The Ogawa Speaker Series: Fostering Diversity and Intellectual Exploration
Like many families, the Ogawas – Diane Harrison Ogawa, Academy Board Chair; her husband Greg S. H. Ogawa; and their children, Katie Ogawa Douglas ’10 and Al Harrison Ogawa ’14 – find that some of their most profound conversations occur over dinner. "This endowment,” Diane says, “really came about from discussions around our table about how we can create a space for conversations around ideas and voices that might be new to us and that challenge us to think differently."
The purpose of the endowed fund is to invite speakers yearly to Albuquerque Academy who challenge conventional wisdom, question prevailing assumptions, and promote diversity, community, and belonging. Diane underscores the importance of this mission, especially in today's increasingly polarized world. "It's about creating opportunities to explore ideas and initiate dialogues on topics that might not get the attention or understanding they deserve," she emphasizes.
The Ogawa family's deep appreciation for their children's educational experiences at the Academy plays a pivotal role in their decision to give back. "Our children had different as well as shared experiences at the Academy. We feel a deep sense of responsibility in giving back to the Academy to help provide exceptional experiences for future students."
Endowing the speaker series was not just an act of generosity but a strategic move to ensure its longevity. "Our goal in endowing this gift,” Diane notes, “is to ensure its perpetuity and free up resources for the school's other priorities." This approach mirrors their family’s earlier endowment of the Ogawa Community Service Leadership Award.
Diversity and Inclusivity in Speaker Selection: One of the key aspects of the speaker series is its commitment to bringing diverse voices to campus. While the family won't have a hand in selecting speakers, their desire is clear. "We want to create opportunities for diverse voices to be heard,” says Diane. “It's about bringing those voices to campus and introducing students to ideas that prepare them for the world. The leadership of the school will choose speakers who align with this vision."
The inaugural speaker, Tanaya Winder, a poet, holds special significance for the Ogawas, as the power of poetry and the ability of storytelling to connect people and promote healing in a community was an important passion for Al during their time in medical school. On October 9 – Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Ms. Winder gave school day and evening presentations to the community about her life journey and read from her poetry, and she spent time with students. A graduate of Stanford and the University of New Mexico, her ancestors come from the Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Diné, and Black tribes. Her poetry collections include Words Like Love and Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless.
The Ogawa Speaker Series goes beyond hosting events; it seeks to create enriching experiences for students. Diane and her family envision opportunities for students to engage closely with speakers through workshops, shared meals, and small group discussions. This multifaceted approach aims to provide a unique educational opportunity for Academy students.
Modeling Gratitude and Encouraging Others: Diane believes it's essential to model gratitude and demonstrate how individuals and families can support their educational institutions. “My job, as a trustee, a former Academy parent, and somebody who loves the school, is to figure out how to rally resources to support the incredible work that's happening at the Academy. This endowed fund is just one small step in doing that. All of us in the Academy community are the beneficiaries of the people who have invested in our school throughout the decades. Our family is honored to join in that important tradition."
Everyone is Welcome at Admission Open House October 22
Albuquerque Academy is going places. Join us for the journey.
Every day, Academy students are discovering new interests, pursuing their passions, and contributing to our community. And every year we're looking for more students to join us for the journey.
Your family and friends are invited to explore our beautiful campus on Sunday, October 22, 12-2 p.m. Enjoy an afternoon outside while you chat with our dynamic teachers and members of our diverse student body and discover the mission, programs, and opportunities available at Albuquerque Academy. Our Admission Open House is open to everyone, and registration is required. Reserve a time slot now.
We all appreciate the value of personal recommendations, so we encourage you to invite friends, neighbors, and family members who have children who you believe would be valuable additions to the Academy’s student body.
Hope to See You on Alumni Weekend!
We hope to see everyone on campus for Alumni Weekend on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28! Alumni Weekend is a great chance to share a piece of your history with a friend or loved ones as well as to catch up with classmates and former faculty members and mentors. You are welcome to bring a guest (or a few) to all events. The schedule of events includes an Alumni Art Show, the Alumni Awards Dinner, community meals, reunions, a balloon glow, and much, much more. Current families are welcome to join us for events as well!
For more information and to register, visit aa.edu/alumni-weekend. Registration closes Wednesday, October 18.
Advanced Organic Chemistry: In this class, students interested in pursuing medicine, biology, or chemistry develop the essential skills to succeed in a rigorous college program. They get to probe the properties and chemical reactions of various carbon-containing compounds, make esters, interpret infrared (IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, and so much more.
