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Dear Horace Mann School Community,
We write to provide an update to the Horace Mann School community regarding our work to review issues raised by the petition to reconsider the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Achievement presented to United States Attorney General William Barr in 2011.
Recent weeks have shown the world the masses of people gathered globally to protest the death, in police custody, of George Floyd, as together, demonstrators proclaim "Black Lives Matter." Thanks to the work of Horace Mann School alum Flo Ngala '13 we are also getting to know some of the individuals who make up these masses, as she documents the growing movement in evocative portraits and astute interviews. Ngala's chronicle of the protests are appearing online and in print in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, GQ, on Instagram, Facebook, and more.
Just after 10 a.m. on June 10, 2020 the iconic strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" sounded from computer and laptop screens watched by members the Horace Mann School Class of 2020 as their graduation got underway. The graduates, their families, friends, and HM faculty and staff viewing online caught a collective breath as sweeping aerial shots of the classrooms, science labs, performance stages, and athletic fields where the graduates had spent their last four academic years came into view.Rather, that's where the graduates had spent most of that time, save for the last eight weeks of the 2019-2020 school year, when COVID-19 forced them, along with students everywhere, to continue their classes remotely, as this commencement was similarly presented.
"We have heard concerns expressed by current students, alumni, and school employees regarding the Horace Mann School Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Achievement presented to US Attorney General William Barr in 2011. In response, we are convening our Council to canvass the views of our alumni constituencies and to review in a deliberate manner the range of perspectives that are being communicated to us in connection with the award. We intend to consider the issues thoroughly and sensitively." Horace Mann School Alumni Council
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Back in the summer of 2017, just before entering her junior year of high school, Horace Mann School alum Morgan Mackenzie Joseph '19 realized a longtime dream: launching Camp Empowerment. A day camp in Harlem, the program was the cornerstone of The Empowerment Hub, a non-profit organization Joseph designed to address the gap in opportunities and resources for children in the neighborhood where she grew up. The tuition-free camp, mostly for 6-14-year-olds, offered trips to museums, coding classes and financial literacy workshops, sports, STEAM instruction, and more, including time for meaningful discussions, and, of course, fun. The camp's counselors and instructors came from Joseph's network of friends, including a number for Horace Mann School, who helped see Camp Empowerment through its second summer. Click to read more.
On Sunday, May 31st, Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly addressed the ongoing need for conversations within our community about race and institutionalized racism in a letter to current parents and faculty. With the country in a state of crisis, school can be a refuge from the hatred and violence raging outside, but the reality is that no one should ignore the injustices people of color face. As our community processes what's going on and strives toward equality and inclusion, we can thankfully turn to several reliable HM resources: the caring intellect of our teachers, the reassuring presence of our public safety officers, the welcoming comfort of our Counseling and Guidance specialists, and our Office for Identity, Culture, and Institutional Equity (ICIE), which oversees our affinity groups for our kids, parents, and employees.
Some 180 members of the Horace Mann School community had the opportunity to learn about COVID-19 through the experiences of HM alumni physicians at the front lines of the pandemic during a special webinar on May 14, 2020. Those who were not able to join the webinar at its initial streaming now have the chance to hear these doctors' insights about the coronavirus situation today, and their projections for the future, in a recording now available online. Click for the link to access the recorded webinar.
The Horace Mann School Girls Varsity Basketball team's Ella Anthony '20 was named co-Player of the Year in the Class B (small school) category by the New York State Sportswriters Association (NYSSWA) on May 7, 2020. The NYSSWA also named Julia Robbins '20 to the Class B 13th Team All State. Anthony shared her title with Jackie Piddock, a sophomore at South Jefferson High School, in Adams, N.Y. Antony and Robbins were tri-captains, along with Halley Robbins '20, of HM's 2019-2020 championship-winning Lions team. Halley Robbins was named the winner of this year's Coach's Award at HM's winter sports banquet on March 9, 2020.
These days of repeated hand washing and face mask wearing have also given rise to another, more fulfilling, ritual. It's that moment, each evening, when New Yorkers emerge from their homes and open their windows to applaud the healthcare professionals and others at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. This past Mothers' Day saw a new category added to the "healthcare heroes" we regularly salute: the moms who are also at the center of this crucial effort. Horace Mann School alum Dr. Melissa Leber '00, an emergency medicine physician at NYC's Mt. Sinai Hospital, is one. The mother of two young children, on May 9, 2020 Dr. Leber was recognized on ESPN's Sports Center as a "Mother on the Frontlines." Zooming into the broadcast to thank Dr. Leber for her dedicated and heroic service was none other than the physician's own personal hero—New York Yankee legend Derek Jeter. Click to read more about Dr. Leber.
As Horace Mann School's remote learning initiative concludes its fifth week of providing its students the enhanced education they traditionally experienced on-campus, it's clear the program's success relies on the entire school's participation. Named "HM Online," this program that Covid-19-required school closings necessitated, engages HM's students, Nursery through Upper Division, with their regular roster of academics, art, music, physical education, Service Learning, athletics, co-curriculars, clubs and more. For HM students and teachers, the school's libraries are key to their on-campus learning, and continue to be essential now, as they work remotely, providing resource materials, and teaching research skills, while continuing to encourage the love of literature that Horace Mann School has always fostered.
New York Army National Guard Col. Seth Morgulas '89 and his 369th "Harlem Hell Fighters" Sustainment Brigade are at the forefront of N.Y. State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "I currently have about 1,200 of my soldiers on duty," reported Col. Morgulas, who was appointed Commander of the historic 369th Harlem Hell Fighters Brigade in August 2019. "We are spread out from Albany to New York City." His troops have provided much of the labor to set up the hospital at the Javits Center, said Col. Morgulas. Click to read more.
The Living Through History Project – created by Dr. Emily Straus '91, Upper Division history teacher, and Katz Library Head Librarian, Caroline Bartels – is establishing an archival collection that traces the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on our community. Alumni are invited to contribute to this repository, which ultimately will be housed in the HM archives. Examples of submissions are photographs, written logs, videos, poems, songs, interviews, artifacts, scrapbooks, and archived communications.
Click for more information.
The HM Gallery is seeking alumni artwork to include in an online collection of COVID-19-era creative works by the HM community of students, employees, and alumni. The artwork can be anything that can be captured in digital format – paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, video, animation, or crafts, among others.
Click for more details.