The Winged Beavers of Avon Old Farms School John Gardner
Remembering Bob Fairchild ’60
Juan Nieves ’83
Brian Leetch ’86
Avon Old Farms School Established 1927
Headmaster Kenneth H. LaRocque
Provost John T. Gardner
Editor Morgan L. Cadwell
Timothy B. Stay ’97
Designer Good Design, LLC www.gooddesignusa.com
Alumni Notes Lizabeth Abramson
Photographers Dan Burns, Peter Deckers ’90, Thomas M. Honan, 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, Jared Ciejek ’09, Brian Doyle, Peter Evans, John Gardner, Susan Haile, Carol Ketcham, Ken LaRocque, Michael Mangan ’09, Mike Recchia ’07, JP Rotchford ’09, 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 www.avonoldfarms.com (860) 404-4100
Alumni We enjoy hearing from you! Please send us your latest news and notes: Email: email@example.com Phone: (800) 336-8195 Fax: (860) 675-7135 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.
Bevin the Beaver, the Avon Old Farms School mascot, gets some time on the football field, as portrayed by Michael Mangan ’09.
The Roving Reporter by JP Rotchford ’09
16 The Winged Beavers of Avon Old Farms School by Morgan L. Cadwell
34 Remembering Bob Fairchild ’60 by Morgan L. Cadwell 52 The Last Word: Persistent Pierce by Pierce Ford ’09
Spotlights 12 Athletic Spotlight: Jake Bourgault ’09 by Morgan L. Cadwell 26 Faculty Focus: John Gardner by Susan Haile
30 Student Spotlight: Tim Clark ’09 by Morgan L. Cadwell
2 3 4 9 32 36 38
Headmaster Letters & Notes Village Green Athletics The Elephant Remembers Alumni Class Notes
Cover Photo: Tully Hannan ’09 leads a group of AOF cross country runners during an invitational meet this fall. On November 8, 2008, Avon Old Farms School hosted the New England Class A Cross Country Championships. Tully captured the title and set a new course record of 16 minutes 10 seconds. Congratulations, Tully! (photo by Spencer Sloan)
Cert no. SW-COC-002935
Letter From the Editor Dear Readers, This issue has been particularly exciting for me. You’ll notice that we’ve chosen to focus on a theme of athletics, one of the many celebrated programs at AOF, and getting to know a few of our most successful alumni—and learning about how their time at Avon helped shape their athletic careers—was inspiring. I’m also excited about the addition of a new regular feature: student work. We’ll be showcasing one student artist and one student writer in every issue. Michael Mangan ’09 and Jared Ciejek ’09 make their Avonian debuts this spring. Finally, please note our plea for your Avon anecdotes! We’re collecting any stories you might have from your time at the Farm and would love to print some of your best Avon memories. As always, I welcome any questions or comments you may have, and would especially appreciate your suggestions of notable AOF alumni who might make for a good feature in the magazine. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-404-4239. Have a wonderful summer! Aspirando et Perseverando, —Morgan
Life is full of challenges at Avon Old Farms, just as it is across our country and the world, as we try to understand the dismal economic situation and predict its duration. Challenge is nothing new to Avon. We have always done more with less, we have always aspired and persevered, and we are resolute in our commitment to fulfilling our mission even amidst the turmoil of the current virulent recession. Athletics is a major theme in this issue of The Avonian, and we are fortunate to enjoy an outstanding sports program. Winning championships, however, is not our singular goal in offering a broad athletic program, but rather encouraging young people to participate on teams, and to compete. We believe that important lessons are learned through competition and teamwork—lessons that are transferable to life. In sport, boys learn about winning and losing, and about appropriately managing either circumstance, even when the margin of difference is small and the outcome, therefore, is sweeter or more bitter. On teams, boys learn about working with others to achieve a common goal, even if the people with whom they are working are not their friends. They learn to put differences aside in order to achieve a team goal. In competition, boys learn to push themselves past their comfort zones and to achieve goals which they thought lay beyond their reach. They learn about the importance of playing fair, and the consequences that accompany failure to do so. At Avon, we understand boys, and create an environment that provides them the opportunity to develop our core values. Sportsmanship is one of these values and we know that athletic competition is rich soil for the cultivation of character. In a world of greed, violence, poverty, and pain, and at a time when governments at every level are running deficits, moral and financial, it is easy to see the wisdom of what former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Earl Warren said several years ago: “When reading the newspaper I always turn to the sports page first because it records people’s accomplishments while the front page records nothing but man’s failures...” Some people choose to criticize us
Spring 2009 The Avonian
by Kenneth H. LaRocque
for our strong athletic program, but we see it as one of Avon’s most distinctive and important assets. On February 17th, Avon Old Farms lost a beloved alumnus, board member, and friend, Bob Fairchild ’60. As a student, Bob was a fine athlete who still holds our shot put record, who captained our soccer team, and who helped to promote our hockey program. I knew Bob for the past 28 years, and during
that time his contributions to his school were enormous. His gifts helped to renovate our hockey rink, to endow our English department, and to build our language laboratory. For decades, Bob served on our Board of Directors and worked tirelessly to help Avon grow in important ways. Most recently, he worked on the strategic plan that resulted in the construction of several new facilities on campus, and was leading an initiative to create a public relations program at school. Bob never pursued a personal agenda in his service to Avon, choosing instead to spend his time contributing widely, and building relationships with faculty, students, and fellow board members. We will miss his warmth, good will, and generosity of spirit. As we move ahead towards commencement and near the end of the first decade of this century, Avon Old Farms has never been stronger. Galvanized by a strong sense of mission, our vibrant community purposely addresses the fundamentals of manhood and works to cultivate young men of integrity who honor wisdom, justice, service, and the pursuit of truth. Bob Fairchild believed in this mission as did Reed Estabrook, Don Pierpont, Sid Clark, Coach Cochrane, Juan Comella, and so many other proud Avonians who are a part of our rich legacy. X
From The Headmaster & Letters
Letters & Notes Cory Kilvert ’73 recollects his time at Avon Old Farms School in the following excerpts: “I received my issue of The Avonian recently. Looking through the alumni section, I saw a picture of my class at their 35th reunion. I’ve tried to make each five-year reunion over time; it’s always great to see those who graduated with me in 1973. As I stared at the picture, I started to realize how significant this class was in the history of the school… “I arrived in September 1969. The fall of 1969 was to become a re-birth for the school. A new headmaster, George Trautman, had arrived. With the passing of Donald Pierpont, things were about to change at Avon. My class was to become the new headmaster’s first freshman class at the school. We also were to become his first four-year class when we graduated in 1973. Self-discipline and responsibility became the order of the day. George quickly established himself as a
no-nonsense leader, despite the rebellious ways of some of the juniors and seniors. They were used to the Pierpont years, and weren’t used to being told to get haircuts… “During study hall one winter evening, I heard a rumbling noise coming through my window in Eagle Dormitory; we later found out that the gym roof had collapsed from the weight of the snow. For the rest of the season, we had afternoon study hall in the Refectory, and night practices over at Westminster, whose gym we used for the remainder of the season… “1971 was the year of the ice hockey rink. I think the whole student body went out for hockey that year, or at least it seemed that way. I remember the night before leaving for Christmas vacation—a few of us snuck into the rink in the middle of the night and started skating around in the dark. It wasn’t long before the lights went on and George Trautman was in our face. He calmly told us to return to our dorms—and we didn’t get in any trouble…
“Visiting the school today, I’m struck by how different the campus is. New buildings, the replaced flagstones we used to walk on. Yet, it’s still the same school we all knew as boys becoming men. You can see it in the students. They are us. Nothing has changed as Avonians go. I’ve never lost focus on how lucky and privileged I was to attend this school for four years. I’m proud to say I’m a “Man of Avon” and will never forget this school. The Class of 1973 has seen the evolution of Avon Old Farms as it is today. It truly made a difference in my life.” X
costumes; and the Parents’ Reception during Parents’ Weekend. We also sell limited edition, hand-painted annual AOF ornaments. Each month we gather in the Board Room to catch up on school happenings, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow AOF parents, plan fundraising activities to support enrichment programs for the boys, and even learn the origins of some of the oldest Avon Old Farms traditions. Over the past few years the Blue Blazer Ball auction has successfully raised money to fund important projects that help enhance the AOF community. Some projects that the Parents’ Association have funded include acoustic shells for the Beatson Performing Arts Center; wireless network access in the student center; equipment to run the WAOF radio station; the Visiting Author Program;
game tables and equipment for the student center; seven defibrillators for the school’s use; laser printers in each dormitory; and organizing a birthday greeting and gift for every boy on his special day. Most recently, the PA has funded the improvement of campus security with a siren system; the Media Center Study Room; the freshman class ropes course; the sophomore class field trip to the Pequot Museum; the Visiting Poet Program; and prom. What we enjoy most about being part of the PA is getting to know other parents, and working with each other to put together a successful event that will enrich the lives of our sons. We encourage all our AOF families, local and long distance, to participate in the Parents Association. If you are unable to attend the monthly meetings, you can keep up to date with agendas and minutes through email. 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.
by Lori Solomon and Faith Margison: Co-Presidents of the AOF Parents’ Association Lori Solomon P’08, P’09 and Faith Margison P’09 are in the midst of their second year serving as co-presidents of the Avon Old Farms School Parents’ Association. They recently took a few minutes to chat with The Avonian about their experiences and what’s in store for the Parents’ Association. Our role as co-presidents of the Parents’ Association is to be the liaisons between the administration, faculty, and parents, and to work with and support the PA committee with the planning of all fundraising events. The PA coordinates and implements the following annual events: The Blue Blazer Ball and auction; The Giving Tree, which raises money for faculty members’ wish lists; Boar’s Head, for which we help coordinate
The Avonian Spring 2009
Village Green Students Debate Obama The excitement of the 2008 presidential election captivated the nation last year—and Avon Old Farms School was no exception. The night before the monumental election occurred, the entire Avon community gathered to observe a student presidential debate, featuring presentations from several students who spoke on behalf of their favored candidate. Moderated by Mike Fogarty ’09, Ben Custer ’10, John Driscoll ’09, and Graham Garland ’09, the debate included speakers
Conor Cummings ’09, Dan Jandreau ’09, Peter Thorington ’09, Chris Winer ’10, JP Rotchford ’09, Perry Wasserbauer ’09, Sebastian Silva ’10, Tim Liptrot ’12, and Ben LaRocque ’10. Students discussed topics such as economics, foreign policies, energy efficiency, and health care. “There is no denying that this election is one that all of us will remember,” notes Rotchford, “and this debate simply added another great detail to the memory of it. I think for students to actively participate in the political dialogue, old enough to vote or not, was unbelievably enriching.” The evening concluded with a mock election, which resulted in an Obama
Boar’s Head Festival 2008 Boar’s Head Festival once again lit up Riddle Refectory for a celebratory feast before winter vacation. The annual festival followed a day of fasting in honor of the Toys for Tots drive; the school donated the money saved by not serving lunch that day. As is tradition, all roles were played by members of the senior class, with the extraordinary Christmas tree, donated by the Reller family, brought in by the Nimrod Club, and costumes courtesy of the Parents’ Association. Zachary Albrecht ’09 played the role of jester, who serves as master of ceremonies. Father Christmas was played by John Driscoll ’09 while
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Saint George was played by Warden Ben Beath ’09. Faculty member Lee Huguley ’92, along with wife Taz and daughter Anaya, represented the roles Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus, while many of the faculty members’ children were involved as angels and shepherds. Headmaster LaRocque and his wife, Heidi, once again served as Master and Mistress of the Hall, and were accompanied by several parents of students of the Class of 2009, including Janet and Philip Rotchford P’09 and Faith and Doug Margison P’09. The festival highlights included group carols, the traditional lighting of candles, and performances by the Riddlers. X
2008 Election victory with 54.9 percent of the votes. The successful event was organized by Mr. Nathaniel Custer and the Bar Association. The following day, many eligible students made arrangements for transportation to the voting booths to do their part. “I know I will look back on this election and remember voicing my opinion to the student body literally hours before the polls opened,” reflects Rotchford, “and I believe, despite the fact that I could not cast a ballot, that I was involved in this election.” X 1. (in header) Perry Wasserbauer ’09 addresses the student body 2. JP Rotchford ’09 takes his stand
Village Green Fall Play
The Old Farms Theater Company presented Joseph Kesselring’s Arsenic and Old Lace to a packed house in the Adams Theater on November 14, 15, and 16. A dark comedy set in Brooklyn in 1941, the plot involves two gracious old aunties (played by Miss Porter’s Erin Olesen ’09 and Caroline Thompson ’10) who kindly poison lonely, elderly men and give them a respectful burial in their basement. Their nephew, recently engaged Mortimer (Ben Custer ’10), cannot deny that there is serious mental illness in his family. His brother Teddy (Mike Gagnon ’12) believes he is Theodore Roosevelt, and his brother Jonathan (Steven MacKenzie ’09) is a homicidal mobster. After learning of his aunts’ murderous ways, Mortimer decides he must terminate his engagement with the lovely Elaine (Olivia Wilcox), so as not to perpetuate the family curse. Hilarity reigns as the story unfolds.
Also regaling the Avon community this year were the winter concerts, featuring presentations from Avon’s many talented musical groups. The Avon Old Farms Chorale, Honors Chorale, and the Riddlers all performed under the direction of Robert Palmer, with instrumental performances coming from the Chamber Orchestra, directed by Benjamin Dean, and The Avon Big Band and The New Avon Sound, both under the direction of Robert Volo. X
1. Warden Ben Beath ’09 2. Riddlers Kaz Nakamura ’09, Anthony Cusano ’09, Tully Hannan ’09 and Grey Spencer ’09 3. Stefan Demopoulos ’09 and Mark Clarke ’09 present the Boar’s Head 4. Jester Zachary Albrecht ’09
The Avonian Spring 2009
Roving Reporter Student Perspectives What new course would you like to see offered? Reported by JP Rotchford ’09
Gi Hoon Song
Junior, Pelican dorm:
Senior, day boy:
Junior, Pelican dorm:
Sophomore, day boy:
Freshman, Eagle dorm:
Junior, Diogenes dorm:
A business class
A class on medicines
AP English 3 for juniors
Tommy A rnell
Junior, Elephant 2 dorm:
Junior, Eagle dorm:
Senior, Eagle dorm:
A dream class; you A class totally sleep in class and dedicated to then write about animals your dreams
A psychology class
Freshman, Elephant 3 dorm:
Sophomore, day boy:
Senior, Eagle dorm:
A course on Italy and its culture
A culinary class
An art history class 6
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Academic Spotlight: Forensics In just its first year, the new forensics elective now offered to AOF seniors has quickly become one of the most popular course choices for students looking for a unique classroom experience. The class provides an overview of frequently used laboratory techniques, instrumentation, and strategies used by forensic scientists when collecting and analyzing physical evidence. With two sections currently all full, course instructor Carol Reller believes the elective will most likely be expanded to three sections next year, due to course popularity—and some seniors will still not make it into the popular class. Reller, who is sometimes assisted by her husband, a retired police officer, has worked hard to provide students with several different perspectives on the topic. “I went into the class with the goal of doing hands-on work to immerse students in many different types of forensic science,” she explains, noting that “the nature of this class is multidisciplinary in nature, touching on the study of actual court trials and the legal system, while also exploring forensics in fiction and in the mass media.” The students have certainly responded to the integrated classroom experience, and seem to most enjoy the time they spend in the lab. “It’s a hands-on class,” observes Mike Fogarty ’09. “It’s a bit more interesting, and a chance to get away from book studies. You get to do cool stuff, besides listening to your teacher talk.” The course began with the basics, and moved on to general crime scenes, followed by specific types of evidence. First semester topics included glass, hair, fiber, ballistics and firearms, tool marks, and impressions. As the course finishes up the second half of the year, students will be studying fingerprints, explosives, arson, drugs, alcohol, toxicology, blood, DNA, and death and autopsies. Lab work has been equally invigorating, ranging from dusting for fingerprints and sketching crime scenes to fiber and hair testing and analysis of tool marks and impressions. Students have also had the opportunity to go through a crime scene van with the West Hartford Police Department. Future projects include labs involving blood splatter and identification, a DNA lab, a visit from an FBI agent who will discuss explosives, and a drug and alcohol discussion with the Avon Police Department. X
The 2008 Toys for Tots Drive Inspires Avon Community Once Again The 2008 Toys for Tots drive, sponsored by the Student Council and led by Warden Ben Beath ’09, raised over $12,000 for Hands on Hartford. Events included a student-faculty basketball game, the annual Italian dinner hosted by the Da Vinci Society, and the Toys for Tots dance. Perhaps the most popular fundraiser is the Toys for Tots raffle; faculty members and local businesses donate prizes which are then raffled off to students who purchased tickets. “Even in these tough economic times, I was so proud to be a part of Avon Old Farms School,” commented Beath. “After the drive was over, we
received a thank-you letter from a little girl whose heartfelt words made all the effort worth it. On all fronts, Toys for Tots was a huge success and a satisfying experience for those who work on it as well as for those who benefit from it.” X
Sophomore Historians Visit Pequot Museum
Through the generosity of the AOF Parents’ Association, 94 students and nine chaperones embarked on a journey to the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center in Ledyard, Connecticut, in February. The museum exhibits and celebrates rich Native American history in Connecticut, focusing on the story of the Pequot people. Among the highlights of the trip were the Pequot Child exhibit and the Mashantucket Natural History Tour. In the Pequot Child exhibit, visitors are transported to a meticulously
crafted 16th-century Pequot coastal village. The exhibit recreates the coastal habitat in stunning detail, revealing the sights, sounds, and traditional ways of Pequot life and culture in pre-colonial times. In this way, visitors are able to explore similarities and differences between their own lives and that of the Pequots. Beginning with a cold descent into the World of Ice exhibit, the Mashantucket Natural History Tour shows how glaciers formed the New England landscape over 18,000 years ago and the environment that resulted from the recession of those glaciers. The vast exhibit also features several large dioramas illustrating plants and horticulture, as well as animals and hunting practices of the Pequot ancestors during the hunter-gatherer
period of about 6,000 years ago. Visitors see first-hand the myriad uses the Pequot ancestors developed for both of these natural resources in producing clothing, shelters, cordage, and tools. The Pequot Museum and Research Center is heralded as one of the best museums in the world celebrating native and natural histories, and in its continued research efforts in exploring the region’s past. “The Pequot Museum field trip offered a unique opportunity for students to learn about what has traditionally been an underplayed element in American history,” notes trip organizer and history faculty member JR Zavisza. “It was also great to give students the opportunity to learn in an environment outside the classroom.” For more information on the museum, please visit www.pequotmuseum.org. X
The Avonian Spring 2009
Civil Rights Activist Spreads Non-Violent Message on M artin L uther K ing J r . D ay Dr. Bernard Lafayette, a famed civil rights activist and former close friend of Martin Luther King Jr., visited Avon Old Farms School on Martin Luther King Jr. Day—also the eve of the historic 2009 presidential inauguration—to address students about the importance of non-violent social change. Lafayette, currently serving as director of the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island, urged the Avon community to pass along the ideals of King’s non-violent, egalitarian philosophy, to stand up for what’s right, and to look for the best in a person even if he shows you his worst side. Lafayette also addressed the importance of the 2008 election, and made comparisons between King and President Obama, relating their ultimate goals of achieving equality without violence. X
Avonians Treated to One-Man Show— and L esson in T olerance On Friday, October 3, students and faculty gathered in the Beatson Performing Arts Center for a presentation from Dr. Michael “Mykee” Fowlin. Dr. Fowlin, who received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his engaging, energetic performance, addressed students as several different characters struggling underneath the image they present. Among the characters were a high school football star struggling with his sexual identity and a student at Brown University whose seemingly perfect life masked several suicide attempts. The entire Avon community was inspired by the overall message of tolerance and empathy. “If there was one thing that I would want audiences to understand,” commented Fowlin, “it is that you are not alone; when you feel pain, there are always others who are there who feel your pain; you just have to find them.” X
By Jared Ciejek ’09
On March 8th, Avon Old Farms was ecstatic to play host to the great poet, writer, and translator Martín Espada. Although he hails from Brooklyn, New York, Espada still maintains a strong connection with his ethnic homeland of Puerto Rico. In fact, this connection is so powerful that it finds its way into his literature on a habitual basis. Currently a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Espada teaches poetry in addition to conducting regular readings of his own work as well as of the works of Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda. To kick off the event, Espada read a selection of culturally specific poems, which he explained to the audience after finishing, and his recitation
Spring 2009 The Avonian
AOF Poetry Recitation Contest style was engaging to say the least. One second his hands would be up in gesture, only to be replaced by a kicking heel or bobbing head the next. Espada soon transferred to a more contemporary set of recitations including poems many Avon students were likely to have studied in class, like Alabanza and Sleeping on the Bus. After his final reading, Espada answered many questions from the eager audience, then departed to a roar of applause. Coupled with Espada’s visit was Avon’s own poetry recitation contest. Four elected contestants, one from each grade, competed for a hefty $100 prize: Keith Boratko ’12, last year’s winner Giri Suarsana ’11, Matthew
Coz ’10, and John Driscoll ’09. All four participants memorized challenging poems and brought them to life with stunning performances. Although John greatly impressed the judges with his recitation of I go back to May 1937 by Sharon Olds and earned honorable mention, it was Mat Coz with his performance of First Period by Kevin Derrig who generated the greatest hype and enough points to win first prize. The contest proved to be a learning experience for all Avon students as they all memorized and wrote poetry of their own in their English classes. However, it was Espada’s exciting visit that hammered home what it really means to write and vocalize poetry to all in attendance. X
Athletics Cross Country Overall Record: 7-4; 8th in New England The 2008 Avon Old Farms harriers enjoyed consistent success this fall on cross country courses across New England. The team, led by captains Tully Hannan ’09, Anthony Cusano ’09, and Ben LaRocque ’10, always finished strong, and many broke personal best times. The season started off early for many runners who returned to school for sports camp. They tested their ability to wake up early and push through the gruesome “Humbler” in addition to training runs and track workouts. The team also persevered through some of the legendary training runs up Heublein Tower, the fear-envoking “Hell’s Gate,” and the Billy Goat trail. The official season opened with the annual Choate Invitational, in which Avon competed against seven other schools. Tully Hannan placed first, and would continue to do so at every single
race of his senior year, completing his second consecutive undefeated season. As the season progressed, many of the meets were on home turf. Some highlights included a meet against Williston, when the three captains each ran strong in order to secure a victory for Avon, and the Cusano brothers, Anthony and Joe ’11, as well as Matt Coz ’10, all beat their previous personal best times. Another exciting moment arrived at the New England Cross Country Championships, hosted by Avon Old Farms, when Tully Hannan once again emerged at the front of the pack of runners from 12 other schools to secure first place in New England—and set a new course record at Avon with a time 16 minutes, 10 seconds. Avon took 8th place overall, finishing their season well. The team found great talent from seasoned cross country veterans and new runners, as well, many of whom were former fifths soccer players. Girard “The Hammer” Hampton ’11 joined the team as a first-time runner and with his positive, never-give-up attitude, went
on to finish each race of the season. Chris Winer ’10 and Reggie Mills ’10 both trained hard, sometimes too hard, but finished consistently and should be runners to watch out for next fall. Captain Ben LaRocque worked steadily to move quickly to the top of the pack. He too, will be a runner to keep an eye on next year. The entire team consisted of tireless athletes with positive attitudes who all worked hard to improve themselves and their team.
