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NMH Magazine

12 spring/summer

volume 14 • number 2

Northfield Mount Hermon

Head-Elect Peter B. Fayroian Is Ready to Go to Work

IN THIS ISSUE Flipping the Math Classroom The Road from NMH to Afghanistan On the Farm, A Changing of the Guard

NMH Magazine Spring/Summer 2012 Volume 14, Number 2 Editor Jennifer Sutton P ’14 Managing Editor/Photo Editor Sharon LaBella-Lindale Class Notes Editor Sally Atwood Hamilton ’65 Contributors Megan Buchanan Cherry ’91 Susan Pasternack Mary Seymour Kate Snyder Archivist Peter Weis ’78, P ’13 Design Lilly Pereira Class Notes Design HvB Imaging Director of Communications Cheri Cross Head of School Charles A. Tierney III Chief Advancement Officer Allyson L. Goodwin ’83, P ’12, ’14 Northfield Mount Hermon publishes NMH Magazine (USPS074-860) two times a year in fall/winter and spring/summer. Printed by Lane Press, Burlington, VT 05402. NMH Magazine Northfield Mount Hermon One Lamplighter Way Mount Hermon, MA 01354 413-498-3978 Fax 413-498-3021 Class Notes Address Changes Northfield Mount Hermon Advancement Services Norton House One Lamplighter Way Mount Hermon, MA 01354 413-498-3300

NMH Magazine

12 spring/summer

volume 14 • number 2


2 3 4 42 50 104 105

letters leading lines on campus alumni spotlight class notes parting words giving back


12 “ The Work We Do With NMH Students is Going to Change the World.” Head-Elect Peter B. Fayroian is ready to start his new job.

17 Flipping the Classroom

A new teaching method is changing math education. Is it working?

20 Mentors Students perform Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the Rhodes Arts Center

Whether a teacher’s guidance is obvious or subtle, it can last a lifetime.

28 The Road to Afghanistan

In an NMH class, a young man discovers the Middle East.

32 Goal The story of Johnny Mendoza ’12 begins with his family.

34 Empty Rooms Full of History Photographer and teacher Philip Calabria explores the forgotten side of Ellis Island.

Cover photo: Kathleen Dooher Table of contents photo: Glenn Minshall

letters premature departure from the class of 1969. While this looked like an academic dismissal, we saw it as the weeding out of a dissident voice, the silencing of a student by a faculty member. Mr. Hays’ self-servingly narrow vision of the past overlooks the fact that, at least in this case, he was part of the problem, not the solution. Discere et Vivere! Steve Pollock ’69

San Francisco, California To the Editor:  The troubled spring of 1968 and the issues of race at Mount Hermon were brought only into hazy focus by Michael Hays’ letter in the Fall/Winter issue of NMH Magazine. I was the roommate of “Souljoy,” the founder of Mount Hermon’s Afro-American Society and the student now lionized by Mr. Hays. Souljoy’s angry voice taught me lessons of tolerance, respect, and the price of privilege, and by the time of Dr. King’s assassination, the rising tide of black awareness was shaking our relatively sleepy campus. But let’s not get too revisionist and self-congratulatory at the expense of a competing perspective. While “Iron Mike” may take comfort in recalling how he and Mr. Davis brought black and white consensus to a troubled faculty meeting, it was the same Mr. Hays who denied academic credit for Souljoy’s book review of Soul on Ice because he deemed Eldridge Cleaver to be an “inappropriate author,” whatever that means. The result: a failing grade and Souljoy’s 2 I NMH Magazine

To the Editor: Thank you for printing the recipe for the famous Bishop’s Bread that was enjoyed so much back in the day. I thought you might like the recipe for Mrs. Smith’s Swedish coffee cake, too. Mrs. Smith was the housemother at the faculty house back when I stayed there on weekends when I would visit my fiancé, Charles Hume ’51. He taught Bible and Ancient History. He also coached lacrosse and swimming, and was advisor to the camera club. He taught from 1958–1960. We married in June of 1960 just before he started at his first parish as pastor in Southampton. Anyway, we gals always enjoyed Mrs. Smith’s Sunday morning coffee cake and so has my family ever since.

• Add egg/milk mixture to dry ingredients and beat 3 minutes. • Add 1 tablespoon of melted butter and mix well. • Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch square pan. • Pour additional melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. • Bake about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. • Serve warm with butter. To the Editor: The sculpture on the first page of the NMH calendar recalls for me one of the best teachers I had at the school. “Mac” MacAlister Coleman, who created this welded steel, threesided version of the algebraic formula, taught studio art and art history/appreciation in a Recitation Hall classroom with views of the great lawn and towering elm trees before Dutch Elm disease got them. Mac literally opened my eyes and I’ve been engaged in visual work ever since. As a landscape architect, I recently designed bases and settings for two different sculptures that were unusual projects for me, but they reminded me of Mac. He introduced some of us to his

Quaker faith when the Vietnam War was urgently on our minds. His studio on campus at the barns was a magical place to visit, with the heavy sheets of steel he worked with (he had some of the biggest forearms I’ve ever seen). Mac went on to teach for many years at Endicott College and lived in Manchester-by-theSea with his wonderful wife, Peggy, who taught Russian at Northfield. I visited and did a little work with him there, many years ago. As far as I know, they are still active in that area. When Mac did the NMH sculpture, he was in a threesided phase, and I recall him working on female figurative pieces in plaster and carved wood. I had one of these plaster studies for many years in my studio in Orange, Massachusetts. Mac also had a gift for a turn of phrase and a sly, dry humor. Perhaps the sculpture is a good symbolic memorial to Recitation Hall, and the thousands of hours of inspiring thoughts shared within its rooms with beautiful views. Channing Harris ’72

Hamden, Connecticut

Patricia (Johnston) Hume

Naples, Maine Mrs. Smith’s Swedish Coffee Cake • Sift together 1½ cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a pinch of salt. • Place 1 egg in a 1-cup measure and add milk to make 1 cup.

What do you think? NMH Magazine welcomes correspondence from readers. Letters and emails may be edited for length, clarity, and grammar, and should pertain to content in the magazine. Reach us at: NMH Magazine, One Lamplighter Way, Mount Hermon, MA 01354; and at

leading lines by mark chardack ’73

“It Has Been a Privilege”

Reflections from a Northfield Mount Hermon Board Leader

I love our school. That is, by far, the most important thing I can say. Northfield Mount Hermon made a huge difference in my life as a young man, in my self-esteem and my view of the world; it gave me the opportunity to stretch and grow. After I graduated, I began to see, over time, that I owed the school a debt of gratitude. When I was asked to serve on the board of trustees, I saw it as a chance to give back.

educational program. We all have a deep appreciation for the Northfield campus, yet our school is so much bigger than bricks and mortar. No doubt the consolidation has been a big part of our recent success, which incudes our record-setting $88 million capital campaign. When you look today at the energy and caliber of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the wonderful new facilities we have added to the NMH campus—it is nothing short of spectacular. This is an exciting time for NMH. We now are more able than ever to provide academic excellence in a caring residential community and to fulfill our mission of empowering students to act with humanity and purpose. As I reflect on my years of service, one of the great experiThese students have good role models in the many dedicated ences of being a trustee, and then chair, was that I was able to meet people from all parts of our community: not just my peers individuals who love and serve our school with their heads, hearts, and hands. The trustees are passionate, capable, wise, at a reunion, but alumni from across the classes, members of our faculty and staff, and current students. All those remarkable and generous. The faculty and staff continue to amaze all of us with their commitment to the education of young people and opportunities shaped my view of our school and helped me their astute awareness of the needs of today’s students. What understand the needs of our students and alumni. They, along I will miss most is being with these people and working with with the outstanding administrators whom I worked so closely with and whom I admire so much, deserve my heartfelt thanks. them to help shape our school’s future. When I joined the board, I was not yet married and We now are more able than ever to provide academic excellence neither of my two sons had in a caring residential community and to fulfill our mission of been born. Now my older son empowering students to act with humanity and purpose. is about to enroll at NMH as a freshman. I have before me the wonderful opportunity to experience NMH as a parent. I Often people think the board chair makes all the decisions am looking forward to visiting our beautiful campus even more and oversees the school’s operations like a president or chief often than I already do, strolling the grounds, going executive officer. That is not true. The chair’s duty is to move to games, enjoying performances in the Rhodes Arts the board forward on strategic issues, but most important, it is Center, and bringing the rest of my family along. to make sure the board fulfills its fiduciary responsibility and My son’s education at NMH will be separated preserves what is known as intergenerational equity. That means from mine by 40 years. I imagine that his expestudents of the future should get the same or better education rience will eclipse mine. As a trustee, I have as students of the past. Now that promise lies with my successeen and felt the vitality that makes sor, chair-elect Bill Shea ’72. He and I both build on the hard NMH a place where young adults work of chairman emeritus Bill Rhodes ’53, who led us to the can learn and think, challenge path of success that we’re on today and that will benefit the themselves to do things they school for the next century. didn’t know they could do. They My board service was focused on steering our school leave NMH ready to become through the transition from two campuses to one. The decigood citizens. They confirm for sion to consolidate was a difficult one, yet it was guided first by the impact it would have on our students today, and second me that our school’s mission is not just words—we live by it. by the resources we needed to devote to the school’s future

spring/summer 2012 I 3

on campus Down on the Farm, a Changing of the Guard NMH farmers Liam Sullivan ’05, left,

It is the end of an era: After 35 years on the job, farm manager Richard Odman is officially retiring in June. While he will still volunteer occasionally on the little slope of heaven he helped create in the northeastern corner of the campus, he turns over NMH’s farm program to a new director, Liam Sullivan ’05. Sullivan has spent much of the past year learning the ropes alongside Odman and farm assistant Rachel Onuf. For many in the NMH community, Odman is the farm program. He arrived at NMH in 1977 as a counselor and volunteered to assist with the school’s established farm club. A year later, he was appointed farm manager, and in 1979 he began working full-time on the farm and has been at it ever since. He relishes the meaningful contact with students that comes through all the work they do together in the barn 4 I NMH Magazine

and fields—the joking, the rewards of labor, the instruction he passes along, not only in farm tasks but also in life skills. Sullivan was one of the students who soaked it all in. He grew up in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. At NMH, he was a student leader and worked on the farm’s sugaring and summer work crews—and got hooked. He attended UMass Amherst, earning a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences with a focus on sustainable agriculture. “He’s going to do a great job,” Odman says of Sullivan. “Liam gets along with students, and has a natural, easy way about him. He’s friendly and gregarious. Plus, he’s caught on to the whole milking thing.” Following Odman’s example, Sullivan plans to integrate the farm’s products into the school—for example, to grow more

vegetables for use in the dining hall, including storage crops that can be harvested in the fall. Sullivan also brought two goats with him to campus, “to eat all the brush,” he says. (Work job students should be grateful for this addition to the farm menagerie.) Ask Odman what he plans to do after he retires and his answer is both serious and comically evasive. “Just write ‘spaghettitwirling lessons for children, castle building, weaving, writing, and reading,’” he says. He also plans to travel with his partner, Onuf, to California and Chicago, where her work as an archivist often takes her, and to enjoy “not working seven days a week,” he says. Odman’s final contribution to the farm will be a new manure shed and a manure spreader. “I’m looking forward to coming back and using it with the horses,” he says, “even if it’s on a volunteer basis.”

