Tower Summer 2022

Montverde Academy's digital magazine The Tower, for alumni, family and friends.

Montverde Academy's digital magazine The Tower, for alumni, family and friends.


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Class of <strong>2022</strong> pg. 6<br />

Innovation Center pg. 27<br />

Historic Year for Basketball pg. 43<br />

SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring<br />

2021-22 BOARD OF TRUSTEES<br />

Mr. Tim J. Bach<br />

Mr. Sean Parks<br />

Mr. Jon Frere<br />

Mr. T. Scott Ohmstede<br />

Mrs. S. Renee Lundy ’79 Mrs. Lori Specht ’84<br />

Mr. Michael Mason ’84 Mrs. Sandra O. Stephens<br />

Dr. Sydney McPhee Dr. Walter L. Stephens,<br />

Mr. Gregory L. Nelson Trustee Emeritus, 1999-2020<br />


Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring<br />

STAFF<br />

Michele Kanikovsky<br />

Ginny Holm<br />

Kimberly Braden<br />

Creative Director<br />

Interim Editor,<br />

Creative Editor<br />

Photographer<br />

Contributors include faculty, staff, students, and<br />

parents of Montverde Academy.<br />



Montverde Academy<br />

The <strong>Tower</strong> Magazine<br />

17235 Seventh Street<br />

Montverde, FL 34756<br />


Cromer International Press<br />

Above: Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Maya, Vanessa, Rosy and Harold Mills<br />

On the cover: Class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

The <strong>Tower</strong> Magazine is published exclusively for the alumni, parents, students, friends,<br />

faculty and staff of Montverde Academy. It is intended to bring the latest news and<br />

information about the Academy’s growth and ongoing events.<br />

Every attempt has been made to present the information and listings in The <strong>Tower</strong><br />

magazine as accurately as possible. We apologize if there are any discrepancies and<br />

would ask that you forward any amendments to our office. It is our policy to correct<br />

significant errors of fact in a timely fashion.<br />


Are you looking for photos, events, news and more? Montverde Academy provides the latest news and<br />

Eagle happenings on a variety of platforms. Follow us on:<br />







Visit montverde.org<br />

2 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> | VOLUME 6, ISSUE 2<br />


6 Class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

27<br />

Coming Soon!<br />

Educational Technology and<br />

Innovation Center<br />

43<br />

Historic Year for MVA<br />

Basketball<br />


Message from the President............................... 4<br />

Class of <strong>2022</strong> Valedictorian............................... 10<br />

Class of <strong>2022</strong> Salutatorian................................ 12<br />

Student Spotlights............................................. 14<br />

Employee Spotlight........................................... 20<br />

Lower School DBQs.......................................... 22<br />

Kindergarten Graduation................................... 24<br />

Fifth Grade Graduation...................................... 25<br />

Lower School Teacher of the Year..................... 26<br />

Middle School Leadership................................. 30<br />

Middle School Teacher of the Year.................... 32<br />

Upper School Teacher of the Year..................... 33<br />

Sports Wrap-Up................................................. 34<br />

College Signing Day.......................................... 38<br />

Fine Arts............................................................ 50<br />

Alumni Relations............................................... 55<br />

Class Notes....................................................... 60<br />

Celebrating Education....................................... 65<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 3

A Motherʼs<br />

Wish for<br />

Her Children<br />

By Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, President<br />

I suspect that a hallmark for any parent during their journey<br />

of raising their children is to one day celebrate their wedding.<br />

What is particularly difficult to fathom is how quickly it seems<br />

to occur. This past weekend, we celebrated the marriage<br />

of our daughter Kailin. Kailin was four years old when<br />

we arrived at Montverde Academy in 1999. At that time,<br />

Montverde Academy did not have a Lower School, so we<br />

had to transport our children to Leesburg to attend a Catholic<br />

school until we opened the Lower School at Montverde<br />

Academy in 2005.<br />

...teaching our children<br />

the art and purpose of<br />

compromise is paramount<br />

to understanding and<br />

managing the adversity that<br />

will often enter our lives.<br />

Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, President<br />

A tradition at weddings is for the father of the bride to offer<br />

a toast to the happy couple. While it was a very enjoyable<br />

day, my wife and I could not fully escape that neither of<br />

our parents were around to enjoy the experience of their<br />

granddaughter getting married. Breaking tradition a bit,<br />

Maureen and I decided to offer the toast together with a<br />

particular reflection offered by our respective mothers.<br />

Maureen is one of eight children and sadly lost her mother<br />

suddenly to a brain aneurysm when she was only 18.<br />

Regrettably, neither of our children had the opportunity to<br />

know their maternal grandparents. Some challenging<br />

times would follow in raising their younger siblings<br />

with limited support. In the course of raising children,<br />

one common phrase we often here is “That’s not fair.”<br />

Maureen’s mother, Sally McHugh Connolly, would<br />

often reply that “fair” is where you go to ride rides. Not<br />

the response any child wants to hear, the premise<br />

was that life will often present us with challenging<br />

obstacles and experiences which we may find unfair.<br />

More importantly, teaching our children the art and<br />

purpose of compromise is paramount to understanding<br />

and managing the adversity that will often enter our<br />

lives. Redirecting the negative energy that often<br />

accompanies the focus on what is “fair” or “unfair” into<br />

finding solutions and strategies to manage adversity<br />

progressively builds resiliency and coping skills in our<br />

children that afford them the ability to successfully<br />

manage those difficult moments in life.<br />

My mother passed away at the relatively young age<br />

of 70, but it is a blessing that my children, particularly<br />

Kailin, have very fond memories of their grandmother,<br />

Ellen. Ellen became Kailin’s middle name and Kailin<br />

inherited a likeness for hummingbirds from her<br />

grandmother. When she opened her own clothing<br />

boutique more than three years ago, she decided to call<br />

it K. Ellen Boutique and incorporated a hummingbird<br />

into her store logo.<br />

As the youngest of four children, I have lifelong<br />

memories of one of my mother’s most common<br />

4 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

particularly disproportionate; however, our parents<br />

impart upon us as children their parenting skills which<br />

we often deploy when we become parents ourselves.<br />

The common saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the<br />

tree” can most often be correlated to our parenting skills<br />

as we typically will practice parenting skills we learned<br />

as children from our own parents. While there is change<br />

and evolution in relationship and parenting skills,<br />

Mrs. Maureen Kesselring and her son, Konnor<br />

phrases: “If you can’t listen, you’ll have to feel.” At various<br />

ages and stages of life, that phrase took on multiple<br />

meanings. As a youngster, it might have been the warning<br />

preceding a spanking. As we grew older, it became an<br />

important mindful philosophical question that we carefully<br />

listen and evaluate before acting or failing to act as<br />

the outcome may come with intended or unintended<br />

consequences. Listening is an important part of any<br />

relationship, but particularly in marriage.<br />

As we toasted Kailin and Ethan, we could not think of<br />

anything more appropriate than to impart upon them the<br />

lessons we learned from our mothers ‒ lessons that left<br />

a life-long impact on us as children, young adults and as<br />

parents. Our children are our life’s greatest work. Oddly<br />

enough, when you consider the training, licenses, degrees<br />

and certificates we often have to earn to carry out any<br />

myriad of work experiences, there is no formal training<br />

required to become a parent. On its surface, that seems<br />

Dr. Kesselring and his daughter, Kailin<br />

the fundamental premise remains our ability to impart<br />

upon our children the ability to love and be loved while<br />

building resiliency and coping skills in our children to<br />

survive the demands of the world in which we live.<br />

Maureen and I are grateful for our mothers and what<br />

they imparted to us and to our children and I can only<br />

wish that Kailin and Ethan will utilize those lessons as<br />

they build their lives together.<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 5

229 40<br />





Graduates were accepted to 290 colleges<br />

and universities<br />

82,003 hours<br />

of community service<br />

completed by the Senior class<br />

6 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

3.7<br />



16 MILLION<br />

Graduates were offered more than 16 million<br />

dollars in collegiate scholarships<br />

22.5 MILLION<br />



38<br />


The Class of <strong>2022</strong> had<br />

38 countries represented<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 7

College<br />

Acceptances<br />

Below is the list of college acceptances for the Class of <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Congratulations on your achievements!<br />

Adelphi University<br />

American International College<br />

American University<br />

Appalachian State University<br />

Arcadia University<br />

Arizona State University, Main Campus<br />

Asbury University<br />

Ashland University<br />

Auburn University<br />

Barry University<br />

Barton College<br />

Bellarmine University<br />

Belmont Abbey College<br />

Belmont University<br />

Benedictine College<br />

Bentley University<br />

Berry College<br />

Bethel University<br />

Bethune-Cookman University<br />

Boston University<br />

Brandeis University<br />

Butler University<br />

CUNY City College<br />

California Lutheran University<br />

California State University, Bakersfield<br />

California State University, Chico<br />

California State University, Maritime Academy<br />

California State University, Stanislaus<br />

California University of Pennsylvania<br />

Case Western Reserve University<br />

Catawba College<br />

Chaminade University of Honolulu<br />

Chapman University<br />

Chestnut Hill College<br />

Citadel Military College of South Carolina<br />

Clemson University<br />

Coastal Carolina University<br />

Coe College<br />

Colby-Sawyer College<br />

College of Staten Island CUNY<br />

Colorado State University, Fort Collins<br />

Concord University<br />

Concordia University, Montreal<br />

Converse College<br />

Cornell University<br />

Covenant College<br />

Dalhousie University<br />

8 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong><br />

Davidson College<br />

Daytona State College<br />

DePaul University<br />

Dean College<br />

Delta State University<br />

Drexel University<br />

Duke University<br />

Duquesne University<br />

East Carolina University<br />

Eastern University<br />

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania<br />

Elmira College<br />

Elon University<br />

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,<br />

Daytona Beach<br />

Emerson College<br />

Emmanuel College<br />

Emory & Henry College<br />

Emory University<br />

Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing<br />

Fairfield University<br />

Fisher College<br />

Flagler College<br />

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University<br />

Florida Atlantic University<br />

Florida Gulf Coast University<br />

Florida Institute of Technology<br />

Florida International University<br />

Florida Polytechnic University<br />

Florida Southern College<br />

Florida State University<br />

Fordham University<br />

Framingham State University<br />

Franciscan University of Steubenville<br />

Full Sail University<br />

George Washington University<br />

Georgetown University<br />

Georgia Institute of Technology, Main Campus<br />

Georgia State University<br />

Grand Canyon University<br />

Greensboro College<br />

Greenville University<br />

Grinnell College<br />

Harding University<br />

Hawaii Pacific University<br />

High Point University<br />

Hofstra University<br />

Hollins University<br />

Holy Names University<br />

Indian River State College<br />

Indiana State University<br />

Indiana University, Bloomington<br />

Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis<br />

Iona College<br />

Ithaca College<br />

Jacksonville University<br />

Keiser University<br />

Kenyon College<br />

La Salle University<br />

LaGrange College<br />

Lafayette College<br />

Lake-Sumter State College<br />

Lasell University<br />

Lawrence University<br />

Le Moyne College<br />

Lenoir-Rhyne University<br />

Liberty University<br />

Limestone University<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Longwood University<br />

Louisiana State University<br />

Loyola University, Chicago<br />

Loyola University, New Orleans<br />

Luther College<br />

Lynn University<br />

Marquette University<br />

Marymount Manhattan College<br />

Menlo College<br />

Mercyhurst University<br />

Merrimack College<br />

Miami University, Oxford<br />

Michigan State University<br />

Middle Tennessee State University<br />

Milligan University<br />

Mississippi State University<br />

Missouri University of Science and Technology<br />

Monmouth University<br />

Mount Marty College<br />

Mount St Mary’s University<br />

New College of Florida<br />

New York Institute of Technology<br />

New York University<br />

Newberry College<br />

Nichols College

North Carolina State University<br />

Northeastern University<br />

Northern Illinois University<br />

Northern Michigan University<br />

Northwood University, Michigan<br />

Nova Southeastern University<br />

Pace University, New York City<br />

Palm Beach Atlantic University<br />

Pennsylvania State University, Berks<br />

Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg<br />

Pennsylvania State University, Main Campus<br />

Pfeiffer University<br />

Purdue University, Main Campus<br />

Queens University of Charlotte<br />

Quinnipiac University<br />

Randolph-Macon College<br />

Regis College<br />

Rhodes College<br />

Ringling College of Art and Design<br />

Rivier University<br />

Rochester Institute of Technology<br />

Roger Williams University<br />

Rollins College<br />

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology<br />

Rowan University<br />

SUNY College at Oswego<br />

SUNY College at Potsdam<br />

SUNY College of Technology at Canton<br />

Saint John’s University<br />

Saint Leo University<br />

Saint Louis University<br />

Saint Michael’s College<br />

San Diego State University<br />

San Francisco State University<br />

Santa Clara University<br />

Sarah Lawrence College<br />

Savannah College of Art and Design<br />

Seton Hall University<br />

Seton Hill University<br />

Shaw University<br />

Sonoma State University<br />

Sophia University<br />

Southeastern University<br />

Southwest Baptist University<br />

Spring Arbor University<br />

Springfield College<br />

St. Francis College<br />

St. John’s University, New York<br />

St. Olaf College<br />

St. Thomas University<br />

Stephens College<br />

Stetson University<br />

Stony Brook University<br />

Suffolk University<br />

Syracuse University<br />

The Ohio State University, Main Campus<br />

The University of Alabama<br />

The University of Tampa<br />

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville<br />

The University of Texas at Austin<br />

The University of West Florida<br />

Thomas University<br />

Toronto Metropolitan University<br />

University of Alabama at Birmingham<br />

University of Arizona<br />

University of Arkansas<br />

University of British Columbia<br />

University of California, Berkeley<br />

University of California, Davis<br />

University of California, Los Angeles<br />

University of California, Merced<br />

University of California, Riverside<br />

University of California, San Diego<br />

University of California, Santa Barbara<br />

University of California, Santa Cruz<br />

University of Central Florida<br />

University of Central Oklahoma<br />

University of Cincinnati, Main Campus<br />

University of Colorado Boulder<br />

University of Connecticut<br />

University of Denver<br />

University of Florida<br />

University of Georgia<br />

University of Hartford<br />

University of Houston<br />

University of Illinois at Chicago<br />

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign<br />

University of Indianapolis<br />

University of Kentucky<br />

University of Louisville<br />

University of Lynchburg<br />

University of Massachusetts, Amherst<br />

University of Massachusetts, Boston<br />

University of Miami<br />

University of Michigan, Dearborn<br />

University of Nevada, Las Vegas<br />

University of New Brunswick<br />

University of New England<br />

University of New Hampshire, Main Campus<br />

University of New Haven<br />

University of North Carolina at Charlotte<br />

University of North Carolina at Greensboro<br />

University of North Florida<br />

University of Oregon<br />

University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown<br />

University of Pittsburgh, Main Campus<br />

University of Portland<br />

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez<br />

University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras<br />

University of Rhode Island<br />

University of San Diego<br />

University of San Francisco<br />

University of South Carolina<br />

University of South Florida, Main Campus<br />

University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee<br />

University of Utah<br />

University of Vermont<br />

University of Virginia, Main Campus<br />

University of Wisconsin, Madison<br />

Valencia College<br />

Virginia Commonwealth University<br />

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University<br />

Wake Forest University<br />

Waseda University<br />

Webber International University<br />

West Chester University of Pennsylvania<br />

West Virginia University<br />

Western New Mexico University<br />

Wheaton College<br />

Whitman College<br />

William Jewell College<br />

Wingate University<br />

Wofford College<br />

Worcester Polytechnic Institute<br />

Xavier University<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 9


CLASS OF <strong>2022</strong><br />

Valedictorian<br />


In each issue of The <strong>Tower</strong> magazine we spotlight select seniors who stand out amongst their<br />

peers. These seniors are given to us by the Upper School Adminstrators, and represent the three<br />

pillars that make a successful Montverde Academy student - knowledge, character, and community.<br />

