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THE GILL ST. BERNARD’S SCHOOL MAGAZINE

SUMMER 2019


The Magazine of Gill St. Bernard’s School

TABLE OF CONTENTS FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 FEATURES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Inside the Classroom of Home Winds CAMPUS LIFE Commencement 2019 . Speakers on Campus. . . New Leaders Join GSB . Retiring Faculty . . . . . . .

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ATHLETICS Winter Sports Recap. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Spring Sports Recap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 ALUMNI NEWS/EVENTS Alumni Hall of Fame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Alumni Weekend 2019 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 ALUMNI NOTES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 REMEMBERING JEAN LOIZEAUX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 THE BRETT MERSHON TRANQUILITY GARDEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Board of Trustees BOARD OF TRUSTEES Lee Amoroso Marcella Criscola Rajiv De Silva Tom Fischer John Frantz Michael Fritzlo Liz Fucci Matthew Harding ’81 Rose Kirk Jeff Lager ’86 Douglas L. Matthews, Chair Mark Mazzatta Linda Moore Sandi Niccolai James O’Connor Steven Polachi

Gill St. Bernard’s alumni magazine is published three times a year by the Advancement Department and the Alumni Office. S.A. Rowell, Head of School Jennifer Doherty, Director of Parent Relations & Special Events Meredith Marks, Interim Director of Institutional Advancement Chanelle Walker, Director of Alumni Relations/Associate Director of Development

Gill St. Bernard’s School P.O. Box 604, St. Bernard’s Road Gladstone, NJ 07934-0604 908-234-1611 gsbschool.org facebook.com/gsbschool facebook.com/gsbschoolalumni Design by Vision Creative Group

John Raymonds Marianne Saladino Vlad Torgovnik Janine Udoff Karen Young Sid Rowell, Ex-Officio HONORARY TRUSTEES Patti Aresty Joe Behot Miguel Brito Laurie Brueckner Harry Chowansky III Brandon Clark Bill Conger Sam Corliss Ann Drzik Gia Dunn

Richard Emmit Nelson Ferreira Donald Fuentes Michael Golden Robert Hemm ’46 Judy Fulton Higby ’65 John Howard Adrienne Kirby Michael Mandelbaum Richard Markham Mary McNamara Edmond Moriarty III Patty Muchmore ’66 Ellen Nardoni Elizabeth Nametz Robert O’Leary Mark Paris

Preston Pinkett III Robert Sameth, Jr. ’89 Maureen Stefanick Jayne Vespa Michael Weinstein BOARD OF VISITORS Miguel Brito Brandon Clark Sam Corliss Michael Golden Steve Kalafer The Honorable Thomas H. Kean Blair MacInnes Edward E. Matthews

MISSION STATEMENT

Gill St. Bernard’s School provides a balanced, diverse and secure community that prepares students academically, socially, and ethically for college and a meaningful life.

CORE VALUES

Courage • Integrity • Respect • Compassion • Excellence


FROM THE HEAD OF SCHOOL Dear Friends, More than two thousand years ago, the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles observed that, “One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.” Sitting with colleagues, trustees, and the members of the Class of 2019 at Commencement, I felt his words were never more fitting. Their “day” at GSB, now complete, was truly a special moment for the seniors. However, Graduation was a celebration of not only their many achievements, but also those of the entire school community. This issue of the Alumni Magazine highlights the Class of 2019 and many others. It also once again shines a spotlight on Home Winds. In a very short time this amazing addition to our campus has become a central part of our school today and holds even more promise for the coming years. The following pages also include a host of other success stories, especially in athletics. This year’s Hall of Fame class was most worthy of recognition and, as I scan the ranks of our alumni, it is clear that we have many more deserving of induction in the future. Unfortunately, the year was not without some difficult passages. In addition to the death of faculty member Marilyn Dori, we were saddened to learn of the recent passing of longtime teacher Jean Loizeaux. It is never easy to lose cherished colleagues, and we will always remember their gift of service to Gill St. Bernard’s. In addition, a few other colleagues are retiring or relocating. I am especially grateful for the many contributions of our longtime CFO, Steve Graham and Director of Institutional Advancement, Jim Diverio. Both have been key members of my administrative team and will be missed. As always, time does not stand still, and it is relentless in its forward march. Fortunately, the campus is full of life, energy, and excitement these days, and there is great promise for our future. I invite you to return to Gladstone for a visit, if you have not done so in recent years, to see for yourself. Regards,

S.A. Rowell Head of School

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INSIDE THE CLASSROOM OF

by Alice Roche Cody For Nichole Morley ’17, taking AP-Bio her senior year would have been the safest bet for her college prospects. But instead, the chance to care for goats, donkeys, and cows on a working farm piqued her interest. As a student in the first animal science course offered at Gill St. Bernard’s, she spent time in the perfect classroom – a working farm across from the main campus called Home Winds. It was here, on this idyllic 130-acre parcel of land, where she first held a chicken, sheered a bleating sheep, and tended to newborn calves. “Learning about animals was something that I was always passionate about, but I didn’t realize I would love every aspect of the course,” said Nichole, a junior at Lafayette College. “I didn't mind the sweat or the dirt, even cleaning the donkey shed, because I was doing something I enjoyed. The opportunity to work with animals in this hands-on way was absolutely amazing.” So amazing that upon graduation, she returned to Home Winds for three consecutive summers as an intern. “What keeps drawing me back is the connection with animals, the community, and the environment that farming provides,” she said. “Home Winds, like any farm, represents the whole cycle of life.

It’s breathtaking to see animals hatch or be born. It’s upsetting to see them die, or become ill, but there's merit in experiencing and learning from both parts of life. It helps you to become more knowledgeable about animal science, about farming, and about yourself.” Her repeat internships at Home Winds led Nichole to create her own interdisciplinary major in animal science at Lafayette, one that combines biology, chemistry and psychology. Her hard work – both on the farm and at college – paid off. A recent inductee to Lafayette’s National Biological Honor Society chapter, she will conduct conservation research with one of her professors next semester. It all started with a gamble on that inaugural animal science class at GSB, the course that signaled a return to her school’s treasured past. Founded in 1900, St. Bernard’s School served as a farm school, where boys studied academics, plowed fields, and milked cows on the very property that marks Home Winds today. The land was used by the school until 1965, when it was sold to Carl Shirley. Fifty years later, Home Winds was re-acquired by Gill, thanks to the philanthropic spirit of Shirley’s daughter, Betsy Michel, her relationship with Head of School Sid Rowell, and the foresight of the board of trustees.

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The farm nearly tripled the size of campus overnight and offered an unparalleled opportunity for GSB students like Nichole to gain direct access to a working farm. The property includes two greenhouses, animal barns, a 2-acre garden, two Class-A trout streams, a stocked pond, an apple orchard and pastures for cattle, chicken, donkeys, sheep, and goats. In the past four years, it has become a natural extension to the Gill St. Bernard’s campus and curriculum. “Home Winds is a true outdoor classroom for GSB students of all ages,” said Steve Polachi P ’08, ’11, ’14, Chair of the Board of Trustee’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. “It’s an opportunity for experiential learning that is unique to any other school in the state and few in the country. Animal science, sustainability, terrestrial and aquatic environmental studies are just a few of the academic areas already being enhanced by our living laboratory in Gladstone.”

Nichole Morley ’17

HOME WINDS IS A TRUE OUTDOOR CLASSROOM FOR STUDENTS OF ALL AGES. IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING THAT IS UNIQUE TO ANY OTHER SCHOOL IN THE STATE AND FEW IN THE COUNTRY. ANIMAL SCIENCE, SUSTAINABILITY, TERRESTRIAL AND AQUATIC ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES ARE JUST A FEW OF THE ACADEMIC AREAS ALREADY BEING ENHANCED BY OUR LIVING LABORATORY IN GLADSTONE. STEVE POLACHI P ’08, ’11, ’14

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This living laboratory enriches and complements coursework for students from all three divisions by bringing lessons to life. Upper School students, for example, helped build solar-powered pumps to bring water to the paddocks. By working with livestock, they got a first-hand glimpse into nutrition, digestion, reproduction, and evolutionary tendencies in animals. Sixth graders sowed seeds in greenhouse germination trays, transferred the bachelor button


LEARNING ABOUT ANIMALS WAS SOMETHING THAT I WAS ALWAYS PASSIONATE ABOUT, BUT I DIDN’T REALIZE I WOULD LOVE EVERY ASPECT OF THE COURSE. THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH ANIMALS IN THIS HANDS-ON WAY WAS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. NICHOLE MORLEY (pictured in 2016)

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seedlings to pots, and the flowering plants to outside gardens. After fifth-grade students planted radishes, broccoli, and kale, their teachers helped harvest the crops to sell at Gill’s corner farm stand. An outdoor excursion for third graders included ambling along the stream to study its ecosystem and classify species. While kindergarteners collected maple syrup from the trees, professional bee keepers harvested honey from five apiaries. Then, once again, middle schoolers watched with wonder as GSB Farm Educator Steve Rabel welcomed another lamb into the world. Head of School Sid Rowell has been awestruck by the excitement and enthusiasm as faculty and students embraced the challenge of integrating the new campus into the curriculum. “I have observed teachers from almost every discipline utilize Home Winds,” he said. “The sciences were first, but the arts and the humanities faculty, from all three divisions, developed some wonderful, educational programs for our students.” Indeed, through Home Winds, students explored topics such as biodiversity, pollination, trout stream production, map topography, egg incubation and production, soil analysis, farmland preservation, and even climate change. The future benefits of blending this picturesque farm back into campus life remain limitless. “A bridge over the stream and a safe crosswalk brought our two pieces of land together,” said Board of Trustees Chair Doug Matthews. “We’ve always had a beautiful campus, and now it is even more striking. But what makes it truly special is beyond aesthetics. The curriculum is now so much richer. There’s more that will happen in the years to come. Ultimately, we want this to become a self-perpetuating, sustainable model for experiential learning.”