Photo: Glenn Minshall

and Richard Odman

on campus

Photo (left): Ed Judice. (right): Don Varney

Board of Trustees Gets a New Leader As NMH welcomes a new head of school this summer, it also will undergo a leadership change on its 28-member board of trustees. Mark Chardack ’73, the current board chair, will complete his tenure after Commencement. Bill Shea ’72, who joined the board in 2002, was elected late last year by his fellow trustees to assume the role of chair for a three-year term. “I look forward to serving the school that had such a profound effect on my life,” he says. In his decade as a trustee, Shea has served as the vice chair of the board, led the board’s advancement committee, and cochaired the 130th Anniversary Campaign that concluded in 2010 and raised $88 million. More recently, he chaired the search committee that guided the board in its decision to appoint Peter B. Fayroian as NMH’s next head of school. “My main role as board chair will be to assist Peter,” Shea says, “and we are fortunate that NMH is in a very good place right now.” Shea credits the “strong board leadership” of Chardack and previous chair William Rhodes ’53 for steering NMH through the challenges of the past two decades. “We have successfully completed the move to one campus, improved the academic environment while fostering a stronger sense of community, and completed the largest capital campaign in NMH history,” Shea says. The board will continue to be guided by NMH’s mission—to provide an education for the head, heart, and hand—and by the school’s new strategic plan, which the board developed last year and which focuses on academic excellence, a strong community, and financial sustainability. “We will operate in an open and transparent manner and will regularly keep the entire NMH community informed of our initiatives and progress,” Shea says. After his two years at NMH, Shea earned a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He began his business career at IBM, moved to Itel Corp. and the Brae Corp., and in 1984 founded Kelley Transportation Services and Bay Cities Leasing Corp., which he sold to General Electric in 1998. Today he lives in San Francisco with his wife, Elizabeth. They have two children: Allyson, a senior at Columbia University, and Austin, a sophomore at Williams College.

Northfield Campus Update The future of the Northfield campus is still being determined, according to information released in mid-April by owner Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The company, which purchased the core campus from Northfield Mount Hermon in 2009, intends to eventually donate the property to one or more Christian institutions that will operate educational programs on the campus. Hobby Lobby continues to show the campus to prospective occupants and evaluate proposals from dozens of schools and organizations across the country. The company’s original plan was to give the campus to the C.S. Lewis Foundation, which expected to open a new Christian college focused on “Great Books” and the arts. When the foundation did not meet a fundraising deadline of December 31, 2011, Hobby Lobby invited other institutions to submit proposals for the campus. The C.S. Lewis Foundation remains a candidate and is continuing its fundraising efforts.

Among the many interested groups attracted by the legacy of school founder D.L. Moody has been Liberty University of Virginia, which was founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell. This development prompted opposition from a group of alumni, who petitioned the NMH Board of Trustees to take a stand against Liberty University’s potential acquisition of the campus. With signatures from more than 1,000 alumni, the petition characterized Liberty as an institution whose values were inconsistent with D.L. Moody’s legacy. In a statement issued March 9, 2012, board members wrote: “As the owner of the Northfield campus, Hobby Lobby naturally has the right to determine the new user or owner of the Northfield campus. The NMH Board does not have the ability to control the way in which Hobby Lobby transfers its property. Northfield Mount Hermon remains focused on its mission and on providing the best educational program possible.”

spring/summer 2012 I 5

On the Track, She Flies

From Fourth-Liner to Power Player

Here’s how NMH track coaches see Camille Gooden ’12: “A jaw-dropping natural athlete,” says Donald Marshall, the varsity head coach. “The greatest sprinter to ever come out of NMH,” declares Erik Chaput, assistant coach. As an eighth grader in Windsor, Connecticut, Gooden was known for her skills in soccer and lacrosse, but during a casual Field Day game of capture the flag, she surprised everyone, including herself, by racing against star football players and winning. A teacher took Gooden under her wing, and encouraged her to begin competing widely. Gooden went from local meets to national and international competitions before she even started high school. It’s no understatement to say Gooden hit the NMH track flying. During her freshman year, she broke three school records: 100 meters (11.9 seconds), 200 meters (25.33), and long jump (17' 4.25"). She won the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the New school England Championships, and finished secrecords ond in the long jump. Marshall attributes 100 meters Gooden’s early success to “raw talent—an amazing blend of strength, explosiveness, seconds power, and quickness,” he says. 200 meters Gooden contracted Lyme disease her sophomore year and subsequently was injured and seconds sidelined for most of the season. With support from her coach at the time, Bill Batty ’59, and Long jump Michael Corrigan, she returned to 17' 4.25" Chaplain the track as a junior with newfound patience and drive. At the New England Championships, her performance in the 400 meters (56.37) set a new meet record and shattered the 20-year-old NMH record of 57.36. Gooden also set a new NMH record in the 100 meters (11.9) and a New England record in the 200 meters (25.33). Marshall says of Gooden’s New England record-setting 400-meter performance: “The 400 is not just a race of brute force. To run it fast, it must be run well. Camille showed that she not only has pure athletic ability, but has developed a sense of the science of the sport.” A student deacon and a member of Circle of Sisters, a campus affinity group for female students of color, Gooden is a leader as well as a gifted runner. Her goals for her final spring at NMH: “To try something new. To get my team more engaged. To be more of a role model, more of a voice.” And, of course, “to break all my records again.”

In the book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell introduces the “10,000-Hour Rule,” proposing that success in any field depends on the amount of time spent practicing. Brandon Bete ’12, a day student from Greenfield, Massachusetts, embodies that theory, whether he’s at the hockey rink or on the golf course. “I’ve always been a quieter kid, so I try to lead by example, to lead through hard work,” says Bete, who served as a captain of the varsity hockey and golf teams this year. Bete was still in elementary school when he was spotted on the ice by NMH math teacher and golf coach Mace Hemphill. “He played on the same team as my daughter and I knew then that he had talent,” Hemphill says. “Frankly, he was the only boy who would pass the puck to anyone—even to the only girl on the team.”


6 I NMH Magazine

I’ve always been a quieter kid, so I try to lead by example, to lead through hard work.


“No one has worked harder to develop himself into a leading player than Brandon,” says Tom Pratt, NMH’s athletic director and boys’ varsity hockey coach. Bete began his NMH athletic career on the JV hockey team. While he moved up to varsity in his sophomore year, he “was a

little-used fourth-liner, playing occasional JV games in order to aid his development,” Pratt says. Bete trained hard the next summer, and in his junior year was regularly sent onto the ice whenever the team had a “power play,” until a groin injury sidelined him midseason. This year, his last at NMH, Bete barreled back, scoring 27 goals and notching 10 assists in 29 games. As she did at the youth hockey rink, Hemphill also watched Bete grow up on the local golf course, and at NMH, he became her top golfer his freshman year. “He works incredibly hard on his game, constantly keeping fit by working out after practice and entering Junior PGA tournaments,” she says. At one of those tournaments last summer, Bete beat more than 120 of the best golfers in New England, which came as no surprise to Hemphill. “Even when he was just 11 or 12 … he had obvious talent for the game, which requires incredible patience and skill.”

Photos: Risley Sports Photography

on campus

on campus

The Century Club What do Crossley Hall, Ford Cottage, and Schauffler Library have in common? Not only did each building turn 100 years old in the past year, they also were designed by the same architects—Wainright Parish and J. Langdon Schroeder of New York.


“Old” Crossley was originally built in 1886 by F.W. Crossley, an Englishman and friend of D.L. Moody, and named in memory of his young son. The building burned in January 1911, just as students were registering for spring-term classes, but was rebuilt in just eight months. Funding for the enormous reconstruction project came from Mrs. D. Willis James and Mrs. Russell Sage, among others.


Photos (left): Courtesy of NMH Archives. Photo (right): Sharon Lindale


The Georgian Revival style Ford Cottage was funded through a large number of donations from “old boys” and named in honor of Harriet Ford Cutler, who taught Greek and Latin and was the wife of Headmaster Henry Cutler. Mount Hermon alumni returned to campus on the 30th anniversary of the school to break ground for Ford Cottage—by pulling plows.

Last fall, the NMH barn got a new cupola, designed and built with help from NMH alumni and students. The structural beams came from campus evergreens that were felled by a windstorm. Mary MaysharkStavely, whose family helped fund the project in honor of her father, Jim Mayshark ’32, said at the installation, "It looks like it was always supposed to be there.”


Schauffler Library’s donors, Rev. Adolph Schauffler and his wife, Julia, wished to honor Adolph’s father, William, a missionary and translator of the Bible. The library’s original interior included multiple catwalks and mezzanines that hovered over what is now the circulation desk and periodicals room.

Want more NMH history? Visit the NMH Archives blog at

spring/summer 2012 I 7

on campus

Posted @ NMH A selection of online conversations and comments NMH: Check out this video of commencement through the years. How did you celebrate your graduation day? Janet Fox ’62: We threw our sturdies into Perry Pond! NMH: The tradition’s sunny and the sap is flowing, so NMH students are sugaring! Karen Lanphear Malinowski ’77: The old sugar shack used to be behind Wallace. I remember standing too close to where the sap was being boiled down and melting my cool polyester pants. :)

Culture: It’s What’s for Dinner The meal began with an appetizer of fried peanuts. Then: stir-fried greens with egg, chicken with shitake mushrooms, scallion pancakes, sliced beef in a soy broth, dumplings, edamame, spicy tofu, steamed rice. The dishes kept coming, and the three student-chefs remained remarkably calm despite the pressure of cooking for 14 in an unfamiliar kitchen. The kitchen belonged to Meg Donnelly and Glenn Minshall, English teacher and outdoor program director at NMH, respectively, and the Chinese-Taiwanese food was the work of Yu-sheng (Victor) Lin ’13, Chenguang

Liang ’13, and Weijian (William) Shi ’13. Their collaboration was part of a new initiative from NMH’s Center for International Education (CIE) in which a faculty or staff member teams

Chris Clement ’78: A big belated thankyou for the swag…my car is now properly bumper-stickered for the first time in over a decade.

@NMHschool @NMHHoggers @Arts_at_NMH pauline Stevens ’07: Just registered for @NMHSchool reunion 2012…can’t wait. #hoggers #fiveyears #feelslikeyesterday Andrew Taylor ’11: Reading a book about evangelicalism for one of my classes. Naturally there is a section on D.L. Moody. Sweet Honey In The Rock: @NMHSchool We loved being there and you all have a beautiful community of singers. Blessings and much gratitude. Till we meet again. Sarah Messer ’06: Love this, @NMHSchool Flashmob at Founder’s Day? So much more memorable than “mundane” speeches.

8 I NMH Magazine

“The Thinker,” New York, NY, 2011, by Yishan zhang ’14 The artist’s statement: “I think this unique big city is really interesting. I can find tons of people who are happy but even more people are under pressure for many reasons. And the buildings there are amazing and stunning. During Thanksgiving break, I carried my camera in order to photograph every moment that I’m touched by.”

NMH Farm Products on campus

order form

Above from left, Weijian (William) Shi ’13, Yu-sheng (Victor) Lin ’13, and

up with international students to plan and cook a dinner from the students’ home country. Other students, faculty, and staff sign up for a seat at the dinner table. There have been Korean and Turkish dinners in addition to the Chinese meal; a Mexico-focused event also was in the works. The goal, said Lorrie Byrom, director of the CIE, is “to allow international students more focused attention in the NMH community and more chances to share information with their peers about their country.” In the Donnelly-Minshall kitchen, Lin explained that he and his fellow chefs were making common Chinese food, “so it’s a great way to introduce our culture.” Liang chimed in: “I liked cooking when I was in China.” The

students’ culinary experience comes in handy, since, by her own admission, Donnelly does not cook. “I live at a boarding school for a reason,” she joked. “But I love anything that celebrates different cultures.” The meal was a good lesson for the guests, who perhaps equated Chinese food with General Gao’s chicken and fried rice, dishes Lin dismissed as “too Americanized.” “You know what I learned? That texture is really important,” Donnelly said. Shi confirmed this: “We like lots of things to be glutinous, to have that feeling like gummy bears. It just tastes better.” Hence the appearance on the table of stir-fried rice cakes (a sticky, round rice noodle) with cabbage and scallion, which the dinner guests agreed were chewy and delicious.

The dishes kept coming, and the three studentchefs remained remarkably calm despite the pressure of cooking for 14 in an unfamiliar kitchen.

Dinner photos: Glenn Minshall. Farm photo: Sharon Lindale

Chenguang Liang ’13 prepare dinner.

