Homecoming | Mental Heal th Spot l ight | Leadership Announcements | Nardin Notes NARDINtoday THE MAGAZINE FOR THE NARDIN ACADEMY COMMUNITY Fall 2022 Coming Together and growing together
2 Nardin TodayFall 2022 ContentsFall 2022 NARDIN TODAY: THE MAGAZINE FOR THE NARDIN ACADEMY COMMUNITY WELCOMING STUDENTS 22 FEATURES 4 President's Desk: A reflection from Nardin's President 5 We are Nardin: Community members share their thoughts 6 In Focus: Nardin students in action 8 Class Acts: News from in and out of the classroom 12 Feature: Mental Health Spotlight 18 Welcome New Leadership 20 The Nardin Experience Fund 24 Gator Bites: News from the athletics department 26 Creative Input: News from the art departments 32 Nardin Notes: Updates from our alumni community
3 Nardin TodayFall 2022 ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME HOMECOMING 30 16 If you drive down West Ferry Street on a nice day, you most likely will see our Montessori students spending time outdoors. Montessori philosophy emphasizes that the outdoor environment is a natural extension of the classroom. In our outdoor environments, children are able to build on their classroom knowledge through the sensorial experiences of nature and through constant contact with the seasons and the natural world.
4 Nardin TodayFall 2022 Visit www.nardin.org for the latest news and updates. You can also follow us on: president'sdesk The 2022-2023 academic year is fully underway with deep gratitude owed to the unwavering efforts of the entire Nardin community as we have seen the Academy reach new heights this fall setting us forth on a path to an unprecedented year of achievements. True to the vision of our founders, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Nardin Academy is known for its continuous efforts to live its mission by encouraging lifelong learning, helping students ignite their curiosity, finding their inner passion, and inspiring their potential. As the premier independent school in Western New York, our focus remains on the future. By prioritizing strategic goals, developed through the chorus of voices of various stakeholders, Nardin is laying the foundation that will promote intentional growth for years to come by participating in a multi-year Academy-wide curricular mapping and development process. Now is our opportunity as an Academy to further develop an innovative, global-thinking curriculum that will continue to evolve and provide the best possible experience for both students and faculty today and in the future. As Nardin looks to the future, both internal and external stakeholders will focus on our vision and priorities to build out a strategic plan that will serve as the Academy’s blueprint for the next three to five years. This next chapter of Nardin Academy will have the ultimate goal in building and sustaining a learning environment where all community members engage in a commitment to continuous improvement rooted in the priorities of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Professional Excellence, and Living Our Nardin Values. We hope that lifting up these priorities will create the One Nardin Academy that will sustain our institution long into the future as the most innovative, supportive, and inclusive learning environment in Western New York. As we embark on this final year of the Called to Connect Campaign, there is less than $2 million left to raise, and we are close to the finish line. We are most grateful for each donor who has already given to the Campaign, and we encourage those who have yet to make a gift to please consider supporting this historic initiative which resulted in the expansion and modernization of our campuses. As always, I remain grateful for the Nardin community’s tremendous support and trust. In the past year, I have been blessed in countless ways, underscoring why the Academy continues to be the premier choice for learning, personal growth, and faith-filled experiences. It is my sincere hope that I may continue the good work of all those who came before me as I champion a strong future for our students and alumni alike. Be well & God bless, Dr. Sandra Betters MISSION STATEMENT Inspiring hearts and minds to do amazing things in the world through faith, character, academic excellence, and service. NARDIN TODAY Art Director Elaine Berowski Editors Maggie Barnett ‘01 Misty L. Harris ‘96 Cover Photo Katie Addo ‘99 Contributing Photographers Katie Addo ‘99 Maggie Barnett ‘01 Kendra Brim ‘07 Joe Cascio Misty L. Harris ‘96 Rhonda Harris Photography Sienie Kelly ‘71 Julina Marie Photography Geoff Schneider Thomas Whalen Tom Wolf Colleen Zimmerman Special Thanks for Proofreading Carol Bernat Sarah Irwin '92 Catharine Miles-Kania ‘92 Nardin Today is published twice annually by the Marketing and Communications department. Nondiscrimination Policy: Nardin Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
5 Nardin TodayFall 2022 ON THE COVER Collaboration is a hallmark of a Montessori community. In our Montessori classroom settings, older children are mentors for younger children and the program works by fostering respect for others and teaching independent learning, all complemented by our beautiful West Ferry campus. n Homecoming | Mental Heal th Spot l ight | Leadership Announcements | Nardin Notes NARDINtoday a THE MAGAZINE FOR THE NARDIN ACADEMY COMMUNITY Fall 2022 Coming Together and growing together We are NARDIN Tom Michals Faculty Member “I am in my 20th year as a member of the Nardin Community. Every day, I get to collaborate with tremendous faculty, staff, and administration to develop these great young minds that really will do incredible things for our world. Being at Nardin has made my career rewarding beyond words.” Brad and Meegan Stamm Parents “Nardin Academy has been a significant part of our family for many years. We’ve had two daughters graduate from Nardin and our third daughter is a senior this year and we couldn’t be happier with the experiences we have had at Nardin. The education is exceptional and the girls are very well prepared for college and beyond. We’ve always told others that Nardin has an “x” factor that is unlike any other school. These young women leave Nardin with a passion, a purpose and a strong desire to achieve wonderful things in their lives. It is remarkable to Heather Gresham, Esq. ‘88 Alumna “You will always remember Nardin; the education and experience will impact you forever. Nardin produces strong, confident women who lead with empathy and compassion. Remember: there’s nothing you can’t accomplish, and Gators can do anything!” Elyse Spencer ‘24 Upper School Student “The Nardin Community is very welcoming and inclusive. When I come to school, I feel respected and well appreciated, by both my teachers and my peers. Nardin is truly the best fit for me and I love attending and being a part of such a great community.” Anika Vaidhyanathan Montessori Elementary Student “I like Nardin because you get to learn a lot, and the teachers are always ready to teach, and my friends are really nice.” Welcome New Nardin Faculty & Staff Cydney Adams Angelica Adisa Jackson Andrews Tina Akaic Maggie Barnett '01 Zachary Berg Carol Bernat Kelly Brouillard '90 Taylor DiSarno Sarah Dulak Dr. Bobbie Finocchio Ph.D. Mary Gjurich Misty L. Harris '96 Betsy Hartzell Heather Jason Edwin Jines Damien Keller Dominic Locklear Cheryl Lufbery Dannyell McDaniel Kyle McNeil Leslie McSpadden Jill Monaco Kanjana Roddonpai Theresa Rooney Diana Schiesser Colleen Smith Matthew Tocco Tina Waterhouse Emily Yang