Data Science: The goal of this course is to guide students toward being able to work in a team on a fully reproducible data science project analyzing a data set of their choice and answering questions they care about. The class uses the open-source statistical software R to import, tidy, transform, visualize, and model data.
Graphic Design II: This course builds on the principles of vector art and asks students to consider the user’s experience and the real-world implications of their design work. Students are learning advanced tools in Adobe Illustrator, such as custom brushes, clipping masks, substance materials, and 3-D modeling to gain greater control and creativity over their digital assets.
Introduction to Medical Science: Many students consider a career in medicine without knowing all the possibilities available to them. Using real-life, hands-on scenarios, guest speakers, and case studies, this dynamic course provides practical knowledge about the broad range of medical fields and sciences.
Weight Training for Speed, Strength, and Fitness: Students participate in and explore advanced weight training and fitness training concepts and techniques designed to increase dynamic flexibility, speed, muscular strength, endurance, and power.
A Night of Brazilian Music: A Levanta Concert
Albuquerque Academy’s Levanta Institute for Music and Creativity will host its first performance on Saturday, December 9 at 7 p.m. Get your tickets now.
A Night of Brazilian Music: A Journey Through 20th-Century Brazilian Music will be a captivating and interactive concert that will explore the rich tapestry of Brazilian music and celebrate the vibrant and diverse sounds of Brazil, highlighting the distinct styles of Choros, Samba, Bossa Nova, and Brazilian contemporary music. The evening features John Truitt, Hovey and Alexis Corbin, the Rio Grande Guitar Quartet, and Laura Cruz.
Head of School Weighs In on Education in New Mexico
Head of School Julianne Puente participated in an Albuquerque Business First panel discussion about education in our state. The audience was made up almost entirely of CEOs, with about 70 attending in person and more online. The discussion, focused on education and its impact on business in the state, included Kyle Rhodes, president and CEO of PESCO; Amanda Aragon, executive director of NewMexicoKidsCan; and moderators from Business First. The panelists covered bright spots, solutions, and a call for action from the business community.
“Our teachers teach 60 kids,” Julianne said. “Our colleagues at any public school have 140. What they are being asked to do, I have enormous respect for, but they can’t know their kids the way our teachers know their kids. There are some things that we do that can be replicated in certain ways. I also understand that we have a kind of freedom that not everybody does.”
’77 Grad Embraces Her Heritage
In honor of 50 years of coeducation at Albuquerque Academy, Alumni Council member Ted Alcorn '01 is telling the stories of women alumni.
By Ted Alcorn '01
When 15-year-old Loretta Cordova arrived at the Academy in 1974, she was no stranger to the place. Her dad, Vincent Cordova, taught math here and was one of the basketball and track coaches, so on weekends she and her siblings spent time on campus attending sporting events or swimming in the pool. “It was our playground,” she said.
The school, however, didn’t know what to do with her or her female peers, part of the second coed class it had enrolled. “I don’t know that they were really prepared,” she said. At first there was no girls’ locker room, and, as she recalled it, the only girls’ bathroom was for staff and located in the administrative building. Some teachers’ mindsets needed an update, too, Loretta said, recalling remarks about the need to “lower standards” for female students in the classroom and on the athletic field.
Born into a Hispanic family that had been in New Mexico for hundreds of years, the inequities of the world were plain to Loretta at an early age. But she also saw that with grit and effort she could overcome some of them and make it easier for others to follow. A major influence was her sister with Down Syndrome, who navigated a world that often lacks compassion and respect for people who are different. “I watched the incredible adversity that my sister faced but also the incredible work that my parents did to advance the needs of children like my sister."
Loretta was fortunate to benefit from the tuition discount offered to Academy teachers. In return, like all students who received scholarships at the time, Loretta had to work on campus. “I would be washing the windows in the pool and in the cafeteria washing dishes while other students were out playing,” she recalled. What might have been stigmatizing became a source of strength; she grew close with the kitchen crew and groundskeepers, who, in turn, took special pride in the educational path she was blazing.
The first time she ever flew in an airplane was to visit colleges in California, and she wound up at Stanford, graduating in 1981 with a degree in human biology and Spanish. Then she returned to the University of New Mexico medical school, one of only a few Hispanic women in the class of 75 students. She went on to specialize in pediatrics and became particularly adept at treating Spanish-speaking patients and children with special health needs.
