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HILLTOPPER embracing

difference +


spring 2018




embracing difference in all its forms at Worcester Academy





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board president Jim Pietro ’81 is rooted to the Hilltop


educator and writer Caitlin McCarthy ’88

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Dr. Marla Abodeely ’90 helps crack genetic code

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officers & members

spring 2018

VOLUME XXVI / ISSUE 2 Ronald M. Cino P’21,’22,’24

President James J. Pietro ’81, P’11,’14,’19 First Vice President Susan Weagly Jacobs, J.D. P’03 Second Vice President Sarah (Sullivan) Pulsifer ’91 Secretary Brian A. O’Connell, Esq. ’67 Treasurer Jonathan S. Stuart ’86

Head of School

Hilltopper Editor

Neil R. Isakson

Graphic Designer

Good Design LLC

Benny Sato Ambush ’69 Dr. Lauren S. Baker P’15,’18 William Breidenbach ’69 Jamie Lavin Buzzard ’02 Henry Dormitzer III ’88 R. Victor Fields ’71 Matthew Finkle ’87 David P. Forsberg ’65, P’91,’94 J. Michael Grenon ’88 William Haddad ’92 Arthur Kentros ’74 Dana R. Levenson ’75, P’18,’21 Andrew B. O’Donnell, Esq. ’73, P’03,’05,’07,’10 Megan O’Leary P’20 Jacqueline Peterson Susan Puryear P’19,’21 Robert Scumaci P’15,’18 David V. Shamoian ’70 Luke M. Vaillancourt ’01

Photography Ursula Arello Alicia Figueiredo Hockmeyer Studios Neil Isakson Tom Kates Photography

Development Office Kim Stone, Director of Development Ursula A. Arello ’85, P’21, Director of Donor and Alumni Engagement Frank R. Callahan ’71, Director of Planned Giving Alicia Figueiredo, Manager of Alumni Programs and Events Neil R. Isakson P’15,’19, Director of External Communications and Development Marketing Alice Li ’18, Student Assistant Mark E. Lufkin, Senior Development Officer Anette Macintire P’22, Database Coordinator Dexter P. Morse, Headmaster Emeritus Katherine E. Morse, Gift Coordinator Erica Driscoll Ribeiro P’20,’24, Director of Annual Giving Marketing and Participation Donald E. “Dee” Rowe ’47, GP’12,’17,’19, Special Assistant to the Head of School

Featured Writer

Dr. Anthony Butler is director of academic partnerships at Worcester Academy. In that capacity, he oversees off-campus programming in the city of Worcester.

Caroline Reich P’06,’08 is a former development staffer for Worcester Academy. She and her husband, Joel Reich, are benefactors of the Summer Scholars Program, which serves children living in the WA neighborhood. P. Michael Reidy ’66 is a WA alumnus living near London. A leader in the marketing and editorial services industry, he is a published author and playwright. Michael frequently travels back to Worcester to visit family.

Contributing Writers


Worcester Academy exists to instill in its students the desire to learn throughout life, to engage passionately with the world around them, and to be honorable persons of strong and resourceful character.


We are a community—curious, thoughtful, generous, and thriving in our diversity. We embrace each of our core values as essential to the mission of Worcester Academy and as testimony of our beliefs and commitments. HONOR | RESPECT | COMMUNITY | PERSONAL GROWTH | CHALLENGE

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The Hilltopper is published twice yearly by Worcester Academy. Reader comment, as well as information of interest, is always welcome. Please write to Neil R. Isakson, director of External Communications, at Worcester Academy, 81 Providence St., Worcester, MA 01604, or email

2015 Case DI Bronze Award winner for Best Designed Magazine 2016 CASE DI Silver Award winner for General Excellence, Independent School Magazines

ON THE COVER Worcester Academy values diversity and difference, just as it values passionate engagement with the world around us. Our Mission and Core Values are the guiding principles for every interaction. (Tom Kates Photography)

from the head of school

guided by our core values Worcester Academy students are engaged with the world around them and are passionate about the things that matter in their lives, whether it’s fashion, music, entrepreneurship, social issues, politics, or current events. WA students have—and are in the process of developing—strong and informed opinions about what their world should be. We encourage this process by design. Our students’ ability to grow their thinking and express themselves clearly and creatively has everything to do with their future success. WA students are aware of and impacted by the challenging conversations that take place locally and nationally. In the school setting, these conversations invite the passionate engagement we intend and also provide an opportunity for learning how to negotiate differences of opinion. Students consider a number of questions. How do I make an argument while still showing respect for others? What can I learn from those who have different beliefs? How do I/we move forward from here?

School life can be messy at times. One can even argue that it needs to be. We have always valued diversity and difference at Worcester Academy, just as we have valued passionate engagement with the world around us. Given the needs of our society, it is as important as ever to embrace our Core Values—Honor, Respect, Community, Personal Growth, and Challenge—as the guiding principles for every interaction. Our hope is that what is learned on the Hilltop, including the ability to grapple with and embrace difference, will serve our students long after they have graduated from Worcester Academy. The world needs more people who can effectively demonstrate that skill. At WA, this is one important measure of delivering on our mission.

Ronald M. Cino, Head of School


A PERSONAL REMEMBRANCE OF JOHN BLOOM What was the Dred Scott Decision? What was the Treaty of Ghent? Why did we not build a canal in Nicaragua? The Socratic Method may put some students off. It’s embarrassing when you hear your name while daydreaming, and shrinking into the chair to make yourself smaller simply doesn’t work. There is always the hope that others might be called and the crowd effect increases those odds. What are the chances of being asked questions in class repeatedly? In my case, they were anomalously high. Indeed, the actual questions were “Who was Dred Scott, Wally?” “What was the Treaty of Ghent, Wally?” “Where is Nicaragua, Wally?” Wally sometimes knew the answer, and sometimes Wally didn’t, but there was never any possibility of not paying attention or of limiting my risk within a herd of classmates. You see, Headmaster John Bloom was my American history teacher in the summer of ’63 and it was just the two of us. I was the only student and every question ended with a Wally. The experience was petrifying. Maybe I kept the textbook, The

American Pageant, as a reminder that it really happened. Some people have recurrent nightmare themes involving accidental nudity or being chased by ogres. I don’t have those, but I wake up with a startle not remembering what the Missouri Compromise was, or who the Millerites were. If I had to guess why Mr. Bloom agreed to teach a formal course to one student, it could be because he knew me well. He was my wrestling coach for three years and he also may have seen some academic potential in me. I always meant to write to him to say thank you. I wonder if such a letter might have started with, “Dear John?” Or would it have been, “Dear Mr. Bloom?” But, like so many things easily put off, the letter never got written and we moved on. John Bloom accomplished much at the Academy and was the embodiment of “Achieving the Honorable.” He died a year ago. I should have written. I wonder what I might have said.

Worcester Academy lost a dear and loyal friend when Hervey Ross ’46 passed away in January 2018 (See the story on Hervey’s passing on page 44). Those of us who served with Hervey on Worcester Academy’s Board of Trustees were always treated to his great affection for WA. I always knew that the voice on the other end of the phone, in Georgia or Florida, would be warm, welcoming, and full of cheer and goodwill. Karla and I remember with joy being houseguests at Hervey’s Atlanta home about 15 years ago. He couldn’t have been more accommodating. We will miss him. —Peter J. Gardner ’63

for the record Two corrections are necessary from the last edition of the Hilltopper. First, our apologies to Walter Goldberg ’64, whose letter to the editor we forgot to run. That letter is published in this edition. Second, we incorrectly identified a photo supplied by David Frem ’88. The caption for the image, which is reproduced here, should have read “David Frem, Adam Greene, and Henry Dormitzer—all members of the Class of 1988—at their Worcester Academy junior prom in 1987.”

—Dr. Walter Goldberg ’64 Worcester Academy



difference 4 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

We Hilltoppers

value our community— teachers, students, alumni, administrators, staff— as a tapestry of perspectives, an intimate showcase of backgrounds, an eclectic constituency of beliefs and experiences, ebbing and flowing with changing times. Difference has always been woven into our essential fabric.

by Dr. Anthony Butler, Director of Academic Partnerships

At Worcester Academy, embracing difference is in our DNA. When the school was founded, it was not a place for the sons of the rich. Then called “Worcester County Manual Labor High School,” it embraced a program of academic study and farming. The goal was to provide “for the education of youth in languages, arts and sciences; for promoting habits of industry and economy; and for inculcating the principles of piety and virtue.” In the 1880s, John Hope ’90 arrived on the Hilltop—by then “Worcester Academy”— as one of the very first African Americans to attend a New England boarding school. WA enriched its student body and campus culture for generations by admitting many Jewish students to the Academy—years before other leading schools. In the 1960s and 1970s, the school became a welcoming, transformative destination for scores of Iranians and South Americans seeking the safety and academic rigor of a U.S boarding school. Always a place for students of disparate economic, religious, geographic, and ideological backgrounds, our school’s leaders have intentionally sustained a school environment that welcomes

students of exceptional promise without regard to economic circumstances— academic stars, world-class athletes, talented musicians, and artists. Negotiating the contours of our school community’s inclusivity is both an art and a science. We teach our students to hear and respect the varied views of their classmates so that each student can develop a rich, personal view of their own life in progress. The Academy strives to keep its core values—Honor, Respect, Community, Personal Growth, Challenge—at the center of every decision, program, strategic initiative, lesson plan, and personal interaction. At every turn, we offer up our school’s mission statement as testimony to our cultural uniqueness as a New England dayboarding school, and to our intentional programming to support our students and faculty as they seek purpose, challenge, and fulfillment. “Worcester Academy exists to instill in its students the desire to learn throughout life, to engage passionately with the world around them, and to be honorable persons of strong and resourceful character.” But, it’s not easy.




If all things were equal—if all students were the same, coming from similar homes, sharing the same experiences and family backgrounds—then executing our mission statement might be a piece of cake. The challenges our teachers would face would be merely logistical in nature and administrators would plan decades in advance. But the reality is that every one of our 600-plus students come to campus with vastly divergent backgrounds, economic circumstances, family histories, and academic preparation. As a private institution, we can intentionally “craft” a student body of students from close to 100 local cities and towns, a dozen U.S. states, and two dozen countries around the globe. WA students come from Somaliland and Shrewsbury, from Worcester and Vietnam. So, how do we move beyond the undoubtedly valuable benefit of diverse students living and Worcester Academy


studying together to something deeper? How do our teachers and staff create an environment in which the stories, ideas, and backgrounds of pupils can be celebrated even as we share a sense of community. How do our students— each in the throes of a personal journey through adolescence—and a search for meaning and purpose, find their path through the cacophony?

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key to personal


Teachers at WA are challenged to effectively manage professional mastery of their subject matter, create lesson plans that teach students the necessary material in an engaging, rigorous package, while driving those same students to see, reflect upon, and apply concepts to lives that are in constant teenaged flux. Teachers, staff, and advisors know from close engagement with students that kids who seem similar on the first day of class are valleys apart in experience, perspective, and beliefs. And our teachers and administrators are special; hired for their ability to provide excellence in teaching of the subject, but also for personal traits that enable them to be passionate connectors between their students and the material. Our teachers are lovers of deep learning, they thrive on creating “aha moments,” and they love the daily challenge in meeting students where they are—and pushing them to reach ever-higher goals.

WA faculty seek to inspire deep learning by patterning active listening in their classrooms, in the dorms, and in extracurricular pursuits, and setting high expectations for their students to become respectful, active listeners. They teach students to recognize ideas that underpin different beliefs and conclusions that differ from their own—and to see that they don’t have to win a conversation or convert the other person—to win understanding. Teachers and mentors hope to instill in them a desire to learn throughout life, to engage with many communities, and to offer themselves as open, honorable, and resourceful persons. But, again, it’s not easy.

