NFA Magazine

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NFA The magazine for Norwich Free Academy Alumni and Friends


Spring 2019

Career & Community

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Growing Community at Stone Acres Farm The Algorithm of Life Global Nuclear Energy Expert Lake Barrett ’63

Alma Matters Class Notes, Faculty & Staff News, and Alumni & Friends We Will Miss

Spring 2019


The Highest Usefulness and the Purest Happiness Our most recent graduates echo the words and sentiments of thousands of alumni who came before them. It is a universal chorus, “NFA really prepared me.” The history of Norwich Free Academy is one of change, and while campus photos readily indicate changes over time, alterations in the academic program are less noticeable. Any historical overview of NFA’s program reveals a list of institutional firsts demonstrating forward thinking, vision, and responsiveness to social and economic forces. From initially accepting young women in 1854 to offering driving classes to students in the 1950s, from answering the call of industry for artisans and craftsmen by founding the Norwich Art School in 1890, to establishing the Sachem Campus program just seven years ago, Norwich Free Academy has embraced change to pursue its founding mission. Our mission is not to recreate our own high school experience for students; it is, instead, to prepare them for “the highest usefulness and the purest happiness” in their dynamically changing world. Every year when I hand diplomas to graduates on behalf of Norwich Free Academy, it is our responsibility to be sure we have achieved our mission. It is a moral imperative that our students are prepared for the world and challenges they will face. Thank you for supporting our mission – for supporting our students.

David J. Klein Head of School


NFA Spring 2019

EDITORS Kathleen McCarthy Executive Director NFA Foundation, Inc. Geoffrey P. Serra Director of Communications & Public Affairs Norwich Free Academy CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Nicholas Bolt ’96 • Linda Clang Ververis ’78 PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Atrero de Guzman/AFLO/Alamy Live News Gene Buonaccorsi • Alex Dusterfeld Grillo’s Pickles • John Hassett Abigail Howard ’19 • Laura Howe Sarah LeFrancois • Melissa Ostrow Photography Jayleigh Tefft ’19 • Nate Wheeler ’08 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dayne Rugh • Anne Zinn • Vivian Zoë DESIGN Lavender Design PRINTER The Pyne-Davidson Company NFA Magazine is produced by the NFA Foundation, Inc. and the NFA Office of Communications & Public Affairs. 321 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360 Phone: 860-887-2507 • Fax: 860-889-4363 Email: Letters to the editor, comments, class notes, and address changes may be sent to the NFA Foundation, Inc., 321 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360 or Views expressed in the NFA magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the NFA Foundation, Inc., Norwich Free Academy, or the editorial staff. EDITOR’S NOTE A special thanks to Chad Johnson ‘93, a contributing writer for the Summer 2018 edition of NFA Magazine.

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aroundcampus Japanese Students Visit NFA welcomed five students from Japan’s Matsuyama Minami High School to campus, Wednesday, February 6, 2019. The students shadowed NFA Science National Honor Society students to attend classes; they ate a specially prepared “American” lunch at the Brickview, and shared senior research projects with one another. The trip was, in part, organized by Science Department Head, Stephani Jones in cooperation with Brian Boecherer, Executive Director of the Office of Early College Programs and Director of Research and Development for UConn Early College Experience. Boecherer graduated from NFA in 1999.


Representing NFA Arts

Seniors Holly Rust, a Performing Arts student and an active member of Playshop, Color Guard and Choir, and Madison Marquez, a Fine Arts student and National Arts Honor Society member, were honored at the Connecticut Association of Schools High School Fine Arts Awards Banquet. These students were selected to represent NFA for their scholarship, leadership, and excellence in the visual and performing arts.

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Going Green Students in Katherine Patla’s “Going Green” science class did their part to help our campus community “go green.” They recently planted 140 tulip and daffodil bulbs and made scarecrows of recyclable materials to put around campus. Each scarecrow held a sign with a simple to follow and easy to implement “going green” strategy for each of us to practice daily.

Martin takes the State Pole Vault Title Paige Martin set a new meet record while capturing the state pole vault title during the CIAC State Open girls indoor track and field championships at the Floyd Little Athletic Center, Saturday, February 16, 2019. Martin’s highest jump cleared 12 feet, one-quarter inch on her second attempt to win the event and break the previous record of 12 feet set in 2017.

“Be Yourself” “Be yourself” is the final advice RJ Evans ’08, gave to a group of 10th-Grade Honors Program students, April 26. “Be yourself, and pay it forward.” RJ Evans, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of North Carolina at Ashville, spoke to the students about his journey from high school to now and how he turned his passion into a career. Evans lettered both in football and basketball at NFA, set a school record with 2,030 career points in basketball, led NFA to an undefeated Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division championship in 2006-2007, and was a member of the National Honor Society. After an introduction by Ross Sward, Tirrell House Principal, Evans discussed his time at NFA and shared that he feels unbelievably lucky to have attended the Academy. “I tell people that NFA is the best high school in the country. My experience here brought me to where I am today.” Evans discussed his college decision and how he ended up playing Division 1 basketball at The College of the Holy Cross. He shared that a variety of schools had offered him admission, including Harvard, but ultimately he chose to attend Holy Cross for financial reasons. These “big life choices” have to be rational decisions, Evans said, emphasizing that he found it helpful to leave emotion out of the process and weigh the pros and cons of each option. His higher education journey – B.A. in Economics (Holy Cross), M.A. in Education Psychology (UConn), Postgrad Diploma in Management/International Business (Durham University, England), and M.A. in Kinesiology (University of Texas) – demonstrates the importance of education. He referred to his degree in Educational Psychology as one he “uses everyday mentoring young men to be players and good people,” and that he was “studying his passion and didn’t even know it yet” while working hard in school, Evans also worked diligently on the court continuing to play D1 basketball for Holy Cross, UConn, and then professionally in England. Focusing upon the importance of decision-making, networking, and planning, Evans related an anecdote about an injury his junior year at Holy Cross. His key decision not to play in a game when he knew he felt injured changed the course of his collegiate and

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professional playing career. Making the right choice is not always easy Evans pointed out. He talked about his decision to stop playing basketball to focus on his career, of which he still was unsure at the time. He worked for a start-up communications firm but quickly discovered it wasn’t the right fit for him. He also began studying for the LSAT and applied to law schools. In the midst of it all, basketball was still there, and it became clear to him he belonged in coaching. Evans outlined the whirlwind that has been his coaching career – moving to different states, working his way up the ladder – and again networking, working hard, waiting patiently, and sacrificing. “Finding your

From NFA to Career A panel of alumni presented to 10th-Grade Honors students for the “Whose Career is it Anyway?” event, Monday, February 11, 2019. Former students told current students about how their career paths differed from their ideas in high school and their college majors. They focused upon the important life lessons about learning, growing, and adapting along the way. Alumni who contributed their time and expertise to our Honors Program students included Nicholas Bosse ’10, Hillary Coombs ’10, Jessica Bashelor Fracalossi ’06, Aleisha N. Jenkins ’04, John Pelliccio ’91, Dave Schermerhorn ’04, and Fannie Braboy Stokes ’04.


passion can be difficult; you might have to go through trials and tribulations to get there, but it is worth it,” he said. Evans ended his presentation by thanking NFA and encouraging the 10th-graders to take advantage of NFA’s many opportunities. He shared that having a “get to” mindset vs. a “have to” mindset has made all the difference in his journey and encouraged students to adjust their mindset to a “get to” attitude. The moral of RJ Evan’s presentation is to work hard, take advantage of opportunities around, and always to “keeping grinding” to achieve your goal.

Celebrating Instrumental Music

The Wildcat Marching Band won the 2018 USBANDS Group IV Open Connecticut State Championship with a season-high score of 92.3. The Wildcat Marching Band also took second place in the Northeast Division. As a result, Director Kristen Motola kept her promise to dye her hair purple, and Channel 8 News visited NFA and broadcast the purple hair reveal on their morning news show.

NFA’s Orchestra and the Concert and Jazz Bands competed in May at Music in the Parks, Hershey, PA. Each placed first in their respective categories. All NFA groups placed first in their division and received high ratings by the judges. String Orchestra received an excellent rating; Concert Band (and percussion students) and the Wildcat Jazz Band received superior; tenth-grader Samuel Mayer was honored as Outstanding Soloist in Jazz.

