The Path February 2024

An Albuquerque Academy Community Newsletter


Juane Quick-To-See Smith Named First Jada Gonzales Visiting Artist | Academy Students Start Local GlamourGals Chapter | Campus Spotlight: College Guidance | Pioneering Soccer Coach Catherine Gordon ’77 Calls Academy “Life-saving” | Celebrating Black History Month | Welcome, Class of 2031 | Athletics News | Upcoming Events | Academy Celebrates Lunar New Year | 6-7 Opera Club Receives National Attention | Senior Speaks on Behalf of Senate Bill Supporting Naloxone | Final Call for Alumni Council Nominations | Art @ Work on Display | Photo Gallery

Juane Quick-To-See Smith Named First Visiting Artist for The Jada B. Gonzales ’23 Artist Series Fund

Advanced art students participated in a printmaking workshop with artists from the studio of renowned painter and sculptor Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, an opportunity made possible through The Jada B. Gonzales ’23 Artist Series Fund. Smith, who presented her work and discussed her life and career with upper-school students at an assembly, is the first artist taking part in this series.

Smith is a significant figure in contemporary art and the first Native American artist to have her work in the National Gallery. Last year, the Whitney Museum of American Art held a career retrospective for her, highlighting her status as one of the great American artists of our time.

“Jaune Quick-To-See Smith is a national and internationally renowned artist, educator, advocate for the arts, and political activist,” said Tim Mullane, chair of the visual arts department. “Her career and history are an example of the power of living an engaged life. Asking Jaune to speak to our students seemed a perfect way of honoring the memory of Jada and bringing the power of art to our students. The opportunity for our kids to work beside an artist of her stature is rare and wonderful, and will bring the students a perspective they would not otherwise have.”

Members of Smith’s studio team – Matt Eaton, David Beans, Colleen Joy, David Joy, Hazel Batrezchavez, and Neal Ambrose Smith – also shared samples of their work, their methods, and the meaning behind them.

The Jada B. Gonzales ’23 Artist Series Fund establishes a visiting artist and speaker program to allow recognized artists to come to Albuquerque Academy’s campus to inspire, inform, and enhance our students’ creativity and knowledge of the arts. The program was established in 2023 in remembrance of Jada Gonzales with support from several donors. Jada was an artist – both as a writer and photographer; she sought connection and savored the personal discovery inherent in the artistic process. She generously invited others in to share her art, and she was courageous and determined in her pursuit of her unique creative vision. Albuquerque Academy continues to welcome gifts to this fund so the school can enhance the program and continue Jada’s legacy. Click here if you’d like to support this program.

Academy Students Start Local GlamourGals Chapter

In a heartfelt effort to address senior loneliness, Dana Poon ’26, alongside her sister Jenna Poon ’28, established the first GlamourGals chapter in New Mexico. GlamourGals, a non-profit organization with over 100 chapters nationwide comprising high school and college students, offers companionship and beauty sessions to seniors. Dana and Jenna's inspiration came from witnessing the positive impact their informal beauty sessions had on their grandmother, sparking their desire to make a difference in their community.

Dana and Jenna aimed to bring similar moments of joy to seniors in care facilities, where loneliness is a prevalent issue. After thorough research, Dana and Jenna connected with GlamourGals, launching their inaugural event at the David Spector Shalom Residence in December 2023.

Since then, the chapter has thrived, building meaningful connections with senior residents through monthly events and meetings. Their efforts have gained recognition from the national organization, motivating them to try to expand their membership by 25%.

Under Dana's leadership, and with support from dedicated officers (Auberon Schnyder ’27, vice president; Jenna, treasurer and cofounder; and Evie Soule ’26 and Jacqueline Wiemeri ’26, public relations) and faculty members like Dara Johnson and Melanie Peterson, the chapter has diversified its activities, including beauty sessions, bracelets, crafting Valentine's Day cards for seniors, and establishing an Instagram account for their chapter.

GlamourGals’ assistance has been pivotal, providing essential supplies and enabling the chapter to reach its goals. With a team of 20 active volunteers, Dana and her peers are committed to spreading joy and combating senior loneliness.

Their impact extends beyond beauty sessions as they witness the genuine joy and camaraderie fostered during interactions with seniors. A significant part for Dana and the other volunteers “is hearing their stories and seeing the joy on the seniors’ faces during these events.” From sharing stories to forming connections, each session brings as much joy to the student volunteers as it does to the seniors. “I hope to connect with other senior facilities and inspire more to join the cause.”

