Page 1

Avonian The

Fall 2009

Giving Back:

Community Service at Avon Old Farms School

Avon Old Farms School Headmaster Kenneth H. LaRocque

Provost John T. Gardner

Editor Morgan C. Cugell




Peter Evans

Communications Director Timothy Stay ’97

Designer Good Design, LLC

Alumni Notes Lizabeth Abramson

Photographers Peter Deckers ’90 Jonathan Lester ’63 Spencer Sloan Timothy Stay ’97

Printer Lithographics, Inc., Farmington, CT

Contributors Thanks to everyone who contributed to this magazine. Special thanks to Lizabeth Abramson, Ann Beloin, Cheryl Benoit, Graham Callaghan ’95, Heather Callaghan, Chris Canning ’07, Brian Cugell, Peter Evans, Susan Haile, Carol Ketcham, Tae Wan Kwon ’10, Ken LaRocque, Robyn Nentwig, Dan Seiden ’00, Tim Stay ’97, and Christine Walder. The Avonian is published for the alumni, parents, and friends of Avon Old Farms School. It is distributed to approximately 8,000 readers. All rights reserved.

Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Road Avon, CT 06001 (860) 404-4100

Admissions (800) 464-2866

Alumni We enjoy hearing from you! Please send us your latest news and notes: Email: Phone: (800) 336-8195 Fax: (860) 675-7135

Email Members of the administration and faculty can be emailed by using the following formula: last name + first initial The directory on the school website also includes email links.

“The Tree of Origins,” by Gi Hoon Song ’10. This piece was featured in the Commencement Art Show last spring. To view more student artwork, please visit to download the August 2009 issue of The Village Green, which featured coverage of the Commencement Art Show and many other exciting year-end events.

Avon Old Farms School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, disabilities, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school administered programs.

Features 12 Giving Back: Community Service at Avon Old Farms School by Morgan C. Cugell


28 Dan Carpenter ’72 by Dan Seiden ’00 with Dan Carpenter ’72 44 The Last Word: “What Will Matter” by Michael Josephson


Spotlights 8

Athletic Spotlight: Connor Mooney ’10 by Morgan C. Cugell

20 Faculty Focus: Michael Stradley, In Memoriam by Morgan C. Cugell


24 Student Spotlight: Benjamin LaRocque ’10 by Morgan C. Cugell

Departments p24

2 4 8 26 28 32

Headmaster Village Green Athletics The Elephant Remembers Alumni Class Notes


Letter From the Editor Dear Readers, Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful summer. Mine was particularly exciting: I got married, as you might note from the new last name in the signature to this letter, to AOF foreign language and history faculty member Brian Cugell. I hope that your summer vacations were equally exciting and joyous! I also hope that you got the chance to take a look at The Village Green, the online-only supplement to The Avonian that was released this past August. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can still catch up on all the goings-on from the end of the last school year, which you won’t see in this current publication, at avonian. That web page will also feature downloadable copies of current and past issues of the full-size magazine. Autumn at Avon Old Farms School is always beautiful, and this year is no exception. We’re enjoying our flourishing athletics and arts programs, and it seems the boys are finally back in the swing of things. Our community service program also continues to thrive, and for this reason, we’ve chosen Avon Outreach as the theme of this fall’s Avonian. The articles and interviews provide a great look at all that our young men contribute to the community, and all of the opportunities available to them. As always, I welcome your feedback! Aspirando et perseverando, Morgan C. Cugell 860-404-4239

Cover Photo: In the Founder’s Era, community service at Avon Old Farms School meant helping out around campus (see The Elephant Remembers, pages 26–27). Here, boys are learning how to fix a tractor at the garages, located in what is now Brown House dormitory.

FPO—Insert FSC logo



The 2009–2010 school year is off to a wonderful start in the Village of Old Farms. We opened school with 407 young men who come to us from 24 states and 21 countries, which include 24 sets of brothers and 89 legacies, as well as outstanding scholars, talented athletes, and creative artists. We are proud of our 69 international students, 43 students of color, and 144 new students. Avon Old Farms School is a community of rich diversity, which provides our students the opportunity to prepare themselves for life in our global village, which is the world in which they will work and live. Joining together in daily life, both in and out of the classroom, our students learn to appreciate each other’s differences and understand the power in embracing them as assets rather than as liabilities. In the Village of Old Farms, cultural stereotypes are exploded and the bonds of brotherhood and humanity flourish and grow strong. I hope that you enjoy the format of this fall issue of The Avonian, knowing that we covered many important year-end events in our newest publication, The Village Green (www., an online-only supplement to



by Kenneth H. LaRocque

The Avonian. Bringing you news and photographs of Alumni Weekend, Commencement, spring sports, Grandparents Day, and the Blue Blazer Ball in a more timely manner is a positive change that we hope you appreciate and take the time to read online. A service to celebrate and remember Michael Stradley took place this past September 12th in the Susan Casey Brown Auditorium. Michael, a beloved faculty member, lost a battle with pancreatic cancer on August eighth. He taught mathematics and was the champion of sustainability on campus. We are a member of the Green Schools Alliance, a coalition of schools across this country and the world committed to drastically reducing energy consumption and waste, and to implementing comprehensive sustainability programs on campus. Michael was the driving force in Avon Old Farms joining this alliance and he will continue to be an inspiration for our community as we work towards our goals in this important area of school life. The most visible symbol of Mike’s passionate pursuit of sustainability on campus is our solar array, which is located

“We believe that good men embrace altruism as they

sTRiVE FOR EXcEllEncE in THEiR liVEs.”


Fall 2009 The Avonian


on the roof of our hockey rink overlooking the rink parking lot. This is an impressive structure which is the largest solar array of any private educational institution in New England. I encourage you to visit our website and click on the “solar array data� link to view information on our array, including how much energy is being produced at any given time, how much energy has been produced since the array has been operational, and how many pounds of greenhouse gases are not being emitted because we are producing solar energy. We dedicated this array on October 16th and among the dignitaries present were Senator Chris Dodd and Norma Glover of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund. The feature article in this issue of The Avonian focuses on community service at school. In my 12 years as headmaster, no achievement has been more rewarding for me, or more important for our school, than the growth of community service. At Avon we define our core value of altruism as having an unselfish concern for the needs of others, and we believe that good men embrace altruism as they strive for excellence in their lives. Avon Outreach, ably led by Director of Community Service Heather Callaghan, is our flagship community service organization and it encompasses several smaller service groups including Habitat for Humanity, Aphaeresis, Gifts of Love, and the Special Olympics. Avon Outreach also sponsors programs that travel to soup kitchens in Hartford to serve meals to the homeless, to Avon Health Center to interact with elderly citizens, and to various theme walks such as the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation Walk (JDRF) and the Multiple Sclerosis Walk (MS.) The vast majority of our students and faculty participate enthusiastically in community service endeavors throughout the year. Each year several alumni and parents bring me the idea of initiating a community service graduation requirement at school, and we resist this idea as we believe that community service flourishes here because it has become an important ideal within our school culture that emanates from our spirit of caring, instead of being another requirement

handed down from the school administration. Our students approach community service enthusiastically, striving for excellence, rather than approaching it grudgingly, simply trying to fulfill a requirement. Like all schools, Avon Old Farms is operating this year with considerable concern about the H1N1 virus. Our residential nature and the diverse demographics of our student body combine to heighten our concern. We are encouraging our students to practice good hygiene. Washing hands frequently and avoiding sharing water bottles, cell phones, and other personal items are recommendations that we have emphasized since the first day of school. In addition, we will isolate individuals who contract the flu virus by asking their parents to bring them home if at all possible. Of course, we will offer the appropriate vaccine when it is available to us. Gratefully, this strain of the flu has not been as virulent as we have seen in the past and we are hoping that its impact will not be significant here. In closing, I want to thank all members of the Old Farms family for your continuing and strong support of our school. From encouraging appropriate admission candidates to consider us, to contributing to our annual and capital campaigns, to attending Avon area receptions, to supporting our teams and programs, you help us to achieve our mission and to serve our students and school. Thank you for all you do and rest assured that Avonians honor your support by extending themselves fully in pursuit of excellence each and every day. X

We’d like to hear from you! Do you have any special Avon anecdotes? Memories of your time at the Farm? Please send in any thoughts on your Avon experience for possible inclusion in future publications.

The Avonian Fall 2009


Avon old FArms school goes green Avon Old Farms School is leading the sustainability charge among private schools in New England. As a member of the Green Schools Alliance, a group of schools, worldwide, dedicated to taking action on climate change and the environment, Avon has committed itself to educating students about the importance of sustainability, in addition to implementing valuable changes in its energy usage in an effort to be more environmentally aware and make a difference. In other words, Avon’s going Green. Joining the Green Schools Alliance at the Climate Steward Level, Avon has conducted an energy audit and

created a comprehensive action plan, and will next look to calculate its carbon footprint in the hopes of reducing it over time. The school has organized a sustainability task force, and will track and share its progress. Last spring, the sustainability team presented to the Board of Directors its commitment to promoting and practicing sustainability in all aspects of school life. Included in the plan are energy conservation and efficiency; the production of renewable energy; implementation of a better recycling system; fund raising; and perhaps most importantly, a culture change in the community’s environmental awareness.




Fall 2009 The Avonian

Avon has already begun to implement change on campus; last year, students made regular weekend recycling runs, while this year the school has made the switch to singlestream recycling. This system is more convenient—therefore encouraging more recycling—as it allows for the collecting of all recyclable materials in one receptacle, rather than having to be sorted into different groups, which is done by the vendor who picks up the receptacle. The School’s existing recycling program is a comprehensive one, and in addition to paper, metal, and plastics, also accepts electronics, light bulbs, batteries, printer cartridges,

Village Green

cell phones, and other materials students might have difficulty recycling on their own. Also in place are organic lawn and field care, and the usage of “green” cleaning supplies. Tray-less dining, the elimination of paper take-out products, and a modification in cooking oil have led the movement toward sustainable dining service, and students have reduced the amount of food waste produced in the Refectory. Office paper has been reduced and building heating has been modified, in addition to reduced usage of electricity in the Brown Student Center and Field House and the Beatson Performing Arts Center, all of which, at full production, are highly demanding of energy usage. Also being explored are the possibilities of wind energy, geothermal heating and cooling, cogeneration, organic gardening, hydro energy from Beaver Pond, and composting. Director of Community Service Heather Callaghan has accepted the role of sustainability coordinator, and has formed a committee designed to pursue future sustainability initiatives. The committee will continue to raise awareness and educate the AOF students and faculty members about how to implement sustainability in their own lives and on campus, with weekly conservation tips; student and faculty workshops; visiting

speakers; Earth Day celebrations; a recycled-material art contest; dorm competitions; and faculty incentives for more conservative electricity use and better recycling. One of the most noticeable, immediate changes evident on campus was the summer installation of the 672-panel solar array covering almost the entire south roof of the Jennings Fairchild hockey rink. Dedicated on October 16th, it is the largest array of its kind of any private educational institution in all of New England. The 205 kW array is capable of saving an estimated $250,000 in electricity costs per year. It is expected to support the majority of the school’s electrical needs on the core campus, which includes the Quadrangle buildings, the Beatson Performing Arts Center, the Brown Student Center, the Athletic Complex & Field House, the Ordway Science & Technology Center, and the Aron Academic Center. In addition, the use of this renewable energy source allows the School to avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equal to over 80,000 pounds of CO2 per year, almost equal to GHG emissions from seven passenger vehicles or about 4,000 gallons of gasoline consumed per year (see RDEE/energy-resources/calculator. html). To view real-time solar array data, please visit the Avon Old Farms School website. X


1. An aerial view of the solar panels installed atop Jennings Fairchild rink 2. visit to view data tracking the solar array’s energy production. 3. Sustainability Coordinator heather Callaghan

The Avonian Fall 2009


The Visiting Author Program: buZZ bissinger And FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS On Thursday, September 24, Avon Old Farms School welcomed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger to campus for the seventh installment of the annual Visiting Author program. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream was a summer reading requirement for Avon students; the New York Times Book Review rates the book as “a biting indictment of the sports craziness that grips…most of American society, while at the same time providing a moving evocation of its powerful allure.” Friday Night Lights was adapted


Fall 2009 The Avonian

fielded questions from a student panel moderated by faculty member Erik Playe. He also attended classes, signed books in Baxter library, and ate lunch in the Refectory with the students. For more information about Buzz Bissinger, please visit X into a major motion picture in 2004, and the book has also since spawned a critically acclaimed drama series airing weekly on NBC. The Visiting Author Program, supported by the Parents’ Association’s Student Enrichment Fund, aims to “bring summer reading to life.” Bissinger spoke at length about the personal and societal advantages of both education and athletics, but warned students about the dangers of investing themselves solely in sports. In addition to his presentation, Bissinger also

Village Green meet mAtt coZ Matt Coz ’10, from Suffield, Connecticut, is completing his fourth year at Avon as the 2009-2010 school Warden. As a devoted member of the student body, Matt is involved in three sports: varsity cross country, varsity wrestling (he’s a team captain), and baseball. He is a member of the Environmental Club, Amnesty International, Avon Outreach, and Peer Tutoring. He is also a monitor in Elephant dormitory.

