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Annual Fund Volunteer Spotlight:
Parent Grade Representative Christina Ikwuazom P ’11, ’13, ’16 & Alumni Class Agent Frances Ikwuazom ’11

The Ikwuazoms: Frances ’11, Christina, Vivien ’13, Jerry and Chibuzo ’16

For Christina and Frances Ikwuazom, volunteering for the Annual Fund is a family affair. Christina has served as a Parent Grade Representative since her eldest daughter, Frances, began at Horace Mann in 2007. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Frances signed on as an Alumni Class Agent during her senior year at HM and has been an active volunteer ever since.

After the Ikwuazoms moved to New York from England when she was a small child, Frances attended P.S. 98 and Mott Hall, where she par­ticipated in the Discovery Program for gifted and talented students. While in grade school, Frances attended Horace Mann’s Summer on the Hill program along with her two sisters, Vivien ’13 and Chibuzo (“Chichi”) ’16.

Frances began attending HM as a freshman and quickly became involved in several activities and sports, including producing and performing in dance recitals, running for track and field and cross country, and taking and editing photographs for The Record.

Beyond the rigorous curriculum and extracurricular opportunities, Frances appreciated the deep sense of community at HM. She remembers her teachers as personable and invested in their students’ learning experience. She describes the student body as “like a family” who would build on one another to improve themselves and the school. “Since I got to attend HM with both of my sisters, the school felt like an extension of my family,” Frances says. “School and home weren’t separate.”

For Christina and her husband Jerry, Horace Mann has provided an ideal educational environment for their three daughters. Like her daughter, Christina appreciates the combination of challenging academics, abundant extracurricular opportunities, dedicated staff, and a close-knit and caring community. She recalls being especially impressed by the commitment of a group of students working late at night to finish an edition of The Record – and enjoying it!

Christina feels that the hard work required of an HM student has prepared her children for college and the world beyond. “They’ve learned to become critical thinkers and developed a strong work ethic,” she says. She believes that Horace Mann has helped her children sharpen their time-management skills, learn how to construct thorough and convincing arguments, and develop a love of reading. These experiences have helped Frances and Vivien thrive in the university setting, and Christina is confident that Chichi will succeed in college as well.

Frances, currently a senior at Harvard College, agrees that her Horace Mann education has helped prepare her for college and the workforce. She explains that every member of the HM community is valued and taught that their voice matters. This experience increased her confidence, helped her develop as a collaborative thinker, and made her both a better speaker and listener.

After she graduates from Harvard with an A.B. in French Literature and History, Frances will move to San Francisco to begin a position in the Business Leadership Program at LinkedIn. Even though she will be moving across the country, Frances looks forward to getting more involved in HM alumni events and attending her class’s fifth reunion in October. “My mom would never let me miss it!” she jokes. Frances also intends to continue volunteering as an Annual Fund Class Agent. She enjoys this roll because it offers her an opportunity to keep in touch with classmates and to give back to the community that provided her with so many valuable skills and experiences.

Christina echoes this sentiment. Paraphrasing the Gospel of Luke, she explains that “to whom much is given, much is expected” has always been an important credo to the Ikwuazom family. “My father always said this and I believe it to be true,” Christina says. “We’ve been fortunate to have this great opportunity for our children.”

(Article appeared in the spring 2015 Donor Newsletter)