Harker Aquila

A 125th year in review

Head+of+School+Brian+Yager+and+Assistant+Head+of+School+Jennifer+Gargano+released+doves+to+celebrate+the+graduation+of+the+Class+of+2018+at+the+end+of+the+ceremony.
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A 125th year in review

Head of School Brian Yager and Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano released doves to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2018 at the end of the ceremony.

Head of School Brian Yager and Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano released doves to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2018 at the end of the ceremony.

Nicole Chen

Head of School Brian Yager and Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano released doves to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2018 at the end of the ceremony.

Nicole Chen

Nicole Chen

Head of School Brian Yager and Assistant Head of School Jennifer Gargano released doves to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2018 at the end of the ceremony.

by Zachary Hoffman, TALON Reporter

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A lot happened in 2018 at the Harker Upper School.

Harker welcomed its 125 anniversary in 2018. With that came the opening of the Rothschild Performing Arts Center. The Student Directed Showcase, with its senior directors Haley Keller (‘18), Sameep Mangat (‘18), Anika Banga (‘18) and Jessica Skinner (‘18), and the annual Dance Production, with its theme “Viva Las Vegas,” were some of the final performances at the Blackford theater.

We found new ways to have fun and stimulate our minds:

Harker Spirit worked with class councils to organize the first year Spirit Rally in the Athletic Center and the inauguration of Quadchella. We were visited by a crazy brass band, and Winter Ball’s Starry Night theme was a hit.

To help accommodate the block schedule and reduce long lunch lines , the cafeteria expanded into the auxiliary gym, and two new food stations were added.

Art club raised money and established “The Gallery,” a dedicated space to showcase a different student’s art ensemble each week under the Shah staircase.

We shared in many victories:

In a combined effort, DECA and TALON yearbook took first place in the Herff Jones Challenge for a presentation on yearbook’s marketing effort to win a $5,000 prize and won many awards including a Pacemaker Finalist for Harker Aquila.

Speech and debate saw won many awards and garnered recognition.

Alumna Jessica Dickinson (‘07) took office as San Jose Human Services Commissioner.

The annual John Near and Mitra Family grant funded eight seniors’ independent research: Amy Jin, Derek Yen, Matthew Lee, Serena Lu, Jacqueline He, Alan Jiang, Andrew Semenza and Emily Chen.

Boys and girls volleyball, boys soccer and boys golf led historic seasons

And commiserate over the losses:

The community mourned the deaths of former Chair of the Board of Trustees Diana Nichols and former French teacher Antoinette Gathy.

We worked together to overcome difficulties:

In support of the 17 lives that were lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, members of the upper school community worked together to hold a vigil in the Athletic Center and provided opportunities for discussion and for students and teachers to contact their local lawmakers. Students and faculty also took to the streets and joined the March for Our Lives movement in downtown San Jose and San Francisco to protest weak gun control laws.

Two teachers were involved in felony charges of misconduct with students. Former music teacher and class dean Chris Florio was arrested in the summer before school, and recently hired psychology teacher Jonathan Sammartino was arrested in the fall.

A fire broke out on the I-280 wall; Head of School Brian Yager and Head of Student affairs Greg Lawson assisted the fire department in putting out the fire.

After an assault and robbery on a middle school teacher in early January, administration made measures to tighten security.

We powered through weeks of smoke and poor air quality and reached out to communities devastated by wildfires.

And we said our farewells and hellos:

Long-time biology teacher Dr. Gary Blickenstaff retired, Academic Dean Evan Barth transitioned to Middle School Head and former upper school psychology teacher Kelly Horan took his position. Eight new teachers joined the faculty.

The class of 2018 graduated with Andy Semenza as the Valedictorian, Julie Wheeler as the student-chosen faculty speaker, Dolan Dworak as the student-chosen student speaker,\ and Tanya Schmidt (‘08) as the guest speaker.

With matriculation, we brought in the freshman class of 2022.

With the coming and going of 2018, we learned as a community how be supportive, caring, energetic and present.

 

 

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A 125th year in review