Matt has been a part of Avon’s Student Council for the past two years. He saw running for Warden as an opportunity to lead his friends and classmates. While he understands the value of Avon’s long-lasting traditions, he has important goals for himself and for the School. Most importantly, Matt believes “we shouldn’t look to change what Avon does to us, but rather what we do to Avon.” He hopes to improve school spirit as well as students’ sustainability, focusing on making Avon a “greener” place. He also plans to maintain the

ongoing success of Toys for Tots. “I am most looking forward to creating a school where everyone is involved in as many ways as possible,” notes Matt, who feels that the students’ balance of academics, sports, clubs, and other activities is an essential factor to the School’s success. Matt wants to maintain Avon’s diversity, having his classmates thrive in all aspects of the community from their studies and sports to music and community service. “I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get accomplished this year.” X

2009–2010 FAculty Additions KAthleen bArZun,

AleXAnder J. hoermAn,

English Trinity College, B.A., M.A.

drew w. tAnZosh, Mathematics Saint Vincent College, B.S. George Washington University, M.Ed.

Mathematics Williams College, B.A.

dAniel A. cooPer,

FrAncis P. Johnson,

Mathematics University of New Hampshire, B.A.

History Yale University, B.A.

dr. henry ‘sKiP’ FlAnAgAn Jr.,

JAmes w. KAssel,

AmAndA b. trAmont, Foreign Language Trinity College, B.A.

connor F. wells ’05,

Woodworking/ Graphic Design

Development, Admissions, College Counseling Rutgers University, B.A.; Harvard University, M.Ed.; Michigan University, Ph.D.

nAthAniel e. newburg, Mathematics, Science Williams College, B.A.

Science Trinity College, B.S.

bryAn l. ZAros, Performing Arts Westminster Choir College, B.M. University of Michigan, M.M.

The Avonian Fall 2009


Athletics briAn leetch ’86 enters nhl hocKey hAll oF FAme Brian Leetch ’86 was recently elected on the first ballot to the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2009. Brian joins inductees Brett Hull, Steve Yzerman, and Luc Robitaille, along with New Jersey Devils President, CEO and GM Lou Lamoriello, who was elected in the Builder category. The Hockey Hall of Fame, located in Toronto, held its induction ceremonies November 6th through November 9th. Brian is a three-time ice hockey Olympian, twice captaining Team USA; winner of the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 1989; the Norris Trophy winner, twice, as the NHL’s

Athletic sPotlight: connor Although Connor Mooney ’10 might have his hands full with Avon Outreach, his role as head dormitory monitor in Elephant 3, and his schoolwork (he’s a Dean’s List student), it’s his dedication to athletics that he cites as his most defining experience at Avon Old Farms School. Connor will captain three varsity sports his senior year: soccer, basketball, and


Fall 2009 The Avonian

top defenseman; and recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoff MVP, after leading the New York Rangers to the Stanley Cup in 1994. Often referred to as the best-ever American-born hockey player, Brian was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008, and his No. 2 was retired by the Rangers last year. Brian’s induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto is a crowning achievement and a testament to the enormous impact he has made in the world of hockey. Brian is also a member of the Avon Old Farms School Athletic Hall of Fame; he was inducted in 2004.

mooney ’10

lacrosse. Last year, he was awarded the Jennings Cup, a prize which goes to the top underclass athlete. He was also named co-MVP of the lacrosse team and Most Improved on the basketball team last year. “I can’t wait for my senior year of athletics to start,” Connor said, noting that he particularly enjoys the sense of school spirit and pride at Avon, especially “when the whole school comes to watch our games— there’s nothing like it.” This year, Connor hopes to win New England Championship titles in soccer and basketball, and hopes to have a

standout year on the lacrosse field, where he is a star on attack. Originally from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, Connor has committed to play Division I lacrosse at the University of Massachusetts next year, with a possible major in exercise science.

Athletics sAturdAy night lights

Coach’s Corner

The varsity football team traveled to Salisbury School on Saturday, October 3, for the first of two exciting night games this season. Despite the cold and rain, the football team prevailed on Salisbury’s turf in front of 300 enthusiastic Avon fans, beating the Crimson Knights 26–24.

whAt’s so sPeciAl?

By Skip Flanagan Head coach, varsity lacrosse Like it or not, when it comes to most sports, we have become a society that values specialization. The athletic landscape, even when one considers youth sports, is replete with advocates of the 12-month approach to singlesport participation. Easy to discern, most sports have gradually evolved into activities that may well consume the entirety of a fall, winter, spring and summer calendar. Considering recruiting camps, showcase events, and any number of out-of-season tournaments on the agenda, young student-athletes can become consumed in a manner that has been unheard of in recent decades. Advocates of this approach argue that unless this path is followed, the ultimate goal of participation at the college level or beyond will be unattainable and related scholarship opportunities out of the question. In response to what might be considered unfounded speculation, I thought it best to test this theory by picking up the phone and asking a dozen coaches that have become close friends and associates over the past four decades (I’m old) their thoughts regarding this notion of athletic specialization…so veteran mentors all over the country were contacted. Here’s what I discovered: out of the coaches with whom I spoke, there was not one who was positive about the single-sport athlete! Their preference would be a team full of players who had had the advantage of perhaps starring in one sport, while playing a supportive role in another. “Superstars are wonderful,” said one longstanding Division I coach, “as long as they put the team first.” Another ACC mentor went so far as to comment, “Give me an athlete who has proven his worth in multiple sports. That’s the kind of candidate we seek. If he’s a good athlete, we’ll find him.” Enough said!

Turning back the clock…

James robbins ’30, kicking off. The Avonian Fall 2009




Fall 2009 The Avonian


F A l l 2009

The Avonian Fall 2009





Community Service at Avon Old Farms School By Morgan C. Cugell


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Community service has long been praised for its ability to make a positive impact on the lives of high school students. Adolescents who might only have been seeking to fulfill a school or church requirement are met with a startling new awareness of the world around them, and of the importance of giving back. At Avon Old Farms School, community service involvement gives students the opportunity not only to help, but also to discover the humbling difference that one person can make in the life of someone less fortunate. It paves the way for young boys to truly become Men of Avon, who enter the world armed with perspective, gratitude, and the realization that they can make a real difference through simple acts of kindness. Through cooking meals and serving them to the homeless. Through buying clothes and toys for children who otherwise wouldn’t have any presents to open on Christmas morning. Through donating blood platelets for people with immune deficiencies. Through walking laps around a stadium to raise money for juvenile diabetes research. Through nailing up a wall to help build someone a home. The next eight pages will introduce you to just a few of the many ongoing community service projects at Avon Old Farms School, and to all the members of the Avon community who are helping to make a difference.

The Avonian Fall 2009




Avon Outreach is the school’s community service organization. With more than 75 student members, the club is run by Director of Community Service Heather Callaghan, who founded the group in 2005 as an extension of the community service club that already existed on campus. Focusing on more than solely raising funds, Avon Outreach seeks to provide hands-on help to organizations on both a local and global scale, in addition to working to better the AOF community itself. Throughout the school year, Avon Outreach provides opportunities for students to do community service both on and off campus. Although there is not a community service graduation requirement at Avon, all students are strongly encouraged to participate in some type of community service every year. It is estimated that over 75 percent of the student body participates in at least one Avon Outreach event each year. Students who accumulate more than 20 hours of community service during the year are awarded a community service rosette at the end of the year. Avon Outreach encompasses six different community service clubs that meet regularly throughout the year: Habitat for Humanity, Soup Kitchen, Aphaeresis, Gifts of Love, Special Olympics, and Avon Heath Center. Additionally, Avon Outreach sponsors many different miscellaneous events and community service opportunities annually, including a Walk for Juvenile Diabetes, a Walk for Multiple Sclerosis, an annual Toys for Tots drive, the Empty Bowls project with the Ethel Walker School, and several fundraisers, such as Lee Denim Day in support of breast cancer research, a chili cook-off in support of juvenile diabetes research, and a donut drive to support AOF’s Habitat for Humanity house. Avon students can sign up for events or find more information about community service opportunities available to them at the Clubhouse on campus. 14

Fall 2009 The Avonian

Chris Canning ’07 When Chris Canning ’07 graduated from Avon Old Farms School, he was already well versed in the ways of community service and its benefits. As a student, he was involved in many different programs, but cites his spring break trips to Ecuador during his junior and senior years as the most defining of all his community service experiences at Avon, and the catalyst to his current dedication to helping others. The Ecuador trips, led by Travis Merritt ’93 (see page 19) as part of the Perspectives International program, put Chris in San Pablo, a small coastal town, where he worked on projects that included constructing a soccer field, rebuilding a communal gazebo, teaching English classes, building protective fences around residential properties, and general maintenance of the community. Chris has returned to Ecuador several times since his spring break trips to continue to work with the community. After graduating, Chris took a year off to “travel, live, and learn. It gave me some time to cleanse my body, mind, and soul after a grueling four years at AOF.” His travels brought him to Panama, where he spent a month working at an all-boys’ orphanage, teaching English and giving swimming lessons. In exchange for his work, he was provided room and board and all of his meals, which he ate with the children. Chris, who was a standout swimmer while at Avon, enjoyed sharing his passion with the children at the orphanage while teaching them how to swim, but noticed that their pool was slowly becoming unusable due to lack of funding. When he returned home to Farmington,

Connecticut, he organized a swim-a-thon to raise money to improve the pool at the orphanage. The “Panama Pool Project” raised more than $5000, from 73 participants who swam laps for the cause, as well as from donations from local businesses. The money went to the orphanage to buy new chemicals to keep the pool cleaner, and to build a small awning area with a bench to provide shade for adult supervisors, many of whom, prior to the awning’s construction, weren’t bringing the children to swim simply because they couldn’t tolerate the heat. Chris began his sophomore year at Oberlin College this past fall, where he will swim on the varsity swim team for a second year, as well as participate in a steel drum band called OSteel. He is also a member of OSwing, the swing club at Oberlin. Chris is pursuing a double major in environmental studies and biology, and hopes to one day end up working on developing alternative energy in America.

