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SBS Novices Compete in Debate Tournament

A four-member team of the Stoneleigh-Burnham Debate and Public Speaking Society traveled to St. Sebastian’s School on Sunday, Oct. 8 for a Parliamentary Extemporaneous Debate Tournament. SBS was one of 36 novice teams from 17 schools competing in the tournament. An additional four SBS students attended the tournament as observers so that they could learn about Parliamentary Extemporaneous Debate.

Here are results: Monica Wu ’21 and Sophia Wan ’19 won round one against Noble and Greenough. Joy Lundberg ’20 and Nes Major ’20 won round one against Kingswood Oxford. In round one, Monica was first in her room, and Sophia was second. In round three, Joy was first in her room. Joy and Nes finished 13th overall. Monica and Sophia finished 25th (but only a few points less than Joy and Nes). Our top speaker was Joy.

SBS Sweeps First Public Speaking Tournament

Beatrice (Bee) Brynda ’20, Jacqueline (Jax) Morgan ’19, Julia Thayer ’18, Sophie Hathaway ’18, and Ember Larregui ’18. Not pictured: Miles deClue ’18.

Sophie Hathaway ’18 of Greenfield, MA, qualified for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship with her first place finish in the Public Speaking Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at Stoneleigh-Burnham School. The six member SBS team also took first place as a team at the tournament.

This is Hathaway’s second time qualifying for Worlds, which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa next spring. Last year, she traveled to Sydney, Australia as part of the U.S. team, where she earned 6th place in After Dinner Speaking and 12th place in Interpretive Reading. Read more here.

Students from 10 schools competed at the SBS tournament. Five of the six members of the SBS team placed in one or more events. In addition to best speaker and best overall school, SBS had three first-place finishes, two second-place finishes, and a third-place finish.

Beatrice (Bee) Brynda ’20 and Ember Larregui ’18 tied for first place in Interpretive Reading. Sophie Hathaway ’18 took second in Impromptu Speaking. SBS swept in After Dinner Speaking, with Julia Thayer ’18 taking first, Jacqueline (Jax) Morgan ’19 taking second, and Sophie Hathaway ’18 taking third. Miles deClue ’18 placed fifth among 40 competitors in Persuasive Speech.

This year, the annual tournament hosted by Stoneleigh-Burnham was renamed the Paul Bassett Invitational Public Speaking Tournament. Dr. Bassett founded the SBS Debate and Public Speaking Society in 1981. Since then, 16 students have qualified for and/or competed on the world stage, and he has mentored and coached countless students to speak with force, clarity, and confidence. Many of his former students have gone on to careers in law, education, advocacy, and government. Dr. Bassett, known as “PB,” retired as head debate coach in June, but continues to teach the Rhetoric course at SBS.

SBS Debate and Public Speaking Tournament

On Sunday, Oct. 1, the Stoneleigh-Burnham Debate and Public Speaking Society will host a Public Speaking Tournament. Participants will have the opportunity to compete in Impromptu Speaking and Interpretive Reading, as well as in either After-Dinner or Persuasive Speaking.

First, second, and third places will be awarded in each of these categories with an overall tournament winner named.

Six members of the SBS Debate and Public Speaking Society will compete, along with competitors from nine other schools.

This tournament winner will receive a bid to compete in the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship held in South Africa in the Spring of 2018.

Source to Sea River Clean-Up

On Sept. 23, Stoneleigh-Burnham participated in the 21st Annual Source to Sea Clean-up of the Connecticut River. Fifteen SBS student volunteers, along with Sharon Weyers, Associate Director of Admissions, and Community Service Coordinator Karen Suchenski and her husband Josh Lane P ’16, joined more than 2,500 others in this huge clean-up effort of the river and its system of tributaries across four states of the region (from the Canadian border to the Connecticut mouth of the river).

SBS students spent the morning hauling 13 bags of trash from a feeder stream of the Green River, unearthing tires, wooden crates and construction materials, and many plastic bottles and food wrapper trash, adding their truck load to the hundreds of tons hauled during the day at more than 100 sites.

