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LS Arts Blog

From the desk of MaryJo Allegra

Artfully Yours...

Jack Towse '21 Selected for Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Orchestra

by Ian Kim '21

After weeks of auditions, on May 17, the Monterey Jazz Festival announced the selections for the 2021 Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Among the selected musicians is Friends Academy community member and trumpet player Jack Towse '21.

The Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (NGJO) features the most talented high school jazz musicians from across the country, with 11 states and the District of Columbia represented this year. Being chosen provides Jack with the opportunity to showcase his abilities to thousands at the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival.

When Jack was asked about what being selected meant to him, he responded, "It feels great. I'm really happy that the work I put in up until this point has allowed me to pursue this program." Jack and the 19 other selected musicians will receive mentorship from band director Gerald Clayton as they prepare to perform live together as the 2021 NGJO.

This fall, Jack will be moving on from Friends Academy to The Juilliard School, where he will continue his musical and academic journey. Jack gave thanks to the Friends Academy community and took a moment to reflect on his time here:

"The way the Friends Academy community functions has allowed me to pursue goals that have required countless hours in addition to schoolwork. In times where I've travelled to play in various festivals, I've received lots of support from the Friends community, and still remain in contact with many current and former students and teachers that have been there along the way."

Located at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California, the Monterey Jazz Festival 2021 will take place on September 24th, 2021, and continue until September 26th. The Friends Academy community wishes Jack the best of luck at the festival and in his future musical endeavors as he graduates this spring as a member of the class of 2021.

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Three Friends Academy Spring Student-Athletes Named to Newsday Top Lists

by Liz Schwab '21

As Nassau County athletes returned to the fields for spring sports, three Friends Academy athletes were recently named to the 2021 Newsday top lists for Girls Golf, Boys Lacrosse, and Girls Lacrosse.

Senior Mary Droesch ranked high at recent Nassau County tournaments and was named to be one of the Top 25 girls golfers for 2021 by Newsday. Mary came in first at the Metro PGA Junior Tour tournament at Glen Cove Golf Club in 2019 where she scored an 85. She also "placed 16th in the Nassau tournament," stated Newsday. As a four-year varsity golf player and current co-captain, Mary consistently brings leadership and skillset to the Friends Academy golf program, as the girls team heads into county finals after capturing the conference title. Mary will continue her academic career at The College of Holy Cross next year.

For Boys Lacrosse, senior Albert Paniccia ranked as one of Long Island's top 100 high school boys lacrosse players for 2021. As a sophomore, Albert made a notable mark with "17 goals and 21 assists,'' proving to be both an offensive threat and a team-oriented player. This year, the boys lacrosse team has already set a strong foundation for the season with a 3-1 record. As an all-around midfielder, Albert will continue to play lacrosse at Division I Providence College next year.

Paris Panagopulous's offensive drive and athleticism as a three-sport athlete placed her within Newsday's Top 100 Long Island girls lacrosse players for 2021. Paris, who also plays "soccer and basketball at a high level" scored 51 goals and had six assists as a part of the Nassau lll champions during the 2019 season. With 18 goals and 15 assists within the first six games of the 2021 spring lacrosse season, Paris continues to be a fierce offensive competitor on the field. With a 5-1 record, the girls varsity lacrosse team heads off to playoffs in June.

Mary, Albert, and Paris are "...outstanding representatives of our athletic program, our school and in the leadership and commitment that they show and the character they embody," stated Al Quackenbush, Director of Athletics.

Congratulations to all of the Friends Academy players who continue to embody the Quaker value of community, showing high levels of competitiveness and commitment to their teammates. As Mr. Quackenbush concluded, "The 2021 sports seasons have been a challenge to say the least ... our athletes continued to stay focused, train, and prepare themselves. This is a credit to their level of discipline and dedication to their teams and teammates".

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Field Hockey Finishes Regular Season 11-0, Earns Spot in Class B Playoffs

The Friends Academy Varsity Field Hockey Team doesn't back down from a challenge. In fact, amidst an unprecedented year, the Quakers finished the 2020-21 regular season undefeated at 11-0.

"An undefeated season any year is special, but this year with everything they faced, it holds even more meaning," said Botti, who was the Section VIII Conference 2 Coach of the Year in 2019.

