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Ross School Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Originally Posted: November 09, 2011

Ross students perform before family, friends, faculty and staff at the School’s 20th Anniversary Kick-Off Party recently. (Courtesy Photo: Ross School)

East Hampton - Ross School is celebrating a big birthday this year and, in honor of this milestone, the School has launched a yearlong celebration. The festivities began on October 21, when Ross School Founder, Courtney Sale Ross, hosted an extraordinary 20th Anniversary Kick-Off Party for the Ross Community in the Center for Well-Being.

The western-themed event was attended by more than 700 guests, including grandparents, parents, students, alumni, and faculty and staff. Ross was also pleased to welcome two very special guests, Ross mentors and key collaborators in the development of the School's Spiral Curriculum, Ralph Abraham and William Irwin Thompson. This event also kicked-off the School's annual appeal which aims to raise $700,000 and garner 100 percent participation and support from the Ross community.

Guests danced to country western music by the Stony Creek Band, dined on Southwest cuisine catered by the Ross Café and Silver Spoon Specialties and enjoyed special student performances. Lower School students performed a dance piece called "Contemplative Movement," choreographed by Margaret Kestler, Lower School Performing Arts teacher. They also sang "We Sing Out" in the Court Theater.

The event kicked-off the School's annual appeal. (Courtesy Photo: Ross School)

In the Gandhi Hall, the Middle School Advanced Concert Band performed "Jesu, Meine Zuversicht," and in honor of the School's renewed emphasis on Chinese culture and language, Lower and Middle School students sang Chinese songs - "Where Are My Friends?" and "Kan Guo Lai," respectively. Chinese teacher Jessica Gong also performed, playing the Guzheng, an ancient Chinese musical instrument, which she has studied for 20 years.

In addition, the High School students sang the School's Alma Mater "In Order To Serve" with music and lyrics composed by Adam Judd, Ross Performing Arts Chair. Janet Fensterer accompanied on the piano. The High School Jazz Band concluded the student performances with an outstanding rendition of Horace Silver's "Nutville," under the direction of jazz legend Hal McKusick.

Nearby, arts and crafts activities were set up for young children, including Chinese brush painting, tile painting, storytelling, improvisational theatre, dance, drumming, Tai Chi and yoga. On the main level of the CWB, guests enjoyed playing in interactive media stations where they could have their photos taken or appear on a large screen in the abstract. A Ross History Wall that nearly ran the width of the Great Hall featured photographs of the School, students and faculty, offering a chronology of Ross School from the time of its inception.

Founded in 1991 by Courtney and Steven J. Ross, Ross School is honoring its 20th Anniversary with celebrations and initiatives throughout the year. The School has enjoyed numerous milestones over the course of its 20 years, including the opening of the High School with the first boys to attend Ross in 1997; welcoming boys to the Middle School in 2002; the opening of the Center for Well-Being, the hearth of the School, in 1999; the opening of Ross Lower School in Bridgehampton in 2006; the start of the School's boarding program in 2008; the opening of the Ross Tennis Center in 2009; and the Café program expanding to the Lower School and the accreditation of Ross Tensta Gymnasium as a Ross School by Ross Institute in 2010.

Board member Lori Schiaffino, whose daughter, alumna Nicole Haramut '01, was one of the first two students at Ross, reflected on how far the School has come. "I am so excited to see how the School has grown over the past 20 years. In the very beginning my daughter Niki and I accompanied Courtney and [her daughter] Nicole for a wonderful on-site learning experience in China and Japan, but I could never have imagined then how Courtney's vision would blossom into such a grand institution," she said.

"It was fantastic to have the whole School community together to celebrate this milestone," said Michele Claeys, Head of School. "I danced with seniors and second graders! The artwork, performances and activities were perfect examples of Ross School's mission to educate the whole child for the whole world. We have accomplished so much in 20 years; what a treat to reflect on and celebrate our beginnings."

About Ross School
Ross School, founded by Courtney Sale Ross, is an accredited independent school for pre-nursery through grade 12 with campuses in East Hampton and Bridgehampton, New York. Ross provides a global curriculum in science, arts, humanities and wellness, as well as competitive athletics, college placement and opportunities for travel.

For more information, click here.

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