Meet the 2009–2010 Avon Outreach

team leaders

Durst Breneiser ’11

Benjamin Williams ’10

Anthony Springer ’10

Benjamin LaRocque ’10

Cael Brockmeyer ’10

Kevin Lin ’10

Director of Community Service Heather Callaghan The Avonian Fall 2009


Habitat for Humanity Students who participate in Habitat for Humanity meet on Saturday mornings throughout the year, traveling to Hartford to work on home construction. Students must be at least 16 years of age in order to participate, as per Habitat for Humanity’s regulations. Every year, Avon Old Farms School also chooses a particular house in the local area to sponsor, and makes frequent, sizeable donations toward the house throughout the year using proceeds from campus fundraising. Avon students are also offered the opportunity to go on week-long Habitat for Humanity trips during the March break with students from other local schools. Most recently, groups have traveled to North Carolina, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.

Gifts of Love Gifts of Love is a United Way organization, which serves local families who are facing a short-term crisis in their lives but do not qualify for government support. Gifts of Love accepts many different types of donations such as food, clothing, linens, and other household items. Students at Avon organize regular food and clothing drives to help gather appropriate items to donate. 16

Fall 2009 The Avonian

Soup Kitchen Once a month on Friday evenings, a small group of boys from AOF travels to Miss Porter’s School to help cook dinner and dessert for the Immaculate Conception Shelter in Hartford. The following evening, another group of boys and girls travels into Hartford to serve the meal at a shelter that serves the more than 90 homeless men living in the downtown Hartford area. A lot of fun is had by all in the senior kitchen at Miss Porter’s School on Friday nights, as the boys and girls mix up cookie dough or put together a baked ziti for dinner the following evening. The Saturday evening trips into Hartford are an eye-opening experience for anyone who participates and witnesses the extent of the homelessness problem right in our own community. Many students find this a very powerful experience and oftentimes participate more than once throughout the year; it’s a great opportunity for boys and girls to work together in order to make a difference in our community.

Special Olympics Sports Avon Old Farms School students participate in several different programs each season in support of Special Olympics Sports. In the fall, Avon hosts a Unified Sports Indoor Soccer Tournament; unified sports teams from local high schools travel to AOF to participate in the tournament and enjoy a fun day of soccer, with Avon Outreach and soccer team volunteers as referees and timekeepers. AOF also participates in the Connecticut Chasers program, an ice hockey team for children with learning disabilities. A small group of AOF students hits the ice with the Connecticut Chasers to help teach the concepts of hockey to the members of the team. Also in the fall, AOF student volunteers practice basketball with four Special Olympics teams who are practicing for a state-wide tournament in late November. And in the spring, students volunteer their time once a week helping local participants practice soccer skills in preparation for a local Special Olympics soccer tournament.

The Avonian Fall 2009


Avon Health Center One Sunday every month, a small group of students travels five minutes down the road to the Avon Health Center to spend some quality time with the elderly. For an hour, the students participate in a recreational activity that is planned by the Avon Health Center staff. Some days the students play BINGO with the residents, and other days they help them with a craft. The residents of the Avon Health Center love their visits with the boys; the young faces and the energy that they bring to the center are very much appreciated. BINGO

Aphaeresis The Avon Old Farms blood donation club visits the Greater Hartford Chapter of the Red Cross, in nearby Farmington, once a month to participate in aphaeresis. Aphaeresis is the process of extracting blood platelets, to be used to help patients with immune deficiencies and who regularly require blood transfusions. Students must be at least 17 years of age to volunteer. The process takes about two hours, during which blood is extracted from one arm and put through a machine that separates the red blood from the platelets, and then pumps the red blood back into the other arm. Additionally, a school-wide blood drive occurs on campus each spring.


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Catching up with

TRaVis mERRiTT ’93

If you ask him, Travis Merritt ’93 will say that he doesn’t do nearly enough community service. The people in the village of San Pablo, Ecuador, where Travis travels once a year, would probably disagree. Since 2004, Travis has been traveling to Ecuador with groups of Avon students as part of his Perspectives International program, which was born out of a 2002 father-son community service bonding trip. “We felt that the work we were doing was good,” Travis explains, “but that we were building a house, then leaving, and just hoping the family would succeed. We wanted to go back and focus on something more long term, to actually see if the work that we were doing was going to make a difference. We just got inspired to stay with it.” Now about to embark upon its sixth annual trip, the group spends a week in the village of San Pablo, which the organization has been building from the ground up since the inaugural trip in 2004. What began as physical improvement to the town has evolved into social and economic development: the group now aims to get children more involved in education and social programs, to implement job training for adults, and to give agricultural lessons to teach the people of the village how to work a farm and grow crops. “The whole encompassing philosophy is to do a week of service, a week of cultural

immersion, a week of adventure travel,” Travis explains. “Through that, you gain a perspective on the world around you. You have to get involved with the people of the community, and you have to give back to the community, and the reality is that you have to have fun and see the adventure in all of it if you want to get the most out of it.” Travis also cites the relationships he and the students develop with the people of the village as paramount to why they keep going back. For some, the reward of maintaining communication with the people whose lives they’ve impacted helps overcome the challenge of not seeing change overnight. Regardless of that difficulty, Travis believes people dedicate themselves to helping out in one way or another because it offers unparalleled perspective. “Anyone on any economic level can do service and find something rewarding about it,” notes Travis. “They’ll realize what they’re blessed with and look at things in a different way to feel blessed about what they have. You gain a perspective on what it is you have available to you.” Travis has come to embrace community service on both a global and local scale as a way to broaden horizons and encourage personal growth. But he’s also quick to point out that “for as much as I’ve committed, there’s a lot more that I feel like I need to do.”

The Avonian Fall 2009


In Memoriam: Michael W. Stradley August 9, 1946–August 8, 2009


Michael Stradley was a part of the solution. He was a man who believed that the world was filled with two types of people: those who were part of the problem, and those who tried to be a part of the solution. He believed in the power of giving back as the pathway to that solution; no matter the cause to which he had dedicated himself, his approach never faltered, and he spoke often of the importance of “the little things” in making a difference. After a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer, he leaves behind Janet, his wife of 41 years, and their sons, Daniel and Doug ’92, but he also leaves behind his passions, projects, and unique perspective on life, which speak volumes about his dedication to helping others, and will honor his memory for years to come. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Mike grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and attended the University of Rochester, where he met Janet. He graduated in 1968, receiving both his B.A. and a commission in the U.S. Navy. After leaving the Navy in 1972, he attended Oregon State University, from which he received a master of science degree in environmental engineering in 1974. Mike and his family moved to Avon in 1976, and in 1978 he earned certification as a registered professional engineer in the state of Connecticut. He worked in the private sector until 1999. In 2001, Mike joined Avon’s mathematics department, teaching algebra 2, probabilities and statistics, and advanced math. Additionally, at the start of the 2008-09 school year, he assumed the role of sustainability coordinator, allowing Avon to capitalize on one of Mike’s biggest lifelong passions. Those around him felt that Mike discovered his true calling at Avon. “He decided to dive into what he considered to be the solution to so many of our planet’s problems: education,” his son, Doug, recalled in the speech he delivered at Mike’s Celebration of Life Service on September 12th (see inset). “He developed a great respect for teaching, considering it the most noble of professions… Effort and the pursuit of knowledge were rewarded more than innate abilities. He taught problem solving rather than just math. “But he also really felt like he was part of a community


Fall 2009 The Avonian

By Morgan C. Cugell here,” Doug continued. “He enjoyed the interaction with the students and made great friends on the faculty and staff who he respected immensely. This was a place on a hill to him and he was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.” Mike’s wife, Janet, agreed, noting that it was somewhat of a surprise that teaching came to be so defining in his life, since his job at Avon arose out of an informational conversation with the headmaster and the need for a long-term substitute for a teacher who was ill. The decision to “try it out” turned out to be one of the greatest he would ever make. “During the short time after he retired from the corporate world,” Janet recalled, “he made a list of things he might be interested in. Teaching was one of the things on his list.” Also on his list: making wine, leading bike tours, and planting a Christmas tree farm, the latter of which he successfully checked off. For the last several years, Mike donated all of the proceeds from the sale of those trees to the annual Student Council Toys for Tots fundraiser. “He was self-taught,” said Janet, detailing many of the projects Mike undertook over the years. “He’s one of the few that did follow through on things that were important to him, and where he didn’t have enough information, he sought it out. He was very self-motivated.” “On his bookshelf, you could find books on building, wiring, plumbing, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, writing fiction, and solar energy,” explained Doug. “And one shelf down, you’d find books on street fighting, poker, organic gardening, real estate, first aid, and investing. He taught himself about everything that crossed his path.” Particularly fond of computer war games—“twice he went to the National War Games Convention, and won,” said Doug—he even taught himself how to write his own computer game, which he developed, coded, and published in the 1980’s, called “Clear for Action.” Throughout the course of his life, Mike was indeed a “project” sort of guy, many of which Doug spoke about at the

“He was our friend, he was our teacher,

and he will continue to be

OUR INSPIRATION.” –Headmaster Ken LaRocque

Celebration of Life. One such project was the installation of homemade solar panels on the roof of their house in Avon, which ended up producing far too much heat. “It worked,” said Doug. “In fact, it worked too well…The solar panels that we had built were way too powerful for our needs. Then it rained. And we discovered that our efforts to harness the sun’s power completely undermined our attention to properly reroofing the house.” Thankfully for Avon, Mike’s second attempt at a solar array would prove to be much more successful. Mike also undertook the gigantic task of building a vacation home for his family, from the ground up. After several years of vacationing on Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks, at what was formerly Camp Greylock, which Janet attended in her youth, Mike and Janet decided to put down roots there permanently.

“We purchased land and decided on a location for the dwelling,” said Doug, “directly above a slab of bedrock that would require explosives to remove. Architects were not involved. My father crafted his own blueprints for the house with a pencil on a piece of graph paper.” “The granddaddy of all problem-solving opportunities,” the Greylock house design was handed over to a builder who put up just the shell; the Stradley family finished the rest. “I recall camping out in the basement of the unfinished home in December, surrounded by kerosene heaters,” remembered Doug. “My dad would stand in a central location, by his table saw, directing a makeshift construction crew that consisted of his children, his wife, and his friends as we insulated, measured, pounded nails, and slowly brought the house to life. I recall the Rolling Stones always playing in The Avonian Fall 2009


I have observed that the difference between being part of the problem and becoming part of the solution can be very small. “



September 12, 2009:

A Celebration of Life

On Saturday, September 12, Mike Stradley’s family, friends, and former colleagues and students gathered in the Brown Auditorium to share stories and honor his memory in a poignant, beautiful celebration of his life. The Riddlers, whom Mike had enjoyed listening to often during his time at school, opened the service with a performance of “A Song of Peace,” and later sang “Loch Lomond” and “This Little Light of Mine,” accompanied by choral director Bryan Zaros and organist Mercedes Featherston. The emotional tribute to Mike included remarks from Headmaster Ken LaRocque, who spoke of Mike’s desires to “make a difference” when Mike joined the AOF faculty in 2001, as well as from the Reverend Dr. Donald Ketcham, Mike’s pastor and close friend. Mike’s wife, Janet, and son Daniel delivered meaningful readings, while his son Doug ’92 told stories of his father’s intelligence, humor, and commitment as both a father and husband. Several close family friends also offered words of remembrance, and the celebration closed with a group singing of “Men of Avon.” 22