Cross Country Star Tully Hannan ’09 Shatters Course Record, Captures New England Championship Title On a rainy Saturday, November 8th, Avon Old Farms School hosted the 2008 New England Class A Cross Country Championships. Captain Tully Hannan ’09 entertained the hundreds of runners and spectators as he captured the New England varsity boys title, crossing the finish line 15 seconds in front of the second place runner from St. Paul’s School—and setting a new course record. Hannan ran the 5 km (3.1 miles) course in 16 minutes 10 seconds, besting the previous record of 16:33, held by Mike Moreau of The Taft School. The Winged Beavers finished in 8th place overall.
The Avonian Spring 2009
Varsity Soccer Overall Record: 13-2-4 New England Champion Finalists
Colin Bradley ’09 Named Gatorade CT Boys Soccer Player of the Year The Gatorade Company, in partnership with ESPN RISE, announced in February that Colin Bradley ’09 was named the Gatorade Connecticut Boys Soccer Player of the Year. He is the first player of the year to be chosen from Avon Old Farms School. Colin, a WNEPSSA All-Star Team and Connecticut All-State Team selection this year, was also named MVP of the Avon varsity soccer team. He recorded eight goals and 12 assists in the 2008 season, and led the Winged Beavers (13-2-4) to the New England Prep School championship game. A four-year starter, Colin tallied the game-winning assist as a freshman in the 2005 New England Prep School championship game, and finished his career with 25 goals and 37 assists. He is a two-time WNEPSSA All-Star. The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, and distinguishes Colin as Connecticut’s best high school soccer player. He is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, announced in May. Colin has maintained a 3.04 GPA in the classroom, and is a local youth soccer and basketball coach, in addition to participating in the Special Olympics program hosted by Avon. He has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer on scholarship at the University of Connecticut this fall.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
The varsity soccer team enjoyed another successful season, posting a record of 13-2-4. The Winged Beavers were led by captains Colin Bradley ’09, Tim Clark ’09, Michael Giuliano ’09, and Terrell Whitting ’09. Also providing senior leadership were Jake Bourgault ’09, Ian Casella ’09, Ken Leslie ’09, Chris Ruhlig ’09, Mike Scali ’09, and Andres Ventura ’09, who all played significant roles throughout the season. The season’s first match was a solid victory, 4-0 at Trinity-Pawling, followed by a hard loss at the hands of the Rhinos of Taft, 0-1. Avon would return home for its next three matches, with a 3-1 victory over the Brunswick School, a 3-3 draw against Salisbury, and a 2-0 victory over the Hotchkiss squad. The Winged Beavers would not lose another match for the remainder of the regular season. During the middle stretch of the schedule, Avon would secure a draw at Deerfield and a win against a very talented NMH team. Returning home for Parents’ Weekend, the Winged Beavers hosted the much improved Hopkins School and came away with a hard-fought 2-0 victory. Tabor Academy—and a 4-1 win—followed. A draw at Westminster led Avon to the Kent School, who were undefeated at the time, but the Winged Beavers were not to be denied as they posted a 3-1 victory.
Next Avon traveled to KingswoodOxford School, coming away with a 3-0 win, and then met an undefeated Loomis Chaffee School. Avon handed the Pelicans their worst defeat in decades: 3-0. With the Winged Beavers in the driver’s seat for at least a tie for the Founders League title and a possible favorable seed in the New England tournament, Avon went into the Choate contest overly optimistic and settled for a 4-4 draw. This frustrating result propelled the team to win its final two matches, and the Winged Beavers settled for a very disappointing sixth seed in the New England Class A Soccer Tournament. The following Wednesday the soccer team, along with 300 Avonians, traveled to take on the number two seed, Phillips Andover Academy. Avon would find the back of the net first, but the opponents would get the equalizer, forcing the match into overtime, also scoreless; penalty kicks decided the mach in Avon’s favor. The Winged Beavers next moved on to the semifinals against Worcester Academy. Once again, the Avon victory was determined by penalty kicks. Avon met the Hotchkiss School the following day as they tried to capture their third New England title in four years. Unfortunately, the Winged Beavers lost this Titan battle, but in the final analysis, they left everything on the field. Though suffering a loss, they realized exactly what they had accomplished and took pride in their efforts.
Athletics Varsity Football Overall Record: 3-5 The varsity football team finished the 2008 season with a record of 3 wins and 5 losses. Captains Corey Cheyne ’09, Matt Lauro ’09, and Kinley Mehra ’09 led this young and inexperienced team both on and off the field, and with devotion to each of their teammates and to the game of football. The season opened with a 35-14 win over the Rhinos of Taft, in a battle that was much closer than the score indicated. Taft led for the entire first half, taking advantage of a host of Avon mistakes. A Bronson Kelley ’11 kickoff return at the end of the second quarter, however, led to Avon’s first score of the game. After a two-point conversion, the Beavers trailed at the half 14-8, but momentum was on their
side. After dominating the third quarter in time of possession, the Beavers just couldn’t find a way to punch the ball into the end zone. In the fourth quarter, however, Avon was truly firing on all cylinders, ultimately scoring 27 points, on touchdowns by Mike Hermann ’09, Marek Laco ’09, Andrew Cummings ’10, and Sam Marvin ’10. Unfortunately the victory was followed by losses to Salisbury, TrinityPawling, and Kent, until Avon rebounded with a 30-21 defeat of Loomis Chaffee on the road. After losing to Hotchkiss and Deerfield, the Winged Beavers closed out the year with a win over Northfield Mount Hermon, defeating the Hoggers 18-6 in Avon’s best-played game of the season. Touchdowns from Cheyne, Cummings, and Hermann, in addition to strong defensive performances, gave Avon the edge it needed to finish up the season with a strong win.
Eric McGrath ’05 Eric McGrath ’05 was a standout student athlete at Avon Old Farms School, excelling in both baseball and football during his postgraduate year, and earning the student council spirit award and the Order of Old Farms. His matriculation to Trinity College in nearby Hartford, Connecticut, proved no exception to his success. As he prepares for his college graduation, Eric has also had the chance to reflect upon his athletic accomplishments, most recently including recognition as Football Player of the Year from three different organizations: The 2008 Boston Globe Gold Helmet Player of the Year for NCAA Divisions II and III, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Northeast Player of the Year, and the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Offensive Player of the Year. Eric’s career as quarterback for the Trinity College Bantams was capped with an impressive 8-0 record and a No. 1 ranking in New England this season. McGrath, the team’s captain, received honors on the All-NESCAC first team, the ECAC All-Northeast Squad, and the New England Football Writers Division II/III All-Star Team. Eric started all eight games for Trinity, throwing 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and completing 163 passes
The seniors on this year’s team were incredibly hard-working, and a cohesive unit who approached each practice with a willingness to sacrifice their personal wants for the good of the team. They demonstrated a will to win, good sportsmanship, and respect for their opponents. The future looks bright with the return of many talented underclassmen and the addition of many members of the talented junior varsity and thirds squads.
(a new Trinity record) in 282 attempts. He currently holds the Trinity record for single-game passing yards with 470, as well as longest pass with a 99-yard touchdown toss in 2007. At Trinity, Eric is also a pitcher for the varsity baseball team, which won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2008. He is an economics major and hopes to pursue a career in construction management or commercial real estate. And while his tremendous success on the Trinity football field may be highly praised, Eric is quick to cite Avon as one of the resources that enabled him to achieve so much in college. “My one year at Avon impacted my life in so many positive ways. I will always be indebted to Avon Old Farms and appreciate all the help and support I received,” he explains. “Playing sports has allowed me to improve my communication skills and time management, and has taught me how to overcome failure and how to handle success. Those skills will carry on much deeper than on the athletic fields at Avon or Trinity, which is where they began!”
The Avonian Spring 2009
Jake Bourgault ’09
Jake Bourgault ’09 has been making a name for himself on the playing field since his freshman year. Currently a member of the varsity soccer and varsity track and field teams, as well as captain of the varsity wrestling team, Jake cites his athletics involvement as an integral part of his own personal Avon experience, from providing “lifelong friendships” to helping him understand the meaning of being an Avonian. “An Avonian does what is asked of him before he does what he wants to,” explains Jake. “Athletics demonstrates this idea of doing what is expected before what is easier or convenient. On the soccer field, you have 10 other people depending on you, and in wrestling you have 13 other guys relying on you to do your part.” And Jake’s teammates have continually come to rely on him: wrestling in the 140-lb. weight class, he captured the
Varsity Wrestling Overall Record: 18-5; Western New Englands: 4th Place The 2008-2009 wrestling season was one of the greatest seen by the Winged Grapplers in recent history. With an 18-5 overall record, a 17-4 record against New England prep schools, and a 4th place finish at the Western New England Championships, the program is on the upswing. With about 40 wrestlers on the squad and only six of those graduating, the program will be strong for years to come. The season opened with a 5th place finish at the Canterbury Invitational, with Captain Jake Bourgault ’09 winning the 140-lb. weight class. The rest of the season built upon that success, and the squad wreaked havoc in the league, racking up 135 overall pins and amassing 1,239 total points while allowing only 788. The Loomis Duals tournament saw Avon take a 3rd place finish at a tournament that
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Western New England Championship title this February, helping the team to a 4th place finish in the tournament—the school’s best result in years. He was also named the Most Improved Player on the varsity soccer team which has advanced to the New England Championship title game in each of the last two years, winning it in 2007. Jake is busy off the field, as well, as a day student monitor, the head of both the Special Olympics soccer and basketball programs, and a member of Avon Outreach. Though he is unsure of his future plans, Jake is considering a major in business or communications, and will attend the University of Connecticut. Wherever he goes, Jake will take with him the values he learned at Avon not only as a student, but as an athlete. “To be an Avonian requires someone to put everything they have into making Avon a great place to live; a true Avonian would do anything they could to make the world better, no matter how enormous that may sound.”
previously only garnered a 7th or 8th place result, as well as a 12-3 record in duals for the remainder of the season. The season closed with two major tournaments: the Western New England and New England Championships. At Westerns, the Winged Grapplers took 4th place overall, the best finish in decades. Bourgault led the way, winning his weight class and winning the award for Most Pins in Least Time. Bourgault finished the season an amazing 23-1 and was a huge asset to the team not just for his successes on the mat but, along with co-captain
Cory Cheyne ’09 (171 lbs), his leadership off the mat as well. The New England Prep School Wrestling Championship tournament was hosted by Avon this year and the event was a spectacular success, with simultaneous action on six mats and upwards of 50 schools in attendance. Overall the season was a tremendous one, and the Winged Grapplers hope that the strength of this season is continued and improved upon next year, with elected captains Ben LaRocque ’10 and Matt Coz ’10 leading the squad.
Athletics Varsity Basketball
Overall Record: 8-15
Overall Record: 11-13-1
The varsity basketball team entered the 2008-2009 season with high expectations. Unfortunately, the team suffered some tough losses and finished the season with a record of eight wins and 15 losses. However, the team competed hard every day in practice and in every game against quality opponents. In fact, only one of this season’s losses was to a team that did not make a post-season tournament. Some of the season’s highlights included a great overtime win against the Peddie School, and a six-game winning streak in the middle of the season, which included a sweep of rival Trinity-Pawling in two highly competitive games. The team then finished the season in a positive fashion with a season-high 75-point effort in a win against Canterbury. There were also numerous individual performances of note this season. Included among them were: a 23-point performance by Jordan Wylie ’09 (including going 7-for-7 on three-point shots) versus Peddie; Tucker Esborn ’09 scoring 21 points in the first half versus Westminster and completing a double-double in a win over Trinity-Pawling with 23 points and 10 rebounds; and multiple 20-point games by Tim Brechbuehler ’09, including three double-double games and a 22-point, 17-rebound, and 3-blocked shot performance against Canterbury to finish his Avon career in style. The team says good-bye to 11 players this year: Captain Tim Brechbuehler, Steve Heller ’09, Terrell Whitting ’09, Tucker Esborn, Matt Stone ’09, Mike Hermann ’09, Jordan Wylie, Elias Pollack ’09, Jac St. John ’09, Aaron Zaleznik ’09, and Mike Govoni ’09. Also moving on is three-year manager Pierce Ford ’09. Returning will be next year’s captains Pat Miller ’10 and Connor Mooney ’10 as well as rising sophomore Tafari Whittingham ’11.
The 2008-2009 varsity hockey team finished the season with a record of 11-13-1. The team struggled to find an identity having been decimated by graduation losses from last year’s New England Championship team; injuries and illnesses also took their toll as captain Brad Peltz ’09 was unable to play until the final two games of the season. Captains Blake Forkey ’09, Stefan Demopoulos ’09, and Alex Riccio ’09 guided this young and inexperienced team through a difficult line-up of opponents. Toward the end of the season, maturing players and a strong work ethic enabled the team to win four out of its last five games. The season opened on the road with a 7-0 victory over Albany Academy behind a Josh Dionne ’10 shutout. Losses to South Kent and Taft followed, but the team next bounced back to defeat TrinityPawling. On the road at Deerfield, the club had a difficult time containing the opposing forwards, losing 7-3. In the first round of the 26th Annual Avon Christmas Hockey Classic, TP took its revenge by a 4-1 count. The team was resilient the next day, pounding Loomis Chaffee by an 8-2 margin. Avon then snatched a 3-2 victory over St. Paul’s, but was unable to respond to a tenacious Berkshire team the next day. The Winged Beavers then went on the road to Taft and shocked the Rhinos, the number-one ranked team in New England, 5-1. The team was unable to sustain its brilliance, however, losing a 4-1 decision at Hotchkiss, followed by an overtime loss at Kent. Avon next came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Pomfret 4-3 behind sophomore John Jackson’s performance with 33 saves. A frustrating 1-1 tie with NMH was next, followed by close losses to Berkshire and Westminster and a 7-5 win over Loomis Chaffee. A dull 5-1 loss
followed at Choate, and then another tough loss at Westminster. The Winged Beavers next lost to playoff-bound Gunnery. Then, after falling behind Deerfield 2-0, the team rebounded to earn an inspiring 3-2 victory, which was followed by a victory over Choate, a loss to defensive team Salisbury, and victories over Canterbury and Loomis. Hopefully, next year’s team will build upon this late-season surge as they attempt to return the team to its former prominence.
