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THE BULLETIN SPRING 2009

WESTMINSTER

Davis Scholars Share Global Perspectives Educational Links to Hartford Alumni Faculty Give Back to Their Alma Mater For Alumni, Parents & Friends of Westminster School


WESTMINSTER BULLETIN SPRING 2009

Published by:

Westminster School 995 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury, CT 06070 (860) 408-3000 This magazine is produced twice a year by the Marketing & Communications Office. Address Class Notes to:

Beth Soycher Westminster School P.O. Box 337 Simsbury, CT 06070-0377 Or submit via e-mail: alumninotes@westminster-school.org E-mail for address change ONLY: salexander@westminster-school.org Westminster School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin or sexual orientation in administration of its education policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. EDITOR Darlene Skeels editor@westminster-school.org DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Ken Mason PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Bergen, Newell Grant ’99, Ken Mason, Darlene Skeels, Mollie Pilling, Nancy Hendryx, Chip Riegel ’90, Scott Stevens and David Werner ’80

View of Andrews Memorial Chapel in the fog taken by Tom Hodson ’77, P’08, ’11.

CLASS NOTES COORDINATOR Beth Soycher

Cover photo:

DESIGN John Johnson Art Direction & Design Collinsville, Connecticut

Westminster’s Davis Scholars, back row, Nabi Hassanzoy ’10 and Kwaku Akoi ’10; and, front row, Martha Zamora ’10 and Vladimir Bok ’10.

TRUSTEES 2008–2009 John S. Armour ’76 Chairman of the Board Palos Verdes Estates, California Susan Werner Berenson ’82 Bethesda, Maryland C. Andrew Brickman ’82 Hinsdale, Illinois Daniel Burke III ’87 Winchester, Massachusetts Trinette T. Cheng P’08, ’11 Kowloon, Hong Kong Abram Claude, Jr. ’46, P’71, ’80, ’84, GP’02 Emeritus North Salem, New York W. Graham Cole, Jr. Headmaster Ex officio Simsbury, Connecticut John H. Davis P’05 Longmeadow, Massachusetts William C. Egan III ’64, P’92, ’95, ’00, ’02 Emeritus Skillman, New Jersey Jerome T. Fadden P’05 New Canaan, Connecticut

Colin S. Flinn ’82 Sanibel, Florida Anthony J. Francoline P’96 Salisbury, Connecticut Joseph L. Gitterman III ’55, P’86, ’90 Emeritus Washington Depot, Connecticut David E. Griffith ’72, P’06, ’10 New Hope, Pennsylvania Bernhard L. Kohn ’92 Los Angeles, California George C. Kokulis P’07, ’12 Simsbury, Connecticut Heather Kreitler P’10 Ex officio Fairfield, Connecticut John M. Kreitler P’10 Ex officio Fairfield, Connecticut Peter B. Leibinger ’86 Schwieberdingen, Germany Michael C. Lobdell ’75, P’07 Vice Chairman New Canaan, Connecticut

Charles B. Milliken P’77 Emeritus Bloomfield, Connecticut

Christopher K. Seglem P’06, ’09 Colorado Springs, Colorado

Anne K. Moran P’06, ’09, ’12 Unionville, Pennsylvania

John Sherwin, Jr. ’57, P’83, ’89 Emeritus Waite Hill, Ohio

John C. Niles ’81 Marblehead, Massachusetts

N. Louis Shipley ’81 Andover, Massachusetts

Brien M. O’Brien P’09 Chicago, Illinois

C. Evan Stewart ’70, P’11 New York, New York

James S. Offield ’69 Harbor Springs, Michigan

George N. Thompson ’72, P’93, ’98 Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia

Moyahoena N. Ogilvie ’86 West Hartford, Connecticut J. Pierce O’Neil ’76, P’10 New Canaan, Connecticut C. Bradford Raymond ’85 New York, New York Douglas S. Reigeluth P’99, ’02, ’07 Harrison, New York Timothy I. Robinson ’85, P’10 Ex officio Hampton Falls, New Hampshire Allan A. Ryan IV ’78, P’06, ’07, ’12 Palm Beach, Florida

Samuel Thorne ’46, P’74, ’76 Emeritus Manchester-By-The-Sea, Massachusetts Gregory F. Ugalde P’05, ’07, ’10, ’12 Burlington, Connecticut Danielle Virtue P’11 Rye, New York Susan Wilcox White ’74, P’05 Wellesley, Massachusetts


