special projects have truly showcased the unique ways our students are benefitting from these dynamic approaches.
Gela Kovalsky and Dr. Curtis Musser took their 25 Environmental Science students to participate in the "A Day in the Life of the Indian River Lagoon" project. Students from 36 different schools along a 156 Mile stretch simultaneously collected biological, chemical and physical data of the aquatic ecosystem at the Hobe Sound Nature Center. The project aims to collect sufficient data to report on the "health" of the lagoon, so that this information can serve as a database for future academic studies and allow decision makers and other groups to make the best choices for our environment.
“This was a great opportunity for our students to be part of something bigger. Being able to collect the data ourselves and see the results first hand is not only a teaching opportunity but a life experience,” shared Kovalsky.
Students in Karlheinz Haas' STEM course are making great progress in coding their TI-Rovers to complete all kinds of complex tasks. Students wrote code that made the Rover follow a series of directional moves - even using range finders to prevent the Rover from bumping into obstacles.
“Talk about learning math with a different spin. I challenged them to write code that makes the Rover draw geometric shapes based only on input of a number of sides, with one student pushing the envelope and programming the Rover to draw a 40-sided regular polygon,” shared Haas.
Even our younger Knights are getting into the spirit. Kristin Davis recently led her 3rd Graders through an activity to introduce the design process. Focusing on how to keep water cool in an insulated cup for as long as possible, students worked in small collaborative groups to build & test prototypes - with plenty of time to reflect on the process.
The Pine School, of course, is no stranger to breaking the mold on usual science approaches. The School’s InvenTeam was the only school in Florida to receive a grant from the prestigious MIT-Lemelson Foundation for the invention of their Indian River Lagoon water-monitoring system. The group was invited to share their findings at EurekaFest in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Pine School, as it does each year, coordinated a wide range of special programs and activities to recognize National Arts In Education Week.
“We are very proud of our many Arts offerings, but this week presents a special opportunity to really showcase our unique approaches while also exposing our younger students to the work being created by our Upper School artists,” shared Fine Arts Chair Steve Naumann.
Lower School students visited both the fine art and ceramics studio, while also getting the chance to try their hand at conducting the Middle School band.
Additionally, Senior Jacqueline Rouse, Sophomore Caroline Rouse, & Freshman Lily Cave (along with instructors from the FL Dance Company) presented a special History of Dance program for Grades 5-12. In addition to sharing a range of ballet, Irish step & modern examples, students were invited to try out a few hip-hop steps. These three talented young women have also been sharing their passion for dance with some of our younger Knights as part of Pine’s Beyond The Bell offerings.
On the music front, The Pine School’s steel pan class continued their efforts in learning the history, theory & technique of playing the pans. The "Knights of Steel" ensemble is one of our most popular performers at area musical showcases.
Not to be outdone, Lower School music teacher Megan Raedy used the week to take a different perspective when working with her Lower School Choirs - helping to foster a lifelong love & appreciation of music, Raedy helps students gain ownership of their music & their voice by enjoying what they do.
“Directing and teaching young choirs is all about fun! Step into our rehearsals and you will see us shaking and stretching our bodies, working on breathing exercises, singing funny warm-up songs, and preparing for upcoming performances,” shared Raedy.
Finally, Middle School art teacher Brain Hayden had his 4th Grade art students work on proper proportions of the human face - including determining light source and where the light changes to shadow, with a goal to make a flat drawing appear to have form.
“Students are usually reluctant at first to use a high level of contrast when shading a face, but in time they begin to see how contrast can assist them in creating a face that appears to be more 3-dimensional,” shared Hayden.
The Pine School’s commitment to inspiring our students to explore their artistic passions is certainly alive and well.
The start of each school year at The Pine School includes dedicated time for Grades 5-12 to participate in specially-designed, individual class retreats - a perfect time to bond and set goals for the year. From local community service projects to challenging ropes course, our students & faculty love this special time to connect. After all, The Pine School is all about relationship-based education.
"Individual class retreats are a key part of what makes The Pine School's start of the year so unique," shared Dean of Students Ariel Chimelis. "In addition to team-building activities, these retreats are a real investment in the successful year we know our students will have."
Middle School Grades (5th-8th) share dedicated time together and individually with their Advisory groups - each year focusing on a theme that is unique to them in connecting and strengthening their special Middle School years.
This year’s theme, “Reach”, presented a collaborative opportunity for students to explore what the theme means to them and how they will incorporate it as a measuring stick for the sort of school-year they will have. Activities surrounding this exercise included presenting skits and songs created together and then shared with the entire group. Middle School also enjoyed an anti-bullying presentation and a team-building relay obstacle course.
“This is a great opportunity for Advisee groups to get to know each other and the school better through the lens of our theme,” shared Middle School Coordinator Sarah Visagie. “The goal is that by the end of the day, every student feels a part of the fabric of the Pine School community.”
High School Grades also enjoyed a range of bonding activities - including time off-campus together. Seniors traveled to Lake Wales for an overnight camp stay that included rope courses and a range of team-building and goal-setting opportunities. Likewise 11th & 10th Grade each participated in both fun and meaningful time together - ranging from Escape Room & Flying Panda destinations along with dedicated community service elements. The popular “No Such Night” tradition brought together the 9th Grade class as they experienced an on-campus “lock-in” as well as time together at Hobe Sound Beach.
"The retreats encourage us, in a really fun way, to use our minds and build camaraderie," shared Sophomore Jill Salach. "They are a fantastic way to begin the year!"
Ten Pine School faculty members (including new Head of School Binney Caffrey) Have spent a week benefiting from the ground-breaking research and programming of Project Zero at Harvard’s School Of Education. To date, through a generous anonymous gift, the School has sent a total of 50 faculty members.
“Project Zero and the Teaching For Understanding approach is a primary initiative at the School,” shared assistant Head of School Nathan Washer. “Time has been allocated to sharing best practices and ideas during all of our professional development sessions.”
Celebrating 50 years, Project Zero remains an intellectual wellspring, encouraging inquiry into the complexity of intelligence, understanding, thinking and creativity as well as cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural thinking. Project Zero is about preparing learners for the world that they will live, work and develop in.
“It was amazing to share the week at Project Zero Classroom with so many of my Pine School colleagues,” added Caffrey. “We are all coming home with a deeper appreciation for how we can shape student thinking in the classroom and thus deepen understanding. I look forward to seeing more positive outcomes for Pine's students as we continue to integrate our professional learning from Project Zero.”
For the third consecutive summer, Pine students and faculty have dedicated impressive and important time during their summer vacations to giving back - both here on the Treasure Coast and abroad.
“There is an absolutely inspiring cultural commitment to service within our School community,” reflected Director of Communication Robert Ankrom, who has served as a coordinator of both student & faculty volunteerism. “It is especially impressive to see this spirit continuing throughout the summer.”
Ranging from work with local environmental and education non-profits to assisting schools as far away as South Africa, efforts of students have been showcased through the #PineSummerOfService initiative.
In an effort to kickstart the new school year, special service projects have been coordinated for faculty during their pre-planning sessions and for students during dedicated half-day time commitments in the fall.
The Pine School added another unique travel opportunity to its summer line-up as a group of students explored Peru.
“The trip definitely ignited an excitement to further explore the history of the brilliant Incan people,” shared World Language Department Chair Kelly Kelly, “There is so much value to experience travel.”
The journey began in the capital city of Lima and continued on to explore the beautiful country that is home to a section of Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. In addition, the group spent time in the region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and colonial city of Cusco. Additionally, they learned first-hand about the artisan culture of weaving the beautiful textiles that blanketed every village market. They also took in an unique workshop by renowned Peruvian ceramic artist Pablo Seminario and sampled authentic cuisines such as alpaca, guinea pig, and ceviche.
“The trip provided such a great opportunity to expose us to other cultures,” shared rising Junior Aliya French. “It was such an amazing experience.”
Class of 2018 graduate Garrett Barber has been named USA Today’s ALL-USA Boys Golfer of the Year.
“This is an amazing achievement for Garrett and couldn’t have happened to a more deserving kid,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
Garrett’s stellar career as a Pine School Knight included bringing home the Class A1 State Championship as well as winning the prestigious Jones Cup and playing in both the Junior Presidents Cup and the United States Amateur.