Playing a fall sport in the spring is an adjustment in and of itself. On top of that, the Quakers started the season with a number of players in quarantine and even had to compete down a player for a few games. But even shorthanded, the Quakers dominated, allowing just two goals in their first nine games.

"This season presented obstacles outside of their control," said Botti. "They faced each challenge without making excuses and learned how to work together, consistently supporting each other and giving their best effort."

With their 11-0 record, the Quakers have earned a spot in the Class B playoffs, which begin on April 17.

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Four Friends Academy Student-Athletes Named to Newsday Top 100 Lists

The Friends Academy community celebrated the selection of four athletes over three different sports teams to Newsday's recently released Top 100 and Top 25 Long Island Athletes.

For Boys Basketball, seniors Billy Daal and Alex Douglas rocketed into the Top 100 list for their consistency, vision, and execution. "(Forward Billy) Daal puts up consistent numbers for Friends Academy, averaging 12.2 points, including 23 points against Island Trees, last year," stated Newsday, while describing Douglas as "the 6-1, 175-pound point guard (who) can drive to the basket and finish consistently. He has expanded his range this year and has great vision to find the open man. Douglas averaged 15 points, five rebounds, seven assists and four steals last season." (Newsday link)

This spring, senior and midfielder/forward Adrienne Coleman's offensive leadership propelled her onto the Top 25 Field Hockey Athletes List after "she totaled 30 points over the previous two seasons and was the team's leading scorer in 2019, recording at least a point in seven of 12 games." (Newsday link)

Finally, junior and forward/midfielder Marco Derlly jumped into Newsday's Top 100 Boys Soccer ranking for his consistent showing on offense. "He is always a constant threat due to his speed and is his team's most dependable and go-to option on offense. Derlly had six goals and three assists last season." (Newsday link)

"This is a credit to our athletes and our coaches and their determination to continue to train and work to become excellent throughout a challenging period," remarked Director of Athletics Alan Quackenbush. "The programs our coaches have provided have helped foster this culture and our athletes have continued to adhere to a work ethic that has allowed them to continue to shine and be successful. It is something to be very proud of."

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Friends Academy Announces Diana C. Parente as Incoming Director of Athletics

We are thrilled to announce that we have selected Diana C. Parente as our next Director of Athletics. Diana will begin her tenure on July 1.

An accomplished teacher, passionate coach, seasoned athletics director and visionary administrator, Diana combines her knowledge of policy, athletic infrastructure and programming with her action-oriented philosophy of inclusion and a positive athletic culture.

Diana holds two Master's Degrees and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Education Leadership from the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education.

Experienced administrator
Diana is currently the Director of Athletics at Flint Hill School, an independent JK-12 school in northern Virginia, where she elevated a great program to a stellar level through her partnerships with national sports organizations, new marketing and social media exposure, internships for student-athletes and high-level professional development experiences for all coaches and staff. During her time at Flint Hill she developed a signature recruiting program for high school athletes who aspire to play at the collegiate level.

Prior to Flint Hill, Diana served as the Deputy Director of the Public Schools Athletic League in New York City, and then the Executive Director of the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association for the District of Columbia Public Schools. While with these organizations, Diana secured millions of dollars for expanded budgets, grew partnerships with esteemed organizations such as FC Barcelona, Georgetown University, and the Washington Football Team, and created programming that supported gender equity and students with disabilities. She served as the first Director of Title IX Operations for the New York City Board of Education and was instrumental in bringing all NYC public schools into compliance.

A teacher, mentor, coach, and player
At her core, Diana is a teacher, having begun her career as an American history teacher in middle and high school. A true mentor for her students, she sees athletics as an extension of the classroom, and believes in the importance of practicing the Quaker values of equity, integrity, and community. "I am excited about Friends Academy because of the school's commitment to equity, justice, and community and I am drawn to the Quaker mission of the school. While I have never worked at a Quaker school before, I have always empathized with the importance of Quakerism in my teaching curriculum because of the foundational role Quakerism plays in American social justice."

Long Island roots
Diana grew up appreciating the outstanding reputation of Friends Academy, while playing championship-level soccer for St. Anthony's High School and the Albertson Club and Northport Soccer Leagues. "As a native Long Islander I have always known that Friends Academy is a special place. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work and contribute to the school and athletic community." Diana went on to play at Syracuse University. Diana will reside on campus with her husband Adam and their 4-year-old son, Colton.

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