CDS Alumni Association Presents Prestigious Awards to Alumni
Hope Larson

This one’s for you, weirdo art kids, outsiders, kids with anxiety. Hang in there. You’re so much more than your GPA, what sports you play, or what college you get into.”

Hope Larson is the 2022 recipient of the Artists Hall of Fame Award.

Hope Larson graduated from Carolina Day School in 2000. After attending CDS, she went to Rochester Institute of Technology and later transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Hope is an award winning illustrator and cartoonist. In 2006, she launched her own publishing imprint, Tulip Tree Press. She is the author of All Summer Long, which was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2018 and an Eisner Award Nominee, as well as the recently published sequel, All Together Now. She also adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, which spent forty-four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and for which she won an Eisner Award. She is additionally the author and illustrator of Salamander Dream, Gray Horses, Chiggers, and Mercury, and the author of Compass South and Knife’s Edge, both illustrated by Rebecca Mock. She lives in North Carolina. 

What does receiving this award mean to you personally?

It’s such an honor! In high school, I felt like an odd duck among my classmates, and especially in my ultra-studious, overachieving friend group. I was a smart kid who didn’t click with the prep school mindset and didn’t work as hard as I should have, and I felt so misunderstood. I remember when all my friends were inducted into the National Honor Society, and I wasn’t—because I’d done nothing to earn it—and I went home and cried. As a late bloomer, it’s nice to be recognized for my achievements, even at the age of 40.

How did your years in school influence your life as an adult?

I write about and for young people for a living, so my school years were clearly influential! I’m always trying to reach that kid who feels weird, who’s struggling a bit, and remind them that they matter. Most of my stories have a coming-of-age bent and ask questions like, who am I? Where am I going? What should I do with my life? The thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that these aren’t questions exclusive to adolescence. They’re questions we ask ourselves over and over again for our whole lives.

What impact do you hope receiving this award has on the students who currently attend your alma mater?

This one’s for you, weirdo art kids, outsiders, kids with anxiety. Hang in there. You’re so much more than your GPA, what sports you play, or what college you get into.

How does where you are in life now compare to how you imagined your future when you were in school?

I vividly remember thinking I’d grow up to be a spooky lady living in the woods with sixteen cats. I’ve turned out to be a (somewhat) normal middle-aged lady with a husband, a kid, and middle-aged hobbies like yoga and gardening. I also thought, as a teenager, that making art was the most important thing one could do in life, and while I do love my work, there’s so much more to my life than my career.

What advice would you give to current CDS students who are close to graduating?

There’s so much focus—or there was when I was growing up—on chasing your dreams and making them into your career. For kids who love to write, draw, or engage in some other creative pursuit, that advice can be toxic. What you do for a living doesn’t need to be the thing you love most in the world, and I’d argue that it shouldn’t be, at first. Give yourself time to make things for the joy of it before you combine them with making money. There’s no shame in being an accountant or a teacher who goes home and writes the great American novel after work. Most of the cartoonists and writers I know have a day job. You only get to be young and free once. Don’t take it for granted.

 

 

J.P. Daughton

Don’t be in a rush. The great value of youth is the time and opportunity it affords. There is no reason to hurry up and try to achieve someone’s notion of an ideal life. Such a life isn’t achieved; it is made.”

J. P. Daughton is a 2022 recipient of the C. Robert Bell Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award.

J. P. Daughton is a Professor of History at Stanford University. He is an historian of Europe, imperialism and colonialism, and global history. His teaching and publications explore political, cultural, social, and environmental history, as well as the modern history of religion, technology, and humanitarianism. His affiliations at Stanford include the Europe Center, the Center for African Studies, and the Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Daughton is the author of In the Forest of No Joy: The Congo-Océan Railroad and the Tragedy of French Colonialism and An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914. He is also the editor, with Owen White, of In God’s Empire: French Missionaries in the Modern World (Oxford University Press, 2012). His essays and reviews, on themes related to colonial violence, international governance, informal empire, and cultural policy, have appeared in publications like the Journal of Modern History, the American Historical Review, and French Historical Studies.

How did your years in school influence your life as an adult?