Fall 2009 The Avonian

the background, and that the wood with the most interesting knots had to be saved for the bathroom walls. The house took 10 years to finish. My father could have hired architects and builders to finish it in six months, but that wasn’t how he rolled. I’m glad he didn’t.” Mike was an active man, and outside of the classroom, the avid biker served as advisor to the cycling club. Several years ago, he founded the bicycle shop on campus, where students can bring their bikes to be serviced and repaired for minimal fees, all of which go toward shop upkeep. Mike and Janet enjoyed many outdoor activities together, including bike riding, cross country skiing, and sailing and kayaking on Raquette Lake. Of all his passions, Mike found educating young people to be of paramount importance in helping to one day solve many of the problems in the world. Mike expected his students to take their education seriously, so as to better serve their communities and help implement change. He urged them to have fun and to do what they loved while making a difference—to be a part of the solution. The combination, he believed, was the key to a happy, fulfilled life. “My hope is that you young men of Avon will take the path to becoming well-educated, caring, engaged problem solvers,” he said in his final chapel talk, delivered in 2008. “I can personally assure you that, if you do, you will find that life remains interesting, challenging, and rewarding. You will not be bored. You will feel good about yourself and your life.” His words were reflective of Mahatma Gandhi’s encouragement to “be the change you wish to see in the world,” a statement he emphasized often to his students and emulated in his own life, as well. Most recently, that change came in the form of promoting sustainability on campus. In 2005, he began working with his classes to research the potential for harnessing solar energy at the school; in 2007, he presented to the Board of Directors the idea of installing a solar array on the roof of the Jennings Fairchild Rink. This past summer, that idea finally came to fruition with the installation of the 672-panel array, now the largest array of its kind of any private educational institution in all of New England, capable of saving an estimated $250,000 in electricity costs per year. The solar array went live on August 7th; Mike passed away the following day, having seen one of his greatest professional aspirations come to life. It was dedicated on October 16th, in memory of Mike, whose vision and passion inspired the project. Even after his death, Mike continues to give back to the Avon community. Shortly before his passing, he spoke with Director of

Development Peter Evans about the creation of a sustainability fund. Mike expressed his hopes that any donations that came to the school in his name would be put into the fund and used for future projects promoting sustainability on campus, such as the use of wind power as an energy source, the potential for which Mike had already begun researching. Shortly after Mike’s death, Doug discovered yet another project Mike had been working on: a “Commitment to Sustainability,” which “didn’t focus on any specific recycling programs, or replacing light bulbs across campus,” explained Doug. “It was much simpler than that. It was about just making a commitment to be aware of what the school was consuming and the waste it was creating. It was about making a commitment to learn how to use renewable resources, and to learn how to reduce waste.” He was a firm believer that a person could achieve happiness and fulfillment not through material possessions, but by contributing to a cause. “I will tell you what is fulfilling,” he said in a chapel talk. “Working on interesting, worthwhile things with people you admire and respect.” Mike’s determination to make a difference through any means possible was a message he had hoped to continue to share with all of his students. In an unfinished chapel talk found on Mike’s

“He was a beautiful, brilliant man who

GAVE THIS WORLD FAR MORE THAN HE TOOK FROM IT.” —Doug Stradley ’92 computer shortly after his passing, he wrote, “The world is far from a perfect place, but each one of us needs to strive to make it better, and that will not happen only through the great moral stands we take, but also in all the little things we do and say every day. Young people have a very finely honed sense of right and wrong and fairness. Often, as we get older, our sense of right and wrong gets blurred or blunted. In our world, you have to fight to hold onto your sense of ideals, and not be compromised.” And though his thoughts on the matter will remain unfinished, it is clear that Mike’s mission has already been embraced by the entire school community; his efforts to be a part of the solution have paved the way for future generations to continue the fight. The lives he touched and the difference he made during his short time at Avon Old Farms School will not soon be forgotten. X

The Avonian Fall 2009


Student Spotlight:

Ben LaRocque ’10 By Morgan C. Cugell

Ben LaRocque ’10 grew up on the Avon Old Farms School campus; he is the son of Headmaster Ken LaRocque. For some young men, this might be a challenge to overcome.

Not Ben.

His unique position in the community has perhaps only enhanced his insight into what truly makes an Avonian, and how to take advantage of all the school has to offer. He has developed into one of the school’s finest young men. As the top student in his class each academic year so far, Ben has received class book awards—meaning he earned the highest grade in the class—for English I, II, and III, as well as Geometry, Spanish IV, Ancient History, and AP U.S. History. Last year, he was the recipient of the Hamilton and Harvard Book Prizes, in addition to the Bausch and Lomb Science Award for his achievement in biology, chemistry, and physics. He was recognized with induction into the Cum Laude Society as a junior, an honor reserved for only one student of that grade level each year, and he also received the prestigious Louise B. Adams Award, the highest award to an underclassman, which is presented to a junior for excellence in citizenship and devotion to Old Farms. Ben’s extraordinary achievements extend far beyond


Fall 2009 The Avonian

the classroom; he will captain three varsity teams his senior year—cross country, wrestling, and track and field—and he is a member of the Nimrod Club, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Society of Saint Brendan, the Environmental Club, and Social Activities. He is sports editor of the Avon Record, Avon’s student newspaper, and a co-president of Avon Outreach. While Ben’s many commitments certainly keep him busy, his level of dedication to so many different arenas of school life has undoubtedly contributed to what he feels most proud of in his time as a student: growth. “I’ve developed perspective of the world,” he observes. “Avon has taught me to think, by forcing me to explore the world.” Ben has experienced growth literally, as well, having lived on campus his entire life. He enjoys friendships with Ben Custer ’10, Ben Crocker ’10, and Connor Doyle ’11; they grew up together. “There are very few things that have influenced my development as much as growing up at Avon. It has benefited me in numerous ways,” he notes, also citing the relationships

he’s developed with faculty members who have become friends. “Mr. Bourgault will have been my coach in 10 out of my 12 athletic seasons. As a coach and a friend his mentoring has been, and will doubtlessly continue to be, invaluable to me.” Ben is also close to Mr. Doyle, his advisor each year, saying that “the example he sets every day has constantly encouraged me and taught me how to spend my Avon career.” He is quick to reinforce the value he finds in not just his relationships, but in the mission of the school itself. “I believe the school uniquely reinforces the mission to make a good man,” Ben declares, “and as a result, the students embrace this goal. To be an Avonian means to constantly pursue the goal of becoming a better man.”

It seems that Ben doesn’t have much to complain about when it comes to his Avon experience—and that includes his dad’s job. “I don’t really find there to be any challenges with my dad being headmaster,” comments Ben. “I’m used to it.” Aside from the predictable jabs in jest from his teenage cohorts about perhaps gaining a certain academic advantage when he’s called to the stage to claim one of the many prizes he consistently collects, Ben’s status as the headmaster’s son is inconsequential and secondary to his outstanding academic and athletic achievements and his commitment to community service, and his peers treat him with respect and admiration. He’s just another day boy—who happens to excel at seemingly anything he attempts, and who also happens to live with the headmaster. X

“Avon has taught me to think, by forcing me to explore the world.” The Avonian Fall 2009


Elephant The



t h e

Compiled by Carol Ketcham



rc h i v e s

Clarence Derrick taught at Avon Old Farms in its earliest years, from 1935 to 1941. In 1992, at the age of 80, he set out to record, in detail, facts and miscellany that he had gathered and saved over the years. Limited copies of his little booklet, Recollections of Avon Old Farms School 1935-1941 1935-1941, were printed by the Alumni Department at that time, and his recollections continue to be an invaluable addition to Avon’s archives. “I was the most junior member of the Faculty when I was hired in October of 1935 after school had begun, primarily to live in the section of a dormitory that housed the youngest students, grades seven through nine. The general policy at Avon was that no Faculty live in the dormitories and generally the system worked well. However, experience revealed that student ‘monitors’ did not have the time to give the youngest students the supervision they needed. Since I was available, in addition to this dormitory duty I assisted the School Educational Psychologist, Dr. Frederick Zehrer, in working with a handful of students who had reading problems. I received a salary of $25.00 a month plus room and board. Those were depression years.” Mr. Derrick’s recollections cover all aspects of school life, from organization and architecture to courses of study and comments on ‘progressive education.’ This issue of the Avonian focuses on community service; below is Derrick’s description of community service in the Founder’s Years. This service is all within the campus community. “Community service was a distinctive feature of Avon Old Farms. Boys worked chiefly in the forest, stables,

farm, garage, chicken run, print shop, carpenter shop and the biological and chemical laboratories. All Community Service activities were supervised and directed by ‘professionals.’ After students had spent a minimum time in each of these activities, they could select the one that interested them the most and concentrate on it. Many students acquired experience and interest in areas to which they would otherwise never have been exposed. Some of the ‘professionals’ like Verne Priest, who had been a guide in hunting camps in Maine; Mr. Laneri, a craftsman in woodworking; [and] Mr. Stein, the master printer in charge of an 18th-century hand-printing press, were personalities in themselves.” The beautiful photography on these pages is the work of William Rittase (1887-1968), who was known for his high quality industrial photography commissioned for advertisements and articles. His work was frequently published in Fortune magazine and was featured in a 1930 exhibition considered by many to be the genesis of the Museum of Modern Art. He was considered an important American modernist. The school collection of Rittase photographs is undated, but is clearly circa 1930s. 1. heading off to the woods. 2. In the henhouse. 3. Afternoon grooming chores at the stables on Stony Gutter road, now old Farms road. 2



Fall 2009 The Avonian

4. Woodworking in the Carpenter’s Shop, now the Chapel. 5. Milking and feeding at Subedge barn. 6. Felling a tree in Avon Forest.





The Avonian Fall 2009


Director of Development Peter evans, Dan Carpenter ’72, tim Brechbuehler ’09, Cael Brockmeyer ’09, and Director of Annual Giving Dan Seiden ’00

DAN CARPENTER ’72: Annual Fund All–Star Carpenter Balks on Yankees’ Offer and Instead Hits Grand Slam for Avon By Dan Seiden ’00 with Dan Carpenter ’72 Dan Carpenter is the ultimate team player. Since graduating from Avon Old Farms School in 1972, Dan has led the charge for many important school initiatives, lending his financial support to projects such as the Leavitt-Mendell Day Student Center and the Kron Physics lab, both named for Dan’s favorite teachers. He was also instrumental in funding Avon’s premier Carpenter baseball and soccer fields, named in honor of his father, in 1998. Dan is a generous supporter of student scholarship funds, as well. He is a “big hitter” who consistently comes through in the clutch for Avon. This year, Dan decided to focus his efforts on the Annual Fund, knowing the challenges the School is facing given the recent economy, and hoping to offer a positive contribution that could be used immediately amidst the tough economic environment. Earlier in the year, Dan, a life-long New York Yankees fan, was offered the chance to seize a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to purchase base-line season tickets to the brand new Yankee Stadium. Dan resisted the allure of the famed pinstripes, and chose instead to make a gift of equal value to Avon’s Annual Fund. “I realized how important the Annual Fund is for today’s students and the School as a whole,” Dan commented. “I encourage all alumni, parents, and friends of the School to step up to the plate and give back to Avon, especially at a time when the economy, the market, and charitable donations are all down.” The Yankees’ loss was Avon’s gain: Dan generously donated the cost of his season tickets to the 2008-2009 Annual Fund, making him the largest alumni donor and a member of the Founder’s Guild, Avon’s top leadership giving club, inclusion in which is contingent upon a minimum gift of $25,000. “The needs of the School are way up,” said Dan, “because of investment losses to the School’s Endowment Fund and the ever-increasing cost of