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In the next issue, you will read about Noreen Syed ‘10, a current MS teacher who has been nationally recognized for her work in environmental biology, sustainability, and teaching practices. Her work with Home Winds has helped to make that possible.


Home Winds creates opportunities for collaboration and community beyond GSB. Each summer, the Admission Office coordinates a special course that introduces students from the SEEDS young scholar’s program to a signature course at GSB called STREAMS (Sustainability, Technology, Research, Engineering, Agriculture, Math, and Service). This class extends traditional coursework in science with fieldwork that utilizes the natural resources of the campus. This year, 48 SEEDS scholars participated in four educational rotations including Farm Animals, Makerspace Challenge/Art Activity, GSB Garden & Beehive, and Outdoor Education. Now in its 27th year, SEEDS (Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success) offers educational opportunities for highly-motivated students from low-income families, preparing them for entrance into independent middle schools, high schools, and selective colleges.

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AWARDS

The Joyce Creasey Memorial Award

The Bennett Service Recognition Award

(best female athlete from the senior class)

(commitment to and consideration of others)

Hayley Goldin

Alexis Meola

Hayley Goldin had a great four-year career on the soccer pitch, scoring 50 goals during her four years with the Knights. In her senior year, she was an All-Conference and All-Prep B selection and led the Knights in scoring with 12 goals and seven assists. In the fall of her senior year, her efforts on offense helped the program claim its first divisional title in 11 years. She was also a member of the girls’ basketball team throughout Upper School. In addition to her contributions as a player, Hayley was a source of encouragement to other athletes and a great ambassador of GSB spirit. She also served as a peer leader in the Upper School. The Harold D. Nicholls Memorial Award (best male athlete from the senior class)

Susan H. Stover Award

Paul Mulcahy Paul Mulcahy was a dominant force on the basketball court, amassing more than 1,800 points and 800 assists during his Upper School career at GSB. Paul led the Knights to four straight Delaware Division championships and Somerset County championships and four state playoff appearances. He was a twotime Skyland Conference and Courier News Player of the Year, was twice named FirstTeam All-State, and averaged a remarkable triple-double in his senior year. In addition to his raw talent, Paul was admired for his perseverance and work ethic, gratefully making the most of opportuniti es that came his way and never taking his talent for granted. He will continue his basketball career at Rutgers University.

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This past year, Alexis (Lexi) Meola took the time-honored tradition of hosting a bake sale to the extreme. Lexi spent every weekend, and more than a few school nights, baking in her grandmother’s kitchen to supply treats for advisory groups. Among the most sought-after items were lemon bundt cakes, brownies, and cheesecakes. It took entrepreneurial spirit to launch the bakery and serious dedication to maintain it, but Lexi did not keep any of the proceeds for herself. In the spring, she donated all of the money raised from her bakery— more than $3,000—to the Make a Wish Foundation. Despite the demands of her bakery, Lexi still gave time and energy to the concert choir, the elite singing group Blue in The Face, the spring musical, and her study of martial arts. (highest level of service and commitment to the school)

Courtney Hanks Throughout her career at GSB, Courtney Hanks brought a smile, joyful enthusiasm, and serious dedication to everything she turned her hand to. As one faculty member noted, “No challenge is too small for Courtney. She can take something mundane and elevate it simply because of the attention she gives to it and the effort she puts forth.” This past year, Courtney was a significant contributor to soccer and lacrosse, a staple of the concert choir, and she took on a leading role in the spring musical.

The Frances B. Rohn Memorial Award in Mathematics: Christopher Varghese

Peapack Gladstone Bank Award for English: Peyton Sloan

Computer Science Award: Emma Koslow

The Carol J. Heaney Memorial Science Award: Kiera Murphy

The Patricia Lee Gauch Award for Creative Writing: M. Joseph Tedrick

Gerry Cirillo Prize in the Fine Arts: Peyton Sloan

History Department Award: Will Henderlong

World Language Department Award: Kiera Murphy

The Lisa Schmidt Music Award: Olivia Escousse


The Lindabury Senior Honor Award

The Elizabeth Gill Award

(positive effect on the experience of underclassmen – chosen by the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, this is the only Commencement award decided by students)

(a young woman who exemplifies the values of faith, honor, and consideration)

The Julian T. Brown Cup

In her senior year, Anna Tulenko captained the cheerleading team, which she had been part of since joining GSB as a ninth grader. Outside of school, she also took part in cheerleading and coaching children who were just starting the sport. As one faculty member observed, “Anna wants to cheer for everyone—she is the student you want in your club, as part of your fundraiser, in your class. She wants everyone to be the best they can be, and she is a source of encouragement to all.” That quality did not go unnoticed by her peers as well, as Anna was a four-year member of student government, student body vice president in her junior year, and president in her senior year. In addition, Anna was also a top student, passionate about learning. At Commencement, she was among the newly inducted members of the GSB Chapter of the Cum Laude Society. Last year’s recipient, Jessica Abowitz, presented the award to Anna.

(a young man who exemplifies values of faith, honor, and consideration)

Daniel Shen Throughout his four years of Upper School, Daniel Shen was admired as a student, athlete, artist, and community leader. He worked hard to make people feel welcome and included. He had the unique ability to not simply excel in academics, arts, and athletics, but to serve as a role model and give himself completely to each. His teachers found him focused, dedicated, and engaged in class. As a senior, he was captain of the championship soccer team, a standout in the concert choir, and a member of the elite musical group, Blue in The Face. Dan also served as an admission ambassador, a peer leader, and a member of the school’s honor board. A model of service and sacrifice, Dan decided not to take part in the GSB Players spring musical so that he could focus on improving his physical fitness in preparation for joining the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. Caporusso / DeLuca Award (citizenship)

Mark Giordano In Middle School, Mark Giordano earned the sixthgrade citizenship prize. Even then, he took his role in the community very seriously and worked consciously to bring forth his best effort every day and to serve as a role model to others. Throughout Upper School, Mark was a fully engaged member of student government, the concert choir, and the winter and spring track and field teams. In his senior year, he served as captain for the boys’ track teams. He was a diehard supporter of the Knights, attending games and spirit rallies and always offering encouragement to other athletes. Off the field, Mark was equally at home showing his support for his peers through student forums and fundraising initiatives for clubs.

Anna Tulenko

The Jean Loizeaux Award

(top academic record throughout Upper School)

Kiera Murphy Kiera Murphy spent her ninthgrade year at Ridge High School before coming to GSB as a sophomore. She is the first student to earn the Loizeaux prize without having spent four years in the Upper School. Her academic record at GSB, and at Ridge for that matter, was so unimpeachable that the faculty decided to make an exception. One teacher described the level of her work as downright transcendent. In addition to earning top grades, Kiera always sought out the most challenging classes in every academic subject. As a senior, all of her coursework was at the AP level. At Commencement, she received the Science Award and the World Language Award, and she was among the newly inducted members of the GSB Chapter of the Cum Laude Society.

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Senior Gift

Seniors Iyanah Vemuri, Dan Shen, and Emily Axelsen presented Head of School Sid Rowell with this year’s senior gift. Among the largest senior gifts in school history, the contribution will go toward the Marilyn Dori Unit Scholarship fund. Several members of the senior class knew Dori through spring unit trips or through coursework in Spanish, and they were proud and excited to honor her memory. The check amount of nearly $4,000 represents funds the seniors raised and a matching gift from Head of School Sid Rowell.

STEPHEN GRAHAM: BUILDING A LEGACY Stephen (Steve) Graham joined Gill St Bernard’s in 2001 as the school’s chief financial officer. Before this, Graham worked in corporate finance for 25 years, most recently as the head of GMAC Financial Services. When asked about the transition to GSB, he said it was something he had been interested in for a while. “To stay with GMAC, I was going to have to relocate,” Graham explained. “I knew Mike Chimes, who had been a long-time faculty member, and I had always said to him that if a business administration position opened up at Gill, to please let me know. I knew the campus and the great potential that was there to help the school improve. Fortunately, the position did open that year, and I gave Sid Rowell a call. He had actually just started at Gill himself, and the rest, as they say, is history.” Over the next 18 years, Graham helped transform the campus, overseeing the building and renovation of numerous campus spaces, including the Athletic Center, Hockenbury, Verdile Dining Hall, the Todd Quad, the Turf Field, the Field House, and most recently, the Performing Arts and Community Center. In addition, Graham oversaw the acquisition of Home Winds Farm in 2015. This summer, Graham’s final undertaking was converting the “old theater” into the SBS Pavilion, a multi-purpose building and art gallery.