The Avonian Spring 2009
Varsity Ski Team Overall Record: 17-10; NEPSAC Class A Championships: 11th Place This year’s ski team went through somewhat of a rebuilding season, finishing in 4th place in the Berkshire Ski League, and 11th place at the NEPSAC Class A Championships. The race season was cut short this year, due to weather conditions. Nevertheless, the team pushed on and had a good regular season. Avon finished second in its first race, with Euan Sorrell ’11 (5th place), Ben Crocker ’11 (8th place), and George Iverson ’10 (10th place) leading the way for the varsity team. Despite having five racers finish in the top 20 overall, Avon finished third in its next competition, behind strong teams from Suffield and Berkshire. The next race was the first part of the Berkshire Ski League Championships—the Dave Rockwell GS Championships. The team finished in 5th place overall, and managed to avenge the earlier loss to Berkshire, in addition to moving up a spot in the overall standings with a strong showing at the Carl Williams Slalom Championships. The performance at the slalom championships was a true example of how much the team
Spring 2009 The Avonian
improved over the season as several team members, including Riggs Brackett ’11, Max Rusch ’10 and David Barros ’11, had their best races of the season and played a key role in the team’s success. The varsity squad will be losing one racer this year: captain Patrick Birch ’09. His quiet leadership and racing ability will be missed; however there are a number of candidates to fill his spot. Many racers return next year, including team MVP Ben Crocker, most improved racer Max Rusch, and coach’s award winner David Barros. The team has elected Riggs Brackett ’10, a three-year member of the varsity squad, as its captain.
Riflery Overall Record: 3-3 The 2008 riflery season was the best ever, with team scores, individual accomplishments, and team continuity leading the squad to a great finish. The riflery team had many firsts this year; it was their first-ever entry into the Niantic/Quaker Hill Invitational, in which they competed in order to get more match experience outside of the Founders League. The team placed second only to a clubsponsored team. Avon also won its first tiebreaker match, against Suffield.
The team achieved its first score of 937, an all-time team high. The squad placed in the NRA junior sectionals for the first time, with Alex Tynell ’10, 1st Scholastic Team, placing 4th at intermediate junior level. Finally, the team experienced firing on an Olympic-style course (120 shots in one match) for the first time. Team captains Sung Jin Jeong ’09 and Tae Wan Kwon ’10 were superior leaders, and Sung Jin Jeong and Alex Tynell tied for 10th place average in the state; Alex beat Sung Jin in the tie-breaking process. Taeik Kim ’10, Aaron Zamojski ’10 and Woo Soo Choe ’10 shot consistently throughout the season. Jungsu Park ’11, Michael Zhai ’12, and Andrew Benson ’12 were first-year shooters who started the season barely hitting the target and finished the year making the top five counting scores. These three shooters were truly a success story of dedication, patience, attitude, and perseverance for the whole team. The team made it to the championships on a wild card, placing 4th in the state with a score of 934, which was one point above the team average. The other teams were no match for Suffield Academy, who shot its own all-time high of 958 to claim this year’s title.
Athletics Varsity Squash Overall Record: 7-10 The 2008-2009 squash season was marked by growth and development as well as fine sportsmanship. The team won three more games than the previous year, and finished with a 7-10 record. There are now three divisions of the New England tournament and the Avon squad qualified for division B. At the New England tournament, Avon went up against some strong competition and finished 9th out of 12 teams. The team graduates four seniors: Jared Ciejek ’09, Ford St. John ’09, Guillermo Barnes ’09, and Conor Price ’09. Even though the two best individual records were held by Jared (winner of the team MVP award) and Ford (co-captain), none of the seniors were in this year’s top four—though Jared did have an impressive personal 10-0 winning streak during the beginning of the season. Alija Hogans ’11, recipient of the Coach’s Award for his work ethic and ability to make everyone better around him, returns at the number one position. Co-captain Parker Bova ’10, who provided strong leadership as his game grew tremendously, will return at the number two position. Casey O’Brien ’10, recipient of the
Most Improved Award, will continue to grow and will return at the number three position. Young Santiago Moran ’12, a freshman newcomer, will return next year with another summer of maturity under his belt at the number four position. A hungry group of JV players will return ready to round out the varsity roster. The future is bright for this young team.
Varsity Swim Team New England Tournament: 17th place The Avon Old Farms swim team had a great year, with a mix of seasoned veterans and students new to the sport. This balance creates a unique learning environment for all, and ultimately a successful season every year. During the season each swimmer averaged 9 best times. Many of the improvements were huge. Comie Stallmeyer ’10 dropped more than nine seconds off his 100-butterfly time this season. Julio Velutini ’10 dropped over five seconds off his best 100-free time at the New England championships, swimming the 100 in under a minute and the 50-free in under 25 seconds. Senior Nick Brogan’s 100-free times dropped 5.34 seconds over the last three meets, and he swam under one minute for the first time as well. Freshman
Jordan Whalen’s first race at Avon was the 200 IM, a brave endeavor, and he took up fly with a month left in the season, and qualified for New Englands. Every swimmer at the Founders League Championships swam at least one best time, led by Austin Goetjen ’10 with four best times. For the second year in a row the team averaged over 14 best times per meet. Perhaps most impressive were the relay teams. The 200-free relay team of Alex Levy ’10, Austin Goetjen, Ian Parker ’10, and Tully Hannan ’09 improved their best time by 1.56 seconds, and finished as the number 14 relay in New England. The 400-free relay team of Alex Levy, Ian Parker, Tully Hannan, and Nathan Riley ’10 helped Avon to realize a 14.5-second drop over three meets, and they swam even faster at New Englands, with a time of 3:37.95. Alex started the relay for the first time and swam the 100 in 54.33 seconds, with Ian, Tully, and Nathan each following with best times. Avon also boasted two divers— Jihad Harkeem ’12 and TJ Dougherty ’11, a swimmer-diver. Avon has been without a diving program for a while and it is great to have some young talent start to dive.
The Avonian Spring 2009
of Avon Old Farms School by Morgan L. Cadwell
Avon Old Farms School has long been praised for its many flourishing academic and art programs. Over the course of the last 20 years, the athletic programs have grown tremendously, as well, producing myriad championship titles for many different teams, countless successful collegiate athletes who also boast national titles, and many prominent professional athletes, several of whom youâ€™ll meet over the next several pages. The extraordinary successes in athletics at AOF have grown exponentially over the last several decades, as has the respect earned by dedicated and passionate student-athletes, coaches, and administrators. Support from the generous Avon community of alumni, parents, faculty members, friends, and fans has bred unparalleled opportunities for excellence, as the athletic facilities and equipment supplies have received top-notch upgrades. The Winged Beavers of Avon Old Farms School boast a tradition in athletics that rivals the best prep schools across the country, and itâ€™s a tradition that defines and inspires the young men who are privileged to compete wearing Avon colors.
by Susan Haile
“Life, when it is a struggle, is less comfortable, and when it is comfortable it is no fun.” Prophetic words? Perhaps. They appeared in the 1983 Winged Beaver, Avon’s yearbook, next to senior Juan Nieves’s name. The accompanying photo reveals a seriouslooking young man, one who nevertheless has a certain sparkle in his eyes—a sparkle that seems to say, “I’m ready for the struggle… and the fun.” In the ensuing years, Nieves has seen both. The former Major League pitcher, and the only Milwaukee Brewer in the club’s history to pitch a no-hitter, doesn’t dwell on the struggle, however. Far from it. Nieves grew up in Puerto Rico, playing baseball year-round and attending an English-language school. In 1980, when Avon’s baseball team visited the island, hoping to shake off winter and prepare for the upcoming season, Nieves’s team offered some stiff competition. And Nieves made an impression on Avon’s coaches. “Mr. Comella and Mr. Evans saw me play, and they had some scholarship money available, so they interviewed me,” Nieves recalls. “And luckily I was invited to come to Avon.” It was like traveling to another planet. Everything was different: the food, the climate, the school facilities, the teachers, and certainly his fellow students. “Every day, I was absorbing everything, from the first day to the last,” Nieves recalls. “I observed. That’s probably why I’m a coach: I observe.” Nieves’s three years at Avon were filled with superlatives and awards, including the Jennings and Murray Cups, as the best
athlete in his class, and the Order of Old Farms, Avon’s top award. “I remember every drop of it,” he says. And he means it. “I remember Vespers, I remember Morning Meeting, I even remember the smell of the Refectory.” (“I liked the food,” he adds with a smile.) “It was always exciting to watch Juan perform,” recalls Dean Peter Evans, who coached Nieves in basketball as well as baseball. “In addition to all of his baseball laurels, Juan was captain and contributed mightily to one of Avon’s best-ever basketball teams. This is amazing because basketball was a game that Juan never played before coming to Avon.” Although arguably one of Avon’s best athletes ever—he was the first, along with retired New York Ranger Brian Leetch ’86, to be inducted into the Avon Old Farms Athletic Hall of Fame—Nieves claims that his biggest challenge was running cross country. “It was something I didn’t want to do,” he admits. “It was such a grind. And as captain my senior year, I had to lead not only in meets, but also in practice. It was the toughest thing I did at Avon, even tougher than having Mr. Clark for English class. And that was pretty tough!” But the classroom, he knew, came first. “The message was clear, from the minute I walked into Avon,” Nieves says. “I had a chance to educate myself. I had to hit the books.” And he did. What has stayed with him over the years, long after graduation? “Lifetime friendships,” he says without hesitation. “Lifetime loyalty and trust.” Nieves was one of Avon’s very first athletes to achieve success in the professional ranks. As Evans puts it, “Juan was the first to ‘hit it big,’ to put Avon on the national map, athletically.” As the top amateur “free agent” in 1983—in a pool that included all college athletes, as well—Nieves considered plenty of options, including offers from colleges and significant major league interest, before signing with the Brewers and spending a few years in the minor leagues, developing and gaining experience. He made his first major league start in 1986. And that memorable no-hitter? Surprisingly, in some ways it’s number two on Nieves’s list. “I pitched a game that was more meaningful to me, in the Caribbean World Series in 1986-87, for Puerto Rico,” the left-hander says. “I was 22 years old, and I was pitching for my country.” But the no-hitter holds a very special place, as well.
It was a dark and stormy night, as they say. The Brewers had blazed their way to a 9-0 start that season, and on April 15, 1987, Nieves took the mound against the Baltimore Orioles after a rain delay of over an hour. “The score was 1-0 for a while, and I was thinking shutout,” Nieves recalls. “I wasn’t even thinking about a no-hitter.” Late in the game, the Brewers pushed the score to 7-0. “That’s when I started to think about it.” Mentally, he considered how he’d pitch to the batters he’d be facing in the ninth inning. “I began thinking I could do this. I had a chance.” In the end, centerfielder Robin Yount made a spectacular diving catch for the final out, and Juan Nieves made his way into the record books. The ball commemorating his no-hitter is on display in Cooperstown, Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“I remember every drop of it,” he says. And he means it. “I remember Vespers, I remember Morning Meeting, I even remember the smell of the Refectory.” (“I liked the food,” he adds with a smile.) “That was a very memorable and fun time,” the modest Nieves says. What came next was more struggle than fun, but Nieves doesn’t dwell on it. After three seasons with the Brewers, during which he compiled a 32-25 record, a shoulder injury sidelined him and, ultimately, he was unable to come back. “In 1989 I had an operation and the Brewers decided to take me off their roster,” he says. “The Yankees took me and tried to rehab me. Bless their hearts, they gave me every possible chance. They got me to be a lean, mean fighting machine. But even after two years of rehab, it was too hard to come back.” “Some guys would wallow in self-pity and head down the wrong path,” says Evans. “Juan didn’t. He thought, ‘Wow, I was able to pitch in the major leagues.’”
With his playing days over, the Yankees offered him a coaching position, and Nieves remained with the club for several years. He even made an appearance in the 1999 film For the Love of the Game, starring Kevin Costner. In 1998, he left the Yankees for the Chicago White Sox organization, where he’s been ever since, coaching at all levels of the minor leagues before moving up to become bullpen coach for the Sox. “It’s a great organization,” Nieves says. Although he doesn’t say so, his struggles as a player in all likelihood make him a better coach, one who constantly urges his players to appreciate what they have. “This is a very sad day,” he tells them at the end of each season. When they ask why, he responds, “Because you have one less year of playing baseball in your future.” “Young players really like him, and they really listen to him,” adds Evans. If he harbors any regrets about his shortened pitching career, Nieves certainly doesn’t show it. “I have had nothing but blessings,” he says. Among those blessings—at the top of the list, in fact—are his wife, Marilia, and their three daughters, ages 3, 6, and 10. “My four beautiful girls,” he calls them. For the past four years, the family’s home base has been in South Carolina. These days, Nieves says he leads a very simple life. “Baseball has given me a lot of things: great memories, a roof over my head, and a lot of joy.” He laments that he’ll be turning 45 next year, and he’s even noticed a few gray hairs. But he hasn’t lost his love of baseball, and he hopes to stay in the game a while longer before retiring. “If I ever have a chance, I’d love to go back to school,” he says. “And I’d love to open a baseball academy and teach elite players. I love the game, and I’d love to pass that on.” But for now, he’s just hoping for a great 2009 season for the White Sox, offering apologies to those back in New England who might prefer their Sox a different color. Ever the gentleman, Nieves strikes a compromise by predicting that “the Sox will win big this year,” tactfully neglecting to say which ones.
by Susan Haile
Brian Leetch ’86 describes himself as a “family man” these days. “That’s about all I’m doing,” the retired New York Ranger admits. With three kids, ages 8, 5, and 3, his hands are full. “It’s not as physically taxing as playing hockey,” he laughs, “but mentally it can wear you out. Now, though, I can get involved in what the kids are doing, which is really great.” And yes, that includes helping to coach the 8-year-old’s mite hockey team. He may be Mr. Mom today, but hands down, Leetch is also the most decorated athlete Avon Old Farms has ever produced. When the Rangers retired his number in January 2008 after a stellar 17-year career, Leetch had garnered enough awards to fill several trophy cases, including the Calder Trophy (as 1989’s NHL rookie of the year), the Norris Trophy (twice, as top defenseman), and the Conn Smythe Trophy (as playoff MVP) in 1994, the year the Rangers won the Stanley Cup. The last NHL defenseman (and only the fifth in NHL history) to post a 100-point season, Leetch tallied over 1,000 points in his career. He wears fame well. Soft-spoken, articulate, and gracious, Leetch chooses his words thoughtfully, with a humility that belies his dazzling career. “Brian was obviously a great hockey player, but still very humble and likeable,” comments John Gardner, Avon’s varsity hockey coach. “I don’t think success ever went to his head. The way he conducted himself in the NHL was the way he conducted
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himself at Avon. In all my interactions with him, he’s still the same person he was.” According to Gardner, much of the credit belongs to Leetch’s parents. “Brian was brought up right,” he asserts. “People talk about ‘crazy hockey parents,’ but I think most of them do it right, because they spend a lot of time with their kids. I think Brian learned a lot from his parents, and he learned those lessons well.” Leetch came to Avon in 1984. His hometown rink in Cheshire, Conn., was about to close, and the future of his local hockey program was in doubt. A friend, Jeff Owens ’86, had come to Avon the year before. “It was not a hard decision at the time,” Leetch recalls, “but I really had a tough time at first.” Coats and ties? No girls? Washing dishes in the Refectory on Friday nights? It took Leetch most of that first year to adjust. “It was my one real difficult time,” he admits. “As a 16- or 17-year-old, you’re going through a lot of changes anyway, and I’d left my family and friends. The academics were more difficult than I was accustomed to. But I had John Gardner, and my friend from home, and the hockey team, and then I gained confidence and things were fine.” And he learned the Avon drill. “You got up, put on your jacket and tie, and went to class, but you didn’t have to worry about your hair,” he laughs. “Sure, we looked well dressed. But you’d look at each other and say, ‘That guy just got out of bed.’” Leetch knows he benefited from the commitment of the Avon faculty. “The teachers weren’t there to let you fail; they were there to support you,” he says. “It wasn’t always easy to ask for help, but often they came to me. I understand now, it’s all because they care. I look at them in awe.”
More than 20 years after his Avon graduation, Leetch is still the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 169 points, despite the fact that he attended Old Farms for only two years. After his freshman year at Boston College, and a stint with the U.S. Olympic team, Leetch joined the New York Rangers.
“The teachers weren’t there to let you fail; they were there to support you,” he says. “It wasn’t always easy to ask for help, but often they came to me. I understand now, it’s all because they care. I look at them in awe.” “The biggest thing, looking back, is how fortunate I was to start in New York City,” Leetch reflects. “I was really very naïve. I’d only been to New York City once or twice before… I’d followed the Yankees, and I knew about the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center… you know, the touristy stuff. But I played my first game there as a 19-year-old, and I didn’t know any different at the time.” Leetch did well from the start, and somehow he learned how to cope with the New York media frenzy. “My personality blended well with the media,” he says. “I guess that’s because I gave them the answers they wanted.” At the time, the Ranger management discouraged players from living right in the city, fearing they would be distracted by the nightlife. “But when the coach and general manager got fired, I moved into Manhattan,” Leetch says. “I knew I may never get another chance.” Later, when Rangers management found out, they tried to buy out his lease. “But I had bought a place, so they couldn’t,” he says. Other professional athletes, including Ranger and good friend Mark Messier, followed Leetch’s lead, and New York City truly became home. “It’s also where I met my wife, and where our three kids were born,” he adds.