It was no surprise that Krishna Patel was the top female choice, but in this rare instant, she was<br />

also the Class of <strong>2022</strong>ʼs valedictorian!<br />

By Dr. Anne Browdy, Upper School Mathematics<br />

Montverde Academy’s valedictorian for the class of <strong>2022</strong><br />

is Krishna Patel, a bright and determined student. Krishna<br />

began her studies at MVA in the eighth grade. “I have<br />

amazing teachers and I don’t think I’ve ever had a teacher<br />

that wasn’t willing to help, and that is priceless. The<br />

environment, the people and the diversity are so much,<br />

you learn every day and explore many opportunities that<br />

help you. Just being at MVA, I have learned so much and<br />

will be more than prepared when I head to college. I’m very<br />

grateful for the experience I have had here” said Krishna.<br />

I had the privilege of being Krishna’s math teacher both<br />

her junior and senior years. Krishna was one of my AP<br />

Calculus BC students this year and last year, she was<br />

an AP Calculus AB student. She is an excellent math<br />

student who always comes to class prepared and her<br />

work is impeccable. Krishna has very disciplined work<br />

habits. She is determined to understand every concept<br />

presented to her. She was the top student in AP Calculus<br />

AB at Montverde Academy last year, even while taking<br />

She will continue her education at Cornell University in<br />

the fall. Krishna would like to study Computer Science<br />

or Aerospace Engineering in college. She attended a<br />

Montessori school until seventh grade. In Montessori<br />

school, she learned through an experimental and handson<br />

learning method which has inspired her interest to<br />

study in the STEM field. Krishna believes that pursuing<br />

research, particularly related to space, would be exciting<br />

and allow her to continue learning in an interactive<br />

manner. Last summer, Krishna participated in the Young<br />

Scholars Program at Florida State University. She took<br />

three classes: Open Access Research Seminar, Python A,<br />

and Mathematical Modeling. The culminating experience<br />

was a group presentation on a research project.<br />

Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Krishna Patel, and Mr. David Bernatvitz<br />

10 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

the course virtually. Krishna received a score of 5 on the AP Calculus<br />

AB exam and has earned the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. She is<br />

also a <strong>2022</strong> National Merit Scholarship Finalist.<br />

Krishna is a highly dedicated honor roll student and has won numerous<br />

academic awards. She is a member of our Distinguished Scholar<br />

Program. She has accepted the challenge of dedicating herself to the<br />

highest level of scholastic pursuit. Krishna is also a member of the<br />

Montverde Academy Head of School Leadership Institute, a select<br />

group of students chosen for their academic and leadership abilities.<br />

She has been a member of the Honor Council at MVA all four years<br />

of high school. Krishna has also been a member of the Environmental<br />

Club, Key Club, and Academic Team.<br />

Krishna is also a member of MVA’s STEM SAC program. When she<br />

was a sophomore, Krishna and her cousin created a virtual STEM<br />

4 Girls camp. They did various experiments and activities with them<br />

over Zoom. Their goal was to inspire them to pursue study in a STEM<br />

field and have fun doing it. “In the future, I want to work with National<br />

Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or Space X. That field<br />

really intrigues me,” said Krishna.<br />

In addition to her high academic achievement and extra-curricular<br />

activities, Krishna has found time to give back to her community.<br />

“Outside of Montverde Academy, I would just like to portray that I<br />

am very involved in my community. I love to spend time with family<br />

and friends, travel, read, and do outdoor activities (hiking, skiing,<br />

wakeboarding, etc.).” Her volunteer activities include assisting at Give<br />

Kids the World, Kids College at Lake Sumter, Thrive Clermont, and<br />

South Lake Hospital. She has also worked with St. Jude to fundraise for<br />

children with cancer.<br />

Krishna is a very polite, intelligent, and mature person who treats<br />

everyone with respect. She has received the Good Citizenship Award<br />

every year that she has been at MVA. Some of the words that her<br />

friends and classmates use to describe Krishna are helpful, loyal, and<br />

committed to her friends, family, and schoolwork. I believe that Krishna<br />

has the traits that will enable her to succeed in college and beyond.<br />

I have enjoyed getting to know and teaching this amazing young lady.<br />

I have amazing teachers and<br />

don’t think I’ve ever had a<br />

teacher that wasn’t willing to<br />

help, and that is priceless.<br />

Krishna Patel, Class of <strong>2022</strong> Valedictorian<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 11


CLASS OF <strong>2022</strong><br />

Salutatorian<br />


In each issue of The <strong>Tower</strong> magazine we spotlight select seniors who stand out amongst their<br />

peers. These seniors are given to us by the Upper School Adminstrators, and represent the three<br />

pillars that make a successful Montverde Academy student - knowledge, character, and community.<br />

While it was exciting to have Pavlos Tentomas as the top male choice for senior spotlight, it was<br />

incredible that he was also the Class of <strong>2022</strong>ʼs Salutatorian! He will be attending Georgetown<br />

University in the fall.<br />

By Mrs. Khristine Walsworth, Upper School English, Department Chair<br />

Polished, professional, passionate. An organized leader, a<br />

committed team member, a person who makes an impact<br />

wherever he goes. Pavlos Tentomas. The first time I heard<br />

Pavlos speak was at MVA Middle School Honors night<br />

where he presented an eighth-grade graduation speech<br />

that was so thoughtful and engaging it inspired thunderous<br />

applause! It was clear even then that Pavlos was going to<br />

make his mark on MVA.<br />

has been an essential part of the SIMA team and other<br />

academic groups such as President of the Honor Council,<br />

Director of the Night for the Cure event, President of the<br />

Advisory Council, Salutatorian of his graduating class, and<br />

much more.<br />

At the start of his sophomore year, Pavlos committed<br />

to working with Night for the Cure (NFC); since then, I<br />

have had the honor of a having front row seat to both<br />

the personal and the leadership growth of this incredible<br />

young man. Throughout his tenure as Student Director of<br />

NFC, Pavlos has become polished in his communication<br />

with others, professional in planning and leading<br />

meetings, and passionate and intentional about growing<br />

as a leader and how he can best help others grow along<br />

with him. He is a role model to younger students and a<br />

leader among his peers.<br />

His love for soccer began at age five, and just as<br />

dedicated as he is to academics, he is to the sport. Pavlos<br />

is a part of SIMA (Soccer Institute at Montverde Academy,<br />

where he brings his serious work ethic to the field on the<br />

Varsity team while balancing challenging academics.<br />

With his passion for soccer and serious work ethic, he<br />

Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Pavlos Tentomas, and Mr. David Bernatvitz<br />

12 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

He attributes his success to his family, “I wouldn’t be anywhere without<br />

them” said Pavlos. “My family means the world to me; I love them so<br />

much. They are the most important thing to me in my entire life and<br />

without them, I would be so lost. Besides them, my teachers here have<br />

taught me so much and have helped shape my future and who I am now.”<br />

When Pavlos finally arrived in my AP Literature class his senior year,<br />

I already knew well his integrity and passion for serving others;<br />

what I still had to experience was his deep intellect and academic<br />

curiosity. In a class full of “main characters,” Pavlos spent a great<br />

deal of time observing and listening which meant that when he did<br />

speak, his insights effectively illuminated our literary conversation.<br />

At the end of AP Literature, Pavlos counts The Handmaid’s Tale,<br />

a dystopian novel, and The Alchemist, the story of chasing your<br />

personal legend, among his favorite reads. This seems like a<br />

statement in contradiction; however, it is the philosophical musings<br />

of what “could be” that ties them together. Pavlos’ analytical<br />

mind is always working on something, so fiction that embodies<br />

philosophical life lessons – whether optimistic or pessimistic in<br />

nature – reveals Pavlos’ ever-present quest to become a better<br />

version of his already amazing self! Polished writing on his AP<br />

exams, professional preparation to be an outstanding student,<br />

passionate discussion on the ethics and economics that drive<br />

our world: these words apply to Pavlos in all categories.<br />

Finally, his friends often tease Pavlos that he is a<br />

40-year-old man in the body of a teenager: always down<br />

for a good Dad joke, a successful wrangler of Excel<br />

spreadsheets, and an avid day trader. I would posit<br />

that he is not an “old man,” but an old soul: sometimes<br />

frustrated with the pace of modern life and how it can<br />

take away the peace of some of life’s great joys.<br />

The Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote, “Educating<br />

the mind without educating the heart is no<br />

education at all.” I believe that, in true Greek and<br />

philosophical fashion, Pavlos’ greatest attribute<br />

is not his extremely polished academic<br />

abilities, nor his remarkable professional<br />

leadership qualities; it is his passion<br />

for the heart of his life: his family. That<br />

passion fuels the final word I would use<br />

to describe our Montverde Academy<br />

<strong>2022</strong> Salutatorian: Phenomenal!<br />

My family means the world<br />

to me, I love them so much.<br />

Pavlos Tentomas, Class of <strong>2022</strong> Salutatorian<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 13



Senior Spotlights were written by Ms. Anna Martinez, Communications Manager<br />


Alexis Newlin is a smart young woman who loves to make a<br />

difference in people’s lives. Since arriving at the Academy 14 years<br />

ago in Pre-K4, Alexis has really accepted all the lessons MVA has<br />

taught her, good and bad. Although she stopped playing to focus<br />

on her studies and her future in the Air Force, Alexis was on the<br />

Beach and Indoor Volleyball teams for several years.<br />

Her hopes are to join the Air Force Reserve Command and study<br />

International Business at the University of California San Diego. “I<br />

never thought Iʼd want to get into the Air Force, but it was great to<br />

do something for myself that was out of my comfort zone,”<br />

said Alexis.<br />

“Trying to make a difference, empowering and motivating others<br />

drove me to do better,” said Alexis. “I volunteered in a homeless<br />

shelter helping the kids and it was very eye-opening. Showing<br />

them that there is life outside of the shelter was incredible. This<br />

made me know that helping others is a part of myself that I always<br />

want to keep doing. My father and I love traveling and on one of<br />

our vacations in Mexico, we saw a family in need and decided to<br />

adopt them and help them in anything they need.”<br />

Alexis has many fond memories of MVA, but one of her favorites<br />

was meeting her best friend Faith Taylor. “I got to meet my best<br />

friend Faith Taylor in Kindergarten, and I am incredibly grateful to<br />

MVA for having us meet!<br />

Motivating quote: “If you don’t challenge yourself you, we’ll never<br />

know what you can become.” - Unknown<br />

14 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


Sebastien Ressler is an outgoing, athletic, dedicated student who<br />

strives to help others. He plays on the SIMA (Soccer Institute at<br />

Montverde Academy) Varsity team, Varsity Cross Country, and serves<br />

on the Student Leadership Council, a Head Prefect, and as an<br />

Eagle Ambassador. As he juggles all his responsibilities,<br />

he remains true to himself, trying to make a difference<br />

day by day.<br />

One of the most important things to him is<br />

family. “I want to major in Business and<br />

one day be able to take over our<br />

family tree farm in Groveland,” said<br />

Sebastien. “My goal is to also<br />

minor in Agriculture and learn<br />

about business as an intern<br />

elsewhere so I can come<br />

back and work in my<br />

family’s business.”<br />

His seven years at MVA have shaped him into becoming<br />

an educated young man and he aspires to use all he has<br />

learned here in future endeavors. His recent acceptance to<br />

Cornell University was a true dream come true for him.<br />

“When I first opened the letter, I was in shock. I was so<br />

shocked I double-checked the address on the letter to<br />

make sure I applied to the correct Cornell University and<br />

not one of its feeder schools. I had only applied because my<br />

mother insisted that I apply to at least one Ivy League school.<br />

When I had been accepted, I realized that my college decision had<br />

become so much easier with the Cornell University perfectly aligning<br />

with what I wanted to do in the future. The agri-business program<br />

is ranked first in the United States and would set me up perfectly to<br />

eventually come back and work for my family farm. I am extremely<br />

excited for the next four years and hope it is not too cold!”<br />

One of Sebastienʼs favorite memories at Montverde Academy was as<br />

a Senior Prefect. “I would say this year living in the dorms as a Prefect<br />

student was one of my favorites. It changed me the most as I had to<br />

go outside of my comfort zone, learn from others and living with other<br />

students prepared me a bit for college and the experience I will<br />

have there.”<br />

Motivating Quote: “The road to success and the road to failure are<br />

almost the same” - Colin R. Davis.<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 15


Laila Shirley is a passionate, enterprising person with<br />

an outgoing personality, who can tackle anything she<br />

puts her mind to. Her interest in biomedical sciences<br />

started at an early age as most of her father’s family<br />

were in the medical field. One day, she aspires to<br />

practice as a neurosurgeon.<br />

“At first, I was a little hesitant to go into the medical<br />

field, but as I grew up, I realized how much I loved it. I<br />

am excited and I think all the years of studying will be<br />

entirely worth it to be honest.” said Laila. “I’m a very<br />

passionate personate person when you first meet me,<br />

you might say I have chaotic energy that is organized<br />

and helps produce a lot of important things.”<br />

Laila came to MVA in sixth grade after her family<br />

moved from New York. “I thought I was going to be<br />

miserable when we moved, but as soon as I stepped<br />

into Montverde Academy, I saw all the opportunities<br />

there are here.” said Laila. She is involved with tutoring<br />

Spanish at LSS, SGA, the Head of School Leadership<br />

Institute, NHS, Social Studies Honor Society, Science<br />

Honor Society, and the Honor Council. As she says<br />

“time management is key” when involved in all these<br />

programs.<br />

“I want to thank every single person I have met here<br />

who has impacted my life in every shape and form.<br />

All have shaped me into becoming the person I am<br />

today; they were there when I needed them, and I am<br />

incredibly grateful.”<br />

“My eighth grade English class is my favorite memory<br />

here. I think one of the biggest reasons I am who I<br />

am today is because of my friends. I genuinely think<br />

the people around you shape you and some of the<br />

students in my class at that time are still my best<br />

friends today. Ms.Tamasi was also amazing, and she<br />

helped me realize that it is okay to be yourself. She<br />

was there for me.”<br />

Motivating Quote: “Your story is what you have, what<br />

you will always have. It is something to own.”<br />

- Michelle Obama<br />

16 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


Cristian “CJ” Rosado is an incredibly talented, charismatic, smart<br />

young man who loves the entertainment world. His bright personality<br />

is part of the Puerto Rican heritage that his family has instilled in<br />

him. He believes that has helped him thrive on stage. CJ found his<br />

love for theatre by chance, well, by a dare actually and it quickly<br />

became a big part of his life, so much so that he began voice<br />

lessons to enhance his acting.<br />

“I always thought that I had an okay voice for singing, and when<br />

I started theatre and actually taking voice lessons, I really liked<br />

it,” said CJ. “This all started on a dare in a coin flip, and I joined<br />

theatre, and loved every minute of it, but in the back of my mind<br />

I have always wanted to do game design, so I decided to<br />

combine both. I will work on the story-telling part of game<br />

design, that way I get the best of both worlds and do something<br />

I am truly passionate about. I know I don't want to leave theatre<br />

behind, it is part of me now.”<br />

As he describes himself, he says he brings light to the room,<br />

and many of his peers agree. “When Daniel Mills passed<br />

away, I was devastated. We were close. He loved being the<br />

light of the room and when he passed, that was transferred<br />

on to me. I will always remember him and keep bringing his<br />

light with me wherever I go.” CJ is part of the Daniel Mills<br />

Apprenticeship Program at the Garden Theatre as well.<br />

CJ reflects on his favorite memory at the Academy, “Last<br />

year our production of “Something Rotten” was nominated<br />

for the Applause Award at Dr. Phillips Center for the<br />

Performing Arts and won Best Musical. At Dr. Phillips I<br />

performed a song called “A Musical”, and it was incredible.<br />

There was a moment when the song ended when<br />

everyone was cheering and clapping, and that was the<br />

happiest moment for me, it felt like my job was done as<br />

an actor. I wish I could take that moment and keep it in<br />

a jar where I can keep it forever and relive it.”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 17