Garrett will play golf for LSU in the fall.
French teacher Maryse Peressin-Hay led a group of students and parents through an exploration of French culture as they visited Quebec City & Montreal.
Among the many unique experiences were opportunities to participate in whale watching in Tadoussac, indulge in a traditional Sugar Shack excursion, take in historic Plains of Abraham Battlefield reenactments as well as encounters with French Quebecois and Hurons First Nations.
“ Our students were able to understand why people are deeply connected and attached to their linguistic and cultural roots.,” shared Peressin-Hay. “Additionally, aeveryone had many opportunities to try their French in stores and restaurants and declared victory when they understood answers to their questions!”
The trip also coincided with the G7, with students observing a peaceful demonstration in Quebec City, which gave an opportunity for discussions about world politics.
“My favorite moment was seeing the sights around Quebec City and and seeing the lovely Tadoussac at night for dinner and a sunset hike,” shared rising sophomore Audrey Facka.
Peressin-Hay hopes to make the trip a regular opportunity for her French students and others who are interested in expanding their cultural perspectives.
The Pine School wrapped up its end-of-the-year award ceremonies with the prestigious Evening of Academic Excellence - a formal opportunity to recognize the exceptional efforts of students across the wide range of specific academic disciplines as well as over-arching contributions to the School community.
“This evening is all about acknowledging excellence,” summed up Academic Dean Sean Carlson. “Our students have demonstrated work ethic and dedication exemplifying academic distinction.”
The following awards were announced:
The Potsdam Award
Head of School Award
Lifer Award - Melissa Coolidge, Colby Mortell, Claire Pittman, Christopher Textor, & Alex Wood
Service & Spirit Award
Pine Scholarship - John Sexton & Hannah Squier
Patriot Scholar - Rihanna Koebe
The Cole Walker Posey Scholarship - Jet Jones
Academic Achievement Awards
12th Grade - Sophia Siegel
11th Grade - Noah Kalter
10th Grade - Maddy McDonald
9th Grade - Savannah Stranigan
Community Achievement Awards
12th Grade - Ali McLimond
11th Grade - Macy Washer
10th Grade - Lindsey Bruns
9th Grade - Trent Long
Brown University - Nicole Malecka
Dartmouth College - Grace Wilson
Sewanee University - Dylan Gordon
Johns Hopkins University - Noah Kalter
Penn - Gabe Tettamanti
Harvard University - Olivia Siegel
Rollins College - Aaron Chimelis
Boston College - Anna McGovern
George Washington University - Hayley Starr
Hugh Willoughby Award - Claire Barber
12th Grade - Savannah Stranigan
11th Grade - Zachary Ehrlich
10th Grade - Gabriel Tettamanti
9th Grade - Christopher Textor
Pat Stuart Award – Maddi Minelli
12th Grade - Sophia Siegel
11th Grade - Anna McGovern
10th Grade - Aliya French
9th Grade - Trent Long
Euler’s Award - Lauren DiMare
12th Grade - Kylin Cao
11th Grade - Grace Wilson
10th Grade - Maddy McDonald
9th Grade - Sam Levine
Jonas Salk Award - George Ma
12th Grade - CJ Walsh
11th Grade - Aaron Chimelis
10th Grade - Lucas Pereira
9th Grade - Faith Hill
Jose Marti Award - Samar Ahmed
12th Grade - Drew Aaron
11th Grade - Noah Kalter
10th Grade - Christian Hyland
9th Grade - Rachel Goldman
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Award - Caroline Rouse
12th Grade - Michael Wiedner
11th Grade - Jue Wen
9th Grade - Jill Salach
Head Prefects for the 2018-19 School Year
Head Boy: Aaron Chimelis
Head Girl: Macy Washer
Ambassador Prefect: Gabriel Tettamanti
Outreach Prefect: Olivia Siegel
Student Life Prefect: Jue Wen
Environmental Prefect: Naia Mader
Communications Prefect: Hayley Starr
U-Knight Prefect: Anna McGovern
Athletic Leadership Prefect: Grace Wilson
Fine Arts Prefect: Noah Kalter
Deputy Prefects for the 2018-19 School Year
Ambassador Deputy Prefect: Sophia Rabiei
Outreach Deputy Prefect: Maddy McDonald
Student Life Deputy Prefect: Addison Textor
Environmental Deputy Prefect: Maria DiEgidio
Communications Deputy Prefect: Aliya French
U-Knight Deputy Prefect: William Baratta
Athletic Leadership Deputy Prefect: Lindsey Bruns
Fine Arts Deputy Prefect: Allison Sanchez
The Pine School Fine Arts Department hosted the first Arts Banquet - a formal opportunity to recognize the outstanding achievements of our many talented student-artists. Ranging through the areas of music, performance, fine art & photography, the impressive accolades and honors our student-artists have earned on the national and local level were also showcased.
“Our students have spent countless hours working, preparing, and practicing to be stronger performing and visual artists,” shared Fine Arts Department Head Steve Naumann. “Given their commitment, it is truly an exceptional privilege to recognize their efforts.”
In addition to announcing awards, the evening included musical and dance performances as well as a special display of fine art pieces. The evening was closed with a special performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” featuring Band Director Dorothy Castle on flute and Freshman Solana Rudnitsky on vocals.
The following awards were announced:
Ernie and Helen Berlin Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts
John Philip Sousa Band Award
Louis Armstrong Jazz Award
Artistic Promise Award (selected by professional photographer Tom Winters)
Performing Arts Awards
Upper School Band Outstanding Performer Award - Christopher Textor
Jazz Band Outstanding Performer Award - Noah Kalter
"Knights of Steel" Outstanding Performer Award - Celia Walsh
Upper School Band Most Improved Award - Jack Squier
Jazz Band Most Improved Award - Celia Walsh
"Knights of Steel" Most Improved Award - Sophie Rabiei
12th Grade Instrumental Award - Jamie Gray
11th Grade Instrumental Award - Enzo Giordano
10th Grade Instrumental Award - Lucas Pereira
9th Grade Instrumental Award - Angela Charles
High School Drama Award - Chloe Janson
IRSC 4-County Honor Band
Evan Shute, Noah Kalter, and Jack Squier
The Florida Bandmasters Association Excellent Rating
Ft. Pierce Jazz and Blues Society Scholarship
Fine Arts Awards
Scholastic Art National Gold Key Award
Scholastic Art and Writing Award Participants
Ryan Ehrlich, Teagan Habicht, Alison McClimond, Sophia Rabiei, Jacqueline Rouse, Allison Sanchez, Olivia Siegel, Emily Smith, Robert Upton, and Macy Washer
Marvin S. Cone High School Juried Art Show Awards
1st Place Photography - Allison Sanchez
3rd Place Photography - Ryan Ehrlich
Pine School Purchase Award - Jacqueline Rouse
Honorable Mentions - Jacqueline Rouse and Maddy McDonald
Drexel University High School Photography Contest
Jacqueline Rouse and Macy Washer
12th Grade Visual Art Award - Kassi Teklinski
11th Grade Visual Art Award - Jacqueline Rouse
10th Grade Visual Art Award - Allison Sanchez
9th Grade Visual Art Award - Caroline Rouse
Crossover Award - Ryan Ehrlich
Digital Art Award - Nia Einhoff
Publication Award - Melissa Coolidge
The Pine School swept the Golf category of the TC Palm Student-Athletes of the Year Honors.
Senior Garrett Barber was named All-Area Boys Golfer of the Year and 8th Grader Andie Smith was named All-Area Girls Golfer of the Year.
Barber has won a top amateur tournament (Jones Cup), a top junior event (Rolex Tournament of Champions), a State High School Championship Title, was a member of the winning U.S. team in last year’s Junior Presidents Cup, and has just won the U.S. Four-Ball Amateur Championship at Jupiter Hills Club. Barber will play golf at LSU in the fall.
Smith was the District 19-1A medalist with a 1-under-par 71, shot even-par 72 at Regionals to help Pine School’s first girls team advance to the State Championship and had the lowest 1A score among the 12 Middle-Schoolers in the 93-player field.
