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Special Section




Letter from the Editor As we were about to print this issue of the Peddie Chronicle, news broke about the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, which came on the heels of the shootings of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of a father and son in Georgia and Breonna Taylor by police in her Kentucky home. There is a long history of anti-black racism in our country. In a joint statement, Head of School Peter Quinn and Board of Trustees Chair Elizabeth Silverman acknowledged that Peddie is not immune to charges of systemic racism. Peddie’s leadership has vowed to bring about fundamental change to our school community. To start, the administration has begun the search for a Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). This faculty member will assist Peddie’s leadership and employees in enhancing the school’s focus on issues that affect our marginalized students and will work closely with department chairs to increase our curriculum diversity. Head of School Peter Quinn held a series of listening sessions with students, parents, colleagues and alumni. And Peddie’s English and history departments shared an essential reading and viewing list designed to broaden perspective and deepen engagement. Peddie’s Black Student Union and Peddie Amnesty International teamed up to host “12 Hours of Action,” a virtual event featuring student-led presentations and open discussions on topics including privilege, allyship and the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundreds of Peddie community members and representatives from schools across New Jersey and Pennsylvania tuned in to the event. This is just the beginning. The Chronicle staff will offer in-depth reporting on these and forthcoming initiatives in the Fall/Winter issue. In the meantime, read more about these initiatives at peddie.org/diversity.


Editor: Carrie Harrington Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications: Wendi Patella P’17 ’20 Contributors: Beth Dial P’22 Deanna Harkel Doug Mariboe ’69 P’10 ’14 Andrew Marvin Patricia O’Neill P’13 ’15 ’17 ’20 ’22 Peddie Environmental & Sustainability Team Marisa Procopio ’87 Megan Sweeney Taft Communications 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 Tel: (609) 944-7500 peddie.org/chronicle We welcome your input: editor@peddie.org

Struck Amidst weeks of what seemed like endless bad news, I welcomed the sights and sounds of a bright, breezy, bird-chirping spring day in mid-April, even on a mostly-empty Peddie campus. On this particular day, it was warm enough to open my office windows. That afternoon I was meeting with Peddie’s elected senior leaders — virtually, of course — to discuss a letter that I was moments away from emailing to their classmates. The news was disappointing. Unprecedented. Students would not return to campus for the remainder of the spring term. As we were finishing up our discussion, the 4 p.m. tolling of the The Class of 1962 Carillon radiated out over center campus. With my office windows open, the clear sound of the bells transported the students back to Peddie, if only for a few seconds. The six of us choked up, struck by the powerful audible reminder of being on campus. I’m sure those seniors were thinking about what could — and should — have been for the Class of 2020. I do not doubt that they will emerge from this crisis an even more united and connected class. I can’t wait to welcome the Class of 2020 back on campus to celebrate their graduation. Hopefully, very soon. The story of 2020 so far involves too many heroes and too many creative feats to capture here. One thing for sure is that I’m continually struck by the level of creativity, flexibility, commitment and sense of direction demonstrated by our community. It’s quite remarkable how, without any warning and without any advance notice, Peddie reverted in the wake of a global pandemic to beginning anew, just like our motto, albeit doing things differently.

Head of School Peter Quinn meets with the school’s coronavirus task force in March 2020.



It happened distinctly across various departments, from faculty delivering a vibrant and innovative online education to staff engaging applicants, alumni and other members of the community through virtual programs and robust communications. While many of our roles were able to be done from our homes, other colleagues filled essential functions and continued to report to campus to maintain our facilities and keep them secure. Peddie Food Service employees, meanwhile, pivoted seamlessly to essential duties. My colleagues are highly resilient and intellectually agile. I am immensely proud of all of them. I’m also impressed by our alumni, who have reached out in droves over the last several months to find out how Peddie is managing. Some placed phone calls to members of the Class of 2020 on what would have been their commencement day — strangers they have never met, but who now share a bond as alumni. Their concern and expressions of support, while dealing with chaos in their personal lives, have been a great comfort. This issue of the Peddie Chronicle looks much different than our marketing and communications team imagined during their initial planning stages. They adjusted most of the original magazine content so that we could present you with a timely, honest account of how the coronavirus has disrupted our operations. Practicing good citizenship is the cornerstone of the Peddie experience. You’ll hear about Peddie alumni supporting their communities during the global crisis and, in some cases, how communities have rallied to support them. For a historical event of this magnitude, we wanted our magazine cover to make an indelible impression. Its simplicity strikes me as an appropriate response to the explosion of chaos around us. Steady Old Peddie soldiers on, more resilient than ever. As I look to the future, my wish is that we will be allowed to open on campus for the start of the academic year. I hope we will see progress in testing, treatment and safety protocols so we can restore the great privilege of being together. We are going to be focused intently over the next few weeks on having the most embracing, engaging and enthusiastic opening we have ever had — in whatever format we have it. As we navigate the weeks ahead, Peddie will continue to keep our connection with you strong. Ala Viva!

Peter A. Quinn P’15 ’18 ’21 Head of School



Class o

of 2020




Cross-departmental collaboration enhances Peddie theater productions THEATER IS BY DEFINITION COLLABORATIVE. EACH PLAYER, BOTH ON AND OFF STAGE, INFORMS THE INTEGRITY AND ESSENCE OF THE PRODUCTION. AND QUALITY INGREDIENTS DELIVER THE BEST RESULTS. Since Peddie operates according to the same principles, theater director Elizabeth Sherman reached out to fellow faculty — experts in a wide range of fields — to consult on recent productions. The idea was set in motion in December 2018, just before the winter musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” Peddie’s Jewish Heritage Club, advised by Associate Director of Admission Hannah McCollum and Science Department Chair Shani Peretz, Ph.D., invited the cast to join them at a Chanukah party at the home of Arts Department Chair Alan Michaels.

ensemble play in which nine girls portray teenage soccer players. Sherman decided to contact Matt Roach, English department chair and girls’ varsity soccer head coach, for tips and nuance on staging a soccer play convincingly. “Matt was very responsive — a great consultant, especially about what size ball we should use. He was very helpful, very supportive of the production,” said Sherman.

“Hannah was super enthused about ‘Fiddler,’” remembered Sherman.

Because “The Wolves” opens with the characters in a circle, warming up for a game, Roach invited the cast to a soccer practice, where they observed how the athletes typically stretch before playing.

Sherman’s first production during the 2019–2020 school year was “The Wolves,” Sarah DeLappe’s

“We pulled some things from them to use in our warmup scene,” said Sherman. “(Roach) also had some of



the English classes read the play, and they all attended the performance. For a department chair to institute something like that — I thought that was incredible.” “Liz and I had some great conversations about soccer culture, team dynamics and the best ways to show soccer on stage during ‘The Wolves,’” said Roach. “The play was a window into powerful and complex team dynamics. It shows the strength and camaraderie of a team, but also seeks to show how competitive and fraught social dynamics can sometimes be. In the end, though, the show is beautifully reaffirming of life, team and the experience of youthful joy and athleticism.” “1776,” Peter Stone’s musical reenactment of the First Continental Congress as they created the Declaration of Independence, went up in February. Sherman again embraced cross-departmental collaboration, seeking the expertise of History Department Chair Alison Hogarth and history teacher Erik Treese ’91.

“Alison and Erik talked with the cast; they came in and did an hour-long lecture,” said Sherman. “It was wonderful to have their voices as really revered history teachers and to engage the students. And it was quite influential for me to hear them. I’d think ‘Oh, I’m on the right track.’” Stuart Baker ’21 played John Dickinson, a delegate from Pennsylvania and one of the principals in the play. He especially valued Treese’s contributions in helping to shape his character with historical accuracy. “Mr. Treese shared a letter by Adams that was leaked to the press in 1775,” Baker said. In it, the cantankerous Adams insulted Dickinson as a “piddling genius,” a description that surely infuriated Dickinson, an honorable man. “Linking the source of my character’s conflict with Adams beyond just our ideological disagreements inspired me to embrace a vigorous portrayal of the

The cast of “The Wolves” (below) observed soccer practice with Coach Matt Roach.

Dickinson-Adams feud for the show. I never would have learned this tidbit without Mr. Treese’s help.” “It was fun to watch and be part of some of the early planning sessions of ‘1776,’” said Treese. “I was appreciative of Liz’s offer to talk to the students about John Adams and the Revolutionary Period. I was so impressed by the hard work the students put into trying to understand their characters.” Hogarth found the experience fulfilling as well. “Talking to the cast about the historical context of the Revolutionary Period was fantastic, and also getting them to think about the historical context of the time period when the musical was written and how those themes could be found in ‘1776.’”

Student dramaturg Neha Sathishkumar ’21 benefited from Hogarth’s and Treese’s teaching expertise as well; they both showed her solid ways to present material to the cast. “I had no idea where to start as a dramaturg,” Sathishkumar said. “So before my first presentation to the cast, I met with Mr. Treese to outline what the beginnings and ends of my presentation would be. And at one point, I was having trouble explaining something to a cast member. I ran into Ms. Hogarth, and we talked about teaching. It was an enriching experience, and both of them taught me more about how to be a better teacher. I’m very grateful for their help during the process.”

Zion Henriques ’20 (left) plays Thomas Jefferson in the spring production of “1776.” History Department Chair Alison Hogarth (right) and history teacher Erik Treese ’91 educated the cast of “1776” on the historical context of the Revolutionary Period.


We’re brilliant! The Peddie Chronicle won a 2020 Council for Advancement and Support of Education Circle of Excellence silver medal in the Independent School Magazine category. The judges praised the magazine’s design, photography and “clever covers.” The Chronicle also won two InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Awards this spring. “Rival Relationships,” the story about the Peddie-Blair rivalry from the Fall/Winter 2018 issue, earned Gold in the Feature Article Writing category. “The Running of the Bulls in Annenberg Hall” from the Spring/Summer 2019 issue won Gold for Feature Article Design. Thank you to the Peddie community for inspiring our work.







Meet our new athletic director THAD LEPCIO, AN EDUCATOR WITH 25 YEARS OF ATHLETIC ADMINISTRATION EXPERIENCE, HAS BEEN NAMED DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS OF THE PEDDIE SCHOOL. Lepcio comes to Peddie after spending the past 17 years at the Baylor School in Tennessee as a Latin instructor and the head of the school’s outreach and auxiliary programs, before becoming athletic director in 2006. Lepico said he became convinced that Peddie was the right fit when he met the community and saw the passion people had for the institution. “From the moment I stepped on campus, I noticed the overwhelming sense of community and love for Peddie with

everyone I met, from students to coaches to workers in food service,” he said. “The campus is beautiful; the facilities are fantastic, but it was the people that impressed me the most.” A graduate of Amherst College with a master of science in sport management from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Lepcio’s involvement at Baylor extended beyond the athletic office and classroom. He served as a dorm parent, director of student leadership and faculty adviser to the school’s Honor Council. Prior to Baylor, Lepcio worked on the college level as associate athletic director at Wofford College.


“Thad is a dedicated teacher and school leader, and an athletic director who shares Peddie’s philosophy that the athletic program is an extension of our classrooms,” said Head of School Peter Quinn. “His educational background and his work experience distinguished him early on. During his campus visit, his vision, enthusiasm and warmth won wide support, and I am thrilled he and his family will be joining our community.”

Building Relationships Lepcio is eager to begin his new journey at Peddie and understands the importance of building strong relationships with coaches and student-athletes.

program becomes especially challenging. I think it’s important to continue to beat the drum and explain the value of multi-sport participation at the same time recognizing that there are individual sports and a few elite performers that might be on a preOlympic, or pre-professional track who might need to focus on their specific sport.” With the elimination of postgraduates on MAPL football teams and the graduation of others, a challenge looms this upcoming season. But Lepcio is looking at the long term. “I am excited about the future of Peddie football,” Lepcio said. “I have had positive conversations with new

“I love knowing that I will play a role in the development of our future leaders.” “I look forward to working with the coaches to give them the resources and tools necessary to give Peddie students a first-class co-curricular experience,” he said. “I enjoy getting to know students outside of the gym, the pool or the athletic fields. I want all Peddie students to know that I am as interested in their academic, social and personal growth as I am in their respective athletic successes.”