SBS Chair Fred Corona, last year’s recipient of the St. Bernard’s Chair of Excellence in Teaching, proudly passed the honor to this year’s designee, Janet MacDonald. MacDonald spent more than two decades at GSB, the last 17 as a fourth-grade teacher. In this role, she inspired hundreds of students and helped establish signature programs in the Lower School. (see retirement profile, Page 22) 12

Although each initiative holds a special place in Graham’s heart, he is most proud of the PACC because it marked his last major project and because it filled such an important need on campus. He found the Athletic Center the most fun because it was a “design-build,” truly envisioned from the ground up. He is also the first to point out that all of the campus improvements were collaborative efforts: “Let’s be clear that Sid Rowell had as much to do with all of this success, and he and I had the privilege to work with a great group of people.” Reflecting on his tenure at the school, Graham shared, “Being able to serve as the CFO was a very rewarding experience. I know where the school stands now and where it can go in the future. More than anything, I will miss the people. When I first came, I didn’t know if I would stick, but the people here and the overall environment made it a wonderful place to be.” Graham will most likely be moving south to escape the cold New Jersey winters. He plans to take up golf and is looking forward to landscaping around his home.


CLASS OF 2019 MATRICULATION American University

Loyola University, Maryland (2)

University of Mary Washington

Auburn University

McGill University

University of Miami (2)

Boston College (2)

Muhlenberg College (3)

University of Michigan

Brandeis University

New York University (5)

Bucknell University (2)

Northeastern University (5)

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2)

Case Western Reserve University

Northwestern University

Clemson University (2)

Pennsylvania State University

College of Charleston

Pitzer College

Colorado College

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Cornell University

Ringling College of Art & Design

Duke University

Rutgers University (3)

Elon University

Siena College

Emory University

St. Joseph's University

Fordham University (2)

Stevens Institute of Technology

Franklin & Marshall College

Tufts University

Gettysburg College (3)

Tulane University (3)

Harvard University

United States Naval Academy

Indiana University Bloomington

University of British Columbia-Okanagan

Johnson & Wales University Lehigh University (2)

University of Colorado Boulder (2)

University of Notre Dame University of Pittsburgh University of Rochester University of the Sciences in Philadelphia University of South Carolina University of Texas at Austin University of Wisconsin-Madison (2) Wagner College Wake Forest University Washington College Washington University in St. Louis (3) Wesleyan University West Virginia University

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s r e f i L

The

2019

GSB

Our Lifers are those students who have attended Gill St. Bernard's School for 12 or more years From left: Tyler Merna, Sophia Stil, Surbhi Srinivas, Anja Kroon, Jack Rosenfeld, Allison Keeler, Head of School Sid Rowell, Peyton Sloan, Carolyn Herrlin, Mark Giordano, Catelyn Woelfle, Alicia Amoroso, Chris Kruger, and Ilana Druskin


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Bruce Beck

Bruce Beck, longtime sports anchor with NBC 4 New York, visited campus this May to kick off our spring unit program. One of the most popular offerings, the sports broadcasting unit will be on the roster again in 2020. He inspired this year's group of students, “You guys have the opportunity to go and do NBC Sports Anchor something amazing. This unit is about what you put forth and your effort. Legendary basketball coach Pat Riley would say, ‘You’re either in or out,’ and I’m telling you to be in.”

Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons, best-selling author of Odd Girl Out and Enough As She Is, presented on campus this April. Her talk, “Raising Resilient Kids: Teach Your Child to Resist Perfectionism, Manage Self-Criticism & Talk Back to Toxic College Pressure,” was sponsored by Common Grounds Speaks (CGS), a consortium of parents' associations (including GSB) from northern and central New Jersey independent schools. The event was coordinated by Beth Gustafson P ’20, ’22 and Tenaz Vemuri P ’19, Best-Selling Author ’22, members of the PA Steering Committee who represent GSB within Common Ground Speaks. Simmons’s presentation highlighted strategies for parents to offset some of the unhealthy and unrealistic messages confronting their children through social media and other venues. Citing her own research and work with students, Simmons noted that young people often feel they are being held to impossible standards of achievement and perfection. Throughout her talk, Simmons spotlighted the value of seeing ourselves and the things that happen to us with greater objectivity by neither exaggerating nor diminishing our successes and failures. Held in the Matthews Theater in the new Performing Arts & Community Center, this was the first CGS event hosted on Gill’s campus.

Douglas Florian

Award-winning New York City poet and artist Douglas Florian visited Lower and Middle School students at GSB in March. His visit highlighted National Poetry Month. Originally a cartoonist for The New Yorker, in the 1970s Florian began illustrating, and later writing, poetry books for children. During his visit to campus, Florian discussed some of his own sources of inspiration—everything from his neighborhood to global events and his own imagination.

Award-Winning Poet & Artist

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Using his book, How to Draw a Dragon, Florian elaborated on the different components that bring his poetry books to life. He talked about the words themselves and how he uses poetic devices such as rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, and repetition. He also shared his process for creating collage paintings, often on paper bags, that become the images for his books. Finally, Florian introduced students to the process of shepherding a book through publication.


Ibi Zoboi

Author Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist, met with Upper and Middle School students this spring. Much of Zoboi’s writing is influenced by her personal experience, having moved at the age of four with her mother from Haiti to New York City. For instance, her debut novel American Street, which was a New York Times Author notable book, chronicles the story of a family that immigrates to Detroit from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Similarly, her novel Pride is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice that is set in Brooklyn, where Zoboi grew up. It also details several Haitian customs and rituals. Most recently, Zoboi served as editor and contributor to a compilation of stories called Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America.

Lauren Grodstein

Lauren Grodstein, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Friend of the Family and the Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything, spent four days on campus as a writer-in-residence this January. Her visit was made possible by an allocation from the Parents’ Association. New York Times Best Selling Author

Grodstein worked with creative writing students in the Upper School and with classes in the Middle School, completing her visit with a writing roundtable for faculty and staff. With each group, Grodstein helped writers break out of their habits in order to perceive things in a new way. English Department Chair Dr. Andy Lutz explains, “She would ask them to write about themselves in the third person or change an important detail in their setting or plot—those exercises introduce a subtle shift in perspective that makes the writer more deliberate and aware.” he explains. “As Lauren told the students: ‘Work against your instincts, fight against your habits. Only then will you grow as a writer.”

Rosetta Lee

In February, renowned educator Rosetta Lee came to campus to speak with the GSB community. Her discussions focused on cultivating positive selfidentity in young people. In her presentation to parents, Lee talked about the ways in which children perceive the world and themselves at various developmental stages: Consultant, Educator, Activist from young children who are extremely curious, to early adolescents who tend to rely more on their peers for information, and on to the later years when children consider their future and look to their parents for guidance. Throughout these stages, Lee stressed that it is important for parents to engage their children in conversation. “Make it a constant message,” she suggested. “It is more productive to have 100 one-minute conversations than one 100-minute conversation.” When she met with students, Lee invited them to consider their uniqueness and to see it as something that should be cultivated rather than dismissed. “Right now, your brains are developing at an extremely fast rate,” Lee told the Middle School. “What you do now is going to be hard-wired for years down the road, so I want to make sure you understand that whoever you are is awesome and someone you should be proud of.”

Frank Owens

In March, Frank Owens, grandfather of Mulcahy Owens ’23, visited seventhand eighth-grade students to share his experiences growing up in the segregated South. Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Owens can trace his family lineage in America back to 1780. Since that time, members of his family lived through slavery, racial Guest Speaker discrimination, segregation, and the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Reflecting on those experiences, Owens offered, “Children are change agents, and you are all the future. Always be brave enough to help make change, and you will grow every day.”

“What you do now is going to be hard wired for years down the road, so I want to make sure you understand that whoever you are is awesome and someone you should be proud of.” - ROSetta Lee

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Night The dance company, Colors of India, graced the floor in Evans Hall during the school’s second annual Cultural Night, which was held in April. The four dancers used story-telling and lively performances to give the audience a glimpse into the rich history of Indian dance. In addition to the performance, guests had a chance to mingle, meet student members of the Model U.N., and enjoy potluck dishes representing the cultural heritages of GSB families. Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Tracey Goodson Barrett, who inaugurated Culture Night last spring, shared, “The event goes beyond appreciating culture to encompass community building as well. It is a chance for our families to meet one another and make connections.”

TEDx This February marked the fourth TEDx collaboration between Blair Academy and Gill St. Bernard’s. Since 2016, the schools took turns hosting the annual event that features student speakers from each school. This winter, GSB hosted the event in the Matthews Theater in the new Performing Arts & Community Center. Representing GSB at the conference were Gabrielle Kaminski ’19 ("Art Is Instinct"); Rebecca Michaels ’20 ("Happiness in Waves"); Carrie Lotito ’21 ("Forgot My Keys"); and Travian McNair ‘21, who introduced the speakers. Video footage of the talks are archived in the TEDx library: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDxTalks 18


Spring Musical

the

In March, the GSB Players staged Meet Me in St. Louis before a full house in the Matthews Theater in the new Performing Arts & Community Center. The new stage allowed for a cast of nearly 50, a moving trolley, and some incredible choreography. When asked about performing in the Matthews Theater, the cast members shared several common themes. All agreed that the new orchestra pit, where the performers could see the musicians in front of them, created a more seamless dynamic between the music and the singing. There was also little doubt among cast and crew that Performing Arts Chair Paul Canada loved working in the new costume shop. (Canada created close to 125 costumes for this production). Similarly, all said that the new and improved dressing rooms were a definite trade up. Many cast members were struck by the beauty of the new sets, although they appreciated the sets in the old theater as well. As Canada explained, “The old space was tight, but we made it work; you had to think very creatively in the black box. The new space allows us greater flexibility and more options. It's a different kind of creativity.” Finally, the cast members shared that by the time it was all over, they had made the new space their home. For the seniors in the group, that feeling was bittersweet, as it also marked their last performance with the GSB Players.