“There is no doubt about these two being exceptional athletes with very bright futures, but they are also excellent students and, even with all of their successes, have remained grounded with the modesty and sportsmanship that Pine School athletics is known for,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
Middle School held their annual end-of-the-year Honor Assembly to recognize the exceptional achievements of students in a range of disciplines.
“Honor, integrity, accountability, and the encouragement to achieve one’s personal best are all important aspects of our everyday activities at The Pine School,” shared Middle School Coordinator Sarah Visagie. “This assembly is all about celebrating those who made the best use of this opportunity.”
Head Of School Award
Academic Maturity - Andie Smith
Arthur A Smith Spiritual Award - Celia Wilson
Athletic Maturity - Michael Di Egidio
Jeff Bruner Athletic Award
Dale Hudson Service Award
Ashley Carroll Writing Award
Exceptional Student Award
6th - Melanie McDonald
7th - Lily Parr
5th Grade Spirit Of Learning Award
5th - Kinslee Ewing
6th - Aubrey Williams
7th - RJ Lichten
8th - Michael Di Egidio
5th - Madi Cochran
6th - Sydney Hoye
7th - Jennifer Roberts
5th - Brody Metzger
6th - Amelie Galbraith
7th - Brennan Troupe
8th - Simon Ross
5th - Sydney Schiff
6th - Adelaide McKeon
7th - Sandy Hardin
8th - Kiele Mader
5th - Simon Kovalsky
6th - Brooke De George
7th - Kate Parr
8th - Riley Van Suetendael
5th - Isabela Adler
6th - Ava Schulties
7th - Dylan Markulics
8th - Michael Boyd
5th - Gabby Benedetti
6th - Bella Krastel
7th - Fiona Ankrom
8th - Cat Villano
5th - Morgan Huyser
6th - Jack Meads
7th - Daniel Aton
Most Improved - Ava Merckle
5th Director’s Award - Madeline McElroy
6th Director’s Award - Adelaide McKeon
7th Director’s Award - Jack Vrana
8th Director’s Award - Hannah Squier
5th/6th Outsanding Performance - Shelby Carlstrom
7th/8th Outstanding Performance - Andie Smith
5th/6th Most Improved - Lili Krastel
7th/8th Most Improved - Michael Di Egidio
5th - Christina Shute & Reagan Fowle
6th - Campbell McCarthy & Harbour Dollinger
7th - Fiona Ankrom & Aidan Skelly
8th - Kendall Eaker & Jake Schoonmaker
5th - Gabby Benedetti & Jace Jodzio
6th - Reese Habicht & JD Long
7th - Allie Smith & Marco Pereira
8th - Lily Cave & Reece Slater
5th - Alice Villalba & Kyle Dixon
6th - Gwendolyn Morris & Grant Torchia
7th - Sandy Hardin & Shiv Patel
8th - Lauren Lurgio & Collin Fowle
Safety Patrol Award
Kyle Dixon & Lili Krastel
The Pine School's 19th Annual Booster Club Golf Tournament was a huge success. Fifty players - which included parents, students, Alumni & friends - enjoyed a great day of golf and sunshine at the Hobe Sound Golf Club, all to raise funds for the Booster Club.
"After the rain we experienced last year, it was great to have a strong turnout and a fun day of golf," shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. "Knowing that all of this fun supported our amazing Booster Club was just icing on the cake."
A special thank you goes out to the event Sponsors: Water Pointe Realty, Downey McElroy, P.A., The Cummings Family, Florida Living Realty, and The Sofarelli Family as well as the many event volunteers - including the Tournament Planning Committee: Tami Skelly, Lisa Afshar, Marcy Isdaner, and Molly Markulics.
The Pine School fared extremely well at the prestigious Marvin S. Cone High School Juried Art Show hosted by The Arts Council of Martin County.
Nine students were selected to be included in this annual exhibition featuring works of student artists from all five Martin County high schools. This exhibit has been a local tradition since 1987.
“This show really represents the finest student artists in the area,” shared Fine Arts Department Chair Steve Naumann, himself a participant as a high schooler in the show. “The competition is fierce and to even be selected to participate is a great honor.”
In the Photography category, Sophomore Allison Sanchez walked away with 1st Place, while Junior Ryan Ehrlich earned 3rd Place. Special Honorable Mentions went to Junior Jacqueline Rouse and Sophomore Maddy McDonald. Additionally Jacqueline Rouse’s piece was selected by Head of School Binney Caffrey as the 2018 Pine School Purchase Award and will now hang permanently on campus.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our artists,” summed up art & photography teacher Maria Miele. “Experiencing being part of such a high-caliber show like this is an opportunity that really encourages students while also highlighting the importance of supporting the arts.”
We love our Seniors!
The entire School community (plus parents & guests) gathered for the annual College Pep Rally - celebrating the impressive range of higher education the Class of 2018 have committed to.
Greeted by their 6th Grade buddies (who were decked out in personally designed t-shirts), the Seniors received all the glowing praise they deserve for being such an exceptional group.
"We want to thank everyone for all of their support - especially our teachers and parents. We couldn't have made it without you," shared Prefect Head Boy Christopher Textor.
The special gathering was followed up with each member of the Class signing the 2018 banner and a delicious cupcake reception.
"Our Recycled Runway is the perfect combination of Art & Environmental Awareness," shared art teacher Maria Miele.
The annual event, in honor of Earth Day showcased fashion creations designed & modeled by students.
“A lot of hard work went into the pieces we created, but it was worth the time,” shared freshman Caroline Rouse.
As has become the tradition, the entire student body lined the catwalk and cheered on the fabulous outfits and accessories.
This year’s event even picked up great local press coverage - including the front page of the Stuart News.
The Pine School celebrated and honored the achievements of our many talented student-athletes at the annual Athletic Banquet. This formal affair presented the opportunity to showcase each of the School’s Varsity teams, Athletes of the Month for the entire 17-18 year, & student commitments to multiple sports.
Highlights included Senior Garrett Barber’s Golf State Championship and Coach Beth Lettengarver’s third straight Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year. Additionally, time was dedicated to our four Athletic Collegiate signings (Garrett Barber to Louisiana State University for Golf, JJ LaCorte & Christopher Textor to Wesleyan University for Soccer, and Zach Scott to Lasell College for Basketball).
"Competitive Athletics and strong sportsmanship are key elements of The Pine School's approach," shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. "As such, an evening like this rightfully honors the dedication and long hours our student-athletes put into the pursuit of reaching their full potential - sometimes in multiple sports. Their commitment is infectious and I am proud to be associated with a program that holds these values in such high regard."
Grade level and Senior Scholarship Awards included:
9th Grade Male: Tyler Markulics
9th Grade Female: Acklen Howell
9th Grade Sportsmanship: Dylan Tuchon
10th Grade Male: Will Baratta
10th Grade Female: Hallie Isdaner
10th Grade Sportsmanship: Maria Di Egidio
11th Grade Male: Noah Kalter
11th Grade Female: Grace Wilson
11th Grade Sportsmanship: Aaron Chimelis
12th Grade Male: Christopher Textor
12th Grade Female: Claire Barber
12th Grade Sportsmanship: Melissa Coolidge
Knights Booster Club $1,000 college Expenses Scholarship Awards for graduating Seniors:
The Pine School proudly welcomed seventeen new members into the School’s chapter of the National Honor Society. An induction ceremony was held today during community meeting.
The National Honor Society (NHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding high school students. NHS serves to recognize those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, service, leadership, and character.
The Pine School became a charter member of NHS in 2009. With a goal to recognize students who excel, candidacy begins by meeting the scholarship criterion of a cumulative GPA of 3.5 in core subjects. Each candidate then submits candidate information/essay form to the Faculty Council with additional evaluative information from the entire faculty used to assist in the final selection process.
Newly inducted members (spring 2018) include:
Class of 2018: Georgia Cardoso, Amanda Silva
Class of 2019: Riley Davis, Hayley Starr, Patricia Ramsay, Gabriel Tettamanti
Class of 2020: William Baratta, Maria DiEgidio, Zachary Ehrlich, Aliya French, Hallie Isdaner, Jet Jones, Maddy McDonald, Troy Meira, Lucas Pereira, Ryan Renz, Addi Textor
“It has been an honor and delight working with these students to promote the academic focus via our year long peer tutor program and other leadership events,” shared NHS Advisor and history teacher Kathy Moorman.