Head Coach Pat Loughlin and had the opportunity to participate in the first Zoom team meeting.

In measuring the success of an athletic program, Lepcio said he has a responsibility to foster an environment that is welcoming and fun. “Athletics live in a world of scoreboards and statistics. I love to see retention rates of athletic teams. I love to see alumni return to campus to see their coach. When the right culture exists, then students want to participate, prospective students want to attend, and the results on the scoreboard will take care of themselves,” he said.

Lepcio is looking forward to working closely with Falcon student-athletes.

Challenges Participating in multiple sports versus specializing in a single sport is currently a hot topic among high school athletics, coaches, parents and athletic directors. When asked about this much-debated topic, Lepcio stated, “Specialization in a school with only 540 students and a robust athletic

“Peddie football has been around for 134 years, and I am committed to developing a program with studentathletes who want to be at Peddie, who are proud to wear a Peddie uniform, and who want to experience everything Peddie has to offer.”

“Watching students grow and improve and hopefully meeting and exceeding individual goals brings me the most joy,” Lepcio reflected. “I love knowing that I will play a role in the development of our future leaders. It is an incredible opportunity and responsibility.” Lepcio succeeds Jason Baseden, who is leaving to take the same role at Phillips Exeter Academy. Thad and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of son, Teddy, who is a rising junior at The U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


50th anniversary of Earth Day inspires Peddie’s environmental club

Peddie students climb a tree on campus during the 1970 Earth Day celebrations.



Jessica Cheng ’20, Yulia Gu ’21, Neha Sathishkumar ’21, Dennis Zhang ’20 and Richard Zhu ’22, leaders of the Peddie Environmental & Sustainability Team (PEST), spoke with Billy Almond ’71, who helped organize the activities at Peddie on the first-ever Earth Day, April 22, 1970. Billy Almond ’71 developed a love for environmentalism not long after he came to Peddie as a sophomore in the fall of 1968. Amidst the Vietnam War and growing unrest, America was experiencing a remarkable period of rebellious youth spirit. At Peddie, this revolutionary spirit resulted in the historic Longstreet Hall takeover on April 9, 1970 (a student protest of campus rules) and, according to Almond, a growing environmental movement. Almond recalled that many students at Peddie joined the environmental movement after taking an English department elective called “Nature.” “Peddie English teachers, inspired by writers like Thoreau, sought to foster an independent spirit and climate of activism at the school,” he said. When national Earth Day organizers reached out about launching a day of environmentalism, Almond and his classmates joined in. They celebrated this new worldwide event by cleaning up Peddie Lake at sunrise. “I would say 150, about half the student body was there,” Almond recollected. “How could the administration get upset with us? We cleaned your lake up.” Not yet aware of the Earth Day that Almond and the Peddie community celebrated 50 years ago, PEST coincidentally spearheaded an effort last year to continue such a tradition at Peddie. Earth Day is now a school-recognized week of service, and last year over 300 Peddie students and faculty members joined hands with other organizations, such as the New Jersey Watershed Commission and Meadow Lakes senior living community, in service to the environment. At the end of the weeklong celebration, the community planted a lake erosion barrier, rehabilitated a park, cleaned up a beach and built floating wetlands, among other accomplishments. Admittedly, COVID-19 changed the plans for this year’s celebration. Nonetheless, PEST members worked tirelessly to continue the tradition and organized a virtual Earth Day that included citizen climate initiatives and virtual climate strikes.

Billy Almond ’71 recalled that about half the student body cleaned up Peddie Lake during the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970.

PEST engages in environmental activism in many other ways. The team authors a weekly schoolwide newsletter with simple tips on how to practice a more sustainable lifestyle, and organizes guest speakers. They also introduced a composting program and successfully instituted a ban on Styrofoam cups in the dining hall. Since the club implemented composting last year, Peddie estimates it has saved close to 20 tons of food waste from ending up in landfills. Not only does PEST aim for sustainability on campus, but they are also active in the greater Hightstown community. The team has reached out to local schools as part of an interschool coalition that will work together on initiatives going forward. Almond, now a sustainable landscape architect in Virginia Beach, offered this advice for those interested in conservation: “Ask yourself, what’s the goal? What do you want to do when you grow up? Whatever it is you do, the litmus test is, would you get up and do it every day even if you weren’t paid?” The most successful environmentalists have found one thing to focus on, Almond stressed. “When you say you’re concerned about the environment, what part of the environment? Because many parts make up the whole, and thinking of the environment as one big thing that needs saving makes the task daunting and perhaps impossible. Everyone can learn from this: Pick one thing that interests you, that you would love to do every day, and do it with a fervent passion that can last you a lifetime.”




Amazing track record Luisa Kausch ’20 broke the school record in the long jump when she soared 16 feet, nine inches at the 2020 Eastern States Indoor Championships in New York City on February 18. Luisa’s performance marks the first time in Peddie’s history that two generations of athletes are on the school record board for track and field. Luisa’s father, Lars Kausch ’94, set five school records at Peddie in the hurdles and 4x400m relay that still stand today. Lars (pictured left) donned his old Peddie track uniform recently for a practice session with his daughter near their home in Leverkusen, Germany. Also of note, sprinter Chinedu Okeke ’20 broke the school record in the 55-meter dash when he clocked 6.42 seconds to capture first place at Easterns. It was the first time in 26 years Peddie boys’ track returned to the top of the podium, a feat claimed by Hall of Famer Brad Barket ’95 who won the 800m run in 1994.

Photo provided by Lars Kausch ’94

A bridge over the years As the days get longer and the water warmer, beachgoers flock by the thousands to New Jersey’s shores. Many of them pass over the Margate Bridge, a four-span causeway several miles south of Atlantic City linking the towns of Northfield and Margate. In addition to linking two shore communities, the bridge still connects former Peddie roommates Roger Hansen ’61 and Berny Capaldi ’61. It remains standing thanks to their enduring bond. Built in 1929, the Margate Bridge had been operational for over three decades when its original owners went bankrupt. “My father and uncle, and [Berny’s] father and his father’s partner, bought it in 1963,” said Hansen. Hansen’s family dealt with the engineering, and Capaldi’s managed the finances. “And now we own it.” Hansen now serves as the chairman of the bridge’s management company, and until his retirement, Capaldi served as its accountant — the same roles

their fathers played. However, long before ownership of the bridge passed into their hands, Hansen and Capaldi attended Peddie together. “Our fathers and mothers were friends,” Capaldi said. “I entered in my sophomore year, and Roger entered in his senior year. We became friends and stayed good friends, and I’d say best friends. We’ve enjoyed life together.” After graduating from Peddie and taking leadership roles in their own businesses, they remained close, and eventually, Hansen hired Capaldi’s accounting firm to manage the bridge’s finances. Nearly 60 years after sharing a room at Peddie, both Hansen and Capaldi live in Florida, within walking distance of one another’s homes. Aside from upgrades to the bridge’s tolling system, it seems not much has changed between 1963 and today. “Our relationship functions pretty much the same,” said Hansen. “We’ve been friends forever.”



Roger Hansen ’61 From left: Berny Capaldi ’61 and (circa 1980). Club ntry Cou City tic at the Atlan



“PEDDIE’S THE WHOLE REASON I GOT INTO FILM AND PHOTOGRAPHY.” When sinking into the twisty, backstabbing world of “Selah and the Spades,” a viewer might wonder what kind of experiences director and screenwriter Tayarisha Poe ’08 had in high school. They’re more upbeat than you’d think. “I had a weirdly fun time in high school,” said Poe. “But I also think that I happened to go to a fun school.” “Selah and the Spades” tells the story of Selah, an intelligent and ambitious senior at the prestigious and fictional Haldwell Academy and the leader of the Spades, one of five factions that run the school’s dark underbelly. Selah finds a potential successor to her throne in underclassman Paloma, but power struggles and paranoia – from without and within – threaten their budding friendship. “In part, it’s about this misconception of what boarding school is like,” Poe said. “As in, how it feels to be at school and have all this power, and then go home and be a kid again.” As a student at Peddie, Poe immersed herself in the arts. “I did everything,” Poe reminisced. She acted, she was on set crew, she took creative writing classes, she explored the visual arts through the medium of film and photography and she practically lived in the Swig Arts Center. “Peddie’s the whole reason I got into film and photography. The teachers are very nurturing. I never felt dismissed for wanting to do odd projects and explore weird ideas. I always felt so encouraged,” she said.

Tayarisha Poe’s highly stylized film about teen melodrama debuts on Amazon Prime

“Selah” began as a series of short stories that Poe wrote in 2013 and, with the support of the Leeway Foundation, evolved into a multimedia project called “Selah and the Spades: Overture” (or, as Poe calls it, Selah 1.0). The finished film premiered at Sundance in January of 2019 and debuted on Amazon Prime in April. “Selah” is a New York Times Critic’s Pick and holds an 89% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. NPR said that Poe’s film, “represents the voice of a fresh new generation of black filmmakers.” Poe has established herself to the world as a prominent young storyteller, and she’s only getting started. She’s currently working to develop a series for Amazon Studios, based in the world she created for “Selah and the Spades.” She’s also writing a new film that she will direct, the details of which she isn’t able to reveal yet.

Photo provided by Tayarisha Poe ’08



I n the midst of a global pandemic, Peddie’s elected senior leaders reflect on their final days as students.


Five things that Peddie teachers are doing remarkably well during the coronavirus lockdown.


Peddie parents and alumni are helping their communities, and their communities have rallied to help them.


The Class of 2020 did not have the chance to say traditional goodbyes or make the most of what should have been their final days on campus. Just a few weeks before the end of the academic year, while under stay-at-home orders, the Chronicle editor spoke with Peddie’s elected class leaders. Luke Marolda, Julia Patella, Bateman Solms, Johnny Sussek and Dennis Zhang described how they came to terms with COVID-19 affecting their senior year and what traditional celebrations mean to them, and advised Peddie’s future leaders. Editor: What was your reaction when you learned that you would not be returning to campus after spring break? Luke: At first, it was really tough. Just a lot of confusion. We didn’t really know what to expect. We had such a clear picture of what senior spring was gonna look like. And so having that taken away and no longer knowing what the future was gonna look like was definitely alarming. Bateman: I don’t know about you guys, but I cry a lot. I started crying. But I think that it was mostly sadness because we’re missing out on the most traditional, fun part of our entire Peddie experience. I haven’t even been here for four years, but I’ve still been so looking forward to all of the different traditions, even just little things that happen like sitting on center campus when it’s warm outside. So I’m just kinda sad that we won’t be able to experience those things as a class. Editor: How has the transition been to online learning? Johnny: It was so hard. At least for me. To get out of bed and do that, especially because I’m not at

Peddie. But Dr. Hart, my AP Statistics teacher, is the queen of online learning. I think she can teach a college lecture in online learning. She’s so good at it. Also, Mr. Roach is just like ... Luke: Yeah, Mr. Roach, for sure. Johnny: He does the same thing, Luke. Nothing’s changed. Luke: [nodding in agreement] Literally, nothing’s changed. We’re just sitting at our desks at home instead of in the classroom together. I’m in a photography class, and the school actually shipped the cameras out to us. So I have my camera right here. It’s been tough getting interesting pictures though, considering every picture I take is of my backyard or my car or the occasional neighbors walking by. Julia: Speaking of arts classes, chorus has been interesting. Miss Green, our choir director, has really taken the opportunity to expose us to different kinds of musical learning that we don’t get to do during the year because we’re so busy preparing for concerts. When we’re in person, that’s almost all of what we do. I mean, we have so much music to prepare each term. One concert every term and two in the winter. But now that we’re online, she’s been sending us video links to other choirs to listen to and comment on and discuss. I miss being able to sing together, but we’re getting to do some cool stuff that we didn’t usually get to do. Editor: Aside from your classes, what other activities are you involved in that have been affected by not being on campus this spring?