Download an order form at nmh-farm-products or return a copy of this order form, along with a check payable to Northfield Mount Hermon, to: Farm Program, NMH, One Lamplighter Way, Mount Hermon, MA 01354. Please attach mailing instructions to your order. All prices include shipping. Please note: The minimum order for each mailing address is $25.

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spring/summer 2012 I 9

Who • What • Why Who I Atta Kurzmann, NMH outreach coordinator and adjunct faculty member What I Sunday evening meditation Why I She wants to help students calm down, explore their inner worlds, and have a few moments of peace. So many of us lead busy, multitasking lives. We go from place to place, from one responsibility to the next; our minds jump from the past to the future and back again. “Kids— people—start to feel disconnected from their own personal source of energy and understanding,” says Atta Kurzmann, who guides a small weekly meditation group in Memorial Chapel in addition to running NMH’s student outreach program. “We all need a time to settle and to not be thinking about all the things going on in our lives. Calming the mind is a refreshing kind of experience.”

Northfield Mount Hermon Summer Session ���� 30-������ 4, 2012

Kurzmann heads to the chapel after dinner every Sunday to guide students (a core group of six or seven and usually a curious visitor or two) in a variety of traditional meditations. A recent session included gentle stretching, a walking meditation, a sitting meditation, and, at the end, a snack and casual conversation about the students’ experiences that evening. Kurzmann, who retired last year from teaching full-time (in NMH’s visual arts, religion, and psychology departments) but still teaches Eastern religion and yoga classes, has led campus meditation groups on and off for years in order to “answer a need that the kids have,” she says. “I initially tried it because I’d spent the past year doing

meditation on my own and I decided I wanted more formal instruction,” says Teagan Atwater ’12. “I continue to go back because I have developed a strong connection with everyone…and walking away afterward completely at peace is a very positive reward.” Sound simple? Kurzmann cautions her students not to expect an instant bliss trip. “Meditation is a skill that has to be developed, like playing the piano,” she says. “The mind is constantly moving, so you have to teach it to be present and focused—and that’s hard. It wanders; you bring it back. It’s kind of like training a puppy. With consistent and caring attention, the puppy eventually will listen to your wishes and become your best friend. It’s the same with the mind.”

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10 I NMH Magazine

Photo: Glenn Minshall

on campus

on campus

by Peter Weis ’78

Harris Cottage

The Century Club, Part Two

Photos: Courtesy of NMH Archives

A canning factory, a power plant, and a home for the “King of West Hall”

Today, Northfield Mount Hermon is almost exactly a century removed from a wave of magnificent campus construction: Between 1907 and 1913, nearly a dozen major projects were completed on both campuses, including Alumni Hall (1909), James Gymnasium (1910), Sage Chapel (1909), and Gould Hall (1912). But as the school celebrates the centennial of several remarkable buildings on the NMH campus (see p. 7), it is worth recalling three other buildings that are less proudly hailed. The tale of the first building may well be a precedent for NMH’s current interest in “green” or “sustainable” initiatives. Richard L. Watson, Class of 1891, had worked briefly at Martha Berry’s Industrial School in Rome, Georgia, before returning to his alma mater to work as the supervisor of the dining hall. He brought with him the idea to start a canning operation for the storage of vegetables and fruits from the school’s agricultural enterprises. So it was that Mount Hermon boys built the canning factory, beginning with the manufacture of the concrete blocks right on campus.

The Stanley Ward Power Plant

By the 1920s, inexpensive gas refrigeration made the canning process obsolete. But if the process was outmoded, the building was not; it became the headquarters for the physical plant office, housing the plumbing and carpentry shops. In 1966, the building found a third use as a dormitory and was named for Carroll Rikert, Class of 1913. It was fitting that a building of so many uses would honor the man who worked tirelessly for the school in multiple capacities, retiring in 1959 as the director of plant and property. Richard Watson figures in the story of the second building as well. By 1907, he had a growing family, with three daughters and a son. A house, named Harris Cottage after a donor, was built near Dwight’s Home for the Watson clan (the youngest would be born there). In 1935, “The King of West Hall,” as Watson was known, left the cottage after watching all five of his children—including his daughters—graduate from Mount Hermon. This house— with the best view on campus, according to those who lived there—was next home to head librarian Elliott Fleckles ’21, but,


as time went on, the place attracted more than its fair share of English teachers and their families: T.D. lived there; so did Bill Batty ’59. Today, more than a century after the Watsons first moved in, David Dowdy continues that tradition. The third lesser-revered centennial building lies across campus. As early as 1902, plans were floated to construct a central steam-heating plant (by 1905, one had been built with good results at Northfield), and in 1909, construction began on what is now the Stanley Ward Power Plant. Originally, the plant provided both heat and electricity, but as electrical demands increased over time, this system became impractical; today, the plant provides only steam heat, though fuel sources have varied with the times. Originally, the plant burned coal. In 1964, it switched to oil. In the early 1980s, it briefly burned wood chips, but soon was burning oil again, as it does today. On a cold morning, one can look down the hill, observe the thin white plume rising from the brick stack behind the Rhodes Arts Center, and be grateful: It’s a sign the campus is warm.

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The work we do with kids at NMH is going to change the world. Northfield Mount Hermon’s head-elect is Peter B. Fayroian—a leader in independent schools across the country, not to mention an English teacher, outdoor educator, tennis player, and new father. On July 1, his new job begins, and so does a new era at NMH. Photos by: Kathleen Dooher and Myra Klarman

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spring/summer 2012 I 13

What attracted you to NMH? The mission: head, heart, and hand. If, upon arriving on campus, I had found this to be merely catchy and not a commitment, I wouldn’t have pursued this opportunity. I was also attracted to the size— large enough to provide a breadth of opportunities and resources for students but not so huge that you lose track of kids. I was also intrigued by NMH’s focused approach to academics, its history of social justice, the work program, and the resources it puts into the arts and athletics. What are your impressions of the school so far? As much as I love the school’s remarkable setting, it is my encounters with the people of NMH that are resonating. I am finding that this isn’t just a place to work or go to school or get a diploma; there’s a passion for this experience. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve received letters and calls from nearly a hundred alums from around the country and the world. They’re saying, “Welcome. Love that place. Here’s my story.” When you begin work on July 1, what will your approach be? What will you do first? Any work I do has to come from a place of understanding and appreciation for what goes on at NMH. The first year is less about making big changes and more about learning and growing with the community. I’m going to get to as many people as I can possibly get to, hear their stories, understand their history with the school. From there, I’ll be able to help. What do you see as the key components, or priorities, of NMH’s next chapter? After undergoing so much necessary change in its recent history, NMH now has firm footing from which to communicate its strengths to the world. I think it says so much that the school has been able to embrace change and reinvent itself without losing its focus and commitment to its mission. This is a great opportunity for NMH to dedicate its resources to upcoming building projects and to 14 I NMH Magazine

strengthen the programs that historically have made the school unique. One of the changes NMH has undergone is the sale of the Northfield campus, which came as an unwelcome decision for some in the school community. How will you address their concerns? For many people, this change meant loss. We should not underestimate that. And it’s not just about losing the Northfield campus; it’s about losing a part of themselves. I went to a huge public high school and the building was razed. I’m not particularly fond of my high school experience, and I don’t have any allegiance to it, but I still get a little wistful when I drive by and I see that my old school isn’t there. And I didn’t have onethousandth of the love for my school that Northfield folks do. So I will try to understand their passion and what made that campus in particular so special to them. Once I get that, then I can invite them into a discussion about how NMH on one campus in 2012 still has everything that they loved about NMH on two campuses 10 or 20 years ago, or 50 years ago, when the schools were separate. How would you describe your leadership style? A school is best served when it takes advantage of a leader’s strengths and passions, and finds other people or other ways to take care of the other stuff. In a nutshell, I let people do their jobs, provide them the resources to do them well, and trust

them, with the understanding that this must all happen within an agreed-upon rubric of accountability. If NMH will be best served by taking advantage of your strengths and passions, what are they? I like working with people. I like conflict. I know that sounds crazy, but it doesn’t mean I instill conflict; it means I enjoy solving problems and working with people to figure out the best way to do something. I love the energy of a lot of people, a lot of great minds, of getting together and orchestrating it so that those people can do their best. I’m able to get a lot out of people because I respect what they bring to the table. What is your most important qualification for this job? I love kids. In high school, they’re still kids; I don’t mistake them for college students. At the same time, I never underestimate what they’re capable of doing. It sounds like a cliché, but they truly are our future as a society and civilization, so the work that we do with kids on the NMH campus is going to change the world. That is my passion. How will you balance the responsibilities of a modern-day head of school: being an integral part of a campus community and also traveling off campus, sometimes far and wide, to meet with other members of the school community? That balance is exactly what I look forward to. I expect my time with students and teachers while on campus to be meaningful, and the time I spend away from campus equally meaningful to the greater NMH community. The senior administrative team at NMH is very strong, and I know they will be a tremendous support in this effort. Describe your family background. I was raised in an Armenian home outside Detroit; I’m the youngest of five

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve received letters and calls from nearly a hundred alums from around the country and the world. They’re saying, ‘Welcome. Love that place. Here’s my story.’

and the only boy. Needless to say, I got used to being the center of attention, for better or for worse. But my sisters are a lot older than I am, so I was, for the most part, an only child, arguably even feral at times. My father was a graphic artist—a lithographer—and my mother worked odd jobs, mostly in retail, and they were strongly supportive of all my interests. They were lovers of music, and my sisters became really accomplished musicians; I grew up in diapers listening to them play. My three oldest sisters are a year apart, and they formed a trio and they traveled around the country and got a lot of press. There was always some article in the newspaper that mentioned the three sisters and then the fourth sister, who also played music, and then—I remember this particular quote: “And there’s Peter, 6. He plays football.” What kind of kid were you in high school? I went to high school in a massive factory that did its best to maintain control over nearly 4,000 kids. It’s probably no coincidence, given what I do now, that I was the president of my class and president of the student council. I navigated, I think deftly, the different cultures of the school. I was a good student, a decent athlete, concertmaster of the orchestra. I think I ended up being someone people trusted.

Fayroian with his wife, Rachael Waring Fayroian, and their daughter, Sofia, who was born in February.

How did that experience lead you toward becoming an educator? I liked learning and my teachers, and for that reason, I was pretty much left alone, unfortunately. I could have used some guidance. Even then, I knew there was something I was missing. I remember sitting in my AP history class with 40 other students while the teacher read the paper, and I was thinking: There HAS to be a better way. At 24, when I took my first job in an independent school, I understood what that was. I got it right away. What does a great teacher look like? That’s easy. A great teacher makes every kid in his or her classroom feel valued, and feel like she or he has something important to bring to the table. A great teacher gets kids to places they are able to reach, understanding that there are different ways to get there. It’s about lighting fires, not filling pails. What do you consider the biggest challenges in secondary education today? So much more is asked of secondary schools these days as we prepare young people for a highly competitive world. Our students must be technologically savvy, able to navigate territory that most schools are just beginning to understand. American colleges are no longer just bigger prep schools; they are international marketplaces. And knowledge is no longer held in the hands of a few, passed on by teachers who themselves learned how to impart

SEARCH PROCESS The NMH Board of Trustees appointed Peter Fayroian head of school last December, following a seven-month, nationwide search. “We sought a proven leader whose educational vision would resonate with the deepest meaning of NMH’s heritage and mission,” says outgoing board chair Mark Chardack ’73. The Head Search Committee, led by Bill Shea ’72, managed the process and involved the entire NMH community. Faculty, staff, students, parents, and alumni were invited to meet each of the final candidates and provide feedback. The Parents Council and the Head Search Advisory Committee supplied invaluable guidance. Head of School Search Committee Seth Alvord ’89, trustee Claude Anderson P ’11, dean of enrollment John Berg ’80, trustee Mark Chardack ’73, board chair Margaret Clark P ’11, trustee Vicky Jenkins, faculty Kristin Kellom ’80, director of donor relations Jeff Neill ’97, faculty Liz Hall Olszewski ’87, former trustee Bill Shea ’72, trustee and search committee chair Head Search Advisory Committee Paula Carr ’77, P ’13, investment and finance administrator Betsy Compton ’72, trustee Grant Gonzalez, faculty Mary Hefner P ’06, ’09, ’11, faculty Wilson Josephson ’12 Rich Messer P ’06, ’13, director of dining services A’Dorian Murray-Thomas ’12 John & Carmelina Tonkinson P ’12, ’14 Joan Vander Vliet ’48

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It says so much that NMH has been able to embrace change and reinvent itself without losing its focus and commitment to its mission.



it from their own teachers. Knowledge is now a shared experience, and it’s incumbent upon our schools to teach young people how to acquire it and collaborate in the process.

the world now, not just the Northeast, not just the U.S. How can we take advantage of kids being accepted into college earlier to shift some of our priorities in order to help them better prepare for a global world? If, for some kids, their high school career is ostensibly completed by the end of the fall, then maybe we can provide them with a different kind of educational experience before they go off to college.