WESTMINSTER | SPRING 2009 | BULLETIN

inside

THE BULLETIN SPRING 2009

From the Headmaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Parents Weekend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Hill Headlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Grandparents Day . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Athletics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Supporting Westminster . . . . . . . . . . 48

Davis Scholars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Martlets on the Move . . . . . . . . . . . . 59

Educational Links to Hartford . . . . . . 20

Class Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62

Giving Back to Their Alma Mater . . . . 31

Closing Thoughts . . . . . . . . Inside Back

Sixth Form Pin Tradition . . . . . . . . . . 42

From the

Headmaster Page . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

DAVIS SCHOLARS Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Martlets on the Move

Hill Headlines Page . . . . . . . . . 3

Page. . . . . . . 59

Class Notes Page . . . . . . . . 62

Supporting Westminster Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 1


WESTMINSTER

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Dear Members of the Westminster family, I suspect that many of you might share my profound ambivalence about these early years of the 21st century. Given the pervasive sense of peril born of all that Sept. 11 brought us and the uncertainty born of this recent major economic downturn, it is easy to understand our anxiety about the future and a fear of difference.

“…boarding schools like Westminster teach so much more than the academic disciplines; our daily proximity, the frequency and variety of our interactions, all provide us with multiple opportunities for instruction in how to be ‘good people’ and for learning from the experience of each other’s close company.”

At the same time, as a person who has spent a lifetime in education, I also hold a deep, abiding optimism about our school and the young. In fact, I would argue that in these difficult, even dangerous times, we need schools like Westminster more than ever. We need educational communities of committed, caring adults and eager, talented adolescents, where people from different backgrounds and perspectives come to know and live with each other well and where values such as community, character, tolerance, responsibility and compassion are a major part of the fabric of daily life. Put simply, boarding schools like Westminster teach so much more than the academic disciplines; our daily proximity, the frequency and variety of our interactions, all provide us with multiple opportunities for instruction in how to be “good people” and for learning from the experience of each other’s close company. This edition of the Bulletin puts the spotlight directly on the richness of our Westminster community, on our wish to expand an appreciation of difference while simultaneously fostering a sense of our commonality. You will read, for example, about our new Davis Scholars, youngsters who have heightened our awareness of the world beyond Simsbury in very powerful ways, about our new Steppingstone Scholars from Hartford, about Westminster faculty serving in our CCLP program who demonstrate our commitment to places beyond the Hill, and about some of our alums who have dedicated their lives to the noblest of professions, teaching.

These stories should not only provide inspiration to offset the pessimism of this new century but demonstrate how effectively boarding schools in general and Westminster in particular can teach young people about the importance of both difference and community. We proceed from the premise that different ideas, perspectives, peoples and places help us how to learn to live with each other and to work for common goals. This is not about political correctness or affirmative action; this is a powerful educational and moral strategy to prepare young people for the complex and difficult world that awaits them. Enjoy.

With Grit & Grace,

W. Graham Cole, Jr., Headmaster

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Hill Headlines

New Academic Center On Target for May Completion Construction of Westminster’s new academic center has remained on schedule since it began in October 2007. With the exterior of the structure now fully enclosed, current work focuses on finishing the interior. Plans call for the faculty to move all of their materials into the building in June and classes to begin there in the fall. Members of the Board of Trustees toured the site in January during their board meeting.

Left, Director of Studies Greg Marco leads trustees on a tour of the new academic center; above, a view of the three-story atrium; and below, an exterior view of the center.

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Hill Headlines

A Week of Shakespeare Athens, Ohio, and 20th-century Ireland are unlikely settings for plays written by William Shakespeare. But despite the nontraditional sets and costumes, it was all Shakespeare at fall performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “As You Like It” that Westminster students and faculty attended thanks to funding from the Ford-Goldfarb Fund, the Graham Gund Visiting Artist Series and the Connell Arts Fund. At the Hartford Stage performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Sept. 23 in Hartford, members of the Westminster community were treated to a 1950s interpretation of the comedy that takes place in Athens, Ohio, rather than Athens, Greece. It featured period costumes and wigs, Hula Hoops and occasional songs such as “All I Have to Do is Dream.” But the storyline and dialogue ran true to The Bard’s “Dream” with the course of love never running smoothly in this lively production of the play.