Bateman: I don’t even know if you can call it a sport, but I was signed up to do “Mindful Movement,” two days of yoga a week and two days of tai chi a week. I was ridiculously excited to do that because it kinda sounded fun. That’s definitely been a disappointment. Editor: Dennis, has it been challenging to oversee a club like PEST (Peddie Environmental & Sustainability Team) while not being on campus? Dennis: Nothing has really changed for PEST. We get at least 20 kids at every meeting. We’ve been meeting every single week. We organized the virtual Earth Day. We discussed projects that can go on next year. Julia: Yeah, Dennis. You’re kinda killing it. [group nods in agreement] Dennis: I mean, nothing that we did before really required us to physically be there except maybe to plant some plants. Yeah, PEST is still going strong. Editor: How about sports? Are any of you on spring sports teams? Dennis: I’m on track. My coach has been offering Google Hangouts every Monday and Wednesday, but it’s more for sophomore and juniors who want to be recruited. We have a kid in our grade who’s really fast, Chinedu Okeke. He qualified for Nationals and that got canceled. Julia: Heading into spring term, I was getting ready to work on the spring play. I‘ve been involved in theater every term that I’ve been at Peddie. And so this was going to be my last term working in Peddie Theater. And it was pretty devastating to lose that. Editor: As senior class leaders, how have you been helping your class stay connected? Bateman: Instagram is one of my favorite pastimes. [Bateman launched a Peddie2020 Instagram account

this spring.] I think it’s so much fun because we put stuff together that the whole community can see and kind of create a central message or at least a feeling of togetherness for the class. It’s been a really great place to stay together in a more casual way. I think that’s something that’s missed the most in virtual learning. We don’t get to walk past each other in the hallways and spend time in the dorms together or have that type of casual interaction that we usually would. Yeah, I’ve just loved having Instagram as a way to maintain that. Editor: How are you and your classmates dealing with the fact that traditional senior events like commencement and prom have been postponed? Julia: I mean, it’s difficult for sure. For me it really felt like a light at the end of the tunnel. I mean the work that we put into our classes. And [pause] yeah, it’s really hard. Luke: Yeah, it’s tough because, as Peddie students, we work extremely hard. Graduation and baccalaureate and prom and senior spring as a whole is kinda the reward and validates all that hard work and just reminds you of how worth it all the work was. And so it’s tough not having that. Everything felt like it was cut short. My last day on campus, I mean, I was complaining about having a physics exam. I would have done things differently if I’d known that those were my last moments … This whole thing kinda threw us all off. It’s definitely been difficult. But we’re our class’s leaders. We’ve been doing a great job at trying to hide that [our disappointment]. And to convey a positive image and just to encourage everyone to say positive. Bateman: The group of us, especially, we all like to plan. And so I think we all immediately were like, “OK, can we do graduation? Can we figure out what dates are going to work?” We were just in a








meeting with Mr. McClellan [Dean of Students] kind of arguing our way into having something at least this summer. I think we all have been putting a lot of our energy into making sure our class still gets something. Because we know how important it is for us to be able to come together. Johnny: I’m not gonna lie. I mean, we’re angry. Upset. And it comes out in the weirdest moments. We’ve kinda spent four years building a family, and that family is supposed to last until May 24. I did not think about graduation once during my winter term. I thought about the next assignment, the next test, the four exams I had. I did not even think about celebrating. I had NO IDEA. That was supposed to close the book. And it didn’t. That was supposed


about everything we missed out on. So that doesn’t help either. But Peddie’s been doing its best to keep us looking forward. As Johnny said, it’s really an inbetween stage. I don’t know whether to move on or to stay in the present. I just don’t really know. I’m here still. I’m still a student. But I’m not even gonna come back to campus. It’s tough. It’s definitely tough. Johnny: The funny thing is, we haven’t had a chance to talk about it. We haven’t even had a chance to express our feelings about leaving to each other. We just took an exam. That was the last time I saw anybody. I was leaving the dorm right after my math exam. I was half in tears because I thought I failed it, and my life was over. That was the last time I was at Peddie.

“When I learned that I wouldn’t be going back … I have this Peddie flag in my room that I literally, I kid you not, I just waved it around my house.” — Dennis Zhang ’20 to be the last chapter. And it wasn’t … So we’re in this in-between moment where we don’t know how to feel, and we don’t know what to do … We were supposed to finish our book together. And we can’t. So it’s just the hardest thing in the world. I don’t feel like this every second of the day. I only do in moments like these. Luke: It’s so here and there. Sometimes I’ll be in a completely different place. It’s tough. I mean, we have SO much time to think. We have SO much time to ourselves. Bateman: SO much time. Luke: That doesn’t help at all. If we were distracted by being on campus all the time or other activities, it would be a little bit different, but we’re not. We’re stuck in our rooms, staring at our ceilings, thinking

Dennis: When I learned that I wouldn’t be going back … I have this Peddie flag in my room that I literally, I kid you not, I just waved it around the house. My parents thought I was crazy. I think it is our obligation, the five of us. If it is a facade, we keep putting it on. Because if anybody should feel patriotic about our class, it should be us. Even if we’re not. We’ve had to have those really hard conversations. We’re deciding if we have ceremonies and who can come and if we’re willing to make that decision between not letting certain kids come because they already have obligations — college, jobs, international boundaries. We have those conversations, and they’re hard, but it’s also kind of what we signed up for. We never anticipated something like this, but I guess this is what leadership should be?


Luke: Definitely. You can spark conversations with any member of the Class of 2020, whether they’re members of the Peddie community or some other school around the world. We all share this trauma, which brings us closer together. When we’re 40 or 50 years old, I’ll be like, “Hey, Dennis, remember when we didn’t have graduation? But look at us now. We’ve moved on and adapted, and we’ve grown.” Julia: What’s interesting is it’s not just the Peddie Class of 2020. It’s the Class of 2020 across all high schools across the country, across the world. By going on social media and seeing other people’s posts about it, it’s so weird; it’s really starting to feel like a much bigger community than even Peddie. Bateman: We aren’t really getting closure. We’re gonna still keep on looking for it. I’ve had a ton of people reach out over social media. I’ve connected with people who I wasn’t even that close with on campus. We all have a common experience now. So even if we didn’t know each other super well or didn’t connect over the same things before, we are all going through this together, and so I think that we’ll be even more connected coming out of it, if that makes sense? Julia: I’ve been messaging some people that I didn’t really talk to on campus. But we’re having conversations about this shared experience. Editor: What message do you have for next year’s student leaders?

Julia: Oh, man. Bateman: We were just talking about this. Dennis: Cherish every day like it’s your last. Luke: Yeah, seriously. If they don’t enjoy their moments, then I’ll come back and enjoy it for them. Julia: Yeah, cuz we didn’t know at the time that we were having our last moments. Luke: If I come back to Peddie next year and I don’t see a smile on every single student’s face, then there’s gonna be a problem [laughing]. Bateman: I think that student government has more power than they realize. We’ve done a lot of things very independently that have been able to be something for our class and that the class has rallied around. And so I think they should realize that outside of trying to make policy changes or trying to argue your way into something in the Faculty-Student Senate, there’s a lot of community influence that you do have and that can be used in really good ways. Luke Marolda was accepted to Carnegie Mellon University. He was recruited to play soccer at CMU and plans to major in electrical and computer engineering. Julia Patella is spending a gap year studying theater, dance and voice in New York City. Bateman Solms will attend the University of St. Andrews this fall, where she plans to major in biology. Johnny Sussek was accepted to Boston College and will likely major in English. Dennis Zhang begins a pre-med track at Columbia University this fall.



Editor: Do you think that the Class of 2020 will have an even stronger bond now?

Five things 1

that Peddie teachers are doing remarkably well during the coronavirus lockdown

As COVID-19 began sweeping the globe in March, Peddie faculty cut their spring breaks short and threw themselves into the task of translating an engaging, rigorous Peddie education into an online setting. They met this challenge with eagerness and innovation, ready to support their students through unprecedented times. Here are five things that Peddie teachers did extraordinarily well during the coronavirus lockdown that lasted through the spring term.


Having lively discussions with their students Connected learning isn’t always intuitive, but Peddie faculty were eager to teach their students, no matter the medium. “I’m an old horse, obviously,” said David Martin, Ph.D., who’s been teaching Latin at Peddie since 1975. “I hadn’t paid much attention to online learning. Now, it’s like second nature.” It was important to Martin that his classes feel familiar and communal in a world turned upside down. To engage his students from afar, his usually translation-heavy classes took on a more conversational tone. He opened class in a way he never expected to: with storytime. “Storytime breaks the ice,” Martin said. His students began by talking about what they did over the weekend or showing off their pets or younger siblings for the camera. He also used connected learning technology to divide his classes into discussion groups. Students now had time to talk one-on-one and form bonds in the classroom. They put forward exciting discussion topics and projects, like detailed rundowns of the gods’ and the goddess’s motivations in “The Iliad” or intense debates about why Troy fell. “I’ve been teaching this material for forty years, and it’s just a different approach,” said Martin. “We’re enjoying discussions that we might not have had in a translation-driven classroom.”

Teaching art class It took a week for visual arts teacher Joyce Chen to start dressing up as painter Bob Ross. “The nature of my work is so physical,” she said. “I wanted to make the class fun by bringing in humor that was related to the lesson.” And like Ross, Chen has produced a number of engaging video art tutorials. Along with her colleagues in the visual arts, she also mailed art supplies to her students so they could follow along at home. Teaching art from afar is challenging. Feedback fuels Chen’s classes, and it took innovation to recreate that vibrant and collaborative space online. In the virtual classroom, students shared their work with Chen and each other, provided critique and compliments, and encouraged each other to stay creative.


“I can see the time they’ve invested in their projects,” said Chen. “I can tell when students are asking for feedback or are looking for a way to do something they enjoy that challenges them imaginatively. The effort still comes through, despite the distance.” Hosting guest speakers Dr. Kari Hart ’02 believes in showing her students the practical side of statistics. “I pick problems that have a lot of applications to them. I want students to see where they might apply those skills in real life and stay engaged, even though we’re further apart,” she said. In Hart’s connected learning classroom, that means regular check-ins, extra help sessions, short videos to explain complex concepts and guest speakers. After ten years of teaching statistics at the high school and college level, Hart has a wide circle of friends and colleagues changing the world with statistics. This term, Hart’s class received visits from a statistician specializing in oncology at Eli Lilly



Making music As a professional drummer and self-described “lifelong desk-tapper,” arts department chair Alan Michaels loves unconventional instruments. “The percussion section is often called ‘the kitchen,’” he explained, “because you’re responsible for figuring out how to make all sorts of different sounds, sometimes using things you’d find in your kitchen. Everything but the kitchen sink. Sometimes the kitchen sink, too.” Michaels released a video during the spring term that demonstrated how to make music with ordinary household objects. He then tasked his housebound Music Foundations students to create music of their own. “Their projects were fantastic,” said Michaels. “Because they weren’t together, they each came up with their own unique symphony of instruments. They blew me away.”


Giving individual attention to students It was vitally important to Peddie’s faculty that their students continue to receive individual attention from their teachers. Martin held extra office hours. Chen provided each of her students with detailed feedback on their pieces. Michaels gave individual lessons to his

orchestra and chorus members when they couldn’t play together as an ensemble. Hart made sure to check in with each of her students, one-on-one. “It’s not even about statistics,” she said. “I ask them how they’re doing. These students already have a dynamic. I’m just helping to maintain what they’ve built with one another. Taking those moments to focus on them as individuals as well as students of statistics is important.” “Students need face-to-face interaction,” said Roach, who dedicated himself to creating an online classroom that felt like home. “You need to get to know them. They need to get to know you. They need to see you. The more we can do that, the better.”

How do Peddie educators thrive in this new paradigm? In short, it’s a group effort. Peddie’s administration and technology team acted quickly to get things started and provide crucial ongoing support. Peddie teachers are adaptable and inventive and work together to create innovative learning environments. And Peddie students continue to love learning and have strong bonds with one another and with their teachers. The setting matters. But the community matters more. “Great teaching is great teaching,” said Roach. “Our faculty has had the opportunity to teach. Our students had the opportunity to go to great classes.”



and the executive director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. These online speakers provided a unique opportunity for statistics students to connect with and ask questions of professionals in the field. “It’s been eye-opening for me,” said Hart. “I’ll probably keep doing it next year.”

