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“public education
with passion”
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The Children’s Hour opens Feb. 14
The Alabama School of Fine Arts Theatre
Arts Department will present the classic
drama The Children’s Hour Feb. 14-15
at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2:30 p.m.
The stage play was written in 1934 by
popular playwright Lillian Hellman and
“tells the story of how rumors and a single
lie can escalate, destroying people’s
lives,” said Jonathan Fuller, artistic
director of the Theatre Arts department
and director of the ASFA production.
The play is set in small private girls’
boarding school in New England where
one student overhears a conversation
between two adults that casts doubts on
the relationship between the two women
who lead the school.
“The rumor fuels mass hysteria, a libel
suit and the consequences of that,”
Fuller said.
The Children’s Hour successfully
appeared on Broadway for two years
and later in London and Ireland but was
banned in some American cities for its
controversial subject matter at the time.
It was turned into a film in 1961 and
staged again in London in 2011, starring
Pirates of the Caribbean English actress
Keira Knightley and Mad Men American
actress Elisabeth Moss.
The play has a cast of 14 characters,
12 of which are women with a wide age
spread, which was an added benefit and
played into the department’s decision
for choosing this particular production,
Fuller said.
The Children’s Hour will be the second
production presented as part of the
school’s “Friday Night Lights”
entertainment series.
“We want to show the high level of acting
and production values that ASFA’s Theatre
Arts Department can produce for the
subscribers of the “Friday Night Lights”
series, Fuller said.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for
non-ASFA students and free for ASFA
faculty, staff and students.
Congratulations to the 12 ASFA Music
Department students who were selected to
participate in the All State Jazz Bands this
year. There are two high school bands.
Gold is the top band; silver is the second
band, and there is only one middle school
band. These students were invited to
perform at the All State Jazz Band Festival
in Montgomery Jan. 23-25 in conjunction
with the Alabama Music Educators
Association Conference. The following
students were selected to attend:
Matthew Belser, 2nd tenor saxophone
Ayana Jacobs-El, baritone saxophone
Wisdom Bibbs, 1st trumpet
Julian Williams, 5th trumpet
Charles Renneker, vibraphone
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Jaylen Leonard, 1st alto saxophone
Justin Sims, 2nd trombone
Alex Toole, trombone alternate
Stephen Harper, drum set alternate
Josh Myers, 5th trombone
Caleb Edwards, bass
Patrick Morris, drum set alternate
Charles Renneker
named finalist in
state Young Composers
Congratulations to 10th grade Music
student Charles Renneker who is one
of two high school students selected as
a finalist in the Alabama Young
Composers Competition. Charles was
recognized in a short presentation at the
Alabama Music Educators Association
Convention in Montgomery last month.
Two students place
second in Lois Pickard
Concerto Competition
Two ASFA Music Department students
placed in the Lois Pickard Concerto
Competition at the Alys Stephens
Center in January. Seventh grade
violinist Haeun Kim placed second in
the string category, and 10th grade
percussionist Charles Renneker played
the xylophone and placed second in
the woodwind, brass, percussion
to the Juniors and
Seniors who made
the grade
Congratulations to the following
juniors and seniors who earned
Grade Excellence Recognition for
the past semester:
Director’s List for Grade Excellence,
recognizes juniors or seniors who
have earned all A’s in every course—
required and elective—for one
semester during 11th and 12th
The ASFA Dance Department will
present its annual Senior Choreography
Showcase Feb. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m.
in the Dorothy Jemison Day Theater.
The showcase is the pinnacle moment
in an advanced dancer’s tenure at
ASFA and provides the chance for a
senior dance student to premiere his
or her very own dance work. This year
the performance will feature
choreography by Dance Department
Seniors Carla Burroughs, Mackie
Harrison, Ben Klein, Annie Morgan,
Jessica Plumeri, Chasity Ramsey and
Ayaka Yoshikawa.