6 Nardin Today Fall 2022 in focus 1 Our Kindergators having fun in their classroom 2 Middle School dance class with Miss Cindy Hanna 3 Montessori students learning candle making 4 Middle School student learning the ukulele 5 Lower School students eager to participate in their Morning Meeting 6 Upper School Junior class celebrating Ring Day 7 Winter Experience in Florida for an in-depth look into marine biology 8 Middle School students sharing a laugh 9 Montessori Elementary students working together collaboratively 10 Upper School students embrace showcasing the wonderful journey of friendship that Nardin brings to each student 11 Upper School students attending the Race, Equity, and Mission Youth Conference at Niagara University 1 5 9 8
7 Nardin Today Fall 2022 7 6 2 3 4 7 10 11
8 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Located on the third floor of the Cleveland campus, The Koessler Family Innovation and Technology Center is a hub for all Nardin Academy students to manually or digitally research and explore topics within a course or an individual interest. Students gather in the Center’s hubs for collaborative projects and technology integrated lessons through The Research & Innovation course in Montessori, Lower, and Middle Schools and is continuously open for Upper School students and classes, and all teachers and staff. The Research & Innovation Course in Montessori and K-8 meets once a week where the students focus on Digital Citizenship & Literacy, Computer Science, Library Information Skills, and Research Skills, while engaging in Project-Based Learning to simulate an authentic work environment. The students assess their learning through the use of educational technologies to bring their work to life. Nardin Academy believes in educating the whole student by meeting them where they are in the digital world as well as the world of their future, and focuses on the ability to determine credible sources digitally and in print, how to create a positive digital footprint, and learn to parallel their in-person community behaviors with that of their online presence. n The Koessler Family Innovation and Technology Center class acts
9 Nardin TodayFall 2022 classacts After graduating from Nardin in 2000, Jaclyn is now in her 17th year as a 6th and 7th grade teacher at Nardin. As a teacher in Nardin’s Middle School, she sets high expectations for all of her students. She believes that they are capable of pushing themselves to become better readers and writers. Jaclyn holds her students accountable and encourages them to always put forth their best effort. When reflecting on her favorite aspect of being a part of the Nardin community, Jaclyn would have to say it is when former students come back to visit or she runs into them out in the world. She loves to see who these young middle schoolers become. It is so rewarding when former students speak fondly of her class or a particular lesson that meant a lot to them. “It makes my job worthwhile.” n We sat down with Jaclyn Twichell ’00, alumna, Middle School teacher, and Nardin parent Faculty Spotlight: Jaclyn Twichell ‘00 “ I love to see who my former students, young middle schoolers, become.
10 Nardin TodayFall 2022 Nardin students across the Academy continue to show their commitment to service throughout the school year. A pillar of the Nardin Experience is service, and reflects the tradition of our founders, the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, and is lived out by our students through retreats, service projects, initiatives, and much more. “In the Montessori, Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools, Nardin lives its commitment to service, and this is seen every day in the halls of the Academy,” said Director of Mission Integration, Tom Whalen. “My hope is that each service experience a student has is something they can learn and grow from and carry out into their lives,” he added. Last spring, juniors in our Upper School gathered at Camp Duffield in Delevan, N.Y. for the Spring Kairos retreat, which was the third and final Kairos retreat offered last year. The introduction of the Kairos retreat was part of Whalen’s expanded retreat program at Nardin, in which all Upper School students participate in a retreat each year designed to build upon the one the year before. In addition to retreats, students across the Academy participate in service projects and initiatives throughout the year. The main service initiative for our Montessori School is its angel gift drive to support Gateway Longview, a local organization serving needy youths and families across Western New York. The Montessori has participated in the drive for almost 20 years now and each year fills all of Nardin’s vans with toys and holiday cheer. Last spring, the Lower and Middle School joined together to host a food drive to support FeedMore WNY. The grades competed to see who could bring in the most donations. After claiming victory, the first graders enjoyed a pajama day for donating the most food. The eighth grade sponsored its annual basket raffle last spring. Ten lucky winners took home theme baskets filled with toys, candy and more to support Friends of the Night People. Down the hall in the Upper School, students lead service initiatives all through the year too. From food drives to collections for sweatpants days, many are student sponsored and run. Annually, every week during Lent, students oversee a different donation campaign, from food drives to clothing collections and recently the Upper School sponsored an initiative to collect women’s hygiene projects and held a food drive for First Fruits Food Pantry. At Nardin Academy, living our mission is woven into the fabric of our school life and by giving back, all students live our commitment to service. n Nardin Students Spring into Service classacts “ All students live our commitment to service.
