College Admission 2012

View Athenian College Matriculation 2012 in a larger map

Collectively, Athenian’s 73 recent graduates were accepted by 147 colleges and universities nationwide!  This is a particularly impressive feat given the record low admission rates this year.

100% of the Class of 2012 will be attending a four-year college or university.

  • 63% will attend a private college
  • 37% will attend a public college
  • 18% will attend the University of California
  • 35% will remain in California
  • 56% will go east of the Rocky Mountains
  • 2% will go out of the country

As students narrow down their list of schools, we encourage them to think about fit.  Athenian students end up going to a broad range of schools, each matched to a college or university that will enable them to pursue their individual goals and aspirations.  Many of this year’s students will be attending schools that prioritize environmental sustainability; 26 of the universities have LEED certified buildings and 23 have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.  A few have chosen to go to universities that support their specific interests: budding engineers will head off to Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; aspiring artists will go to Parsons: The New School of Design and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts; and several soon-to-be successful business people will go to Babson College and NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Not surprisingly, due to the emphasis on finding an individual fit, there are only a handful of universities which attract more than one Athenian.  They are:
[col grid=”2-1 first”]New York University 7
Chapman University 3
Drexel University 3
UC Berkeley 3 [/col] [col grid=”2-1″]
Oregon State University 2
The George Washington University 2
UC Davis 2
UC Santa Cruz 2
University of Vermont 2 [/col]

A Sample of Universities Students Were Admitted to

Morehouse College: the only all male, historically black university in the country has graduated the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Shelton “Spike” Lee, Herman Cain, Walter Massey, Shakir Stewart, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Pitzer College: requires students to engage in a “Social Responsibility,” either through coursework that includes a community service component, or through non-academic service to the school.

Carleton College: ranked #1 for undergraduate teaching at a national liberal arts college by U.S. News and World Report, known for it’s 9 to 1 student-faculty ratio.

The George Washington University: located four blocks from the White House, more than 90% of its students have internships on Capitol Hill, with leading NGOs, and other local organizations.

Muhlenberg College: like Athenian, Muhlenberg educates the whole person with a focus on “understanding the diversity of human experience” through liberal arts education.

Oberlin College: the first coeducational college in the United States, Oberlin graduates go on to earn more PhDs than any other university in the country.

Swarthmore: joining the “no-loans movement,” Swarthmore  students earn an education debt-free while engaging in Community-Based Learning at the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility.

Reed: produced 32 Rhodes scholars, second only to one other liberal arts college, and has a primarily student-run nuclear reactor.

Barnard: the all women counterpart to Columbia University, has one of the top five career service centers and graduated Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston, Martha Stewart, Jacqueline Barton, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

University of Michigan: one of the largest research institutions, offers thousands of research opportunities for undergraduates and has spent over $1 billion on research in one academic year.


This year’s class was accepted to the following colleges and universities.  Fourteen of the universities students were admitted to are highly selective** and an additional 50 schools are considered very selective*.

