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June, 2017 Facebook Twitter Instagram School Seal
Alumni Spotlight
Atticus Stonestrom, '14
8th Atticus
T e embrace the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our alumni and we would like to highlight one distinguished high school graduate, Atticus Stonestrom, PBDA class of ’14. We believe Atticus is a shining example of a student who has been challenged to excel, empowered to act and prepared to lead as he forges ahead in his life. As Mr. Greco, Atticus’ former English teacher, put it, “In character and intellect, Atticus was one of the best ever students to graduate from Palm Beach Day Academy.”
Atticus, a Pelican, entered PBDA in 2002 and left in 2014 to go on to high school at Philips Exeter Academy. He graduated in May of 2017 and plans to attend Oxford University in the fall of this year.
Q When you think back on the time you spent at Palm Beach Day School, now Palm Beach Day Academy, what memories come to mind? Looking back over your years at PBDS what do you think were the most valuable aspects of our school?
A The most valuable pieces of my PBDA experience were almost certainly the extremely close relationships I was able develop with the faculty, especially with the teachers I had in Ninth Grade: Mr. Greco, Mrs. Close, Mrs. Mendoza, Mr. Wagener, and Señora del Portal. I considered them more friends than only teachers, and that was enough to make classes and everyday schoolwork incredibly enjoyable. Moving out into the wider academic world, it can be very easy to feel anonymous in the massive scale of some schools and communities, and I think what I've missed most about Palm Beach Day has been the great number of close friendships with teachers that I fostered there.
Q Where did you continue your education after PBDA?
A Philips Exeter Academy, where I just graduated.
Q Would you describe the steps that led to your successful high school experience?
A Though it might sound strange, one of the most helpful aspects of my attitude towards Exeter has been to typically ignore the "bigger picture." Academic and athletic ambitions and obligations – indeed, life more broadly – can quickly become terribly overwhelming when viewed with too large a scope, and focusing on merely one small thing at a time can be greatly beneficial.
Q What areas did you focus on in high school that contributed to your choice for college? What do you plan to study?
A I'm planning to pursue a research career in pure math, and so Oxford – where my course-load's heavy emphasis will be on math – was a natural choice. It was certainly a difficult choice though, especially given the great joy that the humanities have given me throughout my life. Fortunately, however, high school provides a wonderful chance to pursue a well-rounded, multi-faceted education before the stress and concerns of adult life begin to dominate one's academic choices. After the past years of formal study of a broad curriculum, I think I'm finally ready to specialize.
Q What was the most useful lesson that you took with you when you graduated from Palm Beach Day?
A My science teacher in fourth grade was Mr. Young, who now works at the local Science Museum. One of his greatest qualities as a teacher was the heavy emphasis he placed on instilling life lessons as well as academic ones in his classes. In particular, I vividly remember his constant insistence that we never be afraid to say, "I don't know." Ignorance should be seen as an opportunity, not as a badge of shame, and false claims of understanding do nothing but hinder one's ability to learn.
Q When time permits what do you enjoy doing? Hobbies?
A Given the extent that it dominates my life, I'm not sure if running can even count as a hobby, but I'll list it regardless. Cross country and track have been a massive part of my life these past few years and hopefully will continue to be so in college. Writing, too, has been a dear pursuit of mine. Though I initially considered myself fit primarily for analytical essays (thanks to Mr. Greco and Mrs. Mendoza), recently I've branched out and found a great passion for poetry as well. I also occasionally like to play piano.
Q What advice would you give the current students at Palm Beach Day Academy?
A Though it is terribly overused and surely sounds cliché, the greatest piece of advice I can give is to follow any and all passions with spirit. Life will be miserable for those who constantly bind themselves to pursuits they don't appreciate. Learning to actively seek out what one enjoys, whether in academics, athletics, the arts, politics, community service, or any number of other pastimes, can lead to unparalleled joy. When you find it, pursue it with a vengeance.
Intended Colleges of The Classes of 2014

Zara Barrett
Drexel University
Anderson Bishop
Syracuse University
Christina Caristo
Pennsylvania State University
Addie Cramer
University of Colorado, Boulder
Billy Deflin
Southern Methodist University
Brad Deflin
Southern Methodist University
Madeline Elhilow
Wake Forrest University
Jack Farris
St. Andrews, Scotland
Elisa Flaminio
Florida State University
Rodrigo Haberfeld
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Ben Kern
University of Miami
Teddy Kramer
Georgetown University
Robin Koch
Tulane University
Briggs Lalor
University of California Santa Clara
Nick Leone
Cornell University
Eloise Levenson
University of Florida
Madison McAuliffe
Duke University
Jack McKenna
George Washington University
Chiara Micchelli
College of William and Mary
Katie Morgan
Florida State University
Jack Petricig
University of Colorado Boulder
Lauren Pflaumer
Appalachian State University
Matthew Reyes
Florida State University
Kole Rosen
New York University
Jordan Schaefer
University of Maryland
Nick Sharp
University of Cincinnati
Jack Stoll
University of Miami
Atticus Stonestrom
Oxford University
Alex Tummon
Syracuse University
Robbie Williams
Georgetown University
Lexi Winchester
Boston University