Our teachers are lovers of deep learning, they thrive on creating “aha moments,” and they love the daily challenge in meeting students where they are—and pushing them to reach ever-higher goals.


teachers harness

the power

My colleagues and I know that progress is born of disagreement, and that disagreement comes as the product of difference. Our world, especially in recent times, is stewing in discord and divisiveness. To grow up in such times is hard. So, what does WA do to harness the power of personal stories, to respect difference and mediate disagreement, and ultimately, to progress? Rebecca Yacono, the director of Middle School, arrived on the Hilltop in September, bringing a breadth of experience and insight from teaching and administrative roles at schools nationwide from Texas to Massachusetts. As mutual fans of BBQ, we engage in delicious disagreement, but Rebecca stands firm in her claim that Texas barbecue is the best in the country. “Barbecue from North Carolina or St. Louis is just different,” she says. The Lone Star State would win a head-to-head competition, she argues. “I tell people you just have to come down to experience it; then they understand. I usually win.” Much like barbecue, Rebecca sees that building a thriving learning community relies on the same concept—experience and understanding. “Difference” she states, “comes from different identities.” Disagreement is a natural consequence of a diversified community. And since “middlers” are constantly trying to figure out their world, learning to deal with disagreement is a large part of their education in class and beyond. But, how do you get our middlers there? Rebecca points out that resolving disagreement is all about being heard. “If students do not get their ideas and beliefs on the table, then somebody is going to feel an imbalance; an

Rebecca Yacono, Director of Middle School

imbalance of voices, an imbalance of power. Sometimes that voice becomes from questionable assumptions or poor reasoning, but kids still have to get their thoughts and feelings out with guidance from a teacher or advisor. Until all voices are heard without judgement, and all perspectives are unpacked, students’ perspectives and experiences will not be informed,” Rebecca explains. As an educator in Austin, TX, Rebecca worked with students from many parts of the city. One student in particular, who constantly walked the line between academic excellence and disciplinary probation, hit another student one day. The aggressor stood out as a writer and musician, but he needed active guidance to really come

to terms with the cultural norms of the school. Through mediation, this student was able to unpack his tensions, beliefs, and disagreements, while coming to an understanding of why the school must maintain its core values, she says. At Worcester Academy, disagreement and difference manifest themselves in myriad voices and stories that students and teachers bring with them to our campus. Students are encouraged to see their own beliefs and perspectives as a bridge of possibility with others. One’s political, religious, and personal beliefs are developed in a wash of family, culture, and interactions. But, especially in the middle and high school years, we all need to hold up our own views to the light of differing opinions. Students

need to hear their peers’ differing and sometimes-uncomfortable views in order to fully evaluate their own. We talk about Worcester Academy being a community of learners. Advisors meet weekly in teams to discuss issues relevant to the academic and social progress of the community, and advisors meet with their advisees to listen and support. Our Middle School counseling office, led by Katharine Oikle ’05, has an open-door policy, and our Middle School Dean of Students Lisa Iaccarino ’00 brings expertise in helping community members come together through a range of assemblies, activities, and round-table discussions. Teachers show students through their own actions every day how to “do” respectful disagreement. Worcester Academy





I had the pleasure of sitting down with Isabelle “Belle” Samko ’18 to discuss this very topic. Belle hails from a small, homogenous town in Massachusetts. Her journey of community at WA is inspired by her father, a Polish immigrant, who along with his siblings, fled communist Poland through Austria to Canada to finally entering the United States, where he would marry and start a family. Belle sees her father’s journey

Isabelle “Belle” Samko WA Senior

8 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

both as a point of departure for identity and a touchpoint in her own journey at WA. “I identify as a first-generation kid, and this has led me to engage with so many new people, go to interesting workshops, and join some advocacyoriented clubs. My dad coming from another country had a lot to do with that,” she explains. In some ways, Belle’s journey to new “lands” of self-discovery at WA echoes her father’s journey. The town is a pretty homogeneous place, characteristic of a community where Belle sees herself well-matched. WA, on the other hand, offers much a great range of experiences—heterogeneity—where

Belle feels challenged, as well as inspired. “Being in a diverse school was different, but I felt it was necessary for my growth.” Belle believes that difference and disagreement are a formula for growth and credits both her friends and Johára Tucker, WA’s director of equity and inclusion, for bringing human rights and social justice awareness into her life. Belle believes that she has passed through what she calls a turning point—a state in which social justice and human rights ideas inform both her future and her identity. Belle says she’d like to dedicate her life to such issues because she believes that it leads to progress.

Belle says she’d like to dedicate her life to such issues as human rights and social justice because she believes that it leads to progress.

embracing difference

Paul Himottu, WA Math Teacher

Paul regularly builds hands-on projects that address real-world problems into his lessons, especially motivating those kids who need to see the math as an everyday tool in a successful adult life.


approaches to


What is disagreement in mathematics? Consensus is that mathematics is a cut-and-dried discipline at the middle and high school levels. It’s a story of either right or wrong answers, logical or illogical, correct or incorrect solutions. The “close, but no cigar” pleasantry we all heard in school is as commonplace as turkey on Thanksgiving. But not for teachers like Paul Himottu. Paul, one of WA’s most respected math teachers for

the past 14 years, is a WPI graduate and former engineer, and he teaches high school math because he loves it. Having taught many levels of mathematics, he loves various aspects of each. When asked about why so many students suffer anxiety with math, he believes that there’s a stigma attached to it. “You rarely hear a kid say, ‘I’m not good at English,” but you hear that all the time with math. Why is that? Perhaps it’s the way it’s taught?” Paul might be onto something. As a strict believer in staying current with innovative teaching practices, his personality fuses with what’s going on in the field of mathematics instruction. Paul

thoughtfully considers the differences of ability, confidence, and work styles of each student in his classes, working to bring out the best in each. “I like to do things differently,” he says, smiling. “How do you deal with so much difference in ability?” I ask. “Sometimes you’re dealing with kids that are really motivated, and sometimes you’re not. It all depends on a student’s background.” Getting to know his students—personalization—is a key to Paul’s craft. He regularly builds hands-on projects that address real-world problems in his lessons, especially motivating those kids who need to see the math as an everyday tool in a successful adult life. As an example, he had his students fact-check a point that President Obama had made on the Ebola virus’s rate of growth. Using exponential factors and graphs, he and his students were able to show that the President’s statement was not hyperbole. A common issue Paul encounters with students’ perceptions of math deals with its utility: the classic, “When am I ever going to use this stuff?” Paul used his WA professional development funds recently to research and design a new elective called “Advanced Algebra with Financial Applications.” From purchasing and financing cars and mortgages, to the importance of retirement plans and savings mechanisms, this math course places real-life adult circumstances front and center for his students. Here, math ceases being purely analytical and starts becoming quite real. What can I really afford? What important personal factors and goals will impact planning for my future? These queries no longer sleep as hypotheticals. They become formative questions requiring perspective and introspection—solid math skills. A five percent mortgage rate and the ensuing interest charges will be different considerations for different students, framed by their own family experiences and the different views of their classroom peers. Worcester Academy


not possible,” she explains. Difference, disagreement, awareness, and understanding play a major role in how Nina teaches French. “You teach who you are.” French lends itself to different perspectives, and the language goes beyond the dictionary. She tries to teach students the variations of meaning, which in turn sparks conversation about life views. As with her own process, Nina hopes her students “detach” in order to one day reattach with a deeper, more nuanced knowledge of the world and its global communities.


a love of all


Ninotska “Nina” Hernández WA French Teacher


inform classroom


Ninotska “Nina” Hernández is Worcester Academy’s newest French teacher. Raised in Latin America, Nina comes to WA most recently from Madison, WI. Much like Rebecca Yacono, Nina’s unique path to becoming a French teacher at the Academy enhances her students’ study of French language and our community’s approach to diversity, difference, and disagreement. Nina’s approach to teaching is very much a product of her own journey from Venezuela, through France, to the U.S. 10 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

In 1992, when Hugo Chávez’s coup d’état upended Venezuelan society and economy, many citizens like Nina and her family found themselves on the losing side of the conflict, and in great peril. An oil strike left the country without gasoline, with schools closed, and essentially, the whole country stopped. “Everything we’d worked for—possessions, car, home—were left behind.” Chávez’s overthrow was founded on extreme socialist ideology and any opposition was met with interrogation, censorship, exile, or worse. Nina, with two children and another on the way, ended up in Wisconsin, where she’d been born while her father was a student at the University of Wisconsin. As a U.S. citizen, her immigration process was less tumultuous than that of other immigrants from Venezuela.

Still, the transition was difficult. Without coin or community, the family struggled to make ends meet. Many call it the “art of detachment,” a phenomenon in which one realizes a new perspective after having been removed from a long, significant experience. The new experience exposes falsehoods, and that new understanding teaches a person something truly breathtaking about life. “Once I left the bubble, I began to understand how the conditions in Venezuela brought about a man like Chávez. As an immigrant, I could now see and understand the difficult conditions in which Chávez supporters lived. When I removed myself from Venezuela, I could see. And now, when I meet pro-Chávez Venezuelans, I can agree to disagree. Before, that was

James Young teaches WA’s Freshman Survey as well as World Religion and Social Justice, two upper class electives. The breadth of James’s courseload speaks to his versatility as a teacher and to the scope of his passion for learning. A highly regarded teacher by both students and colleagues, James believes that “in order to be effective, a teacher must be othercentered.” He constantly asks himself, “How is what I am doing affecting the ultimate goal of educating and guiding students to grow as human beings.” As a high-schooler, James sought rigor and intellectual challenge with little success. After matriculating to Dartmouth, James thrived on study, dialogue with faculty and friends, and listening to new perspectives and ideas. These would challenge his own thinking, pushing him to learn more. Respectful difference and disagreement were the fuel and fire James used to advance personally and professionally—to be educated. His undergrad experience was exciting and addictive, prompting him to enter a Ph.D. program at Princeton, studying African-American religions

embracing difference in Southern cities. In the throes of his research, James taught at a learning center to make ends meet. Here, he heard his calling. He decided to leave the Ph.D. program and dedicate his life to teaching and learning. As with his own educational journey, James believes that being challenged in one’s views and beliefs serves an important purpose in the process of becoming a good citizen and lifelong learner. He explains to his students, at the start of each year, that “no one comes in as a good student or a bad student. No one is bad at anything. It’s not about competing—it’s about working together to learn. From this position, kids will take intellectual risks. And, there are no stupid questions; only the ones that go unasked.” Effectively,

James Young, WA Freshman Survey, World Religion, and Social Justice Teacher

James harnesses the diverse make-up of his classes. James notices that for many freshmen, WA is a completely new experience, academically and socially. “In the past, students might have been pigeon-holed as being advanced or struggling.” James and his colleagues believe that all kids can achieve. “It’s a kind of faith, which keeps me coming to school each day,” he declares.


all voices

are heard

Podcasts keep me thinking during the drive to and from WA each day. Recently I listened to “Transparency” from the

TED Radio Hour. The presenter, Ray Dalio, CEO of Bridgewater Investments, believes in a managerial approach called “radical transparency” through which all employees in his firm can openly comment on any co-worker’s performance, even on his own. “I think that one of the greatest tragedies of man is that people have opinions in their heads that they act on that are wrong. How do you know that wrong person isn’t you? So, if we put it out there and we have a thoughtful disagreement process, aren’t we going to be better off?” Dalio posits. Dalio advocates for and harnesses the power of different perspectives in order to form new and productive insights. In like fashion, Worcester Academy seeks to harness the power of everyone’s stories and differences through thoughtful

disagreement. Our aim is to build empathy for others, embrace respectful disagreement, and bridge distances. Take Barbara Ahalt, our associate head of school and veteran WA teacher, administrator, and parent of two WA grads. Barbara oversees various offices, personnel, and committees that work to guarantee excellence in teaching and learning. She insists on “a model of leadership where all voices are valued and heard, and no one is privileged over another by virtue of a title.” Barbara believes that the invitation and acceptance of many voices is a fundamental part of a rigorous, 21st century education. The Academy owes this radically wonderful educational ideal to each of our students—and we are all much better off for it. In reflecting on the unique, real-world character of the Worcester Academy experience, I am reminded of the WA hashtag—#WAdifference—that I see on social media. This tag promotes awareness of the strides we Hilltoppers have made through our classroom lessons, process, and leadership initiatives. #WAdifference speaks to the promise we see in embracing differences in all its forms.

Worcester Academy seeks to harness the power of everyone’s stories and differences through thoughtful disagreement. Our aim is to build empathy for others, embrace respectful disagreement, and bridge distances. Worcester Academy



James J. Pietro ’81 a life rooted to the Hilltop by family legacy, children, love of place by Caroline Reich

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James J. Pietro ’81



he Pietro Family tree has strong roots and many, many branches weaving their way across generations and sprouting new shoots. John J. Pietro Jr. ’48 was the seedling for this now mighty tree, graduating, spending time as a legendary teacher/ coach and then serving for eight years as a member of the Academy’s Board of Trustees. He sent his three sons, David ’73, Paul ’75, and James “Jim” ’81 to the Hilltop. Jim and his wife, Terrie Hanna, continue the family tradition by enrolling their three children—Danielle ’11, John ’14, and Nicole ’19. Paul’s children, John J. ’18 and Keri ’20, join their cousin Nicole on campus today. The Pietro family, including David, Paul, Jim, and their mother, Alice Pietro Hammond, banded together to establish the John J. Pietro Jr. Scholarship in 2004 and have been adding to the fund since then. The Pietros have all been loyal Annual Fund donors and have supported many school initiatives through the years. Jim’s passion for the school, driven by his own formative student experiences, his family’s legacy and involvement over the decades, and perhaps most important, his own children’s experiences, drew him to volunteer leadership roles over the past 22-plus years. He served as co-chair of WA’s Honor the Legacy-Achieve the Vision capital campaign in the late-1990s early2000s when Rader Hall was completed. Jim was asked to join the board of trustees in 1996, serving as its president from 2004–2011. His leadership of the Academy spanned a very exciting, productive period in the life of the Academy, including the successful launch and completion of the largest capital campaign in the school’s history. OnWArd: The Campaign for Worcester Academy raised $52.2 million toward the acquisition of the former St. Vincent’s Hospital property (now known as South Campus), the renovation of Kinsgley Labs, and substantial work to Daniels and the school’s technology infrastructure, as well as endowment growth.

Leadership— A Natural Response to Love of Academy After turning over the board presidency to colleague Henry Dormitzer ’88 in 2011, Jim was reappointed to the role of president in the fall of 2017. “I love this school, the people, and the students, so I offered to come back to the role of president. It seemed to me that the school was coming to a point where my skillset could be used well in the role,” Jim explains. Jim believes that the Academy community is quite fortunate to have many capable people on its Board of Trustees, all of whom embrace the idea that success comes from a true team effort. Over his 22-plus years of board experience, Jim has served in a variety of roles from the Advancement, Finance, and School Head Search committees, to being board VP. “I’ve certainly learned from those roles and from each of my board colleagues. I also believe all organizations need leadership change to remain dynamic, moving forward, and responsive to myriad external factors,” he says.

