The LoPintos: An ACS Forever Family
You could say that the difference between a 2-3 year assignment and staying on for 23 might only be a hyphen, but more than two decades in England living as American expatriates sets the LoPintos apart from most come-and-go ACS families.
Anthony “Tony” and Nancy LoPinto moved to the UK in 1987 with their two then school-age children, Melissa and Edward. Tony was asked to assist with establishing a London office for his New York-based engineering firm, all initially linked to the Broadgate Development at Liverpool Street Station.
The LoPintos chose to settle in Cobham that year and found it very much to their liking, with Melissa and Edward enjoying most of their formal schooling at ACS. Tony reflects on that experience, “When we think back to the education our children received, we have nothing but praise for the quality and dedication of the teachers who encouraged and challenged them to learn how to learn. The educational foundation provided by ACS prepared our daughter and son well for the challenges they faced when they attended Cornell University and Colgate University, respectively.”
Nancy definitely agrees these years were among the family’s best. Like so many ACSers, the LoPintos invested themselves in the school community. Nancy explains, “Our children took part in drama, band, sports, and Scouts, as well as their classes with children from other countries and cultures, broadening their outlooks on life. My husband and I became active in Scouting and on the PTO, as well as other school sponsored activities, where we made lifelong friends. Being at ACS for so many years we grew very much at home in our little corner of England, and living in a country other than our own expanded our horizons in so many ways. But above all, we will never experience again the feeling of family and community that we felt when we were part of ACS.”
First and foremost, ACS strives to prepare its students for what comes next. For first born Melissa LoPinto that proved to be the life of a surgeon. For her brother Edward, it means now working as a software developer for a New York tech start-up. Both say ACS afforded experiences they’d never have enjoyed if they remained in the States. And both were definitely ready for the academic rigors of university and for life after leaving formal learning. Melissa explains, “Not long after I started at Cornell, the Cobham high school principal asked me a similar question about how well prepared I was then. I remember being 19 or 20 and pondering how to answer the question. I felt that ACS prepared me exceptionally well academically. I had a good knowledge base, strong critical thinking skills, diligent study habits; but that felt like only a portion of what I needed for success. What I realized years later is that I was prepared with a much more well-rounded skill set. At 20, I didn’t have the experience to realize it.
"ACS gave me a framework to negotiate the unexpected, to adapt, grow and learn from challenges both academic and non-academic. The international learning environment helped with my career in medicine by nurturing skills to facilitate understanding and relationships between diverse groups of individuals."
- Melissa LoPinto, M.D
Like his older sister, Edward LoPintos' thankful for his many years at ACS. He started there at age four and stayed through to high school graduation. Our Cobham school was an extension of Edward’s home life, a place where his childhood was well enjoyed. He fondly remembers many teachers and lessons learned along the way, but describes the overall experience so, “ACS also provided me with formative experiences outside of the classroom, which were just as important as anything I learned in the classroom. In addition to participating in a variety of extra-curricular activities, I made friends from all over the world, and learned to appreciate a variety of cultures. I’ll always remember International Night, where families from around the world brought food from their home countries. Some of the experiences ACS offered were truly unique, like the trip my tenth grade class took to the World War I trenches at Ypres, and the yearly week-long trips we took in middle school, which gave us a chance to see different parts of the country, from the Isle of Wight to Stratford-upon-Avon. ACS also offered me the chance to spend a summer in Namibia, which remains one of the most important experiences of my life.”
With countless school-volunteering opportunities behind them, two children very successfully launched, and many years of paying ACS’s fees behind them, you might have thought Tony and Nancy LoPinto had done their part, ready to move on. Not completely. Tony explains how he stepped up again to do his part, “In 2007, when I was asked to serve as a Trustee of the ACS Foundation I felt honored to be given an opportunity to give a little of my time to assist the Foundation with its charitable work and to maintain a connection to ACS which had been part of my family for 17 years.”
Today, Tony and Nancy split their time between New York City and coastal North Carolina, where Tony keeps Annalena, his 37’sloop built by Malo Yachts in Kungsviken Sweden. Both attended last October’s ACS International Schools in America Directors-hosted dinner at the Princeton Club of New York where they learned more about and expressed further interest in ACS’s all scholarship British Studies Summer Program, a two-week summer travel-study experience giving academically able and deserving young people a sampling of what their children enjoyed. And for their continuing interest in and support of ACS our community’s forever grateful.