[col grid=”2-1 first”]*American University
Arizona State University
*Babson College
**Barnard College
Belmont University
*Boston College
*Boston University
Bradley University
*Brandeis University
*California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
California State University, Channel Islands
California State University, Chico
California State University, East Bay
*California State University, Long Beach
California State University, Los Angeles
California State University, Monterey Bay
California State University, Northridge
California State University, Sacramento
*Carleton College
*Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
*Chapman University
*Colgate University
*College of William and Mary
*Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
*Connecticut College
**Dartmouth College
DePaul University
Dominican University of California
Drew University
Drexel University
**Duke University
Eckerd College
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – FL
Emmanuel College
Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
*Fashion Institute of Technology
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida State University
*Fordham University
*Franklin and Marshall College
**Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Goucher College
Hampshire College
Hofstra University
Howard University
Humboldt State University
Indiana University at Bloomington
Ithaca College
**Johns Hopkins University
*Lafayette College
Lake Forest College
*Lehigh University
Lewis & Clark College
Loyola Marymount University
Loyola University New Orleans
*Marist College
McDaniel College
Mount Holyoke College
*Muhlenberg College
*New York University
*Northeastern University
*Oberlin College
*Occidental College
Oregon State University
*Oxford College of Emory University
Pace University, New York City
Pacific University
Parsons The New School for Design
Pennsylvania State University, Abington
**Pitzer College
[/col] [col grid=”2-1″]
*Reed College
*Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey at New Brunswick
Saint Louis University
Saint Mary’s College of California
*San Diego State University
San Francisco State University
San Jose State University
Santa Clara University
Sarah Lawrence College
*Scripps College
Seattle University
*Skidmore College
*Smith College
Sonoma State University
Suffolk University
**Swarthmore College
*Syracuse University
The American University of Paris
The College of Wooster
The Evergreen State College
*The George Washington University
The University of Arizona
The University of Montana, Missoula
**Tufts University
**Tulane University
*Union College
University at Buffalo The State University of New York
University College London
*University of British Columbia
**University of California at Berkeley
*University of California at Davis
*University of California at Irvine
**University of California at Los Angeles
University of California at Merced
University of California at Riverside
*University of California at San Diego
*University of California at Santa Barbara
University of California at Santa Cruz
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Colorado at Denver
*University of Connecticut
University of Denver
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of La Verne
*University of Massachusetts, Amherst
*University of Miami
*University of Michigan
University of Nevada, Reno
*University of New Hampshire
University of Oregon
**University of Pennsylvania
University of Portland
*University of Puget Sound
University of Redlands
*University of Rochester
*University of San Diego
University of San Francisco
**University of Southern California
University of the Pacific
University of Utah
University of Vermont
*University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Washington State University
**Washington University in St. Louis
Western New England University
Wheaton College MA
Whitman College
Whittier College
*Willamette University [/col]

Data was compiled from a variety of sources, including U.S. and World News Report and The New York Times The Choice Blog.

Vote Now! Oakland Community Art Project

Imagine walking through your neighborhood and stumbling upon a piece of poetry beautifully inscribed on the side of a corner grocer.  You pause to read the words, which reveal previously unknown truths about the grocery.  You notice at the bottom of the poem there is a small map for you to take that directs you to another poem.  Your curiosity piqued, you wander for a few blocks and find your way to poem number two.  This poem is written on the ball wall of a small community park.  There are kids playing kickball so you sit on a nearby bench and watch them play, reading the words between thwacks of the ball against the wall.  As you ponder the words, you listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.  Following a mother pushing her kids in a stroller, you leave the park to head to poem number three.  You feel as though you are rediscovering your neighborhood all over again and your connection to the place itself grows stronger.

This is the type of experience Athenian Humanities teacher Karla Brundage and her friend Sara Biel plan to create.  Weaving together their love of poetry and affinity for community building, Karla and Sara plan to execute “Temescal Insitu,” an art and literature installation that will effectively transform the Temescal neighborhood into a living, breathing book.  Walking between poems that will be strategically installed, people will be able explore the neighborhood while reflecting on, as the title suggests, how place creates community.  Each poem will be in a specific location and the content will reflect that exact spot.  Eventually, they would like to do this throughout the many Oakland neighborhoods.  Karla explains that “we hope that through stories, people learn about each other and it builds community.  And we’d like to do that from community to community.”

The evolution of this project itself has been a story of community connections.  Karla and Sara, a San Francisco poet, artist, and social worker, have collaborated on several artistic community efforts.  In 2006, they edited and hand-printed Words Upon the Waters:  A Poetic Response to Hurricane Katrina by Bay Area Writers and Artists.  Both have been reading poetry in Oakland for 20 years, expounding on the ideas of racial identity, Oakland, politics, and community.  Sara recently came up with the idea of asking local artists to write and install a piece of poetic art in and about their own neighborhood.  As Sara and Karla explored the possibilities of this project, a mutual friend (and former Athenian teacher!), Marisa Vitiello, told them about Storytelling for Good, a contest from GOOD that asks artists to “use storytelling to unite and improve your community.”  Karla enlisted another Athenian teacher, Stacey Goodman, to help them make a video for their contest submission.  And she plans on asking Kalyan Ali Balaven, another Athenian teacher, and possibly a few Athenian students, to be among the artists and poets.

