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Winter 2013 • The PROGRAM Issue

Growing in Knowledge & Grace the campaign for portsmouth abbey school

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

WELCOME MESSAGE We are pleased to present our third issue of ILLUMINATION, the newsletter of Growing in Knowledge & Grace: The Campaign for Portsmouth Abbey School. Our last two editions highlighted the Campaign’s influence on Portsmouth’s people and plant; today we celebrate its impact on programs. With the strategic plan as our compass, the Campaign has enabled us to further develop academic excellence while maintaining the balance of mind, body and spirit for our students. The plan specifically encouraged us to

Growing Our Programs Since 2004, a key goal of the strategic plan, and by extension, Growing in Knowledge & Grace: The Campaign for Portsmouth Abbey School, has been to further develop and define academic excellence. The School embraced this moment to seek funding for the signature programs that foster personal growth, and provide opportunities for enrichment that set Portsmouth apart from our peers. Following are just a few of the programs that continue to grow thanks to the generosity of campaign donors. THE HANEY FELLOWSHIP The Haney Fellowship is now a longstanding Portsmouth tradition that has received additional philanthropic support throughout the Campaign. Established in 1998 by William “Bill” Haney III ’80,

the Fund honors longtime chemistry teacher, houseparent, and golf coach William Haney, Jr. The Fund subsidizes the expenses for a distinctive educational experience for select Fifth Form students during the summer before their Sixth Form year. Continued support of the Haney Fellowship ensures availability of the funds necessary to continue offering this extraordinary opportunity. The Haney Fellowship encourages students to push themselves academically and personally. Students submit proposals which include a statement of purpose, a description of their desired program, and a documented estimate of costs. Plans focus on a course of study, travel experience, or work endeavor that significantly furthers an existing academic interest or

maximize Portsmouth’s commitment to the Classics,




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program, and equip our classrooms with the technology to support modern teaching. We are proud to say we have done this, and more.

Lifetime Learning

A Gift For Our Faculty and Students

Campaign gifts continue to enhance signature programs that enrich the lives of our students (academically and spiritually), the professional development of our faculty, and our library resources. The symbiotic relationship of strategic planning and charitable giving continues to produce noteworthy results. Thank you for helping us grow. James DeVecchi Headmaster

Charles E. Kenahan ’77 P’12, ’12, ’12 Campaign Chair

When our faculty grow in knowledge, so too do our programs. Portsmouth has long recognized the importance of professional development for our faculty, and Growing In Knowledge & Grace welcomes gifts that foster lifetime learning. “Professional development provides a wonderful opportunity for our teachers to expand their horizons and become active learners again,” Dean of Faculty Nancy Brzys explains. “It can provide a fresh perspective, renew excitement in a subject of interest, and result in a deeper understanding of an area of expertise — all of which translate into dynamic teaching and content in the classroom.” The School was blessed in 2010 with a generous bequest from the Hagerty family, whose foresight in 1981 developed the Hagerty Family Faculty Enrichment Fund. The Fund provides critical support for our teachers and administrators to explore scholarly pursuits and hone their craft. continued on back

Haney Fellowship Recipients Patrick T. O’Neill ’00 Kathleen E. Bailey ’00 Christine E. Tosi ’01 Stephanie E. Earp ’02 Lillian K. Cavanagh ’02 Hillary E. MacArthur ’02 Rachel E. Hampton ’02 Maia L. Fedyszyn ’03 Courtney M. Hugo ’03 John H. Kinnane ’03 Brianna L. Carter ’03 Whitney T. Connell ’04 Christopher P. Fleming ’04 Collette J. Laflamme ’05 Caitlin A. Nicholson ’05 John J. Rok ’05 Jose I. Soriano ’05 Camilla P. Dorment ’06 Zachary W. C. McCune ’06 Amanda Roderick ’06 Samuel C. Simone ’07 Ryana S. Barbosa ’07 Lucas J. Zipp ’07

SoHyun Chung ’07 Emily K. Pederson ’08 Kathryn K. Hughes ’08 Marisa M. B. Edmonds ’08 Robert J. Skolsky ’09 Lillian C. Donahue ’09 Susan S. Skakel ’09 Elena R. McCarthy ’09 Audra S. Foster ’09 Lauren E. Brodeur ’10 Patrick M. Hannon ’10 Kathryn S. Yao ’10 Francesca M. Bessey ’11 Brigid L. Behan ’11 Garrett C. Behan ’11 Taylor M. Smariga ’11 Emily N. Kaufman ’12 Michael J. Keane ’12 Casey B. Kendall ’12 Julia J. Slupska ’13 Lauren E. Thompson ’13 Joseph H. Yates ’13

“Growing” continued from front page

allows for the pursuit of a specialized opportunity. “Being a Haney Fellow was a chance not only to have a great and edifying personal experience, but an opportunity to use my abilities and education to conceive of and carry out a project that would help others and create a difference,” Joseph Yates ’13 explains. “I feel honored to have been chosen for the program. I am very proud of its history of fellowships that have enhanced education, provided life-changing experiences, and brought aid and hope to others around the globe.”