Times have changed. At UNM where she was once a student, she’s now a leader. In 2006 she became the first Hispanic female in the country to chair a Department of Pediatrics, where she teaches students and oversees a staff of over 700. These days, she has more women students than men. Pediatrics is the lowest-paid specialty in medicine but, particularly in a state that ranks near the bottom on child well-being, one of the most important.
Loretta is pleased to see that the Academy also grew more diverse by the time her oldest daughter enrolled in 2002, followed by her three younger children. “I don't think they saw or experienced as much of what I did,” she said. She credited her dad, who started the Academy’s Multicultural Summer Honors Program to recruit more students from disadvantaged communities in Albuquerque and around the state.
Loretta has always embraced her Hispanic heritage. Birthday parties are occasions for family to gather and enjoy traditional food and music. She returns to the small agrarian communities where her parents grew up for fiestas and other occasions, although she doesn’t make it as often as she would like. “When I first started in medicine, I never expressed my Hispanic pride,” she said, but now she makes a special point of talking about her family’s history. “It means a lot to me.”
Nominate a Charger for 2024 Alumni Awards and the Athletics Hall of Fame
At the end of this month, the Academy will honor the 2023 Alumni Award winners and Hall of Fame inductees. It's also that time of the year when we begin accepting nominations for next year’s Albuquerque Academy Alumni Awards and Athletics Hall of Fame. Don't miss out – nominations close October 31.
Distinguished Alumni Award
The Alumni Council presents the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of extraordinary achievement or service that exemplifies the principles and values of Albuquerque Academy. It may honor an individual for one noteworthy act or for many years of effort and accomplishment.
Young Alumni Service Award
Created by the Alumni Council to recognize notable service to the community and society that exemplifies the spirit of the Albuquerque Academy mission, the Young Alumni Service Award is presented annually to one recipient who is 35 years of age or younger at the time of nomination and who has made significant personal achievements in serving the local, national, or international community.
Athletics Hall of Fame
Established in 2020, the Hall of Fame serves as a means of honoring and recognizing the athletes, teams, coaches, and supporters who made significant contributions to the Charger tradition of excellence. Honorees — up to five per year — are announced each spring and inducted each fall. The Hall of Fame display is located at the path-side entrance of the East Campus Gym.
Nominate a deserving Charger now! The nomination deadline is October 31.
’23 Grad Highlighted by Colgate’s Haz La U Grant
Mireya Macias, a first-year student at Yale University and a 2022 recipient of Colgate-Palmolive Company’s Haz La U educational grant program for high school seniors of Hispanic heritage, was featured in the announcement about this year’s applications.
The program will offer 31 educational grants totaling $100,000 to high school students who have focused on academic excellence, dedication to community service, and demonstrated leadership.
Navigating the Unknown: Helping Equip Teens for Success in the Future with Alexis Wiggins, founder/director of the Cohort of Educators for Essential Learning | November 9, 6-7 p.m. | Music Building Performance Hall
New York Regional Reception | November 10, 6-8 p.m. | Harvard Club of New York City | Register here.
Thanksgiving Young Alumni Gathering | Classes of 2018-2023 | November 22, 5:30-7 p.m. | Common Grounds Cafe | Register here.
Academy Alight | December 2, 6-8 p.m. | Drive-through event
Register Now for Levanta’s Spring 2024 Classes
The Levanta Institute for Music and Creativity cultivates an imaginative approach to artistic creation and performance. Levanta teachers emphasize fun and are enthusiastic about finding ways to foster personal relevance for their students. They seek to inspire and provide frequent opportunities for their students to reflect on their learning experiences, and they place a priority on doing and making through unique and creative approaches to the arts classroom.
Sign Up Now!
This spring’s adult courses include new offerings – drawing, ceramics, science fiction, and an exploration of The Twilight Zone – and returning favorites, beginning and intermediate fingerstyle guitar.
Children in grades 4-6 may take beginning classical guitar, intermediate classical guitar, or beginning musical composition.
All classes begin in late January and meet on the Academy campus. Visit the Levanta webpage for complete details and to register.
7th-Grade Harvest Fest and WOW Week Celebrate New Mexico Traditions
Harvest Fest brought the sights (and delicious smells) of autumn in New Mexico to campus. The 7th grade roasted chiles and corn, made tortillas, and enjoyed other crafts and activities. And during their WOW Week, they harvested apples and quinces from the DOT Garden and then used the fruit to prepare several dishes to enjoy and share.
