FA LL / W I N T E R 20 20
C H R O N I C LE
32 Back to school during a pandemic SNAPSHOTS OF FALL TERM
Clutch plays & cool characters REMEMBERING PEDDIE’S UNDEFEATED 1970 FOOTBALL TEAM
Pandemonium at Peddie A CHILLING, RIVETING TALE OF AN ALIEN TAKEOVER
PEDDIE CHRONICLE FALL/WINTER 2020 VOL. 149, NO. 1
Editor: Carrie Harrington Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications: Wendi Patella P’17 ’20 Contributors: Beth Dial P’22 Doug Mariboe ’69 P’10 ’14 Patricia O’Neill P’13 ’15 ’17 ’20 ’22 Marisa Procopio ’87 Megan Sweeney Illustrators: Eric Nyquist Stef Wong
Active Citizenry PEDDIE STUDENTS EXERCISE DECORUM WHILE MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD
Art Director: Brandon Detherage Photographer: Andrew Marvin Printing: J.S. McCarthy Printers The Peddie Chronicle is published twice a year by the Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications for alumni, families and friends of the school. The Peddie School 201 South Main Street Hightstown, NJ 08520-3349
Identify and amplify MELISSA ADEYEMO ’01 IS PUSHING AFRICAN FILM TO THE FOREFRONT
Tel: (609) 944-7500 peddie.org/chronicle We welcome your input: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome ddie to Pe MEE T O U R NE WE S T FACU LT Y ME MB ER S
MIK AEL A CHANG
Credentials: bachelor’s degree in international and global studies, Middlebury College Previous experience: social studies teacher, Generation Teach Fast fact: In a coincidence discovered when they arrived on campus, Chang met new English teacher Stef Hernandez in Lima, Peru earlier this year.
Credentials: bachelor degrees in English and Spanish, Trinity University; Ph.D. in Spanish literary and cultural studies, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign Favorite spot on campus: anywhere with Concha, her pup Fast fact: At UI, Greppi received the LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
G REG G ROVE S
Associate Director of Admission/ Director of Multicultural Recruitment Credentials: bachelor’s degree in sociology, Princeton University; master’s degree in education policy, University of Pennsylvania Previous experience: high school placement coordinator and dean of equity and social justice, Christina Seix Academy Favorite spot on campus: tennis courts
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Credentials: bachelor’s degree in English, Williams College Previous experience: literary instructor, PrincetonBlairstown Center Favorite spot on campus: the gazebo behind Swig
Credentials: bachelor’s degree in education and exercise science, The College of New Jersey; master’s degree in educational leadership, University of North Texas Previous experience: teacher and aquatics director, Morristown-Beard School Fast fact: Locasto is a champion gingerbread house builder.
Credentials: bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Guilford College Previous experience: teacher at Princeton Day School, The Hill School and Olney Friends School; Spanish tutor, traveling interpreter for Spanish and English speakers abroad Fast fact: When school is not in session, Brianna resides in Quebec, Canada (along with her dog, Riley).
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Congrats! C O L L E G E A N D U N I V E R S I T Y D E S T I N AT I O N S F O R
THE CLASS OF 2020 New York University (11) Boston University (5) Syracuse University (5) Columbia University (4) Cornell University (4) Duke University (4) George Washington University (4) Washington University in St. Louis (4) Colgate University (3) Dickinson College (3) Elon University (3) Franklin & Marshall College (3) Lafayette College (3) Northeastern University (3) University of Pennsylvania (3) University of Richmond (3) University of Virginia (3) Wake Forest University (3) American University (2) Boston College (2) Brown University (2) Case Western Reserve University (2) Davidson College (2) Drexel University (2) Georgetown University (2) Trinity College (2) Tufts University (2) Villanova University (2) Barnard College Bucknell University Carnegie Mellon University Colby College Colorado State University Denison University Emerson College Emory University European Business College Munich Fairfield University Fordham University Georgia Institute of Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Howard University Lehigh University Loyola University Maryland Massachusetts Institute of Technology McGill University Mount Holyoke College Oberlin College Occidental College Pepperdine University Princeton University Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Rhodes College Rice University Sacred Heart University Saint Joseph’s University Scripps College Seton Hall University Skidmore College The College of New Jersey The University of Texas at Austin The University of Texas at Dallas United States Military Academy United States Naval Academy University of California San Diego University of Chicago University of Colorado Boulder University of Delaware University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Massachusetts Amherst University of Miami University of Michigan University of Southern California University of St. Andrews University of Toronto Vassar College Wagner College West Virginia University William and Mary
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Memorializing a beloved class member Behind Annenberg Hall, there is a walkway that looks out over the athletic fields. It’s quiet most of the time. But around 3 p.m, the path livens up as students head toward the gym for their afternoon commitments. And in the early evening, as the athletes find their way to the dining hall or dormitory, the lights of Annenberg Library provide a warm welcome back to center campus. In some ways, this serene space illustrates Peddie’s core value of balance: “attention to mind, body and spirit; time for work and play, a mix of mastery and experiment in academic, athletic, artistic and community pursuits.” Youcef Soltani ’20 thought it was perfectly situated for a pair of gathering spaces to serve the Peddie community and memorialize a beloved member of his class, Malcolm Baldwin. Baldwin died in 2018 during his sophomore year at Peddie.
Youcef Soltani ’20 designed and built seating areas behind Annenberg Hall memorializing his late classmate for his Eagle Scout project. Malcolm Baldwin 2002–2018
And then COVID-19 hit. Campus was closed.
When Soltani, who has been involved in Scouting since first grade, searched for a capstone project for his Eagle Scout award, he knew that he wanted to do something for Peddie. “The project is supposed to be something that benefits a community. I wanted to do something lasting and meaningful for Peddie that would also speak to my class. Creating a memorial to Malcolm just jumped out at me,” Soltani said. Only four percent of Scouts are named Eagle Scouts, the Boy Scouts of America’s highest achievement. Soltani came up with a plan to create comfortable group seating areas along the walkway. With approval from Head of School Peter Quinn and Director of Building Services John Newman, he worked with architecture teacher Claudio Middleton to measure the space and flesh out the details of his plan. Through various fundraising efforts, Soltani raised $2,700 to purchase supplies to build benches. By spring break, they were installed.
While Soltani was disappointed that his class wouldn’t enjoy the new spaces during their senior spring, he thought it was fitting. “In a way, I like that no one knew about it at first because one of the really important principles of the project is that you are not supposed to seek gratitude,” Soltani explained. “Coronavirus made that easier.” Early in the summer, history teacher Austin Frank, Baldwin’s advisor, sent the Class of 2020 a message. In part, it read:
“These benches look out onto the fields and athletic center where Malcolm once triumphantly roamed. They poetically serve as a bridge into the world of sport that Malcolm loved. Soon enough, these benches will be a place where future Peddie students will socialize, enjoying each other’s laughter, making new friends; Malcolm would be so proud.”
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Peddie welcomes new members to its Board of Trustees
S U N A NDA N A IRB ID K A R P ’ 20 ’ 22
S E A N NI G E L WO O D RO FFE P ’ 19
is the senior executive vice president and chief human resources officer at TIAA.
Notable: Born in Trinidad, Woodroffe immigrated to the United States as a child when his mother accepted a job at the United Nations. He currently serves on the board of trustees of Shaw University and Madison Square Boys & Girls Clubs.
S HE RY L B U D KE O LI V E R P ’ 17 ’ 19
is the president of New Jersey Angels, a nonprofit organization supporting and mentoring children in the foster care system. Notable: Oliver is past president of the Peddie Parents Association (2017-19).
is the director of strategic planning, South Asia at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and managing director for Indus Interface LLC, an international strategic consulting firm. Notable: Nair-Bidkar began her career as an attorney in the Supreme Court of India. She is currently Peddie Fund parent co-chair.
B E N JA MIN M . LE V Y ’00
is the director of research at Alleghany Corporation, an investment holding company in New York City. Notable: At Peddie, Levy was vice president of his freshman and sophomore class and recipient of the Wintersteen Prize for most outstanding pre-calculus student.