PSEG Chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo P’15 FACES ONE OF THE BIGGEST COVID-19 RELATED CHALLENGES THIS SUMMER After 13 years as chairman and CEO of New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), Ralph Izzo P’15 said he spent his spring honing his skills as a “junior weather forecaster.”

hotels, waiting to be called into action. It is a coordinated response system that allows utilities in all states to deploy resources where they are needed.

Izzo, who has led New Jersey’s largest electricity and natural gas provider during the COVID-19 global pandemic, said one of the biggest challenges to the utility infrastructure would arrive in summer: Storms. Big, windy, summer storms.

But this summer, in one of the hardest-hit states in the nation, PSEG has not been able to offer the same backup system, Izzo said. Hotel closures have impacted the ability to house and feed those on-call workers, and people’s willingness to travel to New Jersey has waned.

“That’s what we know is going to result in customers losing electricity,” Izzo said. As Izzo explained, every summer brings thunderstorms, which topple trees, which bring down wires. This summer, he said, PSEG’s ability to restore power quickly is greatly challenged by COVID-19.

Izzo is proud that his company has managed to keep its infection rate at about half of the statewide average, despite a large portion of its workforce deemed essential and working in the field, where working in teams is necessary and social distancing is impossible.

A major thunderstorm can typically cut power to 100,000 customers. “They’re used to getting back in a day, and now it might be four days,” he said. Utility companies like PSEG typically prepare for storms by bringing in colleagues from other states ahead of storms. Those employees are put up in

Photo provided by PSEG

continues to flow,” he said. “Despite my genuine and boundless respect for the front-line workers, they can’t do their jobs if they don’t have electricity coming to their hospitals.” In addition to adding meteorology to his job skills, Izzo said there is one more way COVID-19 has forced him to change how he views his job. As CEO, his presence at PSEG headquarters was deemed “non-essential.”

“… they can’t do their jobs if they don’t have electricity coming to their hospitals.” “Our practices are working,” he said. The right equipment was key. Face masks, face shields, plenty of gloves and “constant attention to hygiene.” PSEG also began staggering arrival times of crews that work in the field, and they have decentralized the equipment to reduce density at any site. Rapid reporting of symptoms and tracing of encounters are all part of the new employee protocols.

Like many across the country, Izzo has found working from home has its challenges. “My job is a 24/7 job. But there were peaks and valleys of those 24 by 7 that allowed me to have physical separation from work,” he said. “Now, the complete integration of work and home creates an emotional challenge. But I get on a bike, or I sit in the backyard and pretend everything is normal.”

“We are adjusting the way in which we do work to respect the threat of COVID-19 while making sure that the power continues to flow, and the gas

Until the wind picks up, and he retreats to his junior weatherman forecasting.



PSEG was well-prepared, Izzo said, having just completed a crisis management drill last fall that simulated a pandemic. “It was purely out of dumb luck,” he said, but it highlighted many of the preparedness needs that the company has relied on since March. PSEG was so prepared with supplies and a well-resourced supply chain that it was able to donate surplus masks and gloves to healthcare workers.


SUZY CALDWELL ’80 AND MEGAN HAND ’80 BECAME FRIENDS AS PEDDIE FRESHMEN AND STAYED IN TOUCH AFTER GRADUATION. NOW, DECADES LATER, THEY’VE BEGUN A KNITTING VENTURE CALLED THE FIBER BEES. The physical distance between them — Caldwell lives in Florida and Hand just outside Seattle — matters not a bit. As they speak, they stitch their story together, finishing each other’s sentences, easily erupting into laughter and poking fun at each other and themselves. “We have the kind of friendship where we can just pick up,” said Hand. “It’s very deep-rooted.”

The women enjoyed their long-distance knitting projects so much that they created an Instagram account, @thefiberbees. They’re slowly building a fun, practical and philanthropic partnership. “It’s not a formal business yet. Organically developing our audience is our main goal right now,” said Caldwell. Caldwell and Hand appreciate the holistic and connective benefits of knitting, especially now. “In this day and age, it’s like meditating,” said Hand. The pair recently came up with a plan to make the COVID-19 lockdown a little cozier: They began sharing knitting kits and lessons with their former Peddie classmates.

The Fiber Bees was conceived after an “Outlander”inspired trip to Scotland in October 2018. “I started watching (the show) because Suzy was watching it, and I got completely hooked,” said Hand. “And I had been doing knit-alongs with TV shows — this sounds so nerdy! — where you sign up, and every week, they release a new knitting clue. I found out that they were going to release an ‘Outlander’ Mystery Knit-Along. “And Suzy, who hadn’t knit in a couple of years, said, ‘I’m going to do it!’ And I thought, ‘Oh, good, I’ll have a knitting buddy!’” said Hand.

Suzy Caldwell ’80 and Megan Hand ’80 founded the knitting venture The Fiber Bees in 2018.


For example, “when we were knitting for Karen, we learned you can’t just knit with any old yarn,” said Caldwell. “You have to research what kind isn’t going to bother someone who’s going through chemo and radiology and all of that. We’d like to provide that resource. Or there are people who are looking for things to knit — like knitting for babies. There’s a lack of a spot for this. An information source.”

Next, the Fiber Bees seeks to make storage for knitters more efficient as well as beautiful.

“Most definitely!” said Caldwell. “It taught us a lot in terms of relying on your friends and collaborating, and that you can really accomplish what you put your mind to do.”

“Currently, people store their knitting stuff in a regular old notebook or a three-ring binder,” explained Caldwell. “They don’t look that great sitting on your shelf. We’re trying to develop more aesthetically pleasing things along those lines. Another piece is actually storing your yarn since most people are just storing their stuff in plastic bins. And we also have an app that we’re developing for keeping track of the yarn that you have.” Since the women enjoy travel, they plan to offer “luxury knitting travel — taking a group of knitters, going to another city and doing a yarn crawl,” said Caldwell. “We would organize where we would stay, a couple of dinners, maybe some special classes. We’d like to go on a couple of crawls a year. We’re trying to develop relationships with designers and independent yarn dyers.” The last stitch in their business plan, philanthropy, was inspired by close friend, Peddie classmate and breast cancer survivor Karen (Hall) Yingling ’80. “We decided that we wanted to support her. So Megan knit a shawl (for her), and I knit a cowl,” said Caldwell. From there, the women began brainstorming ways The Fiber Bees could aid the medically fragile and serve as a liaison for knitters looking for a useful project. “We want to become a resource for different charities,” said Hand. “There’s so much going on in the charity knitting business.”

Where did this drive to create and serve come from? Did Peddie help foster this work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit?

Caldwell credited Harry Holcombe’s public speaking class as a key influence in her approach to work: “You learned how to use a failure as a step towards success.” Hand agreed. “(At Peddie), we had people from all over the world. And I think that when you see things globally like that at a young age, and you’re accepting, it takes away some of the fear of going out and trying something new.” “I think to do what Megan and I are doing, you have to be willing to put yourself out there,” said Caldwell. “Even though we’re on completely opposite ends of the country, we have this creative connection that makes it so fun,” said Hand. “I’m constantly hitting the arrow to Suzy on Instagram: ‘Check this out! Check this out!’” “We work really well together,” said Caldwell. “It’s always fun, no matter what.”


Karen (Hall) Yingling ’80 wears a cowl and a shawl knit by The Fiber Bees.


“We sent kits to a few of our close friends — Michelle Bodin-Hettinger ’80, Michele Rosner Saunders ’80, Ellie Kuhlthau Molloy ’81, Maryjean Spatt Mucciarone ’80 — who had expressed interest in learning to knit, and we set up Zoom calls to get them started,” said Caldwell. “We had a ball. Megan posted about this on Insta and Facebook, and we heard from more classmates who wanted to join in (Beth Lichtman Liess ’80, Karen Hall Yingling ’80, Sue Faloona Carroll ’80 and Alene Bronfman Court ’80)! It’s a fun way to reconnect and learn a new skill.”

JACKIE RESES ’88 AND OTHER BUSINESS LEADERS ARE STEERING CALIFORNIA’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY Jacqueline D. Reses ’88 was tapped by California Governor Gavin Newsom to join a group of carefully chosen leaders to advise him on an overwhelming task: restoring a state economy shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Square, Reses oversees the team that works to expand access to funding for small businesses and is currently leading the charge to help guide small business owners through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Reses is Capital Lead of Square Inc. and Chairman of Square Financial Services, the fintech payments company based in San Francisco. Reses, a longstanding financial services veteran, joined Apple CEO Tim Cook, Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Bob Iger, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and others handselected by Newsom.

“We just announced a partnership with [Grammy Award-winning artist] Diddy to offer loans to underrepresented businesses across the country,” Reses said, referencing Our Fair Share, a platform launched by rapper and entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs that seeks to help minority-owned small businesses gain access to capital during the coronavirus pandemic.

With a pandemic-induced recession looming and with pressure mounting to reopen the state swiftly and efficiently, the Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery wasted no time springing into action. According to a press release from Newsom’s office, the role of the task force, whose first virtual meeting was on April 23, is to “craft ideas for short, medium, and long-term solutions that reflect communities across the state and emphasize a fair and equitable recovery.” Chaired by former presidential candidate Tom Steyer, the group is divided into issue-based subcategories and will regularly convene for the remainder of 2020 to brainstorm real-time updates that will lead to immediate change and reform.

While Reses has her hands full with a pivotal volunteer role and a demanding full-time job, she is happy to help. “I grew up helping my parents in their small retail business in New Jersey. If I can help translate the needs of small businesses to the environment today, I am happy to help,” she said.

“Bringing in leaders from all fields of economic and social activity and giving them a forum to communicate, debate and ensure that everyone is heard is a creative way to get diverse and divergent opinions represented,” said Reses. Reses’ background and knowledge of small business development lend significant expertise to the task force. Prior to Square, the Atlantic City native served as Yahoo’s chief development officer and has held seats on the boards of Alibaba Group and NPR. She currently serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council and was a member of Peddie’s Board of Trustees from 2010-2012.



In the face of COVID-19, that’s a chilling ratio. And it’s not one that can be solved by adding more machines. Even if there were enough ventilators for all Ghanian citizens in need, there would not be enough critical care staff to operate them. “For this nation’s developing healthcare system, our only line of defense is prevention,” warned Peddie Board of Trustees member Sangu Delle ’06. As CEO of West Africa-based private healthcare company Africa Health Holdings, Ltd. (AHH), Delle is focused on building Africa’s healthcare future. Delle knew that as COVID-19 began to spread globally, countries in Africa with developing healthcare systems would be at particular risk for devastation. “The data that’s emerging tells us that COVID-19 exacerbates and reproduces existing [socioeconomic] inequalities,” said Delle, who also sits on the global health advisory board at Harvard Medical School. “It hasn’t affected us all equally.” Before shortages and price-gouging took hold of the market, AHH purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) in bulk to protect their front-line medical workers. But Delle knew it wouldn’t be enough “to just focus on ourselves.”

Representatives from Africa Health Holdings and the Rabito Clinic donate more than 10,000 pieces of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to the Ghana Association of Doctors in Residence in April. (Photo provided by Sangu Delle ’06)

Under Delle’s leadership, AHH also distributed PPE to public hospitals in Africa. To date, the company has distributed 10,000 sets of PPE and other supplies, including N-95 masks, protective gowns, gloves and sanitizers to hospitals in Ghana, and a further 5,000 sets of PPE to hospitals in Nigeria. Their efforts inspired other local healthcare organizations to follow suit. Delle hopes that these medical resources will go a long way towards helping Ghana’s healthcare system maintain a line of defense against COVID-19. Still, he noted, some people found it strange that a private healthcare company would mobilize resources to support public hospitals. “If we don’t play our role in helping — if everyone doesn’t play their role in helping us prevent this — it’s going to be an absolute disaster.”