The whole city celebrated when the Rangers brought home the Stanley Cup in 1994, after a 54-year drought. “We had a lot of ups and downs that year on our way to the playoffs,” Leetch recalls. “But it was special to win in the finals in seven games on our own ice. I was mentally and physically exhausted, but it was great to see the city celebrate the way it did. During the parade afterward, I thought, ‘Wow, I’m one of the guys that helped make this happen.’” There were down times, as well, of course. “People get traded, and you see friends go,” he laments. Leetch himself was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2003, and later signed with the Boston Bruins before ultimately announcing his retirement in 2007. “You get used to transitions in your locker room,” he says simply. “I haven’t had problems meeting new guys. I haven’t met a lot of bad personalities in hockey.” Leetch is out of hockey for now, except as a fan, but he doesn’t rule out a return to the game, perhaps coaching at the collegiate or professional ranks. He relished the opportunity to talk with college players last October, when he traveled to Colorado for his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. “I told them to enjoy it, because time moves quickly,” Leetch says. “The opportunities are there – listen to your teachers and coaches and try to enjoy it. Most kids have to experience things to learn from them. Listen and work hard. That’s all I say.” City life still agrees with the Leetch family, who now live in Boston’s North End overlooking the harbor. But the love affair with New York City continues. Last year Leetch returned to Madison Square Garden for the ceremony retiring his number 2 jersey. “I got off the plane, and someone stopped me,” he recalls. “He opened his brief case, and pulled out a memento from that ’94 Stanley Cup season, and asked me if I’d sign it. I said of course. And that happens every time I go back. “I feel very fortunate to have been able to play when I did, and where I did,” Leetch reflects. “The friends I have, my wife and children, where I live – it’s all related to hockey. It’s a strange thing, but it’s all because of a game that I love.”
Juan Nieves ’83, Brian Leetch ’86, and many other talented and successful former Winged Beavers paved the way for the astounding achievement Avon Old Farms School has enjoyed in athletics over the last 20 years. These standout athletes put Avon on the national map athletically; their success, and the successes of our young alumni currently playing sports in college and venturing into the professional athletic arena, have captured national media attention and continue to attract talented student athletes to the school. Here are just a few of the Avonians who helped us to get there.
Chris Hetherington ’91 Chris Hetherington ’91 enjoyed a long, successful career in the NFL after graduating from Yale University, where he was the starting quarterback and where he holds many of the school’s passing records. In 1996, Hetherington was signed as fullback for the Cincinnati Bengals; he then played for the Indianapolis Colts from 1996 to 1998, and was a starter for the Carolina Panthers from 1999 to 2002. After a brief turn with the St. Louis Rams in 2002, he played for the Oakland Raiders in 2003 and 2004, and was signed by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, where he played until retiring after the end of the 2006 season, completing a remarkable 11-year career in the NFL.
Jeff Hamilton ’96 Jeff Hamilton ’96 is a veteran of the National Hockey League, currently playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs. After graduating from Avon, Hamilton matriculated to Yale University, where he was a scoring leader, an All-American, and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, college hockey’s top individual prize. After Yale, Hamilton signed as a free agent with Oulu (Finland), then appeared with the New York Islanders in 2002. In 2004, Hamilton signed as a free agent with Hartford in the American Hockey League (AHL) and was subsequently named to the AHL All-Star first team (2004) and earned the Willie Marshall Award, for recognition as 2004’s top goal-scorer in the AHL. After a brief turn in Russia with Kazan, Hamilton has since remained steadfast in the NHL, playing for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2006, the Carolina Hurricanes in 2007, and currently the Maple Leafs.
Jon Quick ’05 Jon Quick ’05 was a standout goaltender at Avon, leading the Winged Beavers to two straight New England Prep School Championships during his junior and senior seasons. He was also a star at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he set school single-season records during the 2006-2007 season (his sophomore year) in wins (19), appearances (37), saves (1,046), and minutes played (2,224). Quick finished his sophomore season with a 19-12-5 record, three shutouts, a 2.16 goals-against average, which ranked him 11th in the nation, and a .929 save percentage—the fifth best percentage in the country. Quick left UMass in 2007 to pursue his professional career in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, by whom he was selected in the third round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. After a stint in the minor leagues, he is currently serving as the Kings’ starting goaltender. He was chosen the NHL’s First Star for the week of February 2, 2009, for stopping 95 of 100 shots in three consecutive games.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Deon Anderson ’02 Deon Anderson ’02 earned All-New England and All-Conference honors and was named the team MVP and Defensive Player of the Year after his senior season at Avon, after which followed an equally stellar turn at the University of Connecticut. The standout special teams player and fullback led the UConn Huskies in special teams tackles in each of his four seasons at Connecticut, finishing his career with 40 special teams tackles and only three fumbles on 162 touches with four rushing touchdowns. In 2007, he was drafted in the 6th round by the Dallas Cowboys, where he played in eight games in 2007 as the Cowboys’ starting fullback, before suffering a season-ending rotator cuff injury. Anderson is currently still playing with the Cowboys, having seen action in 14 games in 2008.
Chris Higgins ’01 Chris Higgins ’01 has been a standout left wing for the Montreal Canadiens since the 2003-2004 season, when he played for the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, earning AHL Player of the Year honors. Higgins entered the NHL after a stellar career at Yale University, becoming the first player from Yale to ever to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft in 2002. He was also named the ECAC Co-Player of the Year, an NCAA first-team All-American, and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, the top individual award in college hockey. The 2004-2005 season marked the true beginning of Higgins’ NHL success, as his performance with the Canadiens included 23 goals and 15 assists and recognition as runner-up for Offensive Player of the Week. Higgins went on to score more than 20 goals in each of the following two seasons, and continues to stand out on the ice with the Canadiens.
James Patten ’88
Austin Sperry ’96 Austin Sperry ’96 began sailing in large-scale events at just 14 years old, and went on to compete with many of the greatest names in sailing. In 2002, Sperry won the Star Masters, and then began to prepare for the 2004 Olympic Team Trials. Though he did not qualify that year, Sperry continued to train, eventually partnering with his father-in-law, John Dane, and the two set their sights on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Along the way, Sperry would place 2nd in the Western Hemisphere Championship, followed by a win at the Bacardi Cup in 2006 in a fleet of 92 boats. Sperry and Dane went on to win the 2008 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles, and placed 11th in the Men’s Keelboat Star race in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
James Patten ’88 was a three-time national champion in lacrosse at Hobart College. Patten was named All-American twice while at Hobart, and was a captain of the 1992 championship team. He was also named 1992’s NCAA Midfielder of the Year, and the 1992 Athlete of the Year at Hobart. He participated in the 1992 North/South All-Star game, for which he was awarded MVP. Patten went on to compete in the 1994 World Games for the English World Team.
Brett Stegmaier ’02 Brett Stegmaier ’02, currently competing on the Tarheel Tour, attended the University of Florida, where, as a freshman, he won the 2003 SEC individual championship with a conference record-low 54-hole score of 203 (-7), including shooting a final-round 64 (-6). He repeated that performance in 2006, capturing the SEC individual title for the second time in his career with a score of 205 (-5), becoming only the sixth player in school history to win multiple SEC individual medals; he recorded three top-five finishes in the SEC tournament in his four years at Florida. Stegamaier was a two-time All-SEC first team selection, a PING second-team All-American selection and two-time honorable mention All-American, and a three-time PING All-Southeast Region team selection. Since graduating, Stegmaier has toured professionally, including a stint on the US PGA tour.
10 Minutes with
Avon’s Athletic Director Talks Sport
Brian Doyle: Essentially, I am responsible for organizing and structuring our athletic program so that our boys can participate in sports each afternoon. With over 400 boys, it is important that we have a variety of offerings at a variety of different skill levels and intensity levels. Many of our varsity athletes aspire to participate at the collegiate level, which makes it essential that we have serious programs.
BD: Since I was five years old, sports have been an important part of my life. My father was my first baseball coach, and among many other things, he instilled in us the importance of commitment. I played varsity hockey and baseball at Deerfield Academy and it was there that I first thought that I would like to pursue teaching and coaching as a livelihood. I matriculated to Amherst College, where I played hockey and baseball, and then earned the Hitchcock Fellowship. I coached football, hockey and baseball at the collegiate level while enrolled in graduate classes at UMass. I have been at Avon since.
BD: I teach two sections of Algebra 2 Trigonometry Honors, which is actually my favorite part of the day. When I am not in my classroom, I am usually in my office. On a good day, I receive less than six or seven voicemail messages throughout the course of the day and probably twice as many e-mails, the majority of which require a response, so I spend most of my day on the phone or the computer. Once classes let out, I resume the fun part of my job, which is working directly with the kids. I coach varsity hockey and varsity baseball, which is a blast. After practice, it is a race to dinner and then off to the enrichment period. I aim to be home by 8:00 each night, but I am usually on the computer until I retire for bed. It is a long day!
BD: Following Ted Garber, John Gardner and Peter Evans is no easy task. These men, along with our storied coaches like Kevin Driscoll, have built our program into what it is today. I am fortunate to have them around to bounce ideas off and to solicit help in terms of solving problems. Personally, my biggest challenge is time and balancing the day-to-day requirements associated with the job—like making sure refs are scheduled, opponents are locked
on, and transportation is ready, which gets especially tricky on foul weather days— while maintaining a longer-range plan about projects that require attention.
BD: I enjoy watching our boys compete. I have been able to see several cross country meets and almost every home soccer and football game over the last four years, and during the winter, I am able to watch many hockey and basketball games. Another gratifying thing about the job is making changes that I know will benefit the boys. This year we had over 60 boys who desired to play competitive basketball. Ordinarily we have three basketball teams and I was faced with the prospect of cutting boys into recreational basketball or having teams of 20 or more players. This involved a little more coordination with other schools but having three basketball courts helped and I was able to secure enough games for a 4th team.
BD: Having a field house with three basketball courts, seven squash courts, a designated wrestling room, a college-level fitness center, and enough locker room space has been a godsend. Before we had this facility, our basketball teams had abbreviated practices and each team still had to practice at night. Our wrestling room was too small to hold a match, which meant we could only host wrestling meets when our basketball teams were away. Talk about a total change—this year we hosted the New England Wrestling Tournament, which involved over 250 wrestlers from almost 50 schools. I remember trying to hold baseball practices in the old gym on rainy days during the spring. It was dangerous! Now we can divide the field house into halves or thirds and practice lacrosse, baseball, track and tennis.
BD: Seeing what the new athletic center has done for our basketball, squash, and wrestling programs, I cannot help but think what an on-campus swimming pool would allow us to do. Our swimmers travel to Miss Porter’s brand new pool for practices and meets. And even though MPS is a mere seven minutes away, it is definitely a hustle getting from class to the bus to practice each day. This venue would definitely improve the swimming program.
Athletics in the Deed of Trust
â€œExercise for the most part shall be in the open air. There shall be no separate gymnasium building, but adequate indoor space will be provided under the proposed new library for squash courts and where students may have lessons in boxing, wrestling, fencing and judo. Each boy shall be taught the fundamentals of boxing. The ability to strike a stunning blow develops confidence in a boy. There are playing fields for intramural football, baseball, basketball and soccer, tennis courts and a running track. There are opportunities for swimming, skating, skiing and riding. Thirty miles of bridle paths in the forest have been developed from the wood roads formerly used in the winter for drawing out logs on sleds. Instruction in riding may be given. Instruction in shooting may be given. Instruction in polo may be given. Emphasis shall be placed on polo, as it develops quick reactions, coordination and courage. Avon colours shall always be worn at games. Polo shall be the only extramural sport at Avon. The Founder has observed that students attending schools where extramural sports are part of the sports program talk of nothing but football all autumn long. This is an artificial whipping up of interest and boys become so obsessed with the thought of their games that their mental development is interfered with. Too much football talk stultifies the brain. These boys have no desire for quiet thought, which, after all, is the breeding ground of wisdom. Boys of the fifth and sixth forms only who wish to play football shall be thoroughly coached and trained to prepare them as candidates for football teams in college.â€? -From The Deed of Trust from Theodate Pop Riddle, incorporated 1918
John By Susan Haile
You might ask John Gardner, Avon’s longtime provost and varsity hockey coach, how much of his life has been spent living on school campuses. It might be simpler, though, to ask him how much hasn’t. For someone now in his mid-50s, that number is surprisingly small. Gardner grew up as a faculty brat at Connecticut’s Salisbury School, where his dad was science department chair. He went on to graduate from Salisbury, and then from Wesleyan University. A year later, in 1975, he came to Avon. “I knew the lifestyle, and I knew what the routine was,” Gardner says simply. Thirty-four years later, he’s still here. And his routine rarely varies. “He’s a ‘routine’ guy, from showing up for breakfast at the same time each day, to wearing the same tie and hat to coach,” observes Headmaster Ken LaRocque. “He’s very superstitious.” It was through a family friend, former Avon business manager Walter Ullram, that Gardner learned of a possible job opening at Avon. He remembers his interview with then Headmaster George Trautman. “George told me I might be teaching math or English, and coaching hockey and baseball. I asked what I’d be paid and George said, ‘we’ll work that out later.’” Unfazed, Gardner started work that spring, remembering it as “kind of like being an intern.” When he approached Trautman again about the possibility of being paid, Trautman replied, “We’ll pay you pin money.” Pin money? Gardner had no clue what that was. “You know, we’ll house you, feed you, and pay you a little bit of pocket money,” Trautman explained. The following year Gardner managed to earn a real salary, “although it wasn’t much,” he chuckles. At the time, he had no clue he’d still be at Avon more than three decades later.
All he knew was that he looked forward to going to work every day. Happily, he still feels that way. “I know it’s a schizophrenic lifestyle—that’s how Ken LaRocque describes it,” Gardner reflects. “You work really, really hard, and then suddenly you’ve got vacation and everything stops.” “His passion for this work has never waned,” comments LaRocque, who has worked with Gardner for more than 25 years. And while there have been plenty of Avon colleagues, past and present, whom he’s learned from over the years, it’s no surprise that Gardner’s greatest role model has been his father. “He had a great work ethic, and a real commitment to students.” In 34 years Gardner has seen just about everything: the good and the bad, the old and the new. “Avon has obviously changed quite a bit, but a lot of things have remained the same,” he maintains. “There’s still a lot of structure, and a lot of contact with the students. The school has grown, and there are a lot of great new additions to the physical plant that we really needed. But alumni coming back would certainly recognize the place. We still have sit-down meals, for instance, and Vespers and Chapel. It’s like the motto of the recent campaign: ‘Honoring Tradition, Forging Ahead.’ It’s really true.” Another thing that has remained the same, says Gardner, is Avon’s emphasis on the triple-threat model – faculty members who teach, coach, and do dorm duty – even as other schools have moved away from the triple threat, in favor of the “specialization” model. “Actually, with the way the economy is going, I think the pendulum will swing back again, as schools have to cut the fat,” he predicts.
The Avonian Spring-Summer 2009
Gardner has been a triple threat and more. He taught math—not English—for years, although recently his other duties have forced him to give up the classroom. He has been a dorm master, coached hockey, baseball, and football, and also served as athletic director for more than a dozen years. And since 1998, when Ken LaRocque succeeded George Trautman as headmaster, he has been Avon’s provost. “It’s an interesting job,” Gardner reflects. “My job is to run the daily operations of the school. Most of my contact is internal, with students and faculty, but also with parents. Parents are more involved these days.” When boys do “stupid things,” Gardner gets the call. And when faculty members need support or counsel, he also gets the call. “The key to my job is using the experience I’ve acquired,” he says. “My job is to solve problems and put out fires, and sometimes just to keep a lid on things, and experience is a great teacher. You won’t keep everyone happy, but you try to do what’s right.” Gardner has also reaped the rewards of working with students as a teacher and coach. “You get great satisfaction watching students mature and become young men,” he says. “You can have a tremendous effect on them, shaping their
Over the years many of Gardner’s players have gone on to considerable success at the collegiate and professional levels, and he’s clearly proud of their accomplishments. But he remains focused on what’s truly important. “I’ve been lucky to coach a lot of good hockey players,” he admits, “but regardless of their hockey skills, I want to instill in them a good work ethic, and teach them to be honest and fair. You want them to be successful not only in school, or in hockey, but in life.” Gardner has had opportunities to capitalize on his coaching success and move up to the collegiate ranks. “No thanks” has been his constant answer. “The trouble with those jobs is that the whole job depends on winning and losing, and when that happens you lose sight of what’s important,” he says. “And you’re constantly on the road, recruiting. There are a lot of things about that lifestyle I don’t like. The best thing about prep schools is the lifestyle. Teaching, coaching, advising, working in the dorm: that’s really where it’s at. “Students are watching you all the time,” Gardner continues. “They look up to you, like a big brother, or a father, or…” Gardner pauses and swallows hard. “…Like a grandfather. You’re role-modeling constantly, whether you realize it or not. The kids will say, “Hey, you did this or that
character.” Good teachers, he says, make the best coaches. “Coaching is teaching in the purest sense.” During hockey season, Gardner looks forward to getting out of his office and onto the ice for afternoon practice—ironic for a man who doesn’t really like the cold. “It’s great to interact with the kids in the purest form and watch their progress,” he says. With over 600 varsity hockey victories and seven New England championships in his 34-year coaching career, Gardner’s record has been nothing short of phenomenal. Until this year, that is. With the unexpected departure of a handful of key players, the 2008-09 squad struggled to an uncharacteristic 11-13-1 season. “It’s been a tough year,” Gardner acknowledges. “We’ve had to eat a little humble pie. It’s actually a good thing; it has taught me a little humility. But we’ll be back next year.” Despite the team’s mediocre season, he still enjoyed going to practice every day, and he hopes his players learn something from their struggles. He confesses, however, that it’s “a lot more fun when you win.”
