Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The value of a Parker education

Susie and I had a great time in NYC visiting Parker alumni! We also visited with a former Parker teacher, Taeko Onishi.

Jesse Pickard, '98 and Lily Meyer, '97 joined us, along with parent and trustee, Sarah Firisen, at a lively wine and tapas bar on 9th Avenue.  Jesse went to Columbia High School after Parker, then to Syracuse University where he majored in marketing design.  Along the way he got interested in software development.  He just received a highly competitive venture capital grant to develop an iPhone app for teaching foreign language through games.  Lily went to Albany High, then Rochester Institute of Technology, and has been working as a photographer's production assistant in the fashion industry.

Jesse said that the education of his peers in college and in business didn't reinforce the importance of being different.  They were taught to conform and do the expected.  But Jesse believes his education at Parker stressed creativity and freedom.  He also credits Parker with teaching him tolerance, acceptance and the ability to stand up for his convictions.

Taeko taught math at Parker from 1996 -2000 when she left to co-found the Ark Charter School in Troy.  She is now principal at the Lyons Community School, a middle and high school in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.  Susie and I visited the school for the afternoon.  With 500 students in its third year, the atmosphere was energetic and bustling - full of promise and caring. 

It has been an inspiration and a joy to connect with our talented and creative alumni students and faculty!

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