Alumni Families Enroll for 2020-2021

Bill Fisher
Many Shore Country Day School alumni stay connected to the school long after they’ve graduated. Some remain directly involved in the life of the school as teachers or trustees, while others may attend occasional special events or alumni gatherings. But in the fall of 2020, the pull of Shore on its alumni was particularly apparent: a remarkable 17 Shore alumni families enrolled for the 2020-2021 school year, representing a total of 29 children of alumni at the school at the same time. 

What accounts for this impressive statistic? Certainly demographics play a part. Many alumni have settled on the North Shore like their parents, and many graduates of the 80s and 90s now have school-age children of their own. But in speaking with some of this year’s alumni families, it’s clear there’s more to the equation than simple demographics. In the words of Khoa Do ’86, both a current parent and a member of Shore’s Board of Trustees, “When it came time to choose a school for our children, I looked back on my own positive and transformational experience, and the decision was easy.”

Do is not alone in citing his Shore experience as a reason to remain so deeply connected to the school. “Being involved again has been amazing,” says Loren Malfitano Borges ’97. “There was no doubt in my mind where our daughter was going, and I was elated to have the opportunity to send her to Shore. Now, she loves school, which makes me glad. It’s what Shore instilled in me at an early age—a love of learning, an eagerness to question things and ask for the reasons why things are so.” Similarly, Alison McMaster ’92 explains, “My two boys are uniquely different socially, emotionally, and academically. I not only knew from the start that Shore would be able to challenge both of them, but I was also confident Shore could give each child exactly the tools they needed to build their own success.”

Still, Shore alumni recall having had a diverse range of experiences at the school; there’s no single reason they’ve all chosen Shore for their own children. Tim Ledbetter ’94 observes, “The academics were one of the big reasons my parents sent me to Shore, and that remains the same today. It’s a great academic experience.” Matt Iler ’81 underscores, “We were sold on the academics and the Community Code.” At the same time, notes Loren Borges, “It was an extremely nurturing environment, and today, kids need more nurturing than ever before.” Says Khoa Do, “I felt that I was part of a community, and that Shore was a type of ‘home’ for me. A large part of that feeling was due to my relationship with my teachers and their support, particularly in the Upper School.”

Yet the things that have stayed with alumni from their time at Shore often bear a striking resemblance to each other. There indeed seems to be a singular “Shore effect” that alumni families seek to replicate in their own children’s school experience. “My 11 years at Shore had a profound impact on me,” says Alison McMaster, “teaching me resilience, academic commitment, and the value of strong student-faculty connections. I felt heard by my teachers and was guided to become a self-advocate.” Tim Ledbetter points to “interactive, creative learning” that prepared him for boarding school and college. “There’s a work ethic that sets Shore students apart from their peers at other schools.” Matt Iler says simply, “What I value most from my time at Shore is the excellent teachers who taught me how to learn and held me to high standards.”

According to Loren Borges, “It starts right from the beginning: learning responsibility, learning to take ownership for things. Because of the foundation I got at Shore, I found high school and college almost easy.” Khoa Do admits, “A major turning point for me, not only at Shore but for the rest of my academic career, was sixth grade, when I went from being an underachieving, somewhat reluctant student to being a very serious, conscientious student. This transformation was critical to my future success in school; I remember sitting in lectures in college and medical school and being so grateful for the outlining and note-taking skills that I originally learned at Shore.”

To be sure, the children of Shore alumni benefit from a school culture that’s evolved in important ways since their parents’ time. “I appreciate that over the years Shore has paid increasing attention to social-emotional learning alongside the academic rigor,” observes Tim Ledbetter. “Our kids have thrived with the individual attention that their teachers are able to give them—something that’s relatively new for Shore, and something that really stands out.” Alison McMaster echoes, “What’s most apparent to me today is the nurturing and deeply-rooted commitment of the faculty to Shore families.” Matt Iler attests, “We’ve seen Shore continue to improve in ways that foster the growth of the whole child.”

“Shore has grown its programs and facilities significantly since I was a student,” explains Khoa Do. “This is particularly apparent in the areas of art, science, and Design Thinking.” “Spanish, S.A.I.L., coding, music, outdoor education—the curriculum is richer than ever, and the things children get to experience are so different from other schools,” says Loren Borges. 

If there’s one thing that these alumni parents have in common, it’s the feeling of satisfaction they experience when they see their children head off to school in the morning. Do observes, “My kids are usually sprinting out to the car, eager to get underway.” “They absolutely love going to school,” reports Tim Ledbetter. “The richness of the curriculum engages them every day.” Alison McMaster sums up the sentiments of many alumni: “Both of my children are eager to go to Shore each and every day. Genuinely happy, they are enthusiastic about getting to school to see friends and teachers and to continue their academic discovery. I believe both feel strongly supported at school and are proud to be part of this community.”  

The 17 alumni families with children enrolled this year are as follows:

Laura Winthrop Abbot ’93
Katherine and Mark Attia ’95
Pedro and Loren Borges ’97
Monique and Russell Clark ’80
Thuy and Khoa Do ’86
Daphne Clark ’89 and Kelleigh Faldi
Elizabeth Shorts ’92 and Dan Harrigan
Barbara and Matt Iler ’81
Florence and Noel Johnson ’84
Lauren and Timothy Ledbetter ’94
Alison McMaster ’92
Stephanie and George Needham ’86
Marylee and David Riester ’79
Lacy Garcia Roosevelt ’93
Amanda Filoso ’93 and Stanley Schreyer
Erin and Sander van Otterloo ’91
Alice and Frederic Winthrop ’90
Back
    • The Do family

    • The Malfitano-Borges family

    • The McMaster family

    • The Ledbetter family

    • The Abbot family

    • The Clark family

    • The Faldi family

    • The Garcia family

    • The Johnson family

    • The Needham family

    • The Riester family

    • The Schreyer family

    • The van Otterloo family

    • The Winthrop family