What is different for high school students today? What are we gaining and what price do we pay? So much happens earlier. Going to college used to be something aspirational, not for everyone. Even when I started teaching 25 years ago, kids didn’t apply to college until they were well into their last year of high school, if not toward the end. Now it’s not unusual for them to already be accepted to a college in November. That has to affect our high schools. But since there’s nothing we can do about it, I’d rather think of it in terms of opportunities. One thing we can think about is how to make the senior year look a little different. We’re preparing kids for

How does experiential education prepare teenagers to navigate life after high school? When I first started as an experiential educator, it was mostly about outdoor education, environmental education. Now it’s about kids taking an active role in their learning as opposed to just sitting passively in their seats and getting barraged with information that they need to memorize and repeat. Both approaches are about getting kids out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s on a river, in the woods, or in an unfamiliar city, they’re experiencing disequilibrium, and they need to depend upon each other and themselves. The playing field becomes absolutely level. It doesn’t matter where

If happiness were the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? and other questions. In between shaking many hands and meeting dozens of NMH community members when he visited campus, Peter Fayroian gave interviews to two student publications, The Bridge and The Hermonite. Among the reporters’ questions: 1 Assume for a moment that you’re leading a group of students on a week-long canoe trip near the Canadian border. Your party pulls to the side of the river to cook dinner, but as you are unloading the canoes, there is a flash flood. The canoes and camping supplies are lost. You have no map, no food. It will be dark in a few hours. What is your course of action? 2 If happiness were the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? 3 What is the best way to get pepper spray off your skin? 4 A great philosopher once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Do you agree? 5 Where is the safest place to stand outside in a thunderstorm? 6 What’s something you do differently than most people?

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you’re from or what you’ve brought to the table. Kids find out things about themselves that they wouldn’t otherwise. Ultimately, it’s about taking risks and solving problems with other people, and learning what kind of roles you take in that process. Leading a boarding school is a lifestyle as much as it is a job. Why do you want this lifestyle? I want for my family the kind of life I saw young families living on my previous boarding school campuses. I can’t think of a better place for a young child than a boarding school campus, surrounded by a diverse group of thoughtful, intelligent, and compassionate people. Some accuse boarding schools of not being the real world; I think it’s the ideal world. And I like being able to eat as much as I want in the dining hall. Where did you and your wife, Rachael, meet? What do you admire about her? We met at Zingerman’s, perhaps the best and most famous deli outside of New York City. Rachael is the most positive and grounded person I know. No matter how engaged she gets in her work, no matter what hand she’s been dealt, she goes right to what really matters: taking care of each other and others. What kind of father do you think you’ll be? I joke with Rachael that we’ll be lucky if our kids make it to high school with all their fingers, because I am apt to say, “I don’t think you should, but go ahead and see what happens when you stick your hand in there.” I’ll let you know how that works out in a few years. If you were a student at NMH, what work job would you be attracted to, and why? If there were a student award for Most in Need of a Shower, I’d win it. I’d spend as much time as possible in the barn and gardens on the farm.



the Classroom

By Kate Snyder

photos by: Glen Minshall and Sharon Lindale

Online video lessons in dorm rooms, homework problems in class—a new teaching method is beginning to change math education. Is it working?

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fig. 1 fig. 2

fig. 3

Dick Peller’s BC Calculus students file into the classroom carrying heavy-looking bags. They find their seats and pull out their books, settling in. To an observer, this looks like an ordinary math class. It’s not. fig. 1 NMH math teachers record video lessons on tablet computers, or assign instructional videos created by online schools. fig. 2 Students watch and listen to the videos on electronic devices such as computers, tablets, or smartphones. fig. 3 In class, students work together on “homework” problems—and consult with their teachers.

The students in this class are on the crest of a pedagogical movement called the “flipped classroom,” in which technology becomes an integral part of the teaching process, and the role of teachers is transformed from lecturer to learning coach. Here’s how it works: Students watch videos of lectures at home or in their dorms before class, and solve and discuss homework-type problems in class—rather then listening to a lecture during class and practicing problems for homework. By blending cutting-edge and traditional teaching methods, the teachers are providing students with a nimble learning environment in which person-to-person interaction—between teacher and student, among students—dramatically increases. The NMH math department is in its second year of experimenting with this movement. A handful of teachers, including department chair Dick Peller, record videos that explain mathematical concepts for students to watch, or they ask students to watch videos on the Khan Academy website, which is essentially a library of math and science lessons. (Salman Khan, a former hedge-fund manager, started the site after video clips he recorded to tutor his cousins went viral on YouTube.) Students also are encouraged to visit websites like www.—virtual study groups where learners ask questions and post answers for one another. Math teacher Taylor Russell ’06 says that when students prepare for class by watching a video lecture and spend class time working through problems, he has more time to talk with individual students and to foster both interaction among students and student-initiated learning.

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Many students appreciate the flip. “Incorporating technology comes naturally to us,” says Steven Liu ’14, a student in Peller’s BC Calculus class. “When we combine it with what we do in class, we can cling to it; it’s more visceral. Digging through the textbook and listening to the teacher is not effective for everyone. This way, we learn in our own way. It’s innovative.” “The kids in my class were staying overtime to do their ‘homework,’” says Russell, who teaches Honors Algebra and Precalculus. “I had to kick them out at the end of class. I like that. It shows me they’re more engaged and not rushing out the door.” Russell and other teachers in the math department describe their approach as the “blended classroom,” because they alternate between flipped and traditional

lem,” she says. “There’s a lot of practicing.” Proponents of the flipped method assert that this freedom for students to grasp an idea quickly the first time, or to repeat lessons as needed so a new idea becomes ingrained, leads to a fuller comprehension of the material. Khan’s data show that by allowing students to progress at their own pace, the pupils who are slow to learn an idea eventually catch up and perform at the same level as the students who understand quickly. In essence, each student learns how to learn. But all that exposure to a single idea isn’t for everyone. “Sometimes it’s a bit repetitive,” says Caitlin Ramsey ’12. “Sometimes it’s helpful to see it in a different way. But sometimes you tune it out.” The method doesn’t suit every teacher, either. Math teacher Mark Yates

experimented with the method for two weeks, but found that only supermotivated students persisted when the video presented a concept they didn’t understand or a question arose. His colleague John Christiansen uses the method for math classes and for coaching baseball and football, and says its potential in sports is “huge.” But as a dorm parent, he has observed plenty of kids “watching” Khan math videos while also emailing or instant messaging. “They know the teacher would help them catch up in class,” he says. Yates also found that the flipped method lacked a mechanism to help a particular student whose academicsupport needs were great—and to reassure the student’s parent, who was skeptical. This parent “had made an investment in the school for its great teaching,” Yates says. She felt the video learning was depriving her child of it. Russell’s experience says otherwise. With the flipped method, “I’m free to do a lot more one-on-one,” he says. Even though teachers are using technology to convey ideas, according to Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, what’s happening—perhaps counterintuitively— is that their freedom to spend more class time interacting with students is humanizing education. Dean of Faculty Hugh Silbaugh, who teaches English, isn’t using the flippedclassroom method, but he and other NMH humanities teachers are experimenting with different technologies. For example, Silbaugh uses an iPad application called Explain Everything to grade his students’ papers; instead of minuscule notes in a margin, students receive a fourminute video of Silbaugh evaluating their work. They get thorough feedback on a platform they relate to, he says. Technology also “gives kids a sense of agency in their own learning,” he says.

“They learn the material, they collaborate, they stretch.” NMH is among many independent schools investing in new technologies in the classroom. The Eight Schools Association, a boarding school group of which NMH is a member, is planning a summer conference on the subject, and NMH is devoting professional development time to hosting and participating in classroom-technology online seminars. “We’re right on this,” Silbaugh says. “We’re working hard to create a buzz among the faculty.” It is helpful that Peller has taken a lead by introducing the flipped-classroom method at NMH. “To see a veteran teacher who’s got a long track record embrace a new possibility and reinvent himself as a teacher is astounding,” Silbaugh says. Back in Peller’s BC Calculus classroom, the students are getting coached on how to prepare for a test at the end of the week. Peller’s whiteboard notes say: • Read the book, especially the examples • Go over homework, redo problems • Read your journal • Review class notes • Watch Khan videos • Work in a study group • Use Peller finds the mix of high-tech learning and old-fashioned hitting the books inspiring. “Technology is what kids are living with, and they’re receptive to it,” he says. “I know what it’s like to listen to a lecture and feel your eyes glaze over.” It’s important, he says, paraphrasing a quotation he recently read, to “be bold and discard what’s no longer appropriate.” Yes, says Silbaugh—but learning how to think differently about technology and education takes getting used to. “I’m such a traditional paper-and-text guy,” he says. “It’s challenging. [Pause.] And it’s liberating.” [NMH]

Even though teachers are using technology to convey ideas, what’s happening—perhaps counterintuitively—is that their freedom to spend more time during class interacting with students is humanizing education.

teaching methods, depending on the material. Russell says he uses the flipped method about a quarter of the time. Alison Kennedy ’12, a postgraduate in Peller’s class, says that students can be exposed to ideas multiple times: in a Khan or Peller video, in the problem-solving work done in class, in a subsequent viewing of the video, and in examples explained by the teacher. “You can also ask [students at] your table to go over a difficult prob-

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Mentors 20 I NMH Magazine

Interviews by Jennifer Sutton Photographs by Edward Judice

There are teachers who inspire students, challenge them, help them do great things at NMH and in the world. And there are students who return the favor. spring/summer 2012 I 21

At NMH, faculty and students live, learn, and work in close proximity. Mentoring happens naturally. Whether a teacher’s guidance is obvious or subtle, it helps form the foundation of an NMH education— and that can last a lifetime.

James Greenwood Director of Multicultural Education History and Social Science teacher

Spencer Russell ’08 Amherst College ’12

Spencer: We met in the dorm my senior year, which was James’s first year at NMH. My first impression was: That’s a well-dressed man. Bright pink tie and some kind of sweater vest. Later, I couldn’t find my roommate one night, and it was maybe 11:30 and he was supposed to be in the room. I checked all over the dorm. Then I figured I’d check James’s apartment. And my roommate was in there, working on his college essay, watching the Lakers game. That was when I realized I could come in and hang out, watch TV, eat some good food. So I did, all the time. It was very homelike, and James was there to talk with. It was nice to feel a little bit like you were away from the dorm, away from school. James: Since Spencer is the youngest of four, with two older brothers, I think that was also something he was looking 22 I NMH Magazine

for. And I have a younger brother, so that kind of connection is important to me, too. The relationship I have with Spencer is something that I wanted when I was Spencer’s age and didn’t have. So I knew I wanted to go into education. I thought I had a skill for identifying potential and encouraging it, particularly helping young men of color be successful and stay positive. I do feel that same sense of pride that parents get. But Spencer once introduced me to someone and said I was “like a father,” and my first thought was, “I’m not that old. How about an older brother?” Spencer: I’ve gotten a lot of support from James that’s been consistent over the last five years, both during my last year at NMH and since then at Amherst—academically, socially, and then also professional advice, how to move

things forward, helping to figure out what I’m doing after I graduate. Last year, James helped me look at internships for the summer, which is how I ended up working at NMH. James: He was a summer school intern, and he lived in the dorm with middle schoolers, the youngest kids here for the summer. Just watching the amount of attention and thought and effort that Spencer put into their care, as well as his lesson planning for class, it was evident that he was really trying to do a good job and trying to impart wisdom

and be a good role model for the students. What always struck me was how compassionate Spencer is. When he was at NMH, there was a student in school who had a lot of difficulties, and he could be challenging for faculty, and for other students to live with. But Spencer was always reaching out to him and defending him and he genuinely seemed to enjoy this kid. Spencer tended to gravitate toward students who had a little more social difficulty, who were the underdogs, and he would make it kind of a mission to build them up.