Richard Henry is most moved by serving others in any<br />

way he can. His journey to MVA was a bit rough as his<br />

family came from the British Virgin Islands after Hurricane<br />

Irma struck there in 2017. Along with a strong academic<br />

schedule, RIchard joined the CBD (Center for Basketball<br />

Development) program for three years and Track and Field.<br />

After graduation, he plans to go into the United States Air<br />

Force Pararescue followed by college in the Emergency<br />

Medicine field.<br />

At MVA, Richard served as the president of the Black<br />

Student Union, the AALC representative for track sprinters,<br />

the co-president of the Fellowship of Christian athletes, and<br />

the Senior Officer in the Key Club. “I have a 4.44 GPA right<br />

now which I've worked really hard to obtain and am grateful<br />

for<br />

all those who have helped me get where I am today,”<br />

said Richard.<br />

“I am a very tenacious person who strives to move forward<br />

always even if I continue to fall,” said Richard. “Everything<br />

I have done, and the aspirations I have are for the service<br />

of Jesus Christ and for His Kingdom. With every person,<br />

I can reach and help through service both now and with<br />

my career in the future, I can never claim credit for these<br />

achievements as I owe all the glory to God and in trying<br />

to live through the example of Jesus Christ. With leading<br />

through example, it is my goal to be a true example<br />

of my faith while bringing all glory to Jesus instead<br />

of myself, not only in the process of saving lives, but<br />

providing an example of my faith in the truth.”<br />

His favorite memory at MVA was last year’s Night for<br />

the Cure fundraiser. “I was able to help for 11 hours,<br />

and it was a fun time. It started a trend for me this<br />

year to do more community service and try to help in<br />

any way. It was a gateway for more opportunities to<br />

help the community and help others in any way I can.<br />

I can say I aspire to work for a non-profit organization<br />

one day because of this incredible experience MVA<br />

has given me.”<br />

Motivating Quote: John 15:12-13 “My command is this:<br />

Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no<br />

one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”<br />

18 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


Sydney Rivera has excelled at MVA for 15 incredible<br />

years. From an early age, her parents knew the Academy<br />

was going to be a special place for their daughter after it<br />

was recommended to them. Since then, she has been a<br />

part of a remarkable journey that she hopes to continue<br />

after she graduates. From her many passions, being on<br />

the MIFC (Montverde International Futbol Club) soccer<br />

team has been an amazing experience, as she has been<br />

playing the sport since she was eight years old. “Sydney<br />

has been with our program for five years. She has<br />

matured into a great leader, fierce competitor, and overall<br />

great student-athlete. She has grown leaps and bounds<br />

and we certainly have enjoyed having her in our program!<br />

We wish her nothing but the best in her next steps at the<br />

University of South Florida,” said Robbie Aristodemo,<br />

Director of MIFC.<br />

Although athletics has formed a big part of her life, she<br />

continues to exemplify herself as a star student by being<br />

part of the National Honor Society and taking challenging<br />

AP courses. Her plans include studying anthropology<br />

at the University of South Florida (USF); however, she<br />

aspires to be a radiologist one day. “I hope to continue to<br />

be determined in all I do in the future,” said Sydney. “MVA<br />

has really prepared me for college. Training six times a<br />

week and having to manage my time with homework has<br />

given me a good sense of time management.”<br />

From her time at MVA, the one thing she is most grateful<br />

for is the people that have surrounded her and given her<br />

a good foundation, such as her parents and teachers.<br />

“My family and I go to Colorado often and I love to go<br />

snowboarding, which can be scary at first for some, but I<br />

love the thrill. I love my parents, they have sacrificed so<br />

much for me to be here, and they continue to do amazing<br />

things for me and be my number one supporter in all I<br />

do,” said Sydney. “They are my best friends. My parents<br />

and teachers have taught me to work hard and pursue<br />

what I love by not giving up, even if it seems difficult at<br />

the time. I am extremely fortunate to have people teach<br />

me this and I will hold onto it forever.”<br />

Sydneyʼs favorite memory at MVA was in the Lower<br />

School. “My favorite memory was when I first started at<br />

MVA. Mrs. Kesselring would push me on the swing at<br />

recess every day. As a 4-year-old I did not want to be at<br />

school, so I always looked forward to her at recess during<br />

the day. She definitely helped me start my life here.”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 19

Mr. Troy Urquhart<br />

Employee Spotlight<br />

By Ms. Anna Martinez, Communications Manager<br />

20 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Mr. Urquhart with daughter Hillary and grandson Charlie<br />

Mr. Urquhart with grandson Charlie<br />

In the fall of 2006, Mr. Troy Urquhart arrived at Montverde Academy, where he served in<br />

the Upper School for 11 years. Although his time at MVA was paused for a few years, his<br />

love for the Academy and fellow faculty and staff members was bigger than anything else.<br />

Mr. Urquhart earned his undergraduate degree from<br />

the University of West Florida in English, a Masterʼs<br />

in English and an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction.<br />

Although the start of his career did not begin in education,<br />

he was inspired by his parents’ dedication to education<br />

and making a difference and pursued the same career<br />

path. He wanted to spend his life building “lifelong<br />

relationships,” which later became the core of his decision<br />

to begin at MVA as an Upper School English teacher.<br />

Being a member of the MVA community is unlike any<br />

other as Mr. Urquhart recalls all the people that were a<br />

huge part of his life, during some of the best moments<br />

as well as challenging ones. “It [MVA] has been a huge<br />

part of my life and family and I don’t know how I could<br />

ever separate it.” MVA has a special place in his family:<br />

his mother taught Economics in the Upper School after<br />

she retired from teaching in northwest Florida, and his<br />

daughter Hillary graduated from MVA and then returned<br />

to teach in the Lower School after finishing her degree at<br />

Rollins College.<br />

His time away from the Academy leading an Upper School<br />

in Little Rock, Arkansas, helped prepare him to become<br />

the exceptional leader he is today. Mr. Urquhart, now<br />

the Dean of Middle School, came to see the important<br />

potential of the Middle School years and the rewarding<br />

work he could do with Middle School students and<br />

teachers. “To me, it was an easy decision coming back to<br />

MVA. Dr. Kesselring is such an amazing friend and leader<br />

who has helped me grow professionally and personally.”<br />

“It’s hard to imagine what my life would be without MVA,<br />

I’ve grown here so much.” Although his journey is far<br />

from over, his expectations for the Academy have already<br />

far exceeded what he could have imagined when he<br />

first arrived at Montverde 16 years ago. The leadership<br />

brought by Dr. Kesselring has “helped me so much<br />

throughout my career.”<br />

“Troy cares deeply about the mission and culture of<br />

Montverde Academy. The work that he does, and the high<br />

expectations he has for that work, are focused on fulfilling<br />

that mission,” said Emilie Fracker, Associate Dean of<br />

Middle School at MVA. “Above all else, he knows that it<br />

is the strong relationships we form with other members of<br />

the school community that allow the work to flourish. He is<br />

patient and never rushes to a decision without looking at<br />

an issue from all sides. He has been wonderfully generous<br />

with his time as I’ve made the transition to administration<br />

this year. I feel very blessed to be working with him to lead<br />

the Middle School division.”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 21




By Ms. Anna Martinez, Communications Manager<br />

Our Lower School teachers have provided us with a<br />

glimpse into their classrooms on how the students<br />

navigate Document Based Questions (DBQs). They<br />

also explain how students have been fortunate enough<br />

to feel comfortable in the future by using DBQs at such<br />

a young age.<br />

DBQs were first introduced in the Lower School in the early 2000s, and<br />

some teachers, such as Mr. Steven Hand, Lower School fourth grade faculty<br />

member, were there from the start as they navigated the importance of this<br />

program. DBQs are assigned in grades two through five. Every grade has<br />

different themes and in Mr. Hand’s class, at the time of this interview, they<br />

were discussing Florida History.<br />

22 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Students in Mr. Handʼs class working on their DBQ<br />

“The first thing we do is discuss the “hook” exercise where<br />

they go through samples that they have to choose from,”<br />

said Mr. Hand. “After they choose one, they have to get<br />

together and basically defend why their view is the best.<br />

It’s like a debate and it really helps them learn how to<br />

analyze the story and use the history they have learned to<br />

prove their points. It’s also a great team-building exercise!”<br />

After their debate, students must continue to analyze the<br />

four documents given and write an essay. An outline is<br />

given to the student to follow and write the essay along<br />

with the rubric on what they will be graded on. The book<br />

given to the students goes through all the details on the<br />

“road map” of building their thesis to then writing the essay<br />

that in the end is what they are fully graded on. “We give<br />

them everything for them to craft their analysis into an<br />

essay and even source everything,” said Mr. Hand.<br />

From the fourth grade students’ perspective, some<br />

believe that it has made them feel comfortable when<br />

articulating discussions in front of the class. “It’s helping<br />

me put my essay in order and together,” said one of<br />

Mr. Hand’s students.<br />

“The biggest thing that I see is that they are more<br />

comfortable with a project like a research paper,” said<br />

Mr. Hand. “Since they have done DBQs for a while, when<br />

they get to Upper School, the anxiety level on writing a<br />

research paper lowers a lot.”<br />

DBQs have impacted many students that have crossed<br />

the Lower School at MVA. From discussions, to analyzing<br />

data, and learning how to properly write an essay, these<br />

students not only learn the practicalities of how to properly<br />

create an essay, but also learn valuable information about<br />

Florida’s history, hurricanes, how to use their critical<br />

thinking skills, and more.<br />

“DBQs influence and help structure critical thinking.<br />

Students must understand potential bias – who wrote<br />

the journal, who edited the journal, and how the person<br />

editing could influence how a particular historical figure<br />

might be viewed,” said Jayne Beucher, Associate Dean of<br />

the Lower School. “Also, in paintings you ask who painted<br />

the picture, what message did the artist want to express,<br />

was it a positive viewpoint or a negative viewpoint? DBQs<br />

also support critical thinking in learning through real-life<br />

materials such as journals, paintings, ships logs, diaries,<br />

maps, cultural norms of the time in which something took<br />

place, and even the philosophical questions that people<br />

might ask themselves during hardships. To me this is<br />

the benefit of DBQs – really getting our students to think<br />

and form opinions or answers based on real facts and<br />

understanding how one person can sway a viewpoint –<br />

understanding where these biases might lie and how to<br />

interrupt what they see, read, and review.”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 23

Kindergarten Graduation<br />

1 2<br />

3 4 5<br />

1. Mrs. Shirley’s Class<br />

2. Mrs. Shirley and Abram Richardson<br />

3. Mrs. Sinopoli and Conner Bostocky<br />

4. Mrs. Shirley and Isabella Oliver<br />

5. Mrs. Sinopoli and Charlene Wathington<br />

6. Mrs. Sinopli’s Class<br />

Congrats!<br />

6<br />

24 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

5th grade Graduation<br />

3<br />

1 2<br />

4<br />

5 6 7<br />

8<br />

1. Mrs. Meder and Andrew Restniks<br />

2. Mrs. Dougherty and Keye Magnuson<br />

3. Mrs. Meder and Michaela Cook<br />

4. Mrs. Dougherty and Munsif Minhas<br />

5. Mrs. Meder and Kylee Brown<br />

6. Mrs. Dougherty and Aamirah Higgins<br />

7. Mrs. Meder and Zaid Al-Suleiman<br />

8. Fifth grade performance<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 25

Ms. Meristell Shackelford, Mrs. Dana Cook, Mrs. Jayne Beucher<br />


Teacher of the Year<br />

2021-22<br />

Mrs. Dana Cook<br />

By Mrs. Rosalie Garland, Lower School First Grade Teacher<br />

On May 16, the Lower School held their annual Honors<br />

Night. On this night, the Lower School faculty announces<br />

the winner of the colleague who they feel shows<br />

exemplary character and leadership. The winner is<br />

selected by vote, and it has been a tradition in our school<br />

for quite some time now. This year our “Teacher of the<br />

Year” was awarded to Mrs. Dana Cook. If you attended<br />

the event, you would have witnessed her complete shock<br />

as she turned around and saw not only her husband,<br />

Todd, but her parents who drove from Georgia to<br />

surprise her. It was heartwarming to see her reaction!<br />

growth mindset and innovative approach to teaching is<br />

contagious as she seeks to meet the individual needs of<br />

her students year after year.”<br />

It has been a privilege to work with Mrs. Cook for the last<br />

nine years. She is my first-grade right hand, and I am<br />

proud to say that she is not only my colleague, but she is<br />

my friend. Congratulations Dana on a job well done. We<br />

see you and recognize your worth.<br />

Mrs. Cook has served as a teacher at Montverde<br />

Academy for 18 years and is currently one of our firstgrade<br />

teachers also having served as a Pre-K4 teacher<br />

several years ago prior to moving to first grade. Mrs.<br />

Cook is kind-hearted and dedicates her time beyond her<br />

school day to her students. She has a heart for children<br />

and is always seeking knowledge of how to facilitate her<br />

students’ love of learning. Mrs. Cook is always willing to<br />

help her colleagues in any way and share any knowledge<br />

that she has attained. Ms. Shackelford shared, “Mrs.<br />

Cook is a dedicated and valued educator of young<br />

children Virtual Reality at Montverde Academy Lower School. Her<br />

Mrs. Cook is a dedicated and valued<br />

educator of young children... Her<br />

growth mindset and innovative<br />

approach to teaching is contagious as<br />

she seeks to meet the individual needs<br />

of her students year after year.<br />

Ms. Shackelford, Dean of the Lower School<br />

26 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>



By Dr. Caryn Long, Director of the Educational Technology and Innovation Center<br />

What is innovation? This is the most popular question that I am asked. It’s a word<br />

that gets tossed around in everyday language and has become an integral part of<br />

our culture, something that we hear every day on television and social media, see in<br />

sporting events, technology, and healthcare. In short, without innovation our society<br />

would not advance.<br />

By formal definition, innovation is 1. A new idea, method,<br />

or device, novelty. 2. The introduction of something new.<br />

Merriam-Webster. (n.d). By my definition it’s a unique way of<br />

thinking to approach a problem that may (or may not) have<br />

already been solved using all available resources.<br />

In <strong>2022</strong>-23 we will begin a new era of innovation<br />

for Montverde Academy with the introduction of our<br />

Educational Technology and Innovation Center (ETIC).<br />

Our students will have the opportunity to experience<br />

unique advanced technologies giving them deeper ways<br />

to show what they know and provide them with the<br />

skills that are necessary to be ahead of the game when<br />

compared to their peers.<br />

Our new partnership with EA SPORTS in the development<br />

of EA SPORTS at MVA Gaming Academy will allow<br />

students to concentrate on a career in this field. MVA is the<br />

only school in the country with this exclusive partnership<br />

and the possibilities of career development are staggering.<br />

backend to the frontend of the e-sports industry in order<br />

for them to make decisions on career paths and give<br />

them exposure to the appropriate level of support, giving<br />

them a step up in this field once they have completed the<br />

EA SPORTS at MVA Gaming Academy. Some of these<br />

students may even choose to be a part of the competitive<br />

team which opens up the door to scholarship opportunities<br />

as well.<br />

MVA is the only school in the<br />

country with this exclusive<br />

partnership and the possibilities<br />

of career development are<br />

staggering.<br />

Dr. Caryn Long, Director of ETIC<br />

Our plan is to provide students the foundational<br />

knowledge that will allow them to traverse through the<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 27