The musical got rave reviews on campus, and it also garnered several Paper Mill Playhouse recognitions in May: • Honorable Mention for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical • Honorable Mention for Paul H. Canada and Todd Ross for Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director • Final Nomination for Allyson Stevens as "Katie" for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role • Final Nomination for Paul H. Canada for Outstanding Scenic Achievement • Final Nomination for Paul H. Canada for Outstanding Costuming Achievement • Final Nomination for Alicia Amoroso, Lee Amoroso, Valerie Collins, Venus Nedd, Ally Stevens for Outstanding Hair and Make-Up Achievement

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NEW LEADERS JOIN GSB JOEL COLEMAN, Ph.D This summer, Joel Coleman, Ph.D., joined Gill St. Bernard’s as the new Upper School director. Dr. Coleman, who most recently served as upper school head at St. Paul’s School in Maryland, brings more than two decades of experience in teaching, coaching, and independent school leadership to the role at GSB. Throughout his career, he collaborated with teachers to develop and refine curriculum and establish standards of excellence in teaching. He also maintained a strong connection to students, in particular through working with them in leadership training and student government. Among his proudest moments is when his boys’ lacrosse team earned a sportsmanship trophy. When asked about the decision to join Gill St. Bernard’s, Dr. Coleman shared, “I am really looking forward to starting at Gill. I’ve been describing the school as unpretentious excellence. That spirit has me most excited—GSB is healthy and balanced, but also driven.” Dr. Coleman holds a B.A. in modern languages from the Virginia Military Institute and an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Georgia. A Fulbright Scholar, he has an extensive background in both International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement curricula. Dr. Coleman and his wife, Michele, have four children: Connor, a rising junior at the University of Rochester; Emma, a rising junior at Washington and Lee; Ian, a recent graduate from St. Paul’s, who will spend the next year doing missionary work before starting college; and Maya, who will join GSB as a sophomore this fall.

KELLY GARNES In July, Gill St. Bernard’s welcomed Kelly Garnes as the school’s new chief financial officer. Garnes has extensive experience in independent school administration and in finance. Most recently, she served as chief operating officer for Ascend Public Charter Schools in Brooklyn, where she oversaw a network of 15 schools. “My job was to work with the directors for each of the schools, along with personnel from human resources and operations, to make sure that everyone had the resources, training, and coaching to do their very best work,” she explained. Prior to Ascend, Garnes served as chief operating officer/chief financial officer for Philip’s Education Partners in Newark, NJ. She was also deputy director of KIPP Charter Schools, where she began as an academic chair and master teacher, and director of admissions at St. Philip’s Academy. In addition, Garnes spent two years in management for Citibank in New York, where she drove sales growth strategy for 40 individuals representing eight distinct divisions. Her educational background, like her work experience, comprises both financial management and independent school leadership. She holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, a master's in education with a focus on administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard, and a B.A. in history from the University of Virginia. Garnes is over the moon about her move to GSB. “I want to really wrap my arms around all of the pieces that make up the school: to have a real connection with parents and students and faculty and to have a conversation at a soccer game," she said. "I'm excited to be part of this wonderful community. I also love the farm and the beautiful rural landscape. After more than a decade of working in cities, the GSB community is such a beautiful place to join.” Kelly and her husband, Michael, have two children, Grace and Michael, who will join the Lower School this fall.

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MEREDITH MARKS In July, Meredith Marks began her new role as Interim Director of Advancement. She succeeds Jim Diverio, who moved to Boston this summer after 16 years at GSB. Prior to becoming interim director, Marks served for three years as the school’s assistant Director of Development & Major Gifts. Marks joined the school during the intensive final years of the capital campaign, when much of her focus was devoted to completing the Performing Arts & Community Center (PACC), the last capital project of the campaign. During that time, Marks developed relationships with major contributors to the PACC—their names inscribed on the donor wall she envisioned for the F.M. Kirby Hall & Gallery—and with GSB families, faculty members, trustees, and friends of the school. “The basis of this work is really relationships,” she shared. “What first drew me to Gill was the people, and as I begin a new chapter at the school, I really look forward to building and expanding those relationships.” With the campaign officially completed, Marks welcomes the chance to broaden her focus and to think about next steps for the advancement team. “This summer, we said goodbye to Jim, who has been such a central and admired figure on campus, and we just approved a new strategic plan,” she said. “There is a lot of change right now and a lot of energy as well. Change can be hard, but it brings opportunity, and I am excited by what comes next for Gill.” In her new role, she also looks forward to the chance to work with new groups of people. “Now that the campaign is behind us, this is a great opportunity to expand our presence on campus and in the community," she added. While she embraces change and opportunity, Marks also sees herself as continuing much of the work that Diverio put in place. “I will model the relationships I have seen Jim build, the families that he has become a part of during his time here as a parent and administrator," she said. "He has an incredible ability to keep people involved, and that is a great quality to model and to continue. He will be missed.”

New This Year! EDIE CLARK PRIZE FOR CREATIVE WRITING This year, the school inaugurated the Edie Clark Prize for Creative Writing. The award recognizes a junior who has demonstrated excellence over the course of his/her years at GSB in one or all genres of creative writing. Each year the English Department faculty will present the student with a book particularly relevant to the recipient and his or her talents in creative writing. The award was established by members of the Class of 1966 and supported by the Class of 1965 to honor the outstanding writing career of long-time Yankee Magazine editor and contributor Edie Clark. A prolific writer, Clark has written extensively about New England, in both fiction and non-fiction work. Many readers of Yankee Magazine will know her best as the author of the column, "Mary’s Farm," which is inspired by her own farm in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. Congratulations to this year’s recipient, Caroline Grant ’20.

Marks lives in Chester with her husband, Jack, and their daughters, Emma, Abby, and Ellie. Prior to joining GSB, she served as acting vice president of development and director of special events for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

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A FOND FAREWELL This June, two veteran teachers retired from the Lower School: fourth-grade teacher Janet MacDonald and music teacher Leigh Seibert. Each spent more than two decades at GSB; they will be missed.

JANET MACDONALD Janet MacDonald was hired in 1996 as an English teacher for grades seven and eight. She is best known, however, as a fourth-grade teacher, a position she held for the past 17 years. In the Lower School, MacDonald was instrumental, along with former colleague Susan Zimmerman, in establishing fourth-grade programs that are signature parts of the curriculum today. These include: the How-To project, in which students teach their classmates how to perform a simple task, such as dribbling a basketball; the Brainiac Museum, where students create an invention and present it in a Shark Tank-style forum; and CHOW (Children Helping Our World), in which students create their own nonprofits to address a problem in the world. While CHOW promotes global citizenship, all of the projects incorporate public speaking, presentation skills, and design. During her 17 years at the Lower School, MacDonald found that the creative and generous spirit on campus remained constant. “I have worked for several directors, and with each one, the culture changes a little," she said. "But one thing that has never changed is the camaraderie among the teachers. This is the most generous group of people with whom I have worked. It has been such a blessing to work in this climate.” After retiring in June, MacDonald and her husband, Jim, moved to their house in St. Michaels, MD. “We have owned the house for a few years, so we already know the area,” MacDonald explained. “In retirement, I will give myself the same advice I would give my students when they were starting something new: "This is a chance to change whatever you want about yourself, to become a new person, and begin a whole new life.” Part of her new life will include more time with her husband and her grandchildren, William and Rowan. In addition, she looks forward to becoming a better sailor, and taking more time to enjoy yoga, tennis, and reading books.

LEIGH SEIBERT Lower School music teacher Leigh Seibert retired in June, after 21 years at Gill St. Bernard’s. Like her colleague Janet MacDonald, Seibert began at GSB as a Middle School teacher and welcomed the chance to work with younger students. “I love this age group,” she said. “I can raise the bar, and they'll meet it. It's so much fun. The kids love to move around, so we incorporate a lot of dances and games.” When teaching, Seibert liked to relate what the students were learning in music class with their other subjects. “We learned about different composers and styles of music and the time periods that go with each," she said. "For example, it is good for them to know that Mozart and George Washington lived at the same time.” Of her many accomplishments at GSB, Seibert is most proud of her role as a mentor in “helping develop young singers and introducing them to a good repertoire—one that is suited to their voices—while also introducing them to all different styles of music.” Although it is never easy to say goodbye, Seibert enjoyed a wonderful final year at the school. “Every day this year was about celebrating the people I worked with—the students and my colleagues," she said. "I could not ask for a better way to wrap up my career at the school. I had a chance to work with Kyle Armstrong, which was great, and I was able to stage the Lower School concerts in the Matthews Theater in the new Performing Arts & Community Center.” Seibert and her husband, Bob, will be moving to Maine, a place they've visited every summer for more than 40 years. They are looking forward to becoming part of a new community, spending time with their three granddaughters, and eventually taking their lifelong hobby of antiquing and transforming it into a business.