Meg Donnelly English teacher Tennis coach

Kyra White ’12 Enters St. Lawrence University in fall 2012 Meg: I met Kyra in Humanities I, so I was her freshman English teacher. It wasn’t pretty. Kyra: I’ve come a long way since then in terms of learning, but back then maybe I took my frustrations out the wrong way. I had never had a teacher before who pushed me to find an answer because they knew I was capable of doing it. I wasn’t used to a teacher who was so intuitive and who made the experience of learning so personal. It was a little overwhelming. Meg: I knew I wasn’t seeing Kyra for who she really was, but I couldn’t get there because she wasn’t passing the

vocabulary quizzes. She’s deeply reflective, yet she was feeling more and more diminished in class. There were tears involved. I remember thinking, “She hates me.” I don’t usually have students who hate me, but that’s how it felt. A year and a half later, I saw Kyra’s name on the list for the New Zealand study-abroad trip, and I thought, “Does she know that I’m leading the trip?” Kyra: I’d wanted to go to New Zealand since the beginning of freshman year. We learned about the country for three weeks at school and then we went there and actually saw what we had been studying. It was really powerful to be learning so much all the time and not be in a classroom. Meg was still asking all these questions, but it was easy to think about them in that kind of setting. We did a lot of journaling in

New Zealand and everything was so inspiring to write about. Meg: In New Zealand, Kyra became a student in a way I hadn’t been able to see before. She just blossomed. She knew every vocabulary word that had anything to do with the Maori. She was determined to know the language, every detail. She could correct anybody on pronunciation. It’s important to Kyra to be respectful of other people and cultures; she’s really sensitive to insensitivity. And she did not want to get it wrong in New Zealand. She became a tiger about getting it right. Kyra: One of the things I learned from Meg is to make connections, like between two different books, or between a book and something happening in real life. Throughout the whole trip to New Zealand, we

thought about the connections between the different people we met and the places we visited and the emotions we felt. Meg: I’ve always been a believer in experiential education, but I’ve never seen a more dramatic example of its effects than through Kyra. She taught me to remember that all of my students have talents besides English. I just need to find out what those talents are, honor them, and then slip in some English. Kyra: I think Meg is courageous as an educator because of the things she’s not afraid to ask her students. She sacrifices her own feelings in order to help a student understand something, and she does that knowing that not every student is going to accept it positively. She is always determined to give students the opportunity to thrive.

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Yvonne-Marie Sain ’02 Cornell ’06 Performer with Dana Foglia Dance and Broadway Underground Dance teacher in New York and Connecticut

Gretel Schatz Dance Program Director

GRETEL: I really admired Yvonne’s tenacity, because she auditioned [for dance company] and didn’t get in, but she kept working, she took feedback, and she was positive and funny and spunky about it. I love my students who just want to give dance a try, but Yvonne was driven. Once she got into dance company, she stayed. And she lived next door to the dance studio on the Northfield campus, so there was this really natural way of bumping into her. I think our personalities are similar, too—we’d just rather be in the dance studio.

of here, you can be a dancer.” Then I thought, “There’s hope for me. I can do something I love.”

Yvonne: Dancing was what got me through the day sometimes. I had always thought that if you wanted to be a dancer, you had to drop out of school and study ballet six hours a day—until Gretel told me, “You can dance for the rest of your life. As soon as you get out

Yvonne: It was hard, mentally—going to a different place, a different aesthetic, and learning all these different things and thinking, “This is weird.” Gretel made me understand that you should try to learn everything.

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Gretel: So much of my work is about getting rid of the prima donna posturing. Having this attitude about being the best dancer is not going to make you a good dancer. It’s about learning from others rather than wanting to have the best pirouette. We need to look to each other and see what we can learn, and Yvonne jumped right into that right away. There was never any junk.

Gretel: Ballet is important; it’s like learning grammar. But once you know your grammar, you can write in all different styles. Yvonne: I remember feeling drawn to Gretel because I wanted to be like her. It sounds crazy, right? But I loved the way she was creative, and I felt like we were making fun stuff, even though sometimes it was dark and sometimes it was confusing. It was cool. Gretel pushed us like that. I can’t tell you how many things I tell my students, word for word, that I remember Gretel telling me 12 years ago, about discipline and work ethic—learning what worked for me and holding onto that and making sure I give those same things back to my students.

David Dowdy English teacher Catholic confirmation teacher

Ryan Kelly ’12 Enters Duke University in fall 2012 Ryan: Back home, I didn’t go to church every Sunday. I went when my dad thought it would be good to go, maybe one or two Sundays a month. When I got to NMH, the friends I was hanging around with were Catholic and they got me to go, and once I started going, I remembered how much my faith meant to me. David: It was Ryan’s second year, in confirmation class, that we really got to know each other. It was a yearlong class. We met for 90 minutes, two nights a

week, and we’re talking about very big matters in a very personal way. When Ryan’s mother fell ill, of course we needed to talk then. Ryan: Without Mr. Dowdy’s help, I wouldn’t have been able to hold onto my faith as strongly as I did. He always kept me positive and showed me what my faith could do for me. He lost his daughter a while back, and to see someone who’s relying on his faith to get through a death in the family was inspirational. It showed me that I could do it, too. David: What was impressive was that Ryan didn’t turn tail and run. His mother is dying and

then she dies, and most people his age that I’ve known would just say, “To hell with it all. There is no God. There is no meaning in life.” What I saw in Ryan was: “I don’t understand it, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to throw everything away.” This is really rare. The other thing was that Ryan was willing to be open with me, instead of just playing the tough guy. I’ve had students who’ve experienced serious events, disasters, and they just tough it out; their way of dealing is they don’t talk. Ryan was willing to talk. He allowed himself to be honest and vulnerable, but he also was determined.

Ryan: I felt weak inside and all that, but I knew that I had to keep pushing. My mother would have wanted me to keep going in school and do as well as I can and not let this hinder my education and my progression in life. David: Ryan thinks I was inspiring him. In fact, he was inspiring me. I keep an eye on him. And he got me involved with volleyball last year because he and a bunch of his buddies joined the team. I don’t think I had ever been to a boys’ volleyball game, but I went to three of them last year. It was kind of a record for me.

spring/summer 2012 I 25

 T essa Gobbo ’09 Brown University ’13

 Vi cky Jenkins Math teacher Crew coach

 H arriet Booth ’09 Brown University ’13

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Who was your mentor at NMH? Let us know who had an influence on you. Email us at Tessa: I decided to row because I was tall and people said I should row. That was it. I knew nothing about it except for that scene in Dead Poets Society where they row for two seconds. But it became really important to me right away; it’s the ultimate competitive sport. And ever since then, Vicky has had to deal with me. I figured out where her office was and when her duty hours were and she never kicked me out.

Vicky: These girls are very good friends, total opposites, and I had to learn how to communicate with each of them. With Tessa, it’s getting her to settle down and listen. She’s a bundle of really wonderful energy, optimistic, hypercompetitive, always wanting to do stuff. And Harriet has a work ethic that says, “That is where I want to be and dammit, I’m going to get there”—that was absolutely her strength. But she doesn’t deal with frustration easily. Harriet: Vicky kept me sane when I was freaking out with stress freshman year—there was a ton of work and you don’t really know what’s going on. Vicky is someone you can always talk to, and we basically followed her around. I was in one of her math classes, so I’d ask her homework questions, and there was always crew stuff to talk about. She was just fun to hang out with. Tessa: I learned a lot of people skills from observing Vicky. She has a way of respecting everybody, even when they’re not on the same page as her. It’s a valuable thing to know about people—that they always have something to offer. Vicky: My whole thing is turning kids on to sports, to help them believe in themselves, to know that they can obtain goals they thought were unobtainable. But with kids, you often don’t know how far you can push them until you’ve pushed them too far. If you’ve got a kid who is just getting excited about sports and you put them through a practice that kills them, they might get scared and say, “I’m not coming back.” Tessa and Harriet would say, “No, we can do harder workouts.” Or “You can expect more of us.” Or “Let’s do this instead of that.” They didn’t realize they were leaders, but they were communicating with me in a way that allowed the team to keep working at higher and higher levels. They also demonstrated that you can do this really hard work, but you can also laugh and bring other kids along because you’re having fun. You come to school every day with these kids but it’s not until later, when you see where they go and what fabulous people they are turning into, that you realize: Some of my strokes helped put that painting together. [NMH] spring/summer 2012 I 27

In an NMH class, a young man discovers the Middle East, and a journey begins. story and photos By Matt Trevithick ’04


The Road to



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1. C  hildren fishing off an abandoned Russian tank in Panjshir Valley, Afghanistan 2. The author in Panjshir Valley 3. Beirut, Lebanon 4. Damascus, Syria

AK-47s in hand, they step out onto the street and nod approvingly at the approaching SUV, scanning the rest of the road for anything out of place. They come back inside, shutting the gates quickly behind an old Toyota Land Cruiser. Another radio-toting guard in the front passenger seat steps out. Smiling, he opens the door for me. “How are you doing today?” he asks in Farsi. “Ready to go to work?” I shake the hands of the first two guards, who reopen the gates and step back out onto the street, covering our exit. “Yup, let’s get to work,” I answer in Farsi, and my escort gets on his radio and

backed Taliban, ideological conflict has decimated an entire generation of Afghan men and women and created a country stuck in a perpetual crisis. I am on the front lines of this war of ideas, armed with the conviction that what’s happening at this university will produce an informed and educated generation of Afghans who will go on to shape the future of their country for the better. The ideas promoted in classrooms here are as simple as they are powerful: equality, tolerance, fairness, transparency. They are the opposite of the dark, dogmatic ideology promoted by the Taliban. Afghanistan’s war of ideas follows me everywhere I go here, even on my commute to work. Along the dusty streets are wizened women covered head to toe in dark blue burqas, pushing their way through the legion of Afghan schoolgirls, who laugh and run on their way to classes, white headscarves waving. There

t’s 6:30 am, and I’m in my driveway watching the sun come up over the Hindu Kush, the staggering peaks that surround Kabul. It’s a teeming city of some 5 million people who, by the sound of it, have already been up for hours preparing their shops or commuting to their jobs. I hear the two-way radio in the guard hut go off and watch my two bodyguards open the heavy metal doors to our house. tells the operator that call sign “Bravo25” is en route from Tango Three (his house) to Tango Nine (his work). The driver steps on the gas. Thus begins my daily commute to the American University of Afghanistan, where I work in the president’s office as a communications officer. With its Western liberal arts curriculum and 900 male and female Afghan students, the university is the most daring initiative in a nation whose soul has been ripped to shreds by a continuous war of ideas. From the Soviet war and withdrawal in the 1980s, to the warring fiefdoms of the mujahideen in the early 1990s, to the rise of the Pakistani-


spring/summer 2012 I 29




5. The ancient city of Petra, Jordan 6. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Esfahan, Iran 7. Qom, Iran

I was a sophomore at NMH when are young women who have adopted the Saudi-style niqab, a jet-black ensemble that hides the entire body except for a small slit for the eyes, contrasting with other women who have chosen blue jeans and brightly colored hijabs that sit loosely on their heads, showing some hair. The same contrast applies to men as well, though in this uber-patriarchal society, they routinely switch back and forth between traditional dress and form-fitting T-shirts and jeans so tight that even the disco-going men of the 1970s would wonder how they do it. Along with these subtle signs of competing influence are more obvious ones, such as when my car quickly pulls over to the side of the road to allow a column of American Humvees and MRAPs (MineResistant Ambush Protected vehicles) to barrel past, soldiers swiveling their turrets to examine each car that gets too close or doesn’t get out of the way fast enough. This is the force behind the Western dream of instilling law and order in a poor, remote country in Central Asia. My car resumes its journey, passing locations marred by suicide-bomb attacks, including one in October 2011 that killed 13 American soldiers next to my office.