“Both plays were quality productions and held the attention of our students, even those who are least likely to be drawn to Shakespeare in the first place.” After the performance, the actors returned to the stage to talk with the audience. Students asked questions about the selection of the time period, how the actors rehearsed and whether singing ever occurred in Elizabethan performances of the play.

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Students and faculty arrive at the Hartford Stage to see a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

“The Hartford Stage played ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for laughs,” commented Head of the English Department Michael Cervas. “The physical humor of the play was especially appealing. Our students also appreciated the way the performance wove together speeches, songs, dance, mime and farce.” One week later, the Werner Centennial Center was the site of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company’s production of the romantic comedy “As You Like It,” which takes place in early 20th-century Ireland using a simple yet highly effective set and some originally composed music. “The acting was superb, by the principals and by the minor characters, and the play came alive especially in the context of Shakespeare’s lighter ‘Midsummer’s Dream,’ a play that is

alluded to throughout ‘As You Like It,’” added Michael. “Best of all, the production made a sometimes very dark play quite accessible and quite funny.” Steve Stettler, a member of the Westminster faculty from 1974-1980, is one of the producing directors of the Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, which is the oldest professional theater in Vermont and one of the oldest theaters in the country. Following the performance, he thanked the Westminster community for being such a great audience for the production’s first stop on its New England tour. He also shared some thoughts about the play and Shakespeare and invited students to ask the actors, who had returned to the stage, some questions. “Both plays were quality productions and held the attention of our students, even those who are least likely to be drawn to Shakespeare in the first place,” summarized Michael. “We prepared our students for these plays by having Tim Quinn ’96 present a couple of absolutely outstanding lectures on Shakespearean comedy in general and on these two plays in particular. Tim really helped get the students pumped up for Shakespeare (repeat after me, ‘I love Shakespeare’). “ Later in the academic year, most of the English 3 classes will revisit “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by studying the text of the play. “That sometimes difficult experience will have been made much easier by their attendance at these two wonderful performances,” said Michael. “We were all very lucky to have the chance to see two great Shakespearean comedies performed by two outstanding companies, all within the space of one calendar week!”


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Hill Headlines

The Social Lives of Youth Dr. Michael Thompson, one of the nation’s preeminent school psychologists, visited Westminster in October to meet with faculty, students and parents to discuss issues related to the social lives of youth today. A consultant, author and psychologist with a specialty in children and families, he has worked with more than 500 schools across the United States and abroad. He is very familiar with boarding school life, having consulted with many boarding schools throughout his 30-year career.

Dr. Thompson with students following his presentation. After meeting with faculty early in the day, Dr. Thompson spoke with students and faculty in the Werner Centennial Center about the social pressures kids face growing up. He asked the students to define friendship and popularity and explained how important friendships are to a person’s well being as early as sixth grade. He then talked about social groups and the harm that can come when students feel excluded from those groups.

“When schools are at their very best, they get everyone to pull together,” he explained. “What I like to see in a school is where everyone gets an opportunity to shine and win the respect of others.” Dr. Thompson has written a number of acclaimed books about the social lives of children including “Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys,” “Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children,” “The Pressured Child,” and his newest book, “It’s a Boy,” He also has been a guest on the Today Show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, the ABC News show 20/20, CBS News and several other national programs. Later in the day, students and faculty viewed a PBS documentary Dr. Thompson co-authored, hosted and narrated titled "Raising Cain: Focus on Boys," which aired in January 2006. It explores the emotional development of boys in America today and features Dr. Thompson conducting in-depth interviews with boys, social workers and educators. One of the social workers featured in the documentary was Sam Healy ’83, shown below, who provides clinical supervision of the social work services for eight Boys & Girls Clubs in Boston and Chelsea, and direct social work services in the Chelsea Club. Sam, who is a graduate of Boston University School of Social Work, says he thought the documentary did a great job of showing “how our culture influences boys’ emotional development and how much help so many need managing their emotions and their internal controls.” Sam remains in contact with Michael a couple of times a year.

Dr. Michael Thompson discusses the social pressures youth face today.