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winter gear? We’ve got you Covered VISIT PEDDIE.ORG/STORE FOR ON CAMPUS PICK-UP OR SHIP-TO-HOME
HEY! I KNOW YOU!
Have you ever run into a Peddie alumna or alumnus at an unexpected place or time? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your chance encounter at peddie.org/smallworld.
A CHILLING, RIVETING TALE OF AN ALIEN TAKEOVER (WELL, NOT QUITE) With the stage off limits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peddie theater department embraced the new norm by looking to an art form from the pre-television days for their fall production: the radio play. Director of Theater Liz Sherman selected Orson Welles’ adaptation of the H. G. Wells classic “The War of the Worlds,” a fake news broadcast toying with fiction and reality, performed by The Mercury Theatre on the Air during the infamous evening before Halloween in 1938.
took place just down the road from Peddie in Grovers Mill, an unincorporated community within West Windsor, was also appealing.
to play with what is fake and what is real. How do conspiracy theories spread? The play is a model for discussion of fake news.”
“The cool thing is that we would not have otherwise pursued the radio play as a style of theater. It’s a neat opportunity to pull back and look at it historically, thinking about how people listened to stories. How do you tell a story without visual cues? I enjoyed the challenge of getting the listener engaged,” Sherman said.
Marshall Herman ’23, who played a reporter and officer, chimed in with his perspective on radio plays.
Sherman felt she found a silver lining for education during these unprecedented times. That the notorious Martian landing
“It’s also topical, almost like a metaphor for a pandemic,” she added. “Suddenly, your life’s turned upside down. In addition, it was fun
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“There are very few expectations or preconceived notions for what this performance should sound like for a modern audience. However, it’s a bit of a doubleedged sword. On the one hand, we can record as many times as necessary, which lessens the pressure of memorizing. On the flip side, there is a higher expectation of clarity and
refinement. It’s a challenge to fit all of the emotion, depth and finer points of a character into your voice. On the lighter side, you can make a funny face to get your voice to sound right and not worry how ridiculous you look.”
CASTING AND REHEARSAL CHALLENGES
Sherman said she was most surprised by how many remote students wanted to participate in the play. She thought it would be more of an on-campus project, but the audio venture became a global production. “During the process, I wanted the kids to feel a part of something – to feel more engaged – so we held all auditions over Zoom. Everyone who came out worked on the play in some capacity.” Emme Pham ’22 (Secretary of Interior/McDonald/Operator) described her unique situation and the challenges of the virtual landscape. “This was my first-ever theater experience. I’m usually only into tennis and the visual arts, so it was about getting comfortable with script readings and preparation for recording,” Pham said. “The most challenging part of this radio play was coordinating meeting times that worked for everyone. International students often miss out due to the time zone differences, so we used night rehearsals so they could join the Zoom. It made the days long. But overall, I learned a lot about all the pieces that go into an audio theater production. It was definitely a fun experience.”
Unlike the original production, Peddie’s performance was not live. The format consisted of three segments, each about 20 minutes
long, and released as a series of episodes. The final chapter ran on Halloween night. All of the final voice cuts were recorded on phones for a professional sound engineer to edit. “We used three installments to make it palpable for kids to enjoy,” said Sherman. “It’s also a way to build tension and then leave a cliffhanger … and then to the next segment for more suspense and another cliffhanger leading to the final segment. “The sound engineer layered all the tracks, put in sound effects, distortions and did different things with voices to enhance production value. He made a beautiful package and put our kids in their very best light.” Jennifer Ma ’22 worked remotely from China as the musical supervisor and lead musician. She and Arts Department Chair and Music Director Alan Michaels produced the music component in a 1930s style to work with the play. For Ma, the radio play was very different from any productions and musicals she had done before. Instead of using the original track, Ma and her student orchestra recorded four of the seven pieces. The introduction and ending music are from the original play along with La Cumparsita (a Spanish song), Stardust (jazz) and Chopin Impromptus. “I recorded all my parts to ensure we had the accompaniment,” said Ma. “For me, the hardest part was actually the jazz and blues music. I’ve been trained as a classical musician, so when I recorded my jazz piece, Mr. Michaels would say ‘that’s not the right feeling,’ and I understood what adjustments had to be made.”
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A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS
Enhancing the radio play format, a team of Peddie students pooled their imagination and crafted commercials. Ranging from local businesses to medicinal advertisements, one of the spots advertised a post-apocalyptic pawn shop, located off the “New Joisey Turnpike.” Thomas Sweet of Princeton was ripe for a spoof. One commercial portrayed a girl with zombie symptoms coming home to meet her friend. Thomas Sweet’s ice cream is a potential cure
her friend suggests, and an announcer jumps in to fire off some convincing factoids. “There’s a ton of jokes thrown in throughout,” said Pham. “The zombie idea initially was a joke made by assistant director Ms. [Mikaela] Chang, but my peers and I ran with the idea, completely changing our original script.” “They did a fantastic job – from brainstorming commercial ideas to workshopping and self-recording their bits, all in addition to their work on the actual scripted play,” said Chang,
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who is also a history teacher at Peddie. “We played with time and space when thinking about the setting for our advertisements, so some bits felt more sonically nostalgic, while others sounded like something you might hear on the radio today ... intentionally ambiguous.” The trick was to convince the listener that they were watching the production live at a theater. “I believe we met the challenge to engage our listeners from start to finish, to visualize the whole experience,” said Sherman.
AC T I CIT VE IZE NR Y PEDDIE STUDENTS EXERCISE DECORUM WHILE MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD In this politically divisive year, the social arena is filled with calls for activism, and the Peddie community is no exception. In particular, this summer’s virtual event “12 Hours of Action” ignited enthusiasm among the student body. Spearheaded by Peddie’s chapter of Amnesty International, the Black Student Union and students at peer schools across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the event attracted hundreds of people worldwide to watch student lectures on police brutality and participate in other forms of activism. “Particularly with the killing of George Floyd over the summer, Peddie students were emboldened and passionate about responding and making a difference within our own community,” said Amartya Sharma ’21, leader of the Peddie Democrats.
Hogarth work to do just that by providing their students with lively discussion and independent projects. “It’s fun to have kids get out there and do something interactive with their communities. We have about 45 AP Government students this year, and each one of them is engaged in some kind of project that isn’t just researching and writing a paper. We’re emphasizing active citizenry,” said Hogarth. Students gave policy presentations on issues such as Middle Eastern foreign policy and voting rights to educate and inform their peers. They designed mock elections. They helped their classmates who were of voting age get registered. Some worked with the ACLU and NAACP, while others made calls and texted on behalf of candidates like Joe Biden and Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton, N.J.).
“It was inspiring to see, and I think that set off a snowball effect leading into this fall, at the foothills of an election.” In person and on social media, among friends and
“There are lots of avenues that our students are pursuing to be politically and civically active,” said Bickford. “Through modeling the behavior, through being involved, through collaborating with them, we are looking to help them pursue those avenues and encourage them on their way.” Two of Bickford’s students, Neha Sathishkumar ’21 and Bhanu Cheepurupalli ’21, lead Peddie’s chapter of Amnesty International, and were key in planning “12 Hours of Action.” The success of that event earned them an opportunity to present at Amnesty International USA’s 2020 Virtual Activism
“OUR KIDS ARE INCREDIBLY POLITICALLY ACTIVE.” within clubs, students have been organizing, collaborating and making their voices heard.
Conference in November. “We got the chance to make ourselves known and help other people learn,” said Cheepurupalli.
“Our kids are incredibly politically active,” pointed out AP Government teacher Benjamin Bickford. “As teachers, our role is to facilitate the energy and excitement that they already have.”
The group was particularly active this fall, organizing regular virtual meetings to discuss global human rights issues. In the run-up to the election, Sathishkumar and Cheepurupalli also organized town hall meetings and virtual watch parties for presidential debates.