Our Media Arts department has a collaboratively designed<br />

space all its own. The television studio will have editing<br />

and audio recording equipment suites for our videography<br />

students to create creative productions that will be shared<br />

with the entire campus and give them the opportunity<br />

to mentor students not in the program that would like to<br />

use the equipment to create new and interesting ways to<br />

showcase their learning. Podcasts for the MVA community<br />

will be developed in our new recording studio, digital art<br />

can be created through our photography program that can<br />

be shared and utilized across campus, and our yearbook<br />

staff will be able to collaborate with like-minded peers to<br />

enhance the presentation of the yearbook for all beyond<br />

the printed publication.<br />

Our Middle and Upper School robotics teams will have<br />

a new space suitable to collaborate cross-divisions and<br />

provide exposure to multiple programming strategies<br />

through FIRST LEGO league and VEX robotics. This<br />

space will allow both teams to observe and provide critical<br />

feedback to one another, mentoring opportunities and new<br />

technology that will advance their strategic skills to assist<br />

in their advancement in both programs. It has the potential<br />

to grow both programs where MVA could potentially be<br />

engaged in competitions in both VEX and FIRST in both<br />

divisions giving a wider exposure of our school and our<br />

skills nationally.<br />

Maker-spaces for all divisions are also included. The<br />

Lower School will have its own space on the bottom floor<br />

of Conrad-Lehman on the old stage where our Pre-K<br />

through grade five students will have materials to build,<br />

take apart, and rebuild various projects that apply to their<br />

own learning objectives. Middle School and Upper School<br />

students will have “bigger tools” such as sewing machines,<br />

common hardware, machinery, and a wide-variety of other<br />

materials that will allow them to do the same. All students<br />

will be presented with national challenge competitions<br />

and innovation Maker Fairs to highlight their work. It is our<br />

hope that one day that we can host an MVA Maker Fair to<br />

showcase our school’s talent!<br />

Technology will be expanded through exciting programming<br />

opportunities with our newly designed computer classes<br />

where students will learn everything from various program<br />

languages, how to solve basic tech issues for teachers and<br />

students across campus, and how to design Augmented<br />

and Virtual Reality platforms. Imagine the opportunities<br />

for students to build their own programming and create<br />

actual products that could be published even before they<br />

leave our campus. These classes will support not only<br />

our general student populace interested in a technology<br />

career but will also partner seamlessly with EA SPORTS<br />

at MVA Gaming Academy and STEM Student Academic<br />

Concentration (SAC) programs.<br />

Besides these academic spaces, what else can our<br />

students and families look forward to? MVA faculty and<br />

students will have open collaborative meeting spaces<br />

in which they can bring their colleagues for planning<br />

academic projects, integration of educational technology<br />

28 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

and access to the resources of the center in order to<br />

develop their ideas and propose solutions to real-world<br />

problems. A coffee bar will be headed by our marketing<br />

classes to provide actual immersive business experience.<br />

A series of talks from Montverde Academy and community<br />

leaders will give everyone personal experience on their<br />

definition and integration of innovation and become role<br />

models and mentors for all of our MVA students.<br />

I would like to personally thank you for your financial<br />

support to help make this dream a reality for our<br />

community. This is a developing process and we will<br />

continue to ask for your involvement in a variety of ways.<br />

If you are willing to donate your time and talents to the<br />

center for our speaker series or to mentor our students,<br />

we would welcome these partnerships. Please contact<br />

me at caryn.long@montverde.org should you want a tour<br />

of the center or would like to brainstorm ideas of how you<br />

may be involved!<br />

Mateo Ortiz and Connor McClain - Robotics<br />


Instructor<br />

Researcher<br />

Teacher<br />


Attorney<br />

Financial Analyst<br />

Accountant<br />


Streamer<br />

Video Maker<br />

Desk Analyst<br />


Head of Advertising<br />

Head of Product<br />

Brand Manager<br />



Physical Therapist<br />

Sports Director<br />

Nutritionist<br />

E-Sports<br />

Related<br />

Professions<br />

Endless Possibilites<br />


PR Officer<br />

Content Editior<br />

Web Designer<br />

EVENTS<br />


Event Director<br />

Executive Producer<br />

Project Leader<br />



Network Engineer<br />

Software Architect<br />

Data Engineer<br />

MEDIA<br />

Journalist<br />

Photographer<br />

Editorial Manager<br />


HR Manager<br />

Training Manager<br />

Business Developer<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 29

Top row left to right: Lyder Reksten, Luiza Tanaka Aranda, Claudia Barbey, Aria Sallin, Christopher Wathington<br />

Bottom row left to right: Kayla Gherghel, Nicole Sanchez, Sara Echavarria, Carington Helms, Christopher Russo, Nishchay Bhattarai<br />

By Ms. Anna Martinez, Communications Manager<br />

Some of our eighth graders have chosen to take a Leadership and Service-Learning<br />

class with Ms. Melissa Benner, Middle School mathematics teacher, that helps each<br />

of them progress as leaders. Leadership and Service Learning is a student-centered,<br />

student-driven elective that allows students to design, plan and execute servicelearning<br />

projects to inspire positive change within and outside of the Montverde<br />

Academy community.<br />

30 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

This is such a student-led class<br />

that it’s really interesting to see<br />

them as they start in the class<br />

and their growth throughout.<br />

Ms. Melissa Brenner, Middle School Teacher<br />

Upcoming eighth graders interested in this class are selected<br />

after careful review from the previous class and Ms. Benner.<br />

“Students should come to the class with an open mind,” said<br />

student Carington Helms.<br />

With targeted instruction and coaching in service-learning,<br />

students discover and increase their leadership and<br />

collaborative skills, as well as their character. They are<br />

also oriented in the steps of project planning using teachercreated<br />

tools that help them engage in reflection practices, as<br />

well as, discussing leadership characteristics. Some practices<br />

during class include committee work, where they learn how to<br />

plan and pitch ideas such as “Casual for a Cause” to Mr. Troy<br />

Urquhart, Dean of the Middle School and Mrs. Emilie Fracker,<br />

Associate Dean of Middle School. They also partnered with<br />

South Lake Animal League and prepared a food and toy drive<br />

for pets at the Academy.<br />

Another interesting part of class includes “Tuesday Ted<br />

Talks”, where students watch a short Ted Talk, chosen by<br />

Ms. Benner and answer questions about the video.<br />

“It is mostly about what the purpose is behind what the<br />

speaker is saying and convincing an audience to be<br />

engaged,” said Helms.<br />

“It’s really interesting to see the students as they start in the<br />

class and their growth throughout,” said Ms. Benner.<br />

“For example, they work at the Eagle Café, and I helped them<br />

the first time and then they took over. They do everything.<br />

They have control over the entire process which helps so<br />

much when it comes to working as a team.”<br />

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, students can design and<br />

execute a lesson on a leadership style or characteristic style<br />

to build better leaders amongst their peers. They range from<br />

choosing videos to watch or participating in an interactive<br />

activity that builds their character, time management skills,<br />

and multi-tasking skills.<br />

“I have definitely accomplished a lot in class this year,”<br />

said one student. “We get to do and learn so many fun<br />

things at the same time while helping the community. You<br />

enjoy everything you work for in this class so you can’t<br />

be afraid to put yourself out there. Not everything will go<br />

exactly as you planned so don’t be discouraged or afraid<br />

of putting yourself out there because it’s normal to get<br />

rejected at times.”<br />

Although next year’s class has already been chosen,<br />

rising seventh graders can sign up for the class in<br />

the 2023-24 academic year at the end of the <strong>2022</strong>-23<br />

academic year.<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 31


Teacher of the Year<br />

Ms.<br />

Courtney<br />

Williams<br />

By Mrs. Sara Stelle-Parets, Middle School English Language<br />

Arts Teacher<br />

Social studies education is so much more than<br />

memorizing dates and places. It is about giving students<br />

what they need to help understand their world and how to<br />

make the best decisions about their role in it. It requires<br />

a comprehensive understanding of history and how<br />

lessons can be applied now. From the Fertile Crescent<br />

to Financial Literacy, Aristotle to King Arthur and even<br />

Washington, D.C., Courtney Williams does it all.<br />

Sixth graders adore her creative and energetic style of<br />

teaching. They have the G.R.A.P.E.S. song memorized<br />

and know the best way to mummify potatoes. Mythology<br />

is a favorite elective for seventh and eighth graders<br />

throughout the year. All the way through the Upper<br />

School, students are challenged with big questions in her<br />

Philosophy course.<br />

"Not only does Ms. Williams inspire her students, but<br />

she inspires her colleagues and other educators through<br />

her passion and commitment to developing real-life<br />

application and lifelong learning habits,” said Melissa<br />

Benner, Middle School Math Teacher.<br />

The excellence that Ms. Williams brings to Montverde<br />

Academy is not contained by her stellar performance in<br />

the classroom. She also leads Builder’s Club, the Middle<br />

School chapter of Kiwanis. Sixth, seventh, and eighth<br />

graders are empowered under her leadership to engage<br />

in acts of service to both our school and the larger<br />

community. She guides members towards leadership<br />

opportunities and helps them figure out how to work best<br />

with their peers to come together and do amazing things.<br />

Mr. Troy Urquhart, Ms. Courtney Williams, Mrs. Emilie Fracker<br />

preparing for this once in a lifetime opportunity. It is one<br />

of the highlights for each eighth grade class.<br />

“Ms. Williams gives 100 percent effort and energy to<br />

everything she does! Her students pick up on that energy<br />

and react with enthusiasm. Her passion for learning is<br />

infectious. She cares deeply about our Middle School<br />

students and wants to give them the best experiences<br />

possible. We are very lucky to have Ms. Williams in the<br />

Middle School!” said Emilie Fracker, Associate Dean of<br />

the Middle School.<br />

While teaching with the utmost excellence, Ms. Williams<br />

also pursued her own academic goals. She earned her<br />

Master’s degree concentrated in STEAM Education from<br />

Clemson in December 2021. She spent the last few years<br />

diving into how to create inquiry-based learning, projectbased<br />

assessments, and how to best educate students<br />

with twenty-first century needs.<br />

“Ms. Williams is one of the more humble, hardworking<br />

teachers that I’ve had the privilege of working with. She’s<br />

consistently kind to her students and always willing to<br />

give them the attention that they need and deserve. She’s<br />

passionate about her curriculum and always looking for<br />

ways to improve and gain more knowledge so that she<br />

can continue to give the best service to her students. I<br />

think everyone can agree that it is a pleasure working<br />

with someone that is passionate, kind, and caring.<br />

Congrats, Ms. Williams!” said Coach Griffis, Head Softball<br />

Coach and Middle School PE teacher.<br />

Ms. Williams also facilitates the eighth grade Washington,<br />

D.C. trip each year. She spends months planning and<br />

32 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


Teacher of the Year<br />

Mrs.<br />

Amy<br />

Napoles<br />

By Mrs. Sarah Schlussel, Upper School Science<br />

Department Chair<br />

Dr. Kasey C. Kesselring, Mrs. Amy Napoles, Mrs. Kim Brauman, Mr. David Bernatavitz<br />