“Michael Thompson is a generous, passionate and insightful educator,” said Sam. “It is so important for parents and all adults working with children to understand and accept the responsibility that every single interaction influences a child’s development, their views of who they are and what they are capable of. Michael has added so much to the awareness of the emotional and social development of youth. “I also think that we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in child rearing, youth development and education,” added Sam. “It is so much more effective and efficient to focus on the positives and ‘greatness’ of children and youth, instead of the problems, negatives and punishments. People find what they are looking for, and what we pay attention to grows.” After seeing the PBS documentary, Westminster students met with their advisors to discuss some of the issues raised during Dr. Thompson’s visit. The day concluded with Dr. Thompson giving a talk to parents.

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Hill Headlines

Westminster Sends Delegation to Yale Model United Nations Conference A delegation of 15 Westminster students traveled to New Haven in January to take part in the 35th annual Yale Model United Nations (YMUN) Conference titled “Empowering Cooperation, Connecting Your World.” The four-day conference provided an opportunity for the students to learn about and practice international diplomacy and meet delegates from 64 other participating schools. After attending a two-hour new delegate training session, the delegates walked across the Old Campus Green to Yale’s Battel Chapel where Gillian Martin Sorenson, the former assistant secretary-general for external relations at the United Nations and current senior advisor at the United Nations Foundation, delivered the keynote address. Then the group was treated to a stunning performance by Yale’s a cappella group “Out of the Blue” and YMUN XXXV was

officially launched. Yale student organizers led the delegates to the various halls and classrooms on the Yale campus to begin their sessions. Twelve members of the Westminster delegation represented Argentina as members of the U.N. General Assembly participating in simulated sessions. They included Jae Ahn ’09, Kiana Cateriano ’11, Christina Grey ’11, Rene Jimenez ’11, Solt Kovács ’10, Ashley Mercede ’11, Gavin McGovern ’11, Stephanie Piperno ’11, Ryan Smythe ’11, Donald Sonn ’12, Rosie Williams ’12, Shishan Zhang ’11 and Carolyn Zimmer ’11. Over the course of the conference, delegates met in six 2.5-hour sessions where they presented position papers and wrote resolutions using the official language of diplomacy and following strict rules of procedure. Among the issues they debated were maritime piracy, nuclear disarmament in space, humanitarian issues, education, health and rights of children. Two other Westminster delegates applied for and were awarded positions on Specialized Committees. Nico Barragán ’10 served as the

Members of Westminster’s delegation to the Yale Model United Nations Conference before their departure to New Haven.

New delegates attend a training session.

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Hill Headlines

Vladimir Bok ’10 holding his Outstanding Delegate Award.

Columbian minister of social programs, where he created the only resolution to be passed in The Model United Nations Environmental Programs Committee session. that committee, and Vladimir Bok ’10 was named vice-president of the Ugandan cabinet, but late Friday night, a coup d’état eliminated that cabinet and Vladimir was reappointed “Planning for the Model United Nations at Westminster began in minister of foreign affairs for Uganda. Crisis Sessions were held for these late August with registration and choosing a ‘wish list’ of countries we two committees, which involved YMUN organizers rousting the delegates hoped to represent,” explained English teacher Mollie Pilling, who out of their hotel rooms at midnight to engage in crisis-solving sessions, coaches the Westminster Model United Nations group and accompanied which ran into the early hours of the morning. Crisis simulations are it to the conference. meant to impress upon the students the necessity of the U.N. delegations “Argentina was a great assignment as that country has being available to confront any events that would threaten peace. representation on all of the main committees in the United Nations: The Yale student organizers scheduled Yale Day Activities on Friday Disarmament and International Security; Social, Humanitarian and morning, enabling students to take an admissions tour of Yale and to sit Cultural Committee; Special Political and Decolonization; Legal; Security in on classes. Saturday night sessions culminated with the traditional Council; Territorial Disputes; United Nations Environmental Program; and MUN dance, attended by the 1,200-plus participants in the conference, Economics and Finance.” including seven schools from China and a number of schools from Europe. The group began meeting regularly during the winter term. “Once After the final session on Sunday morning, all delegates gathered in the we began formal meetings, students were given templates for position Omni Great Hall for the papers and information outlining protocol of sessions,” she said. closing ceremonies. In All of the delegates had to submit position papers to the Yale addition to featuring a Secretariat in December and draft resolutions on site in their committees number of the during the conference. Westminster students in The Model United Nations is a worldwide phenomenon with high their slide show of the school students participating in conferences in Europe in The Hague and conference, the YMUN at universities all over the United States, such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton, committee gave Vladimir Dartmouth, the University of Virginia, the University of Chicago and the Bok an Outstanding University of Pennsylvania. The conferences are organized and run by Delegate award for his university students, many of whom were members of MUN in their high stellar participation on schools. The Westminster students came home feeling proud of their his Specialized success and with new confidence in their knowledge and ability to Committee. discuss current affairs. Gavin McGovern ’11 and Shishan Zhang ’11.