What’s Most Rewarding about Board Work? “It’s the work!” exclaims Jim with a chuckle. He loves working closely with the head of school, achieving the right balance between support and oversight; and assuring transparent, open dialogue with all constituencies of the school. This is especially important during the strategic planning process, says Jim, who has helped steward WA’s previous two strategic plans and who is in the early stages of engaging the various constituencies for the next strategic planning process. “I love the work of engaging

the board members, all of whom come to the table from all over the globe, with amazing skills and passion, in meaningful, purposeful work. Our job as a governing body is to provide oversight and input—but not to dictate policy—to inform the direction of the school over the long-term,” he explains. Jim is also drawn to the constant challenge of letting all the pieces of a project or plan fall together, and to listening to the diverse constituencies to see how differing views can be connected to form consensus. “The Academy has always felt like home to me. My service, and my role as a parent have naturally drawn me to deeper involvement here. It has truly been my privilege to serve this community.”

Next Up: New Strategic and Master Plan; Engaging Support One can feel Jim Pietro’s excitement for the next huge initiatives the board has set forth. First up is a new strategic plan that will direct the life of the school for the next 3–5 years. Committees are being formed to seek input and direction for five initiatives: academic experience, campus culture, urban initiatives, organizational alignment, and advancement. “The board’s role is to assure that the many voices of the school community, from students and faculty, to parents and

alumni, are invited to participate and that these voices are synthesized in to a cohesive, exciting plan.” Next, Jim and his team will tackle formulating a new master plan that will set priorities for the Academy’s physical plant, stretching from near-term needs to many years out. “We have a beautiful historic campus that needs thoughtful care and attention, as well as the South Campus, which has plenty of room and possibility for our best work in imagining our future as a vibrant institution that serves the needs of the next generations of students,” he states. School leadership will tap the resources and thinking of the many stakeholders—faculty, staff, students, and alumni—in the master planning process. To make these new strategic and master plans happen, Jim and the board, with leadership from the Development Office headed by Kim Stone, are laying the groundwork for a new capital campaign. “We are seeking the ideas and foundational financial commitments of WA’s alumni, partner foundations, and parents of current and former students. We are fortunate to have many creative, loyal, and generous donor-partners in our school community whom we hope to engage in the next exciting phase of transformation on our Hilltop,” the new Board President explains. Worcester Academy is grateful for Jim’s energy and leadership, rooted and inspired by that strong Pietro family tree, to lead us forward!

“I love the work of engaging the board members, all of whom come to the table from all over the globe, with amazing skills and passion, in meaningful, purposeful work. Our job as a governing body is to provide oversight and input—but not to dictate policy—to inform the direction of the school over the long-term.” —James “Jim” Pietro ’81, President, Board of Trustees

Worcester Academy



Caitlin McCarthy ’88

for an English teacher, a writer’s life by Caroline Reich

14 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

Caitlin McCarthy ’88


sk any professional writer and he or she will tell you that one must be disciplined and willing to sacrifice for one’s craft. Ask any teacher, and they will tell you the same thing. Caitlin McCarthy ’88 is doing both and has perfected the balancing act of doing both well. Her inspiration for pursuing dual passions began on the Hilltop, for it was as a WA student that she first felt the pull of two loves. “I pursued the arts back in high school, and I threw myself into writing for the Vigornia and Lance while doing everything I could in the drama program. I loved acting but also wanted to find my voice as a writer. It was my English teacher, Michael Stubljar, who told me I could do both. He pulled out the writer in me and 30 years later, I still count him as my dear and valued mentor,” Caitlin explains. After graduating from the Academy, she followed her sister, Erin McCarthy Shields ’84, to Regis College, where she focused on her writing, earning a B.A. in English with departmental honors and graduating cum laude. Caitlin made the short hop to Boston’s Emerson College where she earned an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. “I thought I was going to be a novelist—in particular, a young adult fiction writer,” she says. She also had to support herself and took a job as a marketing & communications specialist at the MIT Enterprise Forum. It was then on to a couple of high-tech PR firms, including one in the Pacific Northwest. “But I was getting further and further into a PR career and further and further away from my writing. I came to a point where I had to decide which path to pursue.”

fast-track to teaching program called MINT, the Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers. While doing her student teaching at Brockton High School, she fortuitously met a teacher whose cousin was Oscar-nominated director Matia Karrell (Cadillac Dreams). Upon learning that Caitlin was a writer, that teacher offered to connect the two, and in short order, Caitlin sent off her novel, Cape Cod Lite to be read by the director. A meeting in Boston between the two led to Karrell optioning the novel. She asked Caitlin to do a draft of the screenplay. Caitlin had never written one, but immediately said “of course”—then ran out to the bookstore to buy The Screenwriter’s Bible and How Not to Write a Screenplay. An admittedly bad first draft led to more drafts, a close mentoring relationship with Karrell, and a new passion for Caitlin. “Screenplays were a very different form of writing from the novels, poetry, and short stories I’d been doing. Screenplays are all about action and dialog. You have to set the inciting incidents, establish emotional connections between characters, and build a precise action storyline,” she explains. “And you have to know you are going to be awful at first with screenwriting,” she says with a chuckle. Caitlin secured a position at Worcester Technical High School in 2004, teaching English Language Arts. Over the years, she’s helped many budding writers and artists in her classes publish their work. In recognition for her hard work and impact on her students, she was named a Red Sox Most Valuable Educator last year.

A New Path

Caitlin encourages her students to take risks and be disciplined in their writing and sets an example by doing just that. By setting her alarm for 3 a.m. most days, she is able to work on her writing before heading to school. “Every day I do something to advance my writing,”

Caitlin’s mother, a teacher, suggested returning to Massachusetts and pursuing a teaching career, a field more conducive to a part-time writing life. She came back home and became part of a

Setting an Example

Caitlin McCarthy’s writing has won or received nominations at more than 60 international competitions. One of her television scripts, Free Skate, a sports comedy-drama about the world of competitive ice skating, was named one of the “Top 100 Pilots of 2016.” she says, “whether it is participating in an online screenwriter’s forum, editing my work, or submitting a screenplay for a competition.” Her writing has won or received nominations at more than 60 international competitions, including the prestigious Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. She is represented by Barry Krost, a well-known literary manager and producer. One of Caitlin’s television scripts, Free Skate, a sports comedy-drama about the world of competitive ice skating, was named one of the “Top 100 Pilots of 2016” by The Tracking Board, and “One to Watch” by the 2016 WriteHer List.

school life from the vantage point of the teacher’s lounge.” Caitlin said that every day in class she’s “marinating” in her students’ film and television interests, and this was something she could really dig into as a writer. Screenwriters have to be collaborative in their approach to projects, she says. And, it was a double pleasure to collaborate with a fellow WA graduate. Their pilot teleplay for Pass/ Fail was a finalist in the Universal Cable Productions Pitch Fest and in the New York Television Festival’s “Voice and Vision: The NBC Drama Challenge.”

The Perils A Collaboration and and Pleasures the Process a Hilltop Connection of Caitlin often tells her students that Recently, Caitlin partnered with WA alumnus and award-winning journalist/ documentary producer Jim Forbes ’73 on a one-hour drama, Pass/Fail, about public school education today from the perspective of a teacher. Just as she encourages her students to take risks and put their work out there, Caitlin introduced herself to Jim through the WA alumni website. They eventually met in L.A. to talk about ideas for a collaboration. “Jim thought my backstory as a teacher/screenwriter would be a great idea for a reality television show. I said no to that idea, not wanting to open myself and my family up to the intrusive nature of that kind of show. But I pitched writing a television pilot together that would take a gritty look at public high

while taking risks can lead to rejection, this is a part of life, and especially so for writers. She knows that projects can take years to be “greenlighted,” and that discipline and persistence are paramount skills for a writer to develop, along with perfect prose and creative ideas. In a Hollywood-centered professional world where just 12 percent of screenplays for movies are written by women, and notoriously difficult for outsiders to penetrate, Caitlin takes pleasure in the constant pursuit of that big success around the corner, in the delight of putting vision to paper. At any given time, she has four or five ideas on her whiteboard at home. So, she writes. And she teaches. Worcester Academy



Dr. Marla Abodeely ’90 helps crack genetic code by Neil Isakson

16 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

Sebastian Janicki/


Dr. Marla Abodeely ’90


hen Dr. Marla Abodeely ’90 was studying science at Worcester Academy in the late-1980s, one lesson in particular stuck with her. It was a science unit on parasites— those organisms that derive nutrients by living on or in host organisms. Dr. Abodeely, now a lead scientist for a pharmaceutical company, recalls being absolutely captivated, and sharing her excitement with her WA classmates. Now, at most high schools, that would be enough to find yourself relegated to a lunch table all by yourself. Not at Worcester Academy, says Dr. Abodeely. “I was a total nerd, coke glasses and all,” says Dr. Abodeely, a member of one of WA’s largest legacy families. “But at Worcester Academy, it was ok to be a nerd. You could even be popular.” Fast-forward nearly three decades and Dr. Abodeely is still enthralled by the intersection of science and the natural world, a passion and avocation that she says got its start at Worcester Academy. She has had an outstanding career as a biologist and scientist that recently brought her unexpected recognition of the highest order. Dr. Michael Young, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine, cited Dr. Abodeely’s work as integral to his own in cracking the code of circadian rhythm— that daily cycle that regulates all living things. The Rockefeller University professor received the Nobel Prize in October in conjunction with two other scientists, doctors Jeffrey Hall and Michael Rosbash. “I was so happy for Michael Young,” Dr. Abodeely says, upon having heard the news.

Studying Drosophila Melanogaster

Dr. Abodeely earned a place in Dr. Young’s lab at Rockefeller University shortly after she graduated from Columbia University with a degree in

“Worcester Academy was just the perfect fit for me—the size, the diversity, the great teachers. I was so well prepared for life after WA.” —Dr. Marla Abodeely, Scientist

biology. There, as part of Dr. Young’s team, she studied fruit flies, specifically, Drosophila melanogaster, one of the lowliest of earthly creatures, but one whose genetic simplicity would help unravel the mystery of sleep and wakefulness. In fact, Drosophila and people are surprisingly alike, for example, approximately 70 percent of known human diseases have a correlating Drosophila gene. The drosophila melanogaster has only four chromosomes, making it a perfect genetic model, so studying its DNA made sense, even as it satisfied her scientific curiosity about and love for genetics. According to Dr. Abodeely, she and a graduate student in Dr. Young’s lab spent their days studying the sleepwake cycle of Drosophila, which normally has a period matching the 24-hour day. In one case, however, they discovered a fly that had an 18-hour day. Its total lifespan was the same as its more ordinary counterpart, but it had more days in its lifespan. That’s when the lightbulb went off. It was a gene mutation, she says. “I was so fascinated by circadian behavior, the fact that genes could influence behavior,” says Dr. Abodeely. “It was this awesome puzzle, and we were discovering and putting together the pieces for why there is a 24-hour day and furthermore how human and plants biological rhythms are synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions, an incredible demonstration of evolution.” Eager to “get closer to the source of the behavior,” they romanced that fly to another

and propagated the gene mutation. Using phenotypic markers to illuminate proteins that change with the day-night cycle, they discovered which chromosome carried the gene coding for the protein and identified that new gene. The Nobel Prize committee cited the research as an integral step in identifying animals’ circadian clock, which earned Dr. Young his share in the Nobel Prize.

Motivated by Passion for Research

“It was so exciting,” Dr. Abodeely says, of having worked in the lab. “I remember it as a place where we were motivated by a sincere love for what we were doing. There was jazz music playing, and it was fun. “People sometimes think of labs as isolating with lots of infighting. It was nothing like that,” she says, happily. “His selection by the Nobel committee brought back many good memories of working in his lab. It was one of the greatest honors of my life and it helped lead to one of the great mysteries being solved.” Following her work with Dr. Young, Dr. Abodeely went on to study infectious diseases while completing doctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco, where she received her doctorate in biomedical sciences. Today, she is head of bioassay/immunoassay analytical method development for Shire Pharmaceuticals in Lexington, MA, which develops therapeutics for people

with rare diseases. In that role, she makes sure the drug being manufactured has the appropriate biological function for medical use.