The Pine School celebrated the talents of students in 9th-12th Grade with the annual Evening of the Arts held at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Stuart. The evening was filled with a diverse range of vocal, instrumental & dance, all with one thing in common - a passion for performing.
“This evening is always so special,” shared Fine Arts Chair Steve Naumann. “It truly is amazing to see the exceptional talent of our students and I love that The Pine School dedicates an event to showcase their dedication and hard work.”
In addition to providing the audience with excellent entertainment, the evening provided an opportunity to also especially salute those performers from the Class of 2018.
Pine School Seniors Faiza (Samar) Ahmed (’18) & Alex Wood (’18) were both awarded the Congressional Award Gold Medal at a ceremony for Florida’s 18th Congressional District - attended by U.S. Representative (FL-18) Brian Mast & Head of School Binney Caffrey.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. Students may register when they turn 13 1/2 years old and must complete their activities by their 24th birthday.
Participation involves setting goals in four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.
Conner MacDonald (’21) was also awarded the Congressional Bronze Medal.
One of The Pine School's most unique & popular traditions is Off-Campus Education Week. Grades 5-12 each travel to unique destinations that cover a range of exciting experiences and opportunities.
With Grades 5-8 taking on a range of outside activities and team-building rope courses, Grades 9-12 branch out to everything from Freshmen learning about environmental awareness in the Everglades and FL Keys, Sophomores touring a range of colleges in the DC area, and the Juniors backpacking through the boroughs of NY as part of an outward bound adventure.
The New York City trip provided knowledge and understanding of many cultures that were strengthened immensely through the activities and experiences we shared together as classmates,” shared Junior Hayley Starr.
“Because of this trip, I learned that any little way to help prevent pollution has an enormous effect in helping the lives of ourselves and marine life,” shared Freshman Angela Charles.
The special Senior even trip included time to explore the National Whitewater Center in NC where the US Olympic kayak team trains as well as an Escape Room challenge, community service, and taking in a Charlotte Hornets basketball game.
In fact, each of the high school trips fold in some element of service.
"Though our Off-Campus Education Week trips cover a wide range of destinations and activities, in the end, these unique opportunities are about celebrating the flexibility that independent schools have to explore experiences outside of the classroom, while also forging positive school-community connections between our students and faculty,” summed up Tamara Litterick - Math Dept Chair and Off-Campus Trips Coordinator.
4th Graders Joey Falcone, Audrey Gordon, & Pippa Hilton-Green had the opportunity to visit Tallahassee to see their selected artwork on display in Representative MaryLynn Magar's office (82nd District).
Representative Magar held a small reception for the students in her office and they were all welcomed and recognized during the live session. The students were joined by families members, including Audrey’s 2nd Grade sister Olivia.
Artwork by 11th Grader Erica Forster and 10th Grader Allison Sanchez is also being displayed.
"I am not only honored that our students were able to display their artwork at our state capital, but I am also very excited that they got to visit the artwork and be recognized in front of our state officials," shared K-8th Grade art teacher Brian Hayden.
Nathaniel Osborn and Sean Carlson and their American Government classes students spent a morning observing criminal proceedings at the Martin County Courthouse. Judge Steele gave students a tour of the courthouse and reviewed roles played by court officials.
"Sitting in on a trial - with real a real judge, public defense attorney, prosecutor, and bailiff brought physical reality to what we had been studying in class. And, for me, it was even more meaningful because I am interested in a law career,” shared Senior Maddy Minelli.
That was followed by time spent observing proceedings of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners. Pine School Junior Riley Davis spoke to the Board and thanked them for the warm welcome. Additionally, students met with librarians at the Blake Library & discussed the resources available as they work on upcoming research projects.
"Observing the inner workings of local government and the judiciary offers our students a powerful learning opportunity," said Osborn.
The Pine School has joined schools throughout the country in observing Bully Prevention Week.
"It is important to empower students to stand against bullying, to realize they can make a difference by promoting kindness and tolerance,” shared School Counselor Heidi Kaye.
The week has included opportunities for students to sign and make an Anti-Bully Pledge as well as to discuss in Advisory small groups related issues. Students wore pink shirts to participate in Pink Shirt Day to stand in solidarity of this awareness campaign.
Additionally, Freshman Abbie Elkan, who is originally from Parkland and knew several of the students lost in the recent tragedy there, spoke to the student body on the importance of making connections.
“Creating caring connections among our school community fosters an optimal learning environment," summed up Kaye.
The Pine School Performing Arts Department presented the comedy-musical The Addams Family at the Els Center of Excellence over the weekend.
Featuring a cast and crew that ranged from Grades 5 through 12, the ensemble demonstrated the spirit of teamwork in preparing all aspects of the production and turned in a performance that all would agree was truly excellent.
The Addams Family was simply incredible,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey. “Our students, both on and off the stage, should be so proud of all they did to make the performance so special.”.
“As a school, we pride ourselves on letting each of our students have the opportunity to try new things” shared Academic Dean Sean Carlson, who also directed the production. “This year's cast was full of novice performers, many of whom had never been in a show before, yet that didn't stop them from rising to the occasion.”
The cast put in long hours during rehearsals at a variety of spots on campus before moving to the El Center for a few technical run-throughs before opening night.
“Each year, being part of the musical is something I greatly look forward to,” shared Senior Chloe Janson who starred as Morticia. “It is such a great way for students with similar interests to connect who might not otherwise.”
The production took a small army of folks to make the many logistics and specifics come together. In addition to a team of parents & faculty that helped with make-up, music teachers Dorothy Castle and John Barnes (costumes and lights & sound respectively) led the charge in making sure all aspects of the production were first-rate.
“Each year, it makes me so proud to see our seasoned performers grow in their craft and leadership, but also to see those students who want to try something a bit out of their comfort zone find new self-confidence,” summed up Carlson.
The Pine School celebrated Women & Girls In Sports Day with a special assembly featuring an address by Director of Admission Beth Lettengarver.
Lettengarver is a former professional skater with Disney On Ice and has been named the TC Palm XC Coach of the Year three times in a row.
“I was so proud to have been asked to speak to the Pine School girls who inspire me everyday,” shared Lettengarver.
Girls then had a chance to test their skills during a range of Varsity sport drills - led by members of those teams.
“The Pine School prides itself in providing a supportive environment allowing our students the opportunity to try something they never had before - maybe even sparking a new interest that will stay with them long-term,” summed up Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. “Dedicated time like today truly meets that goal and plays an important role in fostering a real focus on athletics and physical well-being.”
The Pine School’s InvenTeam continues their streak of successes with two recent high-profile accolades.
On Wednesday evening the team received the "Innovator" award at the 2018 Martin County Environmental Stewardship Awards banquet.
The following day several members of the team presented a poster at the 2018 Indian River Lagoon Symposium at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. They were the only high schoolers asked to present at this significant academic conference.
"It was really rewarding to be recognized by the community for our efforts,” shared Senior and team-member Sophia Siegel. “I think the passion our team feels about the environment was clearly demonstrated."
Additionally, InvenTeam advisers Karlheinz Haas and Nathaniel Osborn presented a brief paper entitled "The IRL as a Vehicle to Integrate STEM and the Humanities in Secondary Education" to the conference's 350 scientists and graduate students.
“It was a great experience to explain our invention and receive such educated feedback on our device as well as to speaking with and learning from some of the greatest environmental researchers in our area," shared Haas.
"The InvenTeam's water quality device project is precisely the sort of interdisciplinary experience that is uniquely possible in an independent school," added Osborn, who was also nominated for the "River Advocate" category at the Stewardship Awards. "Integrating my background as an historian with Mr. Haas's expertise as a scientist has been richly rewarding."
The Pine School’s InvenTeam was the only student group in Florida selected to receive a prestigious grant from the MIT-Lemelson Foundation to create a water monitoring system to document water quality in the Indian River Lagoon. The group was also invited to present at EurekaFest held at MIT last summer.