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UNIT INTERNSHIPS: A COMMUNITY EFFORT The Spring Unit internship program continued to build in its second year. This May, internship program offerings included broadcasting, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, physical therapy, and veterinary medicine. In addition to creating wonderful learning opportunity for students, the internship program developed and strengthened connections within the GSB community. Many GSB Alumni and parents gave their expertise to help make meaningful and rewarding experiences for the interns. • Practicing attorneys Tammy Fahmi P ’20, ’24, ’25 and Robert Bailey P ’21, ’24 ran the law internship. Interns Jason Berg ’19 and Lexi Meola ’19 learned about corporate law, real estate law, litigation, and working with judges and other attorneys. • Internationally renowned cybersecurity expert Dr. Ed Amoroso P ’11, ’13, ’19, with assistance from his son Ed Amoroso ’13, led the cybersecurity internship. Ilana Druskin ’19 and Parker DeMaira ’20 learned about how cybersecurity works, researched specific projects, and presented their findings to the company. • Leading the broadcasting unit was Andrew Vazzano ’06, senior manager for digital and social media for the New York Red Bulls, a professional American soccer club. His classmate, Jamie Palatini ’06, manager of communications for NBC Sports, also lent a hand and connected intern Eddie McCarthy ’20 with Pierre McGuire, an ice hockey analyst for the National Hockey League. • Kris Goodrich ’99, P ’27, ’30 led an internship that focused on entrepreneurship. Interns Tamia Chaney ’20 and Tyler Lynch ’20 visited 10 start-ups to learn about different business models and the joys and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur. Each student also created, branded, and launched a company! • Dr. Andrea Freeman ’95 led the veterinary medicine internship. Julia Hersch ’20 and Madeline Trezza ’20 shadowed Dr. Freeman as well as other specialty veterinarians and students enrolled in veterinary school.

We Need You!

If you are interested in mentoring students we would love to hear from you. Please contact the Alumni Office at 908.234.1611 x 292 or cwalker@gsbschool.org.

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ATHLETICS WINTER SPORTS BOYS’ BASKETBALL

It was another extremely successful season for the boys’ basketball team, as the Knights won their fifthstraight Somerset County Championship, while also claiming their ninth-straight Skyland Conference divisional title. The squad finished as the fourthranked program in the state and was named the Skyland Conference Team of the Year.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

The girls’ basketball team improved significantly throughout the season under first-year coach Mark Gnapp. Gill finished the year with a 13-12 record, and the Knights went 7-3 within their division after finishing 4-6 the previous two years. They also had a huge win over 11th-ranked Patrick School and won their opening round match against Mater Dei in the NJSIAA Non-Public, South B tournament.

GIRLS’ FENCING

The girls’ fencing team enjoyed success at the championship level this past winter. At the Prep Championships, the women's sabre team of Edie Brazil ’19, Maggie Kistner ’20, and Caroline Solondz ’21 placed first to help the girls’ team claim fourth place overall. Zoe O'Connor ’21 also claimed second in epee. The sabre team ended up the fifth-ranked squad in the state, and Brianna Moglianesi ’19 finished 11th in epee at the NJSIAA state championship.

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TAMIA CHANEY ’20

BOYS’ FENCING

The boys’ fencing team finished the season with a 3-9 record but went 3-1 over its last four matches of the season. The Knights carried this momentum into their championships as men's sabre took sixth, men's epee finished seventh, and men’s foil placed eighth at the Prep Championships. Individually, Barrett Reep ’19 took fourth in epee, while Mark Rusas ’19 finished fifth in sabre.

GIRLS’ SWIMMING

The girls’ swim team completed a successful inaugural varsity season this past winter. The Knights went 6-3 and advanced to the quarter-finals of the Non-Public B state championship after they defeated Gloucester Catholic 101-67. The freestyle relays of Maddie and Olivia Soultanian ’22, Laura Howard ’21, and Rebecca Michaels ’20 received all-conference for the first time in program history. Rebecca also qualified for the NJSIAA Meets of Champions for the second consecutive year.

BOYS’ SWIMMING

The boys’ swim team embraced the challenge of its first varsity season this past winter. Despite having only eight members, the team qualified for the Non-Public B state tournament in its first year of eligibility. In addition, the freestyle relay of Robert Brandl ’20, Christian Ernst ’19, Gabe Myler ’19, and Preston Reep ’19 earned allconference honors for the first time in program history. In total, the team set seven new school records.

ELLA QUINCY ’22

PAUL MULCAHY ’19


ICE HOCKEY

The ice hockey program experienced a breakout season as the Knights finished over .500 for the first time, posting a record of 8-6-5. The Knights also made history in the playoffs, winning their first-ever conference tournament game against Mountain Lakes and qualifying for the Non-Public state tournament for the first time. Co-head coaches Greg DaSilva and Chris Wiggins were both named Coach of the Year for the Morris County Hockey League.

INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

The boys’ and girls’ track teams enjoyed strong performances at all of their invitationals this past winter. The boys’ squad finished sixth out of 12 teams at the Somerset County Championships and fourth overall in the “B” Division at Preps. The girls’ team took seventh overall in the same division at Preps. Having great individual performances during the season were throwers Mark Giordano ’19 and Luca Del Vescovo ’20. Both qualified for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions by placing in the top six in shot put at the Group Championships.

CAILEIGH WALSH ’21 (basketball player #10)

Skier Anja Kroon ’19 Competes Internationally Throughout Winter In January and February, senior Anja Kroon competed throughout the United States and Canada to race in the Fédération Internationale de Ski and the USSA. Anja skied in many Eastern Cup Circuit (top racers from eastern North America) and Entry Level Cup Circuit (Provincial Cups in Canada) races while competing in both slalom and giant slalom. One of Anja’s favorite memories from this past winter season was racing at Saint Sauveur—the home mountain of the McGill University Alpine Ski Team and the main training venue for Anja next year. Anja also met some of her future teammates.

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SPRING SPORTS BASEBALL

The baseball squad experienced another great playoff run as the Knights advanced to the Non-Public B, North sectional finals for the third time in four years. Gill also found success during the regular season as head coach Dave Pasquale earned his 300th career win, with Joe Skapinetz ’21 throwing a no-hitter to help earn the milestone victory. Wagner-bound catcher AJ Donofrio ’19 recorded his 100th career hit during the season as well. Both AJ and Joe were named first-team All-Conference.

GOLF

The golf team dominated the season, as the Knights scored a perfect 8-0 in divisional play to claim their second-straight Mountain Division title. GSB’s biggest dual meet win came against Pingry, one of the top teams in the state, by a score of 160-162. The Knights followed that up with a second-place finish at Somerset Counties, third-place finish at the Sectional Championships, and a second-place finish at the Prep Championships. Individually, Graeme Hollingshead ’21 made history in a match against Belvidere by being the first golfer to shoot a hole-in-one. Moritz Weigold ’19 and Sophie Chang ’21 each qualified for the prestigious Tournament of Champions.

MIKE TAYLOR ’20

TRACK AND FIELD

This past spring, members of the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams achieved great accomplishments. Jack Feldman ’19 was a double-winner, as he garnered gold at both the sectional and group championships in the discus. Anna Mikula ’20 also won a title as she claimed the javelin at the sectional championships. A trio of seniors, Eve Ryan, Lily Fischer, and Mark Rusas finished in the top three in their events at sectionals to advance to the group championships as well. Jack, Eve, Anna, and Joe Licata ’22 also competed at the Meet of Champions. SOPHIE CHANG ’21

SHANE MORIARTY ’22

SOHAN DE SILVA ’21

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GRAEME HOLLINGSHEAD ’21


GIRLS’ LACROSSE

The girls’ lacrosse team earned four wins for the season and was one of the last remaining undefeated squads in New Jersey. The season was especially memorable for Lauren Garcia ’20 and Lexi Yates ’20, as both Knights recorded their 100th career goals. Lauren, Lexi, and defensive player Kellyn Bucceri ’22 made first-team All-Conference. Emily Raia ’20, Hayley Armstrong ‘21, and Lila Mortensen ’21 were named second-team, and goalie Kayla Palaia ’22 recorded over 100 saves during the season to earn honorable mention.

BOYS’ LACROSSE

The boys’ lacrosse team finished sixth out of 10 schools in its division, while securing five wins for the season. The Knights’ biggest win came on the last day of the season, when they defeated WardlawHartridge 15-1. Leading the way for the Knights was goalie Ellis Wilson ’22, who recorded an incredible 212 saves on the year. He and Eric Lyden ’21 were named first-team All-KLANK division, while Connor Albertson ’22 garnered an honorable mention.

SOFTBALL

The softball squad improved throughout the season and earned wins over North Plainfield (twice) and Warren Hills. The Knights were competitive in all of their games as they lost by two runs or fewer in six games. Their best game of the season came in the first round of the Non-Public B state tournament, when 14th-seeded GSB almost pulled off an upset over third-seeded Doane Academy but fell 2-1. Individually, Scooter Hulsen ’22 and Ellen Besjak ’21 were named second-team All-Conference.

BOYS’ TENNIS

The boys’ tennis team earned five wins for the second-straight year, including a 4-1 win over North Plainfield to end the season. The Knights also qualified for the highly competitive Non-Public B, North state tournament. Leading the way for Gill throughout the year was Andrew Margolis ’20, as he earned five individual wins. The doubles team of Dara Nourbakhsh ’19 and Frank Xiang ’20 won five matches as well.