Worcester Academy was a ‘Perfect Fit’

While a career in science has taken her across the country and back, Dr. Abodeely fondly recalls her time at Worcester Academy as a student. She is still in touch with all of her closest friends, such as Tanja Bernstein, Adam Koopersmith, Stacy Monahan, and Sarah Sullivan. “Worcester Academy was just the perfect fit for me—the size, the diversity, the great teachers,” Dr. Abodeely says. “The teachers inspired me and brought the real world to the fundamentals of learning. There was always good discussion and dialogue and healthy academic competition. I was so well prepared for life after WA.” In particular, she still remembers science teacher Dr. Linda Zaitlin, who taught biology. Dr. Zaitlin was “passionate about what she did” and knew how to link what she taught to the real world, Dr. Abodeely says. Then there was Caleb Woodhouse, who taught history and taught her how to write. “Worcester Academy fostered a love of learning,” she says. “That’s how you get down to the interesting and fundamental questions.” Dr. Abodeely lives in Belmont with her husband, Matthew Trammell, their 6-yearold daughter, and their 4-year-old son. Worcester Academy


Alumni News Déjeuner au Café Montparnasse

In February, P. Michael Reidy ’66 met Horton Kennedy ’48 for lunch at a French café near Horton’s apartment in London’s West End. The two traded stories of their careers and memories of Worcester Academy. The following is Michael’s account of the visit.

by P. Michael Reidy ’66


18 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

Horton Parmelee Kennedy Jr., who recently celebrated his 89th birthday, is among WA’s most international alumni, having spent most of his career in Europe. He joined the Academy in his senior year, coming from The Friends Academy on Long Island. He immediately established himself at WA, serving as class secretary, and as a member of the Hilltopper, the Commencement Committee, and soccer team. He remembers it as a very happy time and that he was well-prepared to take up his place at Duke University. Talking about the academy in the 1950s and 1960s, I noted that until the demolition of Davis Hall in 1962, the campus was unchanged since Horton graduated, so the school we remembered was essentially the same. In fact, at least one teacher would have seen both of us! Horton is amused by this thought and asks what the school is like today. I tell him about visiting the academy and being a member of the Board of Visitors. He is pleased to hear about the high level of colleges still attended by WA graduates, and while pleased with the international intake, thinks Americans should think more internationally. When Horton graduated from Duke in 1952, the Korean War was underway, and the draft in full operation. Horton was drafted into the Army, which, realizing he was half French, and spoke the

language like a native, posted him to serve with Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), which had just been activated by Eisenhower. It was then located at Fontainebleau, just outside Paris, later moving to Versailles, before relocating to its present location in Mons, Belgium. “This was the early stage of a NATO force,” Horton remembers. “It was good, safe duty—and I had a car and could drive to Paris to spend free weekends with my parents.” Following his discharge, Horton took a job with a bank in Dallas, which sent him to Geneva to sort out some business with another bank. Pleased with his performance on that assignment, the bank moved him to its London office and even arranged an apartment for him and his wife. “I’ve always worked for American companies,” Horton says. “They treated me well, and you knew what to expect.” Subsequent work took him to New York, Paris, Brussels, and back to London where his final job was as a director with insurance brokers Alexander and Alexander. He spent many years with Chase Manhattan Bank, and with J. P. Morgan, the bank his father had worked for in Paris from the 1920s. Horton spent much of his retirement years looking after his wife, who

alumni news

board of visitors developed Alzheimer’s disease at a relatively early age. He spent hours with her each day at the care facility for more than a decade. The hospital had grown to know Horton and his management abilities, and following his wife’s death, he became a Carer Governor for Central and Northwest London NHS Foundation for many years. He also served as a volunteer on the boards of the Kensington Association, a housing association and the board that makes senior police appointments. Horton’s father was WA Class of 1913, and captain of the track team. Horton senior hailed from Anaconda, MT. From WA, he went to Dartmouth, and after graduation, volunteered to be an ambulance driver in France during World War I. It was there that he met his wife. Horton Junior was born in Colombes, to the northwest of Paris, so he has dual U.S. and French citizenship, which enabled him to work in both the U.S. and Europe. His parents later moved to a street bordering the Bois de Boulogne, on the western edge of Paris. Horton kept this flat until recently and divided his time between London and Paris. Throughout lunch, Horton speaks to the waiters in French, commenting on the food, and joking with them. From previous lunches with him, I know he is well- and affectionately-known by servers in restaurants and cafés around his neighborhood who admire his easy, friendly manner, good treatment of them, and his always impeccable appearance—always a suit, well-pressed shirt, and tie. “Life is worth the effort,” Horton concludes. Horton is a member of Worcester Academy’s 1834 Society and has included WA in his estate plans.

The Worcester Academy Board of Visitors heard from local business, civic, and educational leaders on Nov. 3 about the role of the city of Worcester as an important part of the WA learning experience.

According to alumni parent Dina Nichols P’13,’15, just following the annual meeting, “I’m so proud to be associated with this impressive school that successfully blends the respect for tradition with the openness to a changing world, and preparing our kids for it.” Thanks everyone for helping to shape the future at Worcester Academy!

BoVs taking a tour of campus.

Dr. Luis G. Pedraja P’22, president of Quinsigamond Community College, and Ron Cino, head of school at Worcester Academy. Dr. Pedraja was one of the keynote speakers during the meeting.

scan for more photos from the board of visitors event Worcester Academy


events close to home Night ’17

Thanksgiving Eve Alumni Event The annual Thanksgiving Eve alumni gathering was held on Nov. 22 at Nonna’s restaurant inside the Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center, home to WA hockey.

A festive Night ’17 celebration for the Class of 2017 was held at the College of the Holy Cross on May 31. The evening included dinner and dancing, a photo booth, and a chance to add items to a time capsule to be opened at the class’s 10th Reunion.

Members of the Class of 2017 signed their banner.

Bob Clemence ’78, P’07,’09,’12, Bill Littleton ’73, P’06, and Jesse Ritz ’69, P’01,’02,’10.

Maxwell Ojerholm, Tom McDermott, Anna Barry, Sewon Park, and Matthew Adiletta.

Peter Dykeman-Bermingham ’14, Alex Sanchez ’04, and Kofi Abankroh ’13.

Rachel Chan, Haein Lee, Maya Yoshikawa, and Tiffany Nguyen. 20 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

Ivan Sebuufu-Bazitya, Shane Ebanks, Abby Flaherty.

Courtney Rose Dykeman-Bermingham ’12, Elizabeth Tripp ’07, and Emily Isakson ’15 enjoyed connecting at the Thanksgiving Eve event and discussing Mount Holyoke College MHC, where all attended. Courtney and Elizabeth are MHC alumni, while Emily is in her junior year.

alumni news

New York City NYC alumni and parents gathered at the New York Athletic Club on Jan. 31 for a reception sponsored by current parents Sean and Kate McShea P’19,’22.

Head of School Ron Cino, Valerie Browning ’99, and Zach Davis ’98.

Mark ​Stefaniak ’13 and NYAC reception host Sean McShea P’19,’22.

Bob ’69 and Miriam Dorfman.

Esther Mann ’09, Chelsea Graves ’09, Ben Goodman ’09, and Robert Kettlewell ’08.

Washington, DC DC alumni and parents gathered at the The Army and Navy Club on Feb. 7 for a reception hosted by Charles J. O’Connor III, USAF (retired), Class of 1973​.​

On our own, we are WA proud. Together we are WA NATION! You’ve been with Worcester Academy since the beginning and you’re there to cheer us over the finish line. You’ve got heart, and we can count on you to stand with us all year long. Together, we are Worcester Academy super fans, and together, we make a difference on the Hilltop!

INTRODUCING OUR LOYALTY GIFT CLUB! By renewing a gift—or by making one for the first time today & another one next year—you join WA NATION—those true believers who fly the school’s colors every day. Club benefits include special recognitions, and unique access and offers.

Aglaia Ovtchinnikova ’09, Zachary McNamara ’09, and Catrina Doxsee ’09.

Ron Cino with Andrew Athy SC ’61-’62

Frank Callahan ’71, Jay Horan ’72, and Phil Meany ’72.

Your giving helps deliver a world class education to WA students. Without it, they would not be who they are—or who they are becoming—honorable persons of strong and resourceful character. They have YOU to thank for that, and we hope we can count on you to champion them again this year. Without you, we cannot continue to offer what is simply the best independent school experience anywhere. Together we are WA NATION! Join us by making your gift to the Worcester Academy Annual Fund today!

Worcester Academy




Chineme Amechi ’18 sees life’s possibilities by Caroline Reich

Senior Chineme Amechi’s journey to the Hilltop has always been guided by her personal goal of being and doing the very best she is capable of. Since arriving at WA, however, she has been

patterned on the rigid British tracking system. I had wanted to be a physician, so my classes there were almost exclusively science and math. Coming to Worcester Academy as a junior, I strug-

classes. Having gender-mixed and extraordinarily diverse classes, where class participation is part of one’s success in class, also has opened her mind to many new perspectives.

“At WA, my teachers have become much more than just instructors. They are so much more than, ‘here are the facts.’ They’ve become true partners in my intellectual and personal development.” —Chineme Amechi ’18, Head Monitor

inspired to expand that goal to “not only strive to do my own best, but to help others achieve their very best, as well.” At the academy, in her own classwork, and in her extracurricular pursuits, Chineme has found mentors and opportunities to develop her interpersonal and leadership skills, while encouraging the same in her peers.

ADJUSTING TO WA’S ACADEMIC CHALLENGE Born in Atlanta, GA, Chineme moved with her parents back to their native Lagos, Nigeria, when she was eight. She attended a private elementary school and enrolled in an all-girls Catholic school as a ninth grader. “This school was 100 percent Nigerian girls with no real diversity, and was 22 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

gled academically at first because here the education is more well-rounded, with many requirements and choices in history, government, English, and world languages,” Chineme explains. The desire to do her best with these new challenges and subjects prompted Chineme to dig in and spend a lot of time at the library. “I had to develop a strategy of using my free periods to best advantage, to manage my free time, and to utilize study halls,” she explains. She always wanted straight A’s and, upon arriving at WA, she made it her goal to be on the Headmaster’s List—a goal she has met every term. Chineme also had to find her voice in classroom discussions (not common in her previous schools), becoming a strong contributor in history, government, and literature

TEACHERS ARE PARTNERS IN INTELLECTUAL, PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT “At WA, my teachers have become much more than just instructors. They are so much more than, ‘here are the facts.’ They’ve become true partners in my intellectual and personal development. For example, Mr. Charles Glassmire, my chemistry teacher, is so much more than just a teacher. When I walked into his classroom on the first day, he asked me if I preferred Chineme, calling me by my full name from that day on and telling me that if I loved chemistry, the grades wouldn’t really matter. That he was going to be important in my life. He gives me wise advice and often says I’ll be president of Nigeria some day!” She has also forged strong bonds with

Director of Equity and Inclusion Johára Tucker, Advisor Yuming Lu (“always so kind and acknowledges my accomplishments”), and WA Physical Education teacher Jamie Sullivan, who she says is like a father to her.

IMMERSION IN EXTRACURRICULARS CURES SHYNESS, HOMESICKNESS And then there were all the new extracurricular activities she wanted to try! At her Nigerian school, there were very few activities outside of class. “I was a bit overwhelmed and homesick at first, being one of the few new juniors in the class, but I just decided to put myself out there and get involved, she says. In short order, she joined and became a leader of Amnesty International, became an Admissions Ambassador, joined the JV Girls Basketball Team, and managed the JV Volleyball Team and Varsity Boys Tennis Team. This year, she founded the Black Student Union and was elected as Head of the Board of Monitors—the first African girl in Academy history to hold that position. “I had been a very shy person prior to coming to WA, and I found that being involved in activities outside of class and becoming involved in equity and inclusion causes here have opened up my world so much and helped me to

on the hilltop

see many more possibilities for myself,” She explains. Studying more broadly about the world, being in this very unique, open, and diverse WA school community, and being given the chance to take part in many school trips—to the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE) Diversity Conference and WA Leadership Retreat, to name a couple—have broadened this intellectually curious, energetic young lady’s horizons—and her spirit has enriched those faculty and students who have had the privilege to work with and be around her.

“...being involved in activities outside of class and becoming involved in equity and inclusion causes [at WA] have opened up my world so much and helped me to see many more possibilities for myself.” —Chineme

SETTING FOR SUCCESS As Chineme heads off to Davidson College, where she was accepted Early Decision, she will deeply miss the Hilltop’s supportive community, including her many close friendships with classmates, dormmates, and so many others on her journey. Worcester Academy



‘in sync’ with her students by Caroline Reich

“Listening and truly hearing my students is the key—I hear about their dreams, their hopes, their stresses. I want students to know that I believe in their dreams and that I care about their learning.” —Dr. Gladys Vasquez, WA Spanish Teacher

Spanish teacher Dr. Gladys Vasquez knew after her interview day that Worcester Academy would be a great fit for her. Candidates for teaching positions are asked to teach a “sample class” during that day, and Dr. Vasquez felt a real connection with the students that has 24 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

continued during her two years on the Hilltop. “I immediately felt that the students were fully engaged, were in sync with my lesson, and genuinely wanted to learn,” she remembers. She also felt that in teaching at the secondary school level, in a community that fosters close

relationships between teachers and students, she’d have rich opportunities to impact her students both in and outside of the classroom. This sense of being tuned in to her students and their learning process has already born fruit, as Dr. Vasquez

was selected as the 2017 recipient of the Michael Tien ’68 Student Impact Award—nominated by one of her students and selected by the head of school. The Tien Award was established in appreciation for Michael Tien’s personal experience at Worcester Academy and

on the hilltop recognizes teachers, coaches, or other adult mentors who make a personal impact on and have a lasting positive influence on the life of a student(s). “The best teachers are not necessarily the ones that impart knowledge but are those who effectively allow the student to bring out the best in themselves,” Tien stated when he established the cash award at the Academy.

