Applause! Applause!

Ross faculty, staff, and students achieve many accomplishments throughout the year, both on and off campus. This month, we’re recognizing Riko Kawahara and Taylor Cohen, who won film awards; Mamoun Friedrich-Grosvenor, who launched his solar balloon; Sharon Cook, who attended a unique conference in Italy; and Debra McCall, who was awarded a fellowship for this summer. Please send your submissions to

Riko Kawahara and Taylor Cohen Seniors Taylor Cohen and Riko Kawahara won first and second place, respectively, at the Guild Hall Student Film Festival. Both films submitted were products of this year’s Senior Projects. Taylor’s documentary, Remember, features interviews with five Holocaust survivors who share their stories. Riko’s educational animation, Alphabet Through Animation, is designed for young children.

Mamoun Friedrich-Grosvenor Earlier this year, senior Mamoun Friedrich-Grosvenor successfully launched a solar balloon he fabricated as part of his Senior Project. Made out of thin, black plastic, the giant balloon fully inflated in the sun. Watch this clip of the balloon inflating!

Sharon Cook First grade teacher Sharon Cook attended the U.S. Students and Professors Study Group at Reggio Emilia, Italy, with her daughter, Ross alumna Abigail Cook ’11. The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on early childhood education. The program is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children. The conference included presentations on the identity and principles of the educational project, as well as analysis of research projects conducted in preschools and infant toddler centers. Sharon presented her findings to the Lower School faculty recently.

Debra McCall Debra McCall, director of curriculum and professional development for Ross Upper School and dean of Cultural History, is one of 30 educators awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to study “Roots of the Arab Spring: Understanding the Historical Context for the Arab Uprisings” at the University of California, Davis, this summer. As an NEH Summer Scholar, Debra will attend a three-week Institute led by history, anthropology, and literature faculty from UC Davis in conjunction with the History Project, a group of K–12 educators from the Sacramento area. Debra will apply her studies to creating curriculum for an elective at Ross on the Arab Spring, refining the annual senior presentation on the subject, and strengthening the Middle East thread throughout the curriculum.