Fall 2009 The Avonian

virtually everything—from gas in the tank to flour in the Refectory. It is incredibly rewarding to know that you have made a difference to the Avon community when it really mattered.” Director of Development Peter Evans stresses the value of contribution to the annual fund, in any denomination. “Home runs win games,” Peter says, noting the importance of lead gifts. “But timely singles and pivotal defensive plays can make a big difference as well. A gift to Avon’s Annual Fund, regardless of its size, is important. It supports our mission in educating boys every day.” Dan’s next move is to establish a scholarship fund named for his class of 1972, and to challenge his brothers, class agents, and fellow alumni to establish scholarship funds named for their class or favorite teacher and see who can raise the most money for future Avon students. Dan feels passionately that his Avon experience and its positive impact truly “saved” his life. A scholarship student himself, he believes that “some debts can never be repaid.” In establishing several different scholarship funds for Avon’s benefit, he hopes to give the same gift he received and to “save” lives, all the while greatly helping Avon. Dan Carpenter may be a New York Yankees fan, but he is surely an all-star when it comes to his pride in Avon Old Farms School. Red Sox Nation take notice: the challenge is on. X

Ito get firsta tried little allowance Riddl money by Society shining shoes, but at a nickel a pair, itgoing, was and slowI found that Ithecould use school mimeograph machine and pay for the paper and pay for the wax stencils, and I think Idon’t even,know I where I got the typewriter but somewhere Itypewriter. got a I gathered the news with


Steve Dyson—Class of 1982


Planned Gift—Bequest

“From my arrival on campus in 1979, I knew that Avon was a special community. Little did I know then that it would provide me with a top-notch education, lifelong friends and a path to achieve many goals; supporting a family, being a coach, owning a company, establishing a philanthropic foundation, and becoming a private pilot. My teachers and coaches sparked my desire to learn and compete at high levels. The Avon community supported me every day back then and it’s our responsibility to give back when time and available funds permit. I recently created a bequest for Avon that will benefit future generations of Avon Old Farms School students. I encourage all alumni, parents, and friends of Avon Old Farms School to consider naming Avon Old Farms School as a beneficiary in their estate plans.”

“Be the Best!”

—Steve Dyson ’82

Left to right Michaela, Michele, Kelly, Steven, Katherine, and Peter Dyson

Avon Old Farms School

Growing Avon’s endowment through planned gifts

For further information about planned gifts contact: Henry R. Coons ’71, Director of Planned Giving 860-404-4226 or

Making it Possible to Keep

Avon Old Farms School

Strong Forever

The Avonian Fall 2009


Alumni key bisCayne, FloriDa March 19, at the home of Andy Consuegra ’80 1

Key Biscayne, Florida 1. Front row: enrique Aguila ’86, former headmaster George trautman, Dean Peter evans, Andy Consuegra ’80; Second row: Alfredo Aguelles ’82, Alfredo Aguila ’90, Jorge Consuegra ’51, George Arellano ’78, Allan ora ’92; Back row: Bharat Chatani ’84, John Greeven ’55, Juan Arguelles ’83, tony tattersfield ’81, terry richtmyer ’62, Matt Aptman ’95 2. Jorge Consuegra ’51 and Linda truppman, mother of Jordan ’11 3. George Iverson ’79 and Anna Consuegra Cummins at the Avon reception in Key Biscayne New Canaan, Connecticut 4. hap taylor ’78, Jed Usich ’85, Brian Gregory ’90, Joe vecchiarino ’71, tim Beeble ’71 5. Nancy Liptrot P’11, P’12, Karen hughan (wife of Chris ’76), and Donna and Alex vock P’11 attended the New Canaan reception 6. host tim Brown ’76 with headmaster Ken Larocque 7. Yael van hurst and husband tim Brown ’76, with headmaster Larocque 8. Jed Usich ’85 with his wife, vickie, Brian Gregory ’90, Joe vecchiarino ’71




Fall 2009 The Avonian

Denver, Colorado 9. tom Cousins ’06, tom Adams ’64, Steve Sumner ’59, ryan olsen ’04, Stuart Barr ’60, Peter Glass ’74, Kyle Brewer ’04, headmaster Ken Larocque, past faculty member Charles Froelicher, Scott Lindenau P’12, Bill Cross ’77, and Dean Peter evans; front: Clark Gates ’66 10. tom Cousins ’06, ryan olsen ’04, and Kyle Brewer ’04 11. tom Adams ’64 and headmaster Ken Larocque 12. Kyle Brewer ’04, Clark Gates ’66 and ryan olsen ’04 13. tom Cousins P’06 and Scott Lindenau P’12 14. Bill Cross ’77, Diane Cousins P ’06, tom Cousins ’06, tom Adams ’64 and his wife, Julie

Alumni neW Canaan, ConneCtiCut April 28, at the home of Tim Brown ’76 4





Denver, ColoraDo June 2, at the Denver Country Club, Hosted by Tom and Diane Cousins P ’06 9






The Avonian Fall 2009


class Please send us your personal notes!


the DeaDlines For Class notes submission are as FolloWs: •Spring issue notes are due by March 1, 2010 •Fall issue notes are due by June 1, 2010

DonalD r. hart Jr., Class Agent 17 Cobble Rd., Unit F-2, Salisbury, CT 06068-0336

Class notes Can be submitteD to lizabeth abramson at:

Pete Seeger was honored at his 90th birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden May 3rd and is still singing the ballads that not only popularized folk music, but in the 1960s, helped transform it into a soundtrack for political action. More than 40 performers, including John Mellancamp, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Dave Matthews, and Bruce Springsteen, gathered to pay tribute to Pete, who the New York Times stated “outworked them all.” The evening was also a fundraiser for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, a preservation charity founded by Mr. Seeger to rescue the Hudson River from pollution.

42 Dr. John Liebler ’38 and his wife, Carol, at their home in vero Beach, Florida, March 2009.

russell hunter, Head Class Agent P.O. Box 22, Farmington, CT 06034-0022


harvey rubin, Head Class Agent 102 Barbour Cir., Newport News, VA 23606


Art Keim ’50 and wife, Jeanette, hosted Marie and henry Coons ’71 at the Petroleum Club in downtown Fort Worth, texas, on St. Patrick’s Day 2009

Dressed in Avon aprons before enjoying a fabulous dinner are tony Antoville, ralph Brown, and John Nichols, all from the Class of ’52. they spent a memorable evening in May at ralph and Diana Brown’s home. [wives, Diana Brown and Nina Antoville, not shown.]


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Warren ForD, Head Class Agent 115 Center St., Wolcott, CT 06716 Children of long-time Avon Spanish teachers Miriam and Jorge Consuegra, Anna Cummins and Jorge Consuegra Jr. ’77, a current Avon Board member, and their families got together in Chicago at Anna’s home with Juan Nieves ’83 and his family. Juan is coaching with the Chicago White Sox and was based in Chicago with his family for the summer. [See photo, p. 35.]


seth F. menDell, Head Class Agent 28 North St., Mattapoisett, MA 02739

Seth Mendell and his wife, Alice, visited with Frank Leavitt in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, in July: “It was a sparkling day and the three of us enjoyed a leisurely walk along the cliffs and ledges with the Atlantic swells breaking over the rocks below.” Seth and Jim Brown visited a year ago when Jim sailed his trimaran up from Virginia to Padanarum, Massachusetts. The two had not seen each other since their graduation in June 1952 and had a great time remembering classmates and events as well as catching up on all the in-between years. Seth also reports that it was 50 years ago this fall when he and Frank Leavitt returned to the Avon campus to teach. “We had both just completed a two-year stint with Uncle Sam in Germany following our college years. I had been in touch with Don Pierpont over the summer and arrived on campus to teach European history. Several weeks later, Frank, who had been up at Dartmouth College doing research, joined the faculty. This is our 50th anniversary and we were the first Pierpont alumni to return and become members of the Avon faculty.”


Jay toole, Head Class Agent 874 Ridgeside Dr., Monrovia, CA 91016


rust kessel, Head Class Agent 3785 Thistlewood, Okemos, MI 48864


anDy treaDWay, Head Class Agent 12100 Provincetowne Dr., Charlotte, NC 28277-8438


siDney greer, Head Class Agent 354 Tamarind Pl., Vero Beach, FL 32962-7349


James C. Flippin, Head Class Agent 1311 Old Bernville Rd., Leesport, PA 19533-9605


Austin Chambers, Head Class Agent 317 Flanders Rd., Stonington, CT 06378-2109


Charles W. Davis, Class Agent 6905 West 99th St., Overland Park, KS 66212 Douglas B. Marshall, Class Agent 2 Berkshire Rd., Bloomfield, CT 06002 Doug Marshall and his wife, Ellen, were guests of Bohemian Club member Bruce Seidel ’60 and his wife, Susan, at the Bohemian Grove 2009 Fall Picnic in Monte Rio, California. Bohemian Club member Tim Browne ’60 and wife, Deni, were also in the grove for the festivities. Doug wrote, “What an experience! We all spent a memorable long weekend in San Francisco featuring non-stop entertainment and fun.” The Seidels, Brownes, and Marshalls all plan to attend the 50th Reunion for the Class of ’60 on May 14-16, 2010, and hope many others will join them!


Richard L. Williams, Head Class Agent P.O. Box 218, South Orleans, MA 02662-0218 Stuart Barr, pictured at the Home Depot in Denver, made the press during the summer, and Dick Williams recognized the photo of his classmate in the Cape Cod Times and sent him the copy along with a note. Stuart replied that for his “15 minutes of fame,” he had received the article from people in North Carolina and Illinois. Stuart enjoyed meeting Ken LaRocque and Peter Evans, as well as Steve Sumner ’59, at the Avon reception June 2nd at the Denver Country Club hosted by Tom Cousins P’06. Dick Williams is looking forward to his 50th Reunion, and in preparation has heard from Bruce Baker, Stuart Barr, Frank Costello, Bill Gordon, Fred Hawley, Chuck Loring, Mike Miller, Ford Reese, Bruce Seidel, Eric Skemp, Sky Van Ness, Jamie Wardrop, and Ed Zneimer.


George F. Henschel Jr., Head Class Agent 101 Seminary Rd., Bedford, NY 10506


Alan D. Rozinsky, Class Agent Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001

Al Rozinsky and his wife, Bobbi, are enjoying visits to their grandson, Kai (20 months), in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Kai’s father is Mike Rozinsky ’94.


Richard R. Bennett, Class Agent 6226 Mori St., McLean, VA 22101 Thomas K. Curtis, Class Agent 4306 Pomona Rd., Dallas, TX 75209-2822 After Jack Calcaterra was honored posthumously with his induction into the AOF Athletic Hall of Fame over Reunion Weekend 2009, his son John brought his own son, Johnny, to fish in Beaver Pond. He wrote, “To say we had a good time would be a gross understatement. Taking Johnny fishing where Jack had taken me was sentimental and special. How special, I didn’t realize until we put his fishing pole in the water. Our experience turned out to be one of those memorable moments that stay with us for a lifetime. On his second cast into the water, Johnny caught a 15" rainbow trout that would be the envy of any seasoned fisherman. I can’t help but think that Jack maybe coaxed that fish along a little. The excitement and expression on Johnny’s face brought me back to many of my own great memorable moments.” Godfrey Bloch was presented to Queen Elizabeth II at St. James Palace on June 8, 2009.

In anticipation of his 50th Reunion next May, Dick Williams ’60 sent in a photo of his classmates at their 25th [from left: Henry Levaur, Dick Williams, Sky Van Ness, Jamie Wardrop, John Stillgebauer, Bruce Baker, Peter Van Winkle, William “Flash” Gordon, and Jim Underwood].