BEING A PART OF ‘AHA’ MOMENTS Dr. Vasquez was pursuing her Ph.D. in Latin American Literature and Culture at UMASS-Amherst when she joined the WA faculty in fall 2016. She had recently completed both her B.A. and M.A. in Latin American Studies/Hispanic Studies at Brown University. While at Brown, a professor recommended her for a parttime teaching position at Rhode Island College. “I adored the relationships with my students and loved being part of their ‘aha” moments as they grasped material and put ideas together,” she explains. In the next few years she taught at UMASS, Trinity College, Bryant University, and the University of Rhode Island while working on her master’s and doctorate—teaching as often as she could. Then, she learned about opportunities for teaching at independent schools and found an open position at WA. “I immediately felt the strong sense of community at WA. This was very important to me because I believe that learning is best done in a community where it is everyone’s job—not just the teachers’—to help those who are struggling,” Dr. Vasquez explains. She is proud to have completed her doctorate in May 2017.

practice of speaking and engaging in conversational Spanish, not just drilling on grammar. “The reason I studied these subjects is so that I can be there to support them on their own paths to learning the material, and I want them to be able to talk about their feelings, themes in literature, and connections to culture—in Spanish.” Dr. Vasquez currently teaches AP Spanish Literature & Culture, Honors Spanish IV, Spanish IV/V, and Spanish

II. She incorporates a lot of partner and group work into her lesson planning, such as recording video reflections about their journeys as learners throughout the school year, interactive Hispanic heritage projects, and writing poetry in Spanish. “We all study the same things, but student artists, writers, athletes, and others can use those skills to make strong and unique connections to the material—and they can share these with

vocal students



This award-winning teacher’s classroom philosophy is that teaching should be student-centered and that class time should be maximized by the active

Worcester Academy vocal students provided musical enrichment programming for elementary and junior high school youngsters at nearby St. Stephen School recently. Here, the WA students sing a beautiful rendition of the negro spiritual, The Storm Is Passing Over.

their peers,” she explains. Many of her students will drop in after class or school just to chat, to practice their Spanish, and it is in those moments that Dr. Vasquez has some of her most powerful teaching moments. “Listening and truly hearing my students is the key—I hear about their dreams, their hopes, their stresses. I want students to know that I believe in their dreams and that I care about their learning.”

scan this page to play the video and listen to “The Storm Is Passing Over” Worcester Academy



a time to celebrate differences From Bollywood dancing, Carnaval Dominicanos, African drumming, and a keynote by activist Tiq Milan, to classes and workshops on Chinese calligraphy, privilege, and equity in education—Diversity Day 2018 had something for everyone to enjoy, learn, and ponder as WA celebrated difference at WA!

scan for more photos

26 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

on the hilltop SEVENTH GRADERS

analyze impact of commercialization Seventh graders analyzing both the U.S. Constitution and concepts related to equity and inclusion took a trip to Walmart and Target to analyze the impact of commercialization, and potential bias, in American box stories. The trip offered students a real-world opportunity to see if stores fostered the marginalization of some individuals, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Worcester Academy



Dee Rowe ’47 Honored with

Lifetime Achievement Award from Basketball Hall of Fame

28 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

Congratulations to Worcester Academy’s Donald “Dee’ Rowe ’47 on receiving the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. Dee, who was the Academy’s longtime winning basketball coach and athletic director prior to coaching at UConn, has positively impacted the lives of thousands of young people during the course of his life. We are so grateful for your friendship, and are proud of your unwavering support for WA over the years! We love you, Dee!

Breakfast • Lunch • Golf Carts • Prizes • Cocktail Reception & Dinner • Hole-in-One Prize • Not a golfer? Please join us for dinner.

June 18, 2018 scan this page to watch the video

Save the Date! Join alumni and friends of Worcester Academy as they “tee it up with Dee” to benefit the Rowe Family Scholarship Fund on Monday, June 18 at its new location RHODE ISLAND COUNTRY CLUB. This special endowed scholarship fund was established in 1998 by Worcester Academy alumni, colleagues, and friends of the Rowe family as a lasting tribute to Academy alumnus Donald E. “Dee” Rowe ’47 and his family. This fund awards scholarships annually to students of outstanding character who, in addition to participation in athletics, exhibit strong leadership both at school and in the community. Invitations will be mailed in April. For more information, call Ursula Arello at 508-459-6927, or email

WA athletics

scoreboard fall 2017 teams

ice hockey

boys varsity wins Holt Tournament

Congratulations to the 2018 Worcester Academy Boys Varsity Championship Hockey Team! Great win in the Holt Tournament over Pingree on home ice at Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center!




Varsity Boys Cross-Country



Varsity Girls Cross-Country



Varsity Field Hockey



1 2

Varsity Football



Junior Varsity Football



Varsity Boys Soccer: Class A Semifinalists




Junior Varsity Boys Soccer




Varsity Girls Soccer: Class A Quarterfinalists



3 1

Junior Varsity Girls Soccer



Varsity Volleyball



Junior Varsity Volleyball





WA middle school Middle School Field Hockey Middle School Football



Middle School Boys Soccer









winter 2017/2018 teams Varsity Girls Hockey


girls varsity wins Class AA Championship

Congratulation to the Worcester Academy Girls Varsity Basketball Team on its dramatic win over Tabor Academy 59–54 in the NEPSAC Class AA Girls Basketball Championship game! The victory, which capped a storybook season (22–1), was the first AA Girls Basketball Championship in Academy history. «We could not be more proud of our team,” said Head Coach Sherry Levin.

Varsity Boys Hockey: Holt Conference Champions




Varsity Girls Basketball: NEPSAC Class AA Champions



1 2

Junior Varsity Girls Basketball



Varsity Boys Basketball



Varsity Boys 2 Basketball



Junior Varsity Boys Basketball




Freshman Basketball




Varsity Boys Swimming: 6th Place at NEPSACs




Varsity Girls Swimming: 5th Place at NEPSACs



Varsity Boys Skiing: Mt. Wachusett League, 5th overall; NEPSACs, Mt. Wachusett, 3rd Place Class C Varsity Girls Skiing: Mt. Wachusett League, 3rd overall; NEPSACs, Mt. Wachusett, 5th Place Class C

WA middle school Girls Basketball



Boys Basketball





3 Worcester Academy


An alumnus of the Class of 2011 at Worcester Academy, Michal went on to graduate from Georgetown University, where he oversaw $850,000 in studentmanaged endowment funds. Later, he landed a job as an investment banker in New York City. He now spends his days on Wall street navigating among the bulls and the bears, but he has not forgotten his time at WA. He says his thoughts often turn to WA faculty who made a difference in his life. English teacher Jack Haringa, whom he had as an eighth grader and as a senior, critiqued student writ-

club) and is a leadership level giver at Worcester Academy. Young Alumni from the classes of 2002 to 2017 give at the leadership level when making a gift of $100 or more to the Annual Fund (alumni who graduated more than 15 years ago are invited to join the leadership group by making a gift of $1,000 or more). Michal says he feels fortunate to be able to make gifts that impact others positively, especially in recognition of the transformative and unique nature of a Worcester Academy education. “The education and experiences I received at Worcester Academy have

“I credit Worcester Academy with helping me develop how I think, and I donate because I have seen the profound impact of a thoughtful and critical education and want to support it for future generations of students.” —Michal Grabias ’11, Investment Banker


prepared him for life by Neil Isakson

For Michal Grabias ’11, philanthropy is more than just about writing a check for a good cause. It’s a philosophy and way of life that serve to honor the people who made a difference for you and ensure that future generations also benefit. It’s the reason Michal donates to Worcester Academy and the reason he asks friends about donating to charities they hold dear. “I make a few large annual gifts, but 30 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

I also make smaller ones each month,” says Michal. “I will ask a friend for the name of a charity that he or she considers important—close to his or her heart—and I will make my donation for that month to that charity.” Michal’s hope is that he can expand his giving to a broader set of causes, ones that he may not be focused on naturally, while also having an opportunity to learn more about his friends’ concerns.

ing with the belief they could become better, Michal says. “He pushed you and encouraged you to grow with the expectation you would improve.” Kirk Upton taught AP U.S. History and made it interesting and relevant. “He was one of the reasons that history was my favorite subject,” Michal says, “and why I love non-fiction; his class sparked a deep interest in learning about the world around me.” Michal, who plays guitar, bass, drums, and piano was in the WA Jazz Combo, also had AP Music Theory with Instrumental Director Al Vaudreuil. He says he couldn’t imagine his WA days as a student not having participated in the music program. Indeed, Michal has directed much of his gift to the music program. Not surprisingly, Michal is a member of WA Nation (WA’s new donor loyalty

helped me feel prepared regardless of the situation I have found myself in—whether academic, professional, or personal,” Michal says. He notes that his education allowed him to feel comfortable and confident when facing the academic rigor at Georgetown University, as his teachers at WA had the same if not higher expectations of his work quality. “I credit the Academy with helping me develop how I think, and I donate because I have seen the profound impact of a thoughtful and critical education and want to support it for future generations of students.” Many thanks, Michal, for inspiring us to honor those who have made a difference in our lives and for making an impact that is tangible every day at Worcester Academy!

giving news MICHAEL TIEN ’68

endows fund for professional learning “What Worcester Academy gave me was opportunity—the opportunity to contribute, to see true passion in action, and the opportunity to reach what had previously exceeded my grasp. All this has been the guiding light in my career.” —Michael Tien ’68

by Neil Isakson

Michael Tien entered Worcester Academy in 1967 during turbulent times in his home country. The Cultural Revolution in China had swept into Hong Kong and riots were becoming increasingly intense. One day, his mother walked into his room and said, “Son, we’re sending you away in two weeks.” Off to WA he went, “a scrawny, timidlooking boy with thick-rimmed glasses and bad hair,” he would later say—and not the best of students. By the time he graduated in 1968, he was celebrating academic success he had never imagined with plans to study at some of the world’s best colleges and universities. “I entered Worcester Academy a very mediocre kid but graduated third in the class because Worcester Academy empowered me,” Mr. Tien says. “It gave me a great foundation to survive in Cornell, and later

on at Harvard Business School.” Today, he owns and operates hundreds of G2000 fashion retail store across Asia and the Middle East and is counted among the most influential politicians in Hong Kong and China. With numerous business affairs, enterprises, and interests, one would imagine he thinks of little else. The truth is, however, that his accomplishments often take him back to those formative years in 1967 and 1968.

HONORING FACULTY EXCELLENCE “Worcester Academy will always hold a special place in my heart because of its educational excellence, and its dedication to attending to each and every individual in need,” Mr. Tien says. “And this is not just in lip service, not just a generic school philosophy, but permeating across every teacher, which is the really incredible part.”

He vividly remembers physics teacher George Andes, math teacher Clarence Barthelman, chemistry teacher Irving Freeman, English teacher Gordon Ramsey, and his dorm master, Robert Macko. All had a meaningful impact on his time at Worcester Academy—and beyond. “To this day, I remember their names because not only were they strong in their subject areas but because their way of teaching was truly inspiring,” he says. “They gave new meaning to what it means to be a teacher. They took pains to meet you where you were, and they took care of every single person who needed help.” In recognition of those five teachers and of his Worcester Academy experience, Mr. Tien has been keen throughout his life to ensure that future generations of Worcester Academy students have the same transformative experience that he had. In 2013, he funded the Michael Tien ’68 Student Impact Award, which comes with a cash prize, to honor faculty members who have a deep lasting impact on students and the WA learning community. His aim was to inspire every faculty member to attain that same level of excellence.

teachers continuously evolve their practice to meet students’ needs, to engage them in the classroom, to help them to discover the best that is in them, and to equip them for the ever-changing world that awaits them in college and life.” To that end, the fund will support professional learning and growth by enabling Academy teachers to attend seminars, workshops and conferences. It also will enable WA to bring in speakers for the benefit of the entire faculty. “When I got to Worcester Academy, I had no idea how that single year would impact me for the rest of my life,” Mr. Tien says. “It gave me the opportunity to contribute, to see true passion in action, and the opportunity to reach what had previously exceeded my grasp. All this has been the guiding light in my career—from when I opened my first fashion retail store over 20 years ago to our 700-store presence throughout Asia today, the business has always been driven by a singleminded passion and the relentless pursuit of excellence —just like Macko, Ramsey, Andes, Barthelman, and Freeman.” Mr. Tien received Worcester Academy’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2008.


To make a gift to The Fund for Professional Learning and recognize WA faculty members who impacted your Academy experience positively, contact Worcester Academy Director of Development Kim Stone at or call 508-754-5302 x172.

As a continuation of his efforts to honor faculty and to ensure that WA teachers remain at the top of their game, Mr. Tien recently made a $100,000 gift to establish The Fund for Professional Learning. The Fund description states, “Great

Worcester Academy


parent sign-a-thon

Class of 2021 parents.

IN SUPPORT OF STUDENTS, SCHOOL COMMUNITY Worcester Academy parents gathered in the Megaron on Oct. 5 to kick off the Parent Annual Fund year. After enjoying dinner, parents, seated by grade level, signed letters encouraging

Class of 2019 parents.

participation in this year’s Annual Fund. All gifts to the 2017–2018 Annual Fund support our students and school community. Thank you to these amazing parent volunteers!

Class of 2020 parents.

Middle School parents.


184 years, 184 gifts The entire Worcester Academy community celebrated Founders Day, Feb. 28, by honoring the tradition and excellence that has made WA one of the best independent schools in the nation. Middle Schoolers cut a special cake and sang Happy Birthday in the Megaron while Upper Schoolers rang the bell in honor of all those whose support has meant so much to the Academy over the years. Additionally, our alumni, parents, grandparents, staff, students, and other 32 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

friends helped us meet the Hervey S. Ross ’46 Challenge—184 years, 184 gifts—a $25,000 challenge honoring 184 years of Hilltopper traditions. Because of you, the Old School Bell will continue to ring as true today as it did when first cast in 1834.


Steinway baby grand piano A reception and recital were held to recognize M Howard ’50 and Frances Jacobson for their gift of a Steinway Baby Grand Piano, now housed in Walker Gallery. The Jacobsons and others were treated to student piano solos, as well as a cappella and piano-accompanied vocal selections. Light refreshments were served. Many thanks, Howard and Frances!


Worcester Academy Annual Fund /

the joy of discovery

Through the innovations of dedicated teachers, we deliver on our mission to cultivate progressive, forward-thinking leaders with a global perspective. It is the Academy’s Annual Fund that lifts us from good to great. Help us by making your contribution to the Annual Fund today!

Worcester Academy


in 1958

John Winthrop in Morro Bay, CA, a few years back.