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Members of the 2018 NFA Athletics Hall of Fame induction class were honored in a ceremony in Slater Auditorium, Friday, October 12, 2018. Friends and family members attended the event followed by a reception in the Atrium. This year’s Hall of Fame inductees expressed a common theme in their formal acceptance speeches. Each stressed the strong and positive influence of fellow student-athletes, team members, and coaches during their formative years and recalled many shared memories. It was clear that Norwich Free Academy had a lasting impact on their lives and helped to shape and influence them as adults. Christopher Andrew ‘00 stated that the induction, “was far bigger than I had imagined. The induction brought family, friends, and community together to celebrate not just the athletes, but the institution that helped cultivate the tradition of success. As a result, I feel closer to NFA and the community that houses such an amazing school.” The following former NFA student-athletes, coaches, and administrators were inducted into the NFA Athletics Hall of Fame:

James Justice ’73 • 12 Varsity Letters (Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Track) • All-State Football and Track Gary Makowicki ’73 • Varsity Basketball Captain • Assistant Coach Basketball - 12 years • Head Coach Girls Track - 23 years • 10 State Championships • Athletic Director - 22 years • National High School Athletic Coaches Association 2015 Athletic Director of the Year Michael DeLucia ’83 • Undefeated Pole Vaulter in regular season dual meets • All-State Player - Pole Vault Jayne Ledoux Rice ’84 • Individual Gymnastics State Open Champion (Junior year) • Senior Gymnastics Captain • State Class L/LL title in vault and all-around • Girls Track integral team member • 10-0 Regular season team record • Second Place State Championship Team

Robert Larkham ’85 • 1984 and ‘85 Class LL Champion • Senior year undefeated dual meet record 17-0 • NFA’s first State Open Wrestling Champion (1985) Joey Kochanski Foo ’99 • 4-time Gymnastics All-Around Class L State Champion • 3-time Gymnastics All-Around State Open Champion • 1999 Gymnastics New England Champion • 4-time All-State Gymnastics • 3-time All-New England Gymnastics Christopher Andrew ’00 • 12 Varsity Letters (Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track) • 1999 Class LL and State Open Cross Country Champion • 3-time All-State Cross Country • 2-time All-State Track • 2-time All-New England Cross Country • All-New England Track

Krista Rappahahn Birnie ’02 • 4-year Girls Basketball Starter • Freshman year led the team in scoring & rebounding • 2001 Class LL Girls Basketball State Championship Team (27-0) • Senior year scored 1,048 points (total = 2,048) JJ Justice ’04 • 4-year Varsity Football Starter • 2-time All-State Nominee • 2003 High School Football All-American • 3 Year Varsity Track athlete • 2002 & 2004 Class LL State Champion in the javelin • 2003 & 2004 State Open Championship in the javelin • Contributed to claiming the Track & Field Team State Open Championship – first ever title in school history

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Training Students for Careers in Manufacturing and Industry “It is important that all students have a plan after high school,” says School Counseling Department Head Jessica St. George. “That plan should ultimately lead to a job. While there are many paths a person can take to attain sustainable employment, NFA is investing in and recognizing the students who choose a path to direct employment after high school.” St. George and Career and Technical Education Department Head Linda Farinha have led the effort for the past two years to build a program giving students the experience and skills to put them in demand for employment in the thriving field of advanced manufacturing. This Manufacturing Pipeline represents a new educational model with real-world experience removing the divide between work and learning. The Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), a non-profit agency mandated through the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

(WIOA) of 2014, has created a network of training and employment opportunities for young people to ensure that the region has a qualified workforce to ensure the growth in a 21st Century manufacturing economy. EWIB has been working with specific employers like General Dynamics Electric Boat (EB) and the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA), a consortium of about 75 manufacturers and industry and community partners, and with agencies United Way and Thames Valley Council for Community Action (TVCCA), and post-secondary schools like Three Rivers Community College. As the region’s manufacturing industry grows and expands, companies like Electric Boat seek qualified employees fluid in technology, adaptable to change, and able to think on their feet. Norwich Free Academy is one of the first high schools in the region to partner with EWIB. In its second year, NFA’s Manufacturing Pipeline teaches graduating and rising seniors about

exciting, stable, and lucrative careers in the region and prepares them with the skills and knowledge for full-time gainful employment after graduation.

successful completion of the program and interview, 19 seniors were offered employment -- 17 at EB and two at EAMA.

Chris Jewell, NFA Corporator and Chief Financial Officer and Principal at Collins & Jewell Company, has been a valued advisor and champion of the program from the outset. “This program is a win-win for everyone,” he explains. “The pipeline gives students an opportunity for a career and meets workforce needs in the region by being able to recruit from within, rather than recruiting out-of-state.”

Jack Elliott ’18 was one of those students hired at EB. He wasn’t sure where he saw himself after high school but knew he was good working with his hands. He thought he might attend Three Rivers Community College, but when accepted into the Pipeline, he knew it was the right fit. Elliott had the opportunity to try his hand at both the electrician and machinist routes. After completion, he received job offers in both roles, but ultimately based upon his real experience, he made an informed decision to become an electrician.

In addition to receiving relevant education combining specific courses, career and technical education, and work-based learning, students who complete the full-year Advanced Manufacturing Training course in 12th-grade have the opportunity to interview with Electric Boat and other regional manufacturing companies. In the first year of the Pipeline, upon

Before his hire at EB, Jacob Foster was planning to enlist in the military, but the Pipeline seemed “too good of an opportunity to pass up.” By the time he finished, he was certified and ready to start a career in carpentry. “It’s the best job I’ve had – definitely,” he

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says after working at EB for four months. EB has offered him extensive continuing training and education, investing in his progress as a tradesman. “They believe in what you’re doing,” he said. Foster explained how the courses helped him understand the importance of focus. “They gave me some direction. Now I am in a better position. I’m ahead of a lot of kids I went to school with,” Foster said. “It opened a lot of doors for me.” Working at Electric Boat offers the Pipeline participants salaries, benefits, and training opportunities they might not otherwise have had. Now, they may still go on to higher education and may even receive financial assistance from their employer to do so. Foster is looking into more education to further his career. Elliott plans to stay at EB and continue advancing in his career as an electrician. Both Foster and Elliott are grateful for the opportunities that NFA’s Pipeline opened to them. As part of the inaugural group in 2018, they have helped shape the path for those who follow. That first year, NFA worked with EWIB to identify and prepare students. This year and moving forward, NFA has taken on full responsibility for the pathway and has expanded it into grade 11. “This year,” says St. George, “the program was run pretty much the same, except we were able to start the process much earlier in the school year which allowed

us more time to plan and to work with the students. The students attended required after-school sessions once per week for about two months to prepare for the assessment and to complete all of the required registration materials. This preparation paid off. Another change is that last year the six-week summer training course was offered at Three Rivers Community College. This year it will be offered at NFA, taught by TRCC faculty in collaboration with NFA faculty.” According to St. George, “There will be major changes to the program next year as NFA will be taking on the full program in-house. We have just completed the process of identifying 20 current 11th-grade students for the program next year. We will give those students an in-house pre-assessment. From there we will identify the 16-18 students who will move forward and be enrolled in a full-year Advanced Manufacturing course here at NFA, in their daily schedule, taught by NFA faculty. The hope is that all of the skills and requirements will be built right into that one-year class. This would include preparation for the EB assessment, the necessary manufacturing skill, and employability skills. This will be a big undertaking for NFA and will still require collaboration with EB and other community partners.” Farhina adds, “The integration of the Manufacturing Pipeline at NFA has provided an opportunity for students to gain valuable workplace skills and credentials before leaving high school. This program comes at a critical time as local employers are facing a skills gap in advanced manufacturing jobs. Fortunately, for NFA students, that need will result in sustainable job opportunities with growth for many years to come.” The Pipeline is just the beginning of a growing initiative at NFA to ensure that all students have a postsecondary high school plan. For some, that plan will be further education; for others, the military, and for still others employment with sustainable wages, benefits, and opportunities. The initiative, a collaboration of members of the local business and industry community and NFA faculty and administration, will identify core competencies required of NFA students to meet the needs of the manufacturing and industry, medical and healthcare, business and finance, travel and tourism, or other economic sectors. Through thoughtful program and curriculum enhancement, NFA intends to be at the vanguard of providing a workforce for the region’s 21st-century economy.


RAISING THE BAR Jessica Bashelor Fracalossi’s energy can make your head spin, literally. The owner, CEO, and frequent instructor at Handle Bar Indoor Cycling Studios at three locations in metropolitan Boston – South Boston, Fenway, and Cambridge, Fracalossi is tireless. Her cycling studios not only offer spinning classes, but build communities, make connections, and provide a platform for physical and psychological well-being for clients. At NFA, Fracalossi ’06, the child of a military family, was a competitive, disciplined, and ambitious student-athlete. “I was captain of the swim team,” she says, “and I spent a lot of time alone in my thoughts, in my head, in the water.” She challenged herself in the classroom. “My Advanced Placement U.S. History class,” she recalls, “was incredibly difficult, but I learned so much. I remember being asked really hard, probing questions, questions that made me think deep and hard, but I was prepared to answer them.

“I had great English teachers,” says Fracalossi, whose strong writing skills combined with graphic design and other media classes and her interest in the arts all converged to help her navigate the creation of a brand and a business. “Words and visuals articulate a vision. The creative fields are not a waste of time in high school,” she says, commenting that arts education is not just enrichment but foundational. “For me, the size of NFA was hugely beneficial, and the amount of support was tremendous,” she reflects. Always wide-ranging, Fracalossi’s interests in college encompassed biology, fitness, communications, design, marketing, retail, and mental health. “I changed my mind so many times,” Fracalossi says of her search for a major or concentration of study at Northeastern University. She graduated with a degree in biology and a minor in communications in a five-year program she finished in four. During those years she worked in retail. “I just didn’t know Spring 2019


what I wanted to do,” she says, reflecting on her time after college. Fracalossi packed up and moved to Argentina for a year to improve her Spanish, to travel, and to take stock. The former NFA homecoming queen, who today has a very small delta (symbol for change) tattooed on her forearm, had learned that change was life’s constant. “I have learned to embrace change,” she says smiling broadly, “and I find it exciting.” She considered becoming a speech pathologist; she worked for a time wearing an activewear manufacturer’s gear at fitness centers; she became a certified spin instructor; and she took an interest in the entrepreneurial startup culture that seemed to be taking hold wherever she looked. “I had been very interested in the start-up culture, and I knew that boutique fitness was on the rise.” She wrote a business plan, and between March and October of 2012, she took advantage of consultative services at Northeastern’s Venture Accelerator Program IDEA which provided her with an entrepreneur coach. A chance conversation between her brother Will Bashelor ’03, a Dartmouth graduate, and a classmate, John Huelskamp who worked for Goldman Sachs and was trying to start a cycling business in San Francisco, propelled Fracalossi in an important direction – securing investors. By June of 2013, she had a location, real estate, and investors, one of whom was Huelskamp. The Handle Bar Cycling Studio opened in June, and by September of 2013 classes were selling out. This first success found Fracalossi seeking to expand her business. “I find great satisfaction in doing,” says Fracalossi. “I’m not satisfied by remaining in a steady state. I’m always looking for a forward direction.” As it became clear that she and her business were on a growth curve, Fracalossi in her characteristic style found expansion “stimulating” and saw it as a means to “create opportunities” both for herself and others. “I know that sometimes it’s terrifying, but you constantly have to ask yourself, what is my path forward? What does it look like? And, then, you focus on staying on your feet.” The second Handle Bar opened in Fenway in 2014, and Cambridge followed in 2015. “I think part of


