Under the Trees

Under the Trees, George School’s e-newsletter, is delivered to your inbox on the first of the month. We are excited to share stories of alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and students who are making an impact at George School and around the world. Each issue will also include a calendar of upcoming events and opportunities to engage with us. To ensure continued receipt of newsletters, please make sure to update your information. If you have previously opted out of emails and would like to receive them again, please let us know by contacting the Alumni Office.

September 2022 Issue

Embarking on a New School Year

As Head of School Sam Houser begins his seventh year at George School, he reflects on what drew him to George School, the launch of the school’s Signature Academic Program, and offers advice to someone who is thinking about a career in education.

Guided by an Open-Minded Approach

Jean Morrison, PhD ’76 serves as the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Boston University. Her career in higher education has been guided by an open-minded approach to pursuing opportunities that began when she was a student on campus at George School.

Creating Pathways for Students

Sean Vereen, Ed.D. ’95 serves as President of Steppingstone Scholars, an educational social mobility organization that helps low-income students in Philadelphia to navigate pathways to college and the workforce. Building on the leadership skills he learned at George School, Sean is leading a growing organization that is impacting the lives of students and their families.

June 2022 Issue

Journalism at George School

Teresa Liang ’23 is one of George School’s journalistic leaders who uses her talent as a writer and editor to publish the student-led newspaper, Curious George. “Journalism is an extension of my interests and I thought joining the Curious George staff would be a great opportunity to make new friends,” said Teresa.

My Journey as an Author and Poet

Terence (Terry) Culleton, who taught English at George School for thirty-nine years before retiring in 2019, reflects on his journey as an author and poet. He is the author of three published books of verse, A Communion of Saints, Eternal Life, and A Tree and Gone.

Listen, Write, Edit, Repeat.

N. West Moss ’82 is an accomplished author with an impressive catalog of published work. Speaking as both a writer and educator, West says, “To express our thoughts in writing is a profound act of self-acceptance, and it is what makes the great writers great.”

May 2022 Issue

Impacting Generations of Students Through Athletics

Nancy Zurn Bernardini has served as coach, teacher, mentor, and friend, impacting multiple generations of students through athletics and physical education at George School since 1978. As she prepares to retire at the end of this school year, Nancy reflects on her coaching philosophy, what she is most grateful for, and the one memory that stands out during her time here.

Building Connections as an Educator and Coach

Jaime Ginsberg ’95 played for four years on varsity teams and spent eight seasons being coached by Nancy Zurn Bernardini. “The athletic programs at George School were foundational for me” said Jaime. “Nancy was a role model for me.”

Thank You, Nancy

Claire Roche ’22, Katie Hendry ’22, and Alice Morrison ’24 built a friendship through athletics, and credit their coach, Nancy Zurn Bernardini, with creating a welcoming culture that helped them find their place at George School both on and off the field.

April 2022 Issue

Alumni Weekend is Back–Live and In-Person

Join us May 6–8, 2022 to celebrate achievements, rekindle friendships, and reflect on your George School experience. We have missed gathering in person and cannot wait to see everyone!

March 2022 Issue

February 2022 Issue

Reunion Brings a Lasting Romance

As new sophomores, Herran Bekele ’93 and Lawrence (Sam) Laybourne ’93 could not know that they were destined to be together. They never dated while at George School but reconnected at their tenth reunion and have been happily married for fifteen years with two children.

Love that Waited a Lifetime

Susan Trickle Holland ’56 and Werner Muller ’56 met and dated their senior year at George School, and were engaged to be married. Two years later, Susan decided to call things off. They never saw each other nor communicated again until 2018, almost sixty years to the day when they originally planned to get married.

January 2022 Issue

Leading by Example

Natalie Howlette ’22 knows firsthand that being President of Student Council is a leadership position which brings a lot of responsibility, and she does not take this responsibility lightly. As President, she has learned that “empowering others is a necessary part of being a leader.”

Developing Leaders

As a retired Head of School, Walter (Walt) Daub ’64 knows about student leadership from an educator’s perspective, but also from his time at George School when he was a student leader himself.

December 2021 Issue

One Community, Three Institutions—Guided by Quaker Teachings

Four generations of familial connections embody the bond that exists between George School, Newtown Friends School, and Pennswood Village for Tom ’73 and Kathy ’75 Rogers (ffac), P’05, ’08. Childhood, young adulthood, and elderhood are all represented in the three distinct communities, linked by geographic proximity, but bonded by a shared foundation in Quaker education.

A Life of Service

In May 2022, the Class of 1947 will celebrate their 75th reunion. John Orr ’47 spoke about his class, his ongoing relationship with George School, and the connection between George School and Pennswood Village where he resides with his wife Diane ’52.