11 Nardin TodayFall 2022 Nardin Students on the Stage The 2022 Middle School play was Willy Wonka Jr. As a part of the Middle School DaVinci program, students from grades 5-8 showcased their talents performing on stage at Villa Maria College. The Lower School showed their support by attending the performance with their class. The Nardin Academy Upper School Theater department performed two productions in the 2021-22 school year! First up was Disney’s Freaky Friday performed at Shea’s 710 Theatre in December, a comedic musical about a mother and daughter who switch bodies for one freaky day. The Mother, played by Genevieve Downing ‘22, said this about her experience, “Having the opportunity to participate in the musical my senior year was so amazing for me, especially not being able to do one the year prior. Throughout my years at Nardin, I’ve made many close relationships through the theater/music department. It truly provides you with an experience that you’ll never forget.” In the spring, the production of Robert Harling’s Steel Magnolias was set in an intimate dinner theater-style with a Southern-themed dinner prepared by Chef Julie Levin ‘88. The Upper School students' performances were hilarious, touching, and, in the end, deeply revealing of the strength and the bond a group of women share in a small-town Southern community. n classacts
12 Nardin TodayFall 2022 A Spotlight on If you are familiar with the educational space, or have ever spent one day of your adult life in or around a school, you will notice that educators are big fans of acronyms. From IEP and PLC, to PBIS and SAT, some you may know, others you may find yourself scratching your head. But one acronym in particular that has received a lot of attention over the past two and half years is SEL, better known as Social Emotional Learning. But what is SEL and why is it an important component of today’s student? The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines Social Emotional Learning as, “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” We also know from an extensive body of research that an education that promotes SEL has long lasting positive effects on a child’s growth and development. Specifically, the inclusion of SEL concepts in curriculum has resulted in increased academic performance, improved classroom behavior, increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, their community, and their peers. Most importantly, these findings are supported across different demographics, socioeconomic statuses, and ability levels. At Nardin Academy, we have prioritized our students’ social emotional health in a variety of ways, through the various supports and programs available at each level. Read on to learn more about the services available and people responsible for helping out students maintain a healthy social emotional state during their time as a gator. Mental Health Social Emotional Learning in the Classrooms “ Mental health...is not a destination but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going. — Noam Shpancer, PhD
13 Nardin TodayFall 2022 Jessica Neilans ‘07 School Psychologist M.S., C.A.S. in School Psychology, Niagara University B.A. in Psychology, Canisius College A child’s learning extends beyond the classroom and is often impacted by their social emotional health. It is my job as the school psychologist to help address the social emotional and academic barriers a child may face when sitting at a desk in a classroom. As a result, I work closely with students, families, and teachers to determine how best to support a child’s learning. A student may see the school psychologist for individual and/or small group counseling to assist with a variety of needs including: paying attention in class, time management, anxiety, stress, or anger, forming healthy relationships, problem-solving, and coping strategies. In addition to working individually with students, I play a key role in making sure our programs across the Academy are considering a students' social-emotional needs. This may include offering a mental wellness class at various levels, offering professional development on current trends in youth mental illness, or providing family programming on how to identify the warning signs of depression. Kristen Blandford K-8 School Counselor M.S.Ed. in School Counseling, St. Bonaventure University B.A. in Psychology, Niagara University As a school counselor, I teach students the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for academic, career, and social-emotional development. I also collaborate with teachers and families on early identification and intervention of the academic and social emotional needs of the students. Being a school counselor allows me to recognize and respond to student mental health needs and to assist students and families seeking resources. School counselors offer support in areas including: • Individual and group counseling • Communication and conflict resolution • Decision-making skills • Peer relationships • Navigating challenges • Fostering self-awareness, acceptance, and diversity • Teaching time management and organizational skills • Crisis intervention • Educating staff, families, and students on symptoms of and help for mental health problems • Ensuring access to mental health supports
14 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Each school at Nardin focuses on the needs of its students based on their ages and stages. Here are some examples of how each school focuses on social-emotional learning. How does the Montessori support social-emotional wellness? Program structure and components The structure of a Montessori program naturally lends itself to the promotion of a child’s social-emotional growth. With the child acting as the lead in their learning, they are being taught from a very young age to be their own agent of change. In turn, this requires the child to develop self-regulation skills and improves their emotional intelligence. Additionally, most Montessori classrooms have an area designated for peace talks to promote conflict resolution skills. PE Program In Montessori, the teachers and students discuss the importance of living a healthy, balanced life, and how taking care of one’s mental health is just as important as physical health. Part of the program includes meditating for five minutes after every class, bringing awareness to our breath and body parts.
