Student Photos in Danville Art Gallery Exhibit

This Friday, October 11, join Athenian photographers at an opening at the Village Theatre Art Gallery in downtown Danville of pictures taken during the Athenian interim trip to Cambodia and Vietnam this past March.

The opening is from 5-8pm with a student presentation at 7pm.

Please extend the invitation to family and friends! Proceeds from the sale of photos in the exhibition as well as notecards (available on-campus this week during lunch) will benefit Sala Phum Pheak Bourn Primary School, a school Athenians visited in Cambodia. A special thanks to Adam Thorman, Tom Swope, Karen Sanford and Kathleen Huntington for their support of this event.

The exhibit, Perspectives; Life in Cambodia and Vietnam, will open Oct. 11 and run through Nov. 9.

Featured Artists:

Students – Alison Blick ’13, Alana Brown, Amanda Hamilton, Melise Knowles, Andrew McBeth, Emma Schwartz, Gianna Scolini ’13, Ania Smith, Tessa Sternberg, Charles Thimesch ’13, and Nicole Thrower

Art Instructor – Niki Stefanelli

Trip Leader – Jim Sternberg

Master Photographer – John Rizzo

Photo by Nicole Thrower 

Photo by Amanda Hamilton 


Photo by Emma Schwartz

Photo by Andrew McBeth 

Photo by Gianna Scolini ’13

Perspectives Press

Southeast Asia Through the Eyes of Danville High School Students, September 27, 2013, Danville Patch

Danville’s Athenian School Exhibits Photos from Cambodia and Viet Nam, October 4, 2013, San Jose Mercury News

Look for an upcoming article in The Contra Costa Times on Thursday!

Morgan Fire: Photos and Emergency Plan Update

Now that the fire has been contained and Mt. Diablo State Park has reopened, the School decided we could share student and faculty photos taken from around the Bay Area. Additionally, Eric has included information about emergency communication plans in the works.

Day 1

Photo by Sarah (Martinez)


by Sam Tierney ’16 (Alamo)

Photo by Trevor Grauman (Danville)

by Trevor Grauman ’16 (Danville)

Photo by Sam Tierney

by Sam Tierney ’16

Photo by Sarah (Martinez)


Day 2

Photo by Dave Otten (on campus)

by Dave Otten (on campus)

(on campus)

Photo by Laura Victorino (San Ramon)

by Laura Victorino (San Ramon)

Students sign thank-you's to the firefighters

Students sign thank-you’s to the firefighters

Thank you to firefighters

Emergency Response Update

Athenian was alert and responsive through the duration of the fire. Head of School Eric Niles and CFO Khira Ghriscavage were in close contact with fire personnel throughout the week. Notices were sent to parents via email as new information was discovered and athletics was cancelled once due to air quality concerns. Emergency plans were in place should the school need to evacuate; fortunately, classes were able to continue and no evacuation was necessary .

However, Athenian is always looking to improve on its systems. The School currently subscribes to emergency alert notification technology through Connect Five, an emergency broadcasting system. The School is in the process of creating a system that will allow all members of our community to receive phone and text updates. Before this can happen, several databases will need to be created with accurate information. Please stay tuned for more information as the School rolls out this new program.

International Night

Athenian hosts International Night every year.  Beginning with a feast, families enjoy favorite dishes from around the world. Following, students put on a talent show of sorts, showcasing song and dance from a variety of cultural traditions.  This year’s performance featured students from Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, United States, Thailand, and Korea with special performances in Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese.

Karla Brundage Presents at American Book Awards

The Before Columbus Foundation, in partnership with C-SPAN, honors a select group of authors annually for “outstanding contributions to American literature.” This year, Athenian Humanities teacher Karla Brundage was asked to present the award to Rob Nixon for his Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Karla, an author herself, introduced Nixon: “Nixon has created a singular, remarkably rigorous and inventive style of literary criticism, illuminating the work of writer-activists both in America and around the world whose own powerfully decisive works are for highly original solutions and perspectives on the daunting, often intimidating, prospects of human extinction.”

View Karla’s presentation here or scroll to the right below to see the video.

From Before Columbus Foundation:

2012 American Book Awards


About the Program

The 33rd annual American Book Awards presented by the Before Columbus Foundation. This year’s winners are Annia Ciezadlo, Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War, Arlene Kim, What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes?, Ed Bok Lee, Whorled, Adilifu Nama, Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes, Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Shann Ray, American Masculine, Alice Rearden (translator) & Ann Fienup-Riordan (editor), Qaluyaarmiuni Nunamtenek Qanemciput: Our Nelson Island Stories, Toure, Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness?: What It Means to Be Black Now, Amy Waldman, The Submission, Mary Winegarden, The Translator’s Sister, and Kevin Young, Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels. A Lifetime Achievement Award is given to Eugene B. Redmond, poet and professor emeritus at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. This year’s American Book Awards were held at the University of California at Berkeley on October 7, 2012.