“My favorite memory from the trip is the day that the turbine was raised at the School. When the children and staff of the School returned to see the turbine standing over their township, they were speechless; shocked in the best way possible. The same day, the children expressed their thanks through performing songs. They all had such beautiful voices, and their informal performance of appreciation surprised me in return — I would be hard pressed to name another time I felt such powerful emotion.”

“Lourdes is a conglomeration of different perspectives on faith and life, and it's really enlightening and interesting to see just how other people see life. I still keep up with people from the pilgrimage almost every day, and it's always on my mind. I hope that I will someday return to Lourdes, because after leaving, I felt so at peace with myself. It was really an amazing feeling to participate in such a special trip.”

“We all shaped and molded our hearts according to the message of love and service to our fellow man. Though I was helping the sick, they at the same time comforted and supported me through courageous words and heartfelt gestures. As I gave to the patients I worked with, so did I receive from them courage for the spiritual journey.”

The list of Haney Fellow accomplishments is long and impressive. In just 2012, Julia Slupska ’13 taught English skills at Lamdon Model High School in Zanskar, India; Lauren Thompson ’13 worked with A Broader View in Costa Rica on their Sea Turtle Conservation program; and Yates completed his two-part internship in South Africa. First he interned at Kestrel Wind Turbines in Port Elizabeth, then with the nonprofit organization Universal Promise. His fellowship culminated with the installation of a wind turbine/solar panel hybrid system at the Vusumzi School. Like his fellowship, Yates’ life-changing experience was twofold. “I plan to study mechanical and aerospace engineering as I enter Princeton this fall, and the internship [at Kestrel] provided me with great insight into the world of professional engineers. My fellowship’s greatest impact was, however, a personal one,” he continues. “I was able to connect with a community of wonderful people and witness the hope they experienced as a result of what my project was able to achieve. It was truly incredible.”

THE LOURDES PILGRIMAGES Also nourishing the mind, body and spirit, Portsmouth students have two opportunities to partake in the pilgrimage experience in Lourdes, France. Both offer the benefits of personal retreat through immersion in the atmosphere of this historic venue. Campaign gifts to the Lourdes Pilgrimages enhance the initial funding that inspired these trips, and ensure that more students are able to grow spiritually through these once-in-a-lifetime experiences. The generosity of Hugh Markey ’40 initiated the 35-year tradition for Portsmouth students to take part in the Lourdes pilgrimage conducted by Ampleforth Abbey in England (Ampleforth has been organizing this service trip for more than a century). While volunteer duties vary from year to year, the primary goal remains the same: students help pilgrims benefit fully from their time in this historic and holy place. “The Lourdes Pilgrimage has exerted a steady and profound influence on the spiritual life of the School,” reflects faculty advisor, Dr. Blake Billings ’77. “The experience has been an important one for participants, both rich in liturgical life and in the service to the ‘hospital pilgrims’ needing assistance.” The second Lourdes experience, a gift initiated by the family of Dom Joseph Byron, O.S.B., enables Portsmouth students to travel, work and pray with students from the Canterbury School (Connecticut) and members of the Knights of Malta. For 17 years, Dom Joseph himself led this pilgrimage under the auspices of the Knights of Malta and Mrs. Hope Carter, mother of Charles E. ’82 and George E. Carter ’85.

THE HUMANITIES ROME PROGRAM Portsmouth’s distinctive Humanities curriculum provides all Fourth Form students with an intensive interdisciplinary grounding in the language, literature, history, and thought of the West from Augustine in the late fourth century to the present. Through the course of study, students acquire a deep understanding of the high ideals and potency of Christian thought in a quintessentially Benedictine framework. “The Humanities Rome Program provides an essential complement to that education,” notes faculty advisor Peter O’Connor. “The hope of the two-week program is to give students a glimpse of the wholeness of their education by living in Rome and participating in those unique and complex structures that continue to call pilgrims to the Eternal City.”

“Rome is the embodiment of the classic curriculum we have at the Abbey and witnessing the sights and art we have read about intensifies both the learning and sightseeing experience. A distinctive quality of the trip is the ability to explore the city essentially on your own (groups of four or more are the rule, but you still feel independent) — the siesta portion of the day is not structured and allows everyone to make their own discoveries of the beauty of Rome.”

