Archives for December 2016

“Remembering Cipinko”

By Cia White, High School English

stuart-cipinko-1999Stu Cipinko died on December 1st, having had a heart attack after a run. Anyone who had the incredible good fortune to have had Stu as a teacher, a mentor, a friend – Stu always conscientiously distinguished between the roles of teacher and friend; still, he was indeed a friend to students – knows what a rare gift of a man he was; the example of his integrity, his brilliance, and his dedication to the life of mind (in the wisest, widest sense) was indelible for dozens of students.

All are invited to “Remembering Cipinko” on Tuesday, December 27th from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the High School, for a chance to share hugs, tears, and tales. (Beer, wine, and casual hors d’oeuvres will be served. Remember to enter the school on Broadway!)

Facebook posts this month have amply demonstrated the gratitude and sorrow of dozens of alums. Below, just a few.

“ . . Thinking about Stuart L. Cipinko today and I picked up my copy of Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. I still have my St. Francis copy (carried across four states and innumerable apartments) filled with my notes from his class. I have read and reread that book more than any other single book in the world and every time I open it, I think of him.” – Maggie Mendel ’06

“My dear teacher, I have wondered where your righteous rage and powerful mind have taken you since teaching me about colonialism and hegemony in high school. I wish we had had a chance to reconnect in these last few years. Your wisdom and guidance are much needed in this insane moment in history, and your laughter and hard-won praise will be missed.” – Isaac Fosl Van Wyke ’05

“When I did my Senior Project, he was charged, I suppose, with saying some kind words about me. They were touching words, words I’m struggling to remember, but what I do remember is that it was one of the first times an ‘adult’ seemed to understand me.” – Rebecca Bryant G’98, ’02

“What can I say except that Stuart saw my rage and made something human with it? What can I say except that underneath the angry public school girl, he saw something that no one else had bothered to look for? With his infinite calm, his bottomless wisdom, he reached into the lava of me. Everything cooled. He was angry too. He taught me about systems of oppression. Propaganda and how it functions. Systemic violence and where white men fit into it. He was so angry, and I was so angry, and somehow he took all my anger and showed me how to mold it into something useful. He also showed me that I wasn’t a writer. Not yet. Stuart saw the vehicle I had built with my writing and my rage and he broke it all apart. Piece by piece, wheel by wheel, he and Cia White helped me build something that would carry me where I wanted to go.” – Olivia Cole ’07

“Reading The Battle for God and class discussions about fundamentalism in world religion were life-changing for me. In the best way. Albeit frequently uncomfortable. All of those experiences engaging in debates in class with Stu moderating and challenging us. Little did we know we were cultivating an essential skill – to struggle with ideas and knowledge and sit still with the complexity of beliefs, and humanness, to eventually take those skills for struggle out into the world.” – Amanda Fair (Horton) Parmenter ’01

Photo Gallery for Week of December 12 – December 16


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Wyverns in NYC and Thanksgiving Weekend Events

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Alumni Updates December 2016

Alumni Updates

Maggie McCoy Pogue ’81 is the owner and operator of the Horseshoe Cross Ranch in Florida, where she raises beef cattle, dairy goats, and border collies. She is married to Dean Pogue and has two sons, ages 18 and 16.

Note from an alumna – Vicky Spencer Rouse ’83
I am thrilled to be touching base again with the school that helped me find a voice. I am currently the owner and special needs travel expert at Special Needs Vacation By V. I am still in the Louisville area, and would love to connect with those close and far. This summer Margi Fine Gad ’83 and I reconnected in NYC. I have also become a recent author. My book, The Special Needs Family Vacation Guide, is available on Amazon for $10. In order to honor my mom, who had Parkinson’s disease for over 30 years, I am coordinating a Parkinson’s Creativity Cruise out of NYC in May. Hope to be hearing from my fellow Wyverns.

Dr. Sander Florman ’85, director of the Racanati/Miller Transplant Institute at Mount Sinai in New York, was recently interviewed on the new field of HIV-positive organ transplants. Listen to this fascinating story here.

Sara Holt G’90, ’94 moved to Shanghai from St. Louis this summer to join her husband, who is a lecturer in the Writing Program at NYU’s Shanghai campus. Sara is currently spending most of her time learning Chinese and trying to figure out how to navigate life in China. She had been working as an architect and hopes to eventually find work in that field in China.

Danny Slaton ’96 works for Top Shelf Lobby, a government relations firm in Frankfort. He is married to Elizabeth Fitzgibbons and the couple has two children, ages 4 and 1.