In their classrooms, Bickford and History Department Chair Alison
To ensure productive and meaningful conversation, Sathishkumar and Cheepurupalli collaborated with the Young Republicans and the Peddie Democrats to act as moderators. “The moderators encouraged policy-based discourse and provided credible sources to give background information about what candidates were talking about,” said moderator
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Dennis Liu ’21 of the Young Republicans. “The chat was surprisingly productive,” said Cheepurupalli. “It was more of a debate than the actual [presidential] debate was.” “I think we had more decorum and a better discussion,” Sathishkumar agreed. Months of collaboration between Peddie’s Young Republicans and Peddie Democrats led to the publication of a studentproduced political magazine: The Pocket Constitution. “One of the main goals of The Pocket Constitution is to help spread facts and to facilitate discussion through that,” said Matt Singer ’22, a member of the Young Republicans. “Our goal isn’t to persuade the Peddie community one way or the other; it’s more to get the information out there and let people decide on their own.” “It’s multi-partisan, it’s non-partisan, it’s totally flexible and open to any member of the Peddie community to submit in any form that they would like, and we think that’s the beauty of it,” said Sharma. “At its core, it’s a way to prompt, as we have it in our mission statement, political, social and economic discussions.” Political discourse can often be divisive and unproductive, but at Peddie, a community of politically engaged students and supportive teachers are taking part in informed and collaborative conversations. “We see Peddie growing, and we appreciate it,” said Sathishkumar. “When you look at all the statistics, young people are much less likely to have political knowledge than older people and are much less likely to be actively and politically engaged,” said Bickford. “We’ve seen, in recent years, both with Stoneman Douglas and the Black Lives Matter movement, a surge of young people being more involved. I think that brings hope to all of us. Our kids have met that challenge.”
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Features 16 IT’S ABOUT COMMUNITY
Downtown Hightstown businesses take a big hit from the pandemic, but they’re learning to adapt
21 CLUTCH PLAYS & COOL CHARACTERS
Remembering Peddie’s undefeated 1970 football team
26 CULTURE CHANGE Peddie is doing more to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus
32 BACK TO SCHOOL DURING A PANDEMIC Snapshots of fall term
It’s about community
DOWNTOWN HIGHTSTOWN BUSINESSES TAKE A BIG HIT FROM THE PANDEMIC, BUT THEY’RE LEARNING TO ADAPT From the almost 100-year-old Hightstown Diner to the 10-month-old Little Key Coffee, small-business owners in Hightstown are true partners with their community. During COVID-19, those relationships have been both comforting and critical.
Small-business owners are used to fluctuations in their customer base, whether for seasonal or other reasons. But they weren’t used to the abrupt and — in some instances — complete halt in business that came with COVID-19.
Of course, almost everything has changed since last March, when the pandemic caused New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to close all non-essential businesses. But in some ways, things in Hightstown also have remained the same. Restaurants and eateries adapted to their customers’ needs in much the same way as when they first opened their doors on Mercer Street. And their loyal customers, in the way they have been doing for years, have remained faithful, showing up for meals, for coffee, for ice cream, bagels and cocktails, knowing the business owners — often friends — need their support.
“I’m 75 years old, and I’ve been in different businesses my whole life,” said Henry Palumbo, who has owned Tavern on the Lake for the past 11 years. “But I’ve never had a business that is doing well and then just shuts down all at once.”
So far, it’s been just enough to keep the doors open. A town of a bit more than one square mile, Hightstown is home to some remarkably diverse eateries. Many of these businesses rely on the Peddie community as a steady customer base. So when the pandemic forced Peddie’s campus to shut down in the spring, cancel camps in the summer and restrict students to campus when reopening this fall, these restaurants took a hefty hit. “During our first month, Peddie students were a pretty big contributor to our business,” said Randy Levine, owner of Little Key Coffee, which opened just six weeks before the pandemic hit the East Coast.
While the state barred eateries from serving diners in their restaurants, takeout service was allowed. But not all of the Hightstown restaurants were able to adapt immediately to that practice on such short notice. The Tavern, which hadn’t relied much on takeout business pre-pandemic, decided it was more prudent to shut their doors temporarily.
Decisions With the future uncertain, owners were faced with some difficult choices: whether they would stay open or close, how they would manage their staff and what strategies they could adopt to enable their businesses to survive. There was no question for many of them that they would keep their staff employed, no matter the cost. Tavern on the Lake paid their employees even during the period when they were closed. Mannino’s 4 Pizzeria and Trattoria kept every employee when business was slow. Both owners absorbed a loss rather than risk losing their valued staff.
Opposite: Randy Levine (pictured) opened Little Key Coffee just six weeks before Governor Murphy closed all non-essential businesses.
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Vito Petruso, manager of Mannino’s 4 Pizzeria, said the restaurant has kept every employee throughout the pandemic.
installing ApplePay and online ordering. “To me, the value of a small-town coffee shop is the relationships you build, so initially contactless online ordering and pickup was not a goal,” said Levine. “But in this environment, it’s obviously really useful, and we got a lot of positive feedback. People told us they felt safe coming here because of our practices.”
Not surprisingly, the relationships between staff and owners in these small restaurants are personal; many employees have families and mortgages and have been working for the same employer for years. “All of our employees are full-time, so what do you do?” explained Vito Petruso, manager of Mannino’s. “You can’t just cut one — who are you going to cut? So what Joe [Mannino] did was bite the bullet — he kept all his employees and took a loss.” Even newcomer Levine, owner of Little Key Coffee, prioritized keeping his sole employee. “To me, hiring a person is more than a contractual agreement,” he explained. “I have a moral obligation not only to make sure they are safe but to make sure that they feel safe as well.” The two discussed a strategy for reopening each step of the way; once they met all of the legal mandates, they decided what they would do to ensure their own — and their customers’ — comfort and safety. Most restaurants dramatically changed how they served their customers and managed their spaces, repeatedly adapting through the many phases of the pandemic as regulations changed. Little Key ramped up contactless service, moving to recyclable cups early on, reducing points of shared contact and
“We shut down for three weeks,” remembered Kenroy Morgan, owner of Morgan’s Island Grill. “I was a little bit scared at first, listening to the news. But I live by faith, and I finally decided I would do what I needed to do and get to work.” Morgan installed plexiglass over his counter and invested in gallons of hand sanitizer to provide for customers. He upgraded to sturdier, recyclable to-go containers and pre-wrapped utensils. He employed a cleaning service to deep-clean the restaurant weekly, and instituted more rigorous daily cleaning practices. “We’ve learned a lot during this. I do a lot of talking and explaining to customers about why we’re doing what we’re doing, to let them know we are following the governor’s orders; it makes them feel more secure,” he said. Similarly, at Tavern on the Lake, following the regulations resulted in additional expenses: masks and gloves for workers, hand sanitizer and plasticware for customers, and even condiments, which businesses have to provide in packets. “I’ve got a $20,000 dishwasher in the kitchen, but people don’t want to drink out of glasses; they are more comfortable with plastic cups,” explained Palumbo. “So we have more expenses, but less business.”
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A step forward Fortunately, as the pandemic wore on, the weather warmed up, and more people became comfortable leaving their homes. Business slowly picked up. For Mannino’s, whose takeout and delivery service has always been a large part of their business, things got busy quickly. Initially, customers were not allowed to enter the store, so runners moved between the counter and the curb to deliver food to customers. The borough set aside “Curbside pickup only” parking spots along Mercer Street to facilitate these transactions. And the delivery drivers were soon as busy as ever. The Hightstown Diner immediately flipped to a takeout business, though they had previously never done so.
