Alumni News and Stories
Christopher Onesti '16 started his freshman year at Harvard with the goal of launching a startup. By the end of his freshman year, he and a classmate had won a $10,000 innovation grant from the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Onesti and another freshman, Nicolas Weninger, worked together on a project for their Introduction to Computer Science class that led to a concept for Entyde, a medical device for emergency intubations.
Beth Sholtes has been awarded the Al Davis Teaching Award for the 2016-2017 school year.
Sholtes, seventh grade dean, joined the Riverdale faculty in 1984.
Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph made the announcement at the closing faculty meeting last week. He said:
"In 1997 the Class of 1964 established an endowment to fund a faculty award in honor of Mr. Al Davis, a much respected teacher and administrator who taught at Riverdale from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. In selecting an honoree, emphasis is placed on a faculty member whose teaching is 'an act of mutual respect, commitment, and love' and who encourages team spirit, persistence, and a sense of community. The recipient is chosen by the division head in consultation with a representative of the Class of 1964. As a general practice, the selection alternates yearly among the three divisions."
"This year’s recipient has been an integral part of the Middle School since its inception in 2005, but actually started at Riverdale in the 1984-85 school year teaching physical education. In their 30-plus years at Riverdale, this person has personified the ideals of the Al Davis Award in all of their interactions with the Riverdale community, whether in health class, a grade meeting, or a parent evening. They treat everyone with respect and their love for this community is evident every day, from little things like checking in with a student after a much-anticipated assessment to bigger things like organizing Middle School events to ensure they run smoothly."
"In choosing this person, Milton Sipp noted, “When you read the inscription on the Al Davis award, it is easy to see why Beth Sholtes epitomizes and embodies the very spirit of this award. She is beloved by students, parents, colleagues--everyone--for her tireless care, concern, and outstanding work in what has been a brilliant and superb career here at Riverdale. We are all better people and better colleagues because of her inspired and dedicated work."
Dr. Billy Osteen, associate professor in community engagement at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been named the Zagat Global Fellow for 2016-2017.
Dr. Osteen began his residence on the Riverdale campus on Feb. 6. He will participate in student assemblies, meetings with Riverdale faculty, a conference on service learning sponsored by the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and planning sessions for a Riverdale exchange trip to Honolulu and Christchurch in June that will focus on cultural traditions and belonging, community building, character education, sustainability, service learning, and personal and community resilience.
In addition to Dr. Osteen's teaching responsibilities at the University of Canterbury, he also serves as director of UC’s Community Engagement Hub, a program established to facilitate opportunities for all UC staff and students to engage with their communities. In this role, he makes possible solution-focused connections among businesses, community organizations, education, and governmental agencies with a particular emphasis on post-disaster contexts, inequality, and citizenship education. Dr. Osteen serves as a board member for the Sumner School in Christchurch, which his two daughters attended. He was a key organizer of Riverdale’s 2015 trip to Christchurch and the Sumner School, and has remained instrumental in helping to advance the exchange between Riverdale and Sumner, which will continue this year.
Prior to joining the University of Canterbury faculty in 2005, Dr. Osteen was a faculty member at North Carolina State University, served as a Peace Corps administrator, created and directed an intermediate school, taught English at a secondary school in Tennessee and two community colleges in California, guided whitewater raft trips in California, and facilitated multicultural education programs in Brazil and Tennessee.
His teaching and research focuses on curriculum design, higher education, and professional development with a concentration on experiential education and service learning.
The Zagat Global Fellows program, established by Riverdale alumnus Tim Zagat ’57 in 2015, fosters a partnership between Riverdale and various schools worldwide, with the purpose of introducing international educators to the Riverdale community for extended visits each year while also providing Riverdale faculty members an opportunity to become reciprocally immersed in each partner school’s educational program. This exchange will allow Riverdale to increase global connections and deepen the community’s understanding of other cultures.