Frank Costello ’60 lives in Bonita Springs, Florida, but plans to return to Avon in May and hopes his whole class will join him for their 50th Reunion.


W. B. Harwood III, Class Agent 24 Overhill Ave., New Britain, CT 06053


Perry Benson, Co-Head Class Agent 2135 Naudain St., Philadelphia, PA 19146 Barton G. Barrett, Co-Head Class Agent 1 Maple Ave., Richmond, VA 23226-2339


About to enter the Brown Student Center with Ken LaRocque this past summer is Garvin Brown III ’62.

Michael D. Barker, Head Class Agent 139 Kirkwood Rd., West Hartford, CT 06117-2835 Mike Straus lives in Acworth, Georgia, where he publishes West Cobb Magazine. Twenty thousand copies are sent out each month. It can be seen online at If any fellow Avonians want to contact Mike they can email him at Knick Curtis ’63 and his wife, Lynn Armstrong. Knick and Lynn hosted Marie and Henry Coons ’71 on their visit to Dallas in March 2009.

The Avonian Fall 2009



James W. Corrigan, Co-Head Class Agent 826 Gould Hill Rd., Contoocook, NH 03229 William F. Roberts, Co-Head Class Agent 786 Brownsville Rd., Sinking Spring, PA 19608

Malcolm Hirsh ’67 with current Avonians Santiago Moran ’12 and Alija Hogans ’11 at the National Urban Squash & Academics Tournament at Williams College in June.

Pitching coach for the White Sox Juan Nieves ’83 posed with Avon friends. Front row: Lorenzo Giannamore (11), Brittany Evans, Ali Evans, Michael Giannamore ’85, Sam Berson (12). Back row: Juan, Dean Peter Evans, and Steve Berson ’76.


George L. Purnell, Head Class Agent 4822 Brighton Lakes Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33436 Geoffrey Doughty published the second volume of a two-volume set titled New York Central’s Through Passenger Service, Challenge and Retreat 1950-1967. Geoff emailed, “This is my 21st published book. It covers the demise of passenger service in the Northeast and New England due to highway expansion, and alternative means of passenger transport.” In addition, Geoffrey continues to write the occasional article and was asked to write one that will be published in a special volume from Kalmbach Publishing called Dream Trains II. He is the director of safety and loss control for the New Hampshire Motor Transport Association in Concord, New Hampshire. Geoff is also in his 35th season as the radio voice of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Geoff wrote: “Recently, my wife, Pam, and I got together with Chase Donaldson and his wife, Judy, and I have lunch on a frequent basis with Jim Corrigan, who lives near Concord. We don’t look so bad for old grads.”


Winston P. McKellar, Head Class Agent 311 East Rose Ln., Phoenix, AZ 85012-1243


Dave Hunter ’77 caught this 32-pound spring Chinook salmon on the Columbia River near the town of Goble, Oregon. Dave was back on campus during Reunion in May for the dedication of the Carriuolo Field in memory of fellow classmate Peter Carriuolo ’77.

Friends and family gather at the May 16 dedication of Carriuolo Field, in honor of Peter Carriuolo ’77.


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Harris H. Bucklin III, Head Class Agent 3004 Margaret Jones Ln., Williamsburg, VA 23185 Patrick Outwin was awarded a doctorate in history from the University of Maine, Orono, on May 8, 2009. He attended Reunion the following weekend. Nick Wells and his wife, Renee, are busy enjoying their grandson, Andrew Schaefer, who turned 4 in April. Nick wrote, “I’m teaching him fishing and baseball and as soon as he’s ready, lacrosse! I work as the corporate controller for a leading South Florida Consulting Engineering firm and still have my own accounting and tax practice. Renee works with the Palm Beach County Deaf Services Center. Our son, Nick Jr., manages a restaurant in Queens, New York, and our daughter, Erin, is a therapist at JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida. I’m looking forward to our 40th reunion in 2010. Yikes...where has the time gone?”

Steve Wendler has reconnected after 40 years with Paul Matalon after locating him on Facebook. Steve has also contacted Henry Kammandel and is hoping for a great turnout at Reunion May 14-16, 2010. Steve’s son, Zachary, returned this fall to Ithaca, where he is a business major and his daughter, Ali, graduated from Mt. Holyoke with a dual major in biology and history. Ali is teaching English to elementary school children south of Seoul, South Korea.


Henry R. Coons, Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001


Dan Carpenter, Class Agent 18 Pondside Ln., West Simsbury, CT 06092


John Bourget, Class Agent 7 Andrea Ln., Avon, CT 06001


George J. Giannoni, Co-Head Class Agent 36 Twilight Dr., Granby, CT 06035-1212 Edward P. Molloy, Co-Head Class Agent 6 Winhart Dr., Granby, CT 06035


Bob Applegate, Co-Head Class-Agent 622 Hillendale Rd., Chadds Ford, PA 19317-9364 Tom Byrne, Co-Head Class-Agent 39 Helena Rd., Avon, CT 06001-3433


Alexander N. Worley, Head Class Agent 20 Shore Grove Rd., Clinton, CT 06413


Jorge E. Consuegra, Head Class Agent 5 Andrews Rd., Greenwich, CT 06830




Kenneth G. Cloud, Head Class Agent 8317 Kingsthorpe Ter., Richmond, VA 23229-7465

Tom Markoski ’77, taken in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, by fellow alumnus, Joel Roskin ’53.


Anthony M. Gray, Co-Head Class Agent 6212 Wagner Ln., Bethesda, MD 20816 Scott B. Linke, Co-Head Class Agent 116 Eleven Levels Rd., Ridgefield, CT 06877-3011


Kenneth H. Blanchard, Co-Head Class Agent 846 Mountain Rd., West Hartford, CT 06117

Rich Hennessey ’78 and two of his sons enjoyed lunch at the home of Bob Mark ’80 in Jensen Beach, Florida.

Thomas E. Davey, Co-Head Class Agent 4816 Sandestin Dr., Dallas, TX 75287


Samuel C. Bookbinder, Head Class Agent Two Logan Sq., Suite 700 18th & Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-2707


Bob Mark ’80 and his wife, Trisha, hosted the varsity baseball program for a fun cookout during the group’s trip to Florida over spring break.

Gregory T. Fish, Co-Head Class Agent 56 Blue Ridge Dr., Simbury, CT 06089

Jessie Garvey, daughter of Kim and John Garvey ’78. According to John, “Jessie is a full-blown princess, a girlygirl with a strong sense of self. Five going on fifteen. Of course, with three brothers and Avon, I was and still remain clueless about that half of the species. Jessie is smart, too, which, while good overall, also can be a major challenge when she decides to assert herself.”


Richard C. Gregory, Head Class Agent 30 Walnut Farms Dr., Farmington, CT 06032


John Gordon, Class Agent 246 Nacoochee Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30305 Eduardo Holguin and his wife, Marcela, announce the birth of their first child, Eduardo II, born on March 27, 2009.

Coley Bookbinder ’81 and his wife, Eileen, along with their children Quinn (6) and Grace (4) enjoyed celebrating July 4th at Citizens Bank Ball Park at a Philadelphia Phillies v. New York Mets game. Coley wrote, “Of course, the Phillies won!”

Tom Davey ’80 with his wife, Cynthia, and daughter, Shannon, at Julio’s Restaurant in Dallas, Texas. Tom hosted Marie and Henry Coons ’71 on their visit to Texas.

Ron Von Jako was unable to attend his 25th Reunion in May as it was the same day he defended his PhD thesis on stereotactic neurosurgery. Cathy and Brett Jefferson announce the arrival of Tyler Millson Jefferson, born January 11, 2009. The Jeffersons were on campus for Brett’s 25th Reunion and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the ’84 lacrosse team. L to R: Juan Nieves ’83, Ian Cummins, son of Anna “Ini” Consuegra Cummins, Tomás Consuegra, son of Jorge Jr. ’77, Eddy Consuegra ’11, son of Jorge Jr. ’77, Jorge Consuegra Jr. ’77, Anna “Ini” Consuegra Cummins.

The Avonian Fall 2009



Sam L. Rubenstein, Head Class Agent P.O. Box 43598, Detroit, MI 48243-0598


John G. Ashe, Class Agent 50 Edgewood Ave., Longmeadow, MA 01106-1308 Children of Andreina and Enrique Aguila ’86


William C. Begien, Class Agent 8 Maple St., Watertown, MA 02472

John Costello ’85 and his wife of 15 years, Leslie, with their children: Thomas (8), Anna (13), and Jack (10). The Costellos reside in West Hartford, Connecticut.

Dixon Chase Atkinson, son of Amy and Shawn Atkinson ’88, makes his appearance.

Adam Lynch and his wife, Vayia, announce the arrival of their first son, Nathan Filios Lynch. Adam emailed, “Nathan is not a new arrival. He was born on July 6th 2007. Walking since 11 months, speaking 70 percent English, and 15 percent each Spanish and Greek. Vayia is pregnant again, and baby number two, also a boy, is due in July. I am the president & CEO of Coast Plating, an aerospace firm just south of downtown Los Angeles.


Shawn E. Atkinson, Co-Head Class Agent Peter Reed, Co-Head Class Agent 91 Butternut Ln., Southport, CT 06890 Amy and Shawn Atkinson announce the birth of Dixon Chase Atkinson, born June 1, 2009. Dixon weighed 6 lbs. 7 oz. and was 20.5 inches. Shawn emailed, “Siena and Cameron are excited to have a new brother and Dixon is healthy and happy!”


Enrique Aguila ’86 along with his parents, Joe and Rose Mary, caught up with George Trautman and Peter Evans in Florida.

Brian Riva, Class Agent 14 Chatfield Dr., Lakeville, CT 06039


Adam J. Crane, Class Agent 932 Trail Ct., Eagan, MN 55122


Michael M. Mullin, Head Class Agent 23 Lakeside Ave., Darien, CT 06840

Peter Evans and George Trautman saw Brendan McKernan ’89 while in Florida in March.


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Enjoying blueberry pancakes during Fishing and Flapjacks at Reunion 2009 were Jack Schrotberger, Blair Fox, and Casey Schrotberger, who came as guests of Drew Fox ’89.

John Denery and his wife, Sharon, announce the birth of their son, Jack, born May 26, 2009. Jack weighed 9 lbs. and was 20 in. long. Proud daddy John emailed, “Awesome day! He’s a big feller! Mommy and Big Jack are doing great! Hannah and Megan are great big sisters! Thanks for all the phone calls, emails, and prayers.”



Sean Hankard has moved to Quantico, Virginia, where he was accepted to the Command and Staff War College. Sean and Kathleen hope to make it to an Avon football game this fall. Jack Denery, son of John Denery ’91

Pat Ashe and his wife, Ashley, announce the birth of Abigail Olivia Ashe, born on the 4th of July, 2009. Abigail weighed in at 8.3 lbs.


Damien J. Egan, Head Class Agent 54 White Oaks Dr., Longmeadow, MA 01106-1739 Jon Rydberg and his wife, Michelle, are leaving Los Angeles and moving back to Avon. Jon emailed, “We hope to start our own business in the near future and will be spending more time on the AOF campus. If you want to reach me, my email address is”

Mason David Gordon, one-year-old son of Connie and David Gordon ’90

Kathryn and Lance Cashion ’93 announce the arrival of their son, Nelson West Cashion, born April 25, 2009. He was 5 lbs. 9 oz. and 18 inches.