Dear Parents and Students,
I hope this note finds you well and still enjoying a bit of the rejuvenation that always comes with the new year. As we look ahead to our February long weekend and March off-campus education & Spring Break weeks, we are sure to have some idle time on our hands! One of my great pastimes I am eager to share with our School community is my passion for reading. So often I crave a little down time to immerse myself in a book so I can learn something new or be transported to another time or life. Not only is reading fun, but it is also really good for you. Educationally speaking, there is little debate that time spent reading for pleasure is closely correlated to, and even predictive of, many metrics of academic success.
To share the joy of reading, let’s show each other what we’ve stacked up to read over the next few months. Please take a look at what’s filling my bedside table and school bag in this photo. Whether you are a student or parent, I hope you see a few good recommendations from me; I anticipate great suggestions from you! I challenge each of you to send in pictures of your stacks and, better yet, pictures of you reading over our upcoming breaks. What and where will we read? I can’t wait to find out! You can email your photos to Director of Communication Robert Ankrom (firstname.lastname@example.org) so he can share to social media. #PineSchoolReads
To the adults, a huge part of raising and teaching children is modeling behavior we want to see. Let’s make sure we are reading, especially with our children and to our children, whenever we can. I would like us all to commit to reading one book together this spring. My colleagues and I, along with Parents’ Association leadership, have selected Carol Dweck’s Mindset for our first community read. Please read or listen to it by April 6th, the day we will have our Lower School reading celebration. We will organize discussion times after that date so we can reflect on Mindset and the takeaways relevant to us as we partner to educate Pine’s students.
Binney Caffrey, Head of School
Pine School students performed solos at the District's MPAs (Music Performance Assessment) - with all receiving the top two ratings of Excellent and Superior. Congratulations to: Michael Boyd, Lily Cave, Ryan Coolidge, Michael DiEgidio, Noah Kalter, Grace Kennedy, Andie Smith, Hannah Squier, Cat Villano, and Jack Vrana.
This assessment, which is open to all schools in the district, attracts hundreds of students. Students play their chosen music in front of a judge who assess them using a performance rubric.
“Attending events such as this helps students improve on their musicality as individuals,” shared band director Dorothy Castle. “Their hard work and dedication shined as they represented The Pine School beautifully.”
The Pine School once again swept up at the Regional Scholastic Art Awards!
Four Gold Key Awards, the highest honor, were bestowed. Sophomore Allison Sanchez walked away with 3 (a Pine School first!) while Junior Olivia Siegel earned 1. Their pieces will now be judged at the National level.
Seniors Ali McClimond & Emily Smith - Juniors Ryan Ehrlich, Jacqueline Rouse, Alyssa Schoettle, & Macy Washer - Sophomores Maddy McDonald & Robert Upton and Freshman Teagan Habicht earned a range of Silver Key Awards and Honorable Mention nods.
The opening reception for the exhibit will be February 24th at The Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach and the show will continue through March 9th.
“I'm so very proud and excited about the results,” shared art teacher Maria Miele. “This is a great opportunity for our students to see their work in a beautiful gallery setting and hear from art experts in our region about why their work is worthy for such attention and accolades.”
The Pine School has a long-standing tradition of graduates benefiting from the expertise and personalized approach of College Counselor Janet Pacifico. 100% of all graduates have been accepted to some of the country’s finest colleges and universities - with an impressive 93% attending their first-choice schools.
As a salute to the talents and hard work of our seniors, we plan to share news as these students make the big decision of committing to schools.
“The class of 2018 was the first class to have all students complete their top choice applications by November 15th,” shared Pacifico. “They were focused and targeted in their choices and are reaping the benefits of early acceptances.”
Claire Barber - Colorado College. Claire has served as the Head Girl Prefect her Senior year. As strong of an athlete as a scholar, Claire was the Cross Country Captain where she became District Champion and qualified for States. She also qualified for States in Track and played Varsity Soccer and Lacrosse.
Melissa Coolidge - University of Colorado-Boulder. Melissa serves as the student face of the Admission Office as the Ambassador Prefect. Additionally, she has played on virtually every Varsity team offered including Volleyball, Cheer, Cross Country, Soccer, Lacrosse, & Track.
Lauren DiMare - Boston University. A stellar student, Lauren has earned an exceptional reputation with her teachers. She is also a member of the U-Knight Prefect Committee.
JJ. LaCorte - Wesleyan University. A true athletic leader, J.J. has served as the Athletic Prefect his Senior year and is the Varsity Soccer Captain. He also has been heavily involved in student life and has participated in the School musical.
Ali McClimond - Savannah College of Ast and Design. There isn’t much that Ali hasn’t done as a Pine School Knight. In addition to serving as the Communication Prefect, Ali graduated the Martin Youth Leadership Program, has been honored with Scholastic Art Awards, and was part of the MIT InvenTeam. Ali also was a member of both the Cross Country and Cheerleading Varsity teams.
Colby Mortell - Texas Christian University. Colby is a Pine School Lifer and is spending his Senior year serving as Head Student Life Prefect. He has also been a member of the Lacrosse and Soccer Varsity teams and was a Rotary Youth Leadership Junior staff member.
Kassie Teklinski - Lynn University. Kassie has participated in the arts in both the drama club and the Arts Prefect Committee. She also finds time to help with the Outreach Prefect Committee and has played Varsity Tennis.
Christopher Textor - Wesleyan University. This Lifer truly defines the balance between excelling in academics, athletics and arts. In addition to serving as the Head Boy Prefect, Christopher is a Captain on both the Varsity Soccer and Cross Country teams, earning a State qualification in the later. On the art front, he was nominated for a mARTie award and played in the band, jazz ensemble, and Steel Pan. He was also a member of the MIT InvenTeam.
Bryn Vrana - University of Tampa. Bryn is a member of the Varsity Volleyball team, where she has served as a team leader. She has also been part of the Ambassador Prefect Committee.
We look forward to sharing more good news as students continue to make decisions.
The 11th annual 100 Years of Cars Show, aided by picture perfect weather, drew a record-breaking 1,400 visitors to The Pine School’s beautiful campus. Guests enjoyed a wide range of antique, classic, and cutting-edge cars and vehicles.
Highlights included a K-9 demonstration by the Martin County Sheriff Department, a kid’s section that included bounce-houses and a car to paint. Over $41,000 was raised in support of The Pine School’s Patriot Scholarship - providing merit support to attend the School for children of active military and veterans.
“This is always such a positive event,” shared Director of Development Kelly Hilton-Green. “It is always made a rousing success with the support we receive - from our lead sponsor Waters Edge Dermatology to our small army of volunteers.”
TC Palm has recognized a large number of Pine School students for their exceptional efforts in a range of fall Varsity sports. This recognition includes all high schools from Vero Beach to Hobe Sound. Golfers Garrett Barber and Andie Smith were both selected as Player of the Year Finalists, while Cross Country Coach Beth Lettengarver was honored as Cross Country Coach of the Year for the third straight season.
“These honors are a real testament to how accomplished and dedicated our athletes and coaches are,” shared Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli.
Garrett Barber: Player of the Year Finalist for Boys Golf
Andie Smith: Player of the Year Finalist for Girls Golf
Zach Fineberg: 1st Team All-Area Selection for Boys Golf
Caroline Patterson: 1st Team All-Area Selection for Girls Golf
Jue Wen: 1st Team All-Area Selection for Girls Golf
Claire Barber: 1st Team All-Area for Girls Cross Country
Christopher Textor: Honorable Mention All-Area Selection for Boys Cross Country
Lucas Pereira: Honorable Mention All-Area Selection for Boys Cross Country
Acklen Howell: Honorable Mention All-Area Selection for Volleyball
Coach Lettengarver: Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year (for the third straight season)
Coach Fineberg: Girls Golf Coach of the Year
In keeping with the annual tradition of gathering prior to winter break to celebrate the coming holidays, The Pine School community held its Holiday Service - an opportunity for students, faculty and parents to reflect upon the spirit of the season.
The centerpiece of the service is the opening processional with each student delivering a donated toy for needy local children through local organizations United Way of Martin County’s White Doves and Natives Helping Natives.
“Year after year, The Pine School stands as a true educational leader in truly recognizing the meaning of this time of year in giving back to those that are less fortunate,” said Carol Hodnett, United Way’s VP of Community Impact.