15 Nardin Today Fall 2022 How does the Middle School support social-emotional wellness? Push-in Lessons in Health Class Students learn what mental health is, discuss factors that influence mental health, and review ways to support and improve mental health. Throughout the course, students come to understand the stigma surrounding mental health problems, and the impact of stigma on help-seeking behavior. Students become more aware of the realities of mental illness and exhibit a realistic understanding of mental illness. How does the Lower School support social-emotional wellness? Morning Meetings Each morning, Lower School students and teachers gather together to engage in Morning Meetings to build a strong sense of community and to set students up for success socially and academically. Monthly Guidance Lessons Classroom guidance lessons are conducted in each classroom, with a specifically planned curriculum to meet the needs of all students. Students engage in a variety of lessons that promote knowledge and skills through instruction in three content areas: academic achievement, career exploration, and social-emotional growth. How does the Upper School support social-emotional wellness? House System The House system is an opportunity for students to feel a sense of belonging to the Nardin Community. Consisting of four houses, students spend the year participating in competitions and team-building activities that help strengthen their bonds to each other and their teachers. Mindfulness and Wellbeing Mindfulness and Wellbeing is a course taken during the sophomore year that addresses the social, emotional, and spiritual health of today’s students. Co-taught by Tom Whalen, Director of Mission Integration, and Jessica Neilans, School Psychologist, Mindfulness and Wellbeing aims to provide students with a space to share the barriers to their educational success and develop ways to overcome these roadblocks. n
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17 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Homecoming 2022 Homecoming was a true reflection of the Nardin spirit! Nardin alumni, students, families, faculty, and staff came together in celebration of our One Nardin community. Congratulations to our Chomp-ians, Caitlin Enright ‘23, Laulie Barker ‘23, Rachel Hanley ‘23, Lexi DePalma ‘24, Tess McCloud ‘24, Lily Saleh ‘24, and Olivia Braun ‘25, also known as the “Nardians of the Galaxy Vol., 2”, who won the Powder Puff flag football game. Our Salsa Showdown winner was Audra Saleh, parent of Evelyn, E ‘23 and Lily ‘24, who made her Salsa de Saleh! Congratulations to all of the winners and participants! Students of all ages across Nardin participated in fall activities and games. The Upper School Varsity Soccer and Field Hockey teams competed, while the Lower School Pep Squad and Varsity Cheerleaders entertained all! Thanks to Father Fred Betti, SJ for coming to perform a Family Mass inside the Nardin Academy Athletic Center and for those who brought lawn chairs and attended. It takes all of us to build the Nardin community, and we were so blessed and overjoyed to share this special day with our One Nardin family! n Nardin together
18 Nardin TodayFall 2022 Mary Gjurich Montessori School Principal Mary comes to Nardin from The Park School of Buffalo where she served as a Montessori Teacher in their Primary program. Prior to joining The Park School, Mary spent ten years as the Director and Primary Lead Teacher at The Curious Minds Montessori School in Clarence Center, NY. Originally from Buffalo, Mary received her degree from Canisius College and soon after began travels with her husband, Gregory, who was a member of the United States Navy. Her travels afforded Mary the unique opportunity to work in Montessori schools around the country. She has held teaching positions at Casa Dei Bambini in East Amherst, NY; Montessori Learning Center in Salinas, CA; in the Lower and Upper Elementary programs of Lamplighter Montessori School in Cordova, TN; and Incarnate Word Academy in Corpus Christi, TX. This is an exciting time for the next chapter of our Montessori school, where students will continue to flourish for even more generations to come. Our Montessori program has never been stronger; our dedicated faculty, who are second to none in their expertise and commitment to our youngest students, will continue to provide the utmost care and thoughtfulness as we head into this new era. Welcome N E W L E A D E Jill Monaco Middle School Principal Jill is a lifelong Western New Yorker who has over 30 years experience in education. She has worked as an administrator in private Catholic schools for the past 23 years, most recently as the Assistant Principal at Cardinal O’Hara High School, and prior to that, the Principal at Immaculata Academy for 16 years. Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Oswego and two Master’s Degrees from Canisius College in General Education and School Administration. Jill is honored to continue her career as Nardin Academy’s Middle School Principal and looks forward to being an innovative partner in the educational process and working alongside the dedicated leadership team and talented faculty members at Nardin to assist students in reaching their maximum potential. Jill is committed to leading by example, using collaborative efforts, and being visible and accessible to students, faculty, and staff. Her mission is to empower students to be their best selves and to do what inspires them. She wants to support each student to reach and exceed their own expectations and to make a difference in the world. Married for 20 years to her husband Carmen, they have been blessed with twin girls who are the light of their lives. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, camping, hiking, and going to Florida beaches.
