The Record

Alumni bridge interests from high school to college

Julia Robbins, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Maddie Bender ’16

Maddie Bender ‘16 was co-President of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SWE) in high school and is now part of four different musical groups at Yale University.

Bender started participating in the school band in fourth grade, she said. She was first clarinet in the SWE for all four years of high school.

“Band in high school offered me a 45-minute break every other day where I could just turn off my brain and focus on playing music and being part of something larger than my instrument alone,” Bender said.

“Over the years, I began to think of music as a way to relax and de-stress, and I’ve found practicing scales or sight-reading to be a cathartic break from studying,” Bender said. “Since playing music helps me de-stress, and since my parents spent so much money on private lessons, I figured I’d try my luck auditioning for a few musical groups [in college],” she said.

Now at Yale, Bender is in the Yale Concert Band (YCB), Timothy Dwight College Community Orchestra (TDCCO), Yale Klezmer Band, and Yale Precision Marching Band (YPMB). TDCCO is the orchestra for her residential college at Yale.

“The YPMB is much less serious than even HM’s middle school band”, Bender said. “We have an entire section full of people who don’t even know how to play instruments and who instead “play” things like pots, pans and couches,” she said.

Unlike performances in high school, in the YPMB, Bender moves with the rest of her group in different choreographed formations during performances and often plays during rowdy football games, she said.

Through the YPMB, Bender went to every football game this year, spent time with members of the football team and learned the rules of football, she said.

“The [YCB] is a more focused and advanced group than the band at HM”, Bender said. “In high school, it wasn’t uncommon for us to go over a passage in a piece to make sure we had the notes correct, but if you showed up to YCB rehearsal not knowing the notes in your part, you would get kicked out of rehearsal.”

This summer, unlike in high school where she traveled to a different part of the United States each year with the SWE, Bender will be going to Australia to perform with the YCB, she said.


Ellis Soodak ’16

Ellis Soodak ‘16 was the Head of the Middle Division (MD) Debate Program during his senior year at the school and is now a member of the University of Chicago’s Parliamentary Debate team.

High school debate was a “formative experience of my upbringing”, Soodak said.

Debate offered an outlet for Soodak, who had a naturally argumentative side, he said. Debate also helped fix speech problems that Soodak had as a child, he said.

“I find the story behind these niche activities that people become obsessed with incredibly compelling,” Soodak said. There was an entire social culture to high school debate that Soodak found fascinating: the drama and the friend groups that debate created, he said.

As head of the MD Debate Program, Soodak worked with middle schoolers on how to stall without using filler words and taught them how to project their voices without yelling, he said.

In high school, Soodak spent 20 hours per week on debate activities, whereas now, he only goes to one practice a week in college and spends less time overall on the activity, he said.

At the University of Chicago, Soodak debates in the American Parliamentary Debate Association  as a member of The Chicago Debate Society. Unlike in Public Forum debate, which Soodak participated in in high school, in the APDA, the government side chooses any case they want to debate at the onset of the round.

Due to this style of debate, “the activity has a ton more potential than really anything else,” Soodak said. “You can talk about anything and have incredible debates about things you would never have even thought of questioning.”

A drawback of college debate is that because everyone is debating different topics at any given moment, there is less unity among debaters than in high school debate, Soodak said.

In college, Soodak has also switched from having one consistent partner in high school, Kenneth Shinozuka ‘16, to changing partners for each tournament. He now goes to tournaments with whichever friend wants to visit the college that a tournament is being held at, Soodak said.

All of the students debating on the team receive free flights to and from the tournaments, which is one of the biggest upsides of being on the team, Soodak said.

Jonathan Edelstein ’17

Jonathan Edelstein ’17 was the co-President of the Cancer Awareness Club (CAC) as a senior at the school and is also the founder of the organization Cancer Circle. Edelstein is now a freshman at the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU).

As co-President of the CAC, Edelstein was very involved with Relay for Life, an event that raises money for the American Cancer Society. Edelstein used the platform that CAC provided to help raise awareness about Relay for Life, he said.

Being part of the CAC helped teach Edelstein how to connect with people in order to build community outreach within an organization, he said. “It was a really powerful thing to see how when you try and connect to people in the community, you can really make a difference.”

Edelstein conceived the idea for Cancer Circle in 10th grade and brought in fellow cancer survivor William Scherr ’17 to help create the organization, Edelstein said.

According to the organization’s website, “Cancer Circle is an online 1:1 pediatric cancer support organization that pairs patient with a survivor who is around the same age, has similar interests, has had the same experiences, and lives in the same geographic area.”

The Cancer Circle website was released on February 28, and is in communication with three hospitals, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NYU Langone, and Weill Cornell Medicine, to introduce Cancer Circle to patients, Edelstein said.

Cancer Circle won the Alexander Capelluto Award in 2015. “It was really helpful for us to have an organization through the school, who could provide us mentorship and also the funding and the overall support,” Edelstein said.