Line of defense

Photo provided by Johanna Hellrigl Wilder ’07


Bread bakers know that the longer dough is allowed to ferment, the more flavor it develops. It’s a promising metaphor for so much of the world under COVID-19 lockdown. And for those who are eager for a project as they wait out the pandemic, chef Johanna Hellrigl Wilder ’07 has been sharing portions of homemade sourdough bread starter (a fermented concoction of yeast, water and flour). The executive chef of the upcoming Mercy Me restaurant in Washington, D.C., has given away over 800 starters to friends and would-be bakers. She leaves her starter kits, containing instructions and a recipe, in sanitized containers in a cooler on her stoop for people to pick up. She has two goals in mind: philanthropy — in exchange for the starter, she asks that the lucky recipients support local restaurants or food initiatives — and self-care during this challenging time. “You have the time now to be able to watch a dough for two days, to not be in your thoughts and not be in that anxious space,” she said. “It literally takes a day and a half to make a loaf of bread, and you get a tangible result. There’s a result, where everything’s so uncertain. There’s something about being able to create, to eat the bread and share it. There’s comfort there.” The act of giving benefits Wilder as well; it’s a way for her “to relieve stress and get nourished.” “There’s this do-good and feel-good part of baking. It feels good to be able to create something from flour and water and see what comes out of that. Baking something to make me feel human again.” Wilder’s career has likewise developed and gained flavor, from her early days in her parents’ restaurant in New York City (“I grew up in the pastry section first”) to her work with Women’s Democracy Network (WDN), which connects women leaders around the world to share best practices and learn new skills. After graduating from The George Washington University, Wilder traveled all over the world with WDN “helping women run for office, getting women in the actual elections and political education forums, working with women who were elected to create a caucus,” she said. “The before, middle and after.” And in between for her, there was a powerful influence: Peddie.


“Peddie was such a wonderful education. I think I learned more at Peddie than I did at college,” she said. “That education supported me to become the best version of myself. Peddie made you feel big, and that’s so important.” Wilder’s Peddie experience set her up to welcome cultural diversity, and soon she came full-circle back to food and hospitality. “When I was working around the world, what really brought me joy was spending time with the women,” she said. “We made bread. It was more about the food, culture and conversation. Because of Peddie, I was culturally empathic and aware of their individual differences.” When she became a chef, that empathy “helped me bridge the gap and helped me connect with my customers. I’ve always been on the floor. I’m still doing that.” Until the world regains its footing, Wilder is relishing her present starter project. “People all over the world are writing to me,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed by the response and by how many people are wanting to bake bread. I try to answer as many questions as I can for people. It’s my way of still being able to have those human connections.”


Chef Johanna Hellrigl Wilder ’07 has given away hundreds of sourdough bread starter kits since the COVID-19 lockdown


Photo provided by UPenn Health System

Philadelphia has birthed many firsts, including the UPenn Health System – founded as the nation’s first hospital (Pennsylvania Hospital) in 1751 and creator of the nation’s first medical school in 1765. Today, the internationally recognized UPenn Health System stands among the top hospital systems in the country and No. 1 in Pennsylvania.

system that have stood out as driving our positive results – humanity, technology and innovation,” said Sullivan. “It’s what guides us as we seek to improve outcomes for our patients.” The combination of all three is something that Sullivan has seen at its finest most recently, noting that a lot of trial and error, discovery and sharing have been part of the process.

Dr. Patricia Sullivan, proud parent of Elizabeth Sullivan ’17 and current Peddie board member, serves as the health system’s chief quality officer. She is among the many supporting front-line workers during the pandemic – the men and women who provide quality medical care to patients, including those afflicted by COVID-19.

“One great example is how our doctors, learning from their colleagues in Italy, were able to create a ‘football helmet’ type device that delivers a high concentration of oxygen and reduces the need for intubation. This is just one of many examples of innovation recently coming out of our health system.”

“In my role, I work with our doctors, nurses and other support staff to improve outcomes for patient care and services,” said Sullivan. “Identifying and addressing issues before they become problems plays a big role in achieving this.” Sullivan credited her constant focus on her priorities – to collaboratively devise strategies that lead to better results, enable sharing best practices within and outside the system, and reduce unnecessary variation – as critical for providing exceptional quality during these challenging times. “While working during this pandemic, I have been struck by three major aspects within our health

The “new” patient experience is playing out across the world. Family members stand outside hospital rooms holding well-wishing posters for their loved ones because they are not allowed inside. Nurses and doctors sing to patients in critical care and cheer and clap when a patient is released. And in heart-wrenching scenes, doctors and nurses plead for protective materials and witness patients who died taken out of the hospital in caravans of body bags. “The patient experience has been incredibly challenging and lonely without friends and families by their bedside,” said Sullivan. “Our doctors and nurses are very sensitive to this, as they see and know the impact this isolation can have. They, too, have


A visit to the UPenn Health System website leads with words that guide those on the front line – and the people supporting them – “Never stop believing you can be the difference.”

knows the change will be significant and acknowledged that the future calls for greater flexibility.

“We call our staff ‘the difference makers,’” said Sullivan. “They are the ones curing and caring for patients in special and innovative ways. It also speaks to our commitment to taking care of

Sullivan recognized that her daughter, Patricia Sullivan P’17 Elizabeth, studying neuroscience and psychology at Wellesley College, will be a part of the future of healthcare. “Libbey is focused and passionate about her career interest,”

each other.” Through an internal portal, the Penn Medicine community can share photos, good wishes and inspirational letters from patients, families and colleagues. They can also access mental health resources if they are feeling stressed.

said Sullivan. “Part of that I attribute to her time at Peddie, where everyone – especially the teachers – does an excellent job of helping students find their passions and identifying the resources needed to pursue those passions.”

As hospitals open for elective procedures, safety concerns remain paramount. “We need to be sure that we have enough testing capabilities and PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff and patients and see how we can lighten up on our visitation policy to help patients be more comfortable. It is a delicate balance,” said Sullivan.

“The way we give and receive health care in the future will be different,” Sullivan observed. “Our increased reliance on technology will play a large role in shaping what that will look like. My advice to students at Peddie is to make the most of the knowledge and resourcefulness that your Peddie experience will provide. It is foundational to successfully pursue whatever career path you choose in the years to come.”

“The way we give and receive health care in the future will be different.”

Sullivan said it’s too early to tell how much the pandemic will change the medical industry. But she



experienced this as they isolate from their family to minimize possible exposure. We could not have imagined such widespread isolation and the impacts it would have.”

seeds of change In the wake of COVID-19, Peddie alumni are adjusting to a vastly changing agricultural industry

FOOD IS AT THE CORE OF SO MANY ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES — HEALTH, CULTURE, FAMILY, COMMUNITY. When the COVID-19 crisis turned our relationship with food upside down — affecting everything from how it’s grown to how we get it safely to our tables — it was one of the most important and universal effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 changed the way we think about food. Its impact on the industry is a story of challenge, adversity, adaptation and some sobering thoughts about where the industry goes.

supplied down the shore were either closed or doing a small fraction of their regular business. “There’s a feeling of apprehension and anxiety about the uncertainty this situation brings — given that we have to change what we’re doing to adapt, which has proven to be very difficult,” said Siciliano. Everything had to change, from social distancing in the fields to new guidelines with customers at the farmers’ markets. A key new rule at the height of the pandemic: Don’t touch the merchandise. People weren’t permitted to handle the vegetables they were considering. Anything they touched, they had to buy.

Several former Peddie students work in the heart of this industry, and they have had to react to a vastly changing market in the span of just a few crucial months.

Fields of change For Gabriel Siciliano ’10, food is everything. He runs Abe’s Acres Farm in Hightstown, N.J., a farm dedicated to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), handling both the business end and the fieldwork. In season, he sees 14-hour days of hands-on work planting, tending and growing organic crops of tomatoes, radishes, beets, spinach, carrots and other vegetables. The changes brought by COVID-19 were stark and swift for Siciliano. At farmers’ market locations, he saw foot traffic dwindle from around 300 customers on a typical day to about 125. Restaurants that he

Gabriel Siciliano ’10 displays veggies from Abe’s Acres Farm at the Yardley Farmers Market in Bucks County, Pa. in May.


“There’s a lot to worry about, yet there’s so much more interest in folks seeking food from local sources that we might be all right.” Siciliano put up his first-ever online store in May, providing curbside pick-up and, after working out a business model to support it, a delivery service within 15 miles. All new developments, all up and running in a manner of just weeks. “Overall, I think that this crisis is going to be, in the long run, a big boon for small farms,” Siciliano said. “There’s a sense of, not excitement, but opportunity here. Opportunity to cement the foundational nature of small-scale farming for local communities, to grow the business and make a difference in peoples’ lives.” While challenges still lie ahead, Siciliano believes they are surmountable and even opportunities for greater community impact. He said that even if sales are down this year, “we’re going to continue operating the farm and just donate to food pantries because food pantries have seen a massive uptick in food-insecure folks who need fresh produce.”

Agronomics As the leader of a business that invests in developing production facilities and supply chains for agriculture, Ben Zaitz ’73, chairman of B. Zaitz & Sons, saw COVID-19 shift the balance of his industry in dramatic ways. For example, as the COVID-19 virus spread, people switched almost exclusively to eating at home, and suddenly fresh potatoes were in high demand. Stores quickly sold out. His growers “couldn’t dig potatoes fast enough,” Zaitz said. “The market was paying a premium for them.” But there was a flip side to this coin. Another arm of the industry is processors, who distribute potatoes for other uses. Their experience was different. “The guys who grow potatoes for French fries — they had no place to go with their potatoes,” Zaitz said.

Ben Zaitz ’73 said that potatoes have been in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic (photo provided by Ben Zaitz ’73).

“You never eat French fries at home.” The impact also spurred some creative thinking. When the pandemic struck, Zaitz was in the middle of a major expansion of a potato facility in Arizona and encountered the problem of having no place to house some of his workers. COVID-19 made hotel stays unfeasible. Solution? Zaitz’s team found a portable dormitory designed for a Canadian oil field rig — complete with three bedrooms and three bathrooms — and had it shipped to the Arizona site. In the end, Zaitz believes large-scale food processing will continue to evolve — with the addition of more robotics, for example — but not change fundamentally. With processing plants already in place and costing $200 - $300 million each, it’s not easy to change course or switch to a new model. He called COVID-19 a “disaster,” resulting in layoffs throughout his industry, operations standing idle, and new facilities falling through because of investor worries. But he is sure the industry will come back. “People are still going to eat beef, eat potatoes and drink milk,” he said.



But COVID-19 spurred other changes that sent Siciliano’s business in new directions. People were suddenly more interested in where their food came from — and more willing to buy local, even at a higher price. He said he’s experienced a nearly 300% increase in inquiries from people curious about CSAs.

The nourishment of school

affects a lot of people in many different ways,” Klein said.

Hayley Klein ’10 serves as program manager for FoodCorps NJ, which is associated with AmeriCorps and has the goal of connecting kids to healthy food in schools throughout the state — especially in places where a high percentage of students depend on the National School Lunch Program. For her organization, COVID-19 presented major challenges. Namely, with schools closed, how would her team get food to the many children (and, in some cases, their families) that depend on the lunch program for much of their daily nutrition? “School food services had to figure out — within just a couple days — a plan as to how they were going to distribute meals to all of these families throughout some pretty big school districts,” Klein said. Many in the FoodCorps NJ program and the schools quickly adopted a “whatever it takes” mentality, joining essential workers and those on the front lines to keep the supply of food moving. For example, a school in Camden worked fast to upgrade their status to a food pantry so they could receive food donations and distribute more food to more people. “People are stepping up to the plate, realizing people need food, so let’s get the food to them,” Klein said. She said the situation has made people see the value of schools beyond education. Before, it may have been taken for granted that schools provide vital food access and quality “child care” that enables parents to work and support their families. That is no longer the case. “Schools are beautiful, thriving communities — ecosystems. You take that out of the larger picture, and it

Klein is encouraged by the reaction she has seen — from food donations from farmers to policy-level changes like the USDA, making it easier for schools to distribute meals during the pandemic. All essential and necessary changes, according to Klein. Working for an organization that tackles inequity in access to proper nutrition, Klein hopes some of these changes become permanent and spark further discussions and actions. “My biggest worry is that we go back to exactly how it was,” Klein said. “Because how it was ... was not normal for a lot of people and shouldn’t be considered normal. It was a broken system, and we can do a lot better.”

