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Alumni and Student Stories

Maya Dwyer ’13

Middle and Upper School Dance Teacher Maya June Dwyer ’13 was named one of the 12 emerging choreographers in New York who have been award the 2023 New York State Dance Force Choreographer’s Initiative grant.
The NYS New York Choreographers Initiative 2023 (NYSCI) is a funding opportunity administered by The New York State DanceForce in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts and is designed to help choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with resources to advance their creative practice. The awardees each receive a $2,500 stipend, access to a mentor, and support for 20 hours of creative time with dancers and other collaborators of their choice. Each project is basically a mini-residency, designed to fit the specific needs of each artist.
Maya is an interdisciplinary choreographer specialized in theatrical, site-specific dance. She has trained and worked with companies including PUSH Physical Theatre, The Hofesh Shechter Company, Meredith Monk, Meryl Tankard, and Pilobolus.
She has received three choreography commissions from Society for New Music’s Vision of Sound Festival for SOLILO: Dictionary of Dedications (2020), Holding Patterns and Paradigm Shifts (Co-created w/Imani Pearl Williams, 2021), and The Scary Part Is (2023). In 2019, her piece Padam premiered at the Salt City Dance Festival.



David Temes 97 and Sara (Lewis) Temes 96

Dave and Sara met in 1993 when Dave was visiting as an 8th grade student and Sara was in 9th grade, her first year at MPH.  They were friends during their time at MPH and had some fantastic times traveling with the MUN team to conferences with Bruce Bayliss in 1995 and 1996.  They kept in touch sporadically during college, and met for coffee one summer to compare notes because they each decided to spend their respective junior year of college at Trinity College Dublin, one year apart.

A few years later, they both happened to be in Syracuse for the summer of 2001.  Sara had just completed her first year of law school in Philadelphia and was interning at the United States Attorney’s Office and Dave had just graduated from the University of Rochester and was on his way to teach English in northern China.  They went out with a group of friends one night and have been together ever since, despite a few years of living first in different hemispheres, then in different cities.  They got married in 2004 (with Ted Curtis playing the fiddle and Pat Bentley Hoke and Brian Hoke in attendance as well) and after a few years of living and working in Manhattan they moved back to Syracuse in 2006.  They have two kids who are now at MPH – Jacob (class of 2025) and Lilah (class of 2027).


Katie Swimm ’02, Ph.D. 

Katie Swimm ’02, Ph.D., is a theatre director and educator who lives in Boston, Mass.  She’s currently directing Witch by Jen Silverman at Hovey Players in Waltham, Mass., running November 18 – December 3, 2022.  Silverman’s play is the first of three productions that Katie will direct this season, as she will begin rehearsals for The Bridges of Madison County in December, and Little Women, The Musical in March, at The Concord Players, which was founded by Louisa May Alcott.

Katie received a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Niagara University, an M.A. in Literature at Northwestern, and a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at Tufts University.  Her areas of expertise include theatre and mental illness, the performance of faith, politics as performance, and community-based theatre practice, and she’s presented work on these topics at the American Society for Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. At Tufts she has taught introductory and advanced acting classes, assisted in voice and speech courses, and courses on theatre history, theatre pedagogy, and professional development.

As a practitioner, Katie has directed, produced, and performed in numerous productions in Boston and Chicago, in regional, community, and academic settings.  Directing credits in Boston include Into the Woods and Rent at Tufts University.  At The Footlight Club: Big: The Musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Our Town, Legally Blonde, a digital adaptation of The Woman in White (DASH Award, Excellence in Adaptation and Direction), and her own adaptation of The Doll’s House.  At Vokes Players, she has directed Peter and the Starcatcher (DASH Nomination, Best Director, Best Ensemble, Best Production) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  She is also a vocalist in the Nasty Women Sing ensemble, and has appeared locally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Bat Boy at The Footlight ClubIn Chicago, she was Managing Director for Greasy Joan &Co., and produced numerous productions with the company including the Jeff Award Nominated The Misanthrope.

When not involved in theatre making, Katie is the Associate Director of Academic Support at the Tufts University Student Accessibility and Academic Resource Center, where she oversees the Academic Coaching and Subject Tutoring Programs.

Parmees Fazeli ’22

For Parmees Fazeli, ’22, the journey from Pre-K at MPH all the way through the Upper School to Yale University this fall was made possible by lessons learned in MPH’s tight-knit community. With a plan to study biology and Spanish on a pre-med track with the intention of pursuing a career in medicine with a focus on clinical research and public health, Parmees certainly learned those lessons well.

A few of her fondest memories from her “lifer” career at MPH include:

  • Recess periods in Grades 3 and 4 during which many negotiations and trades were exchanged in fort building;
  • Related and unrelated conversations that took place in a book club that she and a few other students began in Mrs. Bentley Hoke’s Grade 8 English class; and
  • The joyous moments of school spirit expressed during Red and White Day, the holiday program during which students boisterously cheer for their grade in the School’s rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and during Winter Carnival, when students of many ages were seen scurrying through the halls in a congregation of colors, hoping to get a glimpse at the scoreboard in the Phoenix.

All of these memories were moments that showed her what it truly meant to be a member of MPH’s tight-knit community. One of the best lessons she said she learned at MPH was from Spanish Teacher Silviana Medina-Dooher, who helped show her the importance of having resilience, confidence, optimism and to not shy away from your passions.

Parmees also shared that the Grade 9 field trip Bryn Mawr was another of her most memorable experiences at MPH. Not only was it a time for outdoor fun, including sports in the pouring rain and advisory competitions, but it was also the time when letters to their “senior selves” were written and sealed away. It hadn’t dawned on her that they would receive those letters again until Senior Brunch, when she noticed the teachers coming around the room with stacks of white envelopes. Parmees said, “Suddenly, it was as if we were exactly where we were before, gathered together around tables. Only this time we were opening up the letters, along with all the memories that came with them from that rainy fall afternoon at Bryn Mawr.”

This summer – besides planning and packing for college – Parmees is working as an assistant tennis coach at MPH’s summer camp. She also takes part in the refugee and immigrant outreach organizations in the greater Syracuse area by serving as an interpreter and volunteer to organize essential item collections that help with resettlement. In her last few days at home, she spends as much time as she can with her family. She also plays an occasional tennis match with her sister, Amitees ’25, and enjoys trading tournament strategies with her. The sisters played as a doubles team this past year and made it to the NY State Tennis Championship tournament.