19 Nardin TodayFall 2022 What excites you about serving as the VP of Education Excellence? BF: The possibilities at Nardin are endless. This role allows me to work with principals and faculty to creatively elevate curriculum, instructional practices, and offerings for students. How do you define your academic philosophy? BF: I believe teaching is the art, science, and love of helping others learn. Done well, teaching is more than the competent delivery of content or ensuring that students master facts. At its highest level, teaching is about enabling students to discover their unique "why." Achieving this requires igniting a student's mind and emotions so that the virtuous cycle of inquisitiveness, discovery, mastery, and self-efficacy becomes a habit. Can you talk to the community about the importance of the new curriculum mapping project Nardin is working towards across the Academy? BF: In order to prepare students to become active, thoughtful contributors to the community and world, it is critical to examine our curriculum to ensure we are equipping them with all the tools they need. The students we have in front of us at Nardin today need to be prepared differently than the students we had five years ago. The needs of our world are shifting and moving at lightning speed. We must keep up - and one way we can do that is through continually updating and reflecting upon our curriculum. What has been your favorite experience at Nardin so far? BF: The students! I have had the opportunity to visit classrooms at each level (Toddlers through Seniors) and being in their learning environments is a daily reminder of why I do this work and why I love this work. I have found the Nardin students to be kind and inquisitive. n R S H I P Meet Dr. Bobbie Finocchio, Ph.D. Vice President of Education Excellence Bobbie joined the Nardin team in July of 2022. Bobbie has 16 years of experience as a school principal, a special education teacher, and mentor to new teachers and prospective school principals. Her areas of expertise include curricular reform and mapping, backwards design, and co-teaching. The Vice President for Education Excellence position is to act as the education leader of the entire Academy, and is responsible for working with each school's principal and coordinating the efforts of our academic leaders. Bobbie shared with us her thoughts on education and what she hopes to accomplish at Nardin! QA &
20 Nardin Today Fall 2022 In the tradition of the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, Nardin upholds the value of “embracing all.” In this spirit, members of the Class of 1998 looked to Nardin to see where their support could improve and enhance our school experience for all students. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged and evidence of continued social injustice was so painfully evident, they couldn’t help but recognize that the year they turned 40 years old was turning out to be entirely unpredictable and not nearly as joyful as they had hoped. True to form, these Nardin women came together and decided to take action aimed at increasing equity and inclusion. The result of their conversations with each other and with members of the Nardin administration was the establishment of The Nardin Experience Fund, which directly impacts the lives of students with limited socio-economic means. This fund helps cover costs that fall outside of the tuition umbrella, so that these students have the opportunity to benefit from the full Nardin experience. “There are so many traditions and activities that are part of the Nardin experience,” said Dr. Laura Venuto ‘98, E’94. “They come with costs, preventing some students from being able to participate, and it is our wish to make sure that every student enjoys all that a Nardin education has to offer.” “What started out as a brainstorming session amongst friends on how to create small acts of kindness, has grown exponentially beyond our expectations,” said Molly (Shannon) Hines ‘98. “The response of the Nardin community has been so inspiring.” To date, more than $103,000 has been committed to this effort and continues to grow. “Our Nardin experience taught us the importance of giving back to others,” Venuto continued. “As adults and parents, we see how lives can be enriched when everyone in a community is thriving. It has been a joy to create something positive during a time of turmoil and reconnect with so many former classmates to do something to enrich the experience of current Nardin students.” n NARDIN EXPERIENCE FUND To make a gift in support of The Nardin Experience Fund, please visit www.Nardin.org/SupportNardin. Top (left to right): Kelly Sullivan, Erin Keefe, Madeline (Chiampou) Tully Bottom (left to right): Laura Venuto, Gretchen (Meyers) Wochensky, Molly (Shannon) Hines Members of Class of 1998 Members of Class of 1998 living our mission
21 Nardin TodayFall 2022 • In the spring of 2022, our Upper School students had the opportunity to attend The Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity, and Mission Youth Conference at Niagara University. Nardin had 22 Upper School students represent the Academy, and were joined by 11 other local independent, public, and charter schools from across Erie County and Niagara County. Here, students were able to address local and national issues of race while encouraging and working with their peers to engage in dialogue about race and equity. • Peyton Leftwich ‘22 and Charlotte Nelson ‘23 led various workshops that engage other youth leaders in discussions about how race plays a role in goal setting, how race and equity are related, and how justice movements can help youth overcome marginalization and oppression in their communities. • 14 Upper School students attended the Nichols Inclusivity Conference, “The World We Deserve.” The Conference had representation from local schools, with a focus on creating safe, collaborative spaces, and had workshops on mental health, how to develop skills for allyship, climate justice, language, and accessibility and ability. • The Education Collaborative of WNY (EdCo) held a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit in March of 2022. 20 Nardin Upper School students attended along with the other EdCo partner schools. Through conversations and workshops, the students worked together with a focused theme of Health & Wellness as it relates to equity and justice. The participants even spoke to and received a signed book by Buffalo’s Poet Laureate, Jillian Hanesworth. n IN THE Community We are grateful to our students and faculty for embodying and promoting Nardin’s values of Fostering Connections and Embracing All. In 2022, our Upper School students took a hands-on approach in building relationships beyond the four walls of Nardin. Working collectively with their peers across Western New York, they have begun to develop meaningful discussions and actionable solutions on how to build more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments.