Kind, warm and passionate: these are the words used by<br />

faculty and students alike to describe this year’s Upper<br />

School teacher of the year, Mrs. Amy Napoles. Mrs.<br />

Napoles has been a faculty member of the Upper School<br />

science department for seven years. During her time at<br />

the Academy, she has brought a deep awareness and<br />

understanding of our connection to the planet and the<br />

life around us to hundreds of students. Her passion for<br />

the environment and for her students is evident any time<br />

you enter her classroom. According to student Lincoln<br />

Baptiste, “The only thing that rivals Mrs. Napoles’ ability as<br />

a teacher is her passion for what she teaches.”<br />

Mrs. Napoles gives her all to her science lessons<br />

every day. She spends countless hours developing the<br />

extraordinarily creative and engaging science lessons<br />

that students talk about weeks later. You are just as likely<br />

to find her students engaged in activities inside her room<br />

as you would be to find them outside taking soil samples,<br />

photographs, or water samples at the lake.<br />

Most recently, in her “soil your undies” lab, she buried new<br />

underwear under the soil in various places on campus.<br />

Once uncovered weeks later, her students analyzed the<br />

remains to understand how soil properties in different<br />

areas of campus affect rates of decomposition.<br />

Ms. Courtney Richardson remarks, “From my first day at<br />

Montverde Academy, Mrs. Napoles has been an example<br />

of kindness, passion for learning, and dedication to her<br />

students. I love hearing from my students about the cool<br />

experiments and hands-on activities they are doing in their<br />

Environmental Science class!”<br />

Montverde Academy Cross Country Invitational<br />

Mrs. Napoles is an inspiration to her students,<br />

encouraging them to look closely at their environment,<br />

to pay attention and to advocate for the planet. She<br />

started the first environmental club on campus, giving<br />

students who are passionate about the environment<br />

an opportunity to get involved both locally and globally.<br />

According to the president of the environmental club,<br />

Kendall Walsworth, “Mrs. Napoles is not only an amazing<br />

teacher, but a fantastic mentor. She has inspired me to<br />

pursue environmental science and pushed me to achieve<br />

my highest potential. I could not be more grateful to have<br />

a mentor like Mrs. Napoles in my life!”<br />

Her students would also tell you that a notable feature<br />

of Mrs. Napoles’ class is her frequent use of messaging<br />

on Teams to stay connected to her students. A constant<br />

stream of science memes, environmental news stories,<br />

and science facts keep her students engaged even when<br />

they are not in class. She even stays in contact with<br />

past and future students over the summer, keeping them<br />

informed about environmental events and challenging<br />

them to environmental scavenger hunts.<br />

Mrs. Napoles is a dedicated educator who is an inspiration<br />

to students and a compassionate friend to her colleagues.<br />

As the chair of the Upper School science department, I am<br />

grateful for her presence bringing kindness and creativity<br />

to our department. We are better because she is part of<br />

our team.<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 33

Sports<br />

Wrap<br />


Up<br />

By Mr. Michael Damon, Sports Information Manager<br />


The Montverde Academy baseball team ended this<br />

spring with a 17- 9 overall record, which included<br />

big wins against highly skilled teams in tournaments<br />

across three states.<br />

The Eagles started the season winning three of<br />

their first four games against local-based schools<br />

before competing in a trio of showcase tournaments<br />

against the best high school competition around.<br />

The Eagles competed in the Alabama Showdown in<br />

Hoover, Alabama, the PBR Spring Break Experience<br />

in Emerson, Georgia and the Florida League High<br />

School Invitational in Sanford, Florida, winning a<br />

combined seven of 12 games in those three events.<br />

The elite competition proved to elevate the Eagles<br />

play as MVA opened the month of April winning their<br />

first five games, four of which were won via shutouts,<br />

outscoring opponents by a combined 54-1 in that<br />

span. Overall, the Eagles posted seven shutout wins<br />

this season, including an 11-0 win over Ocoee (2/15),<br />

2-0 over East Forsythe (3/5), 10-0 over Grayslake<br />

Central (4/1), 5-0 over Ridge Community School<br />

(4/4), 21-0 over Iola Scandinavia (4/5), 10-0 over<br />

Lake Highland Prep (4/13) and 15-0 over Celebration<br />

High School (4/27).<br />

Salvador Alvarez<br />

Statistically, the Eagles were led in hitting by senior<br />

Salvador Alvarez who batted a team-high .521 and<br />

led the Eagles in runs with 30, while finishing second<br />

on the team with 25 runs batted in. AJ Goytia finished<br />

second on the team in batting average, hitting .450<br />

while leading the team in doubles with 11. Anthony<br />

Cole batted .385 and led the team in home runs with<br />

four and runs batted in with 27.<br />

Pitching wise, Matthew Heyl led the way with a 2.27<br />

earned run average, while striking out 52 batters in<br />

43.2 innings of work.<br />

Matthew Heyl<br />

34 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


The boys lacrosse team finished 12-7 this season and<br />

were Citrus League champions. Additionally, the Eagles<br />

finished as runners-up in the Florida High School Athletic<br />

Association regional tournament, leaving them one game<br />

away from advancing into the state championship for the<br />

first time. <strong>2022</strong> was the deepest the MVA boys’ lacrosse<br />

team advanced into the state postseason series to date.<br />

Nine of MVA’s 12 wins were by 10 goals or more, which<br />

included wins of 21-4 against Trinity Prep (2/16), 22-7<br />

against Oviedo (2/17), 18-8 against Windermere (2/22),<br />

15-4 against Bishop Moore (2/28), 22-3 against The First<br />

Academy (3/1), 21-4 against Lake Howell (3/8), 20-2<br />

against Windermere Prep (3/10) and 21-3 against Trinity<br />

Prep in the FHSAA 1A District 5 semifinal round (4/12).<br />

The Eagles were led by Jack Green who was named a<br />

USA Lacrosse All-American after scoring 27 goals and<br />

offering a team-high 18 assists. Aaron Williams led the<br />

way in goals, netting a team-high 41, while Seth Isenhour<br />

was second on the team with 33 to go along with a teamhigh<br />

25 assists. Zachary Hobson picked up a team-high<br />

86 groundballs for the Eagles. Goalkeeper Eddie Roth<br />

made 127 saves and had a .507 savings percentage.<br />

Jack Green<br />

Zachary Hobson<br />


Montverde Academy beach volleyball team finished 11-6<br />

overall this season and won a pair of championships,<br />

including the Citrus League championship and the Florida<br />

High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) class 1A<br />

District 12 championship. The Eagles earned four shutout<br />

victories in the process including a pair of 3-0 wins in the<br />

district playoffs.<br />

The biggest win of the season came when the Eagles<br />

earned a 3-0 shutout over West Orange High School in<br />

the district championship. After losing twice to them in the<br />

regular season, the Eagles earned the win when it was all<br />

on the line. The Eagles’ Citrus League championship win<br />

came on April 20 when they beat Windermere Prep 3-2 in<br />

the championship match after downing The First Academy<br />

5-0 in the semifinal round earlier that day.<br />

Overall, Luiza Manata had the best winning percentage<br />

on the team and earned the most wins, garnering a<br />

13-3 overall record. She earned wins with four different<br />

teammates at three different flight levels. Gianna Carrasco<br />

also notched double figures in wins, going 10-4 while<br />

playing at flight number two all season.<br />

Beach Volleyball Team<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 35

Softball Team<br />


The Montverde Academy softball team went 17-9<br />

this spring and won the Florida High School Athletic<br />

Association district championship. The Eagles started<br />

out the season hot, winning their first eight games of<br />

the season, which included four wins at the Florida-US<br />

Softball Challenge in Panama City Beach in early March.<br />

The Eagles more than doubled their opponents run total,<br />

outscoring them 151-75 in total, which included five<br />

shutout wins.<br />

With a team batting average of .301, the Eagles were led<br />

in hitting by Makayka (Mimi) Navarro who batted .426<br />

and led the team in runs with 23 and stolen bases with<br />

11. Meanwhile, Danika Spinogatti was second on the<br />

team with a .400 batting average, and had team-highs in<br />

doubles with 10 and total bases with 46. Yani Guzman<br />

batted .317 and led the team in home runs with two and<br />

runs batted in with 23.<br />

In the circle, the Eagles had a team earned run average<br />

of 1.34. Nevaeh Williams pitched a team-high 78 innings<br />

and earned a 1.26 earned run average with a team-high<br />

83 strikeouts.<br />


In its first year as a varsity sport, the<br />

Montverde Academy boys weightlifting team<br />

earned three wins and qualified for the<br />

FHSAA district and regional championships,<br />

while one team member qualified for the<br />

state championship.<br />

The Eagles earned wins over The First<br />

Academy, Lake Highland Prep, and<br />

Orangewood Christian during the regular<br />

season. In the district championship, the<br />

Eagles finished second out of six teams<br />

in the snatch discipline. At that event, the<br />

Weightlifting Team<br />

Eagles earned several individual wins,<br />

including Colby Helms who lifted a combined 250 pounds in the bench press / clean and jerk combination in the<br />

129-pound class. James Tanis, in the 238-pound class, won the bench press / clean and jerk combination by lifting a<br />

total of 520 pounds. In the snatch discipline, Jason Kong finished first in the 139-pound class, while Alexander Caballero<br />

won at the 199-pound class. Tanis also finished first in the snatch.<br />

Additionally, Tanis qualified for the state championship in the snatch discipline and represented Montverde Academy on<br />

the statewide stage. He finished a creditable fourth out of 20 weightlifters in the 219-pound division.<br />

36 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>


The boys track and field team was the best in the state of<br />

Florida in <strong>2022</strong>. They won five invitationals, including the<br />

Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state<br />

championship meet on May 12. Not only did the Eagles<br />

win, but the team won by a convincing margin, 24 points<br />

over the second-place team.<br />

In addition to winning the state’s top honor, the Eagles<br />

took first place in their FHSAA regional (5/5) and district<br />

(4/25) championship meets. During the course of the<br />

season, MVA also earned first place in the Citrus League<br />

championship (2/25), Mount Dora Christian Academy<br />

Invitational (3/29) and IMG Academy Invitational (4/9).<br />

The Eagles were led by Micah Larry who excelled as<br />

the season went on. He finished no worse than second<br />

in every event at each invitational, after the first meet<br />

of the season. He won 11 events overall in five different<br />

meets. Zyaire Nuriddin also had an all-American caliber<br />

season, winning 15 events total. He led the state of<br />

Florida with the fastest times on record this season in the<br />

100-meter dash and 400-meter dash. He blazed the way<br />

to victory in the 100-meter dash in 10.24 seconds at the<br />

district championship meet and ran the 400-meter dash<br />

in 45.78 seconds en route to victory at the Florida Relays<br />

on April 2. Alex Georgiev also had a fantastic season,<br />

winning eight pole vaulting events. He had the secondhighest<br />

height of the season in the state of Florida when<br />

he won the event at the Mount Dora Christian Academy<br />

Invitational with a height of 4.84 meters.<br />

Alex Georgiev<br />

Zyaire Nuriddin<br />

Michelle Smith<br />


The girls track and field team was solid in <strong>2022</strong>, winning<br />

three invitationals, including the Florida High School<br />

Athletic Association (FHSAA) regional championship meet<br />

on May 5, the district championship meets on April 25 and<br />

the Florida State Relays on March 26. The Eagles also<br />

had solid second place finishes in the state championship<br />

meet on May 12, the Mount Dora Christian Academy<br />

Invitational on March 29, the Bolles Bulldog Classic on<br />

March 4 and the Citrus League championship on<br />

February 25.<br />

The Eagles were led by the duo of Micayah Holland and<br />

Michelle Smith. Holland won all eight 100-meter dash<br />

events she was entered in. She ran the fastest 100-meter<br />

dash in the state of Florida this year when winning it at the<br />

state championship meet in a time of 11.26 seconds. She<br />

also ran the fastest time in the state in the 200-meter dash<br />

when she won it at the state championship meet in 23.13<br />

seconds. Smith meanwhile earned a team-high 17 total<br />

wins, including the fastest 300-meter hurdles in a time of<br />

41.56 at the state championship meet.<br />

Micayah Holland<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 37



Congratulations to our student-athletes who announced their college decisions during Signing Days on<br />

February 23, <strong>2022</strong> and May 4, <strong>2022</strong>! Student-athletes earned a full or partial scholarship totaling nearly<br />

$10.5 million, bringing the 2021-22 total to $22.5 million.<br />

BoYoung Chang<br />

Lafayette College<br />

Golf<br />

Filip Jakubcik<br />

University of Arizona<br />

Golf<br />

Sakurako Tanaka<br />

Lander University<br />

Golf<br />

Kenny Leseur<br />

Butler University<br />

Golf<br />

Emma Kim<br />

University of South Florida<br />

Golf<br />

Chengqi “Naomi” Huang<br />

The Citadel<br />

Golf<br />

Ava Campione<br />

Concord University<br />

Soccer<br />

Amy Nguyen<br />

Grinnell College<br />

Golf<br />

Aidan Robertson<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Golf<br />

Gwangwook “Kyle” Kim<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Golf<br />

Thomas Taylor-Cross<br />

Queens University of Charlotte<br />

Golf<br />

Kaung “Jordan” Kyaw<br />

Emory and Henry College<br />

Golf<br />

38 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Sabrina Oncins<br />

Benedictine College<br />

Volleyball<br />

Carolina Ribeiro Ferreira<br />

Daytona State College<br />

Volleyball<br />

Miliani Guzman<br />

Florida Atlantic University<br />

Softball<br />

Lucy Hartmann<br />

Colby Sawyer College<br />

Equestrian<br />

Emmy Hartmann<br />

Colby Sawyer College<br />

Equestrian<br />

Dilyara Bulambayeva<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Golf<br />

Taishi Shigaki<br />

Hofstra University<br />

Golf<br />

Nicole Shirley<br />

Covenant College<br />

Soccer<br />

Brian Ehrlich<br />

Indian River State College<br />

Baseball<br />

Paris Ford<br />

St. Thomas University<br />

Softball<br />

TJ Wainwright<br />

Robert Morris University<br />

Basketball<br />

Leila Soto<br />

Shaw University<br />

Soccer<br />

Ashley Conklin<br />

Emory University<br />

Track & Field<br />

Mia Dansby<br />

University of Connecticut<br />

Track & Field<br />

Joshua Howe<br />

Limestone University<br />

Lacrosse<br />

Mathias Roy<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Tennis<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 39

Jean Almeida, Jr.<br />

St. Thomas University<br />

Swimming<br />

Catharina Schoch<br />

University of West Florida<br />

Tennis<br />

Guilherme Siqueira<br />

Warner University<br />

Tennis<br />

Tiago De Felicio<br />

Luther College<br />

Tennis<br />

Matthew Capuano<br />

Eastern University<br />

Soccer<br />

Kaushik Sriram<br />

Holy Names University<br />

Soccer<br />

Sidney Hartmann<br />

Rivier University<br />

Soccer<br />

Max Hartmann<br />

Rivier University<br />

Soccer<br />

Gabriel Ariza Ávila<br />

University of Tampa<br />

Soccer<br />

Marc Chin<br />

Syracuse University<br />

Soccer<br />

Guilherme Yamamoto<br />

University of Indianapolis<br />

Soccer<br />

Landon Davison<br />

University of Indianapolis<br />

Soccer<br />

David Robinson<br />

Jacksonville University<br />

Soccer<br />

Sydney Rivera<br />

University of South Florida<br />

Soccer<br />

Avril Rodriguez Melillo<br />

Shaw University<br />

Soccer<br />

Alekzander Bates<br />

Wofford College<br />

Soccer<br />

40 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Pedro Arruda<br />

IU-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis<br />

Soccer<br />

Kristina Duvnjak<br />

Ryerson University<br />

Soccer<br />

Maridza Desir<br />

Bethel University<br />

Soccer<br />

Yuo Torii<br />

Lincoln Memorial University<br />

Golf<br />

Haya Yoshizawa<br />

Georgia Southern University<br />

Soccer<br />

Misei Yoshizawa<br />

Virginia Tech University<br />

Soccer<br />

Joseph Andema<br />

Clemson University<br />

Soccer<br />

Noah Alves<br />

Emmanuel College<br />

Soccer<br />

DJ Jackson<br />

IU-Purdue Univ. Indianapolis<br />

Basketball<br />

Jermaine Ballisager Webb<br />

American University<br />

Basketball<br />

Colin Killian<br />

Franciscan University<br />

Basketball<br />

Bayley Crawford<br />

Southwest Baptist University<br />

Basketball<br />

Mateo Arevalo Luna<br />

Penn State Berks<br />

Basketball<br />

Jarred Frankle<br />

Converse University<br />

Basketball<br />

Emmett Hendry<br />

University of Connecticut<br />

Basketball<br />

Bess Chan<br />

Univ. of British Columbia Okanagan<br />

Golf<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 41

Andres Asin<br />

Lynn University<br />

Golf<br />

Zachary Colon<br />

Virginia Commonwealth Univ.<br />

Golf<br />

Gianfranco Lopreiato<br />

American International College<br />

Soccer<br />

Jacob Parent<br />

University of Montevallo<br />

Soccer<br />

Nikos Diaz<br />

Sarah Lawrence College<br />

Soccer<br />

Daniel Malheiros<br />

University of St. Thomas<br />

Soccer<br />


2021-22 CHAMPIONS<br />


Citrus League Champions<br />


GEICO High School Nationals Champions<br />


GEICO High School Nationals Champions<br />


FHSAA 3A District 7 Champions<br />


FHSAA 2A District 3 Champions<br />


Citrus League Champions<br />

FHSAA 2A District 7 Champions<br />

FHSAA 2A Region 2 Champions<br />

FHSAA 2A State Champions<br />


FHSAA 2A District 7 Champions<br />

FHSAA 2A Region 2 Champions<br />


Citrus League Champions<br />

FHSAA 1A District 12 Champions<br />


FHSAA 3A District 4 Champions<br />


FHSAA 1A District 7 Champions<br />


FHSAA 1A District 7 Champions<br />

FHSAA 1A Region 3 Champions<br />

42 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

A Historic Year for MVA<br />


By Mr. Michael Damon, Sports Information Manager<br />

Never before had a high school have both its<br />

boys’ and girls’ basketball teams win the GEICO<br />

High School Nationals tournament in the same<br />

year. Montverde Academy put an end to that<br />

drought in the 2021-22 season when<br />

the Eagles made history by<br />

becoming the first high school<br />

to ever win the GEICO High<br />

School Nationals championship<br />

in boys’ and girls’ basketball in<br />

the same year.<br />


Naismith Player of the Year<br />

MaxPreps National Player of the Year<br />

McDonaldʼs All-American<br />

Naismith First Team<br />


Naismith Second Team<br />

McDonaldʼs All-American<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 43

Girls and Boys Varsity Teams and Coaching Staff<br />

On April 2, the Montverde Academy boys’ and girls’<br />

basketball teams both won their respective championship<br />

games at the Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers.<br />

The boys defeated Link Academy, 60-49, while the girls<br />

beat New Hope, 67-54, to secure Montverde Academy’s<br />

place in GEICO High School Nationals basketball history.<br />

The win by the boys marked the sixth time in program<br />

history they have won the GEICO High School Nationals<br />

championship, while the girls won the title for the first time<br />

in program history.<br />

“As a school community we are in awe and incredibly<br />

proud,” said Mrs. Khrystal Phiri, Director of Athletic<br />

Operations. “It is amazing to be a small part of the history<br />

they made.”<br />

The boys were the No. 3 seed in the eight-team<br />

tournament. First, they defeated No. 6 seed AZ Compass,<br />

70-63, in the quarterfinal round before beating in-state<br />

rival, No. 2 seed IMG Academy in the semifinal round, to<br />

set the stage for the national championship showdown<br />

against No. 4 seed Link Academy, whom they beat to win<br />

it all.<br />

“We didn’t have as great of a regular season as we<br />

thought we should have. The guys worked extremely hard<br />

the last seven weeks for three hours each day, six days a<br />

As a school<br />

community we are in<br />

awe and incredibly<br />

proud. It is amazing to<br />

be a small part of the<br />

history they made.<br />

Mrs. Khrystal Phiri, Director of Athletic Operations<br />

week,” said Mr. Kevin Boyle, Head Coach. “They<br />

gave it their all, and worked so hard to achieve this<br />

accomplishment, and their hard work paid off.”<br />

The girls not only won the championship for the first time,<br />

but it was the first time the Lady Eagles earned a spot in<br />

the national tournament. The girls earned the No. 3 seed<br />

in the five-team competition, and they defeated in-state<br />

44 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

ival, No. 2 seed DME Academy, 67-54, in the semifinal<br />

round, before topping top seeded New Hope Academy in<br />

the championship game to officially claim the first national<br />

championship in Montverde Academy girls’ basketball history.<br />

“When I became the head coach of the girls’ program two<br />

years ago, I knew I had three goals in mind: to graduate all<br />

seniors, to bring this program into national prominence and<br />

to win national championships,” said Mrs. Special Jennings,<br />

Girls Basketball Head Coach. “To be the first to ever bring<br />

this prestigious academy a national championship is an honor<br />

I’ll never forget. It is a memory that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.<br />