taking a risk and of trying to succeed is wrapping your head around what failure looks like. I think you have to be ok with that, with failing, if you want to succeed.” From the outset, a feature of Fracalossi’s business plan was her commitment to being local, to creating neighborhood alternatives to national chains, and to leveraging spinning classes to create communities and networks of people connected to one another in ways that grew out of the “intensity, the camaraderie, and the discipline” of group fitness with motivating music and instructors. Fracalossi had intended local engagement and accountability to be essential to her business. By design, classes and their instructors often become communities, with volunteerism, fundraising, and civic engagement resulting. In a short time, a non-profit element of the business took shape. Handle With Care, the business’ philanthropic foundation was founded in 2017 to promote awareness of mental health and erase the stigma of mental illness. Volunteer driven, the foundation hosts bi-monthly events, and uses the power of social media to advance the cause. Regular partnerships with other organizations in the mental health field underscore the positive connection between physical and mental health and advance Fracalossi’s vision. “NFA friendships last a lifetime,” Fracalossi notes. She has remained closely connected with a circle of friends from NFA. In 2016, many were in or at her wedding when she married her husband, Sean, a Northeastern classmate, former football athlete, and Biochemistry grad. From the beginning, Fracalossi has enjoyed the support and advice of her husband, and with the birth of their son, Oscar, both have been facing together the challenges of balancing family, career, business ownership, and expansion. As the couple tackles the future personally and professionally, they are actively seeking changes to both their business enterprise and their living situation. Somehow, it seems, that through it all, this energetic young businesswoman, wife, and mother will move steadfastly forward, always influenced by her mom’s consistent support and wise advice. “My mom’s advice to me through my whole life has been central to the way I think and act. She always said, ‘Choose a path and go there.’”




TRAVIS GRILLO ‘00 IS CEO AND FOUNDER OF GRILLO’S PICKLES. WITH SALES TODAY OF IN EXCESS OF $25 MILLION IN 10,000 STORES NATIONWIDE AND DISTRIBUTION PLANTS UP AND DOWN THE EAST COAST, THE BRAND RANKS SECOND ONLY BEHIND CLAUSSEN IN THE FRESH PICKLE MARKET. A self-proclaimed “art fanatic,” Grillo spent much of his time at NFA in the art room. A high school ceramics class led to art awards and public sale of his artwork. A degree from Central Connecticut State University in design followed. He hoped to build a career in sneaker design, and right out of college, he landed an interview with Nike. Grillo interviewed for two months, traveling to the company headquarters in Portland, Oregon. He believed his goal was within reach, but ultimately he was passed over for the job for someone who already worked for the company. Crestfallen by his first foray into the corporate world, Grillo returned to Norwich to figure out his next step. “I come from a hard-working family,” Grillo explains. “I learned the value of hard work and the benefits of working for yourself from my father, who sells batteries, and an uncle who is a contractor.” Sitting in the back yard of his family’s home, munching on a home-made pickle from a family recipe, he decided, “I can sell these.” An inherently ironic marketing element did not escape him. “When you think of pickles,” he says, “the first thing that comes to your mind in the commercial space is not ‘Italian.’ In the marketplace, there was space for an Italian Pickle. Society sets us up to expect certain norms,” Grillo explains. “I realized immediately that an Italian pickle was going to be unique in the marketplace.” Before Grillo’s brand, there were no other Italian Pickles commercially available. Today, Grillo’s Pickles occupy a singular niche in a competitive business. The company uses all-natural ingredients – cucumbers, garlic, dill, and peppers, but avoids chemicals, additives, and preservatives. The pickles are vegan, all-natural, gluten-free, paleo and kosher. “We buy more fresh dill than anyone else in the country,” he claims, adding that “last year we bought 90 million cucumbers.” As the company grew, Grillo learned to

follow weather patterns and understand agricultural trends, seasons and harvests to purchase ingredients, and he learned about trucking and shipping. The journey from idea to industry required reserves of creativity, passion and persistence. And, there was hard, hard work and lots of learning. Add a willingness to take risks with a genius for marketing, and Grillo forged a successful pathway and changed the marketplace.

Grillo started small and local. He was out around Norwich, selling Grillo’s Pickles out of his car – a 1985 Cutlass Supreme Classic. Early on he sourced ingredients from his family’s garden, then Malerba’s. Voc’s Westside Pizza was an early customer and still carries the product. Seeking a larger market, Grillo moved his enterprise to Boston where he began selling from a cart on the Boston Common – two pickles for $1. “In the morning, Travis would bike to Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies,” says the company website. “They’d hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business, but Travis worked hard for it.” That hard work was central to the growth of the brand. So too, was Grillo’s creativity, artistic ability, and a marketing talent which grew the company to 15 million dollars in sales without any professional marketing assistance. His artistic background took hold, and “we designed everything,” he says. “I learned from art -- how to think. At the end of the day, there are no rules in art. When I was in high school, and then later college, I would sacrifice a whole grade on an assignment just to do it my way,” he says proudly. “I cannot emphasize,” Grillo says, “how important marketing is to a brand. Low-cost marketing can have high results.”

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He designed the logo. He became known for his capers in public in a pickle suit worn on the Boston Common. The “pickle man” caught the public’s imagination and the media’s attention. The marketing efforts – and fresh, quality product – soon caught the attention of major outlets – Fenway and global Whole Foods. Grillo’s Pickles are found at both, and now at BJ’s, Costco, Wegmans, Stop & Shop, Shaws, and Publix. The next big retailers to stock the shelves with Grillo’s Pickles are Target and Walmart.

operations of the company. It has a marketing team and operations, sales, and marketing are datadriven. Going corporate has not been easy because he’s an operational businessman, and focusing on strategy and planning are not as hands-on as “the pickle man” has been. With his vision, energy, and commitment to hard work, though, the growth seems limitless for Grillo’s Pickles. “But in my mind, I’m still in the street,” Grillo reflects.

Throughout the expansion, Travis has remained true to his family’s recipe. Grillo travels to each plant to teach the workers himself how to make the pickles. Flavors include Classic Italian Dill, Hot Italian Dill, and Bread & Butter, in chips and spears. “I’ve always loved business,” Grillo says. He gives several pieces of advice to young entrepreneurs. “Don’t be afraid to be broke and don’t be afraid of failure,” he admonishes firmly. Like others who have traveled his path, he encourages risk-taking and “leaps of faith.” Most of all, Grillo encourages,

“ Don’t be afraid to learn from your mistakes. I think that is something I became very comfortable with early on through my artwork.” And the company continues to expand. With the partnership with Target, Grillo found a platform to build and market his lifestyle brand. The company sells a variety of merchandise, including apparel, with the trademark Grillo’s Pickle logo. Recently, he designed a pickle-themed pair of sneakers in collaboration with Patrick Ewing’s sneaker company, an act which brought him full circle. Today, Grillo’s Pickles has a Board of Directors and an executive team that manages the day to day

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Growing Community at Stone Acres Farm 24

Most days, Jane Simmons Meiser ’95 is at the farm. At NFA, where she got her start in video production, she may not have seen farming in her future. Her journey from newsrooms and production studios in New York and Washington, DC, ultimately led her home to Stone Acres Farm. At Stone Acres, Meiser focuses on a neighborhoodcentered goal, an educational mission, and fellowship with others sharing common values, attitudes, and interests. Operated since 1765 by ten generations of the Phelps-Paffard family, Stone Acres Farm has held the community at the center of its identity and purpose. In the 1800s, the farm provided produce to the local community and served the steamship and railroad trade, as Stonington was a stop on the route between New York and Boston. When British forces attacked Stonington Harbor during the Battle of Stonington in 1814, the house was a refuge for villagers and was converted to a hospital. During the Hurricane of 1938, residents and stranded train passengers took shelter at the farm’s main house. And, during World War II, Stone Acres operated as a dairy farm providing milk to the community. Growing up, Meiser spent summers around the farm and the barn with the cows, chickens, and farmers. When her grandmother, Edith Paffard, passed away in 2008, the farm was bequeathed to Jane’s mother, Heidi Paffard Simmons, and three aunts. Currently, a group of like-minded investors owns the farm. The group came together to preserve the open space and re-establish Stone Acres as a working, produce-based farm serving the community. That group includes Jane and her husband Dan, whose Mystic restaurants Oyster Club, Engine Room, and Grass & Bone, specialize in farm-totable dining. Of the vision for the future of the farm, Meiser explains, “it was so important for us to be a part of the community, where we could open the doors to everyone, either through the farming program, or just the grounds where people could visit and wander around.” Including private events and hosted farm dinners, “community is a common thread throughout all that we do.”