Each student has worked for weeks
creating an original dance composition
and choosing music, costumes, lighting
and casting for the show. Tickets are
$10 for adults, $5 for non-ASFA
students and free to ASFA students,
faculty and staff.
ASFA plays host to
Alabama Dance
Festival Jan. 17-19
The ASFA Dance Department hosted
100 young dancers on campus
January 17-19 as part of the 17th
annual Alabama Dance Festival.
The festival was held in conjunction
with several partners including the
Alabama Dance Council, Alabama
Ballet, Birmingham-Southern College,
Samford University, the Birmingham
Museum of Art and many others.
Students attended master classes,
scholarship auditions and workshops
with professional dancers and
internationally known choreographers.
The Koresh Dance Company of
Philadelphia and Bridgman/Packer
Dance of New York City were this
year’s guest companies-in-residence.
Ayala Abrams (11)
Kendall Buckingham (11)
Katharine Conaway (11)
ColbyHollman (11)
Carly Jo Martens (11)
Gwenafaye McCormick (11)
Victor Sui (11)
Nath Tumlin (11)
Zoe Willis (11)
Executive Director’s List for Grade
Excellence, recognizes juniors and
seniors who have earned all A’s in
every course—required and elective—
for two semesters during 11th and
12th grades.
Melody Dailey (12)
ASFA Foundation Board Award for
Grade Excellence, recognizes juniors
and seniors who have earned all As in
every course—required and elective—
for three semesters. during 11th and
12th grades.
Katharina Fox (12)
Ayaka Yoshikawa (12)
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Math team competes
in tournament
ASFA’s math teams competed in a
mathematics tournament at Vestavia
Hills High School just before the winter
break. This particular tournament is
one of the most challenging
tournaments in the southeast. Math
team members did not disappoint
while competing in a field of over 1,600
participants and 33 schools. Below
are the results:
ASFA Math and Science students got a
peek into the life of a real forensic
scientist when two forensic scientists from
the Alabama Department of Forensic
Science spoke to students in December.
Their visit was the first in a Lecture Series
that the Math & Science Department
launched this school year. Forensic
scientists Geaneé Quinney and Courtney
Jenkins spoke to students about their
day-to-day work life at one of the four
state’s official crime labs. The women
work at the state’s Birmingham office, but
explained there are also labs in
Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile.
“I love my job and it’s very fulfilling,”
said Quinney, who majored in chemistry
at Alabama A&M University and obtained
her master’s in forensic science from
UAB. “I work with a great team of people.
It’s great to know that I can make a
difference by using my skills to help
solve crimes.
Both women talked about the variety of
unique fields in forensic science, which
include, biology (including information
about anthropology, entomology,
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odontology and pathology), forensic
biology, chemistry (including drug
chemistry and fire debris), toxicology,
physics (including firearms and
toolmarks), computer forensics, crime
scene analyses and fingerprinting.
“As forensic scientists in the forensic
biology section, our job consists of
maintaining the care, custody and
control of evidence; screening items
of evidence for biological fluids;
performing DNA analysis, and reporting
the results of our tests. Outside of the
laboratory, we testify in court,” Quinney
“It’s definitely not what you see on
television,” Jenkins added. “Crimes
are not solved in five minutes. Some
cases can take quite some time.”
Jenkins majored in biology at Alabama
A&M University and received her
master’s in forensic science from
Alabama State University. She also
said that she loves her work and
encouraged students to consider it as
a career choice.
Geometry: 3rd place team
Matthew Zhu – 10th place individual
Dhruval Gadhia – 9th place individual
Eli Getman – 6th place individual
Algebra II: 2nd place team
Maya Samuels-Fair – 10th place
Turner Atwood – 8th place individual
Andrew Boyd – 3rd place individual
Pre-calculus: 2nd place team
Priya Shah – 2nd place individual
Calculus: 2nd place team
Victor Sui – 10th place individual
Ali Hakim – 9th place individual
Adam He – 6th place individual
Devin Sun – 4th place individual
On Saturday, January 25,
ASFA’s Geometry team won
first place at the Briarwood
Christian School Math
Tournament Large School
Division. Ninth grader
Eli Getman placed second, and
ninth grader Summer Vo
placed 3rd overall. We are very
proud of their excellent
performance, so please
congratulate the geometry team
members when you see them.
