The Doane Stuart Alumni/ae Association is proud to bring you a new series of web articles entitled Taking Five, aimed at helping you get to know fellow members of your alumni/ae community. Featured interviewees are asked to answer five questions about their lives, challenges, and inspirations, and their answers can be read over a 5-minute break.  Want to recommend someone or conduct a virtual interview for our Taking Five series? Contact Us

Shay Lahon DS, ’14

Where do you live?
While I still live in East Greenbush, I am currently studying in Accra, Ghana until I return to finish my senior year at Mount Holyoke in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Tell us about your current work and what you love about it.
I am been interning at the West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF) since January. I am conducting HIV/AIDS research to compare  the prevalence & incidence of HIV/AIDS in black communities in the United States versus Ghana, The major factors are the lack of access to treatment, lack of education about HIV/AIDS, and the negative impact of poverty. Another part of my research looks at HIV/AIDS transmission between pregnant mothers and the fetus. My research will help to identify better treatment for women and their children.

I have been appointed as the Public Relations Officer for an organization called TP Women International. The organization promotes gender equality or equality between men and women, through education.

I think what I love most about working for both organizations is meeting so many wonderful people. The Ghanaian community is very kind-hearted and welcoming. It makes me happy to know that what I am doing is bettering the life of someone else.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re conquering at the moment?
Senior year is approaching next year. Now is the time to start prepping for nursing school admissions, GREs, and honestly….life in general…deciding on where to live, what kind of job I want, which kind of people I want in my life, etc.

What’s one of the funniest stories you remember from your time at DS?
Just being in Mr. Febrey’s class!  I had the wonderful opportunity of growing up with Mr. Febrey as a Spanish teacher from 7th grade to 12th grade. I knew that as soon as I entered Mr. Febrey’s class that I’d be leaving with a smile on my face I remember when Mr. Febrey had us watch both Shrek and Ghostbusters and interpret them in Spanish. Mr. Febrey  always made class interesting and fun. To me, Mr. Febrey wasn’t just a Spanish teacher….or comedian (lol)….but he was a mentor. This man brought so much happiness, joy…and in many ways guidance into my life at DS. His presence is greatly missed. I will forever cherish the memories I have of him.

What is making you feel grateful today?
The love and support provided by so many friends and family; especially at this time in my life. My friends at Mount Holyoke have provided me with so much love and guidance. So many of them have pushed or driven me to become a better person. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Andrew Kauffman ’10

Please describe the culture of Doane Stuart
when you attended.
The atmosphere and culture of the Doane Stuart School has always been and will always continue to be one that fosters independence, academic excellence and creativity.  Throughout my time at Doane Stuart, I developed and pursued my hobby, professional DJing, which ultimately led to my interest and post-college graduate career in marketing. Through Doane Stuart’s culture of encouragement and support, my hobbies quickly transformed into a passion and ultimately a profitable business/career.

Was there a teacher or mentor that particularly inspired you?
There were many teachers and mentors that inspired me (Patty & Seamus Hodgkinson, Lisa Brown, Michael Green and Drew Levy –  to name a few). However, if I had to select two in particular (which is almost impossible) two notable mentors include Darlene (Condon) Gallagher and Dr. Richard Enemark. Their mentorship and continuous encouragement served as inspiration. Being selected as a 40 Under Forty Future Business Leader is a prestigious honor for any high school student. I had the honor of being nominated by these mentors and can honestly say it was the motivating factor to help push me through my continued success as I began my journey into professionalism.

Where do you live?
I currently live in downtown Troy, New York.

What is one of your fondest memories of Doane Stuart?
There’s one memory in particular that stands out… the Blue-Green competitions, particularly one annual event…Loup! – the ultimate hide-and-seek game. I remember one evening in particular, at the old Kenwood campus. I was on blue team, and we were hiding somewhere on the nature trail.  Somehow the Green team found us.

Now, my memory is foggy but I believe that the way Loup worked is that in order to win, the hiding team or seeking team must return to ‘home-base’ and ring a traditional bell. If the hiding team returns first, unseen by the seekers, the hiding team is awarded points. If the seeking team finds the hiding team, and then makes it back to home-base, the seeking team is awarded points. However, if the seekers find the hiding team, but the hiding team returns to home-base first, the hiding team is still deemed winner.  Anyways, we (the hiding team) were caught! Yet, we still managed to return to home-base and to ring the traditional bell, winning the game! Our victory led to us winning the Blue-Green trophy that year!

How has Doane Stuart prepared you as an adult? As a professional?
Doane Stuart, including its culture, excellent staff and faculty have absolutely prepared me as both a young adult and professional.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?
In my junior year at Union College, I had the opportunity to travel to India on a mini-term abroad. For three weeks I traveled with fellow students from Delhi, to Mumbai, touring through Agra, Haridwar, Jaipur, Bagru and Goa. This term abroad experience was a total culture shock! India was absolutely amazing, and if I could travel anywhere, I would love to travel back to that region of Asia. I would further explore Northern and Southern India, as well as travel from India through Thailand and Cambodia.



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Doane Stuart Timeline

  • 1852

    The Kenwood Academy was founded in 1852.

  • 1870

    The St. Agnes School was founded in 1870. 

  • 1975

    The Doane Stuart School was founded from the merger of Kenwood Academy and St. Agnes School.

  • 2009

    Doane Stuart moved to its current location at 199 Washington Avenue in Rensselaer. 

  • 2014

    Construction is completed of the $1.3 million 22,000 square foot vegetative green roof.