Carolyn Gilles Hannan ’99 won an Orange Fork Award through the Idea Festival Taste Innovation. This award is for innovation in food, community, and sustainability in the business category. Carolyn works at Rainbow Blossom, owned by fellow alumna Summer Auerbach ’00, where she is the Director of Branding and New Business Development. In her three years at Rainbow Blossom, she has created and implemented several new programs that are centered around local, organic food, health + wellness, and innovation for the company’s business model. The award recognizes this work. Carolyn is also mom to Alexander (2) and wife to Schot, who is in his final year of a medical pediatrics residency at the University of Louisville.

Collin Smith G’96, ’00 plays Harry Jameson in Bear With Us, a film that was screened at the Flyover Film Festival in Louisville this July at the Baxter Theater. The film has won several awards on the film festival circuit. Bear With Us is a modern farce about a guy who attempts to propose to his girlfriend in the most romantic way possible, but his plan starts to fall apart when a ravenous bear stumbles upon their charming cabin in the woods. It’s a total comedy of errors that takes a close look at just how far we’ll go to preserve our relationships. Visit the website for more information.

Austin Llewellyn G’00, ’04 graduated from law school at Florida International University and passed the bar in both Kentucky and Florida. He has since returned to Louisville to practice law with his father.

Laura Binford ’06 is working as a data analyst at Wellcare and planning a wedding set for October 2017. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Louisville in sociology, followed by a Master’s in Epidemiology at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences.

John Reel ’06 is currently living in Denver while pursuing his Master’s Degree in Natural Resource Management. He enjoys living in Colorado and spending his free time hiking and biking.

Hannah Wells ’06 is living in New York and working as an associate in the tax group at the law firm Schulte Roth & Zabel. She graduated from the NYU School of Law in May and is preparing for a wedding to Amar Sheth in November 2017.

Anna Byers ’07 recently moved back to New York, where she just passed the New York bar exam. She is living there with her boyfriend, Drew, and their dog, Louis V (named for Louisville). She recently graduated from Harvard Law School and is serving as an Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC) fellow. IJC is a two-year fellowship dedicated to training passionate and committed immigration lawyers. Fellows are placed at organizations around the New York area to serve indigent and vulnerable populations attempting to gain legal or stable immigration status in the U.S. Anna works at the Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families in the Bronx.

Olivia Cole ’07 won a writing contest sponsored by literary agent Regina Brooks, which resulted in a two-book North American rights deal with HarperCollins. The first book in the series, The Whitecoat’s Daughter, is set for publication in late 2018. She is currently writing the second book in the series while her agent negotiates possible film and foreign distribution rights. Olivia is also working on an unrelated young adult project and preparing for the conference circuit next year. Olivia has two other books currently available for sale on Amazon – Panther in the Hive and Rooster’s Garden.

Kevin Ryan ‘07 is working as a freelance digital marketing and communications specialist. His webinar, “Exploring Social Media and e-Business” launches this month. Most recently, Kevin has been traveling around North Carolina, Washington D.C., and New York with friend and furniture designer, Keith Fritz. He was also featured in a Washington Post article discussing ways to effectively organize a tiny closet, which stemmed from his work with the professional organization company, Rachel and Company. Read the article here.

Kathryn Klingle ’13, currently a senior at Harvard College, created a short documentary film, Pata, that was selected as an official entry in the Boston Asian American Film Festival. The film tells the story of Pata Suyemoto, a woman who has turned the pain of loss and depression into ways to help her community. Check out Kathryn’s film here

Simon Spengler (exchange student in 2013-14) is getting ready for a year of voluntary service in Ghana. He will be in a school, helping with after-school activities and subjects like sports, arts, and music.


Allison Tyler ’03 married Bryan Rice in October in Tampa. Several Wyverns fought through Hurricane Matthew to attend, including Nora Crutcher Drake G’99, ’03, and of course Allison’s sister Sarah Tyler ’07. Allison described the event: “The day was perfect, a small wedding of about 50 people. We started with a cocktail hour where my husband and I mingled with our guests. We then got married by my husband’s best friend. My stepson walked me down the aisle. We had a very quick, but very emotional ceremony. The night ended with homemade cookies from my mom, Lisa Tyler, and some Pappy Van Winkle, our favorite bourbon.”

Brittany Diamond ’06 married Ben Thompson in October. Brittany is working as a product development and sales coordinator for Hollander sleep products.

Saskia Warren ’06 married Dan Leeds in October. The book-themed wedding took place in Thurmont, MD. Guests were asked to attend in costume as characters or authors. Saskia and Dan dressed up as Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride.