Thanks to the hard work of a committee
including ASFA Computer Science
Instructor Carol Yarbrough, the Alabama
Board of Education recently approved a
motion that allows two specific computer
science courses to count as a math
credit towards graduation.
This change provides additional ways for
students to earn their high school diploma
by completing the state’s required courses.
Students may now take Computer Science
Principles or Advanced Placement
Computer Science A in place of a traditional
advanced math course.
This new idea developed from a committee
spearheaded by University of Alabama
computer science professor Dr. Jeff Gray
along with three high school computer
science teachers, two State Department of
Education administrators and two state
college readiness officials.
“We mapped all the learning objectives for
computer science courses to those existing
math courses to show that computer
science will teach students all of the things
that have already been deemed necessary
in math courses,” Yarbrough said.
“I was amazed that it was almost a
complete mapping. Now, other states are
using Alabama’s mappings to make the
case for their computer science courses to
count towards graduation too,” she added.
Alabama is only the15th state in the nation
to count computer science courses as
credit for graduation.
The recommendation of the committee was
that students must have completed math
courses through Algebra II and
Trigonometry in order to take the computer
science courses, Yarbrough added.
“This opens the door of opportunity for our
arts students, who before now only had the
option of statistics or pre-calculus as
math course beyond Algebra II and Trig,”
Yarbrough said. “If traditional math isn’t
(continued on page 8)
Supervisor for the supplier Sodexo at the
University of Alabama in Huntsville.
“I also enjoy working with teenagers and
seeing what factors impact their food
choices, be it environmental, social and
personal choices.”
ASFA welcomes two
new employees
A love of science, food and people led
ASFA’s new Child Nutrition Program
Director Brittany Foster to a career she
never imagined as a child.
“I love learning how food impacts the
body, and I love interacting with people,”
she said recently.
Ms. Foster grew up in Wetumpka, AL, and
attended an agricultural science program
the summer after graduating from high
school. “While I was there, a nutrition
professor took me under her wing and
shared her passion for nutrition and
showed me a variety of options related to
careers in the nutrition industry.”
Foster obtained her undergraduate
degree in nutrition dietetics from Alabama
A&M University in 2008, and her master’s
in Family Consumer Sciences with an
emphasis in nutrition in July 2013. She
completed a dietetics internship at Utah
State University and is currently studying
to become a registered dietician.
“I chose nutrition sciences because it
allowed me to enjoy the educational aspect
of nutrition, the science aspect of food and
how it impacts the body, and I could
combine that with my love for cooking,”
said Foster, whose father worked as a
cook in the Army Reserves for 26 years.
Foster comes to ASFA most recently from
Challenger Middle School in Huntsville,
where she worked as a Family and
Consumer Science teacher. She also has
experience as a Food Service Retail
ASFA welcomed Karen Kennedy in
January as its news administrative
assistant in the Student Support Services
Department. Mrs. Kennedy is responsible
for assisting students, teachers, staff and
parents with all matters related to the
Student Support Services Department,
which include student counseling, college
advising, health and wellness and the
dormitory. She also issues transcripts
and ACT and SAT fee waivers.
“Everyone has been so friendly,”
Mrs. Kennedy said recently.
Mrs. Kennedy fills the position of Connie
Whaley, who retired in December, and
comes to ASFA from St. Paul’s Episcopal
School in Mobile where she worked as a
counseling assistant for 19 years. She
moved to Birmingham in May when her
husband Palmer became the headmaster
at Advent Episcopal School. Mrs.