Travis Merritt, Class Agent 23 Church St., Flemington, NJ 08822


Pete Chelala ’94 and his wife, Cynthia, have a son named Henry, born May 5, 2008. Pete works at The Weather Channel and the Chelalas live in NYC.

Peter A. Chelala, Class Agent 200 Rector Pl., Apt. 7G, New York, NY 10280-1160 Tony Minella and his wife, Sage, attended Reunion 2009 with their sons, Jake (3) and Declan (1). Peter Chelala works at The Weather Channel as senior mobile manager handling all Weather Channel mobile ad sales in the Northeast. He launched a website,, in May—a virtual cookbook! He was disappointed to miss his 15th Reunion but he was sent to Atlanta on business. His son, Henry, just had his first birthday!


Anthony D. Silvestro, Head Class Agent 3 Beech Cir., Andover, MA 01810-2901 Ken Yoshii and his wife, Naomi, announce the arrival of their daughter, Nina, born April 11, 2009. Nina weighed 5 lbs. 15 oz. Ken works for Toyota and the whole family will be moving to Canada this July for three years. Ken wrote, “I will be the paint coordinator there and come back to Japan, once again. We will see how we do during the winter.”

Lach Cheatham ’91 and his brother Riordan (Weedle) ’93 enjoyed a visit with George Trautman last spring.

Faculty member Lee Huguley ’92 and his wife, Taz, celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in Martha’s Vineyard this summer. The Huguleys were married on August 14th, 1999, at Avon. They reside in Pelican dormitory with their daughter, Anaya.

Travis Merritt ’93 was married in August 2009. Present at the wedding were several friends and members of the extended Merritt clan (front row, L to R): Daniel Harris ’08; Travis Merritt ’93; Logan Barbiche ’93; (second row, L to R) Dwight. C Harris Jr. ’04; Tyler Erb ’98; Coulson Barbiche ’99; Dwight Harris Sr. ’66; and Michael Cesaro ’06.

The Avonian Fall 2009


Jon Hartnett and his wife, Elizabeth, announce the arrival of their daughter, Rory McKean Hartnett, born August 21, 2009. Rory weighed 8 lbs. 13 oz. and was 20.6 in. long. Big brother Charley (1) welcomed her home.


Mark A. Caruso, Co-Head Class Agent 17 Cedar Ln., Chatham, NJ 07928-1103 John T. Jones, Co-Head Class Agent 125 Main St., Apt. 3, Newmarket, NH 03857-1623 Jeff Hamilton married Jane Resor in 2006 and they live in Wilton, Connecticut, with their son, Michael. Since graduating from Yale, Jeff has been playing pro hockey and is currently playing in Laguna, Switzerland.

The Silvestro family: Tony ’95, son Anthony II, and Lana.


Timothy B. Stay, Co-Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001

Lana and Tony Silvestro ’95 announce the birth of Thomas Robert Silvestro, born on July 1, 2009.

Kyle R. Youngquist, Co-Head Class Agent 60 West 42nd St., Apt 9C, New York, NY 10036-1922 Tim Stay, director of communications at Avon, is also teaching photography this year.


Anaya Huguley, daughter of Lee Huguley ’92, and Anthony Silvestro II, son of Anthony Silvestro ’95, at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts this summer.

Geoffrey R. Barlow, Co-Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 Ken Yoshii ’95 relaxes with his daughter Nina, born April 11th.

J. Andrew Corrigan, Co-Head Class Agent 23 Beacon St., Somerville, MA 02143 Andrew Corrigan was invited to give a lecture in April titled, “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Architecture in the Age of Uncertainty” at Middlebury College, from where he graduated in 2002. Hosted by Architecture Table, he spoke about his own experiences in the field of architecture, and job possibilities for architecture majors as well as non-majors. David Ayers is engaged to Angeline Willen and a July 24, 2010 wedding is planned. David is associate director of admissions at Kaplan University and Angeline is an assistant principal. Both work in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Brian Maloney ’97 enjoyed an afternoon on the boat of Bob Mark ’80.


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Captain Cristopher Ulrich has been deployed for a one-year tour to Afghanistan and was recently selected as a company commander in charge of 170 men. This is the first time a Stryker unit has had a role in Afghanistan. His parents wrote, “We thank Avon for helping Christopher develop his judgment and



leadership skill, which led him to become an asset to our armed forces. Please keep all of our service members in your thoughts and prayers.”


DaviD r. gryboski, Co-Head Class Agent 5337 Gulf Dr., Suite 300, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 Jonathan m. Carroll, Co-Head Class Agent 2078 Abbott St., San Diego, CA 92107 Chris Grosch and his wife, Megan, announce the arrival of Colin Samuel Grosch. Colin was born on April 28th. JC Landry and his wife, Lisa, announce the arrival of their son, Jack, on March 4, 2009. He weighed 10 lbs, 1 oz. and was 21¼ in. long. The Landrys came to Reunion in May. Jon Neidlinger married Britnee Fierro in Italy on June 22, 2009.


miChael J. o’neill, Co-Head Class Agent 37 Anderson St. Apt.6, Boston, MA 02114 kC tenukas, Co-Head Class Agent 1919 W. Carmen St., Tampa, FL 33606 Drew Weisman is an investment banker in NYC; he works for Broadpoint Gleacher. His brother, Dan Weisman, married Dana Garbarski on October 11, 2009. Dan’s daughter, named Lucy Jean, was born on August 7th and weighed 9 lbs., 5 oz. Mom, dad, and baby are all healthy and doing well. Dan continues to work in construction management and the family lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Patrick Dowling married Toby Kateri Simmons on August 22, 2009. The beautiful ceremony and reception took place on the Avon campus. Pat looks forward to seeing his classmates next May 14-16th for their special 10-year Reunion. Nick Malinosky writes, “For the last five years I have been working in south Palm Beach County in the sales and marketing of Oceanfront Estates and multi-family new developments. I recently attended Steve Malinowski’s wedding on Cape Cod and hope to make it to the Farm a few times this year.”

Avon’s National Council presents the concept for

Cluster Reunions for Avon Classes During the spring 2009 National Council meeting, council member Knick Curtis ’63 made a presentation to consider a cluster reunion format for Avon’s future class reunions. Knick, like all Avon alumni, had school friends in classes other than his own. He wanted to find a way to reunite with Avon students who graduated before and after him during future reunion weekends. After researching the growing number of colleges and schools that have “cluster” reunions in place, he presented a rotation schedule to the Council that would achieve this objective. Because the cluster reunion format is based on a pre-determined rotation schedule, the school would then publish the rotation for future reunions on the school’s website. In some anniversary years, 10th, 25th, 40th, and 50th, each class would still have its own reunion. In other years, 5th, 15th, 20th, 30th, 35th, and 45th, each class would come together with two other consecutive classes to enjoy a larger cluster reunion. To make this possible, some classes would be having these particular reunions a year off schedule. And, in order to give every class the widest possible contact with other classes, the schedule staggers cluster reunions. That is, in some cluster reunions a class will join with the class immediately before and the class immediately after. In other years, a class will join with the two years before or the two years after. See example below. If you have an opinion on the concept of cluster reunions, please contact Knick Curtis ’63 at knickc@ or 214-358-2882 Example for the Class of 2000 or Hank Coons ’71 at Year Event Class(es) or May 2010 10th Reunion 2000 860-404-4226. The National May 2016 15th Reunion with 2001 & 2002 Council would like to make a May 2021 20th Reunion with 2001 & 2002 recommendation to the school May 2025 25th Reunion 2000 in the spring of 2010, and May 2029 30th Reunion with 1998 & 1999 alumni feedback will be key in May 2034 35th Reunion with 1998 & 1999 their decision-making process. May 2040 40th Reunion 2000 If adopted, the first cluster May 2045 45th Reunion with 1999 & 2001 reunions would commence in May 2050 50th Reunion 2000 the spring of 2011.

Alumni online community The Avon Old Farms Online Alumni Community continues to grow into a popular web destination and forum for alumni. The site allows alumni access to all sorts of information including reunion year homepages, classmate contact info, an online directory search, online donations, eNews archives, personalized contact lists, class notes submissions, a monthly alumni feature article, and up-to-date information regarding any upcoming alumni events in your region. A registration identification number is needed for you to gain secure access. If you did not receive an ID number by email, or if

you have any other problems, questions, comments, or suggestions regarding this resource, please do not hesitate to give us a call in the Alumni Office toll free at 1-800-336-8195 or email us at Thank you!

The Avonian Fall 2009



Christopher D. Coleman, Co-Head Class Agent 4464 Greenwich Parkway NW, Washington, DC 20007 niCholas h. laroCque, Co-Head Class Agent 128 Fuller St., Apt. 9, Brookline, MA 02446-5724 Captain Alexander Dean is stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. William “Tom” Dean is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and has transferred to Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida, to be the damage control officer on the Frigate U.S.S. Taylor. Dustin Lowery graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2005. He and his wife, Lisa, are both in the military. Lisa and Dustin Lowery ’01 married December 29, 2007.

Timothy Hughes started a new garden design business in North Canaan, Connecticut. His brother Chauncey ’99 works as an arborist.


Dave Mazur ’03 married holly Camil on July 4, 2009, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Matt Dallin ’04 was a groomsman and Sam Knee ’02 also attended the big event.

William p. beatson, Class Agent 151 East 31st St., Apt. 27C, New York, NY 10016 Richard (Rick) Stevens announces his engagement to Jennifer Bemis; a 2010 wedding is planned. Gib Barrieau and his wife, Cheyney, announce the birth of their daughter, Lauren Elizabeth Barrieau, born June 24th, 2009, and weighing 7 lbs. 4 oz.


Jamie tang, Class Agent 309 East 81st St., New York, NY 10028 Nick Larocque ’01 married Karen Fossum on June 20th, 2009, at Avon old Farms School. tyler Breault ’02 served as best man, and Andy Berardinelli ’01 and Ben Larocque ’10 were in the wedding party.

Lauren Barrieau, daughter of Cheyney and Gib Barrieau ’02, was born in June 2009.

In case you missed it… Visit for the August 2009 debut issue of The Village Green, the online-only supplement to The Avonian. The summer issue featured coverage of the spring 2009 athletics season, Reunion Weekend, the Blue Blazer Ball, Commencement, Grandparents Day, and much more.

Log on now to catch up!


Fall 2009 The Avonian


luke arChambault, Class Agent 59 High St., South Hadley, MA 01075 Mike Davis is in Brazil on a Fulbright grant. Fortunately he was able to return to the States to attend his 5th Reunion in May. Morgan Barrieau works for Bell Aviation in West Columbia, South Carolina, and does aircraft sales and acquisitions. He has his own plane and actually used to fly from Connecticut to Lynchburg, Virginia, before he graduated from Lynchburg. He hopes anybody interested in aircraft from his area will give him a shout. (





Jackson Howard spent his spring break from Vassar in the Saharawi refugee camps between Morocco and Algeria. They were established in the 1970s when Spain left Morocco and the Moroccans isolated the Saharawi people behind a wall in the desert. Jackson heard about the camps through a Saharawi attending Mt. Holyoke College. She encouraged him to go meet her family and other refugees in the camps. Jackson loved his experience and hopes to return next summer [see photo]. Jackson graduated from Vassar in May.

Chris Canning wrote that he had a great year at Oberlin and the highlights were making the varsity swim team, learning how to swing dance, and getting into a steel drum band. As for Spanish, he took a few classes, but decided that he would like to live abroad in the future to become more fluent, so he is working, instead, toward an environmental studies undergraduate degree.