Here’s where you come in.  Karla and Sara can’t win the grant without your help. To create their project about community, they need to rely on their own communities to VOTE for them in the online contest.  With a $3000 prize, the contest will enable the winner to execute their project idea.  Help Karla and Sara win the grant by voting for their project by July 3.  One vote per person so please pass it on to your friends!

    Click to support Karla’s project!      

You will need to create an account to vote.  It only takes a moment!

Project Idea: In Their Own Words

Temescal InSitu will create 10 site-specific public poems/art-installations presented within the tableau of the Temescal district in Oakland, CA, transforming the neighborhood into a book. In order to read the book, folks can walk poem to poem, or explore the neighborhood and see what they discover.

What will the $3000 fund?

The $3000 will provide the artists each $150 to purchase supplies. The poem installations will be created from materials reflecting the sites. The poets are encouraged to use recycled and sustainable materials. The remaining $1500 will be used for administrative expenses; creating a web site with space for community comments and feedback, sight cleanup, producing maps for the show and having an opening night reception at a local café or restaurant. The show will be up for approximately 6 weeks. We are committed to documenting our process and eventually creating an anthology that details this public art project and reproducing it in multiple locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Reunion 2012 and a Farewell to Tom Swope

This past weekend, Athenian was alive with community members from the past and present.

Reunion kicked off the weekend on Saturday with cocktails at the Niles’ house and dinner on the East Lawn.  The classes of 2002 and 1987 had a good showing in honor of their 10 and 25 year reunions respectively.  Many former faculty members attended, including Munzir Afifi, Mike McGarry, Ed Willy, and former Head of School Eleanor Dase, among others.

While many came to reunion, there is no surprise that nearly double that number came to bid Tom Swope farewell after 42 years at The Athenian School.  Tom has been an integral part of this campus and is the last connection to Athenian’s founder Dyke Brown.  Tom completed his last year at the school and will be moving off campus to live closer to his family in Oakland.  While Athenian will sorely miss Tom’s (and Teddy’s!) daily presence on campus, you can look for him on Telegraph with the other bearded, tie-dye wearing men this summer.

Stephen, Phoebe and Lisa sang a version of Paul Simon’s Kodachrome.  Here is a video of their song–we apologize for the wind interference!

Upper School Athletics Highlights: 2011-2012

Fall Sports

Women’s volleyball had a successful season, qualifying for the second year in a row for the NCS tournament and finished 3rd in the very competitive BCL-East league.

Men’s soccer went to NCS for the sixth year in a row and finished 3rd in the league.

Cross country had a great season, placing 3rd at NCS.  The men’s team won League Title and went to State, both for the first time in school history!

Winter Sports

The wrestling team placed 2nd in the league.  Joe Zovickian and Brian Thompson, upper classmen on the team, were named League Champions and did very well at NCS.  Brian was only one win away from wrestling on the final Saturday of NCS!

The men’s varsity basketball team went to NCS for the first time in six years.  They came in 3rd in the league and Jamey Smart was awarded 1st Team All League.

Women’s basketball tied for 2nd in the leage and went to NCS for the seventh year in a row.  Allie Torru was the MVP of the league and Paige Thompson was awarded 1st Team All League.


Spring Sports

Women’s soccer had the most successful season in Athenian history, ending the season with a record of 15-6.  Allie Torru, Melise Knowles, and Rachel Morris were awarded 1st Team All League.

The swim team had a fantastic season with new coach Ian Heung.  The men finished 2nd in the league and sent five individuals to NCS.  Previously, only two swimmers had ever qualified for NCS.

Badminton is now in full stride in it’s fourth year at Athenian.  Jerry Lin represented Athenian at NCS this year.

Baseball had an excellent season.  Cameron Cotton, a junior, has been offered a scholarship to Cal Poly and was named 1st Team All League.  Jamey Smart had an amazing season, finishing the season with a batting average of .600 and was named 1st Team All League!  Brian Thompson, Andrew Reckers, and Tyler Huntington were all named 2nd Team.  The team went to NCS for the 3rd time and two years in a row.  They won a shutout first round game, winning 17-0 against Upper Lake and lost 4-2 to Head Royce in the second round after a five-inning no hitter.