Since 2005, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Form students have delighted in the opportunity to broaden their Humanities studies through the Rome Program. While living in modest European-style accommodations at a convent in the oldest part of Rome, students experience the full spectrum of sights, sounds and tastes that the historic city has to offer. Equal parts spiritual and academic journey, O’Connor attests to the authenticity of the experience. “The real gift of this communal pilgrimage is the hope that some richer mode of seeing and conceptualizing reality can come into being,” he explains. “Students return from Rome not only with a specific knowledge of history, art, architecture, and the wonders of Italian food, but with a deeper sense of what it means to learn and feel while being part of a community. That is the memory that will endure and become the source of what they will do and accomplish in the coming years.”

SUMMER STUDY: SALAMANCA, SPAIN Portsmouth has long participated in the University of Rhode Island’s renowned Summer Study Program in Salamanca, Spain. Founded by the Romans, the city of Salamanca is situated in the northwest region of the country (about 120 miles from Madrid, near the border of Portugal), and boasts one of the oldest universities in the world (the oldest in Spain), as well as the country’s most magnificent examples of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, century old cathedrals, and monuments. The URI program immerses students in Spanish language, lifestyle and culture. Studying under some of the most distinguished professors of Spanish, students develop and improve their language skills in an unparalleled setting and earn up to nine college credits in the Intensive Undergraduate Language and Culture program. “The Salamanca program provides a complete educational experience where students can practice in the real world what they have studied,” says faculty advisor Roberto Guerenabarrena. “The immersion experience makes learning the language meaningful, and the students experience the culture that they have learned in textbooks and become world travelers.” Tuition for the Salamanca trip is currently $3,500 per student. Campaign support provides scholarship assistance to make this experience available to all qualified students. Additionally it supports the presence of Portsmouth Abbey faculty who mentor students and coordinate enrichment activities outside the classroom. “To the benefactors of this program, know your contributions are put to good use,” shares Allison Bolles ’13. “Everyone who attends leaves with a broader perspective and a definite desire to return.”

“Ever since kindergarten, I’ve loved studying Spanish. In high school, I took Spanish classes, listened to Spanish music, watched Spanish movies — but I really wanted to experience true immersion. I didn’t want to translate anymore. I wanted to make the language real rather than a mere academic exercise. The Salamanca program provided the perfect opportunity for me to not only be immersed in the Spanish language, but also to experience the culture.”

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Nick Micheletti ’04 and Allie DeSisto Micheletti ’05 are living proof. They returned to Portsmouth during the 2009 academic year to teach classics, history and art history (they also coach and are head house parents of St. Leonard’s). With the School’s support, they applied for and were accepted into St. John’s Graduate Institute “Great Books” summer program. “We study history, politics and society, literature, and philosophy and theology,” describes Nick. “In one sense St. John’s is a more advanced version of our own humanities class here at the Abbey. Each summer we delve deeper into the questions and ideas at the core of Portsmouth’s curriculum.” The ultimate beneficiaries of the Micheletti’s professional development experience are their students. “The courses continue to increase our personal understanding of antiquity, cultures, and art history, thereby improving our depth of expertise in the classes we teach,” they confirm. Brzys adds an ironic footnote to their story. “While Allie and Nick were students at the same time at Portsmouth, this experience has been especially unique for them — it is the first time they have ever taken classes together!”


What’s On The Web?

Enhancing Library Resources Gifts to Portsmouth’s programs come in many shapes and sizes. This month, the Campaign web site features recently established Library Book Funds that provide much needed upgrades to our on campus information resources. Book Funds support the strategic plan’s directive to continually “review the role of the library in the programs and life of the School.” This unique giving opportunity can be deeply personal; often Book Funds bridge the interests of donors with the changing needs of our students and faculty. For more information on Library Book Funds, including how you can help transform Portsmouth’s collection of works in the St. Thomas More Library, click your way to

Grant Spotlight

We are pleased to announce an exciting new Fund being established to similarly serve our faculty — The DeVecchi Faculty Fund. Honoring Jim and Deb DeVecchi’s lifetime of service and leadership at Portsmouth, the Fund celebrates the DeVecchi family’s devotion to Portsmouth’s faculty. A more comprehensive announcement with information on how you can participate in this homage to the DeVecchi family will appear in the upcoming Winter Bulletin. Stay tuned!