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Jane Simmons Meiser ’95 and Andy Meek ’04 at the Stone Acres Farm greenhouse

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One of the group’s first hires was Andy Meek ’04 as farm director. “He’s taken the property and turned it into a highly-productive farm,” Meiser says. The 63acre property and greenhouses supply local restaurant partners with produce year-round. Also, Stone Acres operates a public farm stand and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. In a CSA producers and consumers connect in a food supply business model. Consumers subscribe to the farm through investment, and in return, receive a reliable share of produce and harvest. It is an alternative to traditional farming design that shares the risks as well as the benefits of agriculture among producers and consumers. “Community Supported Agriculture is an incredibly important component of a small farm,” Meiser explains. “We sell our shares between December and March, giving you membership to the farm. It is so important to have that infusion of cash during the winter months as that is when you buy all of your seed, fertilizer, and farming materials.” At Stone Acres, through the CSA, the community investment helps


through the slow winter months. In the summertime, in a twelve-week program, members come to the farm once a week to pick up their share – bushels of lettuce, tomatoes, flowers, and eggs from the chickens that roam the property. Philosophically, a CSA also connects consumers more fundamentally and closely to their food supply. “A big thing for us is to get people to understand where our food is coming from and to eat seasonally,” says Meiser. Learning about sustainability and the locality of food is central to the mission of nonprofit Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, located at Stone Acres. Led by executive director Jennifer Rothman, the Center provides cooking classes for children and adults and teacher professional development. Additionally, the Center offers internships and volunteer opportunities for high school and college students interested in exploring careers in farming. “We have kids, adults, teachers, classes, and training here on a weekly basis,” explains Meiser. “They are out in the field picking peas, potatoes, carrots. They

“ I believe in the goodness of people, neighbors, and community.” bring the food inside, cook it, and sit down to have a shared meal. The community that is created around that is really important.” The educational center and its offerings reinforce the mission to reaffirm a lost connection in modern society of a traditional understanding of and connection to the food supply. Linda Farinha, NFA’s Career and Technical Education Department Head and the Center’s Treasurer says, “For teachers, the Yellow Farmhouse Education Center provides a unique, hands-on approach to bring these concepts into the classroom through curriculum development, farm chores, and conversations with farmers throughout the region.” Meiser was drawn to attend NFA because of the fine arts program, especially photography and studio art. She participated in the video journalism classes, producing community-based pieces for Fox Kids News. After graduating from Trinity College, she began her career in New York City in television production. She recalls the early morning shift in a studio at Fox News on 9/11, the chaos and uncertainty of that day, and the loss of a good friend who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. “I didn’t have time to process until a couple days later.” In the days and weeks after, “you saw a thread of the community come together. It was palpable.”

Meiser spent six years working in television production in Washington, DC, including time with CNBC. She returned to New York to work in corporate communications and investor relations. She was approached by and worked with, American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit mentoring program for military veterans transitioning into corporate America. After she met her husband, Meiser returned to Connecticut and ran La Grua Center, Stonington Borough’s nonprofit cultural center for the arts, music, and education. Community building is the ‘tie that binds’ Meiser’s work. “In general, I believe in the goodness of people, neighbors, and community,” Meiser explains. “It’s really wonderful.” At Stone Acres, shared meals and shared experiences celebrate that goodness.

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A Passion for Life, Business, and Beer 30

Esther and JC Tetreault had their dream wedding, set on a farm in Southeastern Connecticut, surrounded by friends and family, with home-brewed ale. That day began a partnership – not only in life, but also in business – and today, the Tetreaults are owners of Trillium Brewery, the first brewery to open in Boston since 1986.

characterize the NFA alumna. After earning her business degree, she pursued a path in fitness with the intent of starting her own business. “I wanted to make a career for myself,” she says, and she set out initially to create an in-home fitness and wellness program. At the time, fitness was a “passion.”

Whatever she does, Esther Rothstein Tetreault ’95 tackles it with passion. At NFA she was a scholar and an athlete known for her humor and energy. “At NFA I was interested in math and science,” she says. “I was drawn to the logical.” She went to college at Bentley University in Boston, known for its top-ranking business program. She credits NFA, “especially softball,” for giving her “real world experience,” and notes that “my college was smaller than NFA.” Tetreault reflects that “students don’t realize the value of what they have at NFA until much later.”

When she and JC began to plan their wedding, Tetreault launched a successful blog about wedding planning, initially intending to write only about topics of interest to family and friends. The blog resonated with others having the same experience and almost took on a life of its own.

Her passion and energy, her love of conversation, together with a risk-taking spirit to jump right in

So, it is no wonder that with her husband, “a creative guy who likes to make stuff,” Tetreault turned a mutual love of “food, cooking, and baking” and an equally mutual joy of “conversation, family, and friends” into a business plan to experience both by launching Trillium. Spring 2019


With the partnership with Target, Grillo found a platform to build and market his lifestyle brand.


“Passion has to be at the core of what you do.”

Tetreault is fond of telling how their business venture began “almost by accident” when her mother gave JC a brewing kit as a gift. Their shared science interest kicked in, and slowly but surely, an “obsession” for brewing and a dream to found a craft beer brewery took hold. “It was a concept” for the longest time before it became a reality,” she says. By the time it did, both had “day jobs, a toddler and an infant, and a new business. It was a tough balance,” she says, “but we were equal partners committed to doing the things to make it work.” She is also quick to note that “it was a leap of faith to embrace this direction, but we did. We put our heads down and worked hard.” In 2013, the couple opened a small brewery, retail space, and a tasting room in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston. They chose the name Trillium because to them the trillium flower represents beauty, strength, simplicity, and balance. The business grounded itself in the neighborhood and created a space for sharing brew and experience. Their flagship Fort Point Pale Ale expanded into about 25 base brands, and at times reached almost 50 IPAs with choice offerings and variants, like Upper Case. In 2015 after Trillium had opened a second much larger facility in Canton, MA, the Boston Globe noted that “it’s important to acknowledge what Trillium is doing: pumping out consistently exceptional beers with soft, juicy qualities that have come to define a category known as ‘New England style’ IPAs.” Soon, a new larger facility opened in Fort Point with dining and event space. From real estate to zoning, from human resources to finance, from economic incentives to a community-driven mission, the Tetreaults learned many lessons along the way as they grew their business, cultivated their marriage, and raised their children. “It is a balancing act,” says Tetreault, “but we could not do this on our own. We had to bring in people who are genuinely more knowledgeable than we are. There is no way we could grow by ourselves and create a sustainable business and life-balance for ourselves.” With business growth, also comes personal growth, Tetreault admits. “I had to let go,” she says of bringing on a professional team to manage some aspects of the business, but she also acknowledges that “we invest a lot of time into onboarding our employees. We want those who work with and for us, those who represent our company and our brand, to learn about us first, not just apply their expertise. That is really important to who we are as business owners.” Tetreault tells young entrepreneurs that “passion has to be at the core of what you do.” Now she and JC are on to another passion, perhaps their “end goal” from the outset – creating a working farm-to-table operation -- restaurant, inn, and brewery on acres of land on East Clarks Falls Road in North Stonington bordering Hopkinton, RI. In addition to growing grains, fruits, flowers and more on site, there will be meals with locally-sourced ingredients, and personal and recreational amenities. The Tetreaults are on the cusp of the next great adventure, and as their past endeavors have demonstrated, it will be carried out with exuberance and energy, with positivity, and with a mission-like zeal. Spring 2019


The Algorithm of Life Global Nuclear Energy Expert Lake Barrett ’63


Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan Spring 2019


“You learn more from failure, sometimes, than you do Barrett claims, “and the bigger the failure, Lake Barrett ’63 is one of the world’s leading experts on nuclear energy. Throughout his career, he has worked to safeguard the “cleanest, most efficient energy source in the world.” As he traveled and worked throughout the United States and beyond, he built a career focused on the fundamentals. He is called upon in interviews in media outlets like the BBC, National Public Radio, and “60 Minutes.” He has testified before numerous Congressional committees. His work was instrumental in the cleanup efforts of Three Mile Island and, today, in Fukushima, Japan. Barrett came to NFA from Ledyard. His 8thgrade teacher recommended him for the manual training course of study at NFA. His family owned a construction business, and Lake was used to physical labor. He enjoyed the time in Bradlaw busily using his hands; he learned woodworking and worked in the print shop. “In those days printing was mechanical with a press and typesetting was done by hand. I learned to read backward and upside down,” he says proudly. All the while, however, “I kept telling myself I could do more, so I asked to take Algebra.” He took Algebra. Soon, “I knew I could do more, so I asked to move to the college program.” He was moved. Chemistry and Physics followed. “It is a strength of NFA,” Barrett says, “that they listened to me. They listen to the students and let them follow their interests.” While pursuing a degree in NuclearMechanical Engineering from the


from success,” the more to learn.” University of Connecticut, Barrett balanced work with school. Staying close to home to help his family, he took a paid internship at Electric Boat, alternating days of work with days of school. He was interested in “space and power” and, upon graduation in 1967, received job offers from Electric Boat and Hamilton Standard – to work on the lunar space module. To remain near home, he accepted the offer from Electric Boat as a reactor test engineer in the nuclear submarine division. Barrett worked on the last nuclear refueling of the USS Nautilus, the decommissioning of the USS Triton, and on the first Polaris missile submarine, the USS George Washington. Most importantly, it was during his time that he married NFA classmate Lynn Buckley ’63 and they started a family. After seven years at EB, he was offered a position in commercial nuclear power with Bechtel Nuclear, then a global leader in the engineering and construction of nuclear power plants. The Barretts moved to Maryland. A proposed transfer to Mississippi propelled him to move to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) where he assumed several senior management and technical positions. In March 1979, a reactor in the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant partially melted down, the most serious accident in a U.S. nuclear plant. Barrett was called upon and became Director of the NRC’s Three Mile Island Clean Up Site Office. That position brought him to his first testimony before the House Committee on Science and Transportation in 1981. “It was my testimony to convince them that it was safe to transport Three-Mile Island nuclear waste by rail,” he says. There was much controversy about such plans and major opposition led by a legislator from Massachusetts. “It was my job to restore public trust and confidence.” He moved his family to

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Harrisburg, PA, to a house “from which I could see the cooling towers.” Of this experience, Barrett comments on the trajectory of his career which pushed him more and more into public positions. “I didn’t like public speaking, and it didn’t come easy, but “it is something I learned mostly by on the job training,” he jokes. As his career advanced, Barrett’s frame of reference became broader in scope, and the altitude of his concern and vision became higher and more encompassing. Always concerned primarily with nuclear power, Barrett found himself increasingly pulled into the world of public policy where politics, economics, and social psychology intersect with science and mathematics.