The softball team tied for 4th in the league and finished only one game away from going to NCS.  Lauren Santo-Dominguez earned 1st Team All League.

The golf team placed 3rd in the league; Ian Gaffney went to NCS as an individual player.

Men’s tennis won the League Title for the second year in a row!  They won the singles and doubles league tournament.  Ryan Zlock went to NCS in Fortuna for tennis singles and Sam Berg and Nikhil Kotecha played doubles.

Track and field had a strong season.  The men placed 3rd in the league and the women placed 5th.  Many of our students went to NCS this year: AJ Udom for discus; Cameron Taylor, Tanner Shaw and Gabe Elliot for both the mile and two mile; and Laney Inamine for the mile.  Tanner and Gabe both ran the 2 mile at the Meet of Champions and Tanner broke 10 minutes, finishing at 9:57!

Athenian’s sailing team is one of the top twenty in the state.  The eight sailors started in the Silver Division but raced in the Gold.  Learn more here.

What to Look for Next Year

Athenian will have its very first Equestrian team.  There are currently about 12 members signed up to practice at the Hirt Stables in Danville.  If you’d like to join the team, talk to Darek Cliff.

Cross country has become huge at Athenian!  There are currently 52 runners on the team which is more than 15% of the school.

The school will be improving the softball field this summer, installing a safety net between the baseball and softball fields, among other things.

Updated: Athenian Shines at National Green Ribbon Conference

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Watch Live: Athenians to Speak at National Green Schools Conference Tomorrow.

This morning, at 8:30am EST, while those of us on the West Coast were still sleeping in our beds, Athenian was uniquely honored at the 2012 National Green Ribbon Conference in Washington, DC.  Andrea Falken, director of the Green Ribbon Award program, opened the conference with a profile of our school.    “The Athenian is the type of school that embodies the award,” she  began.  She outlined the key programs at Athenian, touching on composting, gardening, dish crew, and AWE (for which we will forgive her understandably pronouncing “awe”).  She joked of AWE, “I didn’t ask what detention might look like there but it sure sounded intimidating.”  She went on to introduce Andrew Reckers, the only student representative asked to speak at the conference.  She shared an anecdote revealing of Andrew’s character.  Andrew, disturbed by the use of high-polluting gas-powered machines on campus, purchased a push-mower for the school.  He diligently pushed the mower around campus between classes.  Infected by Andrew’s good humor and enthusiasm, students volunteered for mowing shifts, relieving Andrew of sole responsibility for Athenian’s many acres of grass.  Andrew’s passionate and humble leadership distinguished his high school career.

After Andrea’s opening remarks, Andrew took to the podium to introduce Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  With great poise, Andrew did not appear daunted by the task of speaking before a national audience.  Click play below to view the speeches (Andrew begins at 4:15).

Green Ribbon Conference

Congratulations to Andrew for the recognition of his work!  And Congratulations to Athenian for being an inaugural Green Ribbon School!  Go Owls!  Hoot hoot!

Read US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools: Highlights from the First-Ever Honorees.

Want to learn more about greening the school?  Participate in the Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Webinar Series.

Watch Live: Athenians to Speak at National Green Schools Conference Tomorrow

Graduation Friday, flying to DC Sunday, and speaking at a national event on Monday.  Andrew Reckers, class of 2012, has had a whirlwind last few days.  In recognition of his leadership in permaculture and environmental sustainability, the Green Ribbon Awards program has asked Andrew to participate in the National Green Ribbon Conference.  Andrew will be introducing Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  Andrew will be speaking TOMORROW at 8:30am EST.  Watch live!

Andrew will be accompanied to DC by another leader in environmental sustainability on campus.  Bob Oxenburgh, Director of Finances and Facilities, will be on a panel facilitated by Energy Star National Manager Katy Hatcher discussing the topic: “Reducing Environmental Impacts and Costs: Focusing on changes that all schools can implement, regardless of whether new or old facilities.”  Bob has spearheaded the many campaigns that have reduced waste and spending on campus resources.

Learn more about Athenian’s environmental efforts and the Green Ribbon Award.

Read Secretary Arne Duncan’s White House Blog post about the Award ceremony.