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NATO invaded Afghanistan and a junior when the United States invaded Iraq. These events dominated the news and would come to dominate my life, but even as a high school student, I was developing an awareness of the broader world. At NMH, this happens when your best friend is from Hong Kong and you are learning the Korean word for “lighter” so that you can talk, even when faculty are nearby, about stealing off campus with your Asian friends to smoke a cigarette. It also happens in classes, like the one I took my senior year with Dick Schwingel and Ted Thornton that led me to focus on Near East studies and Arabic in college. We were asked to survey the international news media before each class to prepare for the day’s discussions, which ranged from Afghanistan to Iraq to religions of the Middle East. There we were, tackling the major problems of the day—and occasionally proposing interesting, if not naively creative, solutions. After graduating from Boston University, I set out to explore this region of the world whose modern history I had been studying and reading about for years. The region’s complexity was immediately apparent, even during the short car ride from Beirut’s airport into the city proper. I passed a dazzling array of churches, mosques, Roman ruins, and the

world’s top-ranked nightclub (in 2008), all set against a stunning Mediterranean backdrop. Arguing with the border guards got me into Syria, where I roamed the ancient bazaars and mosques of Damascus; met friendly, conspicuous “secret” police outside my hotel; and befriended an Internet café owner who, when no one was looking, helped me get around the government block on social networking sites. A rickety bus took me from Syria to Jordan, where I hiked up the mountain that looks out over Wadi Musa, the valley where Moses struck water from the rock. A short car ride took me into the West Bank and Israel, where I merged with thousands of others in the Old City of Jerusalem, standing within 100 meters of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Western Wall, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. When I returned to the U.S., I accepted a job at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies; then I went to work at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars as a research assistant for Middle East expert, journalist, and best-selling author Robin Wright. But I was eager to escape the D.C. swamp and return to the Middle East, so I worked for a year at the American University of Iraq, modeled on the 150-year-old American University of Beirut. I spent my free time discussing



8. H  azarajat, Afghanistan: the site of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, after the Taliban destroyed them in 2001 9. Kabul at night 10. Kabul

issues of the day in Arabic with students from Baghdad and across the country, visiting former Saddam Hussein torture centers, traveling around the country whenever possible—and visiting the nearby Iranian consulate. My application for tourism to Iran was eventually accepted after dozens of rejections, though only after I had moved to Afghanistan. That was one of my strangest trips: flying from Afghanistan to Iraq to pick up my visa to travel to Iran. A day later, I was the only foreigner in an underground club in Tehran, mixing with the agitated Iranian youth a year after a brutal crackdown had maimed and killed their friends. I was admiring Safavid gardens and architecture in Esfahan, reading Cyrus the Great’s cylinder containing the first codified set of human rights at the national museum in Tehran, and getting scowled at by imams in the holy city of Qom, the birthplace of Iran’s modern, fiery Shiism. Returning to Afghanistan, I traveled to the farthest reaches of the old Persian Empire, standing on the remains of the enormous Buddhas of Bamiyan, which were abruptly declared un-Islamic by the Taliban in the summer of 2001 and reduced to rubble after more than 1,300 years in the careful custody of Islamic rulers.


Back in Kabul, my car turns the last corner on the way to work, past the butcher slaughtering and skinning sheep and the cheerful storekeeper who insists on directing me to his supply of Head and Shoulders shampoo when I enter his shop. At the university’s front gate, I endure a quick bag check and swipe my ID across a badge-reader, and then I’m on campus, watching the sun, now 20 minutes higher in the sky, firmly crown the awe-inspiring Hindu Kush. As I walk to my office, I pass buildings that appear to belong on a 1960s American high-school campus, because before the Soviets invaded and before the Taliban swept across a country mired in devastating anarchy, that’s what this was. Boys with ideas of their own, like Zalmay Khalilzad, who would go on to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Afghanistan, and Iraq, went to school here. By the 1980s, the school had closed, and the space was used to promote a different ideology; my office

sits in a building that the Soviets built and used as an intelligence center. Now, from my office window, I can look out over the university grounds and see Afghan students studying business, computer science, and political science in four modest buildings renovated by funds from the U.S. government and generous Afghan businessmen. The university is about to hold its second commencement, which will bolster the ranks of Afghan men and women who are committed to bringing peace and prosperity to their country and who are the voices of moderation in a country plagued by extremism. Discere et Vivere. Learn and Live. The old Latin words from the NMH school seal deliver what appears at first glance to be a gentle recommendation. Read another way, those three often-overlooked words present a demanding ultimatum, telling us that the only way to Learn is by Living, and the only way to Live is by Learning. I have just begun. [NMH]

spring/summer 2012 I 31

<< By Johnny Mend

oza â&#x20AC;&#x2122;12

! l a o g

Risley Sports Photography


or you to understand how far I have come to be at NMH, it is important to tell you about my family in California.

My dad, Miguel, attended school until ninth grade and then decided to go work in the fields to help his dad support his family. My mom, Maria, attended school until fourth grade. She lost her father, so she and her siblings had to work to support each other. Nothing was ever handed to me as a kid without me having to work for it. My mom set a great example for us by going back to school to earn her G.E.D. She is Mendoza (second from now a staff member at the elementary school that my brothers and I attended. My players from Senegal, Korea, right) and family New Zealand, Canada, dad works at a sawmill and is always working overtime to make sure we have food at his brother's on the table, clothes on our backs, and plane tickets to get home. One important Venezuela, California, graduation. lesson he taught me was the difference between needs and wants—necesidades y Michigan, Colorado, quere. Like all kids, I wanted a lot of stuff that my family could not afford. My dad Vermont, Gill (Massachusetts), and even would say, “Dime mijo, quieres esto o lo necesitas?” “Tell me, son, do you need this or Mexico. In my first season, I realized how do you want it?” important team chemistry and commitEven though my parents have little formal education, they both realized it was ment to one another were for reaching our essential if their kids were to move forward. They made me work hard in school. I potential. We were players with different could never miss a day, even if I was sick. I never fully understood why my parents backgrounds and abilities who learned to play wanted me to get a good education until I got to NMH.  for each other. In my second year at NMH, One of the reasons I didn’t understand was because I lived in one of the poorest we built on the lessons we had learned counties in California, with some of the worst schools. Too many kids in my comand powered our way to a New England munity join gangs and sell drugs or get pregnant. Far too many kids drop out of Championship!  school to work in the fields to support their families. A painful lesson also occurred during and In my public high school in Porterville, California, the typical class size was 30 after that championship season. I lost four kids or more. There were few class discussions or research-paper assignments, and teammates—people I considered to be my no PowerPoint presentations or class debates. If you wanted to disapbrothers at NMH—to varipear into the back of the classroom, the teacher didn’t care. Kids didn’t my parents ous discipline issues. Given learn how to challenge themselves. Everyone assumed there was no way made me believe the life of poverty I had out of the community. They thought that living in Porterville was the come from, it was hard in myself, and only thing that there was in the world. It was no wonder that drugs, for me to understand why fights, and gangs were an everyday part of life. they pushed me along anyone would put their I am lucky to have a strong, loving family that made sure I did not education in jeopardy with in a journey they take the wrong path, and I am also fortunate to have soccer be part careless decisions. both wished they of my life. I have been playing soccer since I was 4, and it became my Now, as I look back at opportunity to get out of Porterville. how the opportunity to could have taken. Four years ago, a coach in our community started a club soccer team attend NMH has changed to help local players get recruited by colleges. One day, the Amherst College coach my life, I am almost speechless. I was fortusaw us play and asked us if we had considered attending a private boarding school nate that my hard work on the soccer field in the East. To be honest, I didn’t even know that these schools existed. I also wasn’t created an opportunity for me to grow in sure that a Latino kid from the fields of California could survive at a private school. the classroom. I am blessed to have found a Leaving my family was the hardest part of my journey to NMH. I did not want community that values people of all different to let them down. My parents made me believe in myself, and they pushed me backgrounds. I am lucky my parents pushed along in a journey they both wished they could have taken. Some of my friends at me to reach for a better life. [NMH]  home were supportive, while others told me I would never make it. When I arrived at NMH, I really struggled academically. I went from a rural This is an excerpt from a speech Mendoza public high school where 80 percent of my classmates were Mexican to Dennis delivered at NMH’s fall athletic banquet in Kennedy’s English class! But, like most of my teachers at NMH, Mr. Kennedy November 2011. Among his numerous athletic helped me along, and I slowly began to improve the quality of my work. honors was his selection as an All-American When the academics were wearing me down and creating self-doubt, soccer by the National Soccer Coaches Association of was critical to my survival at NMH. On my old high-school team, everyone was America. He was the first NMH boys’ soccer Mexican. At NMH, it was the most diverse team I had ever played on. We had player to earn the award.

spring/summer 2012 I 33

34 I NMH Magazine

empty rooms full of history Exploring the forgotten side of Ellis Island

For more than a year, photographer Philip Calabria, chair of Northfield Mount Hermon’s visual arts department, was a regular on the 7:30 am National Park Service boat from Lower Manhattan to Ellis Island. The boat, carrying park staff and volunteers, would leave the Coast Guard station near Battery Park, stop briefly at Ellis Island, and continue on to the Statue of Liberty. Once he was on Ellis Island, Calabria would pass by the immigration station that was restored and opened as a museum more than 20 years ago. He would flash a special access pass and head toward the two dozen or so unrestored buildings on the south side of the island that remain closed to the public. In these empty spaces—which once housed the mortuary, operating rooms, and psychiatric and maternity wards of what was the nation’s largest public hospital—Calabria would pull out his camera.

by Jennifer Sutton photos by philip calabria

spring/summer 2012 I 35

The windows of the rooms were mostly covered with plywood, but small stripes of daylight filtered in through ventilation panels and doorways. Calabria set his camera for long exposures, and in his photographs, the weak light grew luminous, revealing this part of Ellis Island as a derelict, otherworldly landscape coated in dust and flaking paint. Calabria spent 16 months traveling back and forth between NMH and Ellis Island, making roughly 1,300 images. The resulting exhibit, titled “The Stilled Passage,” is on display at The Gallery at




1 Isolation ward 2 The hospital administration building entryway 3 The women’s staff quarters

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the Rhodes Arts Center through June 10, and will be shown at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in the fall. Calabria had never visited the island before December 2009, when a longtime friend who is an architect working with the National Park Service and the Save Ellis Island organization invited him to come look at the preservation projects under way there. He thought Calabria might be interested in photographing the place. He was right. To Calabria, the broken-down rooms, largely cleared of artifacts, were a series of still lifes, “with an amazing palette, cool and warm tones, and the fantastic light that exists in any maritime space,” he says. “I was drawn to what had happened to the surfaces, and how the skeleton of the structures was revealed.” Calabria was less interested in documenting the history or the architecture of the buildings. “I wanted to interpret what was there in a very visual, painterly sense,” he says. He proposed a project to the National Park Service and the Save Ellis Island organization, procured the necessary authorizations, and in June 2010 established a routine: Every other Thursday, he took the train to New York and camped out in his architect friend’s apartment on the Lower East Side. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, he rode

the staff boat over to Ellis Island and caught the last boat coming back, at 6:30 or 7 pm. He explored and photographed all day. “I was left alone,” Calabria says. “They gave me totally unfettered access.” As he moved from building to building, he says, “sometimes I’d be so zoned in that I wasn’t even cognizant of where I was, but at other times it was haunting.” Calabria’s own father, Francis Joseph Calabria, had come through Ellis Island en route from Italy with his family in 1912, but when Calabria was

growing up on Long Island in the 1950s and 1960s, Ellis Island was in limbo: The immigration station had been shut down in 1954, but restoration efforts had not yet begun. After the immigration museum opened in 1990, restoration crews moved on to other parts of the island, repairing seawalls and roofs, removing long-shattered window glass, and clearing out artifacts such