Andrew Fiske, executive director of the Connecticut River Conservancy, the organization that coordinates this large clean-up effort, thanked SBS students for their 6th consecutive year of enthusiastic service at the Green River. All 15 SBS students agreed with the motto on the t-shirts they wore at the clean-up: “Source to Sea is indeed ‘hard work, real fun, true impact,’” remarked Bri Rooks, student head of Service and Sustainability.

The SBS girls who participated in the Source to Sea cleanup represented 9th through 12th grades and included: Bri Rooks ’18, Jingyao (Sylvia) Yu ’19, Yongyi (Edith) Wang ’19, Ira Hysi ’20, Yuyan (Una) Wu ’21, Annamaria Robles ’19, Jax Morgan ’19, Yike (Dina) Dong ’21, Yuemeng (Monica) Wu ’21, Siri Sundaraneedi ’18, Teresa  Dowd-Hurlburt ’21, Kayun (Charlotte) Kim ’19, Avdeep Kaur ’21, Yue (Juliet) Zhu ’21, and Lingquan (Crystal) Cheng ’20.

Stoneleigh-Burnham School Welcomes Opertura

Stoneleigh-Burnham School’s 2017 Fall Art Exhibit will feature the artwork of local artistic duo, Opertura, formed by Aya Yamasaki and Jason Brown.

The exhibit, “Little Movement,” includes select illustration and animation from Opertura’s extensive collection. Students from the school’s senior International Baccalaureate Art class curated the exhibit.

Opertura create hand-drawn animation, illustration, and installation. Their work is internationally recognized, and they recently collaborated with musician Juana Molina to create an animated music video for her song In the Lassa. They are recipients of the Massachusetts Cultural Council 2017 Artist Fellowship in Film & Video. More information can be found on their website:

The artists will present a gallery talk on Thursday, October 5 at 7 p.m. in Geissler Gallery.

The exhibit opens on Friday, October 6, with a reception held that evening from 5:30-7 p.m. Both the gallery talk and reception are free and open to the public. The exhibition runs until November 8.

Geissler Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 574 Bernardston Road, Greenfield. For more information, please call 413-774-2711 or visit

Convocation 2017

Student Council President Julia Thayer ’18 delivers remarks at Convocation while Head of School Sally Mixsell and Reverend Shayna Appel ’78 P’04 look on.

On Monday, September 4, 2017, Stoneleigh-Burnham School opened the school year with its annual Convocation Ceremony in Emerson Hall. This ceremony marked the opening of the 2017-18 academic year and was attended by the entire student body, as well as faculty and staff.

The ceremony began with remarks from guest speaker Reverend Shayna Appel ’78, P’04. Read her full remarks on “View from the Nest,” the school blog. Head of School Sally Mixsell gave welcoming remarks. Francelyse “Frannie” Joseph ’18 was chosen as the Dr. Paul C. Bassett Speaker. Frannie’s Convocation address can be read here.

At Convocation, every member of the community – even teachers and staff – sign the Honor Code. The signed document is framed and hung in the Capen Room to serve as a reminder to all of us to uphold the values we’ve established as a community.

Student Council President, Julia Thayer ’18, spoke about what the Honor Code means to her. Read Julia’s remarks here. Student Council Vice-President Jacqueline “Jax” Morgan ’19, read the Honor Code and then every member of the SBS community signed it.

New Faces at Stoneleigh-Burnham

The Stoneleigh-Burnham School community warmly welcomes new faculty and administrators to the 2017-18 academic year.

Liz Gilman: Director of Finance and Operations
Elizabeth (Liz) Gilman has more than 22 years of non-profit financial and administrative management experience with 14 years specifically in education. She comes to SBS from a Catholic school in eastern Massachusetts, and also worked for the Greenfield Public Schools. Liz is a very motivated person with a strong sense of direction and brings the best practices of many different business sectors to draw upon as well as a constant drive to improve. Liz lives in Phillipston.