November 2021 Issue

Belonging and Acceptance at George School

What does it mean to “belong,” or to be part of a community that invites people to express their opinions and challenges you to be your best self? Mary Jane Mikuriya ’52 shares her experience growing up in a bi-racial family during World War II.

George School–Finding My Second Home

Just over two years ago, Edwin Onyango ’21 had the opportunity to leave his home in Kenya and attend George School. “It was very emotional leaving my parents and sister, and I found it difficult to believe that this new place would feel like home. But it did,” he said.

Continuing Revelation at George School

Head of the Religions Department Tom Hoopes ’83, p’19, ’20 and Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Rachel Williams p’23 share their observations and aspirations for creating an inclusive and equitable community at George School.

October 2021 Issue

A Friendship Forged by Football

In 1993, three freshmen from New York City found themselves living in Campbell dormitory. While they came from different parts of the city, that common bond started their friendship; however, it was football that deepened their relationship which is still as strong today, twenty-eight years later.

Lessons Learned On and Off the Field

Dominic (Dom) Gregorio p’25 became George School’s head varsity football coach in 2019 and brings twenty-three years of coaching experience to the Cougars. Dom reflects on what football teaches you and the three goals he has for the team.

Pursuing your Passions

“George School has it all,” said Billy O’Connor ’22. “You can participate in whatever you are passionate about. For me, it is football and the vocal arts. This is why I love George School so much. It provides a myriad of opportunities and you can do all the things you love.”

September 2021 Issue

Leading with Quiet Dignity

John and Jackie Streetz left their mark on George School in many ways, but most of all on the students. John was hired in 1950 as the first faculty member of color and Jackie as the first administrative staff member of color. They stayed at George School for sixteen years and as there was no path to follow, they created their own.

Making Dreams Come True

For Danielle Benjamin ‘91, attending George School was a dream come true. “There is no way I would have been able to attend without the John and Jackie Streetz Scholarship and I am forever grateful to those who made this scholarship, and all scholarships at George School possible.”

Financial Aid at George School

Director of Financial Aid and Associate Director of Admission Mike Murray discusses financial aid at George School. “In my experience, George School is the most socioeconomically diverse campus I have ever been a part of and that is thanks to the investment the school makes in financial aid,” said Mike.

August 2021 Issue

Building Community One Meal at a Time

Janeen Smith, the Assistant Director of Food Service, has been building community at George School through food—feeding our students, faculty, and staff for the past three years. Janeen reflects on sticky buns, the importance of Shift, and why she loves coming to work every day.

Transforming a Beautiful Campus into Home

Grounds Supervisor Vince Campellone started at George School on February 28, 1975. For nearly five decades, he has been transforming the natural beauty of the George School campus into a home for students, faculty, and their families.

Preparing Campus for a New School Year

Taking care of twenty-one buildings on campus is a significant undertaking, but Director of Environmental Services Mike Jowder and his dedicated team make this work look effortless. “I have worked in the industry for twelve years and this is the best job I have had,” said Mike.

July 2021 Issue

The Value of Wearing Many Hats

Director of Admission Kim Major has rooted herself in the George School community through almost every aspect of campus life. Wearing so many hats creates an intersection of ideas that has positive effects on Kim’s various roles in the community.

Choosing Your Path

Anne Taylor Chiolo ’93 has always spoke about her time at George School with her children and how it was a transformative experience. She is delighted that her youngest son Martin ’25 will be attending George School as a boarding student in the fall.

Finding Your School

Namusende (Namu) Makatiani ’22, who is from Nairobi, Kenya, reflects on his high school admission process. “I could feel the strength of community and fell in love with the beautiful campus. I knew George School was the place for me,” said Namu.

June 2021 Issue

Generous Hearts

Thanks to an extraordinary gift from Steven Kauff ’80, George School was able to reopen campus in the safest and most equitable way for the entire student body given the challenges of the pandemic. In making his gift, Steven decided to invite his classmates and others to join him to help the school cover the significant additional costs associated with creating a new on-campus environment.

Giving Back Through Student Leadership

Olaa Ahmed ’22 has embraced an astounding number of leadership roles on campus and is one of the most active and passionate members of the George School community. “I feel like it is my job to make George School a better place while I am here and after I leave. Leaving an imprint is important to me,” said Olaa.

Living the George School Mission

Dar Sheth realized early on that he wanted to be a teacher—educating students to give them the tools to prosper in and out of the classroom. “I was familiar with George School and I have always admired the school, but the mission statement is what led me here,” said Dar.

May 2021 Issue

Commencement: A Time to Reflect and Celebrate

Our Quaker heritage is at the heart of a George School education. It guides us in all aspects of School life. As the Class of 2021 prepares to graduate on Saturday, May 29, faculty members Becky Hutchins (science department) and Scott Seraydarian ’90 (arts department) reflect on their roles as Class Sponsors and the Commencement traditions they hold dear.