His plan to stay with the government for “two or three years,” morphed into a 27-year career from which he retired in 2002 as Deputy Director/ Acting Director, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, responsible for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste. During his tenure, Barrett was a direct report to five different Secretaries of Energy. Barrett led the Yucca Mountain Geologic Repository program through a site selection process outside of Las Vegas, Nevada, for deep disposal of spent nuclear fuel and other kinds of high-level radioactive waste on federal

“I believe in the quality of life algorithm,” he muses. Balance – career, family, self – and we learn those fundamentals in high school.” territory. He also served as Director of the Rocky Flats Program Office in Colorado where he was responsible for improving compliance with environmental law at the industrial nuclear weapons production facility. Barrett’s leadership helped the facility to resume plutonium operations and led to the site cleanup and decommissioning. The cleanup was massive involving hundreds of structures, millions of cubic feet of waste, and millions of gallons of contaminated water. Today, 16 years into retirement and the principal of L. Barrett Consulting, LLC, Barrett lives in Venice, FL, and travels for business, but more frequently for pleasure. His expertise and experience in the field have brought him to “a bigger project than putting a man on the moon” – the long, slow, complex clean up of the world’s most recent nuclear disaster. In March of 2011, a magnitude nine earthquake and tsunami knocked out power and disabled the cooling system in the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. Barrett is advising the cleanup efforts, leading pioneering work with robots at the site and working with drones guided by artificial intelligence to take measurements and video inside the containment sites of hazardous materials. “You learn more from failure, sometimes, than you do from success,” Barrett claims, “and the bigger the failure, the more to learn.” He continues, “The most painful lessons are the most meaningful.” When asked by the Japanese what comes next, Barrett says, “There

is no textbook on this. We are learning as we go. We’re writing the textbook as we work our way through. We’re learning at every step of the way.” Lake Barrett is a humble man who believes steadfastly in the fundamentals – “the laws of physics and chemistry, common sense, being able to write and speak clearly, communicate, and analyze and make decisions.” A man who has spoken internationally at universities and to financial groups and industrial leaders, one who has advised senior heads of state and interviewed with major news outlets, Barrett believes in the value of keeping things simple. His approach to life is easily summarized in the word balance. “High school,” says Barrett is “a chance for young adults to practice what they are going to do in life. It is a space to learn, by trial and error, lessons within the confines of control. It is a time for balancing fun at the moment with preparation for the future.” These balancing moments, he reflects, are complemented by experiences in life as we move forward – working in a team and “the strength of diversity. Whenever there was a difficult issue in discussion,” he says, “and there were many, I would say, ‘Look, we’re here to shed light, not heat, on this.’ Learning to listen is very important. “I believe in the quality of life algorithm,” he muses. Balance – career, family, self – and we learn those fundamentals in high school.”

Spring 2019


A Legacy of

Artistic Achievement You may not have personally known Estelle Rothstein ’50, but her creativity may have been on display in your home. 40

An accomplished artist, Estelle Rothstein ’50 worked a long and successful career at Corning Glass Ware. Her major accomplishments include top-selling designs for Corning Ware, Corelle, and Pyrex lines, on several of which the patent lists her as designer. Samples of her work include the Wildflower and Homestead designs. Today, her work is memorialized at the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY. Beyond design, Rothstein was an accomplished in all facets of business, including product development, market analysis, production, consumer testing, and sales projections. She developed and presented color and style forecasts. In all, she was responsible as the creative force to develop a design, and bring it through production and into America’s homes.


creating original designs for hooked, woven, and appliqued Oriental rug and wall hangings. Her work was exhibited in the National Show “Technology and the Artist-Craftsman,” Jack Lenor Larsen, juror. Rothstein’s creativity was displayed in all that she did. She enjoyed antique collecting, garment design with old fabrics and handwork, and collecting minerals and sea shells. She was creator of an exotic necklace line called Les Colliers. In 1999 Rothstein funded a scholarship in memory of her mother, Ann Miller Rothstein ’29. The proceeds of this memorial award help returning NFA art students defray the expenses of their art supplies. Though she passed in October 2017, Rothstein’s generosity continues. Through a bequest, she established the Estelle Rothstein Memorial Scholarship, awarded for the first time at the 2019 Art Award Ceremony, May 10, to Anya Dai. It is the largest award granted to a graduating art student and will have a transformative impact on students pursuing their education. Dai plans to attend School of Visual Art, New York in the fall to study Graphic Design.

Though her passion for art was cultivated as a student at Norwich Free Academy, it was truly a part of Rothsetein’s family DNA. Her mother, Ann, was an art teacher and her nieces and nephew have found successful careers in the arts and creative endeavors. Her siblings are Roberta Rothstein ’54 and Phyllis Huggett ’55, an exhibited artist and former fabric designer in New York City; nieces and nephew are Cynthia Moran ’78, Kathleen Brandon ’80 (former teacher at the NFA art school and current art teacher in Colchester), Katherine Korcz (art teacher in New Jersey), and Gregory Korcz. Her great-niece, Amber Arpin ’01, is a Portland, Oregon-based makeup and special effects artist who has worked on a variety of projects for film, music video, and television including the television shows Grimm and Portlandia.

“As an art school student,” said niece Cynthia Moran, “I could never have fully appreciated the impact that this school would have in our family’s careers. Now, I am so proud to represent my family in the ultimate ‘thank you’ to the Norwich Free Academy Art School through my Aunt Estelle’s bequest. I hope that her legacy inspires present and future students to follow their artistic paths with confidence.”

After NFA, Rothstein received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design in 1954 from Syracuse University. After graduation, she moved to New York City to work for Alexander Smith Carpets and Bigelow Carpets,

Through this scholarship, NFA celebrates artistic excellence and achievement, and continues the legacy and love of the arts so important to Estelle Rothstein and her family.

44 44


THE SLATER MUSEUM Treasures, tales, and secrets of all shapes and sizes fill Slater Memorial Museum. It is difficult to imagine what Slater’s first Curator, Henry Watson Kent, would think of today’s museum, a dynamic collection of art and objects from all over the world, having developed from its original installation of plaster casts in 1888. For the first time, Slater sponsored two special behindthe-scenes tours of the Museum by partnering with The Last Green Valley’s “Walktober” season in October of 2018. Coupled with hundreds of walking tours throughout Eastern Connecticut and Massachusetts, visitors were treated to a special museum experience. While it’s hard to miss the monumental façade of the museum on the outside, much of what the museum does inside and behind the scenes can be easy to overlook. Over 50 people, many NFA alumni, gained a first-hand glimpse into the inner workings of Slater Museum and 130 years of development. Visitors toured some of the most interesting areas of the Museum seldom or never seen at all by the general public. Beyond viewing administrative offices and wandering through collections storage, visitors climbed the stairs to the summit of the museum’s grand tower for arguably the best view in Norwich.

DRAWERS OF CARDS Visitors also spent time examining Slater’s original card catalogs. An early system of inventorying the museum’s collections, the catalogs indicated the origins of Slater Museum’s professional practices. Museums as we know them had existed for many years even in the nineteenth century. Norwich native and first President of Johns Hopkins University, Daniel Coit Gilman, didn’t mince words when he said at Slater Museum’s opening that the unique collection was “unsurpassed, perhaps unequalled, by any that is owned by any college in the land.” Henry Watson Kent, Slater’s first Curator, echoed these statements in his memoirs by describing in detail the marvelous opening of the museum which was attended by some of the most prestigious museum, educational, and community leaders from all over the region. Nevertheless, in 1888 there were no “museum studies” programs, collections care practices, or sophisticated standards of information management as we know them today. The closest to a museum studies degree at the time was a library science degree. In fact, before coming to Slater Museum, Henry Watson Kent (NFA 1884) was a professionally trained librarian having studied at

Summer Spring 2019 2018


Columbia University under Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System for book cataloging. Mr. Kent’s extensive background in library science was largely influential in developing the museum’s first system of accessioning objects; today, Slater still has original card catalogs containing information such as identity of donor, object provenance, date of manufacture or creation, geographic origin, and much more. A peek into the drawers is a behind the scenes look at history.

Exhibitions are planned many months and usually years in advance in response to the intricate requirements of researching, planning, designing, fabricating, installing, and marketing each component. Museum office space is the hub of activity for staff, volunteers, and interns who spend hundreds of hours completing tasks such as research projects and planning for upcoming exhibitions and group tours. An interesting bit of history about museum offices is that these spaces had multiple uses over the past 130 years starting off as early studio space for art school students. They also served as exhibition space for years, displaying works from the museum’s African and Native American collections.

HIDDEN FROM VIEW Since 1888, Slater’s collection of art and objects has grown close to 10,000 pieces; approximately 30% of which is displayed regularly in permanent exhibitions. The remaining 70% is kept safely within secure collections storage space beneath the Atrium in areas beneath Slater and between the auditorium and Alumni and Norton gymnasiums. Guided through this space, visitors saw art and objects that have never been displayed or have never been seen at all by the general public. Highlights included original photographs by Ansel Adam and artwork by Normand Chartier, original illustrator for Sesame Street. Other object standouts included functional and decorative pieces such as Norwich-made silver, fashion accessories, paintings, and even an exact, six-feet tall, replica of a Chinese Terracotta Soldier, slated to be featured soon in a new gallery of Asian Art.