The best part of it all is that we’re just getting started.”<br />

Upon the historic wins, the Academy threw a campus-wide<br />

parade to celebrate the milestone. With both championship<br />

trophies in tow, the players and coaches from both teams<br />

boarded the back of pick-up trucks and did a loop around<br />

Palanti Family Circle, to the roar of the entire student body,<br />

including those in Upper School, Middle School, and Lower<br />

School, along with faculty, staff, and residents.<br />

After their three wins in the GEICO High School Nationals,<br />

the boys ended their season 23-4 overall, and had several<br />

players earn postseason awards in the process. Dariq<br />

Whitehead, who had been with the team since eighth<br />

grade and had won three national championships with<br />

MVA before winning again this year, earned McDonalds<br />

Dillon Mitchell<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 45

All-American honors, and was named the game’s most<br />

valuable player too. He also was the recipient of the Jersey<br />

Mike’s Naismith Trophy for most outstanding high school<br />

basketball player, he was the MaxPreps National Player of<br />

the Year and he earned All-NIBC first team honors. He was<br />

also named the GEICO High School Nationals tournament<br />

most valuable player.<br />

Jalen Hood-Schifino earned All-NIBC third team honors and<br />

was named to the NIBC all-defensive team. He also earned<br />

Naismith third team honors. Dillon Mitchell was named a<br />

McDonalds All-American, earned Naismith second team<br />

honors, All-NIBC defensive team and MaxPreps third<br />

team honors.<br />

“This campus has a commitment to excellence, drive for<br />

growth, and the willingness to be accountable. As iron<br />

sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” Phiri<br />

added. “Simply put it is our culture and the people that<br />

make up our community.”<br />

To be the first to ever bring<br />

this prestigious academy a<br />

national championship is<br />

an honor I’ll never forget.<br />

It is a memory that I’ll<br />

cherish for a lifetime. The<br />

best part of it all is that<br />

we’re just getting started.<br />

Mrs. Special Jennings, Girls Basketball Head Coach<br />

Mjracle Shephard<br />

Fernanda Ovalle<br />

46 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Overall, the girls finished 20-3 on the season marking<br />

the third time in the past four seasons the Eagles had<br />

at least 20 wins. Janiah Barker earned four individual<br />

post-season awards, including being named a McDonalds<br />

All-American, WBCA All-American, Naismith second<br />

team honors, Baden first team All-American honors and a<br />

Jordan Brand Classic selection. Fatima Diakhate was an<br />

All-Canadian Games selection, while Mjracle Shephard<br />

was named GEICO High School Nationals tournament<br />

most valuable player. Fernanda Ovalle, who led the team<br />

with 21 points in the championship game, was named to<br />

the all-tournament team.<br />

“Sustaining a culture of excellence is no small task…<br />

careful and deliberate attention to detail, to self-discipline,<br />

and work ethic in the classroom and in competition is<br />

hard work, but the reward is a manifestation of that<br />

commitment,” Montverde Academy President Dr. Kasey<br />

C. Kesselring said. “I am super proud of both teams, their<br />

coaching staffs, and our school community.”<br />

Fatima Diakhate<br />


Naismith Second Team<br />

McDonaldʼs All-American<br />


Naismith Third Team<br />

McDonaldʼs All-American Nominee<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 47


By Mr. Michael Damon, Sports Information Manager<br />

It would be difficult for anyone who looks at Dariq Whitehead’s basketball<br />

accomplishments during his time at Montverde Academy to say he was not<br />

one of the most successful student-athletes in school history.<br />

In his four and a half years at MVA, Dariq was a part of three GEICO<br />

High School Nationals championship teams and four high school national<br />

championship teams overall. His personal merits this year alone, Naismith<br />

High School Player of the Year, MaxPreps National Player of the Year, first<br />

team All-NIBC, McDonalds All-American (game MVP) on top of earning<br />

the GEICO High School Nationals tournament most valuable player, speak<br />

for themselves.<br />

The accomplishments are many, but the road Dariq took to reach the<br />

pinnacle of success in high school basketball was not handed off to<br />

him without him having to earn his stripes. Dariq credits his success on<br />

the court and in the classroom to the humble beginnings he endured at<br />

Montverde Academy to propel him to the successful trajectory he is on<br />

today.<br />

As a 13-year-old eighth grader from Newark, NJ, Dariq enrolled at<br />

Montverde Academy. While he easily could have easily played basketball<br />

and been the star immediately at 99 percent of the school varsity teams<br />

in the United States, he stayed at Montverde Academy and saw limited<br />

playing time while his older teammates, including future NBA<br />

talents like RJ Barrett, logged the majority of time on the court.<br />

“It was definitely hard in the beginning and there were times I didn’t<br />

want to stay. I knew I could have gone somewhere else and started right<br />

away,” Dariq recalls. “But my family knew I was in a great place here and<br />

encouraged me to trust the process and keep working hard.”<br />

The results have been tenfold for Dariq. As a result of staying the course,<br />

Dariq learned discipline and personal responsibility in the process, while<br />

developing a character and a maturity that is difficult to match. He credits<br />

his family, the MVA basketball coaching staff and Montverde Academy as a<br />

whole for his great student success.<br />

“Coach Boyle and my family really helped me understand basketball more<br />

than I ever could,” Dariq said. “They saw the bigger picture when I didn’t<br />

always see it. Being with this program helped develop me from a boy to<br />

a man.”<br />

Dariq is well on his way to successful adulthood. His willingness to grow<br />

and learn catapulted him from a young middle schooler who barely saw<br />

time on the court to the most celebrated high school basketball player in<br />

the United States.<br />

Upon graduation from MVA, Dariq will continue his education at Duke<br />

University in Durham, North Carolina where he will be a member of its<br />

legendary men’s basketball program. He aspires to play professionally in<br />

the National Basketball Association after that.<br />

48 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

<strong>2022</strong>-23 THEATRE SEASON<br />

The Broadway Musical!<br />

SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 2, <strong>2022</strong><br />

NOVEMBER 10-13<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

The<br />

Miraculous<br />

Journey<br />

FEBRUARY 10-12<br />

2023<br />

of<br />

Edward<br />

Tulane<br />

THE<br />

WOLVES<br />


DECEMBER 9-10<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

Shakespeare<br />

Returns!<br />

APRIL 14-16<br />

2023<br />


Festival<br />

MARCH 25-26<br />

APRIL 1-2<br />


A Year in Review<br />

By Mr. Dean Bell, Director of Arts<br />

Ashton Appadu and Sydney Barker in “The Sound of Music”<br />

50 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Megan Lindberg and Brianna Monahan<br />

Aaron Kaufman in “Little Shop of Horrors”<br />

One of the many wonderful things I enjoy about living in Central Florida is the ability<br />

to very quickly and easily visit the theme parks and enjoy the many things they have<br />

to offer. On a recent visit driving to Disney World, I got caught up contemplating their<br />

slogan, “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” as I drove under their entry arches.<br />

While I would never argue that premise with Disney, I couldn’t help but think how the<br />

Fine Arts at Montverde Academy, and especially the Music and Theatre Conservatories,<br />

might be in strong contention for designation as “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”<br />

When one considers the number of shows, concerts,<br />

recitals and the like the department undertakes in the<br />

course of the year, the level to which these are produced,<br />

the accolades achieved, and the joy these provide not<br />

only to our students, but also countless students, families<br />

and community members; one cannot help but believe a<br />

bit of magic exists within our borders as well.<br />

Vocal Students:<br />

• Produced the musical “A… My Name is Alice”<br />

• Presented the always magical “Lessons and Carols”<br />

at the Clermont Performing Arts Center<br />

• Sang a “Bach, Beethoven and Beyond” concert<br />

which featured songs preparing for Solo & Ensemble<br />

Competition<br />

• Won six Superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble<br />

Competition<br />

• Brought home an Excellent rating in MPAA Choir<br />

Competition<br />

• Wrote and performed the Cabaret, “Charming: A<br />

Cinderella Story” which christened the new W. Daniel<br />

Mills stage in Lindor Hall<br />

• Spotlighted senior, Alejandra Quintana, in her senior<br />

recital<br />

• Presented an end-of-the-year formal recital<br />

• Sent three All-State singers (Ashlyn Anderson, Olivia<br />

Fontana and Elana Young) to the Florida Music<br />

Education Association Conference<br />

• Shared the stage with professional singers Ben<br />

Gulley, Callie Day and Daniel Emmet<br />

String Students:<br />

• Sent two All-State musicians (Jason Tejada-Chancay<br />

and Vaasu Gadiparthi) to the Florida Music Education<br />

Association Conference<br />

• Had every entrant in Solo & Ensemble Competition<br />

achieve a Superior Rating<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 51

Tatriana Hinds and Nidhi Krishna<br />

Cast of “Charming: A Cinderella Story”<br />

• Presented an All-Strings Concert featuring our<br />

students from grades 2-12 which celebrated Music in<br />

Our Schools month<br />

• Partnered with Wekiva High School to bring in Mark<br />

Wood, an electric violinist, for Master classes and a<br />

combined concert called “Electrify Your Orchestra”<br />

• Concluded the year with a “May the Fourth Be With<br />

You” concert<br />

Piano Students:<br />

Our piano students partnered with many of the above<br />

activities, and also:<br />

• Won three medals, including a gold medal, at the<br />

Central Florida Music Teachers Association Sonata<br />

Festival<br />

• Received three superior ratings at Solo & Ensemble<br />

Competition<br />

• Spotlighted senior, James Tanis, in his senior recital<br />

• All of the above occurring while 87 percent of the<br />

Music Conservatory students maintained Honor Roll<br />

status academically.<br />

Theatre Students:<br />

• Produced the musical “The Secret Garden” and<br />

received 16 Applause Award nominations for the<br />

production<br />

• Premiered the commissioned play, “Time Bros.”<br />

written by Mallory Vance<br />

• Participated in FTC auditions<br />

• Presented the original work, “Stone” as a One-Act at<br />

District ITS Competition and received Top Honors, as<br />

well as 12 other honors<br />

• Received 14 Excellent, 20 Superior and four Top<br />

Honors at ITS Districts<br />

• Staged “The Sound of Music” to three sold-out houses<br />

and received 17 Applause Award nominations for the<br />

production<br />

• Had the One-Act, “Stone,” elevated to a Mainstage<br />

production at State ITS and presented two<br />

performances in Ferguson Hall<br />

• Received 1 Excellent, five Superiors, and two Top<br />

Honors at the State ITS Festival<br />

• Presented the classic play, “Twelve Angry Jurors”<br />

• Wrote and presented five Senior Freeplays<br />

• Staged four Junior One-Acts<br />

• Were awarded three Applause Awards (CJ Rosado,<br />

Supporting Actor; Lily Downs, Outstanding Singer;<br />

Kathy Wiebe-LaPlante, Lighting Design)<br />

• Have one finalist in the Applause Awards competing<br />

for Outstanding Lead (Sydney Barker)<br />

• Created and performed the inaugural “Legacy<br />

Concert” inspired by the memory of William<br />

Daniel Mills<br />

• All of the above occurring while 80 percent of the<br />

Theatre Conservatory students maintained Honor Roll<br />

status academically.<br />

Additionally, our Middle School theatre returned to the<br />

stage this season with a production of “Little Shop<br />

of Horrors.”<br />

52 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Cast of “Twelve Angry Jurors”<br />

Cast of “The Sound of Music”<br />

All told, there were over 40 nights of major performances<br />

attributed to these programs over the course of the year.<br />

And those programs were produced by approximately 50<br />

students and seven instructors.<br />

CJ Rosado<br />


So, I hereby am throwing my glove down to challenge for<br />

the right to be “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” Those<br />

of you who are alumni of the programs, those of you<br />

who are current students, our families, our Arts Alliance<br />

members, and our faithful patrons already know the magic<br />

we create here, and will continue to expand upon.<br />

Take a look at next year’s season and plan now to be a<br />

part of the magic!<br />

Legacy Concert<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 53

<strong>2022</strong>-23 MUSIC SEASON<br />

Enjoy American music from the 1920-60s<br />


VOCAL<br />

SALON<br />

Oct. 27-29<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

DECEMBER 3, <strong>2022</strong><br />



JAN. 20 2023<br />


American Top 40 hits<br />

from the 1960s<br />

to today.<br />

MARCH<br />

30 & 31<br />



By Mrs. Nyoshie Higgins, Alumni Relations and Engagement Officer<br />

Camilo Moreno ’19<br />

Camilo Jose Moreno<br />

Vasquez ʼ19 feels one<br />

of the greatest things he<br />

learned at MVA was how<br />

to bring people together<br />

and that truly shaped<br />

the trajectory of his life.<br />

“I am fortunate to say<br />

that Montverde Academy<br />

shaped the path I am<br />

walking on now. It was<br />

at the Academy that I<br />

developed a passion for<br />

sports, music, dance, and event planning. As part of the<br />

Prefect group, I made long-lasting memories and hosted<br />

different events for the student body. I learned new<br />

traditions, languages, costumes, and dances that make<br />

each culture unique. Apart from that, Montverde Academy<br />

cultivated that sense of family and community.”<br />

After he graduated in 2019, Camilo went on to<br />

Erskine College where he currently studies Business<br />

Administration and Sports Management. In January, his<br />

passion opened doors for him to become an adjunct<br />

professor for dance at Erskine. He was also re-elected<br />

as Campus Life Assistant for <strong>2022</strong>-23.<br />

Camilo is originally from Nicaragua and reflects that one<br />

of his fondest memories from MVA is when a group of<br />

his friends secretly collected money to pay for his flight<br />

back home. “It was during a challenging time in my life<br />

emotionally and economically. They had already asked for<br />

I am fortunate to say that<br />

Monverde Academy shaped<br />

the path I am walking on now.<br />

Camilo Moreno Vasquez<br />

permission from the Dean, talked to my family, and fully<br />

paid and scheduled my flight. A memory I will never forget.”<br />

He truly feels that by being here, his classmates became<br />

friends, eventually turning into family.<br />

When asked if there was any advice he would like to give<br />

current students, he said, “I would advise taking advantage<br />

of the time they have with their friends, classmates,<br />

roommates, and teammates. To make memories, learn<br />

from them, and support them on their journey. Kindness<br />

goes a long way. I would also advise them to get started<br />

researching about where they would like to go to college<br />

and following up with their advisors.” Camilo will be fully<br />

involved with the Academy this summer as a Senior<br />

Counselor at our on-campus Day Camp.<br />

The future is bright for Camilo, and we know he would like<br />

to keep growing in his professional field and gain as much<br />

experience as possible so he can be a great candidate for<br />

any job he may wish to apply for once he graduates. In his<br />

final words, he said, “Go Eagles!”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 55