Andrew and Bob had time to go the National Zoo before the conference.  Can you spot Tian Tian behind Andrew?

“Senior Cry Day”

The last day of school for the Upper School is often known as “Senior Cry Day.”  The whole school meets in the Main Hall for the final Morning Meeting (seniors seated on couches hauled from every corner of the campus) to reflect on the year and share parting thoughts.  Lower classmen bid farewell to the seniors.  Siblings share how Athenian brought them closer together.  Graduates ceremoniously pass the hat to the future leaders of clubs and teams.  Teachers wish their students good luck.  And seniors sob their goodbyes to the school.

To respect the intimate nature of this emotional day in the community, the following quotes have been recorded anonymously.

“I wanted to say that coming to Athenian was the best decision of my life.  Everyone I’ve spent time with here has really changed my life for the better…his is the first place I’ve ever really considered a home.  There’s something great to get from everyone here.  I’ve made so many great friendships and have so many good relationships with the people here.  I love all of you.  I’m really going to miss having this as my home.”

“I think the Athenian community makes people think that every individual happens to be like siblings.”

“You have encouraged me to accept myself” (Sophomore to a senior)

“There is no word in the English language or any language that can express my gratitude…You are the most dedicated teacher on this campus.  You answer every single one of our questions, no matter how ridiculous and every day we are greeted with a smile.  You expect the best of us.  And seeing your dedication toward teaching made me want to put just as much effort into class…Because you deserve only the students who are as willing to learn as you are about teaching…Thank you for teaching me what it means to be a student and what it means to learn.”  (Senior to a teacher)

“I want to say thank you to each and every one of you guys–the teachers, the staff, the students–for making my experience here what it is and being a part of my Athenian family.”

“I could talk for hours about how this school has shaped me into the person that I am.”

“You guys have been great influences and have shown me how high school should go.” (Senior to peers)

“I’ve only been here for two years…but it’s so great to be here.  I just want to thank you because this is a really great place.  I don’t think a lot of you realize how lucky you are to go to a school where you know everybody and where everybody cares about everybody else.  To all my classmates, thank you to being so welcoming and such great people.”

“I was this close to [not coming back to Athenian after sophomore year].  I decided to stay and I’m really glad I did just because I feel like what Athenian has, like everyone  has talked about, just this community, it’s nothing like you get anywhere else.  I mean the fact that you can have a meeting like this, all these personal interactions that people have been having up here, I mean the round of applause that Tom Swope got.  This is very unique.  It’s a very friendly community.  I mean, where’s Thaddeus?  I took the late bus twice freshman year and I don’t even think Thaddeus was driving.  But every time I pass him he gives me a hug and says hi to me.  That is amazing.  It’s the kind of unconditional love this community fosters.  And also, you know, being a senior, I have some friends in the senior class, and a lot of my good friends are in the junior class.  But I also have some good friends who are sophomores and even freshman.  And if you think of your classic high school scenario, freshmen and sophomores exist for the seniors to like throw in lockers… But these guys are like my homeboys, I love you guys!  That’s a very unique thing here.  And that’s the main thing I’m going to miss about this community, just how tight everyone is.”

“What I first want to do is thank everyone here…it’s the whole sum of the community that makes it a good place.  I want to thank all my teachers for not only giving me a good education but also inspiring me and creating a good atmosphere and everything that goes along with it.  But I want to thank the guys that I hang out with a lot during lunch…When I go to [school] next year, I won’t be able to play sit-catch, hat-catch, throw a frisbee in the Commons, all of that is going to be missing….I’m not going to be able to make up games and run around like a [crazy] person, or I mean, I will be able to but I might be a social pariah…Thank you for a great four years.”

“When I first came to this school, the first thing I wanted to do was leave.  I really didn’t want to be at Athenian.  Now, leaving Athenian is the last thing I want to do.  Most people get up here and talk about their relationships with their friends–and while that stands true, I really love you guys, thank you so much– I want to acknowledge the strengths of the community.  From my struggles with my academic course work to my struggles at home, you people have been here.  When I had to go through some of the most difficult times of my life, the school was truly a home to me.  Thank you so much Athenian for your generosity, your kind spirit, and for always supporting me.  Thank you for making me a better person.”

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