Commencement 1939

As one of our oldest living alumni, Don Sutton ’39 was delighted to share his memories of Commencement at George School. “George School is unique and gets more so as time passes,” said Don.

Seymone Williams ’21: Reflections on Senior Year

As the final countdown towards graduation begins, Seymone Williams ’21 discusses her experience as a boarding student, finding optimism through adversity, and what she is looking forward to these last few weeks of her senior year.

April 2021 Issue

Preparation for a Life of Success

While living in southern California, Janet (TR) and Michael Roy P’08, ’09, ’13 contemplated moving to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. In researching schools, the Roys discovered George School and were immediately drawn to it for its academic rigor, along with the diverse and inclusive community.

From George School to NYU

Wabsono Bao ’21 reflects on his experience with the college application process. He credits College Counseling and his counselor, Beth Ann Burkmar, with preparing him for the arduous process and guiding him through each step of the way to getting an acceptance at his top choice school.

March 2021 Issue

A Lifelong Love of Learning

Seventy years after graduating from George School, Pete Loucks ’50, Professor Emeritus of the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Cornell University, reflects on what enriches his life, and the importance of being resilient, adaptable, and open to opportunities and experiences.

Strengthening Students

George School promotes self-discovery and strength, both as a student and an individual. Rebecca Kim ’22 has found this to be true. “When I visited George School, I was so happy to see a diverse student body and knew immediately that I wanted to attend,” said Rebecca.

February 2021 Issue

The Show Always Goes On

Law or theater–that was the decision Mo West considered for many years, even contemplating starting a consultancy to advise and teach trial lawyers how to present their opening and closing statements as she considers this the equivalent of theater’s script analysis. Thankfully for George School, Mo selected theater.

A Deep Love of the Arts & George School

Musical Theater and Chorus had a huge impact on Brian Wise ’93 TR and it was through George School that he discovered this. “When you submerge yourself in the arts, you leave all your anxieties behind,” said Brian. “The arts helped shape who I am. I felt proud and special to be part of the theater program at George School.”

Theater is Forever

Students Jake Maglio ’22 and David Xi ’21 may have found theater through different paths, but continued to study it at George School because they both realized the impact it had on them. Jake was involved with community theater before attending George School, and David discovered theater at his international middle school in China.

January 2021 Issue

A Passion for Woodworking

When Ann Yu ’21 arrived at George School, she was excited to find that the School boasted a robust woodworking and design program. “I enjoy building things by hand and constructing things that have function and purpose,” said Ann. “Woodshop is the intersection of artistic expression and functionality.”

Inspired by Student Creativity

Woodworking teacher Carter Sio ’76 started his career over 35 years ago at George School. He is the consummate teacher, craftsman, and mentor who continues to inspire his students. Carter reflects on sustainability, the creative process, and the trend he is seeing in student designs.

Woodworking Beyond George School

Before coming to George School, Jack Ford ’14 had no woodworking skills, but through working with his Dad at home and in the family flower shop, he knew that he wanted to work with his hands. He originally took stagecraft and enjoyed it, but a friend convinced him to switch into woodworking.

December 2020 Issue

Basketball Brings Educational Opportunities

Onyekachi (Kachi) Nzeh ’23 has always been a talented athlete. His first sport was track and he proved himself competing in regional events and was selected to compete in the Junior Olympics running the 400 meters during eighth grade. He was set to continue and had dreams of competing as an adult in the Olympics, however, his body had other plans.

Finding Success as a Student-Athlete Beyond George School

Kellie Edelblut ’11 embodies the ethos of George School. As a professional golfer, LPGA Certified Apprentice, Leadbetter Certified Golf Coach, and Biomechanics Specialist, her passion, hard work, pursuit of knowledge, and curiosity of the world around her started at George School.

Athletic Director Kurt Ruch

Throughout his twenty-five years working in physical education, Athletic Director Kurt Ruch has seen the positive role athletics programs play in student growth and development. “Athletics at George School is not defined by wins and losses. It is about making athletes better and helping them become their best possible selves on and off the field,” said Kurt.

November 2020 Issue

A Tribute to Pam Machemer

As we celebrated Pam’s life during a memorial meeting for worship on Saturday, September 26, 2020 the outpouring of love and respect was a testament to her and the care she showed for all around her.

Strength in Soccer

The bonds within a soccer team are strong, especially at George School and with the Machemer family. Reflecting upon these bonds and family connections is what prompted Bill Becker ’22 to launch a fundraising initiative to purchase a bench in honor of Pam Machemer which will be located on the sidelines of the boys’ soccer field.

Listening and Believing

Hyea Won Lee ’08 reflects on her experience at George School and her friendship with Pam Machemer. “I am so grateful that I attended George School and met Pam. She was a warm and loving person who was always there for me and I know she was there for so many others.”