Campus Spotlight: College Guidance

Pioneering Soccer Coach Catherine Gordon ’77 Calls Academy “Life-saving”

To celebrate 50 years of educating girls at Albuquerque Academy, Alumni Council member Ted Alcorn '01 is telling the stories of women alumni.

By Ted Alcorn ’01

Catherine Gordon, Academy Class of 1977, the first woman ever to coach men’s professional soccer in the U.S., did not start coaching until she was nearly 40. And her first post was a humble one, with the Dragons – the middle-school basketball and softball squads at Kent Place girls school in Summit, New Jersey.

In hindsight, it’s readily apparent that a person with Catherine’s natural athletic talents might end up mentoring generations of younger players, but it took her decades to see it. And she’s uncertain she would have without her years at the Academy. “People could say ‘life-changing,’ but I think for me, it was life-saving, quite frankly.”

Catherine was admitted to the Academy as a 10th grader as part of the second coed class, where she made sports her unequivocal priority. She played basketball and field hockey, joined the softball program in its first season, and competed in high jump for the track team. (There was no girls soccer team at that time.)

But academically, Catherine said, she was in over her head. She wouldn’t have graduated but for teachers who found unconventional means of bringing her along. When a summer school English class she was obliged to take with Mr. John O’Connor conflicted with a family vacation, he found another way for her to fulfill the requirements, by writing him letters, which he corrected and sent back. “The teachers worked with you and never quit on you,” she said.

She was struggling in chemistry when the instructor, Dr. Harry Herder, whose dog had recently given birth to a litter of puppies, joked that anybody who aced the next test could have one of them. “I took him at his word,” she said. “It might have been the only time I got an A in chemistry.”

Following graduation (“I was maybe not 100% sure my diploma was going to be signed, but it was”), Catherine headed to college in Colorado but wound up spending an “inordinate” amount of time skiing, instead, and dropped out to work in restaurants. “That was kind of the beginning of starting to maybe grow up,” she said. After a few years, she returned to the classroom, now putting herself through a restaurant business degree at Purdue University, where she made the dean’s list. “It's amazing how much you learn when you're actually paying the bills,” she laughed.

And she began noticing how skills – research and critical thinking – she’d honed, unknowingly, at the Academy began to serve her. “Sometimes you don't realize the gifts you're given until years later.”

For 15 years, Catherine thrived in the food service industry and her life seemed to be headed up the corporate ladder. But her true love of sports was always there. So, in 2006, in what she describes as “a complete lane change, kind of without a blinker,” she left the security of a predictable job to devote herself to coaching and her own business, employing video to help coach and recruit athletes.

Since then, her resume spans all tiers of soccer, from DI to DIII college to semi-professional and professional. In the USL Women’s League in 2013, she helped lead Dayton, Ohio’s Dutch Lions from the back of its division to its top. But women still weren’t coaching men at that time, and she decided she wanted in. “I just thought it was important, because it wasn't being done.” So the following year Catherine joined the men’s team as an assistant coach with goalkeeper responsibilities, with few dramatics from “the boys,” as she calls them. “If you knew your stuff, if you could help them achieve their goals. They don't care” about gender.

These days, Catherine has wound down her business and is easing into retirement, although at the behest of U.S. Soccer, she still teaches a course on coaching and is helping develop a curriculum for goalkeepers. She had to quit playing herself, having sustained too many concussions during her career, but a friend convinced her to take up pickleball, which has proven an outlet for her hyper-competitive streak. And she and her partner adopted a dog during the pandemic and have been enjoying long road trips in their RV.

As she reflects on the thread running through her own life — of consistently trying to be a better version of herself — Catherine recognizes how it helped make her an able mentor for young talents. Even those who are, like her, a bit of a handful. “Every now and then I run into a kid who is a challenge to coach or a challenge to teach, and I'm like, ‘well, this is karma.’”

Celebrating Black History Month at Albuquerque Academy

A Month of Reflection, Recognition, and Empowerment

By Christy Brundage P’24, P’26, African American Parent Council Chair

In early February, the Albuquerque Academy Black Student Union and their families attended the 39th Annual University of New Mexico Black History Month Kickoff Brunch, featuring keynote speaker Aja Brooks, the executive assistant United States attorney for the District of New Mexico. The brunch provided students, faculty, and parents a unique opportunity to connect with influential African American community leaders and Black Student Union members from Albuquerque and Rio Rancho public schools. The inspiring atmosphere set the tone for a month dedicated to honoring African American history, culture, and contributions.