The Capellutos helped Edelstein and Scherr manage their time between Cancer Circle, school work, and the college process, Edelstein said.

Computer Science and Robotics Department Chair Jason Torres was also helpful in the early stages of Cancer Circle and gave Edelstein feedback on the technological side of the organization, Edelstein said.

Now at NYU, Edelstein is using the recourses of the University and its hospital to further the mission of Cancer Circle, he said.

Students at NYU have a number of entrepreneurial resources available to them which Edelstein has been looking into this year, he said. Edelstein has also been in contact with NYU’s hospital in efforts to bring Cancer Circle to the hospital’s pediatric cancer patients, he said.

Edelstein was also able to raise money for his organization through an NYU hockey game, he said.

For every ice hockey game at NYU, the proceeds of the game are donated to a different charity. Edelstein, who was manager of the NYU’s men’s ice hockey team this year, asked the coach if Cancer Circle could be the charity for one game, and the coach was happy to say yes, Edelstein said.

Edelstein hopes that Cancer Circle keeps expanding to connect as many pediatric cancer patients and survivors as possible, he said.

Jay Rappaport ‘14

Jay Rappaport ‘14 was a Community Council (CC) Representative in ninth, 10th, and 11th grade and served as Secretary of the CC in 11th grade before becoming Student Body President (SBP) in 12th grade.

Now at Columbia University, Rappaport is one of 24 students serving on the University’s Senate, composed of 108 students, faculty members, and administrators. He is now completing the second year of his two-year term as University Senator.

“Like so many activities at HM, student government gave me exposure to service, and it instilled in me a desire and a need to want to serve people,” Rappaport said.

“Working on school wide projects as SBP and in the community council showed me that policy and programs can impact diverse people and constituencies and ideally improve their experiences,” Rappaport said.

Some of the initiatives that Rappaport worked on as SBP along with his co-SBP Charlotte Frankel ‘14 were creating a spring Homecoming called Spring Roar and a program that gave Upper Division students the ability to read to Lower Division students during their free periods.

In creating Spring Roar, the SBPs stuck to their timeline and worked with Dean of Student Life Dr. Susan Delanty and Head of School Dr. Tom Kelly to put the event together, Rappaport said.

“Student government at HM taught me how to work with administrations, work with my peers, and work with the people I was trying to serve,” Rappaport said.

From high school to his last year at Columbia, Rappaport has also developed an “increased ability to delegate,” he said. “I learned as SBP that I can’t do everything on my own, nor was I expected to.”

In college, Rappaport has a Senate staff that he can farm out research to, in addition to having other trusted allies and advisors that he can count on for support, Rappaport said. Delegating tasks yields a stronger product because more time can be spent on specific tasks and there is a broader range of perspectives on the issue, he said.

Rappaport is looking to go into a government career of some capacity, whether that is in a think tank, a government agency, or the legislature, he said.

Policy motivates and interests Rappaport from professional, academic, and personal levels, he said. He appreciates “the opportunity to impact a lot of people positively and to serve them.”

Teo Armus ’14

It took less than two months on The Record to decide that being a journalist was what he wanted to do with his life, Teo Armus ’14 said.

Armus was Editor-In-Chief of The Record before he graduated and joined Columbia University’s newspaper, the Columbia Daily Spectator. At the Spectator, Armus was Deputy News Editor in 2015 before becoming a columnist for the paper.

“I really enjoyed [The] Record especially because I think it was a way for me to engage with the community at Horace Mann and especially with parts of the community that I would never have ended up engaging with otherwise,” Armus said.

Writing for The Record taught Armus what it means to be a journalist, how to write well, ask good questions, and conduct successful interviews, Armus said.

“[As EIC], my theme for the year was to try and implement as many lasting changes as I could for better or worse,” Armus said. He converted the headlines into “sentence case,” rewrote the editorial policy, and created a new masthead.

Along with the more technical changes he made, Armus also had the paper publish more “splashy investigative features” in order to increase readership and tried to increase the publication’s presence on social media, he said.

Armus has yet to feel as invested with another publication as with the Record because of how immediate the community he served was with the Record, he said.

As a writer, Armus’s interest has always been focused on student life, and as Deputy News Editor for the Spectator, he was in charge of student life news, he said. He covere–d everything from student council elections to students’ anger at how the Columbia administration handles allegations of sexual assault on campus.

On May 23, 2015, Armus covered the graduation of Emma Sulkowicz, a Columbia University student that he wrote “garnered national attention for her senior visual arts thesis, ‘Carry That Weight.’”

It was exciting for Armus, as a college freshman, to be sitting next to a New York Times reporter in a press box covering a graduation ceremony that received so much media attention, he said.

On Spectator, Armus was part of the reporting team that broke results of the nationwide survey which confirmed that one in four women are sexually assaulted on college campuses.

Armus interned with NBC this year, and he will be interning as a Metro reporter for the Washington Post post-graduation.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Horace Mann's Weekly Newspaper Since 1903
Alumni bridge interests from high school to college