The Service also includes holiday readings and a spirited all-School rendition of “The 12 Days Of Christmas”, with each Grade level taking one of the days - a tradition started by former Head Phyllis Parker, who was in attendance. The day’s festivities also included a Cookie Sale and Cookie Social hosted by the Parents Association.
“I’ve been swept up into the holiday season by this community,” shared Head of School Binney Caffrey in her address. “And why should I be surprised? After all, schools are indeed magical places; it turns out The Pine School really knows how to do the holiday magic.”
Finally, as a follow-up to the toy donations, the 5th Grade class traveled to the White Doves distribution center in Stuart to get a deeper understanding on the positive impact the School’s donations make. They toured the facility and had the opportunity to ask questions about the process.
“Their questions were so thoughtful and genuine,” reflected Hodnett.
All in all - definitely a perfect way to fully become present as we enter this special time of year.
The annual K-12 Winter Concert provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the talents of our students and was a huge success.
Under the direction of Music Directors John Barnes and Dorothy Castle, students Grades K-12 dazzled a packed house with a range of holiday numbers performed by the various ensembles that make up The Pine School's Performing Arts program.
From Chorus and Band to Recorders and Knights of Steel, the talent shone brightly.
"Students of all levels worked hard in band this year leading up to the show," shared Castle. "They have come a long way since August and we were excited to showcase that talent and dedication."
It is National Computer Science Education Week and Pine School students, along with tens of millions of students in over 180 countries, are participating in The Hour Of Code - a one-hour coding challenge at the centerpiece of this worldwide event.
Following the lead of Technology Director Paul Needham, various science and computer teachers in all Grades are working with students on a range of activities - from introducing basics & exploring virtual reality to coding challenges & creating their own games.
“This kind of dedicated time to these skills absolutely helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity,” shared Needham. “By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path."
The Pine School took the approach of exposing students to coding via gamification using guided lessons geared toward game, app, or logo creation. Students were also introduced to Virtual Reality simulations such as a "Space Walk" on the International Space Station or via exploratory expeditions to other states or countries. The basis of these VR experiences were tied back into coding and its role in the future of Virtual Reality simulations or technologies and their impact on our future.
The Pine School wishes you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
The genesis of this video started with Assistant Head of School Nathan Washer with his tradition of reading the poem "Best Thanksgiving" as we approached the holidays. The sentiment certainly speaks to our School-Community feel and we sincerely share it with all of you.
Among the many annual events The Pine School takes pride in featuring, our Veterans Day Assembly certainly is the most revered. Each November, the entire School community gathers to honor and pay tribute to those men and women who have served our country.
“The focus of this annual event is simple,” said Academic Dean and Assembly Coordinator Sean Carlson. “We gather to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their courage and dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices.”
This year’s Assembly included a moving address by our own Middle School Spanish teacher and Army Veteran Jaimal Page. Jaimal served 6 years in the U.S. Army under the military intelligence branch as a Signals Intelligence Analyst and both a Korean and Spanish linguist. He was originally stationed at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where he successfully completed the Korean basic course. While stationed at Ft. Lewis Army base in Washington state, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant under Alpha Company 125th Military Intelligence Battalion, which later became 184th Military Intelligence Company under the 25th Infantry Division. His job during this time concentrated on gathering real time information on enemy units via various Signals Intelligence resources. During his enlistment, he received 2 Army Achievement medals along with numerous awards for leadership and occupational excellence. He was honorably discharged after fulfilling his enlistment contract and used the G.I. Bill to help him complete his bachelors and masters degrees.
“Although my identity has changed from "Sarge" to "Señor" and my uniform has changed from green to blue and gold, I still proudly serve a role in achieving a much bigger goal I hold very dear,” shared Page. “To my students I say, be all you can be and the world will be a better place and thank you for it.”
Additionally, the program included performances by the Pine School band & choir and a Lower School musical tribute. Junior Gabriel Tettamanti also read the Presidential Proclamation and John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields” was read by members of the Class of 2023.
The event also provides a perfect opportunity to invite guests to join us for our fall Open House.
Science Knight has quickly become a much-anticipated new Pine School tradition.
Under the direction of Department Chair Tessie Kerslake, the evening allows family and friends as well as students of all grade levels to see Pine School science in action - while especially allowing younger students to get excited about the science they they will be participating in as they continue their scientific studies at The Pine School.
The projects displayed - presented by 5th and 6th Grade - showcased their learning about the scientific method and experimentation. Wandering “judges” circulated to ask questions and see results up close.
Some additional touches included 7th Grade students roaming around as the scientists they learned about while enhancing their research skills an interdisciplinary project that infused Science and English. Additionally, Middle School students shared the electronic invention tools they have been using in their STEM class. High School students demonstrated what they are learning about programming and coding with demonstrations of the TI Rover to draw letters as well as shared updates on their water quality monitoring invention "Jack and Rose" that they took to MIT this past summer thanks to the MIT-Lemelson grant that they were awarded. Other interactive STEM and science tables allowed Lower School students to participate and become inventors themselves.
“Each year the science department commits to growing stronger and giving our students new experiences to enhance their love for science,” summed up Kerslake.
The entire Pine School community gathered to recognize Senior Garrett Barber and his Golf State Championship.
Lining the walkway to the gym, students and faculty cheered Garrett as he made his way inside. The event included opportunities for both Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli and Varsity Golf Coach Ryan Chrysler to share thoughts on Garrett and his accomplishments.
“Simply put, Garrett works hard at his game - while also maintaining an impressive balance of academics - harder than just about any high school student-athlete that I have ever know,” shared Sofarelli.
Garrett fielded some questions from members of the Lower School and then gave them a chance to see his State Championship medal up close.
The event then segued into Garrett's signing ceremony with LSU, complete with a cake and plenty of time for photos and congratulations.
Senior Garrett Barber has won the boys Class 1a Golf State Championship.
Barber shot a sizzling 134 score for the 36-hole competition. The local golf phenom shot 3-under 69 in the first round, then pulled away from the field by shooting 7-under 65 in the second round. The State Golf Championship was played at Mission Inn Resort in Howie-In- the-Hills.
“This is an amazing achievement for Garrett and it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving kid,” shared Pine School Athletic Director Matt Sofarelli. “This accomplishment coupled with his signing to LSU’s Golf Team is a true testament to the hard work and dedication he has put forth. The Pine School couldn’t be prouder.”
Garrett Barber has played in the Junior Presidents Cup and the United States Amateur and is signing to LSU’s Golf Team.
The Girls Varsity Team, in their first year, finished 5th in the state out of 16 teams competing. Andie Smith finished 10th and Jue Wen shot a hole-in-one on the 6th hole.
Halloween celebrations at The Pine School are taken very seriously.
The traditions start with the annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Faced with the nearly impossible job of selecting standouts among the many amazing entries, this year’s judges persevered and selected winners in a range of categories and divisions.
2nd Grader Olivia Gordon with her creation “All Hallows’ Eve in Neverland” walked away with the best-overall creation, while Mrs. Davis and her students earned the coveted Best Class Design.
Thanks to Jennifer Ahern, Jessica Bohner, Elisabeth Glynn, Carol Houwaart-Diez, and Kim Waser for their dedicated service as this year’s judges.
In addition to tons of creative costumes, Grades Kindergarten through 4th stage a special Halloween Ceremony - featuring musical numbers led by music teacher John Barnes.
The fun doesn’t stop there.
The Senior Class then hosted a special trunk-or-treat for the younger students complete with tunes performed by the Jazz Ensemble led by music teacher Dorothy Castle.
The Pine School hosted another installment of their Zombie Knight Run and Haunted House. It is fair to say that the fright and fun level was all the way up to 11. Over 330 runners participated and did their best to avoid the army of zombies that descended on the campus.
“Although the Knight Run has been a long tradition at The Pine School, the Zombie-themed race has proven to be the most popular,” shared Race Chair Jodi Gaines. “Our goal is to always add a little something extra to keep things interesting.”
The Varsity Cross Country team, who recently won the District Championship, had been infected with the Zombie virus, so race runners had to have some serious moves and fast feet to get around them and keep their flags. That, coupled with an incredibly scary Haunted House completely designed and orchestrated by a group of dedicated parent volunteers, made this year a big success.