JAMES HERSH ’20

ELLEN BESJAK ’21

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Alumni ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME The Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony took place on Friday, May 3, the first day of Reunion Weekend. This year's ceremony took a moment to recognize Boys' Soccer Coach Tony Bednarsky P ’08, ’10, ’14, ’17 and Boys' Basketball Coach Mergin Sina P ’13, ’14 for their milestone wins with a special gift and tribute video, which included messages from former players. The 2019 inductions celebrated the accomplishments of runner Jim Behot ’07, three-sport athlete Lauren Calone ’00, and Mike Chimes for more than 30 years of service to the GSB athletics program. Jim Behot ’07 epitomized the student-athlete during his time at GSB, excelling on the track and in the classroom. By the time he graduated, he held every sprinting record at the school and still owns the 100-meter record. He was also crowned Prep B and Patriot Conference champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter races in 2006, qualifying for the prestigious Meet of Champions. He capped off a stellar academic career with perfect SAT scores, matriculating to Princeton University, where he competed on the track team for all four years. Behot currently works in financial services in New York City.

In 2004, Calone graduated from Georgetown University McDonough School of Business with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She is currently head of broker relations and corporate access at Epoch Investment Partners in New York City. During his 40-year tenure at GSB, Mike Chimes coached a range of sports for 33 years and helped to lead seven athletic programs at the school. His teams won numerous divisional and state titles. Among them, the renowned 2011 girls’ cross-country team swept the Prep B and Non-Public B state titles while also finishing seventh at the state Meet of Champions. Beyond his successes on the field, Chimes was remembered as a great mentor to student-athletes. Since his retirement in 2018, Chimes continues to serve the GSB community by supporting the Upper School unit and student groups.

Lauren Calone ’00 was recognized as a rare three-sport MVP: soccer, basketball, and track. In soccer, she was a four-time allcounty and all-state selection and was part of two Prep Conference championship teams (’97, ’98) and three Prep B championship teams (’96-’98). On the track, Calone holds records in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter meter sprints, the 4 x 100, 4 x 200, and 4 x 400 relays, and the high jump. She went on to play soccer at Georgetown University, where she was a four-team all-academic league selection, voted Most Improved Player, and served as captain.

A CALL FOR NOMINATIONS!

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Nominations can be made by anyone completing the online form gsbschool.org/ahof. You may download the form and mail it to the school address with attention made to Alumni Office/Athletic Hall of Fame.


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9 1 0 2 D N E K E ALUMNI WE ouse H m m e H t a n io t Welcome Recep

ra Lida Bard

tt, Alexand hristopher O

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over ’09

’09, Dillon Ho

Congratulations to the 2 019 Class of the Alumni Athletic H all of Fame!

Larr y Lese r, Karen Th omason Le Jackson ’7 ser 9, Cynthia Jackson, Si ’79, Charlie d Rowell

New to the Alumni Weekend agenda, members of the community gathered in the chapel to take part in “Reflections.” Led by Sid Rowell, Reflections served as an opportunity to honor those we have lost. Afterward, the group was invited to visit the new Brett Mershon tranquility garden.

Lauren Calone McCallum ’01, Jim Behot ’07, Mike Chimes (See more in Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame story) Brett Mershon Tranquility Garden

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Mike Chimes, Erin Bayley Buraszeski ’99, Lauren Calone McCallum ’01, John Mezey ’00 Bob Hemm ’46


Alumni Picnic featuring the band Missing Pieces led by Jim Skidmore ’80 0

more ’8

Jim Skid

Michael Polise ’94, Todd Ross ’94, Rob Lancsak, Danielle Casillo ’94, Kristen Simonelli Doggett ’94, Greg Dana ’94, Brian Brown ’94, Scott Yates ’94

inner Cocktail Party and D nion Honoring the 50th Reu of the Class of 1969

Paul Martin ’69, Vernon Rowe ’69, Chris Fossel ’69, Paul Saddler ’69, Cathy Phillips-Garrison ’74, John Ward ’69, For est Engelman ’72, George Coulthard ’67

John Ward ’69, Pegg y Grennan, Kevin Wentworth ’70

Christopher Blasi ’13, Ryan LaPré, Margaret LaPré, Samantha Casternovia ’13, Yale Zirpolo ’13, Kyle Swartz ’13

Upper School students from the Directing class have the oppo rtunity to showcase their directing abilities in a One-Act Festival, wh ich takes place during alu mni weekend.

bbie DeVergillo ’22

d Ro Ava Escousse ’21 an

Save the Date for Alumni Weekend 2020, May 1-2, 2020

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&

Then Now Paul Martin ’69 (Middle)

Vernon Rowe ’69 (Left)

John Ward ’69 (Above)

Chris Fossel ’69 (Above) Paul Saddler ’69 (Middle)

Paul Martin ’69, Vernon Rowe ’69, Chr

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is Fossel ’69, Paul Saddler ’69, John

Ward ’69


GSB CLASSIC The 14th annual GSB Classic was held on May 6 at Hamilton Farm Golf Club. The day brought out 72 golfers, many staying to play an extra nine holes on the Hickory par-three course after a full day on the traditional Highlands course. In addition, 10 golfers took part in the first-ever GSB Classic Golf Clinic before trying out their newly honed skills on the Hickory Course. This year’s event paid tribute to Brian Kramer, P ’16, ’20, who passed away in December of 2018. An individual who exemplified the school’s core values of courage, integrity, respect, compassion, and excellence, Kramer was also an accomplished golfer and a longstanding member of the GSB golf committee. On behalf of the Kramer family, Tara Kramer P ’16, ’20 welcomed guests in the morning and stayed throughout the day to lend a hand. All proceeds from this year’s Classic benefited a memorial scholarship created in Kramer’s name to support need-based financial aid at the school. To learn more about the Brian Kramer Memorial Scholarship, please contact Sarah Quinn Clausen at squinnclausen@gsbschool.org or 908-234-1611, ext. 361.

P t n e v E n o RFashi

More than 200 guests enjoyed last year’s Parents’ Association Fashion Event, Bloom into Beautiful, on April 23. The festivities were held at the picturesque Mansion at Natirar amid perfect spring weather. Highlights included a Bloomingdales-curated runway show featuring GSB moms of seniors, eighthgraders, and fourth-graders. “Today was a true representation of the wonderful community we have—from the many volunteers who helped bring the event together to the fabulous event cochairs Joyce Tulenko P ’19 ’22 and Nicole Rusas P ’19, and the moms who rocked the runway,” said PA president Monica Micera P ’22. The fashion show is the largest PA fundraiser each year, and all funds raised benefit student programs at the school.

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FOUNDERS ADDITION

As the student population grew, more dining space was needed, and an addition to Founders was planned and executed at the start of the campaign. This addition mirrors the original dining area in Founders, with post and beam construction and large windows. The basement, which housed fine arts classrooms, was upgraded and another studio/gallery was added below the addition to accommodate the growing department.

PERFORMING ARTS & COMMUNITY CENTER

Opening with great fanfare on November 24, 2018, was our Delivering the Future campaign capstone project, the majestic Performing Arts & Community Center (PACC). Hosting a reception in the F.M. Kirby Hall & Gallery for generous campaign donors, they then enjoyed a unique performance in the Matthews Theater featuring over 55 returning alumni, dating back to 1990 and up to the present, joining in song to perform selections from almost three-decades of GSB-produced musicals. Total Raised = $8.3M

Total Raised = $795K

TURF FIELD

For the success of the soccer programs, and the addition of lacrosse to the athletics program, a year-round outdoor playing surface was a must. As one of the last schools without a turf field, this became one of the first projects undertaken in the campaign. This splendid field now serves as our home field for varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer and lacrosse, most JV games, and multiple field events, as well as extracurricular and grade level activities for all three divisions. Total Raised = $650K

DELIVERING THE FUTURE CAMPAIGN CONGER ALUMNI HOUSE

Recap

In 2013, unanticipated flooding in The Cottage, which then housed the Alumni and Development Office, caused it to be razed and rebuilt in tandem with the Delivering the Future Campaign. Through the Conger family’s generosity, and several other key donors, approximately one-half of the necessary funds to rebuild the new home was provided. The Conger Alumni House now houses the Office on Institutional Advancement, with headquarters for alumni, parents, advancement, and communications staff. Total Raised = $260K 

GSB FUND

The GSB Fund is the fundamental foundation upon which our strong financial health is built, while it continues to provide timely resources for enriching today’s programs and curriculum. The Fund ensures that the GSB experience for our current students continues to be transformative in growth and expansion. It was imperative that, during the campaign, the GSB Fund not only remained important, it needed to grow. A $1M goal per year was set, and during the last 5 years, it was surpassed.  Total Raised = $7.3M 34 28

FIELD HOUSE

Upon determining the ultimate location on campus of the PACC, a new Field House was built to replace the space and functions of the “old gym.” It includes Middle and Lower School physical education and athletics, locker area, and a fitness center for Upper School students/athletes. The new Field House was dedicated in September 2016. Total Raised = $3M

ENDOWMENT

Through interest and income earned, the endowment provides funding to the annual operating budget. As the endowment grows, GSB is able to rely less on tuition and secure for future generations of GSB students the opportunities that today’s students enjoy. Endowment gifts were sought throughout the campaign. Through the generosity of our donors, many existing endowed funds increased, and new funds were created. Most of the endowment growth supported need-based financial aid to offset both tuition and non-tuition expenses (like field trips and Spring Units) -- making these more accessible for students who otherwise could not afford to participate. Total Raised = $2.5M Other Capital Projects Total Raised = $400K


LEADERSHIP CHANGE

UDOFF HANDS GAVEL TO MATTHEWS In June, Doug Matthews, P ’16, ’18 ’24, was appointed as the incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees. Doug has served on the board since 2004. He has chaired the Advancement Committee and two Capital Campaign Committees: Building an Enduring Legacy Campaign from 20062009 and Delivering the Future Campaign, which was successfully completed this spring. Doug brings to the board almost 30 years of experience in insurance and risk management with The Starr Companies. In addition, he has extensive experience in not-for-profit management through his role as director and treasurer of the Edward E. and Marie L. Matthews Foundation. Doug also served on the board of trustees at The Corner House Foundation and as board chair for Creative Heartwork. Perhaps less well-known is Doug’s prowess as a chef. He has appeared in cooking videos for Allrecipes.com and Swanson Chicken Broth, making such dishes as alligator chili and roasted butternut orange risotto. He and his wife, Ann, have three children, Caty ’16, Amity ’18, and Brad ’24. The family resides in Mendham, NJ.