Beginning anew Maybe it’s a coincidence that Siciliano, Zaitz and Klein all spent their formative years in a community that has a farmer as its emblem and the motto “We finish our labors to begin them anew.” Each credits Peddie’s focus on community and citizenship as key primers for the paths they’ve taken since their time on campus. They all believe that something good will come from the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to one of the most basic elements of our society — food. As Klein shared, “This pandemic has shed light on our entire food system, on how it’s not really set up to feed people and nourish people in the way that I think our bodies are intended to be nourished. It’s also shedding light on who has access to food and to what food. I think that there is an opportunity to think about what’s working and what’s not working — and to be able to make a change.”


Mollie’s father, Tim Somers, owns Dune Donuts in Spring Lake, N.J. He opened the shop in April 2019 after retiring from a career as a firefighter. This past March, as many businesses shuttered their doors, a local relief fund approached Tim to ask if he would be interested in supplying provisions for hospitals in the area. Tim didn’t hesitate. “My dad was a firefighter for thirty years, and a lot of his friends are first responders,” said Mollie. “He was already thinking of ways he could help, so when a couple of people in town approached him, he was ready to jump.” Dune Donuts went from handling a few customers at a time to suddenly having huge orders to fill. “He had to restructure his business model,” said Mollie. That’s where Mollie and her family came to the rescue. While Tim is the donut maestro, Mollie and her brother, Trevor, often operate the grill making sandwiches. She and her sister, Maddie, also have a lot of fun decorating the donuts.

Photos provid

ed by Mollie So

mers ’15

The Spring Lake community is a strong supporter of Dune Donuts, continuing to purchase curbside and even donating money for the medical community. “We collected $450 in one week,” said Mollie proudly. All the donations were sent to Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Tim is grateful for the strong bond he has with residents. “We are thankful that our customers have stuck with us as we navigate through the pandemic,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier to serve the community who supports us.” The pride and emotion in Mollie’s voice were unmistakable as she spoke about her family. “I’m very proud of my parents. They’re incredible. They’ve given me so many opportunities from Peddie and going into college.” “This is a time that I think can be really isolating, and it’s powerful for me to watch my parents step up and help other people when they themselves are going through this pandemic just like everyone else,” Mollie said. “They’re able to step up and show this kind of humanity that I would hope everyone would have right now. They’ve set such a really good example for me, showing me how we should be looking out for one another.”







Headmaster Roger Swetland and the trustees were persuaded to change the school’s admission policy, and Peddie became an all-boys school.

It was a severe admonishment for Peddie’s new coeds, whose arrival just weeks earlier caused excitement and anxiety, and some outrage on campus.

By the late 1960s, amid a time of evolving social norms and increasing economic pressure due to declining enrollment, a trend toward coeducation was emerging. Following Yale University’s lead, nearby Princeton University began to enroll women for the 1969-70 academic year. After a nearly twoyear discussion by the board, and extensive input from alumni, parents and faculty, Peddie’s trustees voted in June 1970 to accept female students for the fall term. Twenty-one young women joined the student body in September. The school’s first female African-American student would enroll at Peddie the following year.

Several female students, including Deborah TifftTufts ’72, were daughters of faculty, all of them men. “The bottom line was the powers that be could wield a mighty stick,” said Tifft-Tufts, whose father, Bob Tifft, taught at Peddie from 1937-1980. Tifft-Tufts said faculty warned female students about the perils of being caught with a boy at the squash courts, and what that might do to their reputations.

The arrival of female students at Peddie, at first only as day students and then as boarders three years later, happened amid a sea of social change. The Vietnam War was in full swing, and women, African Americans and other marginalized people continued their fight for equality. A generation of youngsters was rapidly transforming, and that included thinking more about the roles and expectations of women.

“Oh yeah, I remember the girls saying they were told to cool the romances with the boys,” recalled Billy Almond ’71. “I mean, we were teenagers, and stuff is going to happen. And it did happen.”

Just months earlier, on April 9, 1970, dozens of students seized Longstreet Hall to protest what they saw as a range of unacceptable administrative practices. The students locked the administration out of Longstreet, the school’s canteen at the time. They made their demands: a new school constitution, a joint student-faculty disciplinary committee and dress code reform.

A STERN WARNING FOLLOWED. “After all of the boys left, we were told that we needed to exhibit better behavior,” remembered Linda Ward ’74. “We should not be holding hands with or kissing boys. And we should not use curse words.”

“I never used a curse word until I left that meeting,” said Ward, still bemused by the events of that day. “They didn’t tell the boys any of this, but the girls were singled out.”

A SEA OF SOCIAL CHANGE Peddie has changed its gender composition three times throughout its 156-year history. Founded first as an all-girls school in 1864 (a distinction that lasted less than a year), by 1890, the school was thriving as a coeducational institution. But by 1907, as coed boarding schools were going out of fashion,

Headmaster Albert Kerr believed that the Longstreet takeover was a significant impetus for the board of trustees’ vote that June. “The more I have reflected on the matter, the more certain I am that this new direction for Peddie is both right and inevitable,” Kerr declared in his Headmaster’s letter that fall. Peddie’s coeds of the early 1970s braved their new world with curiosity and determination. Fifty years

Opposite: The Peddie Drama Club rehearses for the December 1970 production of “Guys and Dolls.”


later, these pioneer women recalled difficult, sometimes isolating, but also illuminating experiences as the Peddie community set out to acclimatize to the presence of female students. They Linda Ward ’74 also emphasized their enduring gratitude for an education that prepared them for college and beyond. And they paved the way for thousands of proud Peddie women who followed.

ACCEPTED Linda Ward ’74 learned of her acceptance to Peddie from the local news. “Here’s how I found out I was accepted,” Ward laughed. “I got a phone call from the Trenton Times, asking me, ‘What does it feel like to be one of the first girls accepted to Peddie?’” After Peddie, Ward earned a degree in computer science and worked in telecommunications until her children were in middle school. “I was working 60 hours a week, and I thought, ‘This is ridiculous!’ I don’t even know who my family is.” Ward sticks to a more Zen-like lifestyle these days, enjoying her work as a master gardener. Because the official decision to enroll women for the 1970-71 academic year did not happen until June, many coeds were forced to change high schools abruptly. For some, this presented a vexing situation. Several daughters of faculty, including Deborah TifftTufts ’72, Heidi Hutchison ’71 and Jan Petrino ’71, whose father, Marvin Franklin, was the director of admissions, had assumed they would be returning to Hightstown High School in the fall. However, following the trustees’ vote in June, their parents decided to enroll them at Peddie. “They made the decision a few weeks before I was to start my senior

year at HHS,” said Hutchison. “I wasn’t happy about the fact that I would be going to Peddie rather than HHS. All of my friends were there whom I had known since elementary school. So I was disappointed.” “I was very involved in the instrumental music program at Hightstown High School, and Peddie had, well, nothing,” said Tifft-Tufts. Kathryn Runge Wood ’74 was one of the few freshmen to enroll at Peddie that fall. “My mother did not like the public school district that we were going to attend, so she sat me and my sister [Judy Runge Scharite ’75] down at dinner time and told us we would be going for an interview at The Peddie School. We had no idea what this school was all about.” Susan Armenti ’73 remembered everything happening very quickly. It was already mid-August when the Petrino family mentioned to Armenti’s parents that Peddie was going coed and that they should consider sending their daughter there. Armenti, who has worked in the publishing, entertainment and real estate industries, recalled, “Within a week, I went on a tour, took the test, got a scholarship in place and was admitted.” Armenti wound up commuting with the Petrinos’ son, Tom ’71 (future spouse of Jan Franklin Petrino ’71). “As Peddie was 20 miles from my home, and there was no bus, they graciously volunteered their son to drive me to school every day. I am sure he was thrilled,” she said wryly. Hutchison’s father, faculty member Henry Keller, waited a long time to enroll his daughter at Peddie. “My dad brought up the idea of becoming coed to the


Heidi Hutchison ’71


board for years,” said Hutchison, who, like her father, pursued a career in education. She currently works for the University of New Hampshire as a graduate student supervisor. “He felt strongly about it, as I’m sure other faculty members did,” said Hutchison.

ATTITUDES “Some of the masters had not taught girls before, and it was with some trepidation that they looked forward to their first classes of the year. Would girls respond to the same type of teaching that they had found effective with the boys? Would they be nervous or shy about being so outnumbered in the classroom? Would they be as free with their questions and classroom participation as the boys have always been? Much remained to be determined as to whether the curriculum itself should be adjusted to meet the needs of girls in the hitherto all-male environment. (All-male, at any rate, since 1908, when the last coeds were seen on the Peddie campus).” Dora Jean Witner, Girls’ Dean (Peddie Chronicle, Spring 1971) Integrating women into Peddie required some adjustment on the part of the existing school community. There were a few students and faculty who, reportedly, felt that Peddie would be irreparably damaged by admitting women. While coeds generally felt welcome on campus, many also felt intimidated, especially in the classroom where they were, more often than not, the lone female in the class. Susan Armenti ’73 was the only girl in her sophomore algebra class, and the first female student Lloyd Ogden ever taught. “He had a board that he would use when a question came up prematurely. He would draw a bag on that board and say, ‘We’ll put that in the bag for later.’” During a unit on circles, Mr. Ogden drew a circumscribed circle on the board and asked his students if they

could identify the shape. “When he called on me, I said it was a ‘circumcised circle,’” Armenti remembered. “Of course, all Susan Armenti ’73 the boys started to laugh. I had no idea what I had said. Mr. Ogden, a bit flustered, said, ‘I think we’ll put that in the bag for later.’” Linda Ward ’74 was a shy student and the only female in Harry Holcombe’s speech class. “That was really not good for me. I cut class and went to the nurse’s office more often than not,” she confessed. Ward said that most of her teachers were generally accepting of the new coeds. “But,” she added, “you could tell there were one or two who weren’t quite happy that we were there.” “For the most part, the majority of the faculty and student body were supportive of Peddie’s return to coeducation,” opined Roberta Rand Marshall ’74, whose father was math teacher Oscar Rand ’40. Marshall has over 30 years of experience managing complex real estate and conservation projects in the western United States. Marshall added, “There was one faculty member, who will remain nameless, vocally opposed to coeducation. However, I believe he adjusted once the board made the decision.” Like Ward, Lee Williams ’73 was a quiet student and spent a lot of time in the library. “I was so aware of being one of just a few girls and felt sorry for the boys for our disruptive


Lee Williams ’73

Jan Petrino ’71

presence,” said Williams, who came to Peddie in the fall of 1972. “It was difficult to be natural,” she admitted. “I felt the boys were used to the all-boys boarding school situation, and the presence of us girls disrupted it and made everyone unsure of how to behave.”

Williams, a freelance writer, moved to New York City in the summer of 1979 and never left. She kept some of her history books and writing assignments from her Peddie days, and still holds an affinity for her alma mater. She lauded, “Peddie was just terrific. The teachers were amazing.” Some coeds were especially grateful for the unique educational opportunities at Peddie. “I was focused on the great education that was being offered to me,” said Jan Petrino ’71, who teaches French in Altamonte Springs, Fla. “The real challenge was academic, not social.” “Some of the classes I took there were the most thought-provoking and interesting of any I have taken,” praised Heidi Hutchison ’71. Ward also singled out Peddie’s curriculum. “I took organic chemistry at Peddie,” she said. “That’s not a thing that happened at most schools back then. My first year at Bucknell, I skated. Peddie prepared me absolutely.” Deborah Tifft-Tufts ’72 was impressed by the welcoming atmosphere on campus, remembering only “a few students and a teacher or two who were less than thrilled” about coeducation. Tifft-Tufts grew up on Peddie’s campus as her father had been teaching at the school for several decades. “It was like a country club for me,” she said.