The Pine School wishes to thank its Sponsors Berkshire Hathaway (Team Honey), Fleet Feet Sports, Camp Mataponi, Cider Doughnuts, Mr. Foamer Signs, and Action Arbor Care for their support. Special thanks goes out to the Martin County Sheriff's Office for grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for the 2nd year in a row.
Extra attractions included cool tunes being spun by DJ extraordinaire (and talented choir and music teacher) John Barnes as well as a visit from Big Dog Rescue.
“We're already talking about plans for 2018, which will again have a Zombie theme with some additional obstacles,” added Gaines. "We hope to see even more of the community on the course next year."
High School French students had the opportunity to practice and improve their conversational skills with native French speakers as they visited the French Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase.
The trip was part of French teacher Maryse Hay’s on-going efforts to immerse students in language as well as French culture.
“Giving the students the chance to think more deeply about their subject matter always returns positive results and inspires authentic learning,” shared Hay. “The fact that Disney hires native French citizens to man the attractions in the French Pavilion provided real-world applications for my students to converse and test what they’ve learned.”
Students completed “interviews” with several of the French employees, using their phones to record & photograph images that the class will use for future vocabulary lessons. The trip also provided the chance for Hays (a French native herself) to share detailed insight to the architecture, history and customs displayed throughout the pavilion.
“It was great to apply what we’ve learned outside of the classroom,” shared Junior Jacqueline Rouse. “It was very easy to get in the spirit surrounded by the feel and look of France.”
Members of The Pine School InvenTeam (the only FL School team selected to earn a MIT-Lemelson Foundation grant) and Karlheinz Haas' STEM class spent their Saturday in Ft. Pierce to showcase their invention, "Jack and Rose," (a water content monitoring system) at the 2017 Indian River Lagoon Science Festival. The Festival featured a variety of science & technology-related exhibits, all with the goal of making science accessible, relevant and fun for both children and adults.
"It was great to watch both the new students and the 'veterans' share their excitement about our InvenTeam project with kids and adults alike who came to our booth," shared Haas. "You could tell how proud they were when visitors asked about their School and the programs we have to offer."
In addition to students working the actual exhibit, the event was also attended by many Pine School families as well as Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake and History teacher Nathaniel Osborn.
“No matter their grade level, students are increasingly aware that what they do in school should matter in the real world,” summed up Kerslake. “Giving students the opportunity to share with others what they are learning and how they have applied it ensures that they recognize the relevance of their classroom lessons.”
There is still time to support The Pine School and make a donation to this year's Annual Fund.
The Pine School Annual Fund Program is a mutual relationship in which you are encouraged to find a level of support that will meet your family’s philanthropic passion.
Your support helps us provide extraordinary educational opportunities to students from K through grade 12. In addition, it helps us host a variety of community events that draw positive attention to our school, including the Evening at Auction, 100 Years of Cars, Knight Run, Evening of the Arts, Athletic Banquet, Golf Tournament, and more.
The Senior and Freshman Classes spent time off-campus participating in community service. These efforts are part of The Pine School’s commitment to Learning Through Service.
The Seniors continued work at the Banner Lake Kid's Club - the same location faculty dedicated service time during their pre-planning. They painted, organized books for the children’s library and helped to install a SmartBoard and computers donated by The Pine School.
“The whole experience was so eye-opening,” shared Senior Ali McClimond. “Before I left I signed up to volunteer there on my own time and hope to coordinate my Senior Capstone Project around needs the Club has during the holidays.”
The Freshmen traveled to the Treasure Coast Food Bank where they sorted produce, eyeglasses, and other donated items. They also received a tour of the facility.
“I love seeing our students really connect with the contagious positive feeling that comes from giving back,” shared Director of Communications. Ankrom helped to organize the service projects and serves as the Membership Chair for The United Way of Martin County’s Leaders United group. “Each of these opportunities is another step in the right direction of building a complete service initiative that all of our students can benefit from.”
The Pine School’s Homecoming Week is all about celebrating school spirit and this year was no different.
“I really love the way this entire week gives all of the students a chance to really feel proud about what a great school community we have,” shared Senior and Head Girl Prefect Claire Barber.
A number of traditions make-up the fun and very busy week. To start with, each day has a specific theme to dictate student dress, all decided by the Senior Class. This year Magic, TV Shows, Year 2000 styles, and the Wilderness all were served up.
Friendly competition also plays a big part of this special week. Boys volleyball, a 9-12 Grade Dodgeball tournament, and girls Powder Puff football all get their turn.
Everything comes together on Friday with a blow-out of a day that really takes the Homecoming vibe over the top. Grades 9-12 each have to design their hallways to emulate the theme selected by the Seniors. This year it was American Cities with Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles & New Orleans being given the royal treatment.
That fun is followed by an all-school pep rally that incorporates everything from tricycle races and pie eating contests to a dance off.
This all leads up to the main event - our Girls Varsity Volleyball Homecoming game. This year they took on Berean Christian School with Varsity winning in nail-biting fashion - a thriller of a 3-2 game victory. It all concludes with a slip-n-slide and bonfire into the night.
“Traditions like Homecoming really make up the fabric of what is so special and unique about The Pine School,” summed up Director of Admission Beth Lettengarver.
Enjoy photos from the week on our Flickr page.
The Pine School will be hosting two exciting opportunities during the summer of 2018 for students to explore different countries and cultures.
Dates: June 7-11, 2018
Chaperones: Maryse Hay (French Teacher) and Robert Ankrom (Director of Communications)
Open to: Current 7th Graders and up. Though French culture will be explored (with opportunities for language students to practice skills), this trip is not only for French students. Parents are welcome.
Enrollment Deadline: October 31, 2017 (with $75 discount if signed-up by 9-30-17)
Led by Madame Hay, who has made this trip with students before, the group will enjoy the discovery of French culture through exposure to history, culinary traditions, and architecture.
Highlights include visiting the iconic Chateau Fontenacity, Plain of Abraham (complete with a battle re-enactment), spectacular Montmorency Falls, whale watching at the mouth of the Saint-Laurent river, Huron Indian village, a visit to the Olympic Stadium, dancing and maple syrup at a traditional “Sugar Shack”, and shopping at the famous underground mall in Montreal.
Dates: June 11-19, 2018
Chaperones: Spanish Teachers Kelly Kelly and Lillian Novoa and Kathy Moorman (History Teacher)
Open to: Current 8th Graders and above. Though a Spanish speaking country (with opportunities for language students to practice skills), this trip is not only for Spanish students. Parents are welcome.
Enrollment Deadline: October 31, 2017
Peru is an awe-inspiring portal to the world of the Inca, one of the world's great ancient civilizations. Students will see spellbinding sites like Machu Picchu, informative exhibits at Larco Museum, and monuments like Sacsayhuaman. There will also be a weaving demonstration, tour of a ceramics studio, an Indian market in Pisac, and a visit to the Maras salt ponds.
Registration for both trips are currently open.
The Pine School held its annual fall Honor Assembly to recognize the grade-point averages of middle and high school students as well as achievements of AP Scholars.
“This is a good opportunity to celebrate those that have worked hard to achieve this,” shared Academic Dean Sean Carlson. “It also helps to remind everyone that achievement lies in the journey and overcoming obstacles along the way.”
The program also featured an address by Middle School Coordinator Sarah Visage and a musical performance by the band, under the direction of Dorothy Castle.
“In the face of adversity - no matter how small or how large your goal - never ever give up. Your journey, in the long run, will be the greatest reward,” summed up Visage.
The entire Pine School community joined outside this afternoon to take in the beauty of the solar eclipse. The School’s Science Department secured special solar eclipse viewing glasses so that students were able view this astrological event in a safe and supervised environment.
“The Pine School always strives to go beyond the classroom and teach our students through experiences,” shared Science Department Chair Tessie Kerslake. “This solar eclipse provides a teachable opportunity that the students will remember for a lifetime.”
Hobe Sound had about 82.6 % sun coverage during the eclipse.
With the school year barely underway, Grades 5-12 all took time to gather as individual classes for dedicated class retreats.
"Affording our students, at the start of the school-year, with the opportunity to really focus on their individual Class goals is a real privilege," shared Dean of Students Ariel Chimelis. "The return on this is always extremely positive and truly helps to set the tone for a great year."