Michael Risley ’08 married Hannah Musser in October. The wedding was well-attended by Wyverns old and new, including Zach Ritter ’08, Isaac Hodes G’04, ’08, Tommy Skaggs G’04, ’08, Eugene Tyulmenkov ’08, Alex Joy G’04, ’08, Lev Rooks-Rapport ’08, James Risley G’13 ’17, Chris Joy ’06, and Kyle Snyder G’05, ’09.

Mais Alwan ’12 married Shahrear Shaker (brother of Shams Shaker ’17) in August. Following the wedding, Mais and Shahrear spent their honeymoon in Egypt and Dubai. Since leaving St. Francis, Mais attended Hanover College, graduating in May with a degree in biochemistry. She is now preparing to apply to medical school.

Alumni Profile: Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90

akhtar-nawab-g86-90_1Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90 is a chef and business owner in New York City and Washington D.C. He is currently the chef/owner of the fast-casual concept, Choza Taqueria and Indie Fresh – a health food delivery service – both in NYC. As well, he is the Chef Advisor at Table in Washington D.C. Akhtar’s newest venture “Alta Calidad” is a modern take on Mexican food and is slated to open in NYC this winter 2017. Akhtar studied at the California Culinary Academy and trained under chefs Loretta Keller, Roland Passot and Tom Colicchio. He has received many accolades in the restaurant industry, including the 2007 NYC Rising Star Chef award and recognition as a top ten emerging culinary star by Mario Batali. He has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Iron Chef and as a judge in Worst Cooks in America.

[Read more…]

College Corner December 2016

college-cornerBy Kit Llewellyn, College Advisor

Don’t forget about your December college preparation to-dos! Read on to see what you should be doing now as a sophomore, junior, and senior. 


  • Talk to your senior friends about their applications/visits to campus/interview experiences
  • Be sure to keep up background reading (newspaper, novels, magazines, sci-fi) to maximize your performance on the SAT next year
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • When your PSAT test scores arrive, study the results to discover where you need more focus or assistance. You will be sitting for a practice ACT test in the spring (Sunday, March 19th from 1:30-4:30 p.m.) for experience.


  • When you receive your PSAT test results, make sure to discuss your scores with Kit Llewellyn
  • Research possible colleges for admission using handbooks, catalogs, videos, virtual tours, and online resources
  • Using your PSAT scores and GPA as a preliminary indicator, begin narrowing the range of colleges you are researching
  • Register for the SAT and the ACT on one of the spring test dates (observe that some of the test dates fall during Winter Break, Spring Break, Derby, et al) so plan ahead
  • If you are interested in SAT/ACT prep courses or tutorials, Kit Llewellyn is a good source of information, especially since the SAT and ACT now have a writing component
  • Keep your academic focus during exams and this next semester
  • Check into some summer programs that you might coordinate with the proposal of your Senior Project


  • All of your evaluation forms and teacher recommendations have been submitted via Naviance to your colleges
  • You should complete SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests (if required) testing this month. Walk-in registration is possible, if you did not register on time. Remember that it is your responsibility to send your official scores from ACT and College Board to the universities.
  • If you are accepted early decision, withdraw applications to all other colleges by writing a note
  • If you are deferred early decision, write to the college stating that it is still your first choice and you will attend, if accepted in the spring
  • Parents, finish filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and/or the CSS profile (if applicable) for January mailing. The earlier the better!
  • Everyone will enjoy the holidays more if all of your paperwork is completed by exam week.
  • Realizing how the juggling of your daily work, sports, drama, jobs, friends, and family can be overwhelming, try to stay organized and manage your time wisely.
  • If a college requires an interview and you cannot make it to campus, it is your responsibility to call the admissions office and set up an alum interview locally.
  • As always if you need clarification or are confused about any piece of this process, do not hesitate calling or emailing Kit Llewellyn (502.736.1012)
  • Make sure to get all information regarding the financial aid process at EACH college/university; their requirements and deadlines vary

A Festive Week Ahead!

preschool-holiday-artBy Renee Hennessy, Preschool Director

Friday, December 16th is our Preschool Pajama Day and Holiday Big Sing at 9:10 a.m. We know this will be an incredibly festive day for everyone! Classroom holiday party information will come from individual room parents. 

On Saturday, December 10th, the Frazier History Museum is hosting Holidays Around the World.  Students from our Lower School choir will be performing holiday-themed songs. The museum will also showcase trees from around the world, a scavenger hunt, and several hands-on craft stations. Click here for more information about this event.