My experience at ACDS/CDS influenced my adult life profoundly. Indeed, it started to influence it even before I left school. When I was in high school, my home life was pretty unstable. My mother decided to move away from Asheville halfway through my sophomore year, but I was committed to trying to find a way to stay. Remarkable people in the school community—teachers, coaches, and parents of friends—looked out for me, and some even ultimately took me into their homes, offering me a safe environment in which to finish out my high school years. This sense of community at Country Day was in many ways a lifesaver and helped me gain the confidence and skills I’d need down the road.

Beyond the support and generosity of the community, my teachers and classmates were a fantastic group of people who inspired in me a genuine curiosity about the world. It is perhaps a bit cliché to talk about a “love of learning” but that is exactly what my teachers instilled in me, especially a fascination with culture, history, and politics. They also encouraged me to listen and empathize with people different from myself—a skill that has been essential to me as a historian. I still remember conversations I had with teachers—Dolly Mullen, Richard Pandich, Bob Henson, Mac Nelson—about social justice issues or the power of art and literature. What appealed to me was their passion and commitment. They demonstrated the importance of seeing the world critically, understanding a variety of perspectives, and appreciating the beauty of artistic expression. 

The lesson I took away from those interactions was less about knowledge or information—less about what was going to be on the final exam—and more about how to live a fulfilling life and be an engaged citizen. As I am now a teacher at Stanford, I think this approach to education continues to guide my interactions with my own students. I never felt like my teachers at ACDS were teaching us just how to answer math problems or write an essay; they were far more concerned with shaping us as responsible, caring, thoughtful people. The expectation that we would be interesting people meant that I also learned and grew from my classmates. Many of the friendships I had then continue to give, even with folks now scattered around the country.  

By the time I graduated, I was ready to take what I’d learned and run with it. After graduation, I backpacked across Europe with a classmate, Laura Abell (Gourlay), and we hit every museum we could to see paintings and sculptures we’d studied in Bob Henson’s legendary AP Art History class. In the years that followed, I kept with me a belief in the importance of learning, of finding new experiences, of visiting new places. It drove me to study abroad, first in St. Andrews in Scotland, and then at Cambridge University. And it helped fuel the desire and confidence to get a PhD in History at Berkeley and become a professor and writer. Since then, I have spent time living, researching, and teaching in many far-flung places—France, Vietnam, South Africa, the Republic of Congo—that I never could have imagined while at ACDS. But I am continually struck by how, even now, memories of things I learned, people I met, or conversations I had with folks at Country Day regularly come to mind as I do what I do as a historian. As odd as it might seem, I often think of the books and articles I write now, and the classes I teach, as trying to answer questions or address problems I first encountered at ACDS. 

What impact do you hope receiving this award has on the students who currently attend your alma mater?

If my experiences since graduating from CDS suggest anything, it’s that you don’t need a grand plan for your life all worked out when you are 17 or 18. High school students today often feel great pressure to know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives. But I am not sure that such well-laid plans are always the best way to go. In my career, I have certainly been extremely fortunate and privileged in many ways. But mine was a rather unconventional path to where I am now, and for years I rather haphazardly followed my intellectual curiosity and varied interests, such as travel and a desire to write. I never really had any grand plan for my “future.” And little of what I was interested in—poetry, art, history, philosophy—was particularly useful for most careers. From CDS, I decided to go to college in Scotland, mainly for the appeal of experience living abroad, and then, after two years, transferred to Amherst College. I spent a few years exploring various career paths, like law and NGO work, before deciding to go to graduate school. I guess that if there is a moral to this story for students at CDS today it is to have faith in your instincts and your passions. Pursue what excites you and gives meaning to your life—regardless of whether others think it’s valuable or not. Only that will help you learn what “success” means to you. In the end, that is the only definition of success that really matters.  

How does where you are in life now compare to how you imagined your future when you were in school?

Like many high school students, I had a wide range of “dream” futures. I imagined, in turn, being a novelist, a politician, a civil rights lawyer, or a scholar. I ended up being a scholar, though the image I had in high school of the scholar’s life—probably like something from nineteenth-century Oxford—was far from the professor’s life today. I did not give much thought to what my family life would look like, which was naive considering that my wife, Karyn, and my two sons, Nathaniel and Henry, are more than anything the foundation of my life. 

What advice would you give to current CDS students who are close to graduating?

