Pine Crest School

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Meet Christian Geter ’23

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 12, 2023 at 12:27 PM

Christian Geter ’23 joined Pine Crest School as a sixth grade student. Christian has been a student leader throughout his time in the Upper School, relying upon his quiet confidence and collaborative nature to represent his peers while working with School administrators. 

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Topics: Upper School, Student Life, Alumni, Student Leadership, Science, 2023

Meet Alexandra Gladding ’23

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 12, 2023 at 11:20 AM

By: Lindsey Keyes ’24

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Topics: Upper School, Athletics, Alumni, 2023

Meet Greer Udelson ’23

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 9, 2023 at 3:06 PM

Since joining Pine Crest School as a third grade student, Greer Udelson ’23 has been a standout student-musician. A singer in the chorus and musical performances, Greer also plays the flute in the band, which she joined in fourth grade. 

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Topics: Upper School, Student Life, Fine Arts, Student Leadership, 2023

Pine Crest Upper School Students Participate in Global Problem-Solving Institute Pilot Program

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 6, 2023 at 4:33 PM


By: Elani Kodner ’24

Fifteen (15) members from Pine Crest Upper School’s second-year social entrepreneurship program were invited to participate in the Global Problem-Solving Institute (GPSI) pilot program. The GPSI is a virtual innovation laboratory where high school students from across the globe collaborate to solve some of the world’s most challenging and complex problems. 

The pilot program was offered to three schools from the United States and one each from South Korea, Japan, Turkey, India, and Kazakhstan. Students had the opportunity to work on solutions for one of two societal issues: Disabling Non-Communicable Diseases or Food Fixes and the Climate Crisis. During the 12-week program, students gained knowledge in existing subject areas by exploring methodologies of environmental science, economics, and the psychology of persuasion to analyze the problems and formulate solutions. Students worked individually and collaboratively with peer schools and university professors worldwide using the design thinking methodology.


“Working with an international cohort of the GPSI has exposed us all to perspectives from diverse cultures,” said Troy Noesser ’24. “Having the opportunity to study disease prevalence and mitigation with international students allowed us to explore ideas and solutions that fit within a global context.”

Students in the Disabling Disease track worked with Dr. David Gatchel, Clinical Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Gatchel also serves as Director of the Manufacturing and Design Engineering (MaDE) program at Segal Design Institute, inside the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. Under his guidance, students mapped the biological, cultural, and behavioral factors contributing to the prevalence of noncommunicable and chronic diseases like cardiovascular illness, cancer, chronic respiratory pathophysiology, and diabetes. Students spent 12 weeks utilizing design thinking principles to develop a deeper understanding of core concepts in medical anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical engineering to generate proposals to reduce the incidence of preventable diseases. 

“Working within an international cohort pushed me to view global issues through a cross-cultural lens,” said Gabrielle Frei ’24. “Through the sessions, we researched medical recommendations from around the world to create a curriculum that educates young students about the dangers of antibiotic resistance. We encompassed various biases from different cultural and psychological frameworks in order to address global perspectives regarding the use of antibiotics.” 

Students on the Food and Climate track worked alongside Dr. Leshui He, Associate Professor of Economics at Bates College. Together, they worked to map the food supply system and identify critical factors contributing to the problem. Their goal was to look at ways to alter consumption habits, reduce waste, and improve equitable access to food in an environmentally sustainable way. 


They presented their research to industry leaders within the fields of economics, political science, and environmental science. 

“I was able to deepen my understanding of climate change by analyzing the intersection between long-term shifts in temperature and weather patterns and food waste,” said Gimani Rose ’24. “Using an entrepreneurial mindset allowed me to better understand all stakeholder needs to propose innovative solutions to the problem of food waste.”

Although the pilot has ended, students can continue their research with professors and the global cohort. Several of them have visited Dr. Gatchell at Northwestern to learn more about biomechanical engineering and his innovation lab. The incoming juniors will begin a new program cohort in January 2024, including students from Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and El Salvador.

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Topics: Upper School, Design Thinking, Academics, Student Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Future Ready, 2023

A Passionate Pursuit of Education

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 12, 2023 at 11:04 AM

By: Asha Gandreti ’25

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Topics: Upper School, Alumni, Faculty, 2023

Coach Chris Newbold Seizes An Opportunity

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 11, 2023 at 1:51 PM

By: Danielle Keyes ’24

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Topics: Athletics, Faculty, Middle School, 2023

Tooty Ta and Teaching: Ms. Jean Sungenis

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 10, 2023 at 9:55 AM

Pine Crest Lower School instructor Ms. Jean Sungenis, or Ms. Sunny as she is fondly referred to by her students, has been lighting up our classrooms since 2000. Originally from Vineland, New Jersey, she moved to South Florida in 2000. 