22 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Welcoming Students to our Upper School
23 Nardin TodayFall 2022 After an esteemed 46-year career at Nardin Academy, our beloved Montessori Principal Kristin Whitlock retired at the end of the 2021-22 academic year. Kristin’s dedication to her work helped the Montessori program grow from just two classrooms at the Cleveland Avenue campus into a thriving multi-age Montessori educational opportunity that spans two campuses. Today, our Nardin Montessori offerings include Toddler, Early Childhood, and Elementary programs, serving students from 18 months to nine years of age, where students develop their curiosity, discover their talents, and begin their life-long education journeys. Kristin has left an indelible imprint on our entire Nardin community. Dedicated to each of her students, families, and faculty members, Kristin began first as an Early Childhood classroom teacher and then grew into her role as an administrator, where she served for over twenty years. She noted with amusement that she sometimes found herself teaching the children of her former students. Highly regarded by her Montessori contemporaries across the East Coast and United States, she served as a board member of the American Montessori Society (AMS) for several years, and worked on all of Nardin's Middle States accreditation teams. Nardin Academy Montessori remains the only Montessori school in Western New York fully accredited both by AMS and Middle States, due to the efforts that Kristin and the Nardin Montessori faculty continue to put forth. Congratulations, Kristin! n Kristin Whitlock Retirement New Beginnings Nardin’s unique approach to Freshmen and transfer student orientation Written by Christina Roselli ‘23 and Sana Said ‘23 The Crew Leader program at Nardin Academy is a truly unique experience for our freshmen and upperclassmen. Students from grades 10-12 are presented with the opportunity to become a crew leader; all that is necessary for the role is a friendly attitude and a desire to embody Nardin’s welcoming spirit. The program starts off with ice cream–as all good things do. Nardin holds its annual ice cream social at our local Cookies and Cream on Elmwood Avenue, which is a short walk from the school. The event allows incoming freshmen to meet each other and get to know some of the crew leaders. Following this event, the role of a crew leader officially kicks off during the summer when we contact our freshmen. Each crew leader is assigned one or two freshmen, depending on their location and which Nardin House the freshman will belong to: Cleveland, Delaware, Tudor, or Elmwood. The crew leaders begin with a simple, friendly phone call, providing the first introduction between the freshman and their assigned upperclassman. For the rest of summer, the freshmen and crew leaders stay in touch, and freshmen have the ability to ask any questions regarding Nardin, including the schedule, sports, clubs, and Winter Experience. Additionally, crew leaders meet with their freshmen during the summer; some go out for coffee, ice cream, or just to hang out! After the freshmen and crew leaders meet, they stay in contact, sharing comments, concerns, and developing friendships. A few weeks before the school year begins, the entire freshman class and their crew leaders meet at the Kevin T. Keane Sports Park in August for the Freshman Picnic, where they participate in fun, team bonding activities, and have dinner from a food truck. All of these activities strengthen the bond between freshmen, their peers, their crew leaders, and faculty and staff. This welcoming event is followed by an orientation the following week, where the freshmen were given two extra “first days” to run-through what their cascading schedule will look like when school resumes. They had the opportunity to receive a pre-introduction to their courses and become acquainted with their new teachers. This year, a scavenger hunt was held for freshmen to learn how to navigate their way throughout the building. Moreover, the second introduction day consisted of informational meetings regarding community service, a club showcase that featured karaoke, and also included the first House Competition of the year! The competition was a relay race where each advisory member would run back and forth with a puzzle piece to their advisor, and the first team to put the puzzle together won. Both crew leaders and teachers cheered on the freshmen. This simple competition instills a strong sense of community not only among the freshman class, but with the upperclassmen and faculty as well. The crew leader program is a valuable asset for Nardin and its students. A sense of belonging and community is a vital aspect of life at Nardin, and our freshmen are immediately welcomed with enthusiasm and inviting energy before the school year even begins. n Christina Roselli ‘23 Sana Said ‘23
24 Nardin Today Fall 2022 gator bites Spring 2022 Highlights Varsity Tennis • Our tennis team had another tremendous season finishing undefeated with an 12-0 record and winning the league championship. • Katherine Kraus ‘23 and Madison Forton ‘23 played a competitive "all Nardin" singles final with Katherine taking 1st place and Madison 2nd place. • Julia Bembenista ‘23 and Grace Brydges ‘23 solidified the team's dominance with their 1st place doubles finish. Varsity Softball • Varsity Softball captured the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association (MMHSAA) Regular Season Championship, with a 9-1 record in league play (16-4 overall). They finished the year ranked #10 in NYS Class A. • The Gators captured tournament titles at the Mudville, NY Tournament and the Williamsville South Tournament. • Five team members earned All Catholic Honors. Julianna Verni ‘22, Erin Nuwer ‘24, and Emily Gorman ‘24 were 1st Team recipients, while Sophia Will ‘22 and Jayden Szkatulski ‘24 received 2nd team awards. • Julianna Verni ‘22 – MMHSAA Pitcher of the Year; 1st Team All WNY, 1st Team All State Class A. • Erin Nuwer ‘24 – MMHSAA Player of the Year; 1st Team All WNY, 2nd Team All State Class A. Track and Field • The track and field team captured their 6th consecutive regular season title, going undefeated 7-0 in league meets. • They then went on to win the All Catholic Championship meet for the 5th consecutive year. • All Catholic Champions include Emma Sgroi ‘22 in the 