Darfur Benefit Show Showcases Athenian Talent

The 7th annual Darfur Benefit Show was a fantastic display of Athenian talent last night.  Faculty, staff, and students donated handmade items for auction and more than 30 students performed musical and dance ensembles.  The performances were peppered with informational speeches about the history and current situation in Darfur by students in the Holocaust Seminar.

Art Revolution: Mapping the Self

Art Revolution is the brain child of Stacey Goodman, art teacher.  Wanting to show students the true power of art to “engage and effect transformation in the community,” Stacey created a new year-long course that “gives students the artistic skills, organizational methods and social-historical understanding to initiate and complete a community art project.”  Through creative exploration, students are tackling some big issues including community, identity, culture, and affinity.  You can read the Syllabus here.

Below is a group of photos of the class’s Self Maps, an art project that challenged them to think about their own identity and shared affinities.

Self Maps Assignment: Student creates a decorative, color coded community map of the self. This project is part diagram that uses spoke-mapping as well as color/decorative elements that show their identity as one comprised of shared affinities with societal groups. The student uses design principles to create a concept-driven work meant to show hidden and visible identities, conventional and surprising affinities, how identity can be reflected through artistic expression as well as an understanding that identity can consist of more than the usual groupings around ethnicity, gender, etc.

Cambodian Adventure: Learning History and Photography

Niki Stefanelli, fine arts instructor at Athenian, went on a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam this summer to hone her photography skills. This spring she will run a photography interim trip based on her adventure. Apply now!

Last year, Niki taught a class called “Continuing 2-D Art” which offered students an opportunity to create an independent project in a media of their choice. To Niki’s surprise, most of the students were interested in learning about photography. Since Niki’s primary medium is oil paint, she decided to look into professional development that would help her cater more directly to her students’ interests. Comparing photography workshops, Niki discovered Peace of Angkor Photography Tours, which offers week-long, individual intensive workshops (that cost less than workshops in the States!). With the guidance of professional photographer Dave Perkes, Niki spent two weeks traveling through Cambodia and Vietnam with her son Ade, a current 8th grader in the Middle School.

When Niki was preparing for her summer trip, she wrote:

This year I am examining the question: “How can I share who I am as an artist with my students so that they benefit from having a professional artist as a teacher?” I find that I am a better teacher (and happier person) when I have time to be a creative artist. I believe that allowing my students to see my creative process, both the successes and the frustrations, allows me to teach through example. The Photography Workshop will be a starting point for my artistic process for July and August, and I will share that journey with my students in September.

These are the results of her trip. Photos by Ade have his name in the title; the rest are Niki’s photos.

Niki’s photos will be shown in the World Affairs Council’s Global Visions 2012 Exhibition in San Francisco.  The show opens October 4 at 6pm at the World Affairs Council’s office in San Francisco.

Interim 2013

Inspired by her experience, Niki will take students back to many of the places she visited with Ade. Niki will be leading an interim trip in March 2013 to both Cambodia and Vietnam with Athenian librarian Jim Sternberg. The trip will focus on culture and history with opportunities for individual instruction in photography. Niki adds:

Cambodia and Vietnam are both amazing countries to visit. Much of what we know about Vietnam and Cambodia from an American perspective is based on media coverage of the Vietnam War. There is so much more to learn about cultural traditions, the countries long histories, and even the history of the war itself, by visiting and meeting people in Cambodia and Vietnam. People are incredibly welcoming, the food is amazing, and the sights, sounds and smells overwhelm the senses.

Interim Description: We will travel to two vibrant South East Asian countries to explore the local culture, ancient ruins and history of these amazing places. We start in Siem Reap, Cambodia where we visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, spend a day on the Tonle Sap Lake visiting floating fishing villages, explore local farming communities and visit a school. From there we travel to Hoi An, Vietnam where we experience Vietnamese farming, cooking and fishing traditions. Then we are off to Hanoi, the bustling capital of North Vietnam. Hanoi will be our base for an overnight homestay in the Northern village of Mai Chau and a 2 night trip aboard a junk boat in Halong Bay. For students interested in photography, there will be many opportunities to shoot during the trip, and Niki will provide individual instruction. Students with no photography experience/interest may still join the trip. Although we will visit a few historical places, most of our understanding of history will come through our interactions with local people as we travel through Cambodia and Vietnam. Please note the trip includes the following activities: boat rides on various boat types including kayaks, bike riding and hiking in the mountains, all in a hot/humid climate. (Trip costs include airfare from Cambodia to Vietnam and from Central Vietnam to North Vietnam, 10 nights in hotels, one night village homestay and 2 nights aboard a junk boat.)

To apply: fill out this form and submit to Kathleen by Monday, October 8.