: June 5, 2023 : Emma Hobart-Sheran : 0

Dan Fu & Mandy Li with their children Aria ’31, Lianna ’33, and Skylar.

What do you love most about Park?

We appreciate Park’s holistic approach with each child’s education. The School stands out in their dedication to academic excellence, diversity, and community building. We also value Park’s emphasis on STEAM subjects, which allow children to have practical, hands-on experiences. Our daughter, Aria, is a curious child and we are delighted that the entire community encourages this curiosity as a cornerstone of Park’s program.

What would Aria say she loves most about Park?

Aria loves interactive learning experiences. In Kindergarten, she studied firsthand how changes occur in nature: from the lifecycle of butterflies to eggs hatching into chicks. Aria also enjoys the weekly library visits, which align with her passion for books. Aria also cherishes her friends and teachers at Park. They make every day joyful for her and she always comes home eager to share her experiences and what she’s learned.

You joined the Park community during the pandemic. As 2022-23 comes to a close, what were some of the highlights for your family from this more “normal” school year?

Seeing Aria’s development has been a real joy to watch this year. She has become more confident in academics, especially in math and reading. Aria’s Kindergarten teacher is terrific and customizes teaching based on the specific learning needs of each child. We’ve also enjoyed being part of the Park community and connecting with other families.

Our contribution to The SPARK Campaign was motivated by our trust in the school’s vision and our commitment to an institution that has already significantly contributed to Aria’s development.

You made a leadership gift to The SPARK Campaign this fall, just one year into your Park tenure. What motivated you to step forward so quickly in support of this vision for Park?

Our contribution to The SPARK Campaign was motivated by our trust in the school’s vision and our commitment to an institution that has already significantly contributed to Aria’s development. We view our contribution to SPARK as an investment in our children’s future.

Is there a project within SPARK that is most exciting to you?

We are particularly excited about the newly renovated academic spaces that focus on student-centered learning. We toured the new collaboration spaces in the upper division, the STEAM corridor, and the Maker Wing and are impressed with the results so far. We believe these new additions will build a stronger community and promote learning for all students at Park. As a family that values curiosity, lifelong learning, and problem-solving, we are thrilled to see how the school will expand these areas and foster a generation of creative thinkers.

Park’s culture of philanthropy is rooted in community and collective impact, and we hope every family will participate in a way that is personally meaningful. If you were encouraging a friend to support SPARK, what would you say to them?

The impact of giving to Park is unparalleled. The SPARK Campaign is truly a community effort and every contribution, no matter its size, helps to further Park’s mission of providing a robust, inclusive, and high-quality education for all students. It’s an opportunity to invest in our children’s future and those who come after. We believe in Park’s mission and trust the school as a partner in our children’s upbringing.

In many ways, you are just beginning your Park journey with Aria completing her Kindergarten year this June, Lianna joining PreK next year, and baby Skylar at home. With many years to come at Park, what is your hope for the School’s future? 

Our hope for Park’s future is that it continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of its students while remaining dedicated to its mission and core values.

Our children, Aria, Lianna, Skylar, and their peers, will grow up in a world vastly different from the one we grew up in. We grew up in an educational system centered around how well one could memorize multiplication tables, but the future will likely require a shift from rote memorization to a deeper understanding of how things work.

The social-emotional learning skills and character development nurtured at Park will enable our children to establish meaningful relationships, understand the perspectives of others, and interact effectively within their community. In an era where artificial intelligence and other technological advancements are continuously reshaping our world, these human-centric skills are becoming increasingly essential. Future success will require not just academic achievement, but also the development of the whole child including their moral compass, their communication skills, and their ability to be compassionate collaborators. Moreover, Aria and Lianna have different personalities, and so we value Park’s emphasis on adapting to the unique needs of each child so all students can reach their full potential.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We look forward to the ongoing development of the school’s STEAM programs, increased diversity, and the maintenance of a nurturing environment where children can explore, learn, and grow at their own pace. The core values of lifelong learning and curiosity, championed by Park, will prepare our children for an ever-changing future. Cultivating curiosity instills an insatiable thirst for knowledge and understanding later in life, traits that are invaluable in their life-long journey of learning. We’re excited to see how Park will continue to develop and instill these values in our children in the years to come.