Scott Gray: Mathematics teacher, coach
Scott Gray will be joining us as a full-time math teacher and coach for next year. He comes to us with a BA in psychology and a minor in mathematics from the College of Wooster and 11 years of experience teaching math at the MS and HS levels, as well as a significant background in student life, leadership programs, coaching, and a special interest in international and experiential education. Scott comes to us most recently from Country Day School in Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica. He lives in Deerfield.

Alex Loud: History teacher, coach
Alex Loud will be returning to us as our new full-time history teacher and a coach. Alex earned his MA in history from Smith College and his BA from Bowdoin, where his major was German language and culture with a minor in European history. He has taught history (and other subjects) at Oak Meadow School, Northfield Mount Hermon (where he was also the Assistant Director of the NMH School Farm for many years), and Linden Hill School, and he has also worked as an academic coach at NMH and as a learning specialist at Four Rivers Charter School. He is currently the president of Greenfield Minor League Baseball and has also coached at Northfield Elementary School, Connecticut River Valley Soccer League, and Indoor Action. Alex lives in Northfield.

Celine Nader: English teacher, coach
Celine comes to us with a BA in Spanish language and literature and international development from Clark University and an MA in American studies from UMass Boston; in addition, she is currently a PhD candidate (all but dissertation) in American studies and literature at UMass Amherst. Celine has taught English at UMASS and Innovation Academy Charter School, among other schools, and has also taught English (language) in Spain. Celine is a Greenfield resident.

Nick Roosa: Chemistry teacher, houseparent, coach
Nick Roosa joins us this year as a full-time chemistry teacher, houseparent, and coach. Nick comes to us with a BA in chemistry from the University of Rochester, and has recently finished his MA in adolescent education (chemistry) at Hunter College. Nick has taught at Brooklyn Technical High School and Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York. He is co-founder and co-director of Northeast Kingdom Running Camp in Vermont and has coached track and field and cross country. Nick and his wife will live on campus on Lower Mary Burnham.

Cat Wagner: Dance teacher, houseparent
Cat Wagner is our new full-time dance teacher and houseparent, living on Junior-Senior Hallway. She comes to us with an MFA in choreography and performance from Smith College and a BA in theater arts from Brandeis University. She comes to us most recently from New York City where she has been working as a teaching artist for Mark Morris Dance Center, New York City Ballet, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange. In addition, she has been a visiting artist at Mount Holyoke College, adjunct dance faculty at Amherst College, and a teaching fellow at Smith College, and has also worked for several summers at the Bates Dance Festival.

Brittany M. Weiss: Associate Director of Admissions
Brittany has several years of diversified professional experiences in admissions, advancement, and student affairs within both schools and organizations. Extensive  experience abroad in both academic and professional capacities, with direct experience in Asia, Latin America, the United Kingdom, and both Western and Central Europe, have collectively prepared her for her role as Associate Director for International Admissions at SBS. Brittany comes to SBS via the American International School of Budapest in Budapest, Hungary. At AISB, an IB World School, Brittany acted as Admissions Associate engaging with students and families from more than 60 nationalities. Previously, Brittany was Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement at her alma mater, Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, MA. Brittany began her career at Emma Willard School in Troy, NY as a Resident Faculty member, and it was at Emma Willard where Brittany’s passion for girls’ education blossomed. Brittany considers herself an educator who is enthusiastic about engaging with students and their families and passionate about teamwork with colleagues.

Greg Williams: Science teacher
Greg will be returning to us as a part-time science teacher. He earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed graduate work towards a Ph.D. in zoology from UMass, Amherst. With more  than 20 years of teaching experience at the high school and college level, Greg taught at The Academy at Swift River, Northfield Mount Hermon, Mariamante Academy, and UMas,s Amherst. Greg most recently was a substitute chemistry teacher at SBS as well as a tutor for SBS science students. Greg lives in Greenfield.


Smith College and Stoneleigh-Burnham School Announce Equestrian Partnership

Stoneleigh-Burnham School is pleased to announce that the Stoneleigh-Burnham Equestrian Center has been selected to become the new home base for Smith College’s riding students and equestrian team. This partnership brings Stoneleigh-Burnham students many benefits, including eight new horses and an additional instructor, as well as a new connection to the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA). Young riders will have the opportunity to connect with older mentors who can share with them the experience of being a rider at the college level. Students will also have the chance to see college-level competitions on our campus. For more details about this exciting partnership, please read the full announcement.