3000 meter; the 4 x 800 meter relay consisting of Chloe Smith ‘25, Taylor Seitz ‘23, Pink Mangan ‘25, and MK Hartigan ‘22; Presleigh Brunner ‘22 in the triple jump; Clare Rados ‘23 in the discus; and Stephanie Derkovitz ‘24 in the long jump, while also breaking the school record with a jump of 17 feet and six inches. Track and Field, con't. • Emma Sgroi ‘22 won the Catholic State Championship in the 3000 meter. • Emma Sgroi ‘22 (3000 meter) and MK Hartigan ‘22 (steeplechase) qualified to participate in the NYS Track and Field Federation Championships. Varsity Lacrosse • The varsity lacrosse team finished the season with an overall record of 13-3 and 10-2 in the league earning a second seed in the playoffs. • Five members of the team earned All Catholic honors, including 2nd team honorees Mary Dunn ‘23 and Gabby Connors ‘24 and our first team All Catholic winners were Caroline Baldwin ‘23, Haven Daboll ‘23, and Abby Gioia ‘22. • Caroline Baldwin ‘23 also earned 1st Team All WNY recognition. Varsity Crew • The Varsity Crew team, traveling almost every weekend in the spring and thrived on the water. The Senior 4, Lightweight 4 and the 2nd Varsity 8 all won Gold medals at the John Bennett Regatta. • At the NYS State Championships, the 1st Varsity 8 and 2nd varsity 8 both won Silver medals. • The season was capped off with the Senior 4+, with Lauren Bauer ‘22, Haley McMullen ‘22, Esther Littlefield ‘22, Mary Mangan ‘23, and Lucy Fortner ‘24, winning a Canadian National Championship at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Regatta. League Championships Golf I Tennis I Softball I Track and Field I Ice Hockey Playoff Championships Track and Field I Golf I Ice Hockey State Championships Emma Sgroi ‘22 - Track - 3000 Meter Canadian Championships Senior 4+ - Lauren Bauer ‘22, Haley McMullen ‘22, Esther Littlefield ‘22, Mary Mangan ‘23, and Lucy Fortner ‘24 Major School Awards Rising Star - Emily Gorman ‘24 Jaquelyn V. Zanghi Sportsmanship - Kayla Krupski ‘23 Jaquelyn V. Zanghi Athlete of the Year - Lauren Bauer ‘22, Julianna Verni ‘22 The Nardin Athletics program continues to thrive from the Montessori all the way through our Upper School. We are proud of our student-athletes who show their commitment on the field and in the classroom. Nearly 260 Lower & Middle School boys and girls participate on the 15 sports teams available to our K-8 grade students. And 267 young women, 66% of the Upper School enrollment, participated in one or more of 25 sports teams available at the junior varsity and varsity level.
25 Nardin Today Fall 2022 COLLEGE SIGNINGS Congratulations Gators! The Upper School is proud to announce that the Class of 2022 had 11 student-athletes sign letters of commitment to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level.
26 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Beginning in the earliest grades, the art programs at Nardin encourage students to foster passion and explore imagination. creative input Olivia Pratt ‘23 M.K Hartigan ‘22 Mary Molloy ‘23
27 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Sugar skull masks, paper mache & acrylic paint is by Grade 7. Cast hands by the 3D Sculpture Class Ceramic sculpture by Summer Celani ‘24 Drawings by the Kindergators Tree display border is watercolor painted Flint corn is by Grade 1; watercolor painted leaves is by Grade 3. Pieces from the Toddler Art Exhibit
28 Nardin TodayFall 2022 alumni spotlight Please tell us about yourself. RH: I was born on July 12, 1980 and raised on the East Side of Buffalo to two loving and involved parents who always encouraged me to seek success and dream big. I attended Buffalo Prep in grammar school and could attend Nardin for high school on a full academic scholarship. Seeing the benefits of nonprofit work and its impact on a child’s enrichment made me want to reach back and volunteer in my community, starting with mentoring other Buffalo Prep students as a teenager. I have always had a heart for service, but I didn’t know what path to take. Please tell us about your student experience at Nardin. RH: At Nardin, my student experience was just being a teenager. I wasn’t into athletics, but I traveled with my best friend, Shatika (Tiq) Milan, and kept stats for the varsity basketball team. I was also a member and eventually President of the Rainbow Heritage Club under Mrs. Rosalie Sperrazza. The friendships I fostered during that time were paramount in helping me find my voice, do my part to create systemic changes, and help educate my classmates on many of the cultural experiences of being Black in America. Raziya Hill '98 QA &
29 Nardin Today Fall 2022 alumni spotlight Please discuss your life after Nardin. RH: After Nardin, I attended college and sought out a path. At the time, I didn’t complete my education and worked several jobs in Corporate America. I wasn’t happy with the 9-5 world and knew I was supposed to be doing something more with my life. I couldn’t find the joy that I sought. I knew I wanted to do something that created a level of hope and added value to the world. What was the origin of starting your non-profit Every Bottom Covered? RH: In my quest to find myself, my life took many twists and turns. I became a single mother and struggled to care for my son alone. As I had to access the low-income services throughout the city, I realized that there was nowhere that a parent could obtain diapers and wipes. I went back to college after my son was born and learned about a diaper bank in Southern Arizona. I began doing independent research on diaper need, and discovered that there was no resource available locally, and that led to the birth of Every Bottom Covered, Inc. Did anything in your experience at Nardin help prepare you or inform you starting your own non-profit? RH: Nardin equipped me with access to diversity, learning from others whom I may not have crossed paths with otherwise. Having come from an urban upbringing, often what seemed “normal” culturally has come from a space of learning to adjust to inequities and make the best of life. What would you tell current Nardin students about starting Every Bottom Covered? RH: I would tell current Nardin students to follow their dreams, and it is not impossible to see a need and fill that need. Everyone can do their part to make a positive impact on the world and work outside of us to see the beauty in others. We can create a healthier