wrong,’ and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, I’m not perfect. No one’s perfect.’ Sometimes you don’t realize the effect you have on kids.” Most important, says Gardner, is doing what’s best for students. “We’ve got to constantly ask, ‘What will serve the students of Avon Old Farms the best?’ Sometimes people get caught up with little details, but the only reason we have jobs here is the students,” he insists. It’s a philosophy that has stood Gardner in good stead with both of his Avon bosses, Trautman and LaRocque. Trautman remembers Gardner as a man of few words—very few words—but with a magic touch. “Somehow or another, the kids seem to understand everything he says, everything he does,” Trautman reflects. “I don’t know how exactly. But John is a wonderful guy, totally dedicated to the school, totally dedicated to the kids and to the hockey program.” “John has a unique ability to connect with young men,” adds LaRocque. “He understands boys—what motivates them, how they learn, when they’re being honest and when they’re covering
up. He knows how far he can stretch them, and he does so knowing that he is promoting growth. He cares about his boys and they know it, which is why they respect him so much.” Believe it or not, Gardner does have a life beyond Avon. Each summer, when school is out, Gardner runs his own hockey camp, and he still does occasional hockey clinics. He’s also a golf nut. “I took it up at 40, and I wish I’d done it sooner,” he says. “It’s a way for me to be competitive, and it’s also relaxing. You can’t play contact sports or hit people when you’re older,” he laments, “so golf is a great game for me.” Gardner and his wife, Miriam, have enjoyed living on Avon’s Faculty Row for a number of years, but they also like getting away to their Naples, Fla., home. The couple met, appropriately enough, at a hockey camp at Berkshire School. “We met, we had a quick romance, and we got married,” Gardner says simply. Thirty-three years later their nest is empty, now that daughters
Lisa and Jennifer are both married. Gardner confesses that the arrival of their first grandchild—Grace—five years ago made him feel quite old, but he’s getting used to it. Slowly. Retirement still seems a long way off for Gardner, and not just because of what the current economic downturn has done to his retirement fund. “I think you sort of know when you can’t do it anymore,” he says. “I really enjoy what I do; I really enjoy the kids. I think you get your psychic energy from the kids. When I don’t feel the fire, when I don’t feel the enthusiasm, that will be the time to quit. But for now, I know why I’m here, at Avon, and I try to pass that along to the kids.” X 1. John and his New England champions, 2007 2. John and his wife, Miriam 3. John with his granddaughter at the 2007 ceremony honoring his 600th career victory
The Avonian Spring-Summer 2009
hile most people may have come to associate Tim Clark ’09 with the athletics programs at Avon Old Farms School, in reality, his entire career as an Avonian is marked by dedication to his schoolwork, to community service, and to the school. The recipient of the Award for Earnest and Persistent Effort in the Academic Area in both 2006 and 2007, Tim is committed to improving his class work and even made the decision to repeat his junior year in preparation for college. He is also the co-president of Avon Outreach, head dorm monitor in Brown House, and a volunteer at the soup kitchen. Additionally, Tim organized Avon’s participation in National Lee Denim Day, a dress-down school day that raised over 2,000 dollars for breast cancer. That’s not to say that his athletics resumé is anything less than extraordinary, as well. On the contrary, Tim is a member of the varsity soccer, hockey, and baseball teams. He is a member of the New England champion soccer team; this season, he received the Coach’s
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Award, and last season won the Most Improved Player Award. He is the MVP of the varsity baseball team, another championship squad. Last year, he was named MVP of the varsity-B hockey team, still another championship-winning team. And as a junior, Tim was the recipient of the Jennings Cup, awarded to the top underclass athlete. With three championships under his belt, and numerous awards and accolades praising his athletic achievement, it’s no surprise that Tim cites his athletic experiences as some of the more defining ones during his years at AOF, although he is also quick to mention how proud he is of his first honor roll appearance last fall. “I’ve realized that hard work does pay off on the athletic field and in the classroom,” remarks Tim. “I understand that hard work does lead to success in life.” This persistent attitude has lent itself well to Tim’s development at Avon, as well as his recognition of the passion he feels for the school, despite some initial struggles in the classroom. “I believe that anyone can
overcome challenges by showing that you care,” he says. “If you care, and put in an effort, it will pay off in the end.” Faculty member Graham Callaghan, with whom Tim has developed a close relationship, notes that “success in the classroom did not come quickly to Tim, but it did come; what enabled him to overcome his initial misgivings and develop into the campus leader he is today was his willingness to apply himself—constantly.” Graham explains that, in this way, Tim is a model Avonian, observing that “he has gotten more out of Avon (and perhaps given more to the school) than any other student-athlete with whom I’ve worked. He is the quintessential competitor; whether in the classroom or on the athletic field, he wants to succeed, and he will avail himself of all resources in order to accomplish his goals.” Callaghan mentions that despite Tim’s outstanding achievement, he has remained humble and consistently dedicated. “He is an outstanding role model, both for underclassmen who might doubt their
ability to reach their goals, or even just to fit in at Avon, as well as upperclassmen who might be tempted to slide through their final months.” It seems that Tim’s commitment to making Avon a better place stems from his pure belief in the good the school can do for him, and for all who are a part of the Avon community. “This place is truly special,” he says. “Avonians do things differently. An Avonian is a man who is a model citizen and a determined person; they do what is expected of them, and then a little more. You have to take pride in what you do, and wear the ‘A’ on your jersey like you wear your name.” Callaghan agrees: “Tim gets the job done because he expects it of himself, not because others expect it of him or because of what he might get in return for his work.” Tim, the middle of three children, is originally from West Springfield, Massachusetts. He will attend the University of Massachusetts and will play on the varsity baseball team. X
By Morgan L. Cadwell
t h e
Compiled by Carol Ketcham
rc h i v e s
Twelve of the Best American Schools In January 1936, Fortune magazine ran a long article that discussed 12 American preparatory schools that they designated “the best.” Avon Old Farms, then only nine years old, and with no endowment, was included. Avon was compared to Andover, Exeter, Groton, Kent, Hill, Lawrenceville, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, St. Paul’s, St. Mark’s, and Thacher (the only school on the West Coast). Each school was described at length, sometimes tongue in cheek, and here follows excerpts from the Avon section: Avon Old Farms
At Avon, Connecticut. Founded in 1927 by Mrs. John Wallace Riddle. Headmaster since 1930, Percy G. Kammerer. Six forms. Present enrollment, ninety-six. Tuition $1,500.Endowment, none. Two sets of Theodate Pope Riddle’s strong ideas went into Avon. The second set concerned education. The first set concerned architecture. Mrs. Riddle designed the buildings herself and built them of red sandstone in the style of the Cotswolds. The windows are small and leaded, the stone steps artificially worn down, the roofs carefully warped. Naturally such architecture is something less than ideal for a school. For instance, to read without a light in most of the rooms you must sit directly beneath a window. Avon Old Farms opened in 1927…Mrs. Riddle emphatically disbelieved in purely preparatory schools and wanted to establish a junior college so that her boys would not have to cram for College Boards. She disapproved of athletics. She dressed the boys in queer tight “riding knickers” and jackets, striped trousers and wing collars at night. The suits had to be tailored at Brooks Brothers. But Avon did get a top-notch faculty at top-notch salaries and in 1929 was growing fast.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
To Dr. Kammerer goes credit for gathering a second excellent faculty [following the resignation and flight of most of the first to Fountain Valley School in Colorado] and for making Avon a successful school. With Mrs. Riddle, Provost Kammerer has an understanding that he shall run the academic affairs of the school while she has a free hand to uproot trees and restyle trousers. If Avon’s ructions have been due to Mrs. Riddle, so have its distinctive features. Avon is the only school here considered which can lay some claim to being progressive. Provost Kammerer and his staff lean over backward in their efforts to avoid creating an Avon type. If a boy’s chief interest is painting, Avon lets him paint and lets the College Boards go hang. Boys study in classrooms with a master on hand to help them over the rough spots. It was Mrs. Riddle’s idea to organize the school as a New England town, the Village of Old Farms. Election Day comes twice a year. There are a Warden, a Board of Councillors, judges, courts, even taxes (on hunting and fishing licenses, radios, bicycles, etc.). “Community service” was also Mrs. Riddle’s idea. Boys in the first four forms spend eight hours a week at work on the school farm, in the printing shop, the carpentry shop, the power plant, or the school forest. The work is not designed to be useful, as at Kent, but “character building.” Others of Mrs. Riddle’s ideas survive in modified form. The old costume has given way to a gray suit in daytime, black coat and striped trousers at night. Except for a few outside polo matches, all sports are intramural. Here, perhaps, is Mrs. Riddle’s most notable contribution. Football and baseball are played but the emphasis is on informal recreation. Avon boys may be seen tramping across the fields, hunting, fishing, swimming at a real swimming hole, riding and taking care of their own horses, with all the enthusiasm that a Groton boy reserves for football or a St. Paul’s boy for hockey.”
The Avonian Spring 2009
Board members, and also one of the most generous, Bob’s t f the growing school community inspired countless Avonians esteemed alumnus, director, and friend, it also recalls the pro levels. Bob served as an active member of the Board of Di 1990 through 2005, and provided extraordinary vision, leadershi mental in creating and implementing the comprehensive strat the campus, and his tremendous generosity was directly respons ncluding the Jennings Fairchild Rink and the Fairchild La aptain of the varsity soccer team and the current shot-put Provost Donald Pierpont, with whom he lived, and English he developed a very close relationship. The Fairchild family’ Sidney C. Clark Chair in English, in 1989. After gradu the University of Pennsylvania, after which he went to work Remembering tions, where he held various positions until the early 1970s. A Robert Fairchild ’60 Bob next joined The House of Burgundy in 1971, and until President and Chief Executive Officer. In 1994, he purchase “He simply loved the school. He wanted to do what was best for the school.”
–Headmaster Ken LaRocque
By Morgan L. Cadwell
Spring 2009 The Avonian
tireless dedication and willingness to contribute to the needs s overBthe years.As Avon mourns the loss of its ofound impact Bob made on so many different irectors from 1990 until his death, serving as Secretary from ip, and support for every aspect of the school. He was instrutegic building plan that resulted in dramatic improvements to sible for several important programs and facilities at school, anguage Lab. As a student of the class of 1960, Bob was t record-holder. He was mentored by thenh faculty member Sid Clark, with whom ’s first major contribution was to endow the uating from Avon, Bob matriculated to k for his family’s firm, Fairchild PublicaA wine enthusiast, his death was the ed the Maison ProspeSantenay, France, a fkrjksajwioiesklw Bob Fairchild ’60 will forever be remembered as a true Man of Avon. As one of the most loyal and passionate Board members, and also one of the most generous, Bob’s tireless dedication and willingness to contribute to the needs of the growing school community inspired countless Avonians over the years. As Avon mourns the loss of its esteemed alumnus, director, and friend, it also recalls the profound impact Bob made on so many different levels. Bob served as an active member of the board of directors from 1990 until his death, serving as secretary from 1990 through 2005, and provided extraordinary vision, leadership, and support for every aspect of the school. He was instrumental in creating and implementing the comprehensive strategic building plan that resulted in dramatic improvements to the campus, and his tremendous generosity was directly responsible for several important programs and facilities at school, including the Jennings Fairchild Rink and the Fairchild Language Lab. As a member of the Class of 1960, Bob was captain of the varsity soccer team and the current shot put record-holder. He was mentored by then Provost Donald Pierpont, with whom he lived, and English faculty member Sid Clark, with whom he developed a very close relationship. The Fairchild family’s first major contribution was to endow the Sidney C. Clark Chair in English, in 1989. After graduating from Avon, Bob matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania, after which he went to work for his family’s firm, Fairchild Publications, where he held various positions until the early 1970s. A wine enthusiast, Bob next joined The House of Burgundy in 1971, and until his death was the president and chief executive officer. In 1994, he purchased the Maison Prosper Maufoux, whose wines House of Burgundy had been importing since 1947, and created the Maison Des Grand Cru to market the Maufoux wines globally. The French Parliament made Bob, who owned a chateau in Santenay, France, a Chevalier of the Ordre du Mérite Agricole on July 16, 1987, in
recognition of his efforts on behalf of French wine. Bob was an avid fisherman, and enjoyed taking friends out on his boat, The Grand Cru. In 2007, he took faculty members John Gardner, Ronald Nentwig, and Kevin Driscoll ’72 out on a fishing trip in Mexico, a testament to his willingness to get to know the faculty. Bob was equally eager to interact with the students, and on his visits back to campus always made sure to stop by a hockey game or a track meet. He was particularly close to several members of the Riddlers, who performed at his funeral in February. At last year’s Parents’ Auction, Bob placed the winning bid for a chance to be a part of the Court at Boar’s Head and further immerse himself in the culture of the school. “He was a committed, loyal board member,” noted Headmaster Ken LaRocque. “He always participated fully in all the meetings and social events whenever he was back. He enjoyed himself, and wanted to be there.” LaRocque observed that Bob was someone he could always rely on, no matter the situation, because he was so passionate about making the school a better place. “I could call him up, and talk about a need the school had, and he would listen,” said LaRocque, citing the Fairchild Language Lab as an example. “Any kind of issues at the school, any initiatives—he always gave. He simply loved the school. He wanted to do what was best for the school.” Former Headmaster and honorary Director George Trautman agreed, noting that “he didn’t care about things many people worry about—he just wanted to help the school.” Trautman also remembered Bob as “one of the most delightful men I’ve ever met. He was thoughtful, kind, and direct—he tells it like he sees it.” And as LaRocque stated simply, “He was always a gentleman.” Bob’s energy and positive spirit were truly inspirational to his fellow board members and to all members of the Avon Old Farms School community who had the pleasure of knowing him. His remarkable contributions and deep passion for the school were instrumental in positioning Avon Old Farms as one of America’s great secondary schools. Bob represented the highest ideals of Avon Old Farms School to a generation of students, alumni, faculty, staff and families, and he will be greatly missed. X
The Avonian Spring 2009
Alumni New York City Reception
November 13, 2008, at Sotheby’s, hosted by George and Fern Wachter P’08 1
New York City 1. The Riddlers take in the sights at Sotheby’s 2. NYC Reception—Sotheby’s, hosted by George and Fern Wachter, P’08
3. Tania and Ricardo Espina ’67 with Julie and Bill Sargent ’69 4. Beth and Peter Barker (parents of Robbie ’12) with Sue and Peter Evans
5. Anthony Cusano ’09, Michael Weeks, Stanley Weeks ’09, and Sonja Weeks, Connor Brackett ’10, Terry Gilmore ’11, Connor Supple ’10, and Jorge Consuegra ’77
6. Todd Marr ’99, Kevin Ludwig ’99, Craig Chester ’01, Thatcher Mar tin ’99, Alex Rogers ’99, and Strat Dennis ’00
7. John Harker ’80, Peter HolstGrubbe ’08, Grey Spencer ’09, and Anthony Cusano ’09 8. The Riddlers perform during the reception 8
9. Euan Sorrell ’11, Evan Hershey ’10, Ted ’82 and Rozie Angelus, and George Trautman H’98 10. Connor Supple ’10, Roger Parker, Ian Parker ’10, Melody Parker, and Mercedes Featherston 10
11. George Wachter 12. Kazunari Nakamura ’09, Tully Hannan ’09, Travis Merritt ’93, and Pat Hampton ’10
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Alumni Charlotte, NC
13. Andrew Fisher ’91, Brett Taylor ’87, Evan Bobbitt ’97, Adam Cline ’93, Clayton Parsons ’78, Henry Coons ’71, Brian Holland ’90, Jason Taylor ’86
September 16, 2008, at the home of Bill and Linda Brown 14
14. Front: Andrew Fisher ’91, Adam Cline ’93, Henry Coons ’71 Back row: Brett Taylor ’87, Evan Bobbitt ’97, Clayton Parsons ’78, Brian Holland ’90, Tom Purnell ’68, Jason Taylor ’86 15. Jason Taylor ’86, Lane Taylor, Brett Taylor ’87, Evan Bobbitt ’97, Virginia Bobbitt, Clayton Parsons
16. Marie Coons, Lisa Holland, Brian Holland ’90, and Tom Purnell ’68 17. Front: Andrew Fisher ’91, Janet Fisher, Adam Cline ’93, Dottie and Tom Purnell ’68, Jason Taylor ’86 Back: Brett Taylor ’87, Lane Taylor, Evan Bobbitt ’97, Virginia Bobbitt, Clayton Parsons ’78, Henry Coons ’71, Marie Coons, Lisa Holland, Brian Holland ’90
18. Tom Purnell ’68, John Garvan, Dottie Purnell Pittsburgh Area
Pittsburgh Area Reception February 23, 2009, hosted by George Seifert ’62
19. Jamie Wardrop ’60, Armour Mellon ’84, Bob Scott ’68, George Trautman, George Seifert ’62, Peter McKay ’74, 19 Jim Brainard ’64, Brian Sohocki ’97, Peter Evans
20. Bob Scott ’68, George Seifert ’62, Brian Sohocki ’97 21. Peter McKay ’74, Jamie Wardrop ’60, George Seifert ’62
22. Rob Jamison ’89, George Trautman, Peter Evans, Blake Ruttenberg ’89 23. George Trautman, Ginny Merchant, Jim Brainard ’64, Jamie Wardrop ’60, Peter Evans, George Seifert ’62 22
The Avonian Spring 2009
class Please send us your personal notes!
The deadlines for Class Notes submission are as follows: •Fall issue notes are due by June 1, 2009 •Spring issue notes are due by March 1, 2010
Donald R. Hart Jr., Class Agent 17 Cobble Rd., Unit F-2, Salisbury, CT 06068-0336 email@example.com
James C. Flippin, Head Class Agent 1311 Old Bernville Rd., Leesport, PA 19533-9605 Jflippin@readingeagle.com
Class Notes can be submitted to Lizabeth Abramson at: AbramsonL@avonoldfarms.com
Elliott Tuckel emailed, “After selling my business of refurbishing telephone equipment last year, I am in a retirement chapter of my life, spending some time in Florida learning to play golf and traveling to visit my five grandchildren. I have also been taking time to buy and sell antique telephones as one of my hobbies. My new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.” Richard Thorndike has decided, after 26 years, to retire as commander of the Color Guard of the Sons of the American Revolution. Richard and Peggy travelled to Amsterdam at the end of March for a river barge tour to look at the tulips and windmills. Peggy is doing a one-person watercolor show at the HamiltonWenham Library, where she will have 30-50 paintings on display for sale.