Johnna Messam ’03 and<br />

Jena Messam Janse ’07<br />

Anyone who attended Montverde Academy during the<br />

mid 2000s has fondly mentioned Johnna Messam ’03 and<br />

Jena Messam Janse ’07. They were highly active and<br />

involved students on campus. Their names are mentioned<br />

affectionately by alumni and teachers alike because they<br />

definitely left their mark on campus.<br />

They hail from the islands of Turks and Caicos and their<br />

parents decided that Montverde Academy would be a great<br />

school to send them to because of the community they felt<br />

it would provide for them. Johnna explained, “There were<br />

many changes and uncertainties for us, moving to the<br />

United States, being away from home, not having family<br />

nearby. All these concerns were alleviated when we met<br />

dorm mothers, friends (who have become family), and<br />

some of the best teachers anyone could ask for.”<br />

I became a better, more<br />

mature version of myself. I met<br />

incredible people that would<br />

always be in my life and in my<br />

heart, most importantly MVA<br />

became a part of my legacy.<br />

Johnna Messam<br />

Johnna Messam attended MVA for two years. She had<br />

already graduated high school in Turks, but as she was<br />

only 16 at the time, her parents believed her next steps<br />

should be college preparatory school. “My dream was to<br />

move to New York City to go to college. My Caribbean<br />

mother wouldn’t have it, in fact, she insisted that the only<br />

way I could move to New York is if I did prep school. I<br />

reluctantly agreed and we began the search for the best<br />

school. Of all the schools that were recommended and<br />

we visited, I chose Montverde Academy but what I didn’t<br />

know then, was my life would forever be changed.”<br />

Initially, she thought two years seemed too long, but<br />

before she left the Academy, she realized they were truly<br />

Jena Messam Janse and Johnna Messam<br />

transformational years, “I became a better, more mature<br />

version of myself. I met incredible people that would<br />

always be in my life and in my heart, most importantly<br />

MVA became a part of my legacy.” Johnna says, “On<br />

graduation day, I didn’t know where the time had gone<br />

and wished I had more.”<br />

Johnna’s dreams did eventually come true. After<br />

graduating from MVA she made it to New York. She<br />

thanks Mr. Brian (former choir teacher) and Mr. Craig<br />

(former theatre teacher) who were instrumental in making<br />

her dreams a reality. She studied Musical Theater at<br />

American Musical and Dramatic Academy and shortly<br />

after graduation she landed a leading role in Hairspray,<br />

a professional show!<br />

She also sends thanks to Dr. Kesselring, Ms. Tortora,<br />

Mrs. Warner (former dorm mother), Mr. Delmolino, and<br />

a handful of others for the role they played in shaping<br />

her future in such a brief period. “I am forever grateful!”<br />

56 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Jena expresses the same affection for the Academy as<br />

her older sister, “Coming from a small island my extended<br />

family was filled with questions and there were many<br />

preconceived notions of what boarding school would<br />

be like, but MVA ended up being the opposite of that. It<br />

was such a joy to come to Montverde Academy...Being<br />

at Montverde Academy was one of the most beautiful<br />

experiences of my life because the friends I made there<br />

I still have today. Students, especially from the boarding<br />

program, were from all over the world but no one stood<br />

out. We just all got along, and it was beautiful.”<br />

The foundation MVA gave me<br />

was everything I needed to<br />

succeed in business because of<br />

the confidence I gained, and<br />

the love and security I felt from<br />

teachers and my dorm parents.<br />

I gained so many valuable assets<br />

that allowed me to develop as a<br />

human and as an entrepreneur.<br />

Jena also authored a book on marriage preparedness<br />

called Ring Ready: A Practical Playbook on How to<br />

Find, Keep and Marry Mr. Right, which she wrote for a<br />

community of women she felt had a vacuum of resources<br />

on how to have a healthy long-term relationship. She<br />

hopes to draft more books in the future and to work<br />

closely with young women helping them to know their<br />

value. In 2020, she and her husband bought a high-end<br />

store located in a bustling tourist area in downtown Turks<br />

Island where they sell fragrances, fine jewelry, and are<br />

the island’s exclusive Pandora ® dealer.<br />

Jena says, “The foundation Montverde Academy gave me<br />

was everything I needed to succeed in business because<br />

of the confidence I gained, and the love and security I felt<br />

from teachers and my dorm parents. I gained so many<br />

valuable assets that allowed me to develop as a human<br />

and as an entrepreneur.”<br />

When we asked the Messam sisters if they had any<br />

advice to give our current MVA students they said: “Focus<br />

on what you do to improve the school and make life<br />

better. Be solution-oriented. Embrace what you have now,<br />

do not complain but enjoy the beauty of the experience<br />

you are in.”<br />

Jena Messam Janse<br />

As a student the routines that were put in place were<br />

sometimes difficult, but Jena believes it contributed to her<br />

being a responsible adult. She remembers being on the<br />

judicial committee, the debate team, and track and field,<br />

and participating in drama and the weekend activities that<br />

came with the being a boarding student.<br />

Jena Messam<br />

Janse ʼ07<br />

When asked about the path her life has taken and<br />

the role the Academy played, she says, “MVA was<br />

foundational in my life. It felt like more than an education;<br />

it felt like a community and a family.”<br />

After graduation, Jena Messam Janse went to Lynn<br />

University in Boca Raton. She graduated with a Bachelor<br />

of Science in International Business in 2011. After<br />

college, she returned to the Caribbean and worked<br />

as a brand manager for one of the largest beverage<br />

distributors in Nassau, Bahamas. She then relocated<br />

back to Turks Island in a similar position where she met<br />

her husband Robin Jane and they now have a beautiful<br />

2-year-old daughter, Sahalie Janse.<br />

Johnna Messam ʼ03<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 57

Kency Duarte ’07<br />

Kency Duarte attended Montverde Academy for his junior<br />

and senior years, graduating in 2007. He was co-captain<br />

of the 2007 baseball team that finished as State Runnerup.<br />

His baseball career continued to soar when he played<br />

Division I baseball at Alabama A&M University, starting<br />

all four years, and earned the student-athlete award the<br />

last three years he was there. After college, Kency played<br />

for the Puerto Rico professional baseball organization for<br />

three years before starting a career in an international<br />

accounting firm having completed a Bachelor of Science<br />

(B.S.) in Accounting from Alabama A&M. He has worked<br />

the past 10 years as an accountant and recently began<br />

working at Arledge & Associates, in Oklahoma City,<br />

Oklahoma where he has already been promoted to<br />

senior manager and hopes to become a partner in the<br />

firm one day.<br />

Kency has carried the MVA spirit of community and<br />

service with him along the years, having recently<br />

received the On the Horizon Award by the Oklahoma<br />

City Young Professionals. This award recognizes young<br />

professionals who are positively impacting the community<br />

with their leadership, volunteerism, and stewardship.<br />

In early <strong>2022</strong>, He was nominated and later selected for<br />

the Trailblazer Award by the Oklahoma Society of CPAs,<br />

which is awarded to members who are under the age of<br />

40 and have five or fewer years of CPA experience.<br />

MVA provided me with the<br />

necessary tools to be successful<br />

after graduation. With the skills<br />

and values learned it certainly<br />

set me up to be successful in life<br />

after school.<br />

Kency Duarte<br />

Kency does not believe that the success he has<br />

experienced is by accident, “Montverde Academy<br />

provided me with the necessary tools to be successful<br />

after graduation. With the skills and values I learned, it<br />

certainly set me up to be successful in life after school.”<br />

said Kency.<br />

“Being involved in a school with so many different<br />

cultures provided an opportunity for growth as an<br />

individual that many don’t get to experience.”<br />

When he thinks back to his time at the Academy he<br />

remembers the strong relationships he built and still has<br />

to this day. “Itʼs a unique feeling of joy when I see alumni<br />

reach their goals as well as the positive impact MVA has<br />

on the students and community.”<br />

Kency has been married for more than seven years to<br />

Maryorie Montalvo who is currently pursuing her PhD.<br />

They are pet parents to a mini farm: two mini horses,<br />

one potbelly pig, a chihuahua named Ginger, a German<br />

shepherd named Kona, and chickens that provide fresh<br />

eggs for the ultimate backyard to table experience.<br />

In closing, Kency leaves some good advice to our current<br />

MVA community, “Do not allow life to come at you, but<br />

instead take action to move towards reaching your goals,<br />

one day at a time. Invest more energy in utilizing your<br />

strengths than developing your weaknesses. Let yourself<br />

be seen and heard. We can all add value and be of<br />

positive impact with our strengths that speaks volume to<br />

those around us. I will forever cherish my time at MVA<br />

and be a proud Eagle!”<br />

58 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Dr. Judith Willems ʼ84<br />

Dr. Judith Willems arrived at Montverde Academy at the<br />

tender age of 12 from Aruba. Her family was seeking<br />

better educational opportunities for her and believed that<br />

MVA would be the perfect environment for her to thrive.<br />

It was her first time being away from her family and<br />

although it was a daunting experience, she was able to<br />

adapt to campus quickly. Judith believes that coming to<br />

the Academy and completing high school was one of the<br />

most life-altering choices in her life and truly set her on<br />

the path to achieving her dreams of becoming a doctor.<br />

“High school is the place where we start our learning<br />

phase of life. High school grows you into the person you<br />

are today,” said Dr. Willems. “I always wanted to be a<br />

doctor, even when I was in high school. My experience<br />

at MVA has influenced my development as a person. It<br />

made me independent, helped me choose friends wisely,<br />

and accomplish goals I had set for myself. It helped me<br />

contribute to the realization of my dreams and aspirations.<br />

I became a doctor because I love helping people. The<br />

school also taught us valuable life lessons that we can<br />

incorporate in our daily lives. My school life helped me<br />

learn dedication and self-actualization.”<br />

She graduated with the class of 1984 and went to college in<br />

the Dominican Republic, where her mother resided, and in<br />

1992 graduated from the Medical Faculty of the University<br />

Eugenio Maria de Hostos, Dominican Republic. In 1994,<br />

she graduated with a Master’s degree in Clinical Sexology<br />

from the University of APEC, Dominican Republic.<br />

She returned to Aruba where she met her husband, Hans<br />

Willems, who is Dutch, and they moved to the Netherlands<br />

after their nuptials. The move resulted in her having to<br />

complete medical school again, but that did not deter<br />

her. Being a doctor had been in her heart since she was<br />

a child and although the road had been challenging to<br />

accomplish that dream fully, she had not given up!<br />

In 2004, while pregnant, she was determined to begin<br />

medical school in the Netherlands. In 2008, she<br />

received her revalidation at the University of Groningen<br />

(Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), Netherlands. For the last 22<br />

years she has lived and worked in the Netherlands certified<br />

as a medical doctor where she works at a mental health<br />

clinic intensive care unit as a mental care general doctor.<br />

Last year, Judith contracted COVID-19 and spent eight<br />

months in the hospital where she almost died. She says<br />

it’s been a long road to recovery, but she is thankful for life<br />

and that she can continue to be here for her family and<br />

hopefully see her son become a professional baseball<br />

My experience at MVA has<br />

influenced my development as a<br />

person. It made me independent,<br />

helped me choose friends wisely,<br />

and accomplish goals I had set<br />

for myself.<br />

Dr. Judith Willems<br />

player one day. She also knows that this is a second<br />

chance and intends to continue to serve as a doctor and<br />

will focus on those with mental health conditions.<br />

Judith is also the founder of the first MVA Facebook<br />

alumni group which has been instrumental in reconnecting<br />

alumni to former classmates and the school. She initially<br />

started the group on Hotmail messenger many years ago<br />

and it has now grown to a more than 1,000 member page.<br />

When we asked Judith if she had any advice for our<br />

current students she said: “You can succeed without over<br />

exerting yourself. Less stress and anxiety. When you earn<br />

your degree, you accomplish a big step in your life. Be<br />

yourself, gain knowledge, skills, and experience to help<br />

you both in your career and in life in general. There is<br />

always time to study and be what you want in life.”<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 59

1<br />

2<br />

3 4 5 6<br />


1966<br />


BERNHARD owned an AM/<br />

FM radio station for 20 years.<br />

he also owned a computer<br />

sales/service store for 15<br />

years and worked in the<br />

FL School for the Deaf and<br />

the Blind Special Needs<br />

department for 15 years.<br />

1972<br />


(1) celebrated her 50th<br />

year after graduating from<br />

MVA. She visited campus<br />

this spring for the first time<br />

since graduation and we<br />

received her with open arms.<br />

She fondly remembers her<br />

Miss Congeniality award in<br />

the Miss MVA pageant. She<br />

worked at Riverwood Golf<br />

Club before retiring. She now<br />

spends her days camping<br />

around the country with<br />

her husband.<br />

1977<br />

KEITH FEES celebrates 45<br />

years since graduating from<br />

MVA. He currently is in the<br />

oil refinery business in Texas<br />

where he lives with his wife<br />

and has several children<br />

and grandchildren. This past<br />

January, he came to campus<br />

for the first time in decades<br />

to attend the MAIT alumni<br />

homecoming weekend. He<br />

enjoyed his time connecting<br />

with old friends and other<br />

alumni while here.<br />

1983<br />

After graduating from MVA,<br />


studied at Temple University<br />

and Stetson University<br />

to obtain a BA and MA,<br />

respectively. Upon returning<br />

to Japan, he has been<br />

teaching English and other<br />

subjects such as International<br />

Relations and World History<br />

at various schools in Tokyo.<br />

“Thanks to Montverde<br />

Academy for my memorable<br />

teenage years!”<br />

1990<br />

MIGUEL ELIAS owns his<br />

own law practice that serves<br />

the state of Louisiana. He<br />

resides in Kenner with his<br />

wife and four daughters. He is<br />

the First Hispanic Magistrate<br />

Judge for the City of Kenner<br />

and the First Magistrate<br />

Judge to preside over the<br />

Division for Domestic Abuse<br />

in Kenner Mayor’s Court.<br />

2002<br />


JESSE MEADOW ʼ04 (2)<br />

have just ventured into<br />

their third year running their<br />

business Schoolcraft Digital,<br />

a digital marketing firm<br />

specifically geared to K-12<br />

Independent Schools. “It’s<br />

exciting to be able to continue<br />

to follow our passions for<br />

independent schools and<br />

build our business off of our<br />

foundations and experiences<br />

made at MVA.” Through<br />

working with the Academy<br />

and sponsoring a variety of<br />

events each year Jesse and<br />

Chris have used Schoolcraft<br />

as another way to engage<br />

with and grow the MVA family.<br />

2007<br />

KENCY DUARTE (3)<br />

was selected for the <strong>2022</strong><br />

Trailblazer Award which is<br />

given to young accounting<br />

professionals through the<br />

Oklahoma Society of CPAs.<br />

Congratulations on your<br />

accomplishment!<br />

Congratulations to ASHLEY<br />

THOMPSON (4) awaiting the<br />

arrival of a second daughter<br />

this summer! She has one<br />

bonus daughter and a<br />

3-year-old daughter with her<br />

husband.<br />

Congratulations to JOE<br />

KATUKA (5), CBD and<br />

Varsity Basketball team<br />

coach at MVA, who received<br />

the Sunshine Independent<br />

Athletic Association SIAA<br />

Coach of the Year award!<br />

60 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

7 8 9<br />

10 11<br />

SEND US YOUR CLASS NOTES! Send Class Notes submissions and a high-resolution (at least 300 dpi) photos to<br />

nyoshie.higgins@montverde.org or mail to Class Notes at MVA, 17235 Seventh Street, Montverde, FL 34756.<br />