THE BUSINESS OF EXHIBITIONS Although relatively unassuming, the museum offices are often busy with activity, staffed by four fulltime workers, two part-time weekend workers, and approximately 20 museum volunteers. Though the public sees the visible work of museum exhibitions in the galleries themselves, a bulk of the work takes place in the offices.


Some donors, many NFA alumni, and some bequests have provided Slater marvelous and intriguing objects. Several notable artists, including Paul Zimmerman, Ron Wing, and more, have bequeathed collections of their personal artwork to Slater. Much of their work is in museum storage, though those who have explored other NFA buildings may have noticed some on display in hallways or offices, adding character and style to our campus.

THE TOWER The climb up the winding staircase to the summit of Slater Museum’s grand tower is a journey itself

through a study of architecture, construction, and history. Few artifacts and relics from NFA history remain, but scattered in certain spots on tower walls and benches both on the climb and at the summit are the names of NFA alumni. They appear carved in wood, scratched in brick, scrawled in chalk, and noted in marker – a record of a time when the tower was more accessible to students and visitors. From the windowed peak, visitors gained a panoramic, sprawling 360-degree view of the NFA campus and the many recognizable landmarks visible in the distance including the Mohegan Sun Casino. The vista is expansive and breathtaking. Slater’s tower is architect Stephen Earle’s signature feature of the building as he sought to make a bold design statement in the Romanesque Revival style. It harkens to the majesty of Roman design by including cavernous areas, arched doorways and windows, vestibules, and grouped columns among other details. Slater tower, in both hidden inside spaces and commanding outside panorama, demonstrates many of these key features. Just as our collection of plaster casts amazed and inspired museums to build cast collections of their own, Slater Museum continues to grow its collection and legacy. We hope to continue sharing these behind-the-scenes programs so that more visitors and alumni alike can experience the museum in ways they never imagined were possible. Spring 2019





Joan McGrath Williams and her husband Donald have moved to FL. Their son Thomas is a member of NFA’s Class of 1978. They have six grandchildren and one greatgranddaughter who is two years old. In 2015, Joan and Don celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary with their family at their home. Joan currently resides in Courtenay Spring Health Center, Merritt Island, FL.


Sylvia Sherman Chassey recently retired after 53 years in real estate. She was involved in Waterford, CT property management, sales, rental, HOA’s and spent many years as a volunteer for the CT Association of Realtors. After the death of her beloved husband Richard in March 2016, Sylvia moved to South Carolina to be with her two sons.



Bob Berman was inducted into the Danbury High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a coach, teacher, and mentor. Berman coached football, basketball, and baseball for over 25 years. In 1987, his Danbury High Girls’ Basketball team lost to Southington in the last seconds of the LL Final. At Danbury, Berman established and guided a Varsity Club for students and raised money for school improvements and scholarships. The Club established a scholarship in his honor. Norman R. Freyer received the Col. Stewart Boone McCarthy Award, July 2018, from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution at the 128th SAR Congress in Houston, TX. Given to the compatriot who has “best furthered the preservation of the United States history and its traditional teachings in our schools,” the award was presented to Freyer at the September meeting of the Withlacoochee Chapter of the SAR by Chapter President Larry Sturgeon. Norman resides in Homosassa, FL.


Robert Coman and his wife Barbara recently celebrated 58 years of marriage. Educated as an Aeronautical Engineer, he retired 26 years ago as Vice President of Program Management and Business Development, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Savannah, GA.

Following retirement, he flew his airplane missions as a volunteer Command Pilot and Flight Examiner in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. His two children graduated from the University of Georgia, and his four grandchildren are seniors in college. Daughter Pam is an OB/GYN Physician in Savannah. Her book Love, Sweat, & Tears was made into a full-length documentary to destigmatize menopause featuring the late Joan Rivers, Jenny McCarthy, and other celebrities, clergy, physicians, and patients.


Arlene Illinger Parkhurst won Best in Show President’s Trophy – among 300 quilts on display at the Clamshell Quilt Show held at Connecticut College, August 2018. Her quilt “Flower-Pot” was hand-pieced, hand-appliqued, and then longarmed quilted.


Judy Amoriello recently visited with her brother Richard Amoriello ’60 and his family in Sun Prairie,

Wisconsin. It had been about ten years since she visited Wisconsin, and she finally met all her great nieces and nephews. Judy has attended all of the Red & White reunions that included her class and is a member of the committee for her 60th class reunion this year. She is looking forward to seeing all her classmates. Brenda Schadick Braley recently moved to the beach in Lake Worth, FL, via Key West and Miami. Brenda’s mom Rose Fox Schadick ’36 celebrated her 100th birthday in August 2018 with friends and family, including two great-greatgrandchildren.


Warren Osik and his wife, Carolyn, attended a Civil War Conference in Newport News, VA, last spring hosted by the Civil War Trust (CWT). This organization just recently hit the remarkable goal of 50,000 acres, including battlefields from the Revolutionary, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, preserved for future generations to learn about American history. The CWT recently changed their name to the American Battlefield Trust to reflect their goal.



Joyce Sadinsky Strickland and her husband Charlie became greatgrandparents for the second time on September 6, 2018. Carson J. Mendez was born to granddaughter Brittnie.

Richard Arenberg was named the Clarence Adams and Rachel Adams Visiting Professor of the Practice of

Political Science, Brown University. His most recent book Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the United States is a finalist for the Benjamin Franklin Award in politics and current events and also a finalist in two categories for the Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award.

Read more

Class Notes at

Ann Matikan was honored in the Northern Virginia Magazine June 2018 edition for 20 years of fundraising for a battered women’s shelter.



Forty-three members of the Class of 1965 enjoyed a Holiday Party at Prime 82 hosted by Bill Trantalis’65 and Elaine Valace Trantalis ’71. Since the 50th reunion, members of the Class of 1965 continue to meet monthly for lunch and welcome all classmates, near and far, to join them. Andrea Kaplan Lieberman is an office manager for her husband, Michael, who is an ophthalmologist in private practice and living in North Bellmore, Long Island, NY.

When their children who live in Israel visited recently, they had a family reunion gathering four generations. Attending were their three daughters, two sons-in-law, nine grandchildren, and Andrea’s 94-year-old mother. The family celebrated Andrea and Michael’s 70th birthdays and their 49th wedding anniversary.


Diane Raue Nelson sings with Rock Voices, a group that performs rock music in public choir concerts to entertain and raise funds for charitable organizations.

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Marie Strong Joly and her husband Michael welcomed their first grand-child, Carter Joseph Joly, October 12, 2018. She retired as Technical Aide at NFA in June 2018. On a month-long road trip through the mid-west and Alberta, Canada, in May 2018. In Jasper, Marie met a very excited former NFA Italian exchange student who remembered her help five years

ago in the library to connect via the Internet with his folks at home. Marie writes, “The world is so small, and it was so awesome to connect with someone from another country. NFA touched another life.”


David Hoffman recently assumed the position of Associate Professor of Ethics and Health Policy and Director of the Healthcare Management Program at Maria College in Albany.

Class of

1978 Reunion

Submitted by Gale Eccleston Ennis The Class of 1978 held their 40th reunion celebration October 12-14, 2018, beginning with a welcome gathering at Epicure Brewery in Norwich. Saturday morning, twenty-eight people braved the rain and enjoyed Homecoming festivities under a brightly decorated red tent. That evening, one hundred classmates and guests spent the evening reconnecting. The committee was delighted that this year’s reunion had one of the best turn outs ever, with guests traveling from Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, California, Florida, and Hawaii. Dan Watson, a popular local acoustic rock singer/songwriter, provided music. The weekend concluded on Sunday with a visit to Preston Ridge Vineyard. Thirty-four classmates enjoyed sipping various wines in the picnic area with a spectacular view of the vines. We were invited to watch the grape crushing process after a successful harvest of grapes earlier that morning by vineyard staff. The fall backdrop of colored trees was the perfect ending to an absolutely wonderful weekend. For those classmates who were unable to join us, please join our Facebook page titled, “Norwich Free Academy, Class of 1978.”


New York. He continues as Clinical Professor at University of Albany School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy Management and Behavior and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Albany Medical College Alden March Bioethics Institute.


Roxanne “Rox” Manfred Norris’ dream in high school was to be a performer, and many classmates saw her on stage at NFA. She now appears in 60+ shows a year in NY and VT with the band Roxy and The Road Kings and as a duo with her husband Bob as Roxy Music with Bob & Rox. This winter they took a musicians cruise with Delbert McClinton. Rox also sings back up with some amazing bands around the region.


Stephen Misarski and his wife Janice Mirkin Misarski ‘76 welcomed their first grandchild Rowan Wright Misarski in November 2017. In May 2018, Stephen received his Doctor of Ministry degree from GordonConwell Theological Seminary. His thesis was titled “Training for an Evangelistically Effective Church in New England.” He is pictured on the left of Professor David Currie

ADAM SIMONE ’04 Adam Simone ’04 is helping to reduce plastic waste from the world, one shave at a time. In 2016, along with his business partner, he launched Leaf Shave - a patent-pending all-metal razor with a pivoting head.

and to the right is fellow graduate Chaplain (LtC) Billy Graham.


Timothy Cressey has been working for the State of New Jersey Treasury Department for the last nine years. He became an Adjunct Professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in the fall of 2018. Melissa Balog Goodwin graduated from George Washington University with her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Education Administration, and Policy Studies. She is currently the Supervisor of English for Chesapeake Public Schools in Chesapeake, Virginia, where she resides with her husband, Thomas and their daughter Amelia.