And their customers came through for them. “Our customers are the best,” said Buonocore. “They stayed with us the whole time.” All around town, customers made efforts to support their favorite eateries, some of them traveling from out of town to let owners know they were thinking of them. Morgan’s Island Grill had customers who drove in from Long Beach Island to order takeout and let him know they were thinking of him during this challenging time. “They said to me, ‘We just want to support you,’” said Morgan. “We’ve been here for eight years, and our customers have been such a blessing over the years. I’ve had parents of Peddie kids come in to taste the food their kids talk about. Some of them have even stopped in
“The pandemic isn’t over, but we’ve learned how to adapt.” “We never closed; we started deliveries right away,” said Eileen Buonocore, diner manager. “We hadn’t done delivery before, so the owner’s wife delivered the meals herself when necessary.”
on their way to take their kids to college and say, ‘You know what they want — barbecue jerk chicken!’” For Morgan, being able to provide comfort food to these loyal customers has been enough. “People ask what my ingredients are, and I always say that my first ingredient is love,” he said. “It’s much more than a restaurant: Once you cross through the doorway, you are in my home — you’re coming over. I love an open kitchen — nothing to hide. I cook my food here the same way I cook at home.” For his part, Morgan tries to support both his fellow restauranteurs in Hightstown and the community at large when he can. “People see me at Mannino’s and other restaurants and ask why I’m there,” says Morgan. “I say I’m a foodie — I support restaurants. That’s what I do for a living. If I expect people to support my business, I have to support others.”
Owner of Morgan’s Island Grill Kenroy Morgan offered free meals to front-line workers in April.
He also offered ten free meals a day over a two-week period in April to front-line workers. And he makes an effort to cook and deliver meals to those in need through his local church.
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As a thank-you to their loyal customers and a service to those in need, the Hightstown Diner provided free meals — breakfast or dinner — to customers on Easter Sunday.
Moving outdoors As the weather warmed up, most restaurants found ways to provide outdoor dining as an option. The Hightstown Diner cordoned off a section of their parking lot and even built a patio beside the restaurant for outdoor dining. “Once we were able to open outside, things got busy,” said Buonocore. “We had customers who would come every single day just to support us. We really have a great, loyal following.” The same was true for the Tavern. With an expansive outdoor area, they served a considerable number of customers even with strict observance of social distancing rules. They opened their patio whenever the weather allowed. Little Key installed plexiglass across their door and served their customers from there, setting up outdoor seating. And Morgan’s, who already had outdoor seating, continued to-go service but welcomed customers to their outdoor space. Other restaurants in town, including 4 Seasons Deli and 12 Farms, began selling eggs, produce and other groceries to customers who were reluctant or unable to venture to the grocery store. When Peddie students returned to campus this fall, health and safety practices didn’t allow them to leave campus and walk downtown. So the downtown restaurants came to them, meeting students to deliver their food at one of three designated stops on campus.
But of course, business isn’t back to pre-pandemic status. “Business hasn’t been the same, but I’m not complaining,” said Morgan. “We are hanging in there. The doors are still open. So many people have it worse than me — restaurants are a tough business.”
Looking ahead “The pandemic hasn’t put us out, but it’s definitely hurt us,” said Petruso. “In the beginning, there were a lot of unanswered questions like, ‘Will we have jobs next week?’ We all offered to put in extra hours to help make ends meet. But fortunately, Joe was able to absorb the loss and stay afloat.” On a typical Wednesday or Friday night, Tavern on the Lake would serve about 150 people and is now limited to seating 50 customers. Their catering hall on the floor above the restaurant is closed. “We’ve canceled all of our upstairs events,” said Palumbo. “And we have no Christmas parties lined up, which are big for us. So we’re worried about the next six months; getting through the winter is going to be rough.” Buonocore saw business at the diner slow down when schools reopened. With many area schools fully remote, parents are tied to home and not as free to meet for breakfast or lunch as they were. “Things are quieter, but that wasn’t something we didn’t expect. Business is okay, but nothing like before,” she said. “Now, I feel like the worst is behind us as a business,” said Petruso. “The pandemic isn’t over, but we’ve learned how to adapt. Being a small business has some advantages — hopefully, we’ll survive. And we thank the people for supporting us. We’ve been here so long.”
Though business has slowed at the Hightstown Diner, manager Eileen Buonocore said their customers remain loyal.
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CLUTCH PLAYS & COOL CHARACTERS REMEMBERING PEDDIE’S UNDEFEATED 1970 FOOTBALL TEAM
Ty Henning s ’7 1 makes a ru n for it with blocking he lp from Billy Means ’7 1.
t has been 50 years since the 1970 Peddie football team, led by head coach Ed Paul and assistant coaches John Jones, Charlie Clark ’66, Bob Monahan ’66 and Roby McClellan, stormed its way to perfection with an 8-0 season. It was the Falcons’ first undefeated campaign since 1950, highlighted by dramatic finishes, including a last-minute win over Lawrenceville and a closer-than-expected triumph against archrival Blair.
The Falcons had plenty of speed and skill on both sides of the ball, but most of all, it was a team of clutch plays and some pretty cool characters. “Collectively, this Peddie squad had just enough talent, experience, determination and team chemistry to win close contests against formidable foes,” said Brent Wham ’71, a Hightstown native and four-year player at defensive back.
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The team’s two-point win over Lawrenceville was the most thrilling victory of the season. Kevin Fisher ’71 snapped the ball to sure-handed holder, quarterback Jim Maskas ’71, and Brian Masella ’71 converted a 39-yard field goal with 38 seconds remaining to lift the Falcons to a 23-21 victory and stun Big Red’s home crowd. In a signature performance, tailback Ty Hennings ’71 rushed for 125 of his 178 yards in the fourth quarter. At Kingswood School in West Hartford, Conn., the Falcons preserved a 27-19 win after Billy Means ’71 punched the ball out from the quarterback’s hands on the one-yard line late in the fourth quarter and then recovered it himself. With one game left to determine the fate of Peddie’s historic run, all eyes turned to Blairstown on November 21. The Blair Bucs commandeered a 7-6 edge at halftime. Peddie caught a break in the third frame when Phil Kellogg ’71 recovered a fumble on the Bucs’ 40. The drive stalled at the 25, but once again, the reliable Masella boomed a 42-yard field goal for the eventual game-winner. Hennings sealed the deal with a one-yard plunge in the fourth quarter as Peddie celebrated a 15-7 victory and an unblemished season. The future Yale star scored eight touchdowns and rushed for nearly 1,100 yards.
aches Assistant co rk ’66 la C Charles ober t (left) and R 6 Monahan ’6 the on ze gi te stra 70. 19 in es sidelin
1970 PEDDIE FOOTBALL ROSTER Fred Ashman ’72 Brent Blythe ’71 Rex Capro ’73 Frank Clair ’73 Garey Cooper ’72 William Fanny ’73 Kevin Fisher ’71 Samuel Goodall ’72 James Gribbel ’71 Tyrell Hennings ’71 David Hills ’71 David Hittinger ’71 Richard Hutchinson ’71 Philip Kellogg ’71 Leslie Knox’71 Robin Marrazzo ’72 Brian Masella ’71 James Maskas ’71 William Means ’71 Charles Myers ’71 Steven Plunkett ’71 Edward Pole ’72 Barclay Poling ’71 Greg Powell ’71
Gregory Resch ’72 Eric Sauerman ’71 Christopher Shipley ’71 John Silvi ’72 Jack Todd ’71 Bruce Tucker ’71 Stephen Tucker ’73 Brent Wham ’71 Mitchell Wolff ’72 Michael Wilcox ’71 Wade Wulster ’73 Michael Yatvin ’72 Head Coach: Edmund Paul Assistants: Charles Clark ’66 John Jones Roby McClellan P’88 ’90 GP’19 ’21 Robert Monahan ’66 Manager: Anthony Ruiz ’71
There was a degree of controversy regarding Peddie’s play calling in the first quarter of the fall classic. Blair was stacking the line to stop the Falcons’ lethal running game. As the tale goes, the “blast” play from the sidelines was changed in the huddle. Maskas took the snap and faked a handoff before getting the ball to Masella, who dashed 60 yards to the end zone. Means made a bold prediction: “I guaranteed the coach Masella would score.” Crowned the 1970 Trentonian Delaware Valley Scholastic Football Ratings Champion, the team forever etched their place in program lore. Fifty-one teams vied for the honor as Peddie ranked ahead of Pennsylvania powerhouses Neshaminy and Pennsbury and Camden’s Woodrow Wilson. “Without a doubt, it was the best year of my life,” said Means. “The group of fellas we had that year was beyond anything most people get to experience.” In 1990, the elite team was inducted into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.