On occasion, Tifft-Tufts and her daughters, Christine ’06 and Lara ’07, compare their Peddie experiences. “The other girls and I of the early seventies were an experiment,” she surmised. “We were treated somewhat differently, but not demeaningly. My daughters’ years reflected a more real-life situation if attending an exclusive school can be considered real.” Tifft-Tufts, Peddie’s first female winner of the Wyckoff Prize, the school’s highest honor, attended Wellesley College. “I went from a male-dominated school to a women’s college. Go figure,” she said.

THE BOYS Linda Stout Hartmann ’72 met her husband, Bob Hartmann ’71, long before she attended Peddie. Linda stocked shelves at the pharmacy where her father worked, and Bob would often see her when he was picking up his allergy prescription. The pair became good friends at Peddie but did not date until after Linda graduated. They were married in Hightstown in December 1975. “I owe my life of happiness to Peddie transitioning to coed,” Bob beamed. Both Linda and Bob initially found Peddie’s transition to coeducation challenging. Linda: “Many boys looked down on us because they felt that we had invaded their private world. Many of the teachers were uncomfortable with having girls in their male-dominated classes.” “I felt the addition of females to our classes would change the overall experience for the worse,” admitted Bob. “The classrooms were an area we could discuss anything with the teachers, and adding girls changed that forever.” Billy Almond ’71, now a landscape architect in Virginia Beach, agreed: “Yeah, it changed the behavior and what went on in the classroom. I know



that sounds terrible, but it did. … Stuff couldn’t be said, and things didn’t get talked about that normally got talked about.” Jeff Mohr ’74 reflected on what he saw as a “tough first few years.” “To tell you the truth, I did not want the girls, and when it happened, it changed the whole atmosphere of the campus,” he divulged. “Mainly, the guys started to act differently, care about how they dressed and acted at sporting events. They had to act cool around the girls.” Mohr, a recipient of the Walter H. Annenberg Award, was captain of the football, hockey and lacrosse teams at Peddie, and is currently director of athletic operations for a private school in Delaware. Mohr acknowledged the difficulty women at Peddie faced. “There were only a few of them and hundreds of us, so it put a lot of pressure on them. As time went on and more and more girls came, it smoothed out,” he said. With the reintroduction of women to Peddie, Mark Greenberg ’71 felt the school was being pulled in a more progressive direction. “It was as if modernity

had descended upon us all at once,” he mused. “I looked forward to the introduction of women into the student body. When I arrived as a boarding sophomore, the school was a thoroughly male bastion. So the idea that some unknown number of day girls would be joining our group and attending classes with us was a welcome development,” said Greenberg, a seasoned marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. Greenberg recalled a controversy involving the student body president, Dave Hunt ’71. As reported in the Peddie Chronicle (Winter 1971), Hunt used his position to convey that girls should not be allowed in the Gold Key Society. Two female students were among those nominated. “My best bud, the late Dave Hunt [Hunt died in 2018], was perhaps the most visible figure opposing coeducation,” Greenberg said. “But in reality, his opposition was mostly posturing. I think he enjoyed the notoriety of standing in opposition, but when push came to shove, he was as chummy and warm with the girls as any of us were,” he said.

ACTIVITIES AND AMENITIES “For the first time in the history of the Peddie School, girls are playing lacrosse. Most of the girls are beginners and eager to learn and display their talents, from cradling to passing. Girls’ lacrosse isn’t as rough as boys’, though they are finding it challenging.” (The Peddie News, April 1975) As a previously all-boys school, Peddie’s facilities in 1970 were designed with only male students in mind.

Deborah Tifft-Tufts ’72 receives the Wyckoff Prize from Headmaster Albert Kerr in May 1971.

While the basement of Memorial Hall (now Annenberg Hall) was offered as a lounge for the new female students, Linda Ward ’74 recalled being presented with some of the first mild indignities of being a woman at Peddie. “The bathroom still had urinals in it, and it had to be covered up,” reported Ward.


Debbie Monahan (top left) and Deb Creeden (top right) coached Peddie’s first varsity field hockey team in 1973.

Initially, female students dined separately from the rest of the student body. “They had us eat lunch in the faculty dining room,” said Susan Armenti ’73. “I suppose they were afraid of putting us with the general population.” Athletic facilities posed a particular problem. School administrators scrambled to make accommodations, eventually converting part of the visitors’ locker room in the new athletic center into space for Peddie’s female students. “It had crummy lockers, and was not as nice,” said Ward. It took a couple of years to enroll enough female athletes to field girls’ teams. “Initially, there were no sports teams for women,” said Roberta Marshall ’74, who remembered being “confined to doing calisthenics in the basement of Masters House.” “Occasionally, we were allowed in the Sprout Pool, but only when the boys’ swim team did not need the pool,” she said. Things began to change in the spring of 1973 when Headmaster Kerr tapped Deb Creeden and Debbie Monahan to launch a women’s athletic program by the start of the following academic year.

Monahan and Creeden both competed in college athletics at the University of Pennsylvania. The pair played field hockey, and Creeden also played tennis. “We were excited to work together on a project we both fully supported,” Creeden said. Her husband, Bill, and Monahan’s husband, Bob, were teachers and coached at Peddie. In its inaugural year, women’s athletics consisted of an intramural program and two varsity teams: field hockey and tennis. “We had more than enough players to field a varsity field hockey team,” recalled Creeden. “I remember some of the girls came with us to the store in Trenton to pick out the first uniforms. What a fun experience that was.” After a full day of teaching at local schools, Creeden and Monahan ran Peddie’s intramural program and coached the varsity teams. Creeden remembered the enthusiasm surrounding the first coed Blair Day that fall. “We were all excited about starting this new tradition,” she said. Deb and Bill, now retired and living in Tucson, Ariz., both had successful careers in education. “My husband became a headmaster, and I was a career teacher,” said Creeden. The support they received at Peddie was instrumental for them.



“I felt fully supported by all faculty members,” she remembered fondly. “We showed up for each other’s teams and enjoyed each other’s successes, whether on the field, in the classroom or on the stage. The athletic director, Bill Thompson, was a great help to us.”

NO LONGER “THEM,” BUT “US” “The Peddie Girls have contributed much to our academic year. Several of them took part in the musical production, Guys and Dolls, presented by the Drama Club during the winter, and three of the girls are now in rehearsal for the spring play. They organized two cheerleading squads – one for the football season and one for the basketball season. Two of the girls have been regular contributors to the Peddie News, and two of them are on the yearbook staff. The Ski Club and the Bowling Club have attracted a number of the coeds, and two of the juniors are enthusiastic

members of the Outing Club. Our latest marking period shows three girls on the First Honors list Girls’ Dean Dora Jean Witner and two girls on the Second Honors list, so you can see that their adjustment to us has been effortless, as has ours to them. In fact, we no longer think of the girls as ‘them’; they are now, to Peddie people, ‘us.’” Dora Jean Witner, Girls’ Dean (Peddie Chronicle, Spring 1971) Despite lingering inequalities around campus, the change to coeducation generally went well, and in February 1973, the school’s trustees voted to accept female boarding students that fall.

Peddie’s first coeds study in the student lounge.


In a letter to alumni (The Peddie News, February 1973), Headmaster Kerr praised the “excellent experience with our Kathryn Runge Wood ’74 present-day girls.” He emphasized that Peddie would be increasing total enrollment “since we do not plan to cut back on the number of boys we accept.” That year Peddie hired its first female faculty members since before 1900, adding a Spanish teacher and an art teacher. The school always had female secretaries, nurses, librarians and housemothers, but was slow to hire women faculty. Today women are an integral part of the Peddie community, as students, athletes, artists and school The Class of 1974 cum laude honorees gather for a photo.

leaders. Fifty percent of Peddie’s teaching staff is female, as is about half of the administration. There has also been one female head of school in Peddie history: Anne Seltzer P’88 served as the interim head of school for one year following the death of Headmaster Ed Potter in 1988. “I am proud to have been one of the first women at Peddie,” said Kathryn Runge Wood ’74. “It was an experience that very few females had, and although at times it had its ups and downs, overall it was something I will always look fondly upon.” “My time at Peddie was such a life-molding time,” said Susan Armenti ’73. “It made me think anything was possible. We made Peddie better. That I know for sure.” “I thought it was kinda cool,” said Linda Ward ’74, chuckling. “And I still think it’s kinda cool.”



Andrea Patella ’17 and Julia Patella ’20 are the first sisters to be elected student body co-president during their respective senior years, a fact that they are still in the process of embracing as a significant achievement in the story of 50 years of women at Peddie. “I didn’t really think about it in terms of the school’s long history, but as something that was just really cool for us,” said Andrea.

The sisters acknowledged that while the coeds of the early 1970s paved the way for thousands of female students who followed, there is still a long road ahead for women and minority groups at Peddie. Andrea pointed out that Peddie had done a good job of ensuring diverse student leadership, citing former co-president Uzo Achebe ’16 as one of her female role models. But she also urged that “Peddie needs to prioritize all sorts of diversity in their leadership positions, not just for students.”

From left: Andrea Patella ’17 and Julia Patella ’20 are the first sisters to both be elected as student body president during their respective senior years at Peddie.

“Peddie needs to prioritize all sorts of diversity in their leadership positions.” A rising senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, a women’s college, Andrea said she is grateful to be “surrounded by female leadership and inspiration.” “Both at Peddie and now at college, I realize the importance of female-focused leadership,” she said, adding that she hopes for a female headmaster — and a female headmaster of color — in Peddie’s near future. Julia recommended additional changes to Peddie’s “heteronormative policies.” Just a couple of months ago, she and other student leaders successfully advocated for a change to school election procedures through the position on the Faculty-Student Senate. Rather than vote for a male and female co-president, students now elect two senior co-presidents, regardless of gender identity. In the first election this spring under the new format, one female and one male president were elected.

She called the change “necessary because we have students who are gender non-conforming and this allows them to see themselves in positions of leadership. It’s also more inclusive of trans students who perhaps aren’t out yet.” The sisters agreed that it’s Peddie’s strengths, namely the school’s strong sense of community and an innate desire for self-improvement, that will continue to bring about positive change. “The community of Peddie is amazing,” said Andrea. “Years out from my graduation, I still feel like I have such a tight-knit community of friends and faculty members who really did change my life.” “Peddie always wants to improve,” said Julia. “That’s something I observed early on in the Faculty-Student Senate — a group of students and faculty who want to see the community improve in every way.”


This year’s Peddie Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was to be held during Reunion Weekend, was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. We look forward to honoring Chris Atkiss ’60, Therese Delahunty ’85, Courtney Wood ’95, the 1995 Boys’ and Girls’ Swim Teams and the 2010 Girls’ Basketball Team at next year’s induction ceremony. Until then, we invite you to read about their exceptional athletic feats, which have inspired others to their own levels of excellence.

Sports Hall of Fame researchers and writers: Doug Mariboe '69 P'10 '14, Barbara Grudt and Dick Joslin '60


1995 GIRLS’ AND BOYS’ SWIM TEAMS The 1994-95 boys’ and girls’ swimming teams not only beat the powerhouse Bolles School in all six relays (200-yard medley, 200 free, 400 free), but swept all other schools in an unprecedented accomplishment in the annals of Swimming World Magazine Mythical Championships. Both teams claimed first place in the Annual ACCUSPLIT High School Relay competition. No team before or since has won all six relays. Swimming World collects the fastest times in each event and scores them accordingly. The relay triple proved to be decisive in the race for the boys’ combined (public and independent) national high school title where Peddie edged Bolles 132 to 126. Despite the Falcon girls’ sensational relay trifecta that included the fastest times ever in the medley (143.90) and 200 free (1:34.63), the Bolles girls had enough individual firepower to take the combined national title. The boys’ mythical outcome came down to the 400 freestyle relay swum at Eastern Interscholastic Swimming and Diving. Alex Kurmakov ’95 sprinted to the front with a fast 45.09 first leg. Jon Maslow ’96 (46.01), Spencer Hawkins ’96 (46.52) and Bret Awbrey ’96 (46.10) held the lead for a 3:03.81 victory, edging Bolles, who clocked a 3:04.66. Kurmakov also paced the Falcons’ relay wins in the 200 medley (1:32.85: Greg Wriede ’95, Nick Kaschik ’96, Kurmakov) and 200 free (1:23.87: Kurmakov, Maslow, Kaschik, Bret Awbrey ’96) with a 19.84 anchor and 20.69 leadoff, respectively. Peddie crushed the competition at Easterns, outdistancing runner-up Mercersburg by a wide margin, 298-163. In the final individual national rankings, Kaschik placed third in the 200 medley (1:48.91) and sixth in the 100 breaststroke (56.19), while Kurmakov touched third in the 100 free (44.89). Awbrey was sixth in the 500 free (4:27.00).