On campus, the African American Parent Council curated an exhibit in Simms Library with this year's national Black History Month theme, African Americans and the Arts. The exhibit showcased the profound impact of African American artists across various realms, including visual and performing arts, literature, hair artistry, fashion, folklore, language, film, music, architecture, and culinary arts. Through these diverse expressions, artists have played a pivotal role in preserving history, fostering community, and empowering generations. To deepen the appreciation of the Black community's culture and diversity at Albuquerque Academy, the exhibit also featured a collection of national flags representing the heritage of the Academy's families.

The State Office of African American Affairs invited Emma Brundage ’24 and Maya Chandler ’24 to take center stage in a KOAT Channel 7 interview at the African American Performing Arts Center, providing insight into "what Black History Month means" to local students. Their voices joined those of high school students from across Albuquerque, collectively echoing the significance of Black History Month.

Adding to the list of noteworthy experiences, members of the Black Student Union traveled to the state capitol for African American Day at the Roundhouse. In a special presentation held in the rotunda, attendees paid tribute to New Mexico's first African American state legislator, Dr. Lenton Malry. Two Academy students played an integral role in the program – Mekhi Bradford ’28 showcased his poetic talents by reciting a poem, and Emma presented on her Girl Scout Gold Award topic, the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination, discipline, or disparate treatment of New Mexico students based on their hairstyle or cultural or religious headdress. Guided by State Representative Pamelya Herndon P’00, P’04, P’10, the students gained valuable exposure to the legislative process and learned about opportunities for civic engagement.

As we commemorate Black History Month at Albuquerque Academy, these moments of reflection, recognition, and empowerment serve as a testament to our commitment to fostering a community that values and celebrates diversity in all its forms. We honor the past, embrace the present, and envision a future of inclusivity and understanding.

Welcome, Early Decision Sixth Graders, to Albuquerque Academy's Class of 2031

We're thrilled to welcome our early decision sixth graders to Albuquerque Academy! As our new students begin their academic adventure with us, we want to ensure that their transition is as smooth and enriching as possible by offering opportunities to kickstart their Academy experience. Many new families have already signed up for our Bridge to Success summer program for incoming sixth and new incoming seventh graders and received a “high five” from our admission department.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations and warmest wishes to our new students and families for a successful and fulfilling academic year. We are thrilled to have you as part of the Albuquerque Academy family and look forward to all the wonderful experiences and achievements that lie ahead as you embark on this exciting new chapter in your lives. We're excited to support you as you begin your journey with us!

Academy Athletics News

Swim and Dive Teams Excel at State

On back-to-back weekends, the Academy’s swim and dive teams added more hardware to their trophy case! Both teams topped the podium at districts, and the girls won state with a record-setting eighth title in a row, while the boys finished third. Maya Van Atta ’24 was the 50-yard freestyle champ, and Charger boys (Pierce McShane ’25, Shepard Camp ’26, Jack Yu ’25, and Soren Carlson ’27) won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Wrestling Teams Earn Recognition

Charger wrestling finished the season strong with Sydney Koranyi ’26 and Kate Aubin ’24 making NM Wrestling’s leaderboard for pins and Sydney and Maile Maldonado ’25 making the list for takedowns. At the state meet, three Chargers had podium finishes: Sydney (3rd), Maile (3rd), and Zac Fernandez ’25 (6th).

Academy Bowling Returns

The bowling team took fifth place, an impressive finish at state and a remarkable achievement considering the team's absence for more than eight years.

Athletic Director Taryn Bachis Reaches Milestone Win

The girls varsity basketball team honored Coach Taryn Bachis for her 275th career win!

Coach Kedge Named New Mexico Girls XC Coach of the Year

Long-time Academy Cross Country Coach Adam Kedge has been selected by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as the 2023 Girls’ High School Cross Country Coach of the Year for the state of New Mexico. This past fall, the girls cross country team finished an undefeated season with a state championship and individual champ, while the boys took home the red trophy at state.

Upcoming Events

ABQ Sings: A Free Workshop for Teens & Adults | Sunday, March 3, 2-3 p.m. | Albuquerque Academy Music Building | Get more details and register.


Bay Area Regional Reception | Friday, March 8, 6-9 p.m. | Foreign Cinema | 2534 Mission Street, San Francisco | Get more details and register by February 27.


GrandDays | Monday, April 8 & Tuesday, April 9 | Register Your Guests by March 21

We are excited to welcome grandparents and grandfriends to campus this spring for a day filled with joy and cherished moments. GrandDays is a beloved annual tradition, and we have a memorable 2024 event planned with classroom activities, student performances, campus explorations, delicious meals, and a photo booth.