JOHN WINTHROP continues working as sales manager for ESPN 1280 and KKJL 1400/106.5 in San Luis Obispo, CA. He’s been broadcasting for 53 years, including having broadcasted for the Armed Forces Radio & Television Service, where he served in Eritrea from 1964–1966. Following his service, he entered the television and radio news business and ran newsrooms on both coasts, and places in between. He has lived in Cayucos, CA, for 30+ years and loves it there (he especially loves not having to shovel snow!). He invites his classmates to “tip a couple” if they ever find themselves in California, and, as always, “Achieve the Honorable.”



DR. HENRY EISENBERG was recently

JESSE RITZ recently started work-

appointed enterprise physician advisor for the Cleveland Clinic, where he works in the Medical Operations Department for administration of the main hospital and 10 regional hospitals. Prior to his work at the clinic, he worked as director of Health & Wellness Services at Cleveland State University (2007–2017) and was a colorectal surgeon in private practice for 30 years. He is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

ing as a business broker for George & Company in Worcester. He continues to do real estate but will now be focused on commercial real estate.

1970 PETER PORAS reached out to Alumni House for some WA swag to celebrate the 75th birthday of a fellow alumnus, NICK DREPANOS ’61. Four WA grads gathered at Nick’s house in New Seabury, MA, to celebrate! From left are Peter, TIM KANDIANIS ’63, Nick Drepanos ’61, and JON FURBUSH ’68.

1964 WALTER GOLDBERG (no longer a GEORGE SYKULSKI visited campus on Oct. 18. He is pictured with Jonathan Baker, the director of College Counseling at WA.

34 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018


“Wally”) holds a Ph.D. in marine science and was professor of biological sciences at Florida International University in Miami for 40 years until his retirement in 2012. Now as professor emeritus, he teaches a course in scientific writing, and he has just written a book to be published by Springer later this year on the history, culture, and fragility of the islands of the tropical Pacific. He lives in Stuart, FL, with his wife, Rosalie, an avid student of history. They have been married for 46 years and have two children and two grandchildren.

RICHARD FOX won the 2017 Frank O’Hara Prize for poetry. His third fulllength collection “You’re my favorite horse” and a chapbook, “The Complete Uncle Louie Poems,” were published in August. When not writing about rock ‘n’ roll or youthful transgressions, his poems focus on cancer, drawing on hope, humor, and unforeseen gifts. More information and a schedule of readings can be found at his website,

1988 Maria Joseph ’83 and her nephew Nick Barris ’16.

Congrats to MARIA JOSEPH on opening Joe’s Drive-In Restaurant on Main Street in Leicester. Maria was profiled in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette in August. She said she hopes the new restaurant exudes “a classic Americana vibe” and is a fun, happy spot.


Here’s a GREAT REASON to download the LAYAR app and see value added digital content— content you can’t experience otherwise!


alumni news

Congratulations to DR. MARLA ABODEELY for being cited as one of the scientists whose work in Michael Young’s lab was recognized for the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine! See the profile on Marla in this edition of the Hilltopper magazine!

listen to the vocalizations of Rebecca Padula ’88


1973 Environmental lawyer ROBERT D. COX JR. became managing partner at Bowditch & Dewey in Worcester this past November.

1983 WA alumna SANGEETA (PATEL) DOSHI ’84 was recently sworn in as Cherry Hill, NJ’s, newest city councilwoman. Sangeeta was elected in 2017 and is the first Indian American representative in Southern New Jersey! Sangeeta graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and then earned an MBA at Babson College. She resides in Cherry Hill with her husband, Nilesh, and three sons.

a Portland, Maine-based jewelry business, Illuminated Me. Sharon sources materials locally, designs and crafts each piece by hand, and says she is committed to hiring artisans who have arrived in Maine as immigrants or refugees. After studying filmmaking in college and pursuing a master’s degree in social work, Sharon began her business in 2016. Her products are sold in boutiques and online. Sharon specializes in chokers, necklaces, earrings, cuffs, and bracelets. See her website at


Americana roots singer and songwriter REBECCA PADULA practices in advance of a concert in Vermont recently. Rebecca, who has opened for LeAnn Rimes, among others, has her own long list of musical accomplishments. She describes her style as a “dark folk-rock espresso with a shot of bluegrass and a hint of jazz.” Take a listen and “dream a little dream!” Visit Rebecca’s website at

Worcester Academy



1993 JOHN RESNICK and his wife, Kerri,

Jane Kadis, mother of JENNIFER KADIS ’92 and MICHAEL KADIS ’95, is enjoying life with her grandchildren. She is pictured with Jennifer’s triplet daughters. She also submitted a photo of Jennifer’s 9-year-old son, Anderson.

JACQUELINE ABODEELY has started a photography business and recently launched a website Her work has been featured in Saratoga Springs, NY, and regional businesses on social media including 9 Miles East Farm, 2 West Bar and Grill, Saratoga Apple Orchard, Discover Saratoga, Saratoga Spa State Park, and Stratton Magazine. Recently, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center used her image for its virtual holiday card. She is currently in an advanced mentorship class with Martha’s Vineyard photographer Alison Shaw. Abodeely’s work will be featured in a show in Shaw’s gallery on the island in May 2018.

welcomed a baby boy on Sept. 3, 2017. Ryley Jack Resnick was 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and 19 inches tall. He’s looking forward to a trip to the Academy in the near future.


36 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018


checking alumni news in

BEN BERGENHOLTZ is principal owner of Harborside Holdings. His most recent project is a public-private partnership in which his company invests in mixed-use residential and commercial space for the town of Bristol, Rhodes Island’s historic waterfront properties. Ben is a historic preservation expert and real estate developer.


1998 behind the post RYO MOURI SHIBAHARA welcomed a baby boy named Motoya Mouri in 2016.

U.S. Army officer CAPT. MICHAEL CANTY ’99 spoke at the Veterans Day assembly at Worcester Academy on Nov. 8. He spoke on how WA’s Core Values—Honor, Respect, Community, Challenge, and Personal Growth—are very similar to the Army’s.

Worcester Academy



2002 STEPHEN DAIGLE is currently working as the assistant principal intern at Sacred Heart School in Florida. He will graduate in May with a master’s in education leadership from Stetson University.

JARRETT M. JACK is having an impressive comeback year after struggling with injuries for the past 2 seasons. He is back in New York City, signing with the New York Knicks at the start of the NBA season. He has been the starting point guard in almost every game so far and has had some of the best stats of his 13-year career.

Baritone PHILLIP KALMANOVITCH performed at St. Michael’s-on-theHeights Episcopal Church in Worcester in September as part of the church’s 75th anniversary celebration, which raised money for hurricane relief.

ANDREW NGAMSAPPASILP and SUNG HUH, old WA roommates, recently reconnected in Thailand.

behind the post This was Opening Night of the production of The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet that REBEKAH LACOSTE directed this past Fall. Her son, Angus, who was about 8 months old at the time, was wearing a wig that was worn in the show!

38 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018


checking alumni news in

RACHAEL MAGINESS and her husband, Sean, welcomed a daughter, Norah Audrey, on Nov. 17, 2017.

behind the post JESSICA TYBURSKY played the role of Widow Hanna in the Worcester Schubertiade production of “The Merry Widow” in September at the Baptist Church of Worcester. Jessica is an opera singer, performer, and voice teacher.

JABEZ DEWEY has been living in New York City since graduating from Colby College in 2007. He is working for the Deer Park real estate investment fund based in Steamboat, CO, and started its New York office. Jabez spends a lot of time on Block Island, RI, during summers and loves to surf and travel. This photo was taken in Kauai, HI, on the Napali Coast.

EUNG HYUN (HARRY) KIM put his entrepreneurial spirit to the test as he grew his company, ENDALGO, in 2017. The tech start-up was funded in late 2016 and relocated to San Francisco from Seoul. He spent 2017 growing the user base of the sports social media app, which has team and league management features enjoyed by a variety of adult amateur soccer leagues across the United States. The company just launched the 2.0 version of its service, which is significantly improved after partner leagues’ feedback. ENDALGO plans to expand to even more groups in 2018. LIZ (CUTTS) TYRRELL is on the marketing team at ENDALGO. Liz reports that “it’s been fun to work with Harry and reminisce about fun times at WA.”


KEITH STOCKS married Erica Manczuk on Nov. 4, 2017 in Boston. Keith’s sister

AMANDA (STOCKS) SULLIVAN ’06 and IAN CLARK were in the bridal party. Other WA alumni in attendance were


is a Biologist with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

Worcester Academy


Congratulations to DR. BRIAN NICHOLS on successfully defending his thesis, “Late Transition Metal Complexes with Ambiphillic Phosphinoborane Ligands: Synthesis, Characterization and Catalysis.” He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from West Virginia University.

Congrats to A.J. SCOLA and his wife, Eleanor, on the birth of their daughter, Camilla Catherine Scola, born Sept. 22, 2017. Prior to Camilla’s birth, Eleanor and several WA alumni and other friends gathered in Walker Gallery for a baby shower. Familiar faces included

ERICA (SCOLA) GENTILI ’08, SARAH (BARD) SULLIVAN ’81, and MICHELE (SCOLA) FOOTE, a former WA faculty member. The group of ladies had a wonderful time!

2007 2005 DR. MICHELLE BOLAND spoke to female athletes at Worcester Academy in October about nutrition and strength training. Michelle graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nutrition from Keene State in 2009, got her master of science degree in strength and conditioning at Keene in 2013, and received her Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Springfield College in 2016.

behind the post JOE KAPLAN married Audra Mikunas on July 29 at Nauticus Marina in Osterville, MA. Congrats!

behind the post Former WA soccer captain JONATHAN KAUFMAN, who played division 1 soccer at Fairfield University, is still cheering on his alma mater in NYC.

40 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018


checking alumni news in

PETER RAWINSKI relocated to New York City in Oct. 2017 and is with JP Morgan in the digital marketing division of the bank.

KATHLEEN KASPER married Peter Spadoni on Oct. 1, 2016 at College of the Holy Cross. Kathleen graduated from UMass Medical School with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree in June of 2017. Congratulations!

ELIZABETH TRIPP works as a Business Integration Manager at Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester. On her bucket list: see the Grand Canyon, go sky-diving, compete in a 3 foot, 6 inch Hunter Derby, and go to New Zealand and complete a triathlon. She recently celebrated her 10th Reunion at WA.

2009 AISLINN SHEA and STEPHEN WRIGHT married on Aug. 26 in New London, NH. Aislinn’s paternal grandfather, RICHARD SHEA ’47, was in attendance. Congrats to all!

Worcester Academy


get connected


Worcester Academy has a variety of social media channels to help you stay up to date with the latest news from the Hilltop. Whether you still live in the area and want to know about upcoming events, or you live overseas and want to see what is happening in our classrooms through videos, social media is our way of bringing the Hilltop to you.

BEN WARSHAW attended the WA Board of Visitors meeting on Nov. 3. Prior to the meeting, he was able to sit in on the Mandarin class of his former teacher, Yuming Lu. He also had a nice visit with his former advisor, Cathy Fox.

Here are just a few ways that you can stay connected: Become a fan of the Worcester Academy Facebook Page and the WA Alums Facebook Page. See posts about upcoming events and connect with the Worcester Academy Online Community. Visit Worcester Academy on Flickr to see the latest photos from games, performances, and school life. Watch videos of students, faculty, alumni, and parents experiencing a real-world education. Catch breaking news about events, lectures, and more when you follow @WorcesterAcdmy on Twitter.

Springfield native and former UMass fullback JOHN ROBINSONWOODGETT signed with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent on April 29.

CANAAN SEVERIN signed a contract with the New York Giants in January 2018.

2011 Congratulations to OLIVIA DELLOSTRITTO on graduating from

ATHENA CROWLEY recently graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in nursing. She will be going to Nashville, TN, for her first position at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

MCPHS with a master of physician assistant studies.

PETER HAGERMOSER reached out to WA’s Headmaster Emeritus Dexter Morse this fall. He has fond memories of Mr. Morse’s class, American Government, and is now an AP Government teacher himself! He teaches at Apex Friendship High School in North Carolina.

42 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018


Kevin O’Sullivan P’08,’12, TREVOR SULLIVAN, and Governor Charlie Baker at Petco Park in San Diego at the MassBio Reception in July.



checking alumni news in

2016 TURNER GEENTY was named to the


Liberty League’s Fall All-Academic teams list this past November for his participation in Football at Union College. In order to be recognized as a member of the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must be a sophomore or higher with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.30. Congratulations, Turner!

2017 First-year kicker KYLE HACKETT was named the Special Teams Performer of the Week from the Liberty League office at Hobart College last September for his role in a 34–17 win over Endicott.

TELL US WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU! To submit a class note, please send note and/or image to Alicia Figueiredo at Some tips for sending us digital photos that will look fantastic in print:

SARAH PADGETT enjoyed studying abroad in Valparaiso, Chile this fall to get a better grasp on the Spanish language and Chilean culture, especially the Chilean philosophy surrounding mathematics and science. Sarah is enjoying studying at Wesleyan University as a double major in Philosophy and Science in Society.