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So inspired by the 1970 football team’s story, Fred Bull ’77 penned his memories as an 11-year old growing up on the first floor of Masters House with his stepfather Dietrich von Schwerdtner (“Von”), mother Anne, and brother Steve ’73. “While I never played organized football, I was forever impacted by perhaps the greatest football team that ever took the field at Peddie,” said Bull. “The effect that squad had on my life had nothing to do with the prowess or athleticism of those very talented players. It had to do with the relationships I developed with them during that historic season in 1970.” Almost all of the student-athletes assigned to the first floor that year had two things in common: They were post-graduates and football players. And they were very, very good. “They were all wonderful athletes and heroes in my 11-year old eyes,” said Bull. “The group included Kevin Fisher ’71, Phil Kellogg ’71, Les Knox ’71, Billy Means ’71, Steven Plunkett ’71, Greg Powell ’71 and an outstanding wrestler named Dave Hittinger ’71.” Multifaceted veteran Brian Masella ’71 entered Peddie his sophomore year and resided on the same floor. One of the most recruited athletes in the country, Masella was inducted into the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame for football, swimming and baseball.
There were two football players Bull grew especially close to that year. The first was the brightest star of a team full of standouts, Tyrell Hennings ’71, aka “Hurricane” Hennings. “He was from Chicago and had a personality and charisma that was infectious,” said Bull. “If you met him, you’d never forget him. Tyrell was a running back who played the game with speed, power and a lot of heart. I got to know Tyrell so well because when Peddie was not in session, he would stay with our family. “We’d get bored and drum up our own activities. Sometimes my brother Steve would get involved as well. We’d go out and show Tyrell how to use a lacrosse stick. Not surprisingly, he ended up playing lacrosse that spring for my stepfather (Von). He’d play the first half of lacrosse and, at the break, he’d run track for Bob ‘Bullet’ Lawson and then return in the middle of the third quarter to finish the game. Yes, he was that good of an athlete!” Another triple-threat athlete among Bull’s cast of characters was lineman Mike Wilcox ’71, a native of Ithaca, New York. Listed at 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, Wilcox was an imposing force in football, hockey and lacrosse. According to Bull, Wilcox was a rarity around Peddie because he had previous lacrosse experience. Coach Von usually had to work from scratch to develop lacrosse players. Wilcox became a three-time All American in lacrosse for the Bowling Green State University Falcons, a member of the BGSU Hall of Fame in 1983 and Peddie’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Brian Masel la
’7 1 kicks the ga mewinning fie ld goal agains t Lawrencev ille in 1970.
“Like so many players on the first floor, he took the time to be a friend and mentor to me,” said Bull. “He was one of the principal driving forces in establishing the Von Center at the Athletic Center. Through the years, Mike was always checking in with Anne and Von. He visited Mom and Dad when they were getting near the end of their lives. A more loyal friend you could not find – and to think it was all born from Mike’s nine-month stint at Peddie 50 years ago.” “Despite my struggles with math, Von got me through with a lot of sound counseling and tutored others on our hall,” said Wilcox, one of the eulogists at Von’s funeral. “The Vons were surrogate parents and kept us on track when we needed a little nudge. The door was always open.” Of course, periodic steak dinners for the boys on the floor helped keep some order. “They loved getting a home-cooked meal, and my mom loved doing it,” said Bull. “We had so much fun. It was a makeshift family of 12-14 individuals coming together from various backgrounds and places who shared an extraordinary experience. On most Friday nights that fall, the little kitchen in our apartment was full of boys talking to Von about football while eating Anne’s chocolate cake.”
Brent Wham ’71, a Hightstown native and four-year player at defensive back, remembers the coaches for being outstanding with not a lot of fluff attached. “Indeed, Newtonian physics lessons were on display every day at practice. The real objective of tackling is
similar to having the cue ball stop when it hits another billiard ball. From a later, also most-challenging lesson in reactor physics, I saw the mind-numbing equations that mathematically describe what happens when a billiard ball hits a bowling ball. The corollary is what happens when a 5-foot-10, barely 170-pound Wham particle (the small ball) tries to stop the force of a 6-foot, 200-pound Hennings or 6-foot-2, 225-pound Jack Todd ’71 ‘bowling ball.’ If the Wham particle is not moving fast, it is unable to rapidly ‘bleed’ all the energy from the irresistible opposing forces of larger masses. Our coaches appeared to like these informative and humbling practices immensely.” Wham revisited his journey with classmates who joined the Peddie football program as freshmen. The players who stood out for Wham included Jack Todd, Barclay Poling ’71, Rich Hutchinson ’71, Bruce Tucker ’71 and Eric Sauerman ’71. “We all feared the pre-season workouts,” said Wham. “In the beginning, it was more a social activity, but each player had some athletic ability. As time progressed, we came to know one another well. My friends and I, who had come up through the system, finally advanced to where we were contributors too. I became good friends with the PGs. That was part of the experience of competing together and being successful. We meshed well. “As a member of the Peddie defense, slowing the Lawrenceville single-wing offense to less than five yards per carry is, to this day, remembered as a daunting endeavor. One of those four backs coming through the hole has the ball. But which one? And after all of those blockers, will there be at least one of us still standing to make the tackle? And most of the time, we had the last man standing. That’s why the team was 8-0.”
Les Knox ’71 and Fred Bull ’77 fondly remember the lighter side of the team. “We had some great players and some truly unique characters,” said Knox. “Phil Kellogg (son of William G. Kellogg ’32) was nicknamed ‘Big Pheel’ by [Ty] Hennings. The team distributed one or two issues of the journal ‘The Big Pheel Story.’ We sold it on campus and used the proceeds to buy a team dinner in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Von at the Hightstown Diner.”
und Coach Edm vice ad s er off Paul on e is rt pe and ex the sideline.
Bull’s brother Steve ’73 and Hennings combined talents to write their self-published “novella,” which grew into a popular team-building activity. Kellogg was the perfect target for creative storytelling. “Phil was a friendly guy who everyone loved and who had a great sense of humor,” said Bull. “It was silly and fun. Steve and Ty made about 100 copies of this 20-page chronicle and sold it for a dollar to any Peddie student they could convince to purchase it. I’ve always wondered if there are any copies left. As memory serves, I think Greg ‘Boog’ Powell ’71, Tom Keels ’72 and Mark Hutchinson ’73 may have also been involved in this project. “In my home’s den sits a shelf with some trophies on it. Most of the trophies are related to lacrosse teams Von coached or teams my kids played on. Ironically, the biggest trophy of all is associated with a football team none of us played for or coached. But the 1970 Masters House first-floor boys believed they had to give Coach Von ‘the trainer’ some recognition. They convinced Coach Paul to include Von in the end of
season awards ceremony. The trophy Von received sat in his study until he passed away in 2010. Now it sits in my den. And 50 years after that glorious season, it still makes me smile.”
owd A riveted cr the om fr rs ee ch in ds an st ie Pedd 1970.
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Diku Rogers ’12, interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion, meets with Head of School Peter Quinn.
Culture Change PEDDIE IS DOING MORE TO ADVANCE DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION ON CAMPUS Head of School Peter Quinn and Peddie’s board of trustees are tackling an uncomfortable truth: Changes to the institution and interpersonal relationships within it must happen to ensure an equitable and inclusive experience for all school community members. Indisputably, Peddie has a diverse student population. The transformative power of Walter H. Annenberg’s ’27 historic $100 million gift of more than a quartercentury ago is visible in today’s geographically, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse student body. According to the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey conducted earlier this year through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), less than 50% of Peddie’s student body identifies exclusively as white. But numbers don’t tell the entire story, according to Diku Rogers ’12, English teacher and Peddie’s interim director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “I recognize that the student body is even more diverse than when I attended Peddie, but I can still see that some of our students are struggling in ways. Numbers don’t necessarily mean access, equity and inclusion,” she said.