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 email@example.com
Warren Ford, Head Class Agent 115 Center St., Wolcott, CT 06716 firstname.lastname@example.org
Seth F. Mendell, Head Class Agent 28 North St., Mattapoisett, MA 02739 email@example.com
53 Seth Mendell ’52 and his family gathered in December for the holidays.
Jay Toole, Head Class Agent 874 Ridgeside Dr., Monrovia, CA 91016 Merrilllee@earthlink.net
Rust Kessel, Head Class Agent 3785 Thistlewood, Okemos, MI 48864 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Treadway, Head Class Agent 12100 Provincetowne Dr., Charlotte, NC 28277-8438 email@example.com
56 Richard Walker ’52, Steve Merrill ’60, and Augie Martin ’88 got together in August at Steve’s home in Lake Tahoe. Richard is from London and Steve and Augie live in San Francisco.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Sidney Greer, Head Class Agent 354 Tamarind Pl., Vero Beach, FL 32962-7349 firstname.lastname@example.org
Austin Chambers, Head Class Agent 317 Flanders Rd., Stonington, CT 06378-2109 Hilltop12@aol.com
Charles W. Davis, Class Agent 6905 West 99th St., Overland Park, KS 66212 email@example.com Douglas B. Marshall, Class Agent 2 Berkshire Rd., Bloomfield, CT 06002 firstname.lastname@example.org Steve Sumner emailed, “I spent early October days thinking about how beautiful the fall leaves must be right now on the Avon campus. This is the only time of year that I really get homesick for New England. I used to stand at the edge of the quad and watch the trees change across the way on Avon Mountain. It was always quite amazing.”
Richard L. Williams, Head Class Agent P.O. Box 218, South Orleans, MA 02662-0218 Rclumberclan@aol.com
Fred Hawley retired from Sloan Valve Company after 40 years of traveling with his business to South America, the Far East, Europe, and the Middle East, totaling about 80 countries. While working, he also ran a small, five-acre farm with his wife, Billie; now in retirement, they run a 40-acre farm in the northwest corner of Illinois. They raise Black Angus cattle and plant some crops. This year they increased their herd with six calves. Fred has visited Avon at the same time as his brother Mark ’61 and hopes to get back for his 50th reunion.
beaches to make note of where the turtles are nesting so that they are not disturbed. To stay fit, he plays ice hockey two or three times a week. He said, “It’s a great workout and the most fun you can have while exercising!” Rick’s been playing hockey since his Avon days, but said it’s easier now because he doesn’t have to shovel snow to get to the ice! Ben Flynn is retired and lives in San Diego. He works full time as a volunteer for a food bank that helps many victims of the recession. “It’s very satisfying work.”
George F. Henschel Jr., Head Class Agent 101 Seminary Rd., Bedford, NY 10506 email@example.com
Perry Benson, Co-Head Class Agent 2135 Naudain St., Philadelphia, PA 19146 tobikePB2@aol.com
Jeff (Max) Morrow is completely retired from his anesthesia practice. He spends his time tutoring Hartford kids in reading, enjoying time with his daughter and son, and traveling, especially motorcycle touring. Max took a dirt bike trip to Baja last October and toured with friends this year in New Zealand. Sam Chew lives in Radnor, Pennsylvania, where he is an assistant drama teacher at a small private school. Sam emailed, “I am still doing voiceover work but no acting of late.”
Barton G. Barrett, Co-Head Class Agent 1 Maple Ave., Richmond, VA 23226-2339 BGBRealtor@aol.com
Alan D. Rozinsky, Class Agent Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard R. Bennett, Class Agent 6226 Mori St., McLean, VA 2210 Bennett@American.edu Thomas K. Curtis, Class Agent 4306 Pomona Rd., Dallas, TX 75209-2822 email@example.com
W. B. Harwood III, Reunion Chair 24 Overhill Ave., New Britain, CT 06053 firstname.lastname@example.org Toby Harwood encourages all his classmates to reminisce and reconnect this May for their 45th Reunion. Rick Valentine is looking forward to joining his classmates in May for their 45th reunion. Now that he is retired, his focus is on volunteer work, which includes the Lowry Park Zoo, where he spends two mornings a week as an arboriculturist. Last year he was named Volunteer of the Year for his commitment. During the sea turtle nesting season, he volunteers for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the sea turtle nesting patrol. A couple of nights a week, he’s on various
Malcolm Hirsh moved back to Denver after 30 years in Boston. He wrote, “It has been an interesting transition. We have been fortunate to experience great weather, friendly natives, new beginnings, and are closer to our two sons, Thayer, who lives in Boulder, and Graham ’03, who lives in Denver. I started a new career at age 60 with a global behavioral management company called ComPsych. I’m also involved with an after-school squash/academic program called Mile High Squash. It’s part of the National Urban Squash and Academics effort started back East. In fact, some of the graduates from the City Squash chapter in NYC have gone on to AOF. There are lots of AOF foot-prints out here. I went to watch the University of Denver lacrosse team play and noticed Alex Demopoulos ’08. Another time I was coaching squash at the Denver Athletic Club and, wearing an AOF tee shirt, I caught the eye of Glenn Berglund ’99. I hope to pull together some fellow alumni for drinks and laughs as there are quite a few in the Denver area. “
Michael D. Barker, Head Class Agent 139 Kirkwood Rd., West Hartford, CT 06117-2835 email@example.com David Pinkham is an educational consultant and helps clients, both families and students, find appropriate schools/colleges to attend. Check out his work at www.dspedconsult. com. David writes, “My son is a junior at St. Lawrence University currently studying European history and culture in Copenhagen. He wants to either teach at a boarding school or work in an admissions office. My wife works at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Museum in Providence, Rhode Island. For relaxation, I enjoy golf, photography, and gardening, and am looking forward to spending time this month with our son in Denmark.”
James W. Corrigan, Co-Head Class Agent 826 Gould Hill Rd., Contoocook, NH 03229 firstname.lastname@example.org William F. Roberts, Co-Head Class Agent 786 Brownsville Rd., Sinking Spring, PA 19608 email@example.com George L. Purnell, Head Class Agent 4822 Brighton Lakes Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33436 firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Schorr is busy hosting webcasts for patients on his www.patientpower.info website, sponsored by leading medical centers. He has also just launched 24/7 health talk shows at www.patientpowerradio.com. Andrew remains very proud of his eldest son, Ari, a freshman at the University of Michigan; father and son have enjoyed going to Major League Baseball’s spring training in Phoenix for six consecutive years. Bruce Wier emailed, “I attended an off-site corporate executive event at the local indoor go-kart track, a year or so ago, and ended up buying and racing an outdoor kart. Last year I did fairly well in the national point standings—14th. As a result I haven’t had the time for the long range fishing trips, but may work one in this year.”
Winston P. McKellar, Head Class Agent 311 East Rose Ln., Phoenix, AZ 85012-1243 email@example.com
Harris H. Bucklin III, Head Class Agent 3004 Margaret Jones Ln., Williamsburg, VA 23185 firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry R. Coons, Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 email@example.com John Spencer stopped by campus in September with Joe Vecchiarino. John has been doing research at Colorado State University on tuberculosis as well as leprosy, as a new bacteria that causes a severe form of leprosy (Luceo’s Leprosy) has been discovered. Morgan Henry lives and works out of his home in Alexandria, Virginia, where he teaches and repairs guitar and bass, plays in bands, and occasionally records. Check out his website at www.morganhenry.org.
The Avonian Spring 2009
Dan Carpenter; Class Agent 18 Pondside Ln., West Simsbury, CT 06092 firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher Atkins; Reunion Chair 415 East 52nd St., New York, NY 10022-6482; email@example.com
John Martinson ’73 has helped launch China Mist Pure® Bottled Organic Teas for hotels, restaurants and retail customers.
Lita Haack, Jeb Bell ’74, Fred Haack ’75, and Peter Evans
John Martinson ’73 and former French teacher Christian Abrioux met at a food show in Paris last year.
John Bourget, Class Agent 7 Andrea Ln., Avon, CT 06001 firstname.lastname@example.org John Martinson was in Paris at a food show and had dinner with former faculty member Chris Abrioux and his wonderful wife and son. John and Chris were both exhibiting at the show. John wrote, “All of my French came back—of course, all I knew I learned from him.” John’s company, China Mist Brands, Inc. has launched China Mist Pure® Bottled Organic Teas for hotels, restaurants, and retail customers (see photo). For more information, visit www. chinamist.com. John wrote, “The product launched in January in Las Vegas and is now distributed in Las Vegas, Arizona, Chicago and Dubai, U.A.E., with 2009 looking like a good year for growth both domestically and internationally despite the economy. My family is healthy and doing great. I have connected on Facebook with Stan Perry, Mike Lancaster ’74, John Kenney, Morgan Henry ’71, Jorge Consuegra ’77, and Pierce McKellar ’05.” Ben Kilvert works as a self-employed landscape contractor and emailed, “I’ve turned in my hockey stick for a Fender jazz bass! Back to playing out, doing gigs. Lots of fun!”
Lew Smith ’75 and Bob Applegate ’75 enjoyed catching up in February 2009.
Tim Straus ’75 with his son Kenny on National Letter of Intent Day. Kenny, currently a senior at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, Georgia, has accepted an offer to continue his education and play baseball at Duke University. Congratulations to the Straus family!
George J. Giannoni, Co-Head Class Agent 36 Twilight Dr., Granby, CT 06035-1212 GGiannoni@cox.net Edward P. Molloy, Co-Head Class Agent 6 Winhart Dr., Granby, CT 06035 E.email@example.com Bill Sobolik emailed, “I live in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, ride a 1700 MidNight Star, and ski 100 days a year. Life is good!”
Bob Applegate, Class Agent 622 Hillendale Rd., Chadds Ford, PA 19317-9364 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander N. Worley, Head Class Agent 20 Shore Grove Rd., Clinton, CT 06413 email@example.com Jeb Bell ’75, Bob Applegate ’75, Wade McDevitt ’82, Lew Smith ’75, Matt Moran ’04, Huey Baker ’76, Fred Haack ’75, Coley Bookbinder ’81, Ken LaRocque, Jesse Saunders ’66, and Peter Evans were part of a small gathering at Wade McDevitt’s in Devon, Pennsylvania.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Huey Baker emailed, “It was great to catch up with Bob Applegate ’75, Jeb Bell ’74, Fred Haack ’75 and others at the home of Wade McDevitt ’82 at the Philadelphia area reception. I’ve recently made a career move after 20 years in banking. I work for a mortgage broker.” Tim Brown and his wife, Yael van Hulst, announce the arrival of their son, Payton Jack Brown, born June 15, 2008. Steve Burns and his wife, Kelly, announce the birth of their first child, Michael John Burns, born on July 28, 2007. They live in Manchester, Connecticut, where Steve has operated his own business, S.J. Burns General Contracting, for 24 years. Philip Tripp emailed last fall, “Finally got out of South Florida. I have moved to Hendersonville, North Carolina, and love it! I got up here in time to see the leaves turn and enjoyed some snow, too.”
The Consuegra Family: Jorge ’77, Maria, Tomás, Eduardo, Claudia, and Nicholas
Jorge E. Consuegra, Head Class Agent 5 Andrews Rd., Greenwich, CT 06830 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth G. Cloud, Head Class Agent 8317 Kingsthorpe Terr., Richmond, VA 23229-7465 email@example.com
Anthony M. Gray, Co-Head Class Agent 6212 Wagner Ln., Bethesda, MD 20816 firstname.lastname@example.org Scott B. Linke, Co-Head Class Agent 116 Eleven Levels Rd., Ridgefield, CT 06877-3011 email@example.com Dave Schick was named 2008 runner-up for United Electric Supply Salesman of the Year, the third time he has received that honor since joining the company in 2002. Dave also finds time to be a soccer referee, and coaches his son Ed’s U-12 Premier soccer team. His son, Jake, is a freshman at Penn Manor High School and plays on the JV soccer team and the U-15 Rage United Soccer Club.
Brad Pierce ’79 and his wife, Liza, and children Noelle (10) and Gardner (11) live in Kihei, Hawaii. Brad has been participating in an outreach with the church they attend, Hope Chapel. This trip [See photo] was his 6th to the Philippines. He wrote, “We hooked up with an on-going ministry, Hope for the Island. They are located on Siargao Island, in the southern part of the Philippines. We were there for 12 days. We surfed, hung out with the staff and the local adults in the mornings, and at 2:30 we started our “Sports Camp.” We taught about 300 high school students tennis, volleyball, soccer, and kickball over a six-day period. [Editor’s note: Brad is on the left wearing the green shirt]
The daughters of Jenny and Bryan McHugh ’81: Claire (7) and Kaitlyn (3)
Daughters of Leah and Jamie Lindemuth ’82: Caroline (5) and Grace (1).
Kenneth H. Blanchard, Co-Head Class Agent 846 Mountain Rd., West Hartford, CT 06117 firstname.lastname@example.org Thomas E. Davey, Co-Head Class Agent 4816 Sandestin Dr., Dallas, TX 75287 Thomas.Davey@lighting.ge.com Greg O’Sullivan sells a glow-in-the-dark light extension product for toddlers, which allows them to safely reach and turn off their bedroom or bathroom lights and teaches energy-saving habits. Check it out online at www.buykidswitch.com.
Joan and John Nolan ’80 sent this photo of children Grace, Olivia, Georgia, and Mac. They are living in Wayzata, Minnesota.
Lilli (3) and Sam (6), the children of Amy and Brien Biondi ’81, in Key Biscayne.
The Avonian Spring 2009
Samuel C. Bookbinder, Head Class Agent Two Logan Square, Suite 700, 18th & Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-2707 email@example.com
The children of Laurie and Brian Conroy ’82: Virginia (8), Peden (7), and Ingrid (10)
The Garvey triplets, daughters of Kathleen and Jerry ’82, are in first grade.
Brett Duffy ’83 and his wife, Alison, with children Carly (9) and Tyler (7)
Barklie Griggs emailed recently, “Besides living frugally, life is good for us. We have been spending a lot of spare time having dinners with friends. I’m music supervising a new film called Mother and Child starring Naomi Watts and Annette Benning. Barklie Jr. (13) just performed at the Improv in Hollywood for the third time. He takes stand-up comedy classes and is really improving. Finn (11) loves animals and just got a new fish tank. Sara and I are looking forward to celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary in May. I recently have reconnected with Avonians Tom Hollyday, John Cross, and Greg O’Sullivan ’80 on Facebook!” Mark Biernat and his wife, Katarzyna, announce the birth of Lucja Veronika on September 12, 2008. Mark is currently writing language-learning software for his own company in Krakow, Poland.
Gregory T. Fish, Co-Head Class Agent 56 Blue Ridge Dr., Simbury, CT 06089 firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Elliott ’82 and his future Avonian, Ethan Kai ’25
Richard C. Gregory, Head Class Agent 30 Walnut Farms Dr., Farmington, CT 06032 email@example.com
John Gordon, Class Agent 246 Nacoochee Dr. NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305 John_Gordon@timeinc.com Wade McDevitt ’82 and Wendy Brown hosted a small gathering at their home in February. From left: Bob Applegate ’75, Rikki Saunders, Wendy Brown, Wade McDevitt ’82, and Lew Smith ’75
The children of Debra and Dean Graham ’84: Jack (8), Joey (6), and Katie (4)
John Gordon wrote in February, “I’m really looking forward to attending our 25th reunion, seeing old friends/teachers, and the new facilities for the first time. Our children Stuart (9), Lanier (7), and Reese (13 months) help me forget I am 25 years removed from Old Farms School.”
Sam L. Rubenstein, Head Class Agent 1143 Chadbyrne Dr., Columbus, OH 43235-1790 firstname.lastname@example.org
The family of Kurt Hazard ’84: Kylie (2), Braden (4), Trey (7), wife Michelle, and Kurt
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Bucky Polk lives in Westmont, Illinois, near Chicago, with his wife, Noelle, daughter Shayne (3), and son Quinn (2). He works for Spectranetics, a medical device company. Bucky played some golf with other Avonians last July in the Chicago area at the Knollwood Country Club in Lake Forest. Ashley and Ray Loewy announce the birth of their daughter, Harper, born April 2008. Big brother Nate (3 1/2) welcomed her home.
John G. Ashe, Class Agent; 50 Edgewood Ave., Longmeadow, MA 01106-1308; email@example.com Dave Howland is living in Newcastle, California, an hour’s drive to Lake Tahoe, where he is working at Broadband Associates, a small firm focused on bringing broadband (fiber) services to school districts through the Schools and Libraries E-rate division and to rural communities with help of the USDA’s Rural Broadband initiative. He wrote: “Strange not living in a city, after four years in Hong Kong and six in San Francisco, but the bucolic lifestyle of the foothills of the Sierras fits me well at this point in life.” Campbell Brown and his wife, Sarah, announce the birth of their daughter Chandler on February 20, 2009. She was 6 lbs., 8oz., and 19 inches, and big sister, Madison (3) welcomed her home. Campbell emailed, “We settled on Chandler (Chaney for short). We are now home and Madison is being the great big sister she was born to be.” Honorary Director Garvin Brown ’62 is the proud grandfather. Chris Nason emailed, “I have lived in Savannah for 13 years and opened the Sapphire Grill 11 years ago. I have one little girl, Grace Caroline (8).” Check out the website: www. sapphiregrill.com. Mark McFadden recently emailed, “I am currently teaching freshman English at Southern Connecticut State University and at The University of New Haven. Every summer I spend some time with Richard “Blinky” Nelson ’86 and his lovely wife. My brothers, Chris ’88 and Luke ’92, are both married and they each have two kids. I ran into former Dean John Haile at the AP Reading of American Literature last summer in Louisville, Kentucky. I hear that there are some truly wonderful things going on at AOF—I am long overdue for a visit, perhaps this summer!”
William C. Begien, Class Agent 8 Maple St., Watertown, MA 02472 firstname.lastname@example.org Andrew Leidner successfully launched his new company, College Majors 101. This new resource for college guidance will help today’s Avonians, along with millions of other high school students, better understand what to major in when in college. Andrew now lives in West Palm Beach, Florida, and keeps up with Bill Fahey, Randy Peck, Garvin Brown, and many others on a regular basis. Jim Angelus emailed, “I’ve been married for just over a year, living in and loving San Francisco. Reflecting on when I ran for and won the coveted president of the Food Committee—I ran against no one—as today I’m still in the food business and run a restaurant in San Francisco called E&O Trading Co., located in Union Square.”
Peter Pegolo has owned Optometric Specialty Group for over 12 years. It is a consolidation of two private practices and is located in West Hartford, Connecticut. Peter lives in town with his wife, Tiffany, and two little girls: Sophia (4½) and Marlena (3½).