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Hill Headlines

Chinese Added to Language Curriculum The Westminster Language Department added Chinese to its curriculum beginning with the current academic year. The department now offers courses in French, Spanish, Latin and Chinese. New faculty member Zhan Welcome, who was born in Beijing and has developed Chinese programs in schools in the U.S. and Japan, is teaching Chinese 1 and Chinese 2. She is multilingual in Chinese, her native language, as well as Japanese and English. In Chinese 1, students are learning what makes Mandarin Chinese unique and are being introduced to basic Chinese grammar and sentence structure. In Chinese 2, they are learning to create sentences and dialogue on their own. Students in both classes are also studying the Chinese culture and social background, as they learn the language. “Both classes are going very well,” reports Zhan. “The students are enthusiastic and are working hard to pronounce in correct tones and memorize each character.” Chinese teacher Zhan Welcome in the language lab with students in her Chinese 1 class.

Westminster Students Recognized as AP Scholars Thirty-seven Westminster School students have earned AP Scholar Awards given by the College Board in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams. About 18 percent of the more than 1.6 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award. The students took the exams after completing rigorous college-level courses while still in high school. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on a student’s performance on AP Exams. Eleven Westminster students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students include Sixth Formers Jae Kyung Ahn, Torrey Leroy, Eliza Mandzik and Josh Zalinger, and Class of 2008 graduates Shelby Brown, Joe Putko, Sarah Shanfield, Hannah Sharaf, Marianne Specker, Zach Visco and Michelle Yoon.

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Six students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are Sixth Former Chris Shimamoto and Class of 2008 graduates Tor Limtragool, Sarah Marco, Helena Morris, Emma Overton and Will Phifer. Twenty students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with grades of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Sixth Formers Joe Ascioti, Nico Barragán, Philip Cho, Liz Cole, Hannah Dimmitt, Andrew Moran, Catherine Outerbridge, Natalie Perkins, Michael Reed, Jeremy Zelinger and Class of 2008 graduates Jordan Bohinc, Renzie Chipman, Jason Hesketh, Caitlin Hodson, Sam Jackson, Charlie Lent, Chinazo Okpalanma, Andy Polio, Abby Seymour and Corey Starbuck. More than 3,600 colleges and universities worldwide award credit, advanced placement, or both based on successful performance on the AP Exams. This includes more than 90 percent of four-year institutions in the United States.


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Hill Headlines

Best-Selling Author Shares Voyage of His Writing Career Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist turned bestselling author Tony Horwitz visited Westminster School Dec. 9 to talk about his “voyage, long and strange” on becoming a writer. He is the author of “One for the Road,” “Baghdad Without a Map,” “Confederates in the Attic,” “Blue Latitudes,” “The Devil May Care: 50 Intrepid Americans and Their Quest for the Unknown,” and “A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World.” Before becoming a full-time author, Tony served as a foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal and a staff writer for The New Yorker. He won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1995 for a Wall Street Journal series on working conditions in low-wage America. Tony says he did not know what he wanted to do for a career following graduation from Brown University. After a faculty advisor suggested he get Tony Horwitz out in the world for a while, he decided to move to Mississippi and become a union organizer. As discontent with this job set in, he found himself “banging away at a typewriter after work.” After selling one of his stories, he then decided to apply to the Columbia University School of Journalism. He was accepted, earned his master’s degree and found that his union organizing experience served him well as a journalist. “I had developed a thick skin and a lack of shame,” he added. While at Columbia, Tony met his wife, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks, and “spent 10 years traveling after her in Australia and the Middle East,” working as a freelance writer for various media outlets. He also developed a sideline writing books. His first book, “One for the Road” recounts his experiences hitchhiking across the Australian Outback. While living in the Middle East, Tony became a war correspondent “without really meaning to become one.” He went on to cover wars and conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Sudan, Lebanon, Bosnia and Northern Ireland. “By the time of the Gulf War, I was an old hand at running around the desert in body armor,” he said. He was one of the first journalists to write about the growing war in Iraq. “The hard part of being a war correspondent,” he added, “is to stop being one.” In 1993, Tony moved back to the United States to live in Virginia and decided to write about American history. He went to Civil