Quinn agreed. “We focused on enrolling a student body united only by excitement, curiosity and character over nearly three decades, which has made the community more inclusive. We have made inconsistent progress in building a faculty as diverse as our student body; furthermore, we also need to improve our support for candid, specific conversations about treating each other with consistent respect.” With the trustees’ support, Quinn and others are working to identify and end Peddie’s structural inequities. “We’ve got work to do to align the highest quality of citizenship with a diverse, equitable and inclusive community,” Quinn said. “These values are inextricably linked to our mission.”
An enlightening summer Quinn announced in early June that Peddie would hire a director of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) to “assist Peddie’s leadership and employees in enhancing the school’s focus on issues that affect its marginalized students.” Rogers, who did diversity work as an undergraduate at Middlebury College and the TEAK Fellowship
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DEI GOALS FOR 2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR Structural (Institutional) Goals • Increase cultural competency and awareness.
• Develop a formal reporting system for biased and discriminatory behaviors. • Create a DEI Council of students and faculty members. • Examine and reevaluate DEI metrics for essential aspects of the Peddie experience.
Community (Interpersonal) Goals • Embrace DEI work as a continuous effort to learn and grow as a community.
• Provide each other with the support to better understand issues of privilege, oppression and marginalization. • Navigate challenging conversations with empathy, respect and awareness.
“The extraordinary efforts of students in bringing ‘12 Hours of Action’ to our community were inspiring, and their citizenship was exemplary,” Quinn said. “A huge part of my role is to continue to support our students and stand beside them and the wonderful things they want to do, like ‘12 Hours of Action,’” said Rogers. “But the adults in the community also need to take the lead. And to do so successfully, they need to be more equipped and prepared to uplift and support the authenticity that our students bring to the table.”
Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism In January, Peddie administered the NAIS Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) survey to students, faculty and staff. The school’s curriculum committee recommended that Peddie use the AIM survey, a confidential survey designed to elicit feedback on school climate and culture, as an extension of an internal, departmental diversity audit. After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NAIS released the survey results to Peddie this summer. “On a positive note, scores for school morale and satisfaction with multiculturalism and inclusivity were all within a healthy range,” said Kari Hart ’02, Ph.D.
in New York, and is an active supporter of student affinity groups at Peddie, assumed the DEI director role in an interim capacity in late August. Quinn also committed to forming a DEI Council of school leaders and students and enhancing Peddie employees’ professional development. “These steps are just the beginning,” he said in a letter to the Peddie community on June 5. “These are the first steps towards eliminating racism and all other forms of bigotry from our community.” That same week, spurred by the brutal killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Peddie’s Black Student Union and Amnesty International teamed up to host “12 Hours of Action.” The virtual event featured student-led presentations and discussions on topics including privilege and allyship. Hundreds of community members and representatives from other schools tuned in to the event. Peddie faculty and staff held debriefing sessions in the weeks afterward.
As the school’s institutional researcher (Hart is also a math teacher), Hart worked with Rogers and a faculty steering committee to analyze the AIM survey results and develop both long-term recommendations and goals for the 2020-21 school year. “We also saw a need for us to think critically about how we cultivate inclusive teaching and advising practices, how we foster access for all of our students, and how we can more fully integrate multiculturalism throughout our entire curriculum,” said Hart. According to Hart, some survey respondents reported being teased because of particular aspects of their identity. “I think that highlights the importance of establishing an incident reporting system,” she said.
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“We need broader support for some members of our community,” said institutional researcher Kari Hart ’02, Ph.D.
“We’re never going to get to the point where we say, ‘we’ve done all the work, and we’ve checked all the boxes,’” said Diku Rogers ’12, interim DEI director.
Peddie will implement a bias incident reporting system this school year. It will consist of an online form that allows for anonymous reporting. “Part of the purpose is making sure that students are talking to us in some capacity so we can support them, that they are not holding on to something and internalizing it and carrying it with them,” said Rogers. “The reporting system will also provide us with valuable data about how often incidents of harassment are happening, when they’re happening, and to whom they are happening so we can address those issues accordingly and monitor how those figures change over time,” said Hart. Hart shared her big picture takeaway from the AIM survey. “We need broader support for some members of our community. We need to foster skills for interpersonal and cross-cultural dialogue. And we need to consider some structural changes that will foster a greater sense of belonging and inclusion for all members of our community.”
Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity Peddie has partnered with the National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity) to implement professional development for faculty and staff. The SEED program relies on peer-led seminars to help drive more inclusive teaching methods, curricula and community interactions. Rogers and Hart attended the online SEED New Leaders Week this summer to prepare them to lead SEED seminars at Peddie. “SEED is a wonderful opportunity to build selfawareness, learn about others and think about how you can carry that awareness into your other aspects of work,” said Rogers. Participants attend a series of bi-weekly, two-hour seminars — with alternate weeks of asynchronous work — where they explore their own education related to race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual identity, abilities and age, and how these factors currently impact the school, classrooms and community.
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“It draws a lot of emotion and a lot of deep thought as you go through the process,” said Hart. “Honestly, it was some of the most challenging professional and personal development I’ve done. But also some of the most worthwhile in terms of what I walked away from that space with.” There are currently two cohorts undergoing SEED training, Peddie’s administrative team and a group of 17 faculty and staff across multiple departments. The plan is to develop additional cohorts and expand the program over the next couple of years. “We are excited and fueled by the level of interest from faculty and staff,” said Hart.
Diversifying the curriculum The next step to diversifying Peddie’s curriculum, according to Rogers, is thinking about whose story is being told and who feels represented. “We’ve been having a lot of discussion in our curriculum committee about access and how to make our curriculum more inclusive,” she said. Rogers appreciates that Peddie has built a more inclusive curriculum and believes that educators’ work with SEED will take things further. “By navigating our own identities and thinking about how that affects the way we teach our subject, we’ll hopefully have the awareness to think about how our students are considering their relationships to the material they’re learning,” she said.
“If we remember how personal education can and should be,” she added, “then we can better address moments when issues of identity rise to the surface.”
A constant recommitment Quinn, Rogers and Hart agreed that Peddie’s commitment to DEI is perpetual. “It’s a constant recommitment professionally and personally to do this work,” said Hart. “But it will allow our community as a whole to better deal with issues that arise, as they arise, in a kind of natural way that supports our community values and allows us to do some meaningful work.” “There are things we are doing right now that can make an immediate difference for our community,” she added. “There are some things that are going to take a bit longer.” Rogers wants the Peddie community to embrace DEI goals as continuous everyday effort. “We’re never going to get to a point where we say, ‘we’ve done all the work, and we’ve checked all of the boxes.’” “These goals are eternal,” said Quinn. “They’re never going to go away. DEI work has to be part of the fabric of Peddie, something that we talk about naturally. It has to be something that’s always on our minds. It can’t be onerous in our minds. It ought to be liberating in our minds.”
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Greg Groves joins the admission office as the Director of Multicultural Affairs/Associate Director of Admission Groves most recently served as the Dean of Equity and Social Justice at Christina Seix Academy in Trenton, where he was also the high school placement counselor. He is a graduate of Princeton University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Tell us about your role in the admission office. My main focus is making sure the pipeline for applicants is as diverse as possible across a range of identities. Much of my work involves partnering with schools and nonprofits that work to get their students, particularly students from underrepresented backgrounds, into an independent school. What are your goals? While a lot of students from underrepresented backgrounds and identities attend Peddie, many come from placement and access organizations that advocate and help level the playing field. Peddie can achieve a more significant step towards access and equity by working with public schools that aren’t part of placement or scholarship organizations. Also, we’re continuing to examine and reevaluate and be conscious of what barriers to entry exist just within our application process, whether it’s the overall process, the kinds of questions we ask in interviews or how we judge students through their applications. That requires continued work and reflection. What drew you to Peddie? In my previous role in high school placement at Christina Seix Academy (CSA), we took a lot of school trips, including to Peddie. I didn’t know much about Peddie at the time, but I could gather the school’s commitment to diversity based on that trip. Peddie was intentional in putting a diverse range of students and voices in front of us to talk about their experience, which really stood out to me.
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BACK TO SCHOOL DURING A
PANDEMIC “I tell myself, ‘make the best out of what we’ve got. At least we got to come back to campus and have some semblance of a normal school year.’”