Shawn E. Atkinson, Co-Head Class Agent email@example.com Peter Reed, Co-Head Class Agent 91 Butternut Ln., Southport, CT 06890 firstname.lastname@example.org David Cooper emailed, “I continue to buy municipal bonds (among other things) at Morgan Stanley. My business grew 60 percent in 2008 and I will finally become an associate VP. I still live in Scarsdale, New York, and enjoy playing tennis with my 13-year-old son, Corey.” Jessica and Brendan Lynch have four children. Riley (11), who loves karate, is at Renbrook and a hockey player. Jack (9) also loves hockey, as does Nolan (4), while Maeve (7) enjoys dancing and tumbling. Jessica asked, “Did anyone really doubt that Brendan would have all three boys playing hockey?” [see photo] James Patten is the director of Integrated Sales for Harvard Business Publishing, where he has been for five years. Jim and his wife, Corrine, who’s an executive at Pepsi, have three little girls: Kendall (7), Dillyn (4), and Sydney (2). Jim writes, “We live in New Canaan, Connecticut. And yes, we have two Labs! Business has me traveling globally—recently China and Singapore, but I still have time to play with the little ones! I am still very involved with Hobart Lacrosse and the sport in general, having made many friendships in the sport, and try to help whenever possible.”
Kurt Hazard ’84 and his wife, Michelle
The children of Heidi and Jim McCormick ’87: Ryan (5) and Mimi (3)
Brian Riva, Class Agent 14 Chatfield Dr., Lakeville, CT 06039 email@example.com Chris Volk recently joined Mattel as director of public relations, overseeing the PR activities for numerous toy brands, including Hot Wheels and Matchbox. He’s now much more popular with his nephew and friends that have kids. Christopher Roberts has worked for the Napa County Sheriff’s Department for the last nine years as a deputy/bomb technician. He graduated from the FBI Hazardous Device school in 2006 as hazardous device specialist and is slated to go to Israel in November to work with their Bomb Squad, for approximately two weeks, in the area of Gaza. Tim Underwood is an executive chef with Sodexo and manages the food service department for Tift Regional Medical Center in Tifton, Georgia. He recently became a certified dietary manager.
The children of Shannon and David Hession ’87: Michael (6) and Kiley (9)
The family of Brendan Lynch ’88
The Avonian Spring 2009
Adam J. Crane, Class Agent 932 Trail Ct., Eagan, MN 55122 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alfredo Aguila ’90 and his wife, Maria Elena, visited Avon on October 22, 2008, enjoyed a tour with Peter Evans and George Trautman.
The children of Alfredo Aguila ’90: daughter Daniela and baby Nicolas
Bella (6 months) and Rocco (3), the children of Sari and Joe Biondo ’92
William ‘Shane’ Dobes and his wife, KathrynThornton Dobes, welcomed their son, William ‘Thornton’ Dobes, on September 12, 2008. He was 6 lbs., 10 oz., and was born at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Alfredo Aguila and his wife, Maria Elena, stopped by campus in October. The Aquilas have a two-year-old daughter and a son, Nicolas, born in March. Alfredo works at Banco Santander. Maria, who’s originally from Panama, met Alfredo in Miami. They worked in Geneva, Switzerland, which they enjoyed very much, before coming back to Florida and settling in Key Biscayne. Andrew Travers lives in Washington, D.C., and works for Accenture. Andrew and his wife have two children—Cecelia (3) and James (1). David Gordon and his wife, Connie, announce the birth of their son, Mason, born July 26, 2008. He was welcomed home by big brother Tyler (6) and big sister Olivia (2). The Gordons, who have a very successful construction company, Poirier Homes, were recently featured in Hartford magazine. A spec home they build atop Avon Mountain was honored as the Best Hartford County Spec Home by the Home Builders Association of Connecticut, Inc. Adam Crane emailed, “I work at Thomson Reuters and got to use my photographic skills shooting the Republican National Convention as a Reuters photographer. Entering my third year as head coach for the Wayzata high school boys’ lacrosse team and serving as president of the lacrosse coaches association.”
Michael M. Mullin, Head Class Agent 23 Lakeside Ave., Darien, CT 06840 email@example.com
Damien J. Egan, Head Class Agent 54 White Oaks Dr., Longmeadow, MA 01106-1739 firstname.lastname@example.org W. Steele Pollard ’92 married Lauren Bailey on September 6, 2008, in an outdoor ceremony at the Rolling Rock Club in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania.
Nuriana and Francisco Caro ’91 and Daniel Caro ’95 and his wife, Alexandra, enjoyed a tour on campus in February.
The children of Alison and John Ruan ’92: Abigail, Johnny, and Catherine
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Steele Pollard married Lauren Bailey of Monroe, Louisiana, on September 6, 2008, in an outdoor ceremony at the Rolling Rock Club in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania. Steele emailed, “Married life is good. We had a great wedding and a fun honeymoon. Angel Riva was at the wedding and won the prize for the best skeet shooting.” Lauren is from northern Louisiana and met Steele in Baton Rouge when they evacuated there after Katrina. She owns a women’s clothing boutique in Baton Rouge after selling the champion Arabian horse that helped her win 13 national championships. She is an equestrian and competes in a western event called Arian Reining though she is currently on break from competition to run her store. Steele is currently developing a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) near Baton Rouge.
John Ruan and his wife, Alison, announce the arrival of their third child, Catherine, born October 24, 2008. Catherine weighed 8 lbs. 11 oz. and was 22 inches [see photo].
Travis Merritt, Class Agent 23 Church St., Flemington, NJ 08822 email@example.com Andrew Humphrey married Stacie Gendron at Water’s Edge, in Westbrook, Connecticut, on September 6, 2008. The couple lives in Boston. Roy Christenson taught in China last year, and on January 9, 2009, left to teach English in Yokohama in Aobadai-ku, Japan. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Schmerzler ’93 married Christine Moynihan at St. Ignatius at Boston College on Sept 13, 2008, and spent their honeymoon in Los Cabos and Napa Valley.
Lance Cashion ’93 and his wife, Kathryn, enjoyed an evening out with George Trautman in Fort Worth, Texas, last December.
Peter A. Chelala, Class Agent 200 Rector Place, Apt. 7G, New York, NY 10280-1160 email@example.com Chad Dlugolecki is engaged to Georgia Siemion, and is father to Keira Anja (2½). He sees Garrett Trull often and goes boating during the summer with Garrett and his wife, Jenny. Chad has been the coach of the NJ Devil Youth Hockey Club for the past seven years and his teams have won one national championship, one silver medal, and two bronze medals. John Mobley emailed, “I am living in Atlanta with my beautiful wife, Aimee, and two wild kids, Liza (4) and Jack (2). I am working at Merrill Lynch in private wealth management. I would love to catch up with old friends. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org.” Jason Sirois announces his engagement to Michelle Garrity.
Caroline Olympia Treat was born on September 12, 2008, to Alexis and Michael Treat ’93.
Larry Hua ’93 and Lily Wang were married October 11, 2008. This photo was taken at the wedding of a Cornell classmate.
Anthony D. Silvestro, Head Class Agent 3 Beech Circle, Andover, MA 01810-2901 email@example.com John McAuliffe and his wife, Caitlin, announce the birth of Sheehan Kathleen McAuliffe. She was born November 12, 2008 at 1:09 p.m. weighing 6lbs, 8oz, and was 19 inches. John emailed, “She has a full head of jet black hair and deep blue eyes. Both Cait and Sheehan are doing great. Lastly, Sheehan has assured me that she will not be dating until the proper age of 35.” George “Andy” Brown, his wife, Stephanie, and their son, Ryder (2), live in Henniker, New Hampshire. Frank Berrian married Heather MacFarlane on December 31, 2008 with faculty member Tim Beneski officiating. The couple is planning a European honeymoon later in the year [see photo]. The couple lives in Avon, 10 minutes from campus. Frank joined the Connecticut Army National Guard and has been serving with the 1st Company Horse Guards, achieving the rank of corporal, in charge of all the tack and cavalry equipment.
Ashley Elizabeth Beal, daughter of Alyssa and Spence Beal Jr. ’95
Leah Bokenkamp, Mike Rozinsky ’94 and Kai Rozinsky, out for a stroll around Marblehead, Massachusetts with one set of Kai’s loving grandparents, “Poppy” ’62 and “Grammy” Rozinsky, who came up for a visit in February ’09. Kai celebrated his first birthday on December 28.
Kyah and Noah Cheatham, one-year-old twins of Riordan (Weedle) ’93 and Megan Cheatham, were a lion and a lamb on Halloween. The Cheathams live in Jupiter, Florida.
Frank Berrian ’95 married Heather Ann McFarlane in the home of the bride’s parents in Avon with Rev. Tim Beneski officiating.
The Avonian Spring 2009
PJ Chesson ’97 stopped by campus in October with his girlfriend, Jamie Sams.
Mike Fish and his wife, Jessica, announce the birth of their son, Jordan Max Fish, born January 2, 2009. Marc Holtman and his wife, Kelly, announce the birth of their daughter, Brooke Katherine Holtman, on January 4, 2009, at 6:16 a.m. in Saratoga Hospital, Saratoga Springs, New York. Brooke weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20.5 inches. Daniel Caro and his wife, Alexandra, visited campus in February with Daniel’s brother Francisco Caro ’91 and his wife, Nuriana. They had a tour of the new facilities with Peter Evans. Daniel has two daughters: Daniela (4) and Elena (11/2). They live in the Dominican Republic.
approach and the vets in the States are amazed as the dog is now cancer-free (see www.myspace. com/Dieselchesson). Brother Jamie ’99 is married and running some of the family business. PJ left Avon to head to Indianapolis the next day to see a possible sponsor for Indy Racing. Mark Berrian, his wife, Loraine, and their son, Aiden Robert, live in Bellingham, Massachusetts. Tony Salerno got engaged to Laurie Rich on Christmas Eve. They met as Peace Corps volunteers in Uzbekistan. Laurie is now at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and Tony works as an attorney in the New York office of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
Mark A. Caruso, Co-Head Class Agent 17 Cedar Ln., Chatham, N.J. 07928-1103 firstname.lastname@example.org John T. Jones, Co-Head Class Agent 125 Main St., Apt. 3, Newmarket, NH 03857-1623
Jack Farrell, son of Caitlin and David Farrell ’98
Rory Smith ’98 is an infantry platoon commander. After being at Quantico, just south of D.C. for the past year, he picked up his platoon near Palm Springs, California, in January and will be there for at least the next two years.
Brent Korsower is married with a 6-month-old baby girl. He plays rugby and works in commercial real estate in D.C. Austin Sperry lives in Gulfport, Mississippi, with his wife, Sally. Austin emailed, “No kids yet—I’m starting to train for the 2012 Olympics, or at least thinking about it. I had knee surgery in December 2008 so I’m still getting my leg back in shape. Just opened a pizzeria and it’s been a raving success! If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by!” Graeme Brown lives in Laguna Beach, California and is about to begin his role as regional director for Ivy West Educational Services. Ivy West is a test-prep company, for whom he worked as a tutor back in his acting/ drummer/waiter days in Los Angeles. He emailed, “I am happy to be working with them in the ‘front office’ and I’d love to connect with any Avonians in Southern California.”
Timothy B. Stay, Co-Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 email@example.com Kyle R. Youngquist, Co-Head Class Agent 60 West 23rd St., Apt. 950, New York, NY 10010 firstname.lastname@example.org
Eddie O’Herron ’99 with his parents, Ken and Barbara, sisters Katherine and Sally, and brother-in-law, Mike
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Alex Rosenzweig graduated from Dennison and attends graduate school at Springfield College in exercise physiology. He plans to graduate in May 2009, and has interned with the Chicago Bears and with Rusty Jones, the Bears’ head strength and conditioning coordinator, who is also a Springfield College grad. PJ Chesson stopped by campus in October with his girlfriend, country singer Jamie Sams. PJ has been tending to his dog, Diesel, who had cancer and had been given only a few months to live, but has outlasted all odds. Instead of chemotherapy, they used a European holistic
Geoffrey R. Barlow, Co-Head Class Agent Avon Old Farms School, 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 email@example.com J. Andrew Corrigan, Co-Head Class Agent 23 Beacon St., Somerville, MA 02143 firstname.lastname@example.org Hans Stockenberger lives in Houston, Texas, where he works as a project manager for a global IT/ Telecom company. He is actively pursuing a future career in music and currently sings with Opera in the Heights and performs original music in and around the Texas area. Hans has a solo album entitled Shine, which will be released in 2009. His music has been featured in two full-scale documentaries Home: The Aramco Brat Story and Sour. George Psaras lives in Avon, and owns and operates The Olive Bar in nearby Unionville with his family. The bar has won many awards from the Hartford Advocate over the last four years, including Best Bar, Best Bar in Farmington Valley, and Best Suburban Bar. George is working toward an MBA part-time and travels to Greece in the summer with stops in London, Germany, and Amsterdam. He still keeps in close contact with Cris Ulrich, Brooks Garber ’99, Kayser Dixon, Geoff Barlow, Brendan Welker ’91 and Dan Seiden ’00. Craig Evans teaches leadership classes and coaches soccer and baseball at the Rectory School in Pomfret, Connecticut.
David R. Gryboski, Co-Head Class Agent 5337 Gulf Dr., Suite 300, Holmes Beach, FL 34217 email@example.com Jonathan M. Carroll, Co-Head Class Agent 2078 Abbott St., San Diego, CA 92107 firstname.lastname@example.org Chris Van Dusen changed careers and works for a firm in Richmond selling alternative investments. Chris is engaged to Tara Harrell. Chris Grosch married Megan Glass on December 8, 2007. They met each other while working at The Hartford in Simsbury and Chris still works in the company’s Windsor office. In January, Chris wrote, “We are expecting a baby
boy in mid-April and now spend most of our time getting the nursery ready for when the little guy comes home. I have been in touch with J.C. Landry who is also expecting a baby boy. I can’t believe the Class of 1999 will have its 10-year reunion in May. I look forward to getting back in touch with many members of the class.” Scott Reznick was married April 12, 2008, to Lynne Remillard from Middleboro, Massachusetts. They met at Dickinson and were married in Danbury at the Fox Hill Inn. They honeymooned in Greece and have also recently visited Ukraine and Puerto Rico. Scott is an actuary for CIGNA. He is still running and does triathlons on Block Island and in Massachusetts. John Haberland is an Army JAG officer serving in Baghdad.
Michael J. O’Neill, Co-Head Class Agent 37 Anderson St., Apt. 5, Boston, MA 02114 email@example.com Daniel J. Seiden, Co-Head Class Agent 500 Old Farms Rd., Avon, CT 06001 firstname.lastname@example.org Cristian Smith is at the Melbourne Business School (MBS) in Melbourne, Australia, studying for an MBA. He emailed, “MBS is the top business school in the Asia Pacific region and it has a very diverse international student and faculty population. We recently were awarded a #26 ranking in the world by The Economist magazine. I am here with my wife, Susana, and we are having a great time with the laidback Australian lifestyle.” Eric Hill emailed, “I started an athletic apparel company and recently merged it with another company. We are now Game Time Sales out of Madison, Connecticut. I look forward to catching up with everyone from ’00 at our 10-year Reunion next spring.”
Christopher D. Coleman, Co-Head Class Agent 4464 Greenwich Parkway NW, Washington, DC 20007 email@example.com Nicholas H. LaRocque, Co-Head Class Agent 46 South Huntington Ave., Apt. 24 Boston, MA 02130 firstname.lastname@example.org Alexander Ross Dean married Elizabeth Marie Chanoine December 27, 2008, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Fort Worth, Texas, with a reception immediately following at The Petroleum Club of Fort Worth. Alex is a captain in the United States Army.
William P. Beatson, Class Agent 151 East 31st St., Apt 27C, New York, NY 10016 email@example.com
Patrick Madden moved from Baltimore to downtown Chicago where he works as named account executive for Konica. Patrick enjoyed getting together with other alumni at the Erie Cafe in Chicago for a reception with Ken LaRocque and Dean Peter Evans. Jonathan Arroyo is living the life down in Miami. As a DJ he is working five nights a week and staying really busy.
Jamie Tang, Class Agent 1202 Lexington Ave., Frnt 1, New York, NY 10028-1425 firstname.lastname@example.org
Avonians celebrated Vinnie Montalbano’s wedding last summer. From left to right: Tyler Wells ’02, Scott Horvath ’00, Vinnie Montalbano ’00, Katherine Montalbano, Ryan Wilson ’00, Dan Pike ’00, and Chris Higgins ’01
Joseph Karoly lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has worked in Boston’s financial district since his college graduation in 2007. He works for a real estate investment and property management company. David Mazur announces his engagement to Holly Camil. The two joined 86 others who attended the Boston Reception February 26, 2009, at The University Club.
Luke Archambault, Class Agent 59 High St., South Hadley, MA 01075 email@example.com Ryan Sheflott emailed last fall, “I’ve recently started working for a financial services firm in New York City.” Nick Morris graduated from the University of Denver last June with a BSBA in hotel and restaurant management. He works at The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center, as a concierge/front of the house supervisor, and absolutely loves it! Justin Pool emailed: “After Trinity College graduation I took my first summer off in years. I was accepted to the graduate program at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, so I moved to Athens in late August to begin work on my master’s degree in biology. I teach a couple of labs and grade for low-level courses. I do keep in touch with Charlie Custer, even though he is halfway around the globe in China. I also keep in touch with Jon Fugge and Ed Mazur. Jon is working for NetJets (the Farmington office) and Ed is finishing up his last year at UMassAmherst. He is thinking about doing a graduate degree there as well. Chase Rosenberg ’98 is also pursuing his master’s degree here in Ohio.” Luke Archambault is a graduate of Gettysburg College. He came back to campus in February for a hockey game, reception, and basketball game. He teaches children with special conditions. Luke lives in Massachusetts. Wes Jayne graduated from Endicott College last May and is now attending graduate school there for business. He should complete that program in May and plans to return to New Jersey to work in the family business in South Plainfield.
Kevin Thibadeau ’02 married Susan Hale of Morristown, New Jersey on April 5, 2008 at Elberon Memorial Church in Long Branch, New Jersey. Avonians in attendance were James Thibadeau ’00, Brian Cohane ’02, Brett Garber ’03, and Will Beatson ’02. Kevin and Susan are living in West Hartford, Connecticut, where Kevin works as a sales representative for Mass Bay Brewing Company.
Current Director Sam Chester and his wife, Barbra, with their sons, Craig ’01 and Steven ’03
Jayson Cash ’04 and Amy Bastian were married November 20, 2008, in Dayton, Ohio.