RETIRING TRUSTEES

JANINE UDOFF ROSE KIRK

LINDA MOORE

Rose Stuckey Kirk P ’18 joined the board in 2013, serving on the finance committee and the strategic planning committee. As chief corporate social responsibility officer for Verizon, Rose brought her extensive background in leadership, communications, and strategic planning to the board.

Linda Moore spent six years on the board, during which time her background and knowledge of independent school education proved invaluable. A teacher, Linda also served as director of member services and mid-Atlantic school coordinator for Independent Educational Services (IES). Through IES, she visited more than 200 independent schools. She also served as the executive director of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS). While there, she developed and implemented various programs, including Trustee Enrichment Day, the Leadership Institute, and the NJAIS Accreditation Program. Linda lives in East Windsor, NJ.

In addition to her work with Verizon, Rose is an award-winning journalist and the executive producer of the documentary Without A Net: The Digital Divide in America. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard Kennedy School and several other non-profit boards. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Arkansas State University. She and her husband, Robert, live in Hackettstown, NJ, and have two sons, Robert Jr. and Connor ’18.

Janine Udoff P ’16, ’17, ’21, Chair of the GSB Board of Trustees since September of 2015, retired from the board this June. In all, she served on the board for nine years, taking part in two capital campaigns. Her board service included three years on the advancement committee, four years as chair of the committee on trustees, and chair of the strategic planning committee during academic years 2011-12, 2015-16, and 2018-19. During her time as board chair, Janine was instrumental in the integration of Home Winds, the accreditation process, and most recently, the completion of the field house. Prior to joining the board, Janine served as Parents’ Association (PA) president and in various roles on the PA Steering committee, including annual fund chair. She was also a parent representative to the board of trustees. Outside of GSB, she is a literacy volunteer and tutor with several charities, including the United Way, Literacy Volunteers of America, Visiting Nurse Association, and Catholic Charities. Janine is a former vice-president at Merrill Lynch. She, her husband, Doug, and children, Allie ’16, Jake ’17, Connor ’21, and Katie ’23, live in Bernardsville, NJ.

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ALUMNI NOTES the FIFTIES CLASS OF 1950

Allan Whatley ’50 recently completed his second term on the Hooksett school board. A sailboat racer, he also serves as an instructor at Massabesic Yacht Club. This summer, Allan relocated to the Monadnock region of New Hampshire to live in a refurbished 1780 farmhouse.

the SIXTIES CLASS OF 1963

Susan Felmeth Eanes ’63 and mother Katherine Felmeth visit Stronghold.

(Correction from Winter 2019 issue) Susan Felmeth Eanes ’63 shared a photo from a visit to Stronghold with her mother, Katherine (Kay) Felmeth. Kay worked at Gill for many years, in addition to being the mother of three Gill graduates. Susan shared, “Kay turned 99 this year and this trip took place in 2016. We both enjoyed our visit to Stronghold, reflecting on lots of happy memories.”

CLASS OF 1965

Judy Fulton Higby ’65 and Chris Clark ’65 shared a photograph of a trip to Menorca, where they visited the home of Joan Fulton ’71. Judy shared, “The water was too chilly to swim, but we were able to do many things, watch many amazing sunsets, share old stories, and create new ones.” The class of 1965 honored the memory of Hannah Bensley ’65 by planting a coral maple tree in the Morristown garden of Charlie Bensley. The tree is surrounded by three lovely willow shrubs and a plaque honoring Hannah.

Judy Fulton Higby ’65 and Chris Clark ’65 visited the home of Joan Fulton ’71 in Menorca, Spain.

the 21ST CENTURY CLASS OF 2001

Today.com produced a story about a Barefoot Contessa-themed bachelorette party to celebrate bride-to-be Nicole Garvey ’01. The party featured recipes by Ina Garten. Guests dressed as either Garten, her husband, Jeffrey, or Michael, Garten's friend and local florist who often makes appearances on Barefoot Contessa and its Food Network spinoffs. GSB alumni in attendance included Meredith Seergy Sciacca ’01, Jessica Garvey Ritter ’05, Naomi Ages ’01, Rebecca Pollack Young ’05, Ashley Klein ’05, and Rachel Charlesworth ’05. Although Ina Garten was not in attendance, the event did grab her attention and led her to share it with her Instagram followers.

The Class of ’65 honored the memory of Hannah Bensley ’65 by planting a tree in the Morristown Garden of Chalie Bensley.

Photo Courtesy of Meredith Sciacca

CLASS OF 2003

GSB faculty Paul Canada, Margery Schiesswohl, and Eileen Procaccino met Jaime Goodrich ’01 at the South Orange Performing Arts Center to see GSB alumnae Dana Harris ’03 and Shannon Ludlum ’03 perform in Ragtime, the Musical.

CLASS OF 2006

Lamont Stapleton ’06 nd Darren Duncan co-founded a prison basketball program called Between the Lines. The program takes volunteers into prisons 36

Nicole Garvey ’01 celebrated her Barefoot Contessa themed bachelorette party with several of the GSB alumni.


GSB faculty met with Jaime Goodrich ’01 to see Dana Harris ’03 and Shannon Ludlum ’03 perform in Ragtime, the Musical.

Brooke Donaldson ’08 married Candice Posey this last June with several GSB alumni as guests and Kaitin Dicks ’08 serving as maid of honor.

Kyle O'Neill ’08 and wife welcomed daughter Mildred Mary O'Neill in December 2018.

to run basketball clinics to help with the rehabilitation process. Between the Lines provides a letter exchange between participants and staff/volunteers, as well as job placement assistance and financial literacy courses to prepare for release. Lamont shared, “Our program serves as a reminder to those incarcerated that they’re not alone, and they have support on the outside.”

CLASS OF 2008

Brooke Donaldson ’08 married Candice Posey on June 8, 2019, at Donaldson’s farm in Hackettstown, NJ. The wedding guests included Randi Schmidt, Andy Lutz, Kyle O’Neill ’08, Michael Christie ’08, and Kaitlin Dicks ’08, who was the maid of honor. Kyle O’Neill ’08 and his wife, Amanda, welcomed their daughter, Mildred Mary O'Neill, into the world on December 28, 2018.

Kristen Bailey ’10 married John Banks in September 2018. Several GSB alumni were among the guests and wedding party, with Sonia Kumar ’10 serving as the maid of honor.

CLASS OF 2010

Kristen Bailey ’10 married John Banks on September 29, 2018, at the Mansion at Natirar. GSB alumnae Sonia Kumar ’10 and Lauren Rosenblatt Mathews ’10 were in the wedding party, with Sonia as maid of honor. Other GSB alumnae in attendance (from left to right): Sabrina Morton ’10, Daina Raiffe ’10, Megan Plevy ’10, Lauren Rosenblatt Mathews ’10, Kristen Bailey ’10, Sonia Kumar ’10, Kaitlin Filley ’10, and Bianca Noll ’10.  Daina Raiffe ’10 is a licensed mental health counselor and recently opened a psychotherapy practice in lower Manhattan.

CLASS OF 2012

Special thanks to Dominique Vitalis ’12 for returning to campus to officially welcome the class of 2019 into the alumni community! Dominique is passionate about educating young people about financial literacy and works as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch in New York.

Dominique Vitalis ’12 (second from the left) returned to campus to welcome the class of 2019 into the alumni community.

Last spring, Peter and Randi Schmidt connected with Jake Sabetta ’12 in Denver, CO. In addition to working in landscaping, Jake volunteers with environmental groups and serves as a lead guitarist and singer with Mad Wallace, a Denver-based band.

Class of 2015

Alyx Schrecengost ’15 graduated magna cum laude from the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. Alyx passed her licensing exam and joined a construction engineering firm as a civil engineer in Cape Cod.

Peter and Randi Schmidt connected with Jake Sabetta ’12 in Denver, CO last spring.

The GSB Community would like to hear from you. Share your news by contacting the Alumni Office. GSB Alumni Office (908)234-1611, ext. 292 or cwalker@gsbschool.org.