Dane Lemeris, Head Class Agent 38 Chelsea Dr., Cromwell, CT 06416

Erik Kapchus graduated summa cum laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a B.S. in aeronautics on May 5, 2009. Erik was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force at the same time. He will be attending initial flight training at Pueblo, Colorado, and then return to Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, where he will attend undergraduate navigator training for the Air Force. Taylor Wuennemann graduated in May 2009 from Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, with a bachelor of science degree in sport management. After spending the fall semester of his junior year in Madrid, Taylor has decided to return to Madrid this fall in pursuit of his master’s degree in business administration. He will be in Madrid for 14 months working for an international business and attending graduate classes. Taylor played men’s lacrosse at Endicott for four years and was an integral part of the two Commonwealth Coast Conference and ECAC championships that the team won during his tenure there.


Adam Bauer, Class Agent 22 Highwood St., Simsbury, CT 06070

Matt Beath, Class Agent 12229 Prince Towne Dr., St. Louis, MO 63142

Jackson Howard ’05

Tyler Haddad left in May to spend a month in Guatemala to work in health clinics there. He took an EMT course this year at Wake Forest and needs only to take the certification exam to begin working on campus. He is enjoying the support of his Avon classmates at Wake.


Will Hendricks, Class Agent P.O. Box 38, Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA 18356

Taylor Wuennemann ’05 competed in a lacrosse game between his school, Endicott College, and Wentworth Institute of Technology, where Joey Sides ’05 studies construction management.

Kevin Sisti, Class Agent 64 Pinnacle Rd., Farmington, CT 06030 George Springer played in the Cape Cod Baseball League this summer after a great freshman year on UConn’s baseball team, where he received Baseball American Freshman All-America first team honors. His 75 runs scored set a school record and his 16 homers tied the school single-season record. George also drove in 57 runs, stole 12 bases, had 14 doubles and 3 triples as well as 32 walks.


JP Rotchford, Class Agent 54 Navesink Ave., Rumson, NJ 07760

Stu Beath, a senior at the College of Wooster and member of the varsity baseball team, had an amazing year and capped it off by playing in the College World Series and earning a spot on the all-tournament team. “The whole experience of playing in a national championship game was incredible—one I will never forget. I had the opportunity to sign tons of autographs, participate in real press conferences, and compete against some amazing players.”

Matthew Reilly wrote he misses days at “the Farm” and is looking forward to his 5th Reunion in 2011. Kevin Driscoll is president of the class of 2010 at Stonehill College. He spoke at the school’s Convocation, noting the three defining events of his generation as “the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the election of Barack Obama, and the current financial crisis,” and he cited “the qualities of strength, determination, and hope” as being important as his generation goes forward to help create a new America.

Greg Miller ’09 and his brother, Patrick ’10, played a game at Fenway Park, where some of the best high school baseball players in Northeast were divided by pro scouts into two teams, one Red Sox and the other Yankees. Their coach, Rob Dowling ’91, watched the game with his son, Brian (5). Greg will play for Tulane this spring.

Richard Woodwell ’08 and his mother, Linda, in Florida during a golf vacation. Richard has completed his freshman year at UMass.

The Avonian Fall 2009


Faculty Notes

Faculty member Matthew Peer spent the summer as academic director of Tabor Academy’s summer program in Marion, Massachusetts. As academic director, Matt scheduled courses; observed, mentored, and provided feedback for teaching faculty; developed and led a teaching seminar for college students; served on the crisis management team; helped lead orientation; and served as an administrator on duty. Matthew Peer and wife, Jessica, announce the birth of daughter Ella Grace, born April 24. Ella was welcomed home by big brother Jackson, age 3.

Katie McElheny

Faculty members Gayle Robinson and Brian Cugell completed their master’s of arts and liberal studies degrees (MALS) at Wesleyan University this summer, with concentrations in humanities and history, respectively.

Ella Grace Peer, daughter of Matthew and Jessica Peer, was born April 24, 2009. Morgan L. Cadwell and Brian Cugell were married August 22, 2009.

Peter Albert and Erin Doyle were married June 27, 2009.

Vera Lampe

Katie McElheny, daughter of faculty member David McElheny and his wife, Henrietta, was awarded the Scholar Leader Award at Avon Middle School this spring, “in recognition of outstanding scholarship and leadership in school and community.” Only two students are selected for each middle school in Connecticut. She also put together a team to participate in Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk-a-thon, to raise funds for cancer research. Her team raised $1000 dollars and won the “Most Original Costume” award, and Katie was individually recognized for most miles walked for the event (over 25 miles!). Katie also won the Presidential Academic Excellence Award and the Distinguished Leo Service Award, presented by the Leo Club (the youth affiliation of Lion’s Club International). Katie began her freshman year at Miss Porter’s School this fall. Avonian editor Morgan L. Cadwell married AOF history and foreign language faculty member Brian Cugell on August 22, 2009, at the Wadsworth Mansion at Long Hill Estate in Middletown, Connecticut. Both originally from Madison, Connecticut, the Cugells also attended Skidmore College together and now reside in Elephant dormitory with their cat, Milo, and labradoodle puppy, Buckley. History faculty member Peter Albert married Erin Doyle at Avon Old Farms School on June 27, 2009. Peter is from Simsbury, Connecticut, and Erin is from Granby, Connecticut, where she is currently working as a school psychologist. English faculty member Joe Lampe and his wife, Sofia, are pleased to announce the birth of daughter Vera Elizabeth Lampe, who was born on September 23. She was 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 20 inches long.

Past Director Celia Paleologos with former Headmaster George Trautman and Dean Peter Evans


Fall 2009 The Avonian

Current Director Richard Rothschild and his wife, Barbara P’05

In Memoriam FreiDa mason, 93, of Bloomfield, widow of Brad Mason, who taught and coached at Avon for many years in the 1960s to 1980s, passed away May 22, 2009, after a short illness. Freida was born in Portland, Maine, moved to Hartford in 1929, and lived with her husband on campus at Avon, where she ran the school store for 22 years. Last year during Commencement she came to see Michael Nouri ’64 deliver his speech to the Class of 2008. This year, following Reunion, he visited her in the hospital. Freida loved Avon and the boys with whom she and Brad worked. Avon Old Farms was their family for many, many years. Freida expressed her desire that in lieu of flowers donations can be made to Avon Old Farms School in support of the performing arts.

Ward School, University of Hartford, and became a licensed electrician. He worked for SNET, General Electric, Underwriters Laboratories, and retired from Amtrak after many years as a signal maintainer and inspector.

reginalD FranCklyn, past director from 1969 to 1981, died in November of 2008. His wife, Phyllis DeVeau Francklyn, died January 2009.

leon Charles Weiss Jr. ’53 “of Heath, Texas, died January 24, 2009. He was born March 30, 1934, in New Orleans, to Leon Charles and Caroline (Dreyfous) Weiss. Weiss graduated from Tulane University in 1957, with a B.S. in electrical engineering. He served eight years on the Heath City Council, six years on the Heath Planning and Zoning Commission, and had previously served on the board of Chandler’s Landing. Weiss was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying sailing, camping, and rock climbing. He made two transatlantic crossings by sailboat. Weiss was an electrical engineering consultant.” [Published in Rockwall County Herald Banner on January 31, 2009]

The School has learned that eDWarD F. meDarD ’50 passed away on February 28, 2009.

The School has learned that William i. Clark ’55 passed away January 22, 2009.

paul lignelli ’51, “a resident of Poughkeepsie, entered into rest Saturday, June 6, 2009, at Albany Memorial Hospital. He was 75. Son of the late Patsy and Phyllis Miller Lignelli, he was born October 29, 1933, in Hartford, Connecticut. Paul proudly served his country during the Korean War in the U.S. Army. He married the former Audrey Erwood Luck on July 19, 1972, in LaGrange. Paul worked in quality assurance management at IBM and later worked part-time at Brookstone in Poughkeepsie.” [Published in the Poughkeepsie Journal]

The School has learned that luther k. musselman ’55 passed away in Bridgeport,

Wayne herbert nixon ’52 passed away March 19, 2009, at St. Mary Home, West Hartford at 74 years old. He was born in Hartford, the son of the late Herbert T. and Eleanor T. Nixon. He joined the U.S. Army and was a train engineer in the Transportation Corps stationed in Thule, Greenland, and at the U.S. Army Transportation Center at Fort Eustace, Virginia. After his discharge, he returned to Avon and was a member of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, a Boy Scout leader, and a member of the Avon Congregational Church. Wayne also attended

Connecticut, on July 19, 2000.

Frank heiDsieCk ’61 of Bluff Head passed away on Friday, November 7, 2008, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he spent the winter. He was 66. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1962, served in Company A, Second Battalion, Armored Division as a radio operator and received an honorable discharge on August 31, 1965. Charles (Chip) W. sagar ’70 passed away on March 24, 2009, after a fall at home. After graduating from Avon, Chip matriculated at the University of Denver earning a B.S. in political science and also an M.B.A. He had a distinguished career as a commercial banker working with Fortune 100 companies in the Midwest while working for Manufacturers Hanover Trust in NYC and Southeast Bank in Miami, Florida. He retired to Denver where he lived with his wife, Nancy.

The School has learned that robert JonkerFisher ’70 passed away on August 23, 2008.

ian geoFFrey robin maClaury ’70 —“artist and illustrator of great whimsy, and prolific philatelist—had his final closing on the morning of Monday, July 6, 2009, at the Westerly Hospital, surrounded by family, dear friends, and life companion, Kathleen Harkins. Born on Jan. 6, 1952, in Charlottesville, Virginia, Ian grew up in Manhattan, and cemented his calling at the Art Students League of New York. A member of MENSA, the Salmagundi Club of New York, Westerly Artists’ Cooperative, and the Association of Marine Artists, he was also listed in the New York Social Register. His vast body of work included the design and illustration of more than 500 postage stamps for 17 different countries, as well as hundreds of paintings, marked by exhaustive research and painstaking detail. Ian’s art has appeared internationally, in galleries, books, magazines, and newspapers.” [Published in the New York Times July 10, 2009] The School has learned that John marenakos ’79 has passed away.

peter C hristopher C onnolly ’83 of Washington, D.C., “passed away on May 1, 2009, at the age of 44. Devoted father of Joyce, Cecilia, and Peter Jr., an avid golfer and die-hard Redskins fan, he was senior vice president of CBRE with over 15 years of commercial real estate experience. Active in the Washington community, Peter served on the Board of the Washington Middle School for Girls, was a member of Holy Trinity Parish, The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, The John Carroll Society, The Metropolitan Club, and the Chevy Chase Club.” [Published in the Washington Post]

The Avonian Fall 2009


What Will Matter? Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end. There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. It won’t matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end. It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant. So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave. What will matter is not your success but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what. Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

The Last Word

By Michael Josephson, read by Janet Stradley on September 12, at the Celebration of Life honoring her husband, former faculty member Michael Stradley, who passed away on August 8, 2009.

“Boys in the First to Fourth Forms do the greater part of the Community Service, but boys of the Fifth and Sixth Forms frequently volunteer for service because of their genuine interest. They are valuable as foremen for groups of younger boys. Last year the boys in the first four forms alone voluntarily gave 1249 extra hours of Community Service. If a boy is interested in machinery, work in the power house often inspires him to follow a technical course in college.” —From the admissions catalog, early 1930s (Photo by Rittase)

Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Road Avon, Connecticut 06001

Change Service Requested

Avon Old Farms School remembers faculty member

Michael Stradley August 9, 1946–August 8, 2009

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Avon, CT 06001 Permit No. 12

Avonian - Fall 2009  
Avonian - Fall 2009  

Avon Old Farms School Fall 2009 Avonian