From left: Graham Rigby ’95 and Greg Wriede ’95 celebrate a win at Easterns.

Members of the 200-yard freestyle relay team celebrate their national record (from left): Meghan Sonstegard ’97, Nicole Robillard ’95, Marisa Chuliver ’96 and Amy Balcerzak ’96.

Making up the Peddie girls’ record-smashing relays were Margo Diamond ’96 (26.08 back), Amy Balcerzak ’96 (28.21 breast), Elaine Schwartz ’99 (25.82 fly) and Nichole Robillard ’95 (23.79 free) in the medley, and Balcerzak (23.69), Meghan Sonstegard ’97 (23.55), Robillard (23.17) and Marisa Chuliver ’96 (24.22) in the 200 free. In the 400 free relay prelims, Balcerzak, Chuliver, Sonstegard and Diamond raced to the nation’s top time of 3:26.21. The girls ran away with the Easterns title, outscoring nearest rival Germantown Academy, 295-230. Meet MVP Diamond set a new independent school mark in the 100 backstroke with a 55.05, good enough for second place in the national standings. She also scored points with an eighth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (56.27). Balcerzak captured fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.07) and Katie Egan ’96 rounded out Peddie’s national scorers with a 10th spot in the 500 free (4:53.10). Nikki Albano ’95, the only four-year letter winner, epitomized the grinding work ethic and commitment that made the Falcons successful. Sixteen swimmers combined for a total of 30 individual All-American honors. They were exceptional competitors, leaders and teammates, and most deserving to be members of the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.

Members of the 1995 boys’ swim team are all smiles after a decisive victory at Easterns.



The centerpiece of two Hall of Fame soccer teams (1993, 1994), Courtney Wood ’95 possessed tremendous creativity on the ball and determination to become a winning force in the Falcons’ astonishing 33-1-1 record during her tenure. The hard-charging, opportunistic midfielder had a knack for finding the net or setting up chances for teammates, including Kelly Witman ’96 and Hall of Famers Shaunette Richards (Barnett) ’94 and Lauren Sellers ’96. A scoring phenom, Wood registered two points a game on 44 goals and 27 assists, numbers which still rank among Peddie’s all-time leaders. She ranks fourth in career points (71), fifth in assists and tied for fourth in goals (with Richards). No matter what role she filled, Wood’s track record of two Prep In a show of exuberance, Courtney Wood ’95 points skyward after the 1993 girls’ A titles, Trenton Times Team of soccer team wins the state title. the Decade (1994) and volumes of wins against the best competition underscored her importance to the Falcons’ success level. “He taught me the value of self-discipline and during her two years in the Old Gold and Blue. She that the will to win is always greater than the skill to received numerous individual accolades, including win,” she said. Parade All-American, New Jersey Player of the Decade and NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association Her success extended to her collegiate days at Seton 1994 First Team as the only private school member. Hall University, where she helped develop a program only in its second year. A three-time NJ College AllWood’s storied Peddie career began on September 15, State honoree and All Mid-Atlantic Region selection, 1993, when she netted her first Falcon goal in her first Wood provided the leadership to guide the Pirates to game to seal a 2-0 victory against nationally-ranked a 25-11-1 mark overall and 16-5 record in the Big East Villa Joseph Marie. During the 1994 campaign, Wood during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. She took her game scored in each of her first five matches and kept pace to to a new level and ranks second all-time in goals (26) finish the season with 21 goals. She tallied her final two and points (66). Her career at Peddie and Seton Hall goals in back-to-back games against Blair in the Prep A is also the definition of durability, recording a streak Championship and the traditional season finale. of 108 consecutive games, all starting assignments. Wood took to heart the words of Coach Ray Cabot on what is needed to compete successfully at a high

A true warrior, Wood carved out a reputation as one of the top players in Peddie girls’ soccer history.



A very surprised Chris Atkiss rose to his feet when he was announced as the “Outstanding Wrestler” of the 1960 New Jersey Prep State Championship Tournament. That moment was the high point of a two-year Peddie wrestling career that saw Chris go undefeated at 120 pounds during both seasons of regular Chris Atkiss ’60 matches, win his first state championship as a junior and enjoy the high praise of being chosen senior-year co-captain together with Al Slader ’60 – only the second time in Peddie wrestling history that co-captains were elected. Now he had won his second state title with a pin and two lopsided decisions. “Outstanding Wrestler” honors are awarded by a vote of the competing state tournament coaches. Why

Chris was selected over the day’s other newly-minted state champs had everything to do with his distinctive power, speed and style. One hundred thirty-five-pound teammate John Bonello ’60 remembered Chris being “wiry, taut and strong.” One hundred sixteen-pounder Bob Klug ’60 recalled, “Chris was very fast, so his opponents were often lagging behind. By moving suddenly in one direction and then another, he kept his man off balance.” And 165-pound teammate Paul Albert ’60 remembered how “Chris would get a hold on his opponent, then unexpectedly flip both of them over on their backs so he could nail a sudden pin. It was a risky move, but Chris made it work by being a master of agility and surprise.” The Peddie News Sports Editor Neal Marshall ’60 remembered how Peddie Sports Hall of Fame laureate Al Slader ’60 would light up whenever he talked about his close friend, Chris, praising him as a source of energy for the team and calling him “the most intense competitor he’d ever known.” Having been a regional standout at Lansdowne High School in Pennsylvania, Chris came to Peddie and twice received the coveted Robert L. Tifft Wrestling Trophy. He graduated to the college mat when he went on to Allegheny College.

Chris Atkiss ’60 has the look of a future Hall of Famer in this 1959-60 team photo.


2010 GIRLS’ BASKETBALL TEAM The 2009-2010 Peddie girls’ basketball team enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in the program’s history, posting a 25-2 record. Under the tutelage of Naismith National High School Coach of the Year, Sean Casey, and assistant Eric “Gus” Gustavson, the Falcons completed their storybook campaign by winning the coveted ESPN Rise National High School Championship. Broadcast nationally on ESPN2, the girls controlled Oak Hill Academy (Va.), 60-44, to hoist the national championship trophy. Nekole Jackson ’10 (Bryant) saved one of her best performances for the final, where she poured in 21 points on the way to being named the ESPN Player of the Game. Multi-tasker Bridgette McKnight ’10 (UNH) made the highlight reel when she tossed in a no-look over-the-shoulder layup that sailed high above the glass before hitting nothing but net. In the semifinal matchup, Peddie outclassed the Florida Class 6A state champion Lake Mary, 56-32, with Haley Peters ’10 (Duke) and Alex Smith ’10 (Holy Cross) combining for 32 points. The team’s depth proved to be one of the Falcons’ strongest assets. Madison Skerritt ’13, Kelly Bailey ’12, Claire Heauptle ’11, Tatham Dilks ’11, Pallavi Juneja ’11, Jeannie Goodell ’10 and Ashlynn Soellner ’10 all brought energy to the floor throughout the season. “We’ve got a lot of kids who can play,” said Casey, Hall of Fame Class of 2016. “And it’s icing on the cake to get two more games with this special group.”

A regular member of the ESPN RISE Fab 50, the Falcons’ only losses were to teams ranked higher. The girls had their 24-game winning streak snapped as Spring Valley (S.C.) edged the Falcons 51-50 on a free throw with 0.7 seconds left in the semifinals of the Crescent Bank Holiday Invitational at Myrtle Beach. In the marquee matchup of the 15th annual Prime Events Girls Shootout, the Falcons came up short against Neptune High School, 58-51. Peters averaged 19.8 points per game and finished second on the all-time scoring list with 1,521 points. During her extraordinary senior year, Peters garnered NJ Gatorade Player of the Year, second team Parade All-American and joined an exclusive club as the school’s third McDonald’s High School All American. The Falcons defeated archrival Germantown Academy, 79-60, as Karima Gabriel ’11 (Cal State Fullerton) controlled the paint with 11 points and 12 rebounds. At the Breezy Bishop Showcase in Baltimore, the Falcons handled powerhouses Bishop McNamara (57-48) and Seton Keough (64-52). The girls also captured titles in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League and NJSIAA Prep A tournaments against a formidable Blair squad. By the numbers, the Falcons’ average margin of victory was 30 points. Resiliency, grit and the determination to succeed as student-athletes, the 2009-2010 girls’ basketball team set a new standard of excellence.

The 2010 girls’ basketball team wins the NJSIAA Prep A tournament title (from left): Claire Heauptle ’11, Kelly Bailey ’12, Pallavi Juneja ’11, Madison Skerritt ’13, Ashlynn Soellner ’10, Jeannie Goodell ’10, Bridgette McKnight ’10, Haley Peters ’10, Nekole Jackson ’10, Alex Smith ’10, Karima Gabriel ’11 and Tatham Dilks ’11.



An outstanding miler, Therese Delahunty ’85 was a pioneer in the girls’ cross country team. Arriving at Peddie as an eighth-grader in the fall of 1980, she immediately burst into the limelight and set new standards for girls’ distance running at Peddie. During her freshman year, she led the two-time Prep State Champion Falcon harriers to their third consecutive victory. Peddie tallied 47 points to dominate runner-up Montclair Kimberly (99 points). The pace-setter of the Peddie pack, Delahunty played a key role in leading the Falcons to a banner season with only one loss to Steinert, a perennial Mercer County powerhouse ranked fourth in New Jersey. According to The Peddie News, Delahunty never finished worse than third in nearly 35 dual meet competitions spanning her five-year career. Hard work and dedication helped her earn a spot at the 1981 National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Texas, where she finished 19th out of 80 runners in a crowded and talented field. At that point, Delahunty became much more than just a competitor out on the trails. She developed a fierce passion for running and became a wonderful role model. Buoyed by Delahunty’s leadership and three consecutive Prep titles, the 1981 Falcon harriers had plenty of reason for continued optimism. They did not disappoint as they enjoyed an 8-1 season and ran their way to a fourth Prep state title. The two-time George Weed Cross Country Honor Award winner added other notable finishes to her resume. Delahunty placed second at the 1982 Prep meet, and in 1983, she crossed the line at the Mercer County Championships in fourth place out of 77 runners.

Although she is mostly known for her accolades on tough terrain, Delahunty produced some heroic results on the oval. In the winter of ’81, Delahunty moved indoors and set a mile record of 5:21 that would stand for almost three decades. Delahunty set two more records as a member of the one-mile and two-mile relay Therese Delahunty ’85 teams. The one-mile team with Haggerty, Cynthia Ansari ’83, Jacqueline Spencer ’83 and Delahunty finished the distance in 4:27.34. At the same time, the two-mile foursome of Gina Hepp ’84, Liddy Allee ’82, Cinco and Delahunty crossed the line in 11:09.43. As a distance specialist, Delahunty was inducted into the Peddie Hall of Fame in 2002 as a member of the 1982 Outdoor Track and Field Team. Delahunty’s reputation for outrunning her cross country opponents by huge margins is still legend. Her personal best on Peddie’s 2.8 mile home course was 17:20 against Steinert when she overpowered her Spartan opponent with a late charge. As teammate, future track head coach and Peddie Sports Hall of Famer Mark Gartner ’84 P’08 ’10 noted, “She didn’t win because everyone was lousy, she was that good.” Her mental approach blended well with her physical talent and often gave her a competitive edge to long-distance racing. As cross country captain her junior campaign, she was a leader on campus too as a prefect and a member of the Faculty-Student Senate. Therese Delahunty ’85 now holds a well-earned individual place in the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame.

Therese Delahunty joins the 1980 cross country team as an eighth-grader.


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