Kennedy was born in Nashville but grew
up in Memphis and lived in Mobile most of
her adult life. Her husband and she have
one daughter who is a junior studying
graphic design at Auburn University and
one son who just graduated from Auburn
and began Beeson Divinity School at
Samford University in January. Kennedy
said she loves to travel, snow ski, ride
bikes and enjoys the
page 5
great outdoors.
Three thousand people spoke, and two
ASFA alums were among those chosen
as “Birmingham Best of 2013.” AL.com
published its “Birmingham Best” list in its
Dec. 27th issue and featured ASFA alums
Bethanne Hill and Jonathan Fuller.
Bethanne Hill (Visual Arts, Class of
1985) was selected as Best Local Artist.
Jonathan Fuller (Theatre Arts, Class of
1974) now works on staff as the ASFA
Theatre Arts Department’s Artistic
Director and was recognized along with
his professional artistic partner Alan
Gardner. Fuller and Gardner are the
co-founders of City Equity Theatre,
which was named Best Live Theater in
town. Fuller was also runner-up for
Best Local Actor. Congratulations to
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June 20-22
Tutwiler Hotel
Stay tuned for more
details coming soon.
Let us know about anything new going on
in your life.Recent graduation?
Job change? Address change?
We’d like to know.You can update your
profile on the ASFA Alumni Directory at
Alums can also email ASFA Foundation
Director Leigh Horsley (Theatre Arts,
Class of 1984) at
[email protected]/apps/directory/.
if they prefer not to have their contact
information available in the online
Bethanne Hill and
Darius Hill announce
February exhibit
ASFA Alum and Visual Arts
Department Chair Darius Hill (Visual
Arts, Class of 1985) and his wife Artist
Bethanne Hill (Visual Arts, Class of
1985) will have their individual art work
on display in a joint showing through
Feb. 24. A reception will be held
Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 p.m. to
6 p.m. in Bonnie Bolding Swearingen
Hall on the Samford University
campus. Bethanne Hill’s artwork has
appeared on the covers of numerous
magazine, books and CDs and has
been shown in galleries across the
Southeast. All of her paintings are
done in acrylic on wood, paper or
canvas. Darius Hill is a mixed media
artist, and his work has also appeared
in numerous galleries across the
southeast. For more information about
the art show, contact Samford
University at 726-2508.
Friday the 13th proved to be a lucky
day for series subscribers to the
Alabama School of Fine Arts
inaugural performing arts series
entitled “Friday Night Lights”. The
ASFA Music Department opened the
series with its Holiday Music Concert
after a subscriber and donor preperformance cocktail reception at
Mix Restaurant. Guests were
shuttled from the Dorothy Jemison
Day Theater to the cocktail party
then back for the performance on
two “Mix Mobiles” hosted by ASFA
Student Ambassadors.
Approximately 80 guests attended
the party and were greeted by ASFA
staff and faculty. Series Presenter
Patty McDonald, escorted by
Jeffrey Klinner, was stunning in a
long black ensemble accented with
sparking snowflake holiday bling.
The room was lit with candlelight
on snow white table cloths, which
were accented with seasonal floral
arrangements by Michael Dyer of
Uncut Flowers. Chris Dupont’s Mix
staff presented guests with canape
favorites of salmon on cucumbers,
steak crostini, twice baked potatoes,
a selection of cheese and fruit,
roasted red pepper bruschetta, and
a selection of sweets. Wine,
generously donated by Anthony
Osborne and Charles Yeates of
International Wines, and artisan beer
was served. Forstall Art Center
provided signage for the fun-filled
event. Classical holiday carols
played in the background and set
the seasonal mood.
ASFA Executive Director Michael
Meeks and ASFA Development
Director Leigh Horsley welcomed
the crowd and gave thanks to
McDonald for her generosity and
From left:
Michael Meeks,
Series Presenter
Patty McDonald
and Jeffrey Klinner
vision. McDonald developed the idea
and support for the series as well as a
special scholarship program for ASFA
students in the performing arts.