Calabria set his camera for long exposures, and in his photographs, the weak light grew luminous, revealing this part of Ellis Island as a derelict, otherworldly landscape coated in dust and flaking paint. as operating tables and bunk beds from more than 230,000 square feet of interior space. Despite the rickety state of his surroundings, Calabria says he never felt at risk while he was photographing, though once he had to scramble to catch his tripod from sinking through a section of rotten flooring. Having worked in construction between college and graduate school, he understood, he says, “that you always check things twice before you venture forth.” Calabria had to balance these careful, deliberate instincts with the rhythm of the natural world. “That’s why I got there early,” he says. “I could follow the sun throughout the day. I’d go into one space and if the light wasn’t right, I could come back to it later.” A few months into the project, Calabria was asked to show what he’d photographed so far to officials from the park service and the Save

Ellis Island group. The park service deputy superintendent looked at one image after another and said, “These don’t look anything like Ellis Island.” Calabria panicked for a moment. “And that’s why it’s such an astonishing accomplishment,” the deputy superintendent continued. “He’d been on the island every day for years and had never seen the spaces this way,” Calabria explains. Which was exactly the point. “What I’m after is tone, tempo, and the undercurrent of a place” rather than the place itself, he says. Calabria continued his everyother-weekend routine through fall 2010, receiving a semester-long course release from NMH that allowed him to teach a lighter load. Even after he returned to his normal teaching schedule, he kept photographing on Ellis Island whenever he could. If, for a few months, Calabria spent less time on campus than he usually does, his commitment to the Ellis Island project modeled for students how the process of making art requires “a great investment of time and energy to the point of putting other things aside,” he says. “If there’s anything I can impress upon students, it’s that 90 percent of what artists do is work. It’s enjoyable work—there wasn’t a single day that I didn’t enjoy being on Ellis Island— but it’s not sitting in front of an easel waiting for inspiration, or sitting in front of a blank piece of paper waiting for the muse to write the poem for you. Art, in any form of expression, whether it’s poetry, music, painting, is intentional.” [NMH]

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alumni spotlight

Holyoke’s New Mayor Has Roots in NMH’s Upward Bound

It’s likely that the president and the press have taken such interest in Morse because he’s young (22 years old) and openly gay, and his win against the political old guard in Holyoke—a city of 40,000 and the poorest in the state—was initially viewed as improbable. Despite his youth and relative inexperience, Morse has been preparing to lead his city for years: He got involved in politics when he was 13, serving on Holyoke’s Youth Commission and eventually becoming its president. During his four years at Holyoke High School, beginning in 2003, he participated in Upward Bound and spent three summers studying on the NMH campus, eventually becoming a counselor in the program. At Holyoke High, he founded the Gay-Straight Alliance, and by the time he was a senior, he had decided to run for mayor someday. In 2011, during his final year at Brown University, he declared his candidacy. Morse knocked on every door in Holyoke and rented a truck fitted with a loudspeaker in order to encourage voters, in Spanish as well as English, to elect him. He argued that Holyoke needed fresh leadership in order to work harder to ease 38 I NMH Magazine

poverty and to reduce the persistently high number of high school dropouts and teen pregnancies. He also pushed for revitalizing the city’s education system and downtown neighborhoods. Unlike his 67-year-old incumbent opponent Elaine Pluta, he opposed casino gambling. Morse’s message of renewed civic pride resonated with voters in Holyoke, especially Latinos, who have traditionally been left out of the political process. Morse won the primary by a single vote, and went on to capture the general election with 53 percent of votes cast in a race that saw a turnout rate of 38 percent.

Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

NMH Upward Bound alumnus Alex Morse has been busy. He was inaugurated mayor of Holyoke in January; he’s been to dinner at the White House; and he’s been the subject of coverage by CBS News, the Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Boston Globe, among other media outlets.

alumni spotlight

A Portrait of Pacifists: Le Chambon, the Holocaust, and the Lives of André and Magda Trocmé Richard P. Unsworth Syracuse University Press

“Alex has an unwavering belief in the strengths and possibilities of Holyoke,” says NMH Upward Bound director Gisele Litalien, who watched Morse, on the NMH campus, begin to develop his sense of social justice. “He found the encouragement and support to be himself, and he had models of people who fought to undo racism and homophobia,” Litalien says. “Upward Bound helped him come into his own. We are proud of him.”

This double biography tells the story of a couple who, after World War II, came to be known as “Righteous Christians” for their work sheltering thousands of Jews from the Holocaust in the town of Le Chambonsur-Lignon in south-central France. A minister and teacher, respectively, André and Magda Trocmé were long-standing advocates of absolute pacifism and nonviolent resistance to oppression. Their deeply personal commitment helped galvanize other residents in Le Chambon to make the town a humanitarian haven during the war. This first detailed account of the Trocmés’ life together is based on their unpublished memoirs, as well as interviews and research conducted by Richard Unsworth ’45, a former head of Northfield Mount Hermon. Unsworth, who worked at NMH for much of the 1980s, met the Trocmés when he became involved with the Collège Cévenol, the school in Le Chambon that the couple founded in 1938 and which still operates today. Unsworth traces the Trocmés’ work in pacifism through the war and into the following decades, creating an admiring yet scholarly portrait. Unsworth’s own career in education and theology is equally long: Besides leading NMH for nearly a decade, he taught religion and served as chaplain at Smith and Dartmouth Colleges, and currently is a senior fellow of the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute at Smith.

In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey After 9/11 Kate Brooks ’95 Schilt Publishing

Photographer Kate Brooks ’95 is on a mission. “To me, photography has always been a tool for activism and social change, to capture and convey injustice,” she says. Weaving powerful, haunting images with a series of brave personal essays in In the Light of Darkness: A Photographer’s Journey after 9/11, Brooks documents 10 years of work in the Middle East, from the time that she moved to Pakistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks up to the Arab Spring. Along the way, Brooks’s photographs have been published in TIME, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Smithsonian. Brooks began working as a photojournalist in Russia when she was a college student. Her images of child abuse victims in Russian orphanages were used by Human Rights Watch to campaign for the rights of orphans. “A photograph can be evidence, it can be an illustration, it can be art, and sometimes, it can be an iconic, symbolic representation of a moment in history,” Brooks says. “Occasionally, photographs make a difference; often that’s just an elusive notion. But when my work has influenced an individual’s life, mobilized aid, or contributed to the change of laws, or when I’m able to capture some sense of humanity or convey someone else’s human experience, I feel I’ve done my job as a photojournalist.”

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alumni spotlight

Cross-cultural Jewelry

¡Delicioso! What’s a nice Irish kid like you doing cooking Spanish food? Award-winning chef and New York City restaurateur Seamus Mullen ’91 has lost count of how many times he’s been asked this question by interviewers. His answer makes NMH proud: “I went to Spain in high school and fell in love with the country and the culture and the language.” For Mullen, the past year has been one of distinction: New York Magazine nominated him one of five “Best Up-and-Coming Chefs” and The New York Times named his restaurant, Tertulia, one of the top 10 new restaurants of 2011. Mullen, who returned to Spain during college and had the opportunity to work with some of the best chefs in the country, opened Tertulia last spring in New York’s West Village; it was hailed by Bloomberg as the Best New Restaurant of 2011. A recent finalist on the Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef,” Mullen has been described by New York Magazine as “the city’s acknowledged master of cutting-edge Iberian cuisine and all things to do with suckling pig.”

Annette Stephens ’04 (left) with her sister Phoebe.

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Hope Amidst Despair: HIV/AIDS-Affected Children in Sub-Saharan Africa Susanna W. Grannis ’55 Palgrave MacMillan

As the founder of the nonprofit group CHABHA (Children Affected by HIV/AIDS), educator Susanna Grannis ’55 understands the complexities of the health crisis that has left 16 million children orphaned around the world. Her latest book examines the crisis, and, through research and interviews, explains the resulting circumstances of impoverished children in Africa. The book also describes CHABHA’s partnerships with community-based organizations in Africa that support children through camps and workshops focused on creative, healing activities. Grannis is a former elementaryschool teacher and college professor and served as dean of the School of Education at Queens College, CUNY, and dean of the Graduate School at Bank Street College in New York. South African archbishop Desmond Tutu has called Hope Amidst Despair an “unsentimental and realistic assessment of the desperate situation of children in subSaharan Africa affected by the HIV/ AIDS pandemic. Thus when the author says there is hope despite the hopelessness, we must believe her.”

Photo (left): Brian Ach/Getty Images. Photo (middle): Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Seamus Mullen ’91

Cofounded by sisters Annette (Caitlin) ’04 and Phoebe Stephens in 2009, Anndra Neen is a sculptural jewelry and accessory company whose innovative designs garnered the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize and were featured during Paris Fashion Week 2012. Born and raised in Mexico City, the Stephens sisters draw inspiration from their childhood, when they were surrounded by artists. Their grandmother was a celebrated painter, sculptor, and jewelry designer who collaborated with the Muralist Movement in Mexico, and their father, Luis Stephens, is a painter and collage artist. Anndra Neen’s jewelry fuses a range of cultural influences, from ancient Egyptian motifs to Japanese design to Bauhaus graphics to antique European jewelry. Their pieces have been worn by Michelle Obama, Jessica Alba, Drew Barrymore, and Anna Paquin, and were recently featured in W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vogue China.

alumni spotlight

of the assistance process.” In other words, she provides neutral assessments— describing both successes and failures—of the three projects in order to help development professionals and students better execute future assignments. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meals in 30 Minutes or Less International Development in Practice: Education Assistance in Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan Andrea B. Rugh ’53 Palgrave Macmillan

For decades, social anthropologist Andrea Rugh ’53 has lived and worked in the Middle East, writing numerous books and articles on Middle Eastern culture and society and serving as a technical advisor to USAID and UNICEF development projects. Her latest book analyzes three of those projects, which span a total of 22 years. The goal of the book, Rugh says, is to “sensitize readers to the opportunities and constraints that are an inevitable part

Tod Dimmick ’82 Alpha Books, Penguin

Move over, Rachael Ray. Food writer Tod Dimmick ’82 has spent the last decade making whole-food, budgetconscious meals and developing cookbook recipes that are accessible, healthy, and, above all, quick.

Dimmick’s past books include The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 20-Minute Meals and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to 5-Minute Appetizers. His latest volume ups the ante to a full half hour of prep time. It is packed with 500 recipes that cover breakfast through dessert, and offer what appear to be family-friendly meal and snack ideas. In addition to promoting this basic approach to cooking, Dimmick also writes about wine, organic gardening, and local-food cuisine. He develops recipes for several CSA (communitysupported agriculture) organizations and food websites in the Boston area; cooks on the “Phantom Gourmet” television show that is broadcast in New England; and for 20 years has published Tasting Times, a food and wine newsletter for readers who lean toward $15 bottles and appreciate his “Wine 101” approach.

Athletic Hall of Fame Names New Members A snowstorm in May is difficult to imagine, as is a blizzard in October. Yet that was the scene last fall as NMH prepared to induct new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming weekend. Hardy alumni almost had to shovel their way onto campus to participate in the ceremony, showing the grit that made them winning athletes in the first place. Ellen Bossert ’82, a member of the newly inducted 1980–81 girls’ soccer team, said that her coach—Mark “Commander” Jander ’50, who spoke at the ceremony— “taught a bunch of teenagers that regardless of outcomes, you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to believe in yourself despite your doubts, and action trumps everything.” 2011 Inductees ’51–’52 Boys’ Cross-country ’51–’52 Boys’ Track ’51–’52 Football ’80–’81 Girls’ Soccer

Photo: Glenn Minshall

Wear Your NMH Pride

The NMH bookstore can help get you and your family outfitted. Visit the NEW and IMPROVED online store for great gift ideas.

spring /summer 2012 I 41

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NMH NMH Travellers Travellers


Please join the over 650 alumni and friends of NMH who have made a bequest to the school or notified us that a planned gift is included in their wills.