The Avonian Spring 2009
Dane Lemeris, Head Class Agent 38 Chelsea Dr., Cromwell, CT 06416 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Chodar ’08 went to Puerto Vallarta for Christmas break with his family and caught a 250-pound blue marlin.
Connor Wells played his last collegiate football season at Trinity College in Hartford receiving firstteam all-NESCAC honors as a wide receiver with 45 catches, 715 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns. Porter Sargent will graduate from Gettysburg this spring where he has been in the same fraternity as Garrett Speace. Sophomore year, Porter spent a semester in Seville, Spain. Last summer he did an internship at a marketing firm in Boston, and is hoping to get a job in Boston after he graduates. Kyle Jayne is now a business and economics major at the University of Tampa and loving it.
Adam Bauer, Class Agent 22 Highwood St., Simsbury, CT 06070 email@example.com
No. 39 Cheng Ho ’06, no. 93 Brian Sweeney ’05, Headmaster Ken LaRocque, and no. 17 Derrick Barker ’06 met after Harvard defeated Yale in the 125th playing of “The Game”– 10 to 0. Derrick Barker ’06 recovered a Yale fumble in the first quarter, which led to the only TD of the game. In the fourth quarter Yale looked like they were going to run a punt return back for a TD when Barker came out of nowhere to tackle the Yale runner at the four yard line. Harvard’s defense held and the Crimson went on to victory, which they needed to secure a tie for the Ivy League title with Brown. This is the second straight Ivy League title these three Avonians have enjoyed.
Trinity football players, all coached by Kevin Driscoll at Avon Old Farms [from left: Langley Young ’08, Connor Wells ’05, Blaise Driscoll ’08, Kevin Driscoll ’72, Eric McGrath ’05, Doug Beyer ’08, Dave Menard ’08].
Dan Seiden ’02, director of annual giving, married Brooke Basirico on October 11, 2008, in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Spring 2009 The Avonian
Kyle Rougeot was named the AT&T Crusader of the Week, for competition from September 1-7. Rougeot led the Holy Cross men’s cross country team to a first place finish at the Blue Devil Invitational, held in New Britain, Connecticut, on September 5, 2008. At the Blue Devil Invitational, Rougeot was the top Holy Cross finisher, placing third overall. He finished the eightkilometer course in a time of 26:50, only 20 seconds out of first place. The victory was the second straight at the Blue Devil Invitational for the Crusaders. Pat McGuirk, a junior from Hingham, Massachusetts, and senior assistant captain Ryan Mero ’05 from Peekskill, New York, are playing hockey together at St. Michael’s College. When Avon received this news in January, Pat and Ryan were a part of the longest winning streak for St. Michael’s since the 1999-2000 season. Kevin Zikaras was the top tackler in the NESCAC for the 2008 season. A sophomore at Bowdoin
College, Kevin had 58 solo tackles while posting two interceptions, including a pick that was returned for a touchdown in the home final against Bates.
Matt Beath, Class Agent 12229 Prince Towne Dr., St. Louis, MO 011Matthew.Beath@usafa.edu Chris Canning spent last year in Salamanca, Spain, doing an independent study of Spanish language and culture. For 11 weeks, he stayed with a host family and took intensive language classes every day. Chris wrote, “Salamanca is a beautiful city. After completing my studies in Spain, I made a quick trip through Italy to visit some family and eat pasta. I would recommend Salamanca to all Avonians for a great vacation. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.”
Will Hendricks, Co-Class Agent P.O. Box 38, Shawnee-on-Delaware, PA 18356 firstname.lastname@example.org Kevin Sisti, Co-Class Agent 64 Pinnacle Rd., Farmington, CT 06030 email@example.com Will Hendricks emailed: “I’m at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, England, for the year under a scholarship with the English Speaking Union. I’m studying politics and business studies. I also started swimming here and am competing in the county championships in a few weeks. I’ve done a lot of traveling this year including Holland and Spain and I just spent a week snowboarding in the French Alps. For spring break, I’m traveling to India and China with my mom and I also plan to do an inter-rail tour of Europe in the summer before I return to the States. I’m having the time of my life but miss Avon more than words can say!”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Ito get firsta tried little allowance Riddl money by Society shoes, shining 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
Avon Old Farms School proudly celebrates the Silver Anniversary of the Riddle Society and thanks all those who have named Avon Old Farms School as part of their estate plan. The funds that have come to Avon over the past several decades through planned giving have made a significant impact on the physical plant and have helped to support students, faculty, and programs. During the next quarter century we will count on more members of the Avon Old Farms School family to make the school part of their estate plan. By doing so, we will grow our endowment and keep Avon Old Farms School strong forever.
Riddle Society Members
1934 Francis K. Madeira 1939 James Cushing 1940 Gregory Lindin, Thomas Jacka 1944 David C. Bigelow 1950 James Shirk 1951 John Feist 1952 Frank Leavitt, Seth Mendell, George Milam, Richard Walker 1953 Siggy Windsberg 1954 Kerry Mayer, Sheldon R. Roth, 1955 Edward J. Hawie, Donald Monaco, William Tost 1956 Huntley Davenport 1957 Edward Greenblatt, Richard Thorndike 1958 Austin Chambers, Richard Taylor 1959 Jock Davenport, Wayne Hartigan, Douglas B. Marshall, David R. McShane George Motter, Rolf H. Olson, Steve Sumner 1960 Frank Costello, Ford Reece, Eric Skemp, Peter Van Winkle, James Wardrop, Joe Wells III, Richard Williams 1961 William David 1962 Rufus Griscom, Garvin Brown III, Christopher Hall, Paul Herbert 1963 Godfrey Bloch, Carl Emmons, William W. Lyon, Warren Van Deventer 1964 Jeffrey Minnick 1965 Spencer Beal, Matthew H. Gates, Keating Pepper 1966 Michael Barker, Vere Gaynor, Michael Straus, David Hallam 1967 Rusty Avery, Ricky Behr, John Hebberd, Malcolm Hirsh, Spencer Keyes, Chase Donaldson, Roger Salz 1969 Larus Avery, James Donkel 1970 Harris Bucklin III 1971 Tim Beeble, Henry Coons, S.L. Hammerman II, Joe Vecchiarino 1972 Daniel Carpenter, Hank Rosenbaum 1973 Jamie Bush, Jeffrey Carlson 1974 Edward P. Thompson 1975 Geoffrey Anderson 1976 Timothy Brown, Harold A. Davis 1977 Tom Bissell, Fred Michel 1978 Clayton S. Parsons 1979 Gregory Snow 1980 Charles L. Hanscomb H 1982 Brian B. Conroy, Stephen Dyson, John W. Hawie, Phillip Wellman 1983 Peter C. Connolly 1985 Alex Amery ,Scott Lowe, William Young 1987 David Reuter 1989 Daniel J. Entwhistle 1991 Andrew Fisher 1992 Scott M. Goodwyn 2000 Dan Seiden 2006 Henry Murray 2009 Graham C. Garland Current/Honorary Board: Louise Adams, Joseph R. Biondo P’92, Brian B. Conroy ’82, John E. Drew P’85, ’87, Captain Victor Delano
P ’75, Jim Corrigan ’67, Richard Pendleton Hon.’96, Richard B. Rothschild P’05, George M. Trautman Hon.’98, George A. Murray P ’75
Former Faculty: Richard K. Loveland Parents: Thomas Foote P’08, Constance Williams P’08, David Emmes P’07, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Kumming P’98, Mr. and Mrs. Peter J. Murgio P ’94, ’99, Mr. James R. Birle P ’85 , Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth McNealy P ’86, Mrs. H. Stanley Mansfield Jr. P ’97 Anonymous: 33 Members
Gifts Received: John Estabrook ’32, George Lyon ’34, John Merritt ’34, John Downing Sr. ’36, F. Reed Estabrook ’36, William McCawley ’37,
Dan North ’37, Christopher Phillips ’39, Daniel Kingston ’40, Robert S. Edwards ’42, Anthony Small ’55, James M. Underwood ’60, Gordon Ramsey, Sidney C. Clark, Donald Carson, Mary Purdy P’56, Edgar Fairchild P’60, Jean M. Coons P’71
For further information about planned gifts contact: Henry R. Coons ’71, Director of Planned Giving 860-404-4226 or email@example.com www.avonoldfarms.gift-planning.org
Making it Possible to Keep
Avon Old Farms School
The Avonian Spring 2009
In Memoriam Lawrence Langdon Kane, past faculty member, died December 4, 2008, at his home in London, England. Barbara Cox Emeny, wife of former Avon Board member, Brooks Emeny, passed away peacefully, on February 15, 2009, in her 99th year. Brooks Emeny was on Avon’s Board from 1941 to 1980. The Brooks House, a converted railway station, was first used as a guest house and now is used as faculty housing. It was refurbished by the Brooks Family. Brooks Emeny was a prominent international relations scholar and lecturer who specialized in American foreign policy and was president of the Foreign Policy Association. Rex Whitaker Allen ’32 died peacefully, surrounded by his family, on April 7, 2008, in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 93.
John Lawrence Hawkes ’32 of Shelburne, Vermont (formerly of Dorset), passed away peacefully on Sunday, July 27, 2008, at the age of 94. Daniel F. North ’37 passed away peacefully on November 25, 2008, at the age of 89, in Litchfield, Connecticut, surrounded by his family and friends after a valiant and courageous battle with cancer. Born in New Britain on December 11, 1918, the son of the late James S. and Ruth Chamberlain North, he spent his formative years in that city, attended Avon Old Farms School, and will be
sorely missed by his longtime friends and classmates, Pete Seeger ’36 and Pete Hart ’36. He attended Trinity College, was a highly decorated veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, and served with distinction on the Atlantic Coast during World War II. He edited papers in Mystic and Cleburne, Texas, and after moving to Litchfield in 1955, he was the editor of the Litchfield Enquirer. Dan was an icon in the village that he loved, and this love was returned by the many Litchfield residents who knew him. His passion for literature, the environment, the arts, theater, running, and music was truly inspirational, and he quietly supported these loves by being a benefactor to numerous causes including the Litchfield Community Center, the Litchfield Library, Trinity College, the New Britain Museum of American Art, Clearwater, and the Willington Library. He was especially proud of his donation of land to the Town of Willington that has been preserved in its natural state for future generations, and he helped finance the construction of the town’s new library in 2005. He was very proud of his performances in many local theatre productions and various road races, and was an early sponsor of the Litchfield Road Race and the Goshen Turkey Trot, where he was a competitive participant in both for many years.
The School has learned of the death of David M. Peters ’41 on August 21, 2008, at the age of 87.
William Reynolds Lieb ’41 died peacefully the day before Thanksgiving with his family at his bedside following a two-year battle with lung cancer. The School has learned that
B. Carrington Bidgood ’44 passed away on January 3, 2009, at the age of 83. The School has learned that
Kenneth P. Beebe ’46 passed away June 10, 2008, at the age of 81. The School has learned that
Robert W. Thayer ’46 passed away on February 5, 2008.
H. Curtis Meanor ’47, state, federal, and local judge, passed away on August 22, 2008, at the age of 78.
The School has learned of the death of John Miller Longmire Sr. ’37.
Dan North ’37
Spring 2009 The Avonian
The School has learned that
Robert J. Blair ’50 passed away on December 3, 2008.
Charles McLaughlin III ’55 husband, father, soldier and civil servant, died peacefully on Friday, November 21, 2008, after a long illness The School has learned that
Phillip S amuel Walters ’55 died in St Petersburg, Florida, on November 21, 2007. The School has learned that Frank Heidsieck ’61 passed away on November 7, 2008.
John R. Calcaterra ’63, “Jack,” “The Prince of Park Road,” accomplished athlete, long-time business owner of the Peter Pan Cafe, teacher, and beloved father and grandfather passed away Sunday, September 28, 2008, in his home. He was surrounded by his family doing what he loved, spending time with his grandchildren and watching his favorite pastime, football. Jack touched many lives during his 64 years, through athletics as a lineman for the NFL New York Giants, an All-American two-way lineman for the Rose Bowl Champion Purdue Boilermakers in 1967, Hula Bowl participant in 1968, and accomplished baseball player (he and his teammates of the New England Region-American Legion All-Stars went on to play for a national championship in 1961). He also played for the Hartford Knights. He was an assistant coach for the Hartford Public High
School Football team and teacher in the Hartford public school system. He was a graduate of Conard High School and co-captain of the 1961 CCIL championship football team. He was a PG at Avon Old Farms School in 1963. Jack was an avid golfer and longtime member of the Rockledge Men’s Club. He was a coach, mentor, and sponsor to countless youth and communitysponsored sports teams.
William T. Pate ’70 passed away on February 6, 2009, at the age of 57. David Willey ’66 died on Sept. 26, 2008, at the age of 61.
Bruce Scovill Beresford Jr ’81 (Todd) passed away on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, after a courageous battle with cancer.
Bradford Jacobs Shea ’02 passed away unexpectedly on December 24, 2008. Stephen Edward Grab ’07, formerly of Huntsville, Alabama, passed away November 29, 2008, at the age of 20, after a 13-month battle with leukemia.
Mary Ann Webb Leavitt, known as ‘Emmy,’ died peacefully at age 79 at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough on Feb. 25, 2009, with her family by her side, due to complications relating to metastatic breast cancer. Born Sept. 8, 1929, in West Chester, Pa., to Linda Thomas and Walter Caldwell Webb, she grew up on a nearby family farm, known
as ‘Caswallen,’ spending summers at a cottage in the mountains of New Hampshire. Upon graduating from Middlebury College (’52), Emmy went to Washington, D. C. to work for the CIA. Soon afterwards, she married her college sweetheart, Harry Rice, and they went out West to the Naval Air Station in Coronado, Calif., where Harry was a pilot. When Harry had completed his service, they returned to the East where Harry became a teacher at Avon Old Farms School. They raised Lesli, Julie and Peter, impressing on them the value of hard work, compassion, generosity and courage, while sharing their enthusiasm for sports and the outdoors. Tragically, Harry died suddenly at the age of 42, while he was on the faculty of Avon Old Farms School, and Emmy went from parttime jobs of nursery school teacher and librarian to being the full-time provider. She too turned to teaching and was hired by the Westminster School in nearby Simsbury, Conn. to teach English and was the school’s first director of the girls’ athletic program. In 1974, she married Frank Leavitt, a fellow teacher and also a member of the faculty of Avon Old Farms School. For 20 years, they lived together in Avon as they watched Lesli, Julie, and Peter grow up. Son Peter Rice later returned to Avon Old Farms School as a faculty member, and is still working there as a science teacher.
The Avonian Spring 2009
The Last Word:
Persistent Pierce By Pierce Ford ’09
The following chapel talk was delivered by Pierce Ford ’09 on the morning of February 17, 2009.
For a solid four months of my fourth grade year, I was whole-heartedly determined to miss every second of school that I could. I was being consumed by my learning disabilities; I was just unable to cope with them. I’ll be the first to admit that I was struggling that year—the jump from third to fourth grade was proving more difficult than I could have imagined—and I was so miserable that the mere thought of school, or the arduous task of homework that accompanied it, would literally make me sick to my stomach. I had fallen into a rut, and the only thing that I really learned during that time was that I was a naturally persistent person. I applied this talent to faking sick, avoiding homework, making excuses as to why I habitually missed the school bus, negotiating attendance records and lengthy vacations with my parents, and refusing to return from recess on a twice-daily basis. Little did I know that this skill would become my greatest strength. Without this discovery I know that I would not be anywhere remotely close to where I am today, because, really, this skill affects every aspect of my life. If there were a nickname that I could give myself, it would be Persistent Pierce. My persistent attitude has shown me results, but only because I’ve learned to use it in the right manner. Overcoming learning disabilities has been a real undertaking for me involving special schools, small classes of only three or four students, and teachers whom I can only call more than supportive. But what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t care how optimistic and reassuring a teacher tries to be with me; although their encouragement is greatly appreciated, I know clearer than day that I am not a gifted scholar. But what I also know is that my regular appearance on the Honor Roll is no coincidence. For me, it takes work, and lots of it. Because at first when I don’t succeed, which is all too often, it seems, I have to take more whacks at it than most to find success. All of this work translates into time and frustration – and at times, a lot of frustration. But what keeps me calm in the darkest of days is the fact that I know that eventually, whether it seems like it or not at that moment, I will grasp a concept. After all, we must fail before we succeed. Some of the
tools that I have adapted to help set me on the right path for studying material effectively include maintaining an organized workspace, asking lots of relevant questions, and being willing to make sacrifices for greater good. For the most part these sacrifices come in the form of time: time I could spend sleeping, relaxing, or enjoying what little time there is on the weekends here on campus. In the long run, however, this is all worth it. Another avenue where persistence has really helped me is in the forum of public speaking. Freshman year I did not dare make a single announcement, as the idea of 425 pairs of eyes honed in on me at once was more than a little over my head. I was hoping to keep my streak of silence at all school meetings alive for four years, but that dream died when I was named president of the Nimrod Club. Every Tuesday and Friday, knocked-kneed as could be, I would rise and utter some incoherent message with a wavering voice. This year, I have been tasked with making even more announcements—including butchering an innocent joke every Friday at lunch—offering me an opportunity to improve. It is only through my persistence that I know that I am getting better; otherwise I definitely would not be standing here right now. And as most of you have probably figured out by now, I am not the most athletically gifted person in the world. In my mind, a perfect game involves not having to use my eraser a single time while I am filling out the scorebook. With this in mind, every day I strive to make my goals slightly more athletic as I try to evolve from a 275-pound pencil during basketball season into something slightly more useful on the playing field. I have to keep in mind, though, that this can and will only be achieved through continued persistent efforts. In all honesty, all I’ve ever wanted to be able to do is dunk a basketball. Right now, I am nowhere near my goal, but I’m working on it, believe me. And you know what? I get closer and closer to that hoop every day.
Eagle and Diogenes crews practicing on the Farmington River, 1952
Avon Old Farms School 500 Old Farms Road Avon, Connecticut 06001 www.avonoldfarms.com
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Bob Fairchild ’60 will forever be remembered as a true Man of Avon. As one of the most loyal and passionat Board members, and also one of the most generous, Bob’ tireless dedication and willingness to contribute to the need Fairchild ’60 Avonian of the growing school communityRobert inspired countless 1942-2009 over the years.As Avon mournsAthetruelossAvonian. of its esteemed it be
Published on Nov 19, 2009