The Senior Class traveled off-campus for an overnight stay at Lake Aurora, while Grades 5-11 enjoyed a range of activities on and off campus - including an overnight campus lock-in, community service, an Escape Room adventure, and other team-building.
For the third consecutive year, The Pine School sent a group of faculty to participate in and benefit from the renowned Project Zero Classroom Conference at the Harvard University School of Education. To date, over half of The Pine School’s faculty have been fortunate enough to attend this ground-breaking Education Conference.
Meeting in intimate workshop groups, Pine School teachers had the hands-on chance to work with educators from around the world. Sessions focused on the principles of making learning visible, deeper understanding, and cross-curriculum collaboration - all focused on asking what constitutes an effective and powerful learning experience in the 21st century.
Founded by the philosopher Nelson Goodman in 1967, Project Zero faculty focus their investigations and research on education in the arts, the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, and creativity. The organization has published over 90 books and hundreds of articles on these subjects and, in addition to online courses, hosts the annual Project Zero Classroom Conference at Harvard to bring together educators from all over the world.
The following are brief reflections from this year’s participants.
Robert Ankrom, Director of Communications - As someone who doesn’t teach, I knew I’d be exposed to a range of language and ideas at the Conference, but wasn’t exactly sure how the experience would inform my approach as a member of the Senior Administrative team. I am returning to The Pine School invigorated for the coming school-year in very profound and exciting ways. My deeper understanding of the Project Zero approaches will serve as an important tool in better recognizing and sharing the many practices that our teachers have already begun to put into effect.
Kristin Davis, 2nd Grade Teacher - The knowledge that I gained from the faculty and educators from around the world not only confirmed my beliefs regarding education, but created a renewed sense of excitement and clarity for the upcoming school year. I intend to continue to develop a culture of thinking in my classroom in which my students are aware of multiple perspectives and learning is deep, mindful, relevant, and long lasting. I am looking forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with colleagues throughout the year as we continue to build a "Culture of Thinking" within our school community.
Kathy Moormann, History Teacher - Empowering today's learners evolved as the focus of Project Zero for me this week. Extended reading and reflection on the wealth of information shared is essential but I am dedicated to incorporating the routines, frameworks, and purposeful thinking activities to nurture a culture of thinking and understanding in my classes.
Steve Naumann, Fine Arts Department Chair - I've spent quite a bit of time, since returning from Project Zero, reflecting on the experience. Project Zero has helped give a tangible identity to the qualities of teaching that I have always valued and that have always been present in my work, yet never in as clear of a manifestation as I'd like. I look forward to reworking how I ask my students to think and encourage inquisition above production of an "end product" in my classes. The value of reflection as an essential tool to understand stood out to me above all else at Project Zero, and is the main element I will work to ingrain in my classroom.
Nathaniel Osborn, History Teacher - Project Zero is not one thing, but an entire ecosystem of interrelated initiatives and projects all based on the simple question: "How do we help our students really, deeply, understand?" Rather than simply offering some formulas and methods, Project Zero promotes a very simple mindset. As teachers, we can rush to "cover" our curriculum, and the onslaught of topics can sometimes leave true understanding by the wayside. Project Zero Classroom 2017 stressed that messy process of critical thinking is the goal of education, not simply capturing a body of content.
Suzanne Otero, Lower School Coordinator - I feel that this year's program brought new insight into my practice as an Administrator as we seek to create a School that values and seeks to embrace a Culture of Thinking. Our Pine School team spent time in conversation and discussion surrounding our learning - deepening our thoughts on what it means to build our practices around a culture of thinking and learning. Our energy and excitement were palpable.
Jaimal Page, Spanish Teacher - I am excited and optimistic about starting a new school year after being given an amazing opportunity to attend Project Zero. My mindset has evolved substantially and I look forward to the discussions and collaboration which will occur throughout the year with all my colleagues at The Pine School. I am dedicated to making sure all learners learn everyday in my classroom, see the purpose in their learning, go in depth about topics they value, and reflect on their experiences in order to become better students and better citizens.
Maryese Peressin-Hay, French Teacher - I can’t think of a better gift you make to an educator than to enable him/her to access a haven of knowledge such as Project Zero. I am eager to pass it on further to our community of learners and parents. Being surrounded by so much brain power in action that ignites continuous sparks in an educator's mind is a unique experience. It triggers myriads of new ideas ready to be shared and enjoyed together in our classrooms. Our team of colleagues left Project Zero full of excitement, hope and curiosity - with renewed energy and passion for our jobs. We are ready and eager to take our stakeholders on board with us and continue the journey through Project Zero together.
Greg Squier, English Department Chair - As someone who is dedicated to fostering innovative and effective thinking, I would encourage everyone in our community to read Ron Ritchhart's book, Creating Cultures of Thinking. This book is at the center of the Project Zero solar system and it is a powerful tool for empowering thought. These ideas, along with the abundant energy, diversity, and knowledge brought by teachers from around the world, made for an inspiring week at Project Zero.
All faculty expressed extreme gratitude to the generous anonymous gift to the School which has allowed The Pine School’s continued participation in this important and prestigious conference.
Last summer The Pine School started a new tradition of having members of our student body (and their families) share opportunities they had to give back - here at home or elsewhere. The response was so tremendous and was such a strong catalyst for a great year of Learning Through Service, that we have decided to make it a regular thing.
Be sure to share any photos of you participating in any kind of service project. We will post to social media throughout the summer. Those can be emailed to email@example.com #PineSummerOfService
The Pine School’s InvenTeam spent an exciting and informative time this past week at the Lemelson-MIT EurekaFest in Boston. The conference is described as a multi-day celebration designed to empower a legacy of inventors through activities that inspire youth, honor role models, and encourage creativity and problem solving.
“Our team was so grateful and thrilled about being able to attend this unique event,” shared rising Sophomore Allison Sanchez.
The Pine School was the only School from Florida selected to participate in this prestigious and dynamic conference.
In addition to presenting on their work to monitor water content in the Indian River Lagoon, the group met with students and faculty from around the country.
“This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for these students,” added science and math teacher Karlheinz Hass who, along with history teacher Nathaniel Osborn, served as the team sponsor. “Being selected to attend speaks volumes about the strength of our School’s academics and the overall commitment of our students.”
“I am so proud of the team,” summed up team leader and recent Pine School Graduate Madeleine Uible. “We have really come a long way in just a short amount of time and it was such a rewarding opportunity to show everyone at EurekaFest what we have accomplished.”
Phyllis Parker has served The Pine School for 26 years, 5 of those as Head of School. On the occasion of her retirement, please enjoy this tribute video.
The following is Mrs. Parker's final Message from Head post:
Transitions and change are positive for an organization that has their eye on the future. The Pine School, over the past decade has endured and conquered, alongside the Martin and Palm Beach area, hurricanes, economic downturns, personnel upheavals, and physical moves, as well as enjoyed and thrived in a beautiful environment, an economic recovery, personnel changes, and overall growth.
The Pine School is welcoming a new Head of School July 1. Mrs. Binney Caffrey is an articulate, seasoned educator who is coming to lead a school in the area in which she grew up. We are all delighted with the choice of the Board of Trustees and we have embraced her and her family in her visits she has made to the school since her hiring in the fall. The school is poised for a new chapter of growth and excellence and the students and families who are a part of this school family should be excited and eager.
Working in education provides the opportunity to do far more than just teaching a subject. It’s more than a job. When education is your life’s work, you have the opportunity to make a lasting difference. You have the opportunity to make an important contribution. Your legacy counts.
I am proud to have been the 13th and first woman Head of School for The Pine School. During my five years as Head, we have accomplished much together as a school family. A dedicated Board of Trustees has successfully lead us all to a financially stable school that is poised for additional growth. I hope in my years here to have made a difference; to have my professional life to have counted for something bigger than me. My wish for the school is and has been for my twenty-six years, to be true to our mission of promoting academic excellence within a challenging, supportive and moral environment that fosters the development of mind, body and spirit.
Positive transition and change involves dedicated people. What really matters is the people. If we each make a daily promise to treat people with all the care and concern we possibly can and stay true to our founding school mission, we will see progress and success like never before.
Best Wishes for the future of The Pine School.
Possunt Quia Posse Videntur