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OBITUARIES

In Memoriam Jean Loizeaux

Jean Loizeaux, among the most influential teachers in the history of Gill St. Bernard’s School, passed away on April 27, 2019, at her home in Atlanta, Georgia. Loizeaux is remembered by generations of students and faculty as a teacher who inspired others through her own example, offered words of encouragement to all, made herself heard without ever raising her voice, and dedicated herself wholeheartedly to her students. Remarkably, Loizeaux did not begin teaching full time until her early 40s. Upon learning that the Gill School for Girls was looking for teachers, she sent a letter to the school’s headmaster C. Elliott Knoke, inquiring, “If there is any possibility that I could be of use to you in the future.” Those who knew her agree that the desire to be useful was a defining characteristic of her life. Loizeaux was hired at the Gill School in 1967, initially as a Lower and Middle School librarian. The following year, she began teaching fifth grade. During her time at Gill and later at Gill St. Bernard’s, she took on a range of classroom subjects, including English, French, history, and science. She would, however, be best remembered for her longstanding role as seventh- and eighth-grade algebra teacher. Loizeaux began teaching in mid-life when her three children, William, Margaret, and Christine, were old enough that she could commit to full-time work. That fact makes the length of her career, 45 years with GSB, all the more remarkable. On the occasion of her 80th birthday, local papers wrote about the octogenarian who continued to teach full time. In her interview with the Bernardsville News, Loizeaux said it saddened her when people longed to retire. Professionally, she did what she really wanted for nearly 40 years. With no signs of slowing down, Loizeaux continued to teach and to bring energy, grace, and aplomb to her work. In 2012, she retired at the age of 88, rounding out 45 years of service to the school. Jean Loizeaux is the only person in the history of GSB to have a day named in her honor. During Jean Loizeaux Day, celebrated on her birthday (April 9) each year, Middle School students dressed professionally to honor their teacher as a nod to her high standards and impeccable manners. Longtime colleague and friend Barbara Bator said, “Jean was always so professionally dressed, and when students saw her, they would just tuck in their shirts and stand up straighter. She had so much knowledge and wisdom; just being in her presence, you felt you wanted to be more respectful.” 38

That level of respect helps explain how Jean could single-handedly proctor Middle School study hall every day until 5:30 p.m. With as many as 60 students in her charge, the room would be silent. As colleagues shared, “She was very soft-spoken, but the students knew she meant business. They understood what they were supposed to do, and they did it.” During her time at GSB, Loizeaux worked for six different heads of school. In 1992, she was honored as the first recipient of the Saint Bernard’s (SBS) Chair of Excellence in Teaching: the only award the school confers on a current faculty member. Earning the award in its inaugural year attests to the tremendous admiration afforded her by administrators and fellow teachers. In 2008, the school’s top academic prize was established in her name. In keeping with her commitment to academic excellence, the Jean Loizeaux Award honors the graduating senior with the highest four-year average. The prize was established by the Stinneford-Behot family, whose sons Michael ’03 and James ’07 were privileged, as have been so many other GSB students, to have Loizeaux as their teacher in the seventh and eighth grade. In addition to these recorded honors are hundreds of forgotten conversations and quiet expressions of thanks. According to colleagues, everybody remembered Jean Loizeaux. Whether she was having dinner at a restaurant or shopping for groceries, it was a safe bet that a former student would recognize her, come over to say hello, and let her know how influential her teaching had been. Even after her retirement, she continued to impact young lives, tutoring underserved children with the Agape program in Atlanta. Loizeaux is predeceased by her husband, John G. Loizeaux, Jr.; her sister, Lynn Thompson; her brother, Thomas Poucher; and granddaughter, Anna S. Loizeaux. She is survived by her sisters, Peg Romano and Lois Rogers; her son, Bill [Beth] Loizeaux; her daughters, Meg [Peter] Keller and Christine [Bob] Wright; her grandchildren, Paul [Jenell] Keller, Karl [Hannah Callaghan] Keller, Rebecca Wright, Lisa Jane Wright, Hannah [Matt] Meurer, and Emma [Chester Harvey] Loizeaux; three great-grandchildren and one on the way. Loizeaux requested that memorial donations be sent to Gill St. Bernard’s School. In response, the school established the Jean Loizeaux Scholarship Fund. The fund will benefit a Middle School student (or students) who demonstrates academic excellence and whose families have demonstrated financial need. If you would like to honor Jean Loizeaux by supporting the scholarship fund, please visit gsbschool.org/gift or contact Sarah Quinn Clausen at squinnclausen@gsbschool.org or 908-234-1611, ext. 361.


To reach as many people as possible, the school posted the news of Jean’s passing on its alumni Facebook page. For the next several days, former students and parents continued to share thoughts about Jean’s incredible impact on their lives. Here are some of the excerpted Facebook comments:

I still remember admiring the beautiful peony’s she brought in from her garden each spring.

May her memory forever be a blessing. She instilled discipline and manners that remain with me until this day. She left her imprint on many young minds.

She was a force with a generous heart.

The very definition of “The Warm Demander.” One of the best teachers I ever had, at Gill, or anywhere. Heaven better sharpen its pencils.

One of the best. And yes... I still tuck in my shirt. She taught us so much more than numbers.

Geraldine Pierre Scheide ’48 of Canton, MA,

passed away February 27, 2019, at the age of 89. Gerry was known for her many volunteer efforts and her passion as a painter. She is survived by her three children Bill, Rob (Sarah) and Susan. Gerry also leaves three grandsons: Philip Scheide, Charles Scheide and Sam Scheide.

William Camp ’49 passed away March 10, 2019, in

Perry, GA. Bill received many accolades during his career of more than 50 years in service to the U.S. Army Air Corp. and the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his children; Linnie Camp, Gina Wright, Joel (Paula) Digby, John (Rosemary) Digby, Melvin (Brenda) Digby; 9 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.

Tamazine Saxman Dyer ’58 passed away January 24, 2019, in Painesville, OH. She was the owner operator of Cleveland Gauge Company. Tamazine is survived by her sons, Duff (Julie) Forrest Dyer and Daner H. Dyer; grandchildren, Chase and Brennan Dyer; brother, Edwin Forrest Saxman III; and former husband, Colby (Margie) Dyer.

Hannah Bensley ’65 died March 27, 2019, after a

long illness. She is survived by her brothers, Charlie Bensley and Robert Bensley.

Sean Firtel ’88 passed away April 27, 2019. Sean was cofounder and CEO of West Coast Recovery Centers in San Diego, CA. Sean is survived by his wife Andria Firtel, sister Sari Rich and a loving community of family and friends.

David Farris, GP '11, '13, '15, '17, '17 was a successful

businessman spending many years as Chief Financial Officer for the former Beneficial Corporation. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather to his 7 grandchildren. He also was an avid sports fan who was often seen at Gill boys and girls basketball games, hockey games and other contests over the last decade. More than a fan, he was a founding member of the GSB Board of Visitors, sharing his ideas and experience on a regular basis. In addition, David was a generous philanthropist to many organizations including Gill St. Bernard's School. As well as his support for the annual fund, he was a longtime participant in the GSB Classic as both a sponsor and golfer. He and his wife Jill were among the first, and lead, donors for the recently completed Delivering the Future Campaign. In their honor, the Field House's indoor facility is named Farris Forum. His wisdom, insights, enthusiasm and good humor will be missed.

39


THE BRETT MERSHON TRANQUILITY GARDEN Middle School students and faculty wanted to create a tribute on campus to honor the life of Brett Mershon, a former teacher and administrator who served Gill St. Bernard’s for 30 years, who passed away Oct. 28, 2017. Students scouted the campus for an ideal spot, one that would reflect Mershon’s love of nature and her soft-spoken wisdom. Eventually, they decided on a place near the Scout Cabin, in the fork between two streams. Two benches sit between the two branches of the stream so that anyone visiting the garden is surrounded by the sound of softly moving water. At the end of the year, the Middle School held a gathering in the Tranquility Garden, and Mershon’s husband, Jim, was on hand for the tribute. Although the Tranquility Garden is named in Mershon’s honor, it stands as a remembrance to all those who have passed on from GSB, their lives having enriched our school. It is also simply a quiet place for reflection and renewal.

40 32


The benches for Brett Mershon’s memorial garden were created by woodworking teacher Bob Ort ’89, with help from his students.

garden. To keep the wood from rotting, the benches were placed on slate, another natural material.

Ort started gathering the materials last summer. The tops of the benches are a beautiful live-edge walnut. The legs of the benches are from maple that was donated from Stokes Forest. The donated wood honors Mershon’s love of the outdoors and the annual Middle School trip to Stokes Forest, which was very dear to her. Her deep connection to Stokes was reinforced when several camp counselors from Stokes came to campus for Brett’s memorial service. Similarly, Ort designed the tree pattern cut into the bench legs to symbolize the importance of the great outdoors and the trees at Stokes.

Ort shared, “Having all the students help with Brett’s Tranquility Garden benches represents how much Brett means to all of us. We wanted to create something that would represent her love of teaching and how much she cared about everyone and how she was such a big part of our lives.” He added, “Brett was the one teacher and friend who was with me from the beginning of my teaching career and played a big part of why I love teaching. Losing her at such a young age is very difficult.”

During Ort’s fall woodworking classes, all his students, (grades 5-12), helped sand the benches and apply four coats of outdoor finish. In addition, his students also carried the benches to the

In addition to crafting the benches, student woodworkers sold hand-crafted pens to raise money to honor Mershon. In June, the group donated $1,000 to the National Kidney Foundation in memory of Mershon and Marilyn Dori, a much-loved Upper School Spanish teacher who passed away earlier this year.

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Gill St. Bernard’s School P.O. Box 604 St. Bernard’s Road Gladstone, NJ 07934-0604 908-234-1611 gsbschool.org facebook.com/gsbschool facebook.com/gsbschoolalumni

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For more information, contact: Director of Institutional Advancement Meredith Marks at 908-234-1611, x210 or mmarks@gsbschool.org

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GSB Alumni Magazine: Summer 2019  

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