GrandDays will be held over two days in early April.

  • Monday, April 8, grades 6-7, 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 9, grades 8-12, 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m.

The day begins at 7:30 a.m. with check-in and time to relax with refreshments before the first class at 8:15 a.m. Grands are encouraged to dress casually and wear comfortable shoes. Golf carts will be available for those who need assistance.

Families: Please click here to register your parents or family friends by March 21. The registration system will work ONLY for Academy parents.

We will send an email with further details about GrandDays to families planning to attend when we return from Spring Break. If you or your parents/grandfriends have any questions about GrandDays, please contact or (505) 828-3281.


Spring Day of Giving | Wednesday, April 10 | Let’s Hear It for the Girls!

This Spring Day of Giving, we are celebrating 50 years of women at Albuquerque Academy. In preparation, we ask that our community members send images and/or stories of the girls and women who have made the greatest impact on their Albuquerque Academy experience. Whether it be a teacher, staff member, parent, coach, or classmate, we’d love to honor their bold and unsung contributions to our community since the creation of the Albuquerque Academy for Boys in 1955.

In addition, if you are interested in sponsoring a matching gift incentive to encourage others during Spring Day of Giving, please contact We are again planning friendly competitions between alumni classes and grade levels, and a matching gift is a proven incentive. Go Chargers!


Musical Connections: Clarice & Sergio Assad in Concert | Friday, April 19, 7 p.m. | Albuquerque Academy’s Simms Center for the Performing Arts | Learn more and reserve tickets.

Albuquerque Academy’s Levanta Institute for Music and Creativity will host the multi-talented Clarice Assad and her world-renowned father, Sergio Assad, for a remarkable performance that promises to be a unique experience. The evening will be a harmonious blend of their artistic voices, creating an atmosphere filled with beautiful music that transcends generations and celebrates the power of familial musical connections. This will be their first performance together in Albuquerque.

In the world of music, few artists can boast a breadth of creativity as vast and impactful as Brazilian-American composer and performer Clarice Assad. Her journey through the realms of classical, world music, pop, and jazz has earned her acclaim and recognition on a global scale. A Grammy Award–nominated composer, celebrated pianist, inventive vocalist, and educator, Assad’s artistic voice transcends boundaries and defies categorization.

“The Levanta Institute brings engaging and thought-provoking performances to our community,” said Levanta Founder and Director Mickey Jones. “We’re interested in music makers and artists who are not always on the beaten path, so Clarice Assad was an easy choice for the culminating performance of our first season – she’s unique in her skill sets as a performer and composer and is always game for something new and different. The addition of her father – one of the greatest musicians of all time – is a bonus that, given how beloved the guitar is in Albuquerque, we couldn’t pass up.”

Tickets, $40 for adults and $20 for ages 3-18, are available here.

Academy Celebrates Lunar New Year

Our campus community came alive with the spirit of the Lunar New Year, lining the Path as the Quang Minh Lion Dance Group and decorated floats paraded up to the arches, where community members were treated to a lively performance. Thank you to the Asian American Parent Council and East Asian Affinity group for co-sponsoring this memorable event!

The third annual LunarFest featured an array of performances representing Asian culture. This sold-out performance, open to the public, was sponsored by the Asian American Parent Council.

6-7 Opera Club Receives National Attention

The 6-7 Opera Club wrote, scored, and performed the original opera, “Problems With the Apocalypse," and was featured on NPR and KUNM.

Senior Speaks on Behalf of Senate Bill Supporting Naloxone in N.M. Schools

Final Call for Alumni Council Nominations

With “many hands, many hearts, many minds,” the Alumni Council sustains the mission of our school by strengthening engagement in support of the mission of Albuquerque Academy. Members serve three-year terms that begin in July. The council seeks to have a membership that represents the diversity of the Academy community from various decades, social identity groups, professional and educational backgrounds, and skill sets to realize the Alumni Council's mission. Self-nominations are welcomed. Submit a nomination for the Alumni Council by February 29. Please email with any questions.

Art @ Work on Display in Simms Library Gallery

Art @ Work, the latest display in the Simms Library art gallery, features more than 60 silkscreened posters by this year’s and last year’s Graphic Design I students. Each student paired with a club, event, performance, or organization on campus to produce an edition of five one- or two-color screenprinted posters. This show is entirely student-run – from the installation to the curatorial text.

Photo Gallery

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