On the heels of winning the state relay championships last month, the girls take the overall state title as well, the program's first in eight years.
Entropy—a short, no-dialogue narrative told through flashbacks, or, as Adam describes it, “an intentionally ambiguous story that can be interpreted in multiple ways, with no right answer”— took the grand prize in the festival’s “experimental” category for emerging filmmakers. It’s a fitting comparison to what he most appreciates about Pingry.
“I wouldn’t say I’m an “art kid;” it’s definitely not the only thing I do,” he says. “At Pingry, I’ve been able to try a number of different things. My main sport is water polo, and I’m also really involved in Pingry’s research programs [he’s co-head of The Journal Club]—very few schools even offer these opportunities. I’ve been able to have all these different identities at the same time, without being labeled.”
He will attend a film program this summer, and is even considering film school for college, where he may also play water polo and pursue his interest in science. Like his prize-winning short, there is no single path, no right answer.
Ask him to compare his Juilliard experience to his life at Pingry, and he will respond: “Juilliard is an extraordinary place to go. However, I feel right at home at Pingry, and home is where you belong.” As he sees it, one day a week he experiences the Juilliard community, and five days a week he is able to pursue his music in a different way, among many other interests, in the Pingry community. “It’s such a great community, and I am so proud of it.”A member of the Pingry’s Glee Club and the Buttondowns a cappella group, his singing complements his playing, he says. He gives special thanks to Dr. Andrew Moore, Music Department Chair and Director of the Buttondowns, for supporting his interests, both vocal and instrumental. (When he needs a quiet place to do homework, Dr. Moore’s office is always open to him.) Jon has even arranged popular renditions of Ed Sherran’s Photograph and Boys II Men songs for the group. Although he doesn’t envision becoming a professional singer or musician, wanting instead to explore different options, his experiences at Pingry and beyond have equipped him well. “Practice time with the Buttondowns is the class I most look forward to,” he says. “It’s chaos, and it’s pure fun.”
Ajuné has been drawing since preschool, and fully intends to continue to pursue visual arts through the Upper School. Like many Pingry students, she is multi-faceted, however. Her other main interest: chemistry.
Middle School art teacher Jane Kunzman is one of Ajuné’s greatest admirers and promoters, agreeing to her creative mandala project even though it didn’t meet the assignment’s exact requirements. In turn, Ajuné often shares even her private sketches with her teacher. “Mrs. Kunzman always keeps an open mind about our ideas and lets us bend the rules a bit,” she says. “She encourages me to follow my ideas, suggesting that maybe the result will turn out to be better than what I originally imagined.”