Parker alumni stories: Class of 2010

Peter Charde graduated from Lansingburgh High where he participated in the QUESTAR honors New Visions Program in Scientific Research and World Health.  He is now a freshman at The Watson School of Engineering at SUNY Binghamton where he rows crew.

Sam Christenfeld went to Middlesex School where he rowed varsity crew, was the team captain and set the school’s rowing record.  He was twice invited to the Selection Camp for the Junior National Rowing Team. In 2013 he rowed for 10 days in Spain with the Junior World Development Team.  He also wrote for and edited the school newspaper. Sam is now attending Harvard University, which he loves. He is on the rowing team and competed this year in the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Sam wrote, “I continue to love English and History (passions I picked up at Parker) and I’m thinking about majoring in History.  My favorite Parker memory is probably James’ History classes. History with James was always engaging, entertaining, and enlightening, and it’s a big part of the reason I’m still so fascinated by the study of history today.  Another favorite memory is the annual trip to Chingachgook, which was always a ton of fun and a phenomenal way to bond with classmates and teachers.”

Elana Cohen was salutatorian of her class at Albany High. She made nationals for Speech and Debate in her junior year in Oral Interpretation and had her work selected for several art shows.  Last summer Elana was in Israel for 5 weeks and had some of the best and worst experiences of her life. She is now a freshman at Cornell studying a Biomedical Sciences major on a pre-med track.

Natalie Cross has been very involved in film production and making original film documentaries. You can see her work on her website, She was featured in the Fall 2014 edition of Emma Willard’s alumni magazine for her Senior Signature Project.  At Emma Willard she ran on the Track and Cross Country team, and sang with 12 Tones.  She took AP English Literature.  She is a freshman at Boston University, interested in Film Production.

Kayla Foyt was involved in ski racing and rugby while at Emma Willard where she also took lots of science and engineering classes.  Last summer she had a paid internship in Innsbruck, Austria, doing research in a hearing device company, and living on her own.   She is attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo studying Materials Engineering.


Nora Krantz went to Emma Willard where she rowed crew, was on the swimming and diving team, and volunteered with Hope 7, an afterschool program for underprivileged children in Troy.  She was also a Spanish tutor.  She is now a freshman at Dickinson and enjoying it very much.  Nora has been an assistant counselor at Planet Parker summer camps for several years and has twice been on an exchange program in Spain.

Tyana Joels was a Murnane Scholar at Parker, arriving in 7th grade from the Ark Community Charter School.  Tyana graduated from Troy High as the first person in three generations in her family to graduate from high school.   She got her cosmetology certification through BOCES and is working at a local hair salon.

Zali Laufer graduated from Columbia High School.  She also attended the Lauder Javne Community Day School in Budapest, Hungary, translating a museum exhibit for the Israeli Institute.  After an extra year of high school in Budapest, she plans to attend a university in London to study International relations and cultural anthropology.

Giselle Lora was a Murnane Scholar at Parker, arriving in 6th grade from the Ark Community Charter School.  She went to Buxton School in Williamstown after Parker where she was Work Program Head and Soccer Captain.  She was involved in the African Dance and Balinese Programs. She headed to Bali this past summer with a small group to participate in a dance program there.  Giselle is a freshman at Macalester College.

Imani Randolf graduated from Doane Stuart. She played basketball for 3 years and was a co-founder of the Global Awareness Club. She is very passionate about art and enjoys clay sculpture and drawing. She is a freshman at Barnard College in NYC, and was Parker’s graduation speaker in 2014.

DeShawn Speights was a Murnane Scholar at Parker.  He went to Doane Stuart School where he was passionate about basketball and was team captain for 2 years.  He played soccer as the goalie and ran track. Deshawn is attending St. Lawrence University.

Luke Van de Wal attended Tech Valley High.  He took a specialized class based around computer networking and completed multiple college level courses in American History and Mandarin Chinese. He is currently attending Hudson Valley Community College for Computer Information Systems.

Kylie Wyskochil went to Darrow School where she rowed crew at Albany Rowing Center and was an admissions tour guide. As a senior she performed an independent study analyzing the carbon footprint of the school.  Her study is published on the school’s website under the sustainability tab. She is now a freshman at Hobart and William Smith College where she also rows crew. She plans to study environmental science and architecture with hopes to pursue a career in environmental design.

Kylie says, “Parker showed me how to make connections with the people around me, also that it’s a good idea to build a bond with your teachers. This helped me in high school, and I believe it will help in college too. And all of these experiences will set me up to build better relationships later in life.”

Matilde Xiao attended Parker for 8th grade when her family moved here from China for a year. She is currently studying Arts and Sciences at University College London with a major in Cultures and a minor in Health and Environment. During high school in China her biggest accomplishment was being the Service Prefect for her school during junior year. She was in charge of organizing charity oriented events.  She has also been involved in film-making.