McDonald addressed the audience and
verbalized the need to support the
state’s only school for the performing
arts as well as the city’s performing arts
community in general. She graciously
thanked the subscribers for recognizing
and supporting the cause.
Platinum level partners include LIVE
Design Group, Southeastern Outings
and Protective Life. Gold sponsors are
Al.com/Birmingham News and
Birmingham Investment Group. Silver
sponsors include Catherine and Bill
Cabaniss, EBSCO Industries, Inc.,
Lisa and Rad Gaines, B.L. Harbert
International, Barbara Hirschowitz,
Luckie & Co, ASFA Foundation Board
president Jim Pool, Publix Super
Markets and Unus Foundation.
From left: Alumni Leesa Lewis, Jonathan Fuller, Jim Pool
(ASFA Foundation Board President) with wife Jayne
From left: Leigh Horsley, Stan Ingram
and Rad Gaines
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Welcome to 2014 and the second semester of the 2013-2014 school
year! The first half flew by and I have no doubt the second half will
seem to disappear just as quickly. Before we turn our attention
completely to the new year, I’d like to take a moment to comment on
our final PTSO event of 2013.
On December 20, the PTSO hosted a luncheon for the ASFA faculty
and staff before they left for the holiday break. The feedback we
received from those in attendance was extremely positive, and the
meal was much appreciated. The faculty and staff were very
appreciative of the opportunity to come together as a group and
informally talk amongst themselves and the parents in attendance
while enjoying a delicious meal. Thanks to Hanna Schock, PTSO
Event Facilitator, for arranging the catered meal, coordinating
volunteers and doing all the little things along the way that events like
this require. Also, thanks to all the parents who contributed by
sending donations, providing desserts and volunteering to help with
set up and clean up.
I’d also like to thank the PTSO Executive Board for their continuing
efforts to help plan and carry out the many things the PTSO does to
help make ASFA a better place. I appreciate each of you for
volunteering to give up some of your valuable personal time to serve
ASFA, and I know that the administration, faculty and staff do too.
I should also point out that several members of the Executive Board
are the parents of seniors, so there will be vacancies on the board for
next year. If you are interested in becoming more involved with the
PTSO, please reach out to any of the board members to learn more
about what we do. Election of officers for the 2014-15 school year
will be this spring.
The rest of the school year is sure to be busy! Be on the lookout for
announcements of upcoming PTSO events and communications from
your specialty support group liaison on how you can help out!
(Computer science story continued from page 5)
one student’s special area of interest,
now they have another option. It also
gives our students another way to
express their creativity, particularly in
music and in art. If they can program
and they are artists, the job opportunities
are incredible.”
In other related news, Yarbrough is
emerging as a national leader in K-12
computer science education. She is one
of five teachers and the only high school
instructor to receive a travel grant to
attend an upcoming Computer Science
Education Conference in Atlanta in
March. As a pilot teacher for Advanced
Placement Computer Science: Principles
(AP CSP), Yarbrough has been invited to
participate in workshops related to the
national College Board’s computer
science pilot program. AP CSP will be
introduced in thousands of high schools
in fall 2016, and its first AP Exam is
scheduled in May 2017. The goal of the
computer science initiative is to increase
and attract a diverse range of students,
introduce computer science concepts and
explore creative aspects of computing at
the high school level. Yarbrough also will
be a featured speaker at the Computer
Science Teachers Association Annual
Conference sponsored by Google in July.
Applause, Vol. 27, issue 5
was generously printed by
Alabama Power Corporation
Jaronda Little, Editor
[email protected]
Peggi Davis, Art Director
It is the policy of ASFA not to discriminate on the basis of
sex, race, religion, color, creed, national origin, sexual
orientation or any other proscribed category, in its
educational programs, activities or employment policies as
required by local,state, and federal policies and laws.
Inquiries or complaints
regarding compliance with applicable laws or
this policy may be directed to Dr. Michael Meeks at
[email protected]
page 8
1800 Reverend Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd.
Birmingham, Alabama 35203