“NaNoWriMo” Authors Create Best-Sellers!

nanowrimo-winnersBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

Last Wednesday at Morning Meeting we were treated to a wonderful “feel-good” celebration for our students who finished their participation in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This intense writing project, spearheaded by 7th grade language arts teacher Julie Mushkin, lasted the entire month of November and ended with impressive results. Here are some highlights courtesy of Julie: 

Our NaNoWriMo students are now authors! In 30 short days, our 21 Middle School participants completed the daunting NaNoWriMo challenge with extraordinary success. At 11:59 p.m. on November 30th, our Wyvern Writers classroom closed, and we are proud to report that with five hours remaining, our group had already written 353,707 words. This far surpassed their collective goal of 312,000 words, and translates into approximately 1,400 written pages.

nanowrimo-winnercertificate-2016The students’ rewards for their effort were announced at Morning Meeting after each writer shared his/her book title and a brief synopsis with their Middle School classmates. While some of the details are still being finalized, here is a breakdown of what our writers are receiving as tokens of congratulations, thanks to very generous donors and the SFS community:

  • A free, printed copy of each book, courtesy of Butler Books, which will be perfect bound and professionally typeset! Families will also be able to buy additional copies of the books to share with relatives.
  • A SFS Wyvern Writers t-shirt and an official “NaNoWriMo Winner” certificate to commemorate this achievement.
  • The opportunity to attend a writer’s lunch. This will happen during school at a local restaurant and will be free for the students.
  • Carmichael’s Bookstore donated 51 books to our NaNoWriMo writers. The writers each selected two free books.
  • School librarian Lindsy Serrano is purchasing a copy of each of their books to keep in the Library for the rest of the SFS students to check out! The writers’ fellow students are very excited to start reading their works.
  • I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST! Award-winning New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton has generously agreed to meet with our writers! She is currently in California completing the next installment in her alphabet series (Y), but upon her return in April, she has offered to sit down with the students to discuss the writing process. They will all have their books in their hands by this time and will be published authors. This is undoubtedly going to be a life-changing experience! Thank you to Alexandra Thurstone for helping to arrange this amazing opportunity.

I would also like to thank for the following businesses for helping with this noble project:

  • Butler Books for not only generously offering to typeset all of the novels, but also for gifting all of the students with a free printed copy of their finished book.
  • The employees of Teespring for supporting the Wyvern Writers’ authorship accomplishment by providing a custom “SFS NaNoWriMo Winner” t-shirt to every participant.
  • And Carmichael’s Bookstore for donating over 50 books for our authors to enjoy and help further their love of the written word!

And how did our students feel about devoting a large portion of their spare time to extra “schoolwork” in the form of creative writing?

NaNoWriMo was one of the most amazing things I have partaken in. I got to get out all of my ideas in a 67-page book. It really pushed me to be a better writer and to never stop until you reach your goal. I couldn’t have done any of this without my family or teachers, but it was so fun to work on this and get to know everyone else participating. I will make sure to keep writing and look forward to next year!” – Piper Shiflet

“NaNoWriMo was a fun, challenging, and enlightening experience.” – Will Caudill

I really like NaNoWriMo because it let me find my creative spirit in a way other than art. I didn’t think I would even be able to reach my word goal and I ended up getting 10,000 more! I’m glad Ms. Mushkin offered this because if she hadn’t, I never would’ve really done anything like this. I never really liked writing or reading until I came to St. Francis, so I’m really happy that me and my friends get a chance to do NaNoWriMo.” – Josie Cooley

And I want to thank Julie (and colleague Patrick Donovan) for providing this extremely rewarding experience to our students too! In the same way the students committed themselves to innumerable hours of extra time spent on writing, she also took on a new project and shepherded it to a phenomenally successful finish. She also worked hard on procuring wonderful “rewards” for our kids – but I think the true rewards were earned all those nights they burned the midnight oil creating their books. Bravo to each and every one of you!

Spreading Holiday Cheer During Exam Time!

4th-5th-grade-play-2016_2By Suzanne Gorman, Head of Downtown Campus

We’ve had a largely serious exam prep week with a touch or two of festivity – most notably the 4th/5th grade play performance on Thursday, bringing a bit of holiday cheer to the High School. The exam schedule is in the School Notes section of this newsletter, and as a reminder, the school is open normal hours but students only need to be here for their specific finals. Teachers are all here on days prior to their finals, available for help sessions with students. Other means of assistance:  Kittens will be in residence on Tuesday and a therapy dog in training will be available Wednesday, both for student stress relief. We also provide a “brain food buffet” with some healthy snacks each day in case students haven’t had the chance to eat before they come in to school. A little pre- or post-exam pool and ping-pong may help defuse stress, too!

Speaking of festivity, a huge thank-you to the Parent Association and all parents who contributed to the Faculty-Staff Appreciation Lunch on Monday. We are so grateful for our wonderful parent community and for this lovely annual event. Thank you all!

Photo Gallery for Week of December 5 – December 9

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