Kafi Davis became Norwich’s first female African American firefighter.

Simone earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at Northeastern University, where he interned in packaging development and design at Gillette. He met his business partner while working at Blue Belt Technologies in Pittsburgh, and the two decided to go into business together, looking for the next big opportunity. They launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Leaf razor in July 2016 and ultimately surpassed their goal – raising $115,328 for the project. Inspired by the success of other mail order razor companies like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s, they sought to use a similar business model but with a sustainable approach, reducing the amount of waste that goes along with plastic razors. The Leaf razor became available for purchase last March, and the company has since sold more than 10,000 razors, which come in six colors and retail for $79, with blades 20 for $9. The sustainable design of the razor is intended to last a lifetime. An added benefit is that the razor is advertised for both men and women, and supplies are available via the Internet. Simone resides in Mystic with his wife, April Collier.


Brett Levanto still breaks out the NFA sweatshirt, a 2001 graduation gift, from

the staff at Alumni House, where he spent many hours during his four years at NFA volunteering. Brett is pictured with his children Ellarene and Noah, also wearing NFA red!

03 She left her career at the Department of Children and Families to become a firefighter and officially started on December 10, 2018, with Platoon 2. Kafi is a former NFA and UConn track athlete.

Tanya Robbins Daniels earned her CPA license for the State of Connecticut in 2018. She and her husband Michael Daniels, Jr. welcomed their second child Chase, June 27, 2018. He joins big sister Madison.


Raymond “R.J.” Evans joined the University of North Carolina, Asheville men’s basketball program as assistant coach.

NICOLE MARIEN ’07 Hollywood and a career as a casting producer were not Nicole Marien’s plan at NFA. It was to attend college, pursue a career in film, and to make professional movies. At Hofstra University, Marien studied film and interned with Atlas Media Corp and MTV/Viacom. After college graduation in 2011, Marien landed a position as casting production assistant with The Jerry Springer Show, which filmed in Stamford, CT. That job charted her direction in the TV industry. “It was the best and worst of times because of the incredible amount of work I learned that it takes to make a TV show happen every week,” she explains. She was responsible for all the details of scheduling weekly guests from initial contact to greeting on set; she arranged wardrobe, extensive producer meetings, and transportation. In 2013 Marien moved to New York City for casting and TV production for all four major networks. In January 2015, she moved to Los Angeles for a position with an LA-based casting company for NBC. Ever since, she has consistently worked on various major network programs. Marien became casting producer for both seasons of FOX’s The Four in 2018 and is currently casting producer for CBS’s Love Island, a very popular competitive dating show in England, soon to be brought to the U.S. by those responsible for the hit Big Brother. Today, as a free-lance reality TV casting producer, Marien works in competition, game, talk, and dating shows and docuseries – any project with a cast portraying themselves. She spends her days combing social media and interviewing by phone, Facetime, Skype, and in-person applicants for a show’s particular needs. The deadline-driven work ends with a handoff to production and shooting teams. A lineup of Marien’s additional credits is impressive: NBC’s Million Second Quiz with Ryan Seacrest, Bravo’s The House of DVF, The UK’s Made in Chelsea, Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible, Fox’s Superhuman, NBC’s Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris, GSN’s Divided, and CMT’s Broken Skull Challenge, as well as other multiple development projects for various other major networks and media platforms. Her dream job would be on a groundbreaking documentary feature film.

Marien’s advice to young people is practical. “It is not going to be easy, but if you work really hard, it will happen. You need to be willing to put in long hours and learn the ropes of the industry. If you have a great work ethic and have the willingness to learn, you will go far…. If you want it, you just have to make it happen; don’t wait for it.” Participation in NFA’s Playshop, drama classes, and AV electives fostered Marien’s interest in the entertainment industry. Her AP English and history classes prepared her both in learning and discipline for college. “Whether you are bagging groceries, or studying for exams, or working at your dream job, you just have to take pride in what you do. How you present yourself will attract opportunities, but honestly, nothing is out of reach for those willing to put in the time and hard work.”


Kaitlin Murphy Chin and Ian Chin were married, July 14, 2018, at Mystic Seaport.


Kyle Liang is a firstgeneration born Chinese American poet who has recently published How to Build a House, a book of poetry. He is a multi-talented individual in athletics, academics, and the arts. His poems tell stories about his family’s journey from Taiwan to the US.


Stephanie Alice is finishing her undergraduate degree in English at the University of London and working at a communications firm in the city. While visiting New York and Connecticut last year, she became engaged to her fiancé who is Greek-Australian but settled in the UK. They will be married this year and are happy to call London their home! Stephanie attributes much of her success to NFA teachers Sarah Burchman and Aidan D’Elia for their support and encouragement when she was a student. She will forever be grateful to NFA for exposing her to diversity in every aspect of life and especially to the English Department for fostering an academic interest which eventually led her to her college major.


Cynthya Gluck recently published two pieces in The New Hampshire, the Independent Student Newspaper of New Hampshire University. She was thrilled that one was a front page item.

2019 Reunions Does your class year end in a 4 or 9? If so, your class will be celebrating a reunion in 2019! We are looking for reunion volunteers for the following classes: 1984, 1999, 2004 & 2009. If you are interested in helping to plan your class reunion please contact the Alumni Office at 860-425-5542.

Jared Small, a freshman at Winthrop University (SC), is pursuing a degree in Biology. While working as an intern, he discovered a previously unidentified virus in a soil sample. Named IAN to honor Small’s brother, Ian Small ’19, the virus and its relationship to illnesses, if any, are currently under study.

Spring 2019




Art teacher Stephanie Blonsky welcomed her daughter Noelle Suzanne, November 12, 2018.

Guidance Counselor Kelsey Iovino Klaeson ’01 welcomed son Kian John Klaeson, February 11, 2019.

Robert Briones was named Outstanding Coach of the Year, Boys Soccer, by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association.

Science Teacher Cary Langley-Barry welcomed son Lucas Allen, August 20, 2018.

Science teacher Aidan D’Elia welcomed her son, Gaetano Anthony, January 17, 2019.

54 54


of the year

Kalwara holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and mental health from Southern Connecticut State University and a Masters and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology from Northeastern University, Boston. She has worked at Yale University’s Child Center for the Study of Learning and Attention and held positions as a school psychologist in Marlborough, MA, and Groton, CT. Kalwara is using her selection as Teacher of the Year as a platform to help others understand the role of the school psychologist. “We are the back-door helpers who support learning, growth, and development from behind the scenes,” she says. “We help students be ready to learn in the classroom and maximize their potential. A school psychologist’s day is hectic,” she continues, “and we need to know a lot about a lot.”

School Psychologist Laura Pieramico married Patrick Connolly, June 6, 2018, in Geneva, NY.

s Math teacher Emily Reguin ’13 married Douglas Latham, Jr., October 7, 2018, in Griswold, CT. Girls Basketball Coach Bill Scarlata retired after 40 years of coaching NFA Wildcats since 1993. Scarlata retired from teaching math in 2010. Associate Director of Student Services Elizabeth Tamura welcomed her son Benjamin Kai, March 11, 2019. His two sisters are very happy he is here. Special Education Teacher Danielle Poirier welcomed son Lincoln Alexander, July 6, 2018.

Physical Education Teacher Anthony Turgeon married Nicole Frantz, July 14, 2018, in Brooklyn, CT.


Members of the Class of 1991 may remember classmate Arikka Pellinen Kalwara as Homecoming and Prom Queen. A school psychologist at NFA since 2003, Kalwara is NFA’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.

Spring 2019


& We Will Miss

ALUMNI FRIENDS 1931 Doris Drechsler Gallagher Genevieve Bizinsky Rafferty 1933 Margaret Dunn Blanchard Elizabeth Church Fuetsch 1935 Victoria Millard Travers 1936 Irene Desrosiers Blais Charles Hubbard 1937 Sophie Michalevich Kroslak 1938 Margaret Gauthier Berthiaume Charlotte Craney Chamberlain Lucille Frechette George Kudravetz Virginia Alfieri Yacinski 1939 James Block Warren Burgess 1940 Wanda Jaskiewicz Cornell Robert LaPre John Leone Arlene Sullivan Norman Rita Jarvis Phoenix Maribel Ward Raue 1941 Genevieve Shuell Bergendahl Sylvia Seder Eisenberg Louis Goldberg Elizabeth Liepold Hansen L. Adeline Gale Hinchey

Olive Bergman McDonald Grace Caulfield Nickeson Max Orenstein Louisa Dluzniewska Prokopowicz Helen Gilbert Schink Esther Kaminske Snow Claire Martin Watts 1942 Mary Crawford Alligood Hanni Oppenheimer Curland Isabella Young Fitzgerald Jane Robbins Van Gorder Sheldon Levine Eleanor Makowicki Pottie Melvin Silverman 1943 Eleanor Foley Blonshine Alita Sabinski DuPont Beatrice Bokoff Einhorn Raymond Fanning Joseph Goldberg William Murphy Paul Slosberg Jean Carter Spencer Carol Winchester Stewart Marion Abel Thelin 1944 Mary Nevins Diotalevi Ellen Moody Hagen Lois Peckham Lopez Mary DeWolf McGuiness Anne Macaione Mitchell Leonie Landry Plante Mary Lyman Rowe Jean Bourret Rousseau Helen Stafford Walker 1945 Mary Fournier Cudo Marie T. Fenton Ellen Larsen Geer

We express our deepest sympathy to the families and classmates of the following NFA graduates who are known to have recently passed away. They will be missed.