My advice would probably not sit well with all parents. My first piece of advice would be to go away. For me, CDS was a supportive community that played a crucial role in my growth as a person. But it is equally important to go experience other places, to get out of your comfort zone, especially now when so many of the challenges that face us in our communities are truly global in nature. The skills and values that the school has taught you won’t fade. Your family and friends, no matter where you go, will still be there. Despite what Thomas Wolfe, Asheville’s most famous literary product, wrote, you can always go home again. It is the leaving home that gets harder as you get older.   

And my second piece of advice: Don’t be in a rush. The great value of youth is the time and opportunity it affords. There is no reason to hurry up and try to achieve someone’s notion of an ideal life. Such a life isn’t achieved; it is made. And only through seeking new experiences, people, and ideas will you be able to know what kind of life you want to make. 

 

 

Sarah Arison

Enjoy these last moments with such a wonderfully close, supportive community! Once you are out in the world, take advantage of every experience and opportunity that’s presented to you.”

Sarah Arison is a 2022 Recipient of the C. Robert Bell Jr. Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Born and raised in Miami, Arison is President of the Arison Arts Foundation, a private grant-making organization that supports emerging artists and the institutions that foster them. She was immersed in the arts from a young age by her grandparents, visionary philanthropists Ted and Lin Arison, who founded Arison Arts Foundation, YoungArts, and the New World Symphony, among their many philanthropic endeavors. Arison is active across a broad cross-section of national arts organizations. She is Chair of the Board of YoungArts, where she has developed strategic partnerships with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, Jacob’s Pillow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sundance Film Festival, and more to provide aspiring talent with presentation and mentorship opportunities. Arison is also the Chair of the board of MoMA PS1, a trustee of MoMA, Board President of American Ballet Theatre, a trustee of Lincoln Center, a trustee of the Brooklyn Museum and Chair of the Education Committee, a trustee at New World Symphony, a member of the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts, and a trustee of the Americas Foundation of the Serpentine Galleries. Arison has also ventured into film producing, supporting projects that shed light on lesser known aspects of the arts. In 2015, she produced her first feature film, Desert Dancer, starring Freida Pinto. She later went on to co-produce The First Monday in May, a documentary film chronicling the creation of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute blockbuster exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass. She co-produced The Price of Everything, which was acquired by HBO, and she most recently served as an executive producer for the film Aggie, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

I have the most wonderful memories of my years at CDS. It means so much that a place and people I respect deeply has chosen me for this honor!

How did your years in school influence your life as an adult?I attended CDS for high school which are such formative years in a student’s life. From sparking and encouraging curiosity and passions to creating friendships that would last decades, CDS set me up in every way for college and then to enter life as an adult! 

What impact do you hope receiving this award has on the students who currently attend your alma mater?

While I started out on a pretty traditional academic/career path (pre-med), I ended up trying a few things post-college and taking many different career and life experiences to create my own path and have the biggest impact on my community. I hope others who see this are encouraged to try new things, develop many relationships and experiences, and come up with their own way to contribute! 

How does where you are in life now compare to how you imagined your future when you were in school?

In school, I thought I would be pre-med in college, then go to med school and have a life as a doctor. Now, I’m fortunate to be able to work with some of the most incredible artists and cultural institutions in the world to create a better ecosystem for artists and a society where artists and the arts are valued and supported. It’s definitely different than what I thought I would be doing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

What advice would you give to current CDS students who are close to graduating?

Enjoy these last moments with such a wonderfully close, supportive community! Once you are out in the world, take advantage of every experience and opportunity that’s presented to you. 

 


 

Jessi Edmonds

Focus on the NOW, take each challenge as it is and as an opportunity to further develop as a player, as a person, as a teammate, as a student, as a whatever it is you are a part of—sports, school, life—learn and better yourself in each moment.”

Jessi Edmonds Hein is the 2022 Recipient of the Athletic Hall of Fame Award.

Jessi (Edmonds) Hein was born and raised in Asheville, NC. Jessi had the privilege and opportunity to attend Carolina Day School starting her sophomore year of high school, and she was able to graduate from CDS in 2012 as she went on to pursue an athletic scholarship for basketball at Liberty University. Following her 4 years at Liberty, she continued her education at Wingate University where she completed her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Jessi now practices Physical Therapy full time in the Asheville area. Jessi married her husband in September 2019 and they have recently welcomed their new baby girl into the world who will be turning one year old this October 21st. Jessi and her husband plan to raise their family here in Asheville to be close to family, surrounded by the mountains.

What does receiving this award mean to you personally?