On the Horizon: Cheering for Chairs $4,000,000


June will mark the culmination of Growing In Knowledge & Grace, and with it we hope to announce the successful establishment of two additional faculty chairs: the J. Clifford Hobbins Chair in History and the Wolverton Performing Arts Chair in honor of Dom Ambrose Wolverton, O.S.B. If honoring these beloved faculty members and the subject areas they represent resonates with you, the time is now to join the 297 donors who have made supporting Portsmouth’s faculty their Campaign priority.


$1M Hobbins Chair ($200K) Wolverton Chair ($363K) Kearney Chair (fully funded) Jenks Chair (fully funded)

THE CASE FOR FACULTY CHAIRS: Portsmouth Abbey School’s lay and monastic faculty give their time and talent every day — at all hours of the day — to help the young men and women in their care to grow in knowledge and grace. The Campaign for Portsmouth Abbey School has aimed to support Portsmouth’s faculty by endowing four faculty chairs. As permanent components of the School’s endowment, annual income from the chairs will provide for the distinguished chairholders’ salaries and benefits packages, professional development activities, and curricular innovations. Chairs have already been endowed in the subjects of mathematics and English. The cost to endow each chair is $1 million.

Teaching Goes High Tech Today’s students are the most tech savvy generation to enter Portsmouth — a trend certain to continue as future students come of age in a smartphone world. Recognizing this fact, the strategic plan encouraged continued incorporation of technology in classroom instruction. The problem: technology is pricey. The solution: grant funding aimed at integrating technology and teaching. In 2008 Portsmouth applied for and received a $75,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, with the promise that campaign donors would match the grant 3:1. The E. E. Ford Foundation’s gift would support faculty training; the matching gifts would predominantly support equipment purchases. “The E.E. Ford Foundation matching grant came at a critical time for Portsmouth to help us with technology education for faculty,” Associate Headmaster Dan McDonough explains. Previously Portsmouth had focused technology dollars on hardware, including wireless laptops for all faculty, and wireless internet infrastructure. The missing link was the capability for teachers to use their laptops as interactive teaching

money needed to match the grant, we were able to put nearly the entire teaching faculty through a one week technology workshop over the course of two summers,” McDonough continues. “Half of the faculty were trained here on campus the first summer, and the other half during the second summer.” Sessions focused on the latest methodology for incorporating technology in the classroom. Additionally, the entire teaching faculty received training on the use of the new Smart Boards.

tools that could seamlessly present information and involve students on computers in classroom activities. Campaign gifts enabled the School to equip 25 classrooms with Smart Boards paired with permanent laptop projector systems. Hardware without training, however, would leave vast capabilities untapped. “With the help of our loyal constituency who quickly raised the

A well supported faculty is an energized faculty, and the grant provision for continued in-service training addresses this goal. Newer teachers with stronger technology backgrounds have been able to take their skills to the next level; distinguished faculty, whose careers began when little or no technology was available, have been given the confidence to add new tricks to their teaching tool kits. Today, school-wide electronic grading and reporting are standard practice, and cutting-edge, interactive lessons are translating to elevated student interest and understanding on a daily basis. The outcome: our savvy students are thriving in their new high-tech classrooms.

Programs’ Biggest Supporter... The Annual Fund might as well have “Program” as its middle name. Annual “Program” Fund - it does have a ring to it! Wordplay aside, it’s the truth. Every program at Portsmouth is bolstered by the Annual Fund — from classrooms to courts, dormitories to dinner, the Annual Fund is the foundation of the Portsmouth experience. It provides the setting, the talent, and the tools necessary to maintain the quality of academic excellence we hold dear. We are striving to make this final year of Growing in Knowledge & Grace a record-setting one for the Annual Fund. As of today we are 66 percent to our goal of $1,275,000 — we are so grateful to those who have already given! This year donors have the opportunity to make

their Campaign impact even greater by making multi-year pledges to the Annual Fund (their 2012-2013 gifts will count to this year’s Annual Fund, and the full amount of their pledges will count toward their Campaign giving). The challenge to continue to grow our programs can only be met by growing our source of annual unrestricted giving. The Portsmouth community has always understood this, and responded with resounding support of the Annual Fund. The 2012-2013 fund will close hand-inhand with Growing in Knowledge & Grace on June 30, 2013. To make a multi-year commitment, or to give by check or credit card, please reach out to the Development Office today. We look forward to speaking with you!

To discuss any aspect of the campaign-specific items in this issue, please contact: Patrick J. Burke ’86, P’15 Assistant Headmaster for Development 401.643.1291

Illumination Winter 2013  

Illumination is the newsletter for Growing in Knowledge and Grace, the Campaign for Portsmouth Abbey School.

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