>> Set the photo size to 4 x 6 inches or larger, in 300 dpi >> Set your digital camera to the best photo setting >> Save files as JPG or TIF >> Identify everyone left to right in the photo and provide a caption

Worcester Academy


Hervey S. Ross ’46 REMEMBERED AS ‘TRUE FRIEND’ TO WORCESTER ACADEMY Hervey S. Ross, 88, a longtime Academy trustee, benefactor, and loyal friend of Worcester Academy, passed away peacefully on Jan. 26 in Atlanta, GA. A 1946 graduate of Worcester Academy, Mr. Ross was devoted to WA during his lifetime, and right up until the time of his death. Mr. Ross and his wife, Wanda Lee (Reid) Ross, who died in 2011, were an iconic couple in the Worcester Academy Community, and were active and involved throughout their lives. The couple attended many reunions, board meetings, and other signature events together over the years. A retired insurance executive, proponent of public speaking programs, and noted philanthropist, Mr. Ross was a lead donor to the Academy’s capital campaigns, as well as to its Annual Fund. He recently made a $25,000 challenge gift to encourage gift-giving to Worcester Academy on Founders Day, Feb. 28. Additionally, he was a founding member of the Academy’s 1834 Society, which recognizes those who include Worcester Academy in their wills. Mr. Ross was key to the restoration of WA’s magnificent Lewis J. Warner Theater, considered the jewel of all of Worcester Academy’s historic buildings. The theater’s Hervey S. Ross ’46 Auditorium is named in his honor. Worcester Academy students knew him best perhaps for his passionate support of WA’s Dexter Prize speaking contest, of which he participated during his own years at the Academy. James J. Pietro ’81, president of Worcester Academy’s Board of Trustees, recalled Mr. Ross warmly. “No one loved Worcester Academy more than Hervey,” Mr. Pietro said. “A trustee, benefactor, graduation speaker, and friend to many, Hervey always had

a positive comment or a joke to share. His passion for sales, cribbage, and public speaking are well known, and he often said that he found his voice and confidence at Worcester Academy, and he remained forever grateful to the school. He is now back with Wanda, the love of his life.”

LEGACY LIVES ON AT WA Ronald M. Cino, head of school, said Mr. Ross will be greatly missed, but that his legacy lives on. “Hervey’s loyalty to Worcester Academy was unwavering,” Mr. Cino said. “At each stage of his life, he modeled what it means to be a great alumnus, contributing to the Academy’s overall health as a persuasive ambassador, a generous benefactor, and an inspirational leader on the Worcester Academy Board of Trustees. “He conveyed his passions through great storytelling,” Mr. Cino added, “and few people captivated an audience like he could. Hervey’s legacy at WA lives in physical spaces like Warner Theater, in our understanding of WA’s traditions, and in student programming like his beloved Dexter Prize Speaking Competition. “We will never forget him,” Mr. Cino said.

A LONG LIFE LIVED WELL Following graduation from Worcester Academy in 1946, Mr. Ross enrolled in college at Clark University. In the summer of 1948, he joined a national traveling magazine subscription crew in order to raise money for his tuition. The company promoted him to team manager, which took him to every state in the country. In 1951, before he could return to college, Mr. Ross was drafted, serving in

post-World War II Germany. He later received an honorary doctorate—Doctor of Humane Letters—at Clark’s May 2007 commencement. After the army, Mr. Ross chose Florida and its beaches to help him transition to civilian life. He soon began his extensive and very successful sales career in the life insurance business. In 2002, Mr. Ross sold his company and retired, making Atlanta, GA, his primary residence. He remained active in his long career in philanthropy. He was a trustee of Worcester Academy for 38 years, financially reviving and sponsoring WA’s Dexter Prize speaking contest during the same period. He established the Hervey Ross Oratorical Contest at a Worcester public school to foster the art of public speaking and oratory. Mr. Ross himself was a long-time award-winning member of Toastmasters. A former president of the Ft. Lauderdale Symphony Society—where he raised the necessary funds for the First Free Children’s Concert—Mr. Ross was a former president of and Lt. Governor in the Civitan organization and recipient of its coveted Honor Key. He was active in the Boy Scouts, Sea Scouts, and the Broward County Cancer Society, and was a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Jaycees, which presented him with its distinguished service award. In 2001, he was the recipient of Allstate Financial’s coveted Life Achievement Award at its San Francisco Convention. Mr. Ross was a patron of 10 theaters, two in Canada, one in Ft. Lauderdale, and seven in Atlanta. In Atlanta, he was a trustee of his church and a member of two Toastmasters Clubs.

“Hervey’s loyalty to Worcester Academy was unwavering. At each stage of his life, he modeled what it means to be a great alumnus. We miss him already, but we will never forget him.” —Ronald M. Cino, Head of School

44 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

passings 1940 WALTER S. O’MALLEY died Oct. 9, 2017, in Notre Dame Long Term Care Center in Worcester. Walter was born and raised in Clinton, MA. In 1942, he enlisted with the U.S. Military, serving in the Navy, and later, the Army, during World War II, before being honorably discharged. For 38 years, Walter worked for Mass Electric as a head lineman. In addition, he served the town of Clinton in various capacities, notably as a member of the School Committee, the Water Commission, and the local draft board, during the height of the Vietnam War. He also served as state delegate for the Republican Committee. He was life member of St. John the Guardian of Our Lady Parish. He is survived by a daughter, son, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife of 58 years, Mary F. “Naya” (McNally) O’Malley.

1941 FRANKLIN SPENCER JUNE of Pacific Grove, CA, passed away on June 9, 2017 at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Frank was born in Worcester and graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was awarded a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He later completed studies at The School of Industrial Management at WPI. While attending WPI during World War II, he participated in the Naval Reserve V-12 program. Upon graduation from WPI and completion of the V-12 program, Frank was sent to Annapolis for officer training and was then assigned to duty on a destroyer escort. Upon return from the war, Frank joined Norton Company in Worcester, where he was employed for 45 years,

retiring in 1987. Frank was active in the Worcester community, serving on the board of trustees of Goddard Homestead. He was a longstanding member of All Saints, Tech Old Timers, and Tatnuck Country Club. Frank is survived by his wife, Caroline, his daughter, son, grandchildren, and nieces. He was predeceased by his father, Merrill S. June, WA Class of 1904, and his brother, Thomas M. June, WA Class of 1946.

1942 HENRY A. “HANK” GOVONI of Shrewsbury, MA, died peacefully Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Hank enlisted into the United States Navy where he served during World War II as a carrier pilot, being honorably discharged in 1946. After the war, he returned home to work full-time with the family company, Govoni Construction. He held many positions with the company and retired in 1992. Hank and his wife, Shirley, summered at their home in Falmouth and wintered in Naples, FL, for many years until Shirley’s passing in 2010. He was a faithful member of Saint Mary’s Parish in Shrewsbury. He leaves his two sons, seven grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, a brother, and several nieces and nephews.

Georgetown Law School. In 1952, he returned to Massachusetts and entered into the practice of law with his brother, John, forming the firm of McGuire & McGuire. He maintained his law practice developing a concentration in Workers’ Compensation Law and was appointed to be a Commissioner on the Massachusetts Industrial Accident Board in 1957 by Governor Foster Furcolo. In 1966, Joseph ran for lieutenant governor and won the Democratic nomination but lost the general election. He then returned to the practice of law and later served as the second assistant registrar of deeds in Worcester County from 1998 to 2003. He remained politically engaged throughout his career, serving as Sergeant-at-Arms at the 1960 Democratic National Convention that nominated John F. Kennedy, helping to manage Robert F. Kennedy’s Presidential Campaign in 1968, as well as the campaigns of Mayor Kevin H. White of Boston. He was a proud member of the Worcester City Democratic Committee from 1952 up until his passing. Joseph maintained a longtime affiliation with Georgetown University, and in 1982 he received the John Carroll Award, the

highest recognition that Georgetown affords an alumnus. He was predeceased by his brother, John K. McGuire, WA Class of 1942. He leaves his wife of 50 years, Sheila W. McGuire, a daughter, and granddaughter. He also leaves nieces and nephews, including WA alumni John K. McGuire Jr. ’72 of Shrewsbury and Joseph E. McGuire II ’74 of Manhattan, NY.

1945 THEODOR “TED” HERSCHEL FRIEDMAN died Nov. 3, 2017 at his home in Bondville, VT. He was born in New York City and graduated from Rutgers University in 1948. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers where he was a member of Tau Delta Phi fraternity and graduated from the Philadelphia Textile Institute in 1952. Ted was a restaurateur in New York City—part owner of Bill’s Gay Nineties and Charles French Restaurant— before his employment as a stockbroker at Oppenheimer & Co. After several years of living in Vermont as a weekender,

former faculty NICHOLAS S. CONSTANTINE, 93, passed away peacefully in his home on

1944 JOSEPH E. MCGUIRE of Worcester died suddenly at his home on Aug. 8, 2017. At the advent of World War II, he began military service as a midshipman at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and in 1945 earned both the Atlantic and Pacific Ribbons for wartime service. He earned degrees from Georgetown University and the

Oct. 16, 2017. His beloved wife of 66 years, Bertha M. (Beaudoin) Constantine, died May 15, 2016. He was born in Fabyan, CT, and attended Nichols College in Dudley, MA. Nick enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and was honorably discharged, receiving a Purple Heart. He was a member of the Oxford American Legion Post No. 58 for 62 years, and a member of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. Nick was a finance director for Worcester Academy, where he worked for 18 years before retiring in 1986. He recently visited Worcester Academy to attend the 2017 dedication of the John A. Bloom Conference Room. Nancy Bloom reflected on his impact to Worcester Academy stating that Nick was “accurate to every penny to ensure the school’s financial solvency.” Nick leaves behind a sister-in-law, nieces, and nephews.

Worcester Academy


he moved full-time to Bondville in the early-1970s where he served as a local and regional public official from 1985 until his retirement in 2000. During those years he served on the Winhall Board of Selectmen, board of listers, school board, zoning board, and the Winhall Planning Commission. In 1992, Ted ran for Vermont State Senate, and at his retirement in 2000 was given several awards from state and local legislators in appreciation for his outstanding accomplishments as a public official. He enjoyed skiing and golfing. Survivors include his brother, nieces and nephews. Ted was a member of Worcester Academy’s 1834 Society.

CHARLES D. JOHNSON died on April 5, 2016 in his home in Falmouth, MA, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He studied English and then medicine at Tufts University. He served as a Navy hospital corpsman in Korea, earning a Bronze Star. A psychiatrist, he had a private practice in Brookline before moving to the Veterans Administration facility in Boston. He leaves his wife, Joyce A. Johnson. Following the couple’s marriage in 1960, he and his wife spent a year sailing the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. After residing in Brookline, they moved to Falmouth in 1972. He retired in 1988. In addition to his wife, he leaves three sons, his grandchildren, sister, and extended family.

trustee HERVEY S. ROSS ’46, 88, a longtime Academy trustee, benefactor, and loyal friend of Worcester Academy, passed away peacefully on Jan. 26, 2018 in Atlanta, GA. A story on Mr. Ross’ passing can be found on page 44.

46 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018







Lexington, MA, died Aug. 24, 2017. He was born in Billerica and raised in Woburn. He graduated from Harvard College in 1952, and his field of concentration was in social relations. An honorably discharged veteran, Carroll served his country as a member of the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War. Carroll spent 46 years as broker for Mass Mutual Insurance Co., and salesman of Mutual Funds, earning the designations of Chartered Life Underwriter and Certified Financial Planner. Carroll enjoyed traveling with his wife, Kathleen “Scotty” Beach, and their friends. He enjoyed skiing, tennis, and golf. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his brother, daughters, sons, grandchildren, and great-granddaughter.

Monmouth Beach, NJ, died on Nov. 9, 2017. Bruce was born in Long Branch and was a lifelong resident of Monmouth Beach. Bruce attended Brown University. He was a Monmouth beach commissioner for 19 years and was a 54-year member of the Monmouth Beach Fire Department. He was also a longtime member of the Board of Education and the Recreation Department. Bruce was a supervisor at Kiely Construction for 42 years, retiring 20 years ago. Bruce was a parishioner of the Church of the Precious Blood. Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Rita Ferrugiaro Bradley, his sister, two sons, two daughters, 10 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.

Auburn, MA, passed away July 2, 2017. Joe was born in Worcester and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was the general manager at Bancroft Motors and Edward Buick and continued his career in the auto industry at Diamond Buick in Auburn to the end of his life. Joe worked out at the Worcester Athletic Club, was an avid golfer and jogger, and ran in the Boston Marathon at age 60. He is survived by his wife, Joann, his 11 children, his sister, and his many grandchildren. Joe also leaves his brother, Dick Morrissey ’53.

JOHN C. “JACK” MANOOG JR. of Cotuit, MA, passed away peacefully at Cape Cod Hospital on Aug. 10, 2017. Jack was born in Philadelphia and raised in Worcester. He attended Colby College on a football scholarship but was forced to transfer due to injury and later graduated from Clark University with a degree in business. In Jack’s early career, he worked in the corporate world and rose to the level of vice president of Independent Lock Corporation, an international lock and metal fabrication manufacturer. He later worked with his father, John C. Manoog Sr., in several different ventures, including Electro Specialties, television manufacturing, hair care products, vending machines, and several other businesses. In the early-1970s, Jack moved his family from Worcester to Cape Cod to pursue a career as a real estate developer. He later took his successful building experience and transitioned to the resort and construction finance business. Jack was the loving husband of his devoted wife, Jean, for 58 years, until her passing in 2008. He is survived by his three children, a sister, and two loving grandchildren.

POLIZOIS “PAUL” ECONOMOU of Worcester died peacefully and surrounded by his family on June 25, 2017. Paul was born in the Greek village of Douviani in Northern Epiros and immigrated to the United States with his family. He volunteered for service in the United States Army during the Korean War. He served in the 2nd Armored Division, known as “Hell on Wheels,” and was a proud United States veteran, speaking often of his time stationed in Europe. Paul worked in the electronics industry, and his experience included positions at the YMCA, Table Talk Pies, and Western Electric Company. He the co-owner of the Howard Johnson’s Restaurant in West Boylston, MA. He was an active member of Saint Spyridon Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Enosis Epirotic Society of Worcester, and AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association). Paul leaves behind his wife, Helen, two sons, and three grandchildren.