world, one person at a time. Tell us more about Every Bottom Covered. RH: Every Bottom Covered is the first and only diaper bank located in and serving families across Western New York. The organization started in my living room in 2016, and we were blessed to partner with Delavan Grider Community Center in May of 2017, where we saw an immediate interest in our services. Since our partnership started, we have distributed over one million diapers and pull-ups as well as wipes. We’ve expanded into Allegany and Chautauqua counties, where we have helped over 400 families with 400,000 diapers and pull-ups. Presently, our organization provides 50 diapers or 25 pull-ups and wipes for every child in an underserved household up to the 3rd birthday on a monthly basis. Our current needs: volunteers to work in the warehouse helping to organize supplies, wrap diapers and pull-ups; volunteers to attend community pop-up events and help distribute supplies; volunteers to pack orders being shipped to our partner organizations across counties of Western New York; financial support to continue purchasing supplies and maintaining operations. n
30 Nardin Today Fall 2022 Jacquelyn V. Zanghi Gymnasium Naming Jacquelyn V. Zanghi began her career at Nardin Academy in 1966, and continued as a teacher, coach and athletic director until her death in 1997. She was the longest tenured athletic director in Nardin’s history, and the voice and presence of Nardin Athletics for over three decades. Jackie provided inspiration and wise counsel for Nardin girls on and off the court. In winning and losing seasons alike, she remained positive and encouraging. Nardin’s athletics program continues to challenge student-athletes to develop and maximize their individual talents and celebrate school pride. Part of the Academy’s $20 million Called to Connect campaign features a newly-constructed competition size gymnasium with spectator seating for 480. Those of us who remember having to travel to other schools for all of our games will especially appreciate that finally, Gators now have the opportunity to play on a HOME court! Our athletes are thrilled to enjoy home court advantage, with teachers and fellow students cheering them on. It is impossible to overstate the impact of this new space. When asked her thoughts, a current basketball player said it perfectly, “We now have a place to call home.” We can think of no more fitting tribute to Jackie than to name the new gymnasium for her. Nardin Academy is honored to show tribute to a woman who positively impacted the lives of so many students, and we are happy to now continue to share her legacy with a new generation of Nardin athletes. n Phil Hubbell (far right), brother-in-law of Jacquelyn V. Zanghi and family
31 Nardin Today Fall 2022 On September 30, 2022, Nardin hosted our annual induction of the Athletics Hall of Fame. The Nardin Academy Athletics Hall of Fame honors and celebrates the proud tradition of athletics at Nardin Academy. This ceremony recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions of Nardin Upper School alumnae, coaches, and administrators. Honorees represent the ideals of excellence, sportsmanship, leadership, courage, and teamwork. Sheila Rooney ‘75 Emily Zobel Kontos ‘96 Kathryn Rooth ‘97 Lauren Marchese ‘10 Rising Star Award: Emily Gorman ‘24 Congratulations and thank you for your dedication to athletics at Nardin Academy! athletics hall of fame
32 Nardin Today Fall 2022 nardin notes 1960s Susan Rodgers Rooth ‘67, along with her husband Gilbert and two of their children, own Rooth & Rooth Elder Law Attorneys, located in Seminole, FL. Their firm assists clients with every aspect of elder law, estate planning, probate, and planning for long-term care. As proud graduates of Nardin Academy and Canisius High School, Susan and Gilbert named conference rooms at their firm after their beloved alma maters. 1970s Susan McCartney ‘71 was recognized as one of Buffalo Business First’s Power 200 Women in 2022. She is currently Director of the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State College. Margaret Werick Paroski M.D. ‘72, E’68, President, CEO and Chief Medical Officer for Catholic Medical Partners, was selected as one of the 2022 Buffalo Business First's Power 200 Women. Ruth Gorski Johnson M.D. ‘73 writes, “I retired in 2020 after 35 years as a family physician. I am now caring for our four cats, one of which is an eight-month-old busy kitten!” Sharon Wick ‘77, a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP in Buffalo, was included in the 2022 Buffalo Business First’s list of Power 200 Women. Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker ‘78 will retire in December as the President/CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. She was named one of Buffalo Business First’s Power 200 Women of 2022. 1980s Irena Wosczak ‘81 recently participated in a medical mission trip to Guatemala. The owner of Broadway Opticians, located within Buffalo’s iconic East Side Broadway Market, Irena brought much needed eyeglasses to the villages of Jalapa, Guatemala, an agricultural region 100 miles from Guatemala City. Woszczak, who grew up near the Broadway Market, likened Jalapas to her neighborhood growing up. “I saw a lot of the religion and the same sense of community there.” Nardin graduate and Alumnae Hall of Fame recipient Margaret Sullivan ‘75 has retired her celebrated critics column at The Washington Post. With an editorial position at the New York Times and her position as Editor-in-Chief at The Buffalo News, Margaret has broken barriers in journalism and paved the way for men and women, including future graduates of Nardin Academy. Sullivan plans to work on book projects moving forward in addition to teaching at Duke University. Her next book “Newsroom Confidential: Lessons (and Worries) From an Ink-Stained Life” will be released in October. She truly exemplifies and upholds the Mission of Nardin Academy to inspire hearts and minds to do amazing things for the world through faith, character, academic excellence, and service. Please join us in congratulating Margaret and wishing her all the best in her future endeavors. “ Margaret is more than a star columnist, she has been a mentor, sounding board and role model for our media team and the newsroom at large. ~ Washington Post editors Irene Wosczak '81 Susan Rodgers Rooth '67 Margaret Sullivan’s Next Chapter