September 20–29, 2012 September 20–29, 2012 To book a place on this tour, or for more information,

To book a place this of tour, or forand more information, please contact the on Office Alumni Parent Programs please contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs 413 - 498 - 3600 413 - 498 - 3600


alumni spotlight

Three New Trustees Join the Board Don Glascoff ’63, P ’12 Four generations of Glascoff’s family have attended NMH. He serves as a reunion chair and member of the gift committee for the Class of 1963. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a law degree from Cornell, he served as a captain in the U.S. Army, deputy general counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as an adjunct professor at Delaware Law School. Then he began a 30-year career at the international law firm of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, the oldest firm on Wall Street. Chairman of Cadwalader’s real estate group for many years, Glascoff became one of the firm’s co-chairmen and partners. He represented clients such as Freddie Mac, Unilever, MacMillan Publishing, and Bank of America. After his legal career ended due to blindness, Glascoff became a principal and investor in real estate and banking ventures, including his current venture, Curator, LLC. He served as chairman of the former Park Avenue Bank and on the boards of Renco Metals and Magnesium Corporation of America. His work with nonprofits includes board memberships with Frost Valley YMCA, OpSail 2000, the International Senior Lawyers Project, and the New Media Advocacy Project. A life-long civil rights advocate, Glascoff conceived and produced Taxi to the Dark Side, a documentary film that exposed the Bush administration’s policies of torture in

Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and the Abu Ghraib prison. The film won the 2007 Academy Award for best documentary.

Peter J. Macdonald ’75 Peter Macdonald was raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he spent considerable time working in the Villa Rosa, a restaurant started by his grandparents, who emigrated from Italy. The restaurant, which is still in the family after 55 years, properly prepared Macdonald for kitchen work jobs on the Northfield campus.

The Villa Rosa properly prepared Macdonald for kitchen work jobs on the Northfield campus. After graduating from Northwestern University in 1980 and Boston University School of Law in 1984, Macdonald began practicing trial law in Boston with WilmerHale (formerly Hale and Dorr), an international law firm with more than 1,000 lawyers. In 2000, he opened the firm’s office in New York City, where today he is vice chair of the firm’s 400-lawyer litigation department. In 2009, Macdonald led the pro bono team that obtained the release of Dewey Bozella, who had been wrongfully imprisoned in New York State for more than 26 years. The case generated widespread media coverage;

Macdonald’s team received the Gideon Champion of Justice Award from the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Macdonald lives in New York with his wife, Trisha, and their 3-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

Mark R. Wetzel ’79 Mark R. Wetzel ’79 earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and an MBA from the Tuck School at Dartmouth, where he graduated with distinction as a Tuck Scholar. He began his investment-consulting career in 1990 at Kidder Peabody and progressed through acquisitions of the company by Paine Webber and UBS, becoming a senior vice president. In 2006, Wetzel cofounded Fiduciary Investment Advisors (FIA), where as president and a member of the firm’s investment committee, he works with corporate, nonprofit, and captive insurance clients. He is a trustee and member of the investment committees of many organizations, including the Ellsworth Foundation, McLean, Hartford Hospital, CHS Insurance, Ltd., and Novartis Corporation.  Wetzel lives in North Granby, Connecticut, with his wife, Barbara. They have three daughters: Abby, Liza, and Rosie. His sister and brother also graduated from NMH: Laurie ’80 and Gary ’82.

spring /summer 2012 I 43

alumni spotlight

Over the past 18 months, the Northfield Mount Hermon Alumni Council has launched a program to celebrate the spirit of the Northfield School for Girls. Alumnae from classes ranging from 1930 to 1972 have been gathering at events around the country and on campus to discuss how Northfield traditions have been incorporated into the school today. The program is part of an ongoing Alumni Council effort to reach out to graduates who may not feel strongly connected to the school. According to Wendy Alderman Cohen ’67, Northfield graduates felt a sense of loss when their girls’ school merged with Mount Hermon; the closing and sale of the Northfield campus was another loss—for all alumni who lived and attended classes there. “It felt like a 44 I NMH Magazine

dishonoring of the past,” Cohen says, particularly for Northfield graduates. “It was difficult at reunion time [for some alumnae] to come back to a campus that felt unknown to them.” Alumni Council members Cohen, Carolyn “Ty” Bair Fox ’59, and Jean Fuller Farrington ’53 devised the idea of offcampus teas and luncheons, reasoning that if some alumnae “couldn’t come to campus, then we would bring the campus to them.” Participants at these non-fundraising events sing Northfield songs, play trivia games, and discuss the state of the school with current faculty members. “It’s an attempt to honor what was supposedly ‘lost’ and to indicate that it isn’t really lost at all,” Cohen says. Northfield alumna Barbara Tweedle Friedman ’66, who was an NMH trustee at

the time of the Northfield campus closing, has spoken at several of these events to offer information and perspective about the decision-making processes regarding Northfield.  The reaction from many alumnae, Cohen says, has been “a sense of validation … that it was reasonable to be sad” about the closing of the campus, she says. That validation is helping some Northfielders look to the future: A new endowed scholarship, called the Northfield School for Girls Scholarship Fund, was established in December to provide financial assistance every year to a female student who embodies the Northfield spirit—academic curiosity and dedication, a strong work ethic, determination to succeed, confidence, caring, and poise.

Photos: Courtesy of NMH Archives

Honoring the Past

class notes

parting words by SUZANNE HILL ’66

Who Were Those Northfield Girls? I am a Northfield girl. That is a profound sentence! I am one of a select group of women fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend Northfield School for Girls. The youngest Northfield girls graduated in 1970; in 40 years, there will be few of them left on the planet. How can we preserve their legacy for future generations of NMH students? Who were those Northfield girls? We were smart, grounded, unpretentious, curious, and unafraid to put our hands into a sinkful of dirty tins. We studied, played, sang, ate Bishop’s Bread, and dated boys from Mount Hermon. We joyously walked in our sturdies for miles over the hills of our campus, often linking arms with one another. That was the Northfield School of our time. But then it became the coeducational Northfield Mount Hermon in 1971; it transformed into the smaller, unified Northfield Mount Hermon six years ago; and finally, our beloved campus was sold. Some of us have accepted this transition more readily than others. Change is difficult. Evolution is inevitable. Our Northfield had to move forward in order to become the excellent NMH that is our school today. During convocation in 2005, the first year of the merged campus, the school offered poignant activities to mark the closing of the Northfield campus. After ceremonies on Round Top, a group of 10 alumni volunteers ran a lighted torch for five miles from the edge of the Northfield campus, over the Connecticut River, and onto the newly combined NMH campus. Since I was the oldest volunteer, I was to run the torch from the gates of the old Mount Hermon, around campus, and up the hill to Memorial Chapel. We were 104 I NMH Magazine

literally bringing the light of Northfield into its next iteration. Ironically, there wasn’t enough fuel in the torch and the flame died out halfway across the bridge. With the unlighted torch, I puffed my way up to the chapel, where it was re-ignited to complete the ceremony. Skeptics might say that the light of Northfield died that day. I prefer to think that the light was temporarily quieted to mark a significant moment. Midway between the past and the future there was a respectful pause to acknowledge all those Northfield girls who contributed so mightily to the history of our school. Then it was time to light a new flame to bring the spirit and legacy of the Northfield girl into a new millennium. Last October, I visited campus and was invited to have lunch with a few teachers and students. A Mount Hermon alumnus from the class of 1950 asked a female student, “How did you choose NMH?” She described visiting three schools. Two of them made her feel that she would have to conform to their expectations. At NMH, the message she consistently heard was: We have tremendous resources to offer you. How can we help to foster your talents, creativity, interests, and individuality to make ours a richer community? No question as to her decision. Her story touched me and I said to myself, “She’s a Northfield girl.” During that same visit, I attended two classes. The first was AP Environmental Science. The class took a mini–field trip down to the river to visit the school’s water

treatment facility. The seniors knew the correct terms, asked pertinent questions, and took notes, but the visit also tapped into the larger question of what it takes to live in a community. If you watch the clean treated water slowly reentering the Connecticut River, it is unlikely you will ever take a toolong shower again! The second class was American Literature, for juniors, and again, there was thoughtful questioning and tolerant discussion. I was reluctant to leave. In both classes, I loved mingling with these great kids! But even more meaningful was the respectful, fun, open engagement between the students and their gifted teachers. It was apparent that NMH is a community of people sharing their lives. At the end of that long day, as I was walking near Memorial Chapel, I heard chattering, happy voices and I saw, silhouetted in the late afternoon light, three boys walking toward the dining hall. Their features and voices were indistinct, but I had an instant, visceral memory of walking with my friends on the Northfield campus as a teenager. How glorious it was to go to school and live among close friends, surrounded by natural beauty and people who nurtured and challenged me. Tears came to my eyes as I watched these boys walking the same symbolic path that I had so long ago. Northfield affected my life forever. Its legacy—the legacy of the Northfield girl— still echoes at NMH today. The students’ learning still extends far beyond the classroom, and the high expectations, the love of learning, all the intangibles that are hard to quantify—they are still there, and better than ever today. The heart of my Northfield is beating loudly.

giving back

I like to think of giving to NMH as paying back my student loan for the lessons I learned there. Justin Wai ’02

Justin Wai ’02 may be the world’s youngest diplomat. His title isn’t official, but in Hong Kong he is NMH’s ambassador, plenipotentiary, and a one-person embassy. He mans the NMH booth at school admission fairs in the city, interviews applicants, organizes receptions for prospective students, and holds send-off parties for those about to enroll. He also brainstorms with Brian Walsh, NMH’s director of international giving, on how to improve alumni and parent engagement in Hong Kong. He gives a fixed portion of his gross income to NMH, too.

Photo: Norman Yip

Photograph by H ar r y Stuar t Cahill

Wai, an investment associate for the Hong Kong branch of the Blackstone Group, specializes in investing in real estate, hotel, and gaming companies. He recalls a conversation he once had with Richard Mueller, who was head of school when Wai was at NMH. “He told me that although it’s marvelous that so many NMH alumni end up being great thinkers, teachers, and activists, it would be nice to have some alumni going into moneymaking fields so they can give back to the school,” Wai says. “Well, private equity is one of those for-profit industries, so I feel obliged to give back.” Wai’s fondest memories of NMH include seeing snow for the first time, taking English classes with Donna Inglehart, and “bossing people around” as a student leader. “My NMH experience allowed me to discover myself,” he says. “I give back because I want other kids out there to benefit from the same lifetransforming experience.”



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One of the most successful seasons in years… NMH’s winter athletes racked up more wins, better records, and fiercer competition. Among the team highlights… Wrestling: Third consecutive New England Championship Boys’ varsity basketball: First New England Championship Girls’ alpine skiing: 2nd place at New Englands, best season in 20 years Girls’ varsity basketball: Played in New England semifinals Girls’ varsity hockey: Best season ever (18–6–3), played in New England quarterfinals Girls’ JV basketball: A per fect 10–0 record

calendar For more information about alumni and parent events, contact the advancement office at 413-498-3600 or email events@nmhschool. org. Find updates and other school information through the NMH website: To reach the switchboard, call 413-498-3000.

Commencement May 27 Reunion 2012 June 7–10

Alumni Council Annual Meeting and Reunion Work Day September 8–9

NMH Lobster Bake Bailey’s Island, ME August 4

Faculty on the Road Ellis Island, NY September 30 Family Days October 12–13

Homecoming October 13 Bemis Forslund Pie Race November 12 Christmas Vespers on Campus December 9 Christmas Vespers off Campus, Boston December 20

NMH Magazine, Spring/Summer 2012