Evelyn Pierson Gotschall Anne Yoser Hertz Phyllis Wieczorek Howard Armand Masse Alberta Wolfman Sherman Louise Natzel Yerrington 1946 Rose DeRosier Alfieri Frederick Armstrong Robert Gelfand John Jesmonth Doris Miner Maynard John O’Neil Dorothy Raftowicz Terluk Dolores Lucier Throwe Harold Welling James Wilber Frank Vasington 1947 Eleanor Peltier DesSureault Madeline Fenton DiStasio Dorothy Abramchuk Faulise-Doucette Peter Trantalis 1948 Ralph Hurlbutt Robert Lawrence Carol Mahan Sklarsky Herman Smotrich Raymond Snarski 1949 Victor DeBartlo Elaine Ramsden Lindsey Lucille Chop Peloquin Phyllis Barber Plotkin Ronald Swanson 1950 Robert Chabot Sandra Berkman Fromm Theresa Brogno Geragotelis Thomas Lenkiewicz

1951 Winifred Mellor Berberick Claire Raffanti Duff Jane Putnam Jaskiewicz Avis Llewellyn Lambert Lorraine Leblanc Longley Carole Swanson Miller Joan Kubik Pearson Thelma Shannon Pisano Richard Vogel Barbara Morosky Zeppieri 1952 Ruth Mazyck Alex Vivian Leith Jorczak Mary Pedace Mahler 1953 Beverly Longley Babie Linnea Bulford Barry Marianne Griffin Berretto Paul Brown John Davis Thomas Kohanski David Miller Walliette Powichrowski O’Shea 1954 Shirley Lukander Gauthier Ruth Domoracki Goulart Evelyn Kirker Hammond Mary Goodwin Kudej Barbara Dzialo Pitts Winston Sewart 1955 Eileen Walker Bickley Henry Buckley Paul Hull Helen Lecce Aaron Seidman Margaret Wojciechowski Thornton

1956 Jacqueline Frink Becker Jean Ann Bushnell Mary-Jane Connell Fusco David Johnson 1957 Charles Alves Mary Jo Berardi Arnold Carol Tolson Barber Sue Scheiber Collett June Mandeville Falcone Judith Moran Nedney 1958 Raymond Champagne Joseph Duch Robert Dulac Linda Florman Freyer Donald Howell Carol Burdick Marks Anthony St. Germain 1959 Andrew Dudek Paul Hunt Hazel Nichols Husted Aileen Selvidio Livingston Vernon Mostad Marvin Perry 1960 Zelda Whitehead Dunn Carol Maranda William Ward 1961 Gilbert Altheiser Susan Ellal Babbitt Sharon Lewitz Janis Robert Kram John L’Homme 1962 Caroline Dufresne Armstrong Robert Barry Caroline Terni Battisto Saundra Duphilly Cellucci Brenda Altheiser Chrimes Elaine Lefevre Currier Deanne Lahn Leno Theresa Turano Reardon Gail Gejdenson Webman John Wolkowski

1963 Katharine Bradley Bialowas Douglas Patrick 1964 Donald Kirchner Charles McKennie Richard Scepanski Stanley Stober 1965 Ethel Martin Alexander Lawrence Barrett Raymond Bibeau Cynthia Boldrighine Brown Elizabeth Jordan Gorence 1966 Robert Brulotte David Gulley Roger Harwood Donna Leone Hopkins James Larkin David Lathrop Robert Rondeau Ellen Avdevich Warzecha 1967 Raymond Ostrowski Marjorie Pevner Vivian Prokop Vane 1968 Steven Allard Janet Alves Watson 1969 Laraine Cellucci Michael Ezell Michael Grabowski Charles Gregory Hubert Jones Beverly Walker Luce Suzanne Tremblay MacDowell Alfred Marcolini Felix Martinez Catherine Rich Pettit 1970 Barbara Johnson Formiglio Gary Lajeunesse Faye Eccleston Paradis Jean Copeland Pepin

1971 Brenda Ezell Douglas Fraser Denise Bassetti Popa Herbert Read

1990 Matthew Lane

1972 June Hodkinson Vallier Paradis

1992 Rachel Main Tyler Marshall

1973 Mark Daniels Joyce Cormier Hyde Tadious Makara

1993 Thomas Beams

1974 Yvonne Chinatti Toler 1975 Walter Fleming Joan Barton Martell Thomas Simalchik 1976 George Gardner Cheryl Hoffman Richard Moran William Sawyer Robert Simalchik Kevin Sohn 1977 Gregory Dudley 1978 Rhonda Harris Nixon 1979 Ann Balcom Edgeworth David Gozzo 1980 John Kennedy Joseph Pellegrini

1991 Dawn Brozyna Tracey

1994 Jeramie Dewaine Louis Herman 1996 Xavier Jarmon Joseph Presti 1997 Kyron Sands 1999 Jillian Franklin 2000 Patrick Galligan 2001 Elizabeth Dimaggio 2002 Justin Nylen 2003 Nickolas Delucia Daniel Donahue Kyle Gibeault 2004 Thomas Diaz John Lopresti Whitney VerSteeg

1981 David Dereski Todd Loomis

2014 Andre Stone

1984 Raymond Kane

2015 Malaysia Turner

1987 Anthony Giallombardo Alina Stankiewicz Schwartzman Summer 2018 Spring 2019

57 57

leaders matter Roy Wentworth ’83 Athletic Director “I’m very lucky,” reflects Roy Wentworth ’83, smiling, his eyes bright.

Named NFA’s Athletic Director in April, Wentworth credits the support of his family, the guidance of his mentor, and his unique perspective as contributing to his successful career as a student, coach, teacher, and administrator at NFA.


A Norwich resident, Wentworth, a science teacher, served as NFA’s Director of Night School, Alternative Pathway to Success (APS), and Summer Credit Programs. In September 2018, he became the Head of School Liaison to the Athletic Department and Interim Athletic Director in January 2019. It was like a “lengthy job interview,” describes Wentworth, “but the education I received in the process cannot be found in any textbook. The entire NFA community, the ECC, and the community at large have been very supportive.” “Roy has done an outstanding job of leading the NFA Athletic Department this year,” says Head of School David Klein, “and I am confident that he will continue to serve the institution with honor and professionalism in this position. Mr. Wentworth has the skill and passion, and the integrity and character to lead NFA athletics forward.” Highly respected throughout the state, Wentworth has an extensive background in leadership and coaching, including experience in business and interscholastic athletics. In addition to teaching Biology and Anatomy & Physiology, he served as head coach of NFA’s wrestling program for thirteen years. He also served as a coach for the football program and girls golf team. Currently, he is a member of the CAS-CIAC Wrestling Committee. Wentworth began his affiliation with the NFA wrestling program as a tenth-grader when his family moved to Norwich from New Hampshire. He first met the late Carl Snitkin, NFA’s championship wrestling coach, who became a mentor and friend, and he met his future wife, Susan Blais ’83. Upon graduation from NFA, Wentworth attended Eastern Connecticut State University. During his freshman year, he stopped by NFA to visit Snitkin, who mentioned he was looking for an assistant coach. “I was lucky. I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Wentworth recalls. That conversation began a coaching career and matured a friendship.

After college, for eighteen years Wentworth owned and operated a landscape construction company. Through this experience, he cultivated business acumen, management skills, and leadership abilities during long hours of hard work, and as a business owner, he focused upon detail and organization. All the while, in the background, Snitkin gently and consistently encouraged him to consider a career change to teaching. When he and his wife welcomed their son, Bennington ’11, Wentworth changed his perspective. He wanted to be present as a father. He decided that teaching offered him opportunities for more family time. Wentworth’s vision as an Athletic Director is to improve the quality of the overall experience of NFA’s student-athletes. He believes that success for the department includes coaches who are “role models and mentors providing student-athletes with the ability to set and achieve their goals.” Mentorship is essential to Wentworth, who says, from mentors, “you take in what they offer and use that to create your own standards and principles.” He believes his experiences – personal, family, and professional – shaped his unique perspective and he intends to translate that into successfully leading the department with “a commitment to communicating the sense of purpose that creates good citizens.” From scheduling games and fields and managing coaching staff and personnel to serving on conference and state committees, the position of Athletic Director is complex. Looking to the future, Wentworth hopes to enhance leadership programs for NFA’s student-athletes and renew and refresh the Wildcat Scramble, the annual golf tournament. Wentworth lights up when he talks about the future of the department, but even more so when he discusses his family. “My family comes first,” he emphasizes. “But NFA is a very close second,” he adds, smiling widely.

Spring 2019


Non-Profit Org. ORG. NON-PROFIT U.S. Postage U.S. POSTAGE PAID PAID Hartford, CT HARTFORD, CT Permit #3344



PERMIT #3344

305 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360 W W W. N FA S C H O O L .O RG


ELIZABETH BARNES Class of 2019 Norwich, CT

TYLER BRIGGS Class of 2018 Franklin, CT

CAITLIN DOOLEY Class of 2020 Brooklyn, CT

At Norwich Free Academy, our students are proud to point out what makes us different. It’s pretty simple, and yet it’s not something many high school students get. Options.

Together with their families and faculty, NFA students build a four-year experience that is uniquely theirs— and turn their passions into a lifetime of opportunities.

Learn About Your Endless Possibilities Open House Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 1:00pm Registration at 12:30pm or pre-register at Information Session Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 6:00pm Registration at 5:30pm or pre-register at This illustration, by Alice Barnes Vonpaters ’33, was originally printed in The Mirror. Alice was recognized as one of the Class of 1933’s most talented artists. The yearbook states, “Give Alice a pencil, a piece of paper, and some paint, and her clever fingers will produce an exquisite picture.”