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SNAPSHOTS OF FALL TERM
This fall, 380 boarding and day students populated Peddie’s campus amidst strict health and safety rules, including mandatory face coverings and physical distancing. One hundred and forty students remained remote. We asked several students, including newcomers stepping onto campus for the first time since their admission interview and seniors experiencing their fall term virtually in faraway places like Beijing, China, how they were adjusting to a school year like no other. Here are their stories.
TAYLOR BLUNT ’22
IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM MORGANTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA. SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE PEDDIE BLACK STUDENT UNION AND GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM AND PLANS TO PLAY BASKETBALL AT THE COLLEGIATE LEVEL. Talking to Taylor Blunt is like getting a personal pep talk, and who couldn’t use a dose of positivity these days?
to the summer and ran through October. I had to cut it short because I wanted to come back to school, and I had to quarantine after my last tournament,” she said.
Blunt has seen some of her classmates get down about not interacting with one another the way they used to before COVID. She gets it, but remains upbeat.
Blunt appreciates the sense of balance that Peddie’s hybrid schedule has created for her. “I like the switch, one week online, and one week in class. Right now, it’s my online week, and my roommate and I are doing it pretty well. As long as you have your AirPods in, you’re pretty good.”
“I tell myself, ‘Make the best out of what we’ve got. At least we got to come back to campus and have some semblance of a normal school year.’” Blunt, who was recruited to play D1 basketball next year at the University of Detroit Mercy, started the fall term online so she could continue to compete in travel basketball tournaments. When she completed traveling in late September, she switched to her current boarding status. “A lot of sports that happen in the spring got pushed
Avery Dorm is home for Blunt this year. Strangely, she said, her dormmates are closer than ever. “We can’t go into each other’s rooms, and there’s a schedule for the showers and other restrictions, but we still find ways, with our masks on, to take moments to talk more, to not just pass by one another but to stop and have conversations. I know every person in my dorm, and I can talk to them. We’re all in this together. That’s how it feels,” she said.
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LAUREN GABRUK ’21 IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM FLEMINGTON, NEW JERSEY. SHE IS A PREFECT IN MASTERS DORM, MEMBER OF PEDDIE CROSS COUNTRY AND TRACK, A STUDENT TOUR GUIDE AND CREATOR OF THE PEDDIE FOOD BLOG. Lauren Gabruk was pragmatic about her decision to return to Peddie as a boarding student this fall. Her older sister went back to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and as an elementary school principal, her mom knew the challenges of all-remote instruction. “It was never a question for me if I was going to be remote or boarding,” she said. But emotion also played a part in Gabruk’s decision. “I was really looking forward to being on campus. As a senior, I felt the need to come back.” It’s the seemingly little things that Gabruk said she misses the most, like family-style dinner and community meeting. She understands why these traditions can’t happen, but it still hurts, especially not hearing “seniors first” in chapel. “It’s our turn to have that, and we don’t,” she said. Two of Gabruk’s courses, including physics, are entirely online while there are very few or no remote students during her in-person classes. “Physics was surprising. I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to learn online. But it’s not much different than in person.” As for hybrid classes, “the hardest part is being so distant from everyone in the classroom. It makes discussions difficult.” Dorm life has also been an adjustment, but Gabruk takes it in stride. She lives in a single in Masters, where she is a prefect. “Not being able to go into each other’s rooms is hard,” she said. “But I’ve found ways to meet people in the hallways and such, so it’s not that different.”
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“The hardest part is being so distant from everyone in the classroom. It makes discussions difficult.”
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BEN BROACH ’21
IS LEARNING REMOTELY FROM NORTH AURORA, ILLINOIS HE IS A LIGHT BOARD OPERATOR FOR PEDDIE THEATER AND A MEMBER OF THE PEDDIE CHESS CLUB. Theater looks a lot different this year, and that’s been tough for light board operator Ben Broach. “I haven’t been to the theater in eight months. I haven’t done anything with tech since ‘1776’ in February. And it’s hard because it’s what I want to do in college. And it’s something I’m really passionate about,” said Broach, who plans to major in lighting design and technology next year. Broach lives more than 800 miles from Peddie, and he’s reminded of that fact constantly. It’s why the former boarding student is learning remotely from his North Aurora, Illinois, home this fall. “We had to think about logistics,” he said. “It’s unlikely that I would catch the virus, but if I do, how realistic is it that I’m able to get off campus in 24 hours? At best, my mom has to drop everything and prepare for a 12hour car ride. Which is hard in itself, but then she has to share a car for 12 more hours with someone who’s tested positive. I don’t have family out there. And it’s hard to ask friends, ‘Hey, if my kid tests positive for COVID, can you go pick them up at school?’”
While matter-of-fact in speaking about his decision to stay home, Broach revealed an underlying sadness about his current situation. “I want to be on campus. I miss being on campus. It’s been seven months since I’ve been on campus,” he said. “I’ve missed my friends. I’ve missed hanging out. We get together on Zoom, but it’s just not the same.” Broach appreciates the thought that his teachers put into making remote learners feel included. “Mr. Bennett [English] has done an amazing job of including people who are both remote and on campus. He has all students go on Zoom, even if they are there in person. And he has a speaker to broadcast the remote students to everyone,” Broach said. Along with Peddie-Blair Day and the community meeting countdown to graduation, Broach said he also misses “random, spontaneous-ish moments” on campus. “You can meet up with friends for a few minutes and say, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ You can’t get that over Zoom.”
“I want to be on campus. I miss being on campus. It’s been seven months since I’ve been on campus.”
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“I can’t really complain. I think we’re all doing the best we can with the situation we’ve been dealt.”
MYRA CHARLES ’22
IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM SOUTH ORANGE, NEW JERSEY. SHE IS A PREFECT IN MASTERS DORM, AND A MEMBER OF THE PEDDIE BLACK STUDENT UNION AND FIELD HOCKEY TEAM. Feeling connected is essential to Myra Charles. It’s what factored into her decision to return to campus this fall, though her mother voiced an eleventh-hour opinion. “When we were in the car coming here, my mom said, ‘You know, I didn’t want you to come back. I wanted you to be remote,’” Charles grinned. “I mean, I LOVE my family,” she added. “But I can’t get quite as much done when I’m at home.” Charles said one of her favorite places to be is on the Peddie campus. “At Peddie, you’re constantly around your friends, so it feels like a constant support group.” While Charles admitted that social distancing and having classmates learning virtually in different time zones has made it difficult for everyone to feel connected, she remained optimistic. “I do think that
COVID has forced people to broaden their horizons a little bit and learn new things about themselves.” Charles empathizes with her first- and fourth-year classmates. “I don’t know what I would do if I was a senior and didn’t get to have my final Blair Day pep rally. I’m also sad for the freshmen because they didn’t get to have POCO.” As for Peddie’s hybrid schedule, Charles said she’s a fan. “Just for the fact that sometimes it’s easier to connect if we’re ALL online versus if some people are in person, and some people aren’t.” Still, she prefers in-person classes. “There’s only so much you can be aware of when you’re on a screen,” she said. But Charles is also not one to grumble. “I can’t really complain,” she rationalized. “I think we’re all doing the best with the situation we’ve been dealt.”
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JACK HUGHES ’22
IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM NORTHFIELD, NEW JERSEY. THE ARMELLINO SCHOLAR IS A PREFECT IN POTTER NORTH, A TOUR GUIDE, A CLASS REPRESENTATIVE AND A MEMBER OF PEDDIE BASEBALL.