SBS Awards Scholarships

On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Stoneleigh-Burnham School announced several scholarships it has awarded to students.

The Dorrance Scholarship, given by the family of Jacqueline Dorrance ’64S, was endowed in memory of Bonnie Benn Jesser ’63S and is awarded each year to a girl who exhibits interest in extracurricular activities and has a strong sense of sportsmanship. The Dorrance Scholarship was awarded to To’Londa Torres.

The Mr. and Mrs. “E” Alumnae Scholarship was established in honor of Edward and Margaret Emerson. This scholarship goes to an incoming student who has demonstrated strong academic ability and well-rounded interests and talents to bring to the SBS community. Ideally, it goes to an alumna daughter. This year the Mr. and Mrs. “E” Scholarship was awarded to Julia Shulman, the daughter of Susan Bulda Shulman ’84.

The C. Robert Wray Scholarship, established in memory of Bob Wray, headmaster of from 1978-1996, is awarded annually to a girl who shows character, integrity, and a genuine interest in attending SBS. Equally important is a demonstrated potential for leadership and contributions to the school community. Chosen from a field of applicants who submitted a 1,000 word essay judged by a pool of alumnae and friends of the school, this year’s recipients of the Wray Scholarship are Julia “Jewels” Hatchard and Erin LeBlanc.

The Nora Lucas Burby Riding Scholarships, established by the Burby family, are meant to offer girls with high interest the opportunity to ride at our Equestrian Center for one season. This year the Nora Lucas Burby Scholarships were awarded to Laila “Jade” McCormock, Mia Mullings, and Kate Kowalyshyn.

The Sayles Music Scholarship was established by the family of Patricia Blake Sayles ’51SPH to provide access to quality instruction in vocal and/or instrumental music. This year, the Sayles Music Scholarship went to Siyana Nikolova.

Stoneleigh-Burnham School Celebrates 148th Commencement

Flaxie Roberson Fletcher ’68SPH

Stoneleigh-Burnham School celebrated the 148th Commencement today in Emerson Hall.

The Class of 2017 chose as their Commencement speaker alumna Dr. Flaxie Roberson Fletcher ’68SPH after getting to know her through her role on the Leadership Council. Dr. Fletcher is also a former member of the SBS Board of Trustees. She was the first African-American student to attend Stoneleigh Prospect Hill School, and the annual holiday basketball tournament at SBS is the result of her gift to the school and named for her. Dr. Fletcher grew up in Washington, D.C., the daughter of a doctor. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Howard University School of Medicine, and has her own medical practice in Los Angeles. She is an avid supporter of women, education, and health and wellness.

Dr. Fletcher recalled her three years at “Stoneleigh,” describing the school as a village that provided a sisterhood of incredible support and a superb education that helped propel her into a life of service as a physician and surgeon. She described the school as a community that unleashes “the true power and potential of an extraordinary woman.” Speaking directly to graduates, she said, “As I look at you I am in awe of the incredibly beautifully balanced brilliance and power that radiates through you. You will manifest greatness as you walk your road less traveled.”

Xiangge (Coco) Zhao ’17

Student Speaker
Xiangge (Coco) Zhao ’17, a three-year senior from Shanghai, China, was chosen by her class as the student speaker. Active in the Community Service Club, Rock Band, the Green Team, and the Student Alumnae Association, Coco is also a beloved Resident Assistant, and a valuable athlete in varsity basketball, varsity cross country, and varsity softball. She will attend George Washington University in Washington D.C.

Coco described the character of her entire class at the moment of both looking back at high school and forward to the future.

“My class, 22 of us, never stops arguing. We are a class of unique individuals who believe strongly in our perspectives, so when we gather and share our opinions, things often heat up,” she said. “But one thing we can agree on is that we are all ready. While we are achieving our goals, no matter what they are — going off to the right colleges, starting new relationships, or just hanging in there — most of us are eager to leave this space, and start a new journey right at this moment.” Read Coco’s full remarks on our school blog, “A View from the Nest.”