1953 COL. ROBERT K. SAMIA, U.S. Army Retired, of Worcester and Eleuthera, Bahamas, passed away on June 8, 2017. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in Mathematics from Norwich University Military College in Northfield, VT, in 1957. Robert was a career soldier, serving as an advisor in Vietnam. He served his nation with pride, spending the first ten years in the U.S. Army with the Corps of Engineers. One of his assignments was with the 82nd Airborne where he had 257 parachute jumps. Another highlight was a six-month tour of duty with the French Army 10th Regiment in Constantine, Algeria. Upon his return to the United States, he continued to serve in the U.S. Army National Guard and served as civil defense director for the city of Worcester. He was a member of Saint George Orthodox Cathedral and is survived by two daughters, five sons, a brother, Roger G. Samia ’57, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.


1956 DR. JOHN L. GARZIA of Foxboro, MA, and Vero Beach, FL, passed away on Aug. 9, 2017 doing what he loved—scuba diving. John was born in West Grove, PA. He graduated from Tufts University and Tufts Dental School. He practiced dentistry in Foxboro and Mansfield, MA, retiring in 2000. He was a member of the American Dental Association and a longtime member of the Old Colonial Amphibians, a diving club based in Attleboro. He leaves his wife, Roberta, daughters, and a grandson.

PATRICK W. PHAUP of Colchester, CT, passed away on Nov. 25, 2017 after a brief illness. He was born in Lynn, MA, and received a bachelor of science in education from Salem State College in Salem, MA, a master’s degree from the University of Hartford and a Sixth Year from Connecticut State Colleges & Universities. In addition, he received an associate of science from Middlesex Community College. He taught at Berlin High School (BHS) from 1960–1967 and 1970–1995. He was an assistant football coach at BHS and coached freshman basketball. Between 1967 and 1970, he taught at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston NH, and was head football coach. Pat is survived by his wife, Frances, a grandson, sister, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

DAVID RUBENSTEIN of Fairfield, CT, passed away peacefully on Feb. 6, 2017. David was born in Providence, RI. He is survived by his beloved wife, Susan Rubenstein, his devoted children, and his adored grandchildren.

1960 JOHN SCOTT SWINERTON of Rochester, MI, passed away on Oct. 4, 2017. Originally from Danvers, MA, John attended WA for four years. He matriculated to the Cornell

School of Restaurant Management, and later obtained an accounting degree. He pursued a career in engineering and sales, working many years for General Electric. John’s specialty was building axles for military vehicles. He leaves his wife, Nancy, his daughter, two sons, a sister, and cherished grandchildren. His late brother, Paul Swinerton ’62, also attended WA.

1961 JOHN B. “JACK” SALTER of Keene, CA, passed away on Oct. 14, 2017. Jack was born in Baltimore, MD, and attended Doane College in Crete, NE, graduating in 1965. After college, he answered his country’s call and enlisted into the U.S. Army. He graduated from Army Officer Candidate School in August of 1966. He served his country in Vietnam as a Green Beret, Airborne, Ranger, and First Lieutenant of his A-Team, from 1966 to 1968. Jack later began his manufacturing career at Sherwood Medical. He was quickly promoted and moved to Connecticut, to assume a managerial role. He and his brother created Salter Labs, prompting Jack and his family to move west. Jack continued to manage and oversee the manufacturing, production, and quality of Salter Labs products until his retirement. Jack was a strong supporter of the Bakersfield Art Museum, the Arvin Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity, American Cancer Society, and many Veteran Groups. He also remained supportive of Vietnamese students and immigrants here in the United States. A very devout and spiritual man, Jack was active and supportive in his parish, Trinity Anglican Church. Jack leaves behind his wife, Jan, a son, daughter, and grandchildren. He also leaves behind his stepchildren and extended family. In 2015, Jack generously named the Salter Conference Room in WA’s newly renovated Walker Hall in memory of his beloved father, George, a graduate of the Class of 1922.

1962 PAUL WENTWORTH SWINNERTON of Wenham, MA, died Sept. 22, 2016. Following graduation, Paul entered the General Electric Apprentice Program, and upon completion, he embarked on a 37-year career with General Electric as a planner in its Aircraft Division, where he was known for his dedication and hard work. A longtime resident of Danvers, MA, Paul was a member of the Amity Mosaic Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Danvers. In addition to his wife, Linda, he is survived by his daughters, a sister, and his grandchildren. His late brother, John Scott Swinerton ’60, also attended WA.


Stephen Knapp as he appeared on the cover of Worcester Academy’s Summer 2015 Hilltopper Magazine.

STEPHEN A. KNAPP, an American artist who created lightpaintings, died Nov. 24, 2017 at Rose Monahan Hospice Home in Worcester. Stephen was awarded Worcester Academy’s 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award and was featured in the Summer 2015 Hilltopper Magazine. Named a 2017 “Game Changer” by the Boston Globe, Stephen is best known for his lightpaintings, one of the first new art media of the 21st century. Using a technique that shines light through glass to create a painting on the wall, his lightpaintings are studies of light, color, dimension, space, and perception.

Stephen was born and raised in Worcester and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Hamilton College in 1969. A selftaught artist, Stephen began his career as a photographer, and his art evolved through research and experimentation. He progressed to building large etched-metal panels, followed by the world’s largest glazed ceramic murals that are now permanently on display on the San Antonio, TX, Riverwalk. Stephen began his decadeslong fascination with glass and light through the fabrication of kiln-formed glass walls and glass and steel sculpture, an example of which is at the Worcester Public Library. Stephen’s light-based installations can be found in Massachusetts at the WPI campus, at Dana Farber in Boston, and in many private collections. Stephen had solo museum exhibitions at the Boise Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Naples Art Museum, the Butler Institute of American Art, the Dayton Art Institute, and the Flint Institute of Arts; his art is in collections across the globe. His work has been shown in galleries from New York City to Santa Fe to Chicago to Miami, and covered by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun Times, ARTNews, and many more. He will be lovingly missed and remembered by his beloved wife, Frankie Knapp; a daughter, son, granddaughter, and extended family.

1967 DAVID P. “DEKE” KONIGSBURG passed away peacefully on Aug. 22, 2017 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was born in Sharon, PA, and attended Franklin & Marshall College. He served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War in the 101st Airborne and was awarded two Purple Hearts. After the war years, he earned a bachelor of science degree from Keene State College and a master’s from Bridgewater State University. He went on to teach Special Education for 33 years in the Mashpee school system. He also did

Worcester Academy


private tutoring to help those in need. He was a lifelong Freemason and was master of his home lodge, Fraternal Lodge in Centerville, for 3 terms; he was master at Howard Lodge, Yarmouth, MA, and master of the Lodge of Instruction. He was always available to assist his fellow Masons with their craft. He loved riding motorcycles and was a member of the Vietnam Vets Northeast Motorcycle Club. He survived by his wife Helen, daughter and a sister.

1970 VINCENT BERNARD KILLEEN, M.D. of Lewes, DE, passed away on Sept. 24, 2017 at his home surrounded by his loving family. He was born in Worcester. His father, Vincent ’40, also attended Worcester Academy. Vincent graduated from Denison University where he received a bachelor of arts degree in theology. After college, he moved to Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown University School of Medicine. There, he completed his residency training and received the Hugh H. Hussey Resident Award for teaching and mentorship. After graduation, he and his wife, Debra, moved to Lewes. He founded the private practice, Bayside Health Association, in 1988 and acted as president and CEO until his passing. During his 35 years in Obstetrics and Gynecology, he pioneered minimally invasive and robotic surgery at Beebe Medical Center. Vincent was enthusiastic about education and was on the teaching staff at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and was a residency program coordinator for Christiana Hospital. He loved the beach, music, sports, history, and, above all, his family. He was a proud and loving husband, father, and grandfather who deeply loved his community. Vincent is survived by his devoted wife of 37 years, Debra Munjas Killeen, three daughters, and two granddaughters. Vincent is also survived by his brother, Brian Killeen ’76.

48 the HILLTOPPER : spring 2018

1977 JOSEPH FRANCIS DILIBERTO JR., M.D. passed away peacefully on Dec. 10, 2017 at his home in Belleair, FL. He was a beloved cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon. Joseph graduated with honors from Assumption College in Worcester. Inspired at a young age to become a cardiac surgeon, he earned his medical degree from Marquette University (The Medical College of Wisconsin) in 1986. He was awarded the Lemmon Company Award for Outstanding Achievement in the study of General Surgery. Joseph completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Connecticut from 1986–1991. He was distinguished as the Resident Teacher of the Year for 4 years, received the Weck Surgical Resident Award, and was honored as the General Surgery Resident of the Year in 1990 and 1991. Joseph completed his Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery Fellowship at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Medical Center, in 1993, having received the prestigious Albert Starr Surgeons Scholar in 1992. Joseph was chosen by Tampa Bay Magazine as one of the best Cardiothoracic Surgeons in the Tampa Bay area, specializing in complicated, high-risk surgical procedures and minimally invasive heart and lung surgeries. Joseph is survived by his loving wife, Priscilla Aymong Diliberto, a son, daughter, stepdaughters, and a grandson. Joe’s loving family includes brothers John Andrew Diliberto ’78 and Jay Peter Diliberto, M.D. ’79, and a sister, Jayne Diliberto-Porter ’81.

SCOTT D. KASS died on April 16, 2017 of complications from myotonic muscular dystrophy, which he fought most of his life. After Worcester Academy, Scott graduated from Quinsigamond College, then attended Northeastern University. He served as store manager at the Charlton Pharmacy for many years. Scott was very

proud of his service in Civil Air Patrol, a search and rescue branch of the Air Force, reaching the rank of Lieutenant. Although disabled, Scott was able to travel frequently, visit with friends and family, and serve as a goodwill ambassador for the muscular dystrophy association in Framingham, MA. He leaves behind his wife of over 20 years, Lynn S. Kass. Scott will be remembered for his laughter, gentleness, perseverance, and positive attitude in the face of great disability.

1981 ROBERT “DAVID” GAITO of Perkinsville, VT, and formerly of Milford, CT, passed away on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. David joined the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut Fire Department in 1996, and proudly served the department and City of Bridgeport until his passing. Along with his wife, he owned and operated Dorsey’s Pub in Milford, CT from 1997– 2012, and in addition they operated the Crow Bar and Grill in Windsor, VT from 2015 to the present. Survivors include his wife, Jenn, his mother, siblings, cherished children, and a granddaughter.

1984 GREGORY J. HARTNETT formerly of New York City, more recently of Wadsworth, OH, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 21, 2016. He was born in Torrington, CT, and is survived by his brother, sisters, and extended family.

2003 LILLIAN “LILLY” PROUTY of Worcester and formerly of Spencer, MA, died on Jan. 10, 2018 from complications of an illness. Born in Sion, Switzerland, in the heart of

the Alps, Lilly moved to Spencer when she was 18 months old. Lilly read voraciously, both in French and in English, and was expressive in her artwork and writing, whether in prose or in verse, in either language. An exhibit of her artwork was displayed at a Worcester artisan café, and all of her paintings were sold. Lilly played recorder and flute. She also enjoyed music, skiing, running, swimming, and had a great love of nature. One of her favorite places to spend time was Green Hill Park in Worcester, where she would meditate, walk her dog, Buddy, and practice her love of photography. Lilly was at her happiest when she was spending time with her son, Eric Romanoff. She was a loving and devoted mother who took much pride in Eric’s growth and accomplishments. In addition to her son, she leaves her parents, Martine and Stephen Prouty (a former WA faculty member); a sister; fiancée, Jackie Guntor of Worcester; and her extended family.

2007 JAY “JJ” GRAVEL died on Sept. 27, 2017. Loved and remembered by family and friends for his caring heart, brilliant mind, incredible musical talents, and ability to make everyone laugh, Jay made an undeniable impression on everyone he met. Born in North Grafton, MA, Jay was a star student with a shining personality and natural musical ability. His longtime friends will always think of him when they hear a jazz saxophone. Jay graduated from Brown University, where he completed a degree in cognitive science in 2011. Even amid his personal struggles and fight to overcome addiction in recent years, he did everything in his power to help others around him and gave lifechanging support and strength to many friends in need. Jay leaves his parents, sister, nephew, maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Leave A Legacy Of Love For Wa You love Worcester Academy but think you’re not wealthy enough to make a gift that has impact.

Think again! There are many strategies and options available through planned giving to ensure your love and support for Worcester Academy continue to impact generations of students to come. Contact us today and learn more! For information, call Frank Callahan, director of planned giving, at 508-754-5302 x109, or visit our virtual giving page at

Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Nashville, TN Permit # 730

81 Providence Street Worcester, MA 01604 U.S.A.

PARENTS OF ALUMNI: If this issue is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify the Alumni Office of his or her new mailing address.

Reunion Weekend, May 4–5, 2018 For class years ending in a “3” or an “8” (plus a special event for Class of 1959) ALUMNI AWARD RECIPIENTS

Distinguished Alumnus: Dr. Yvonne Goldsberry ’78 Young Alumnus: Sava (Asmelash) Berhané, J.D. ’03



Andrew O’Donnell, Esq. ’73, P’03,’05,’07,’10 Robert Weissman ’58 Dexter Morse, Headmaster Emeritus Sue Moynagh, Retired Dining Services Staff





Worcester Academy Hilltopper Spring 2018  
Worcester Academy Hilltopper Spring 2018