To be recognized into the Hall of Fame is a complete honor and privilege to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I’m very thankful and grateful to even be considered for this prestigious Hall of Fame Award. This means that I can share this with my family, especially our daughter (Jemma) who is just 10 months old but will one day understand the meaning of the award. My husband and I do some basketball training apart from our full-time jobs and get to be a part of many, many kids’ lives. This award hopefully demonstrates how if you put your mind to something, put your full effort in everyday seeking to get 1% better, and are focused on the NOW in your sport, that you can succeed on the court or on the field. Truly honored and grateful! 

How did your years in school influence your life as an adult?

I was grateful for the opportunity to attend Carolina Day School for 3 years for many reasons. 1.) The school aspect allowed me to open up as a person, learn the value of academics and not just sports, and value lifelong friendships with classmates and teachers. I really enjoyed the smaller aspect of being recognized as a person and not just a number. 2.) The basketball aspect allowed me to able to play for Joe Carrington, Bill Parker, Pat Thompson, my Dad, and A LOT of times my mom from the stands. It taught me the value of hard work, toughness—physical and mental—success, triumph, and sometimes even loss. Being a mother has been one of the hardest jobs/roles I have ever done, but it’s been the most rewarding. My time at Carolina Day School in the classroom and on the court prepared me for motherhood, being a physical therapist, being a wife, being a daughter, etc. I’m forever grateful and hope to have the opportunity/chance to send our kids to CDS or somewhere with the same standards/prestige.

What impact do you hope receiving this award has on the students who currently attend your alma mater?

The work and time you put in now does pay off. Duke Women’s Basketball Coach gave a speech to her team this summer about preparing for the “harder!” To sum it up: she says you can’t just expect to get through something (practice, game, tests) and have it be easier next time. Life doesn’t get easier, it continues to get harder. But the tasks you did before prepare you for the next “harder” challenge sports and life throw at you. Prepare now and put in the time; hard work does pay off and this award shows that!

How does where you are in life now compare to how you imagined your future when you were in school?

To be honest, I don’t ever look too far into the future. I believe in being in the present moment—working hard in that moment and preparing for whatever the future holds. God has blessed me in more ways than imaginable; I know HE is in full control of my future! I put all my trust in God and know the future has already been planned out. Therefore, the me in high school had no idea I would be where I am today. I just knew to work hard in the present time and it would all work itself out. Big motto for me: Focused on the NOW, always tried to prepare but did not picture anything in the future.

What advice would you give to current CDS students who are close to graduating?

As I have said it before: Focus on the NOW, take each challenge as it is and as an opportunity to further develop as a player, as a person, as a teammate, as a student, as a whatever it is you are a part of—sports, school, life—learn and better yourself in each moment.

 

 

Coach Bill Barbour

Life’s too short.”

Coach Bill Barbour will be inducted this year and honored as the 2021 recipient of the Athletic Hall of Fame Award. 

When looking for a true definition of coaching, one may find several, but what all definitions have in common is that a good coach is someone who supports a learner in achieving their goals by providing training and guidance. For Coach Bill Barbour, his greatest strength as a coach was the guidance he provided through his sense of humor and “Billisms” and his consistent and calm presence. For nine years he coached and mentored the Carolina Day School Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and Bill could always be found at the courts leaning along the fence talking to his young athletes. With his guidance and leadership, Bill led his teams to numerous CAA titles and state championships.

When asked how he coached, CDS Coach Lauren Wood stated that “Bill coached in a way you didn’t feel like you were being coached,” there “never was any feeling of pressure to win” from him. Bill was proud, yet humble, and you could see how important the athletes were to him through the extensive notes he kept and his smile while on the courts. He was extremely sentimental and always wrote notes and cards to the kids, including passing along a letter with a “lucky penny” he found at a meet to one of the players. CDS tennis players truly loved and appreciated him. He was an inspiration.

Lauren shared that Bill’s mantra was “Life’s too short.” Although Bill passed away in 2020, we are honored to remember him as a phenomenal coach by inducting him into the Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame. We know his legacy lives on in several of our Carolina Day School student-athletes. Bill will be officially inducted on September 30, 2022, at our Homecoming Alumni Award Luncheon and will be recognized at the evening soccer game. For more information about the Induction Ceremony or to share stories or information about Bill, please email alumni@carolinaday.org.