War reenactments, visited battlefields and joined a band of hardcore Civil War reenactors to conduct research for his book “Confederates in the Attic,” which sold very well. “It allowed me to get out of daily journalism and be a book writer,” he said. Tony ended his talk by offering some recommendations to students who may want to become writers. He advised them to learn languages; to write, write and write some more; and to learn how to edit. He also encouraged them to take personal and professional risks because “things rarely turn out like you plan.” He then answered questions from the audience about how personal bias affects news reporting, the risks he took as a war correspondent and his most memorable experiences. After the presentation, he met with students in a number of history classes, some of whom had read portions of “Confederates in the Attic” and had questions about the reenactors mentioned in the book. “I tried to approach them as a journalist and heard what they had to say,” he explained. “As a history nut, I was glad to see people interested in history.” Other students had questions about the future of newspaper journalism, the target audience for his books and how rewarded he feels by writing. “I am glad to be doing it and have a tremendous amount of freedom,” he responded. “But writing can be hard work. You always hope your work will reach people.” Tony Horwitz answers questions from students about his work as a journalist and a book author.

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Hill Headlines

Cushing Entrance Features New Portico The main entrance to Cushing Hall, one of the busiest passageways on campus, was completely renovated last summer to be more welcoming to the hundreds of people who traverse it each day. It now features a new portico, iron stair railings, granite steps, a larger doorway, intricate brickwork and new landscaping. The parents of the Class of 2008 generously contributed $100,000 toward the project on top of their Annual Fund Gifts. Graham Gund ’59, president of Gund Partnership, an award-winning architecture firm that has played a vital role in the development of the campus, developed a schematic design for the new entrance to complement enhancements made to the Keyes House entrance to the Admissions Office in 2006.

Headmaster Graham Cole Announces 2010 Departure Westminster School Headmaster Graham Cole announced Jan. 26 that he will step down as headmaster in June 2010, at the end of his 17th year leading Westminster and his 37th year in secondary education. He was appointed Westminster’s seventh headmaster in 1993, and under his leadership, the school has grown in every respect. “Carol and I have always hoped that we would know when the time would be right to step away, and in our view, that time has come,” said Graham. “By June 2010, the school will have brought its second strategic plan to a successful completion, raised more dollars than all of our previous capital campaigns combined, and spent an inaugural

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year in our magnificent new academic center. Most important to me, however, is that throughout this period of success and progress, we have been able to sustain and enhance our ethos, our identity and our core values. “Looking ahead, I feel strongly that the responsibility for shaping and leading the next strategic plan for the school should fall to a new headmaster and that it will be healthy for the school to have some fresh perspectives.” He added that he and Carol have no definitive future plans at the moment. Chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees John Armour ’76 praised Graham’s many contributions to the school. “While we are saddened by Graham’s and Carol’s decision to retire, we feel blessed that we will have had 17 years of Graham’s outstanding leadership at Westminster,” said John. “It has been a tenure during which we have been able to strengthen the school’s finances dramatically, make major additions to the physical plant and enhance significantly its programs and reputation, all the while remaining faithful to the school’s core mission and values.”

John announced formation of a search committee to identify a new head of school by December of this year. The new headmaster is expected to join Westminster in June 2010, following Graham’s departure. The search committee will be chaired by Bill Egan ’64, P’92, ’95, ’00, ’02, and it will work with a consultant to identify candidates. John pointed out that the search for a new headmaster is among the Board of Trustees most important responsibilities. “We have put in place a thoughtful and methodical process that we believe will result in finding the best individual to replace Graham and who will move Westminster ahead within the framework of its mission and core values,” he said. Graham was appointed headmaster at Westminster following a 20-year tenure at The Lawrenceville School. While there, he served as a history teacher, dean of faculty and associate headmaster in the McPherson Chair, and as interim headmaster.