2011<br />


married Thaís Fusco this<br />

past January with the<br />

blessing of their parents.<br />

Victor was a part of the first<br />

soccer program at MVA. He<br />

graduated from UNIP in 2020<br />

and works in foreign trade in<br />

Valinhos, Brazil.<br />

2012<br />

CLAIRE XIONG (7), 2012<br />

MVA Salutatorian, completed<br />

her undergraduate at UC<br />

Berkeley with a Bachelor’s<br />

of Arts in Economics and<br />

Media Studies. She got her<br />

first MBA from Said Business<br />

School, the University of<br />

Oxford in 2021. She recently<br />

received her second MBA<br />

from Jones Graduate School<br />

of Business at Rice University<br />

in May <strong>2022</strong>. She will begin<br />

a career at Google ® as a<br />

growth strategy manager.<br />

2013<br />

Congratulations to KAILIN<br />


(8) on her marriage to Ethan<br />

Graves. The Tennessee<br />

wedding was attended<br />

by several alumni and<br />

Montverde Academy faculty.<br />

Wishing you all the best!<br />

LUJIA “LUKE” ZHANG (9)<br />

graduated from Rose Hulman<br />

Institute of Technology<br />

with a bachelor’s degree<br />

focused in computer science,<br />

software engineering, and<br />

mathematics in 2017. He<br />

also completed a Master of<br />

Science in Machine Learning<br />

in 2021. He is a senior<br />

data scientist at Resultant.<br />

Lujia is making his mark in<br />

Indiana as he was featured<br />

in the Indianapolis Business<br />

Journal “Twenty in Their 20s”<br />

which has led to speaking<br />

engagements and local<br />

television appearances. He<br />

is currently a member of the<br />

highly coveted Stanley K<br />

Lacy Executive Leadership<br />

Series-Class XLV and a<br />

Board member of CFA<br />

Society Indianapolis.<br />

JANKI PATEL (10) attended<br />

DePaul College where she<br />

majored in political science.<br />

She was a part of De Paul<br />

College Dance Marathon,<br />

the Dean’s List, Dean’s<br />

Scholarship, Delta Zeta, and<br />

served as a Recruitment<br />

Counselor. In May <strong>2022</strong>,<br />

she graduated Magna Cum<br />

Laude from the University of<br />

Illinois College of Law. She<br />

has accepted an associate<br />

position at Thompson<br />

Coburn, LLP<br />

in Chicago.<br />

CORINNE MISSI (11) aka<br />

“Miss Missi,” completed<br />

her studies in actuarial<br />

mathematics and business<br />

administration from Spring<br />

Hill College in 2017. That<br />

same year, she won the<br />

crown of Miss Africa USA<br />

2017-18 with the social<br />

project of empowering young<br />

girls in STEM (Science,<br />

Technology, Engineering,<br />

and Mathematics) education.<br />

For the last three years, Miss<br />

Missi has been the founder<br />

and promoter of SACAY, a<br />

group of two companies:<br />

textile garment manufacturing<br />

and a wood carpentry/joinery<br />

whose mission is to contribute<br />

to the industrialization of<br />

the African continent for<br />

sustainable development,<br />

financial independence, and<br />

a considerable increase in<br />

employment.<br />

2014<br />

SHAFA NATHANI is currently<br />

at Tufts University School of<br />

Dental Medicine and is slated<br />

to graduate in 2024.<br />

2015<br />

Congratulations to SKYLAR<br />

KNIGHT who was recently<br />

promoted to the highly<br />

competitive position of<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 61

12 13 14 15<br />

16 17 18<br />


Investigative Case Specialist<br />

at the U.S. Department of<br />

State. He has also joined the<br />

MVA Alumni Board and will<br />

be helping to establish our<br />

Inaugural MVA Mentorship<br />

program in the fall of <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

JAKE LABRADOR (12)<br />

has been in ministry full<br />

time since leaving MVA.<br />

He is currently attending<br />

Lee University studying<br />

Pastoral Ministry. He works<br />

at Discovery Church Sand<br />

Lake Campus and resides<br />

in Windermere with his wife<br />

McCayla and daughter Kaia.<br />

2016<br />


BAQUERIZO (13) graduated<br />

from Clayton State University<br />

in 2020 with a Bachelorʼs<br />

degree in Biology. After<br />

graduating, she became a<br />

professional soccer player in<br />

Spain. Currently, she plays<br />

on the Ecuadorian Women’s<br />

National Team, which<br />

recently qualified for the<br />

Copa America World cup this<br />

summer.<br />

JENNA EDWARDS (14)<br />

relocated to Spain in 2017<br />

where she completed a<br />

Bachelor’s degree in History<br />

and Spanish at Saint<br />

Louis University - Madrid<br />

Campus and a Master’s<br />

degree in Marketing and<br />

Communications at IE<br />

University. She recently<br />

accepted a job offer as a<br />

Digital Consultant in<br />

Madrid, Spain.<br />

Congrats to ISABELLA<br />

OJEDA (15) on her<br />

engagement to Mario<br />

Benedetti. She works for<br />

a company called Culture<br />

Accelerators as a Client and<br />

Community Engagement<br />

Manager. The company is a<br />

strategic advisory firm and<br />

change catalyst to senior<br />

executives in healthcare,<br />

education, tech-driven<br />

corporations, and the public<br />

sector.<br />

2017<br />

SAM VICTOR graduated<br />

from Embry-Riddle<br />

Aeronautical University where<br />

he majored in homeland<br />

security and is currently<br />

pursuing his Master’s degree<br />

in Cybersecurity. He has<br />

accepted a position at BNSF<br />

Railway as an IT auditing<br />

management trainee.<br />


graduated from the University<br />

of Michigan, Ross School of<br />

Business in 2021 and played<br />

collegiate softball (making the<br />

Big 10 All Defensive Team<br />

and 3x Big 10 Champion).<br />

She currently lives in<br />

Portland, Oregon working in<br />

commercial banking for Bank<br />

of America. She continues to<br />

be a member of the Puerto<br />

Rican Women’s National<br />

Softball Team and will<br />

compete next in The<br />

World Games <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Congratulations to MORGAN<br />

KAUFFMAN (17) on<br />

completing her Master’s<br />

Degree in Communication &<br />

Business Leadership at High<br />

Point University. She will be<br />

working as a news producer<br />

for FOX8 in High Point, NC.<br />

2018<br />


(18) graduated from Lake-<br />

Sumter State College with<br />

AA in 2020. She played<br />

indoor volleyball at LSSC<br />

her freshman year and the<br />

team made it to the national<br />

tournament and finished<br />

11th in the nation. In her<br />

sophomore year, she was a<br />

part of the first-ever beach<br />

volleyball program at LSSC.<br />

She is currently working at<br />

Global Sourcing Group in<br />

marketing and sales.<br />

JULIAN PERICO (19) is a<br />

senior at the University of<br />

Arkansas and plays golf for<br />

the Razorbacks. He was the<br />

2021 Arnold Palmer Cup<br />


19 20 21 22<br />

23 24 25 26<br />

selection and the first player<br />

from Peru ever selected<br />

for the Arnold Palmer Cup<br />

and just the third in South<br />

America. Congratulations!<br />


(20) completed The<br />

University of Minnesota/<br />

Guthrie Theater BFA Actor<br />

Training Program this past<br />

May and will graduate with<br />

his Bachelor’s degree in<br />

December <strong>2022</strong>. He will<br />

appear in “12 Angry Men” this<br />

summer at Theater Latte’ Da<br />

in Minneapolis.<br />


graduated from the<br />

University of Florida in <strong>2022</strong><br />

with a Bachelor of Arts in<br />

Criminology. He is currently<br />

working for Rumberger Kirk<br />

Law as a Litigation Support<br />

Clerk while prepping for the<br />

LSAT Exam.<br />

AISHA GREEN (22)<br />

graduated as a Distinguished<br />

Scholar from Duke University<br />

with a Bachelor’s degree in<br />

Neuroscience in May <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

She is currently working in a<br />

lab at Duke while publishing<br />

her senior thesis and is<br />

slated to start a Master’s<br />

Program in Neuroimaging<br />

and Informatics. She hopes<br />

to enroll in medical school in<br />

2023.<br />

KATIE BECK (23) graduated<br />

Cum Laude from Catawba<br />

College and majored in<br />

exercise science with a<br />

concentration in sports<br />

medicine. She was also a<br />

member of The National<br />

Society of Leadership and<br />

Success and the Phi Epsilon<br />

Kappa Honor Society. She<br />

played women’s soccer<br />

and was the team captain.<br />

She was awarded the SAC<br />

Defensive Player of the Year<br />

for three years in a row.<br />

She was also honored with<br />

All-American and Scholar All-<br />

American accolades. Katie<br />

will be completing MBA.<br />


(24) graduated from the<br />

University of Florida with a<br />

degree in microbiology with<br />

a minor in health disparities.<br />

Congratulations!<br />

2019<br />

CAMILO MOREANO is in his<br />

junior year at Erskine College<br />

and is studying business<br />

administration with sports<br />

management and fitness<br />

administration. He was<br />

recently hired as an adjunct<br />

dance professor for dance at<br />

his university.<br />


(25) is a filmmaker studying<br />

at Berry College. He has<br />

recently taken an internship<br />

with Brand Red Studios<br />

in Rome, Georgia while<br />

continuing his student work<br />

at Viking Fusion Studios<br />

as Director of Marketing at<br />

the Center for Personal and<br />

Professional Development.<br />

YANNI ZHANG (26) is a<br />

rising senior at Vanderbilt<br />

University double majoring<br />

in English and human and<br />

organizational development,<br />

with a minor in business.<br />

She has interned at the<br />

Department of Commerce<br />

and volunteered at a coffee<br />

farm in China. She is also<br />

an Honor Council VP at<br />

Vanderbilt and a Peabody<br />

Scholar which gives her<br />

the opportunity to travel to<br />

Geneva to work for UNICEF<br />

or Guatemala to do coffee<br />

equity research. This<br />

summer she will be interning<br />

with PWC in LA which is a<br />

management consulting firm.<br />


attending Lehigh University<br />

majoring in computer science<br />

and business with a minor<br />

in environmental science.<br />

He has been named to the<br />

All-Patriot League First Team,<br />

named Player of the Year and<br />

will be captain of the men’s<br />

golf team for <strong>2022</strong>-23.

27<br />

30<br />

28 15<br />

29 15<br />


2020<br />

Congratulations to<br />


of the Toronto Raptors who<br />

was the <strong>2022</strong> NBA Rookie<br />

of the Year. He became the<br />

first rookie in the Raptors<br />

team history to record at<br />

least 1,000 points, 500<br />

rebounds and 250 assists<br />

in a season. He also set<br />

the franchise rookie record<br />

for offensive rebounds<br />

with 195, which was 15th<br />

among all players this<br />

season.<br />


was honored at Clemson<br />

University’s Mortar Board<br />

for achieving a 4.0! In May,<br />

he began a seven month<br />

internship at Merion Golf<br />

Club which is ranked as the<br />

7th best golf course in the<br />

USA by top100golfcourses.<br />

com.<br />

MATTHEW KAREN (29) is<br />

a sophomore at Richmond<br />

College and pursuing a<br />

Bachelor’s degree in health<br />

science and received the<br />

Metcalf Prize. The awards<br />

recognize five Richmond<br />

College students from each<br />

class who are positive role<br />

models and committed<br />

to fostering a culture of<br />

respect. The award is<br />

committed to celebrate<br />

Richmond College students<br />

who are living lives of<br />

purpose on campus.<br />

2021<br />

Congratulations to JOHN<br />

DALY, II (30) for winning<br />

the PNC Championship<br />

with his father, veteran<br />

golfer John Daly. They beat<br />

Tiger Woods and his son<br />

Charlie to take first place at<br />

the PNC Championship.<br />


Claudette<br />

Beerman Allen<br />

Class of 1987<br />

Stephane<br />

Bakinde<br />

Class of 2005<br />

Jay<br />

McDaniel<br />

Class of 1992<br />

Michelle Guillen<br />

Rigaud<br />

Class of 1980<br />

Mindy Melton<br />

Rosario<br />

Class of 1981<br />

64 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Montverde Academy’s 18th Annual Celebrating Education fundraising event<br />


<strong>2022</strong><br />

Thank you to our sponsors!<br />

Title Sponsor<br />

Triple Crown Sponsor<br />

Winner’s Circle Sponsors<br />

Run for the Roses Sponsors<br />

Advanced Faces<br />

Bella Bella Dental Group<br />

Brown & Brown Insurance<br />

City of Clermont<br />

Clermont Radiology<br />

4 Corners Insurance/Swiss Vacation Houses<br />

MMI Dining Systems<br />

Orlando Health - South Lake Hospital<br />

Paterson Services, Inc.<br />

Prime Plumbing, Inc.<br />

Risse Brothers School Uniforms<br />

Seacoast Bank<br />

Photo Finish Sponsors<br />

The Capuano Family<br />

City Electric Supply<br />

EA Tours<br />

Germana Engineering & Associates, LLC<br />

Hand & Stone Spa - Winter Park<br />

Dr. and Mrs. Kasey C. Kesselring<br />

Kroger Delivery<br />

Schoolcraft Digital<br />

TSL Shipping and Trading<br />

United Southern Bank<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 65

Montverde Academy’s 18th Annual<br />

Celebrating Education fundraising event<br />


<strong>2022</strong><br />

MAY 7, <strong>2022</strong><br />

Earl and Melissa McCoy<br />

Ernie Morris Group<br />

Kimberly and Robert Killian<br />

Jay and Elske Palmer<br />

Heath and Kristin Nailos<br />

Jeff and Jillian Powell<br />

66 THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong>

Alexandre De Nobrega Dos Santos, Dr. Lorna Bennett, Katty Parent, Michael & Sharon Palanti<br />

Dr. David and Mary-Kay Rath with Rosie<br />

Rick and Nattascha Aly, Maria and Kenn Soendergaard<br />

Sue Tortora, Toni Specht, Michele Story<br />

Christine and Mark Conklin<br />

Don and Heather Johnson, Dr. Chuck Helms and Dr. Christine Tran, Scott and Jill Turnquist<br />

THE TOWER | SUMMER <strong>2022</strong> 67

Montverde Academy<br />

17235 Seventh Street<br />

Montverde, FL 34756<br />

SAVE<br />

THE<br />

DATE<br />

Bella Collina<br />

MONDAY<br />

OCT. 3, <strong>2022</strong><br />




Email kalena.meyers@montverde.org

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