Graduates, students, faculty, staff, Board of Trustees, parents, and guests also heard remarks from Head of School Sally Mixsell ’68, who offered a retrospective of the many contributions of the graduating class.

“Your gifts to this school have been significant – which is why I’ve caught others, and even myself, choking up during this week’s many reminders that we’re all saying good-bye to you as students, athletes, artists, advisees, and friends,” Mixsell said. “We are so very proud of the growth you have exhibited while you’ve been here and we are very optimistic in our musings of where you might go from here.”

Faculty members Jake Steward, chair of the English department, and Lauren Cunniffe, Director of College Counseling and Librarian, also spoke at the ceremony. Read Jake’s full remarks on our school blog. Lauren’s full remarks can also be found on our school blog.

Senior class president Star Stryker Erbük gave welcoming remarks, and Board of Trustees Chair Allison Porter ’89 assisted Mixsell in the awarding of diplomas.

The 22 graduates in the Class of 2017 represent seven countries. Nine graduates are International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates and eight are members of the National Honor Society.

The names of graduates, their hometowns, and colleges they will attend are:
Romy Arsenault of Montreal, Canada: Marymount Manhattan Honors College
Sophie E. B. Byrne of Bolinas, CA: Gap Year
Kearsten Marie Crocker of Bernardston, MA: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Tingcen Lina Dong  of Shanghai, China: Case Western Reserve University
Star Shine Stryker Erbük of Amherst, MA: Mount Holyoke College
Lucia Galperin of Buenos Aires, Argentina: University of Denver
Ciara Larkin Hudson of Conway, MA: The College of Wooster
Kelsie D. Jacobs of Springfield, MA: Howard University
Phoebe Elizabeth Karkos of Foster, RI: Hampshire College
Kaya Kim of Nagoya, Japan: University of California, San Diego
Jayla Nicole Latham of Springfield, MA: College of St. Joseph
Elena Katrin Launert of Wiesbaden, Germany
Yena Molly Li of Shenzhen, China: Smith College
Meredith Jasperson Nordell of Greenfield, MA: St. Lawrence University
Theresa Alando Oduol of Bethlehem, PA: University of Connecticut
Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China:  New York University
Ingrid Louise Storebø of Bergen, Norway
Victoria Morgan Subritzky Katz of Orange, MA: Johns Hopkins University
Srikari Tummla of Foxborough, MA: University of Connecticut
Maren Isabel Vogel of Piermont, NH: Gap Year
Shaojie Lula Zhang of Beijing, China: New York University
Xiangge Coco Zhao of Shanghai, China: The George Washington University

Prizes and awards presented at Commencement:
Stoneleigh-Burnham School Academic Cup is awarded to the member of the senior class who has maintained the highest academic standing: Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China

The Margaret and Edward Emerson Award is presented to a four-year student who has made the best use of her academic opportunities: Phoebe Elizabeth Karkos of Foster, RI

The Virginia Giles Whittemore Prize recognizes exemplary performance in a leadership position: Yena Molly Li of Shenzhen, China

The Spencer Prize is presented to a senior for her academic achievement and commitment to learning: Double Award to Victoria Morgan Subritzky Katz of Orange, MA and Ziying Anny Rui of Hangzhou, China

The Mabel Hood Emerson Award is presented to the student who has done the most for Stoneleigh-Burnham School in scholarship, loyalty and leadership: Xiangge Zhao of Shanghai, China

The Prospect Hill Prize is presented to a senior who exemplifies personal integrity, dignity and service: Theresa Alando Oduol of Bethlehem, PA

The Stoneleigh-Burnham Prize is presented to a senior who has evidenced a high level of personal growth and increased self-reliance: Star Shine Stryker Erbük of Amherst, MA

The Stoneleigh-Burnham School Trustees Award for Teaching recognizes a member of the faculty, who, as mentor and guide to students, exemplifies the substance and spirit of the distinctive concept of great teaching that is cherished at this school: Andrea Tehan Carnes