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"Why I Give"

Brittany Thompson, ACS Class of 2001

Brittany Thompson is a member of the ACS Class of 2001 and serves on our Alumni Council. She lives in Washington, DC, where she is a consultant for IBM. Brittany reflects here on why she continues to support The Avery Coonley School. After reading her message, please consider making your pledge or donation to the ACS Fund. If you have already given, thank you!

Even though I graduated from ACS just twelve short years ago, I recognize the life-shaping effect the school had on me and understand the importance of giving back.

When I think about why I support The Avery Coonley School as an alumna, I always return to the fact that I want other children to have the same opportunities and experiences that left such a lasting impression for me. Many of my career aspirations, personal values, and even closest friends can be traced back to my nine years as an ACS student. The Avery Coonley School is truly a unique and special place, where the teachers nurture passions, the opportunities ignite curiosity, and the resources sustain growth. I give because I want to acknowledge the impact ACS has had, and continues to have, on my success, and I want to help provide that same lifelong education for current and future students.

I also give because I know my donation will go directly to the technology, equipment, opportunities, and special programs that will enhance the ACS experience for each student. When I visit, I look forward to seeing students excited by all those things that distinguish ACS from other schools. I give because I know my donation may also help students attend who may not have this opportunity otherwise. I give because I am proud to be an ACS graduate.

The Avery Coonley School community never leaves you. With our help, we can ensure that it continues to flourish.
~Brittany Thompson ‘01


Shilpa Gokhale, ACS Class of 1994

The Avery Coonley School has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My sister started attending when she was 2 years old and I joined her at ACS a few years later when I started as the newest member of Second Group. More than the memories of tapping maple trees, doing the Maypole dance, or visiting Washington DC, ACS reminds me of the relationships I fostered and the curiosity and passion I developed for learning during my years there. The impact the school has had on me and my family continues to this day. When I was teaching in Baltimore, Mrs. Lenhardt had the Student Council put together a set of supplies that would help my students, and when my sister got engaged, her husband proposed to her by the Reflection Pond. When we gather with two other alums, who are like brothers to my sister and me, stories of the Eighth Group play or a class with Mrs. Murphy always manage to come up ... even though we all graduated too long ago to even count the years now. I give to ACS because it was and always will remain a part of who I am.

Tim Doris and Nancy Doris (Siblings) ACS Classes of 1990 and 1991

We give to Avery Coonley because of the teachers who made an impact on our lives. In class, they teach so much more beyond their subject area – they build the foundation of future success by encouraging us, inspiring us, and establishing a lifelong love of learning. We became curious problem solvers, analytical thinkers, and independent learners. We give because the teachers give so much to the school and its students. We love to return to ACS and visit our teachers that are still there making a difference, and meet the new teachers carrying on the ACS tradition of excellence and dedication. Thank you!







Franklin Tan, ACS Parent

I invest… in a future for my children… a future for them in a place filled with opportunities for discovery, friendship, and fun… an intellectual home where they can just focus on being themselves. At ACS, we've found such a school, where our children are challenged, inspired to be great, urged to dream. I can think of no better investment than one that rewards us with the privilege of watching our kids grow intellectually and emotionally into bright, empathetic, productive, and impactful contributors to society. Franklin Tan

Michi Trota ACS Class of 1992

When I'm asked why I'm still active in the Avery Coonley School community nearly 20 years after graduating 8th Group, the answer is pretty simple: to give back to a community that has left an indelible mark on my life. ACS isn't just a school, it's the second home where I grew up, perusing the booths and games at Spring Fair, singing in the old gym at the Thanksgiving program, sledding down the hill in winter or playing with the old Logo "turtle” program in the Computer Room (or "the Cage” as we used to call it). It's the community that taught me to love learning and the importance of critical thinking and civic responsibility. And it's the extended family who supported me when I lost my mother in 6th Group and my father a few months before graduation. The benefit of being part of the ACS community is a lifelong gift not to be taken for granted. I give to ACS because of the difference it makes in the lives of its students and because of the difference it continues to make in mine.


Michi Trota

Matt Cook, ACS Class of 2005

After four years at a college prep school and three years at a top tier university, my 7th Group science fair paper is still the longest and most challenging paper I have ever written, and my best friend is still the kid who, on the first day of Kindergarten fifteen years ago, greeted me shyly with, "Hi, I'm Phil. Want to play blocks?" When I get together with my ACS graduating class (which is often), we reminisce about writing silent film scripts as much as we reflect on tapping maple trees. For me, this is Avery Coonley in a nutshell: rigorous academics in a tight-knit community that inspires creative and out-of-the-box thinking alongside history and tradition. I am incredibly grateful to Avery Coonley for the amazing academic foundation I received, the lifelong friends I made, and the memories I will treasure always. For all these reasons and more, I give to Avery Coonley.


Matt Cook

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