John Truitt, Founder and Longtime Teacher of Guitar Program, to Receive Robb Award
John Truitt is being presented the Robb Award in recognition of lifetime achievement from the University of New Mexico. Founder and longtime teacher of Albuquerque Academy’s prestigious guitar program, “John was beyond an amazing teacher and had an enormous impact on many, many Academy students,” says former student Corinne (Sigel) Matthes ’97.
John has been a career music educator in Albuquerque for more than 50 years. In his career, he has taught at all levels, from pre-K to the graduate level and, in recent years, has mentored both formally and informally many of the music teachers in New Mexico. He founded the Academy’s guitar program in the 1970s and directed it for 22 years. Even today, his influence is felt in the guitar program.
The Robb Award is presented annually to musicians, individuals, or organizations from New Mexico that have made outstanding contributions in New Mexico in the areas of Music of the Southwest, Music Education, and Contemporary Music. John will receive the Robb Award during the Robb Trust’s annual Música del Corazón celebration featuring live performances by Lara Mananares, Jordan Wax, Felix Peralta, Rob Martinez, the UNM Mariachi Ensemble, and others on Sunday, November 19, at 3 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Albuquerque Journal Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.
We Need Your Support on Giving Tuesday, November 28
As we approach the holiday season, there is a day on the horizon that holds immense significance for Albuquerque Academy – Giving Tuesday! It’s a global day of philanthropy, when we unite to demonstrate support for our beloved school and the educational journey of our students. For many in our community, Albuquerque Academy is the nonprofit that has the greatest impact on their family’s lives and well-being. The sustainability of our mission relies upon the continued financial support of our community members.
As outlined in A Stronger Path Forward, Albuquerque Academy relies solely on private funding to support our school, and philanthropic donations are crucial to help make tuition more affordable for every Academy family.
The Academy has always been a beacon of educational excellence; our commitment to fostering critical thinking, creativity, and compassion in our students has never wavered. On Tuesday, November 28, we encourage you to join us in reinforcing Academy in Motion, the school’s strategic plan focused on leading, engaging, investing, and growing the school where every student not only achieves their highest potential but also becomes a responsible global citizen.
This Giving Tuesday, we invite you to come together as a united Academy community to ensure that our students continue to receive the exceptional education they deserve.
Watch your inbox for more information on how to make your gift on Giving Tuesday, and please keep in mind, we appreciate receiving generous donations every day!
Simms Library Hosts Hispanic Heritage Month Display
The National Hispanic Heritage exhibit organized by the Hispanic Parent Council is currently on display at Simms Library. This year's theme, "Somos Distintos, Somos Unidos," celebrates our differences and what unites us. The goal of the exhibit is to show the diversity of Latiné heritages. The display features an array of artifacts and music that celebrates people from different regions, offering a window into various Spanish-speaking cultures.
Bridging Boundaries Through Poetry
“Liminality,” a poem by English and history department member Dr. Casey Citrin, has been published in the New Mexico Poetry Anthology 2023 by UNM Press. “I wrote the poem while teaching my former senior English elective course called A Sense of Place because my students were also working on writing poems related to place,” says Casey. “The poem is in the querencia section of the collection because that word, which refers to the attachment one has to one’s home place – the place where one feels most comfortable – is a major theme explored in that class.”
The poem’s subject matter, she says, is Albuquerque during the fall, when the cranes arrive and the leaves change. It seeks to unite the landscape that has been carved up by roads and boundaries by juxtaposing it with the boundlessness of our vistas toward mountains in each direction as well as the relationships between natural elements – such as trees and birds – that surpass those dividing lines. The title, “Liminality,” is a nod to the transitional time of autumn.
“I love to compose along with my students during class time. I regularly teach both poetry writing and poetic analysis in all my English classes. For instance, this year in my Envisioning Our World: Survey of Global Fiction and Film course, we will study Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s voluminous collection of odes, and students will compose several of their own odes in response.”
Casey says she is honored to be part of this collection of fellow New Mexican writers; they share a deep respect and attachment to the landscape and cultures that make up our state. As the editors, Levi Romero and Michelle Otero, state in their preface to the collection, “No one voice is more important than another. In these pages you will find published poets alongside your next-door neighbors, census workers, poets laureate, teachers, senators, […] and spoken-word artists, all revealing something of themselves that can only be felt through poetry.”