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Teaching with a Passion for Knowledge

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 5, 2023 at 9:39 AM

By: Sara Pearl Adler ’24

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Topics: Upper School, Faculty, Academics

Why Play and Exploration are Key for Young Students to Learn

Posted by Pine Crest School on February 27, 2023 at 1:53 PM

By Debra Jacoby, J.D.
Pine Crest Lower School Computer Science/Educational Technology

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Topics: Lower School, Innovation, Design Thinking

Five Tips and Tricks For Your Freshman Year at Pine Crest School

Posted by Pine Crest School on February 27, 2023 at 1:49 PM
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Topics: Upper School, Student Life, Admission, Academics, Student Leadership

Supporting Pine Crest Educators: The Chen Family

Posted by Pine Crest School on December 14, 2022 at 4:42 PM

We are honored to shine a spotlight on the Chen family, who generously donated $1.5 million toward the construction of the Center for Teaching and Learning on the Pine Crest School Fort Lauderdale campus. 

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Topics: Upper School, Student Life, Alumni, Giving, Pine Crest Fund, 2022

Outdoor Learning at Pine Crest School: A Fresh Approach

Posted by Pine Crest School on August 3, 2022 at 11:20 AM

Outdoor learning is expanding on Pine Crest School’s Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses allowing students and faculty to enjoy the countless benefits and lasting impact of outdoor education and play. 

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Topics: Lower School, Innovation, Academics, Science, STEM, 2022, outdoor learning

Watching Pine Crest Students Grow, From the First Day to the Last: Lisa Weihe

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 1, 2022 at 12:59 PM

For 37 years, Mrs. Lisa Weihe has been driving the same route from home to Pine Crest School. A beloved pre-kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Weihe began her tenure when her eldest daughter started pre-kindergarten in 1985. 

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Topics: Lower School, Faculty, Pre-kindergarten, 2022

Mrs. Janice Reich: A Teaching Career in Service and Gratitude

Posted by Pine Crest School on June 1, 2022 at 10:19 AM

Mrs. Janice Reich may not have taken a traditional path into teaching third grade on Pine Crest’s Boca Raton campus, but it is one that is unique and marked by true dedication and service. Born, raised, and educated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Reich attended Temple University where she majored in accounting as an undergraduate.

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Topics: Lower School, Faculty, Academics, 2022

From 62nd Street to 42nd Street: David Manella ’10

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 26, 2022 at 3:45 PM

As a two-time Tony Award-nominated Broadway co-producer and practicing entertainment attorney, Class of 2010 graduate David Manella’s professional and personal lives revolve around theater. More than a decade after his high school graduation, David credits Pine Crest with sparking and nurturing his interest in this field. 

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Topics: Alumni Newsletter, Upper School, Alumni, Fine Arts, 2022

Transforming Tomorrow: Pine Crest Moves Forward with Strategic Renovation and Construction Projects

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 24, 2022 at 10:09 AM

In 2019, Pine Crest faculty, staff, and administrators created and finalized the School’s strategic plan to be executed over the course of the following five years under the leadership of President Dr. Dana Markham ’18H.

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Topics: Innovation, Student Life, Fine Arts, Middle School, Academics, Robotics, Giving, Pine Crest Fund, Computer Science, STEM, Future Ready, 2022

Mr. Kenneth Ashjian: Positivity In and Out of the Classroom

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 5, 2022 at 9:49 AM

By: Danielle Snyder ’23

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Topics: Faculty, Middle School, 2022

From the Newsroom to Classroom: Mrs. Jaimee Rashbaum

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 4, 2022 at 3:45 PM

By: Danielle Keyes ’24

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Topics: Upper School, Faculty, Academics, Digital Media Production, Social and Emotional Learning, 2022

A Passion for Learning and Leading: Mrs. Francine Savoca

Posted by Pine Crest School on May 4, 2022 at 9:44 AM

By: Lindsey Keyes ’24

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Topics: Lower School, Faculty, 2022

From Student to Teacher: Mrs. Michelle Santarelli ’89

Posted by Pine Crest School on April 28, 2022 at 10:24 PM

By: Courtney Klar ’22

As she walked across the stage to receive her Pine Crest School diploma, Mrs. Michelle (Smith) Santarelli ’89 never imagined that her career path would one day lead her back to her educational roots. From a fourth grade student in the Lower School to a biology teacher in the Upper School, and a parent of two Pine Crest “lifers,” John ’21 and Jaden ’23, Mrs. Santarelli now cannot envision herself anywhere else.

After Mrs. Santarelli graduated from Pine Crest in 1989, she attended the University of Virginia, where she received a degree in biology. Upon graduating from college, she began her career as a marketing director for an educational tutoring company. While she did well in the position, she quickly realized that her true passions were for biology and teaching. “I never thought I wanted to be a teacher,” said Mrs. Santarelli. “I worked in an educational environment, which is what attracted me to that company. But I missed biology and wanted to find a way to combine biology and my love of public speaking. That was the first time I decided to become a teacher. I knew the only place I wanted to do that was Pine Crest.”

On teaching biology, Mrs. Santarelli says “science is the one field that always captivated me—living organisms are so complex. What I love about biology is that there is so much we don't know. Biology is exciting, and there are discoveries being made every day!”

When speaking about what keeps her at Pine Crest, Mrs. Santarelli says the students and her colleagues. “What is great about Pine Crest students,” she said, “is that if you are excited about something, they are excited about it too. My students love learning just as much as I do.”

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Topics: Upper School, Alumni, Faculty, Science, 2022