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How has fall term been overall? The first two weeks were hard. I think it was difficult in part because I was away from school for so long and, even though I knew it was going to be a little different, it wasn’t what I was expecting. But now, after two months into the term, it’s still not the same as it was, but I feel fortunate and happy. Have you adjusted to the hybrid model? Going from completely online last spring to having to switch [from in-person to online], it’s a refreshing change of pace. I don’t mind online school because I can wake up 10-15 minutes before school and relax and not be stressed about packing my bags and all that stuff. Every day here, at least for boarders, is very similar because you can’t go to your friends’ rooms and can’t do many normal activities, so I feel like having that switch is really important. How’s dorm life? One of my main jobs as a prefect is to talk to new students, help them out with their issues and be a friend. That’s difficult for me now. There’s not that time to hang out in the lounge with everyone and get to know everyone. Having to wear my mask as soon as I leave my room makes it feel like this is my only cube of home. But everyone is in the same boat, so it opens up a lot of opportunities to hang outside and see people you would never really interact with, especially when the weather is nice. What activities are you involved in that look different this term? My favorite sport is baseball. It’s weird having to wear a mask on the field [during practice] and not do tag plays because it’s too close. It’s just different, but it’s not terrible. Because terrible would be not playing at all. Was there ever any question that you’d be returning as a boarding student? I wanted to get back as soon as I could, even if it was going to be different. I’m pretty certain that I have a lot more fun here than I would be sitting in my room at home doing this every day with no connection to my friends. I’m doing the best I can to remain connected to my friends who are online. I think we should do our best to make them feel included.
“Having to wear a mask as soon as I leave my room makes it feel like this is my only cube of home.”
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MADDIE LALLIER ’24
IS A DAY STUDENT FROM MONROE, NEW JERSEY. SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE CROSS COUNTRY TEAM AND PLAYS PIANO. Imagine stepping foot on campus as a first-year student. You haven’t been to Peddie since your admission interview. That was months ago. And now everyone is wearing masks and keeping six feet apart. How will you meet people? Find a shady spot to eat your lunch, according to Maddie Lallier. “I’ve met a whole bunch of people,” said Lallier enthusiastically. “I was looking for some shade during lunch, and people started grouping under this one tree near Annenberg, and now that’s the ‘squad.’” Lallier seems unflustered speaking about fall term. She’s made friends, and her classes are going well, though she’d prefer to have them all in person. “But we can’t really do that,” she reasoned. “So I think it’s nice that we are able to be in person, even though it’s only every other week. We’ve done a ton of really fun things during my in-person weeks. I mean, we set things on fire in one of my first chemistry classes!” Being a day student has its advantages and disadvantages, according to Lallier. She is disappointed she isn’t able to participate in on-campus weekend activities designed for boarders. “But there are also other privileges that the day students have that the boarders don’t. We’re allowed to leave campus and go where we want to go for the long weekend, whereas the boarders are stuck, for lack of a better word. But there are plenty of fun activities planned for them here,” she said. Getting to know her way around campus was challenging for Lallier, especially due to her bi-weekly schedule. Peddie’s cross country coaches came up with a fun solution. “During the first few days when we did our distance runs, we would run around campus, and the coaches would show us where everything was, and they’d share a fun fact about each of the buildings,” Lallier recalled. “When we did speed work, a coach would yell out the name of a dorm building, and we’d have to run there as fast as we could. It helped me get to know the campus a lot better.”
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“I was looking for some shade during lunch, and people started grouping under this one tree near Annenberg, and now that’s the ‘squad.’”
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SAM SHI ’21
IS LEARNING REMOTELY FROM BEIJING, CHINA. HE IS A MEMBER OF THE PEDDIE CROSS COUNTRY TEAM AND THE PEDDIE ENVIRONMENTAL & SUSTAINABILITY TEAM.
How is the school year going so far?
Do you miss competing in cross country?
My teachers have all been supportive. I don’t go to afternoon classes because of the 12-hour time difference, so I meet with teachers during office hours to catch up on the material. What factors led to your decision to learn remotely this fall? It was too difficult for me to fly back to the United States with all the travel bans in place. What are some of the most significant differences between remote and in-person learning? After spring term, I’m more used to remote learning. I still prefer in-person classes – the interaction is just not the same. For example, remote learners aren’t able to do labs for science classes.
I was looking forward to this season, especially as a senior. I enjoy cross country meets. The adrenaline before a race is irreplaceable. But the part I miss the most about cross country is the team dynamic. We have a great team, and last season was amazing. How are you staying connected with your classmates? Mostly through social media. What do you miss most about being on campus? Walking back to my dorm after sports practice and seeing the sunset behind Annenberg. And hearing the “Peddie to Thee” bells from the chapel on Sundays before dinner. Not being on campus has made me appreciate these small moments.
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“It was too difficult for me to fly back to the United States with all the travel bans in place.”
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SUKHROOP SINGH ’24
IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA. HE IS A MEMBER OF THE CREATIVE WRITING CLUB AND TEDX CLUB, AND IS A BOOKTUBER. By late October, Sukhroop Singh felt like he was starting to get into the swing of things. But only weeks earlier, the freshman book enthusiast found it challenging to gain a foothold at Peddie. “Adjusting from the academics of my middle school to Peddie and adjusting to living away from home ... Yeah, it’s been hard,” he revealed. “I haven’t been able to do as well as I would like to. But I’m starting to adjust, and I’m starting to get in the groove of things.”
and volunteers with Writer’s Ink to help elementary students learn the fundamentals of writing. He plans to submit poetry to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and reached out to a Peddie upperclassman who won a silver medal in the competition last year. “He responded in, like, a day and gave me a whole page of feedback,” he said, amazed. Singh started a new venture during quarantine earlier this year: BookTubing.
At times when he spoke, Singh seemed overwhelmed as a first-year student trying to adjust to a new school during a pandemic that has brought severe social restrictions to campus. But he talked enthusiastically about several topics.
“A BookTuber is a YouTuber that talks about books online,” he explained. “Seeing people subscribe and commenting on my videos and starting book clubs and having so many people participate has been so much fun.”
“English and history are my favorite subjects, so obviously, humanities was going to be my favorite class, and I love the teacher, Ms. Munch,” he said.
While settling on being a boarding or remote student this fall was tough for Singh, he felt confident that he made the right choice. “In the beginning, I might have regretted my decision, but now, I like that I decided to come here,” he said.
Singh is a member of Peddie’s Creative Writing Club
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“I haven’t been able to do as well as I would like to. But I’m starting to adjust, and I’m starting to get in the groove of things.”
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“I spent two weeks at the Holiday Inn under quarantine. It was lonely.”
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AYLIN KARAGOZOGLU ’21 IS A BOARDING STUDENT FROM ISTANBUL, TURKEY. SHE IS A STUDENT TOUR GUIDE, MEMBER OF PEDDIE CREW AND A LEADER OF ARTIVISM, WHICH PROVIDES FREE TUTORING AND ART WORKSHOPS FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS.
“I’m actually in the Health Center right now with my roommate.” Aylin Karagozoglu remained calm while describing her situation. “She tested negative for corona, but she has a cold. So we’re in the Health Center for now, and then we’re going to her house because they have to send us home out of safety. I’m going with her because her mom is my emergency contact,” she said. The best friends and roommates of three years returned to campus a few days later following repeated negative COVID-19 tests. Faced with a 10-hour flight to New Jersey from Istanbul, Turkey, followed by a 14-day quarantine, Karagozoglu was nonetheless determined to return to Peddie for fall term. “I had been at home for so long, five months, I felt like I needed to come back,” she said. “Here at Peddie, I have my space, I have my routine, and I felt like I would be more focused.” But two weeks in quarantine was tough for Karagozoglu. As part of federal regulation enforcement, she and other students remained in isolation at the Holiday Inn in East Windsor for 14 days in August before being allowed on campus. “It was lonely,” she laughed. “My friend Zara stayed across the hall. We weren’t allowed to see each other, but we would FaceTime a lot, so that was nice. I FaceTimed my friends back home, my family, and spent a lot of time in bed.” Karagozoglu is enjoying crew practice this fall. The team cannot travel to Mercer Lake or compete, but they use the rowing machine three times a week outdoors and do other strength and conditioning training. “We still have practice. We’re still moving,” she said. “I really do miss being on the water because that’s the best part about rowing.” Whether or not Karagozoglu returns to campus after winter break is contingent on quarantine protocols. As for another hotel quarantine, “I don’t think I could do it again,” she said. But she does have the option to stay with cousins in New York. “I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I’m holding on to the idea of spring. Hopefully, we’ll have our senior spring and enjoy it to the fullest,” she said.
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