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Hill Headlines

WALKS Scholars Named The WALKS Foundation has named Westminster students Kierra Jones ’09, Xavier Fowler ’10 and Christopher Sailor ’11 as WALKS Scholars for the 2008-2009 academic year. WALKS is an acronym for five Hartford area schools — Westminster School, Avon Old Farms School, Loomis Chafee School, Kingswood-Oxford School and Suffield Academy — which formed a consortium more than 50 years ago to provide educational opportunities for deserving students from the greater Hartford area. Kierra, a resident of Middletown, Conn., is a returning WALKS Scholar and the Sorenson-Pearson Scholar. At Westminster, she serves as president of the Multicultural Student Union, as a student representative to the Diversity Committee, as a founder of Making a Difference and as an editor and a writer for The Westminster News. She also has participated in school dramatic productions as well as volleyball, soccer, softball and dance. In college, she hopes to major in political science and is considering a career in law, politics or writing. Xavier Fowler, a resident of Bloomfield, Conn., is a Gummere Scholar and participates in the Asian Awareness Association and the Multicultural Student Union. In 2007, he attended the Pieces of the Puzzle Student Leadership Conference. His extracurricular activities include football, martial arts, and track and field. He hopes to major in physiology and anatomy in college. He also has been nominated twice Headmaster Graham Cole with WALKS Scholars Christopher Sailor ’11, Xavier Fowler ’10 and Kierra Jones ’09. for the People to People Student Ambassador Program and has volunteered at an orphanage in Ecuador. Christopher Sailor, also a resident of Bloomfield, plays the WALKS is an acronym for five Hartford area schools — tenor saxophone in the concert Westminster School, Avon Old Farms School, Loomis Chafee School, band, at the Artists Collective in Hartford and occasionally at jazz Kingswood-Oxford School and Suffield Academy — which formed jam sessions. He also participates a consortium more than 50 years ago to provide educational in soccer, track and baseball. He hopes to become a novelist. opportunities for deserving students from the greater Hartford area. In addition to the three WALKS Scholars, Taylor Gould ’09 was named a recipient of the Barnes Award in recognition of his exceptional volunteer service. He has served as president of Serving Our Neighbors (SON), organized the Sneaker Sale for the Walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF), mobilized schoolmates and faculty for JDRF’s fall walk and helped collect hundreds of pounds of food for Foodshare. An outstanding swimmer and captain of his team, Taylor also swam and convinced others to join him in a fundraiser for cancer research. He has worked tirelessly to support the efforts of an alumna doctor to bring clothing to AIDS orphans in Uganda, was instrumental in ensuring the success of the school’s Taylor Gould ’09 annual MS Walk and has spent afternoons at a Hartford magnet school mentoring and working with elementary school children. All four students along with a number of their family members attended the annual WALKS Scholars luncheon Oct. 16 at the Hartford Club. As a part of the program, Kierra made a presentation about her Westminster experience. She spoke about how much she cherishes Westminster traditions and how much she appreciates her relationships with her teachers. She also described how the friendships she has made at Westminster have had a profound effect on her. “The traditions and values of Westminster have taught me about the type of person I would like to be,” she said. She ended by thanking the Sorenson-Pearson family and the WALKS Foundation for giving her this opportunity. “It was your generous donations that have allowed me to meet the people I have and experience an unforgettable two years.”

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Surpassing Hopes and Expectations After an impressive 2007 season, First Field Hockey commenced its 2008 campaign with high hopes and expectations. Not only were these met, but they were surpassed. The team compiled the best results in the program’s history and one of the most memorable playoff runs in Westminster’s history. The Martlets jumped out to a 5-0 start before facing perennial powerhouse Hotchkiss School. While most of the game was close, the Bearcats pulled away in the end. The Martlets went on to lose only one other game during the regular season: a nail-biter to Taft. Highlights included an overtime victory over Deerfield and a big win over Greenwich Academy, the first in Martlet history. Compiling a 15-2 record, the Martlets sealed an appearance in the New England Class A Tournament for the second year in a row. The team was disappointed to learn, however, that its was seeded fifth and thus had to travel to Andover. The girls were determined to prove they deserved better and dominated their hosts in a 2-0 win. In fact, so many fans made the trip, it was as if Westminster had the home field advantage. The win set up a rematch with first-seeded Hotchkiss. As the Martlets prepared for the game, the players and the coaches were not content to be in the semifinals, the greatest previous achievement of a Westminster field hockey team in the competition. Instead, they believed they could beat Hotchkiss and move on to the finals. Hotchkiss had won the New England Championship every year since 2002 and had not lost a game since the 2005 season. This enthusiasm spread among the

More than 100 members of the Westminster community traveled to Greenwich for First Field Hockey’s game against undefeated Hotchkiss in the New England Class A Tournament.

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Westminster student body and encouraged more than 100 members of the community to make the two-hour trip to Greenwich to watch the game.

A Remarkable Matchup The Martlets did not disappoint their fans. In a remarkable matchup against unbeaten Hotchkiss, the Martlets left the opposition stunned as they controlled the pace of the game throughout 60 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. Pushing the game into two rounds of penalty strokes, the second round being "sudden victory," the Martlets fought through each minute and opportunity of the game, but were ultimately defeated by a single penalty stroke to end the game in favor of Hotchkiss. The game was unquestionably the best game of the season for the Martlets, who dominated an undefeated Hothckiss team with their quickness, smart passing and resilient team-oriented play. While it seemed as though Westminster deserved the win and Hotchkiss had escaped, the sheer pride of being associated with such a great effort was evident everywhere. When the game ended, Westminster students streamed onto the field to surround their team and cheer them on. It was as if Westminster had won the game, and in some ways they had. They had proven that not only was Hotchkiss beatable but that the Martlets, on that day, were the better team. The end result everyone knew was a matter of luck. Coach Colleen McDonald summed up the feelings of many when she said the game had been one of the greatest experiences she had ever had in athletics, as a player or a coach.

Compiling a 15-2 record, the Martlets sealed an appearance in the New England Class A Tournament for the second year in a row.

The Key to Success Where did the success come from? It began with a number of key returning players led by standout Emily Walsh ’09, whose dominance in the midfield earned her the honor of being named to the New England All Tournament Team. “Everyone commented on how blown away they were by Walsh’s skill and intensity on the field,” said Coach McDonald. “She was the best player on the field by far.” Other key Sixth Formers included Alie Philip and Ali Bragg on defense and Caroline Moran and Caroline Scott on offense. Newcomers to the team, Paige Decker ’10, Carmen MacDonald ’11, Rachel Farrel ’11 and Rachel Kennedy ’12, also made significant contributions. Together with Sara Uglade ’10, Mallory Mason ’11, and Sara Nolan ’10, they will serve as the foundation for the 2009 squad.

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Davis Scholars Bring Global Perspectives to the Hill

Westminster School welcomed its first four Davis Scholars to campus in September as participants in a pilot program designed to increase and diversify the international and domestic student population of American independent secondary schools. The program, which is funded by the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, aims to promote international understanding and cross-cultural connections across boarding school campuses and around the globe. Westminster is one of five schools participating in the

initiative. The others are Phillips Academy Andover, The Lawrenceville School, the Taft School and Emma Willard School. Westminster’s new scholars are from Ghana; the Czech Republic; Oakland, Calif.; and Afghanistan. Each of them possesses the special qualifications Davis Scholars Program Coordinator Kimberly Pope was seeking in a scholar: demonstrated leadership skills, a competitive academic record, the ability to speak English, pride in his or her culture, the ability to stand up for themselves, and a history of exhibiting Westminster’s core values.

Photo above, back row, left to right: Nabi Hassanzoy ’10, Davis Scholars Program Coordinator Kimberly Pope and Kwaku Akoi ’10; and front row, Martha Zamora ’10 and Vladimir Bok ’10. 14


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Kwaku Akoi ’10

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Accra, Ghana

Kwaku was a Fourth Form student at Achimota School, in Accra, Ghana, when Kimberly Pope visited his school last March with a representative of Education U.S.A. Kimberly was visiting two schools in Accra, Ghana’s largest city, to identify students for possible participation in the Davis Scholars Program at Westminster. Unbeknownst to Kwaku, the head of his school had recommended him for consideration for the program. The opportunity to study in the U.S. was beyond his imagination that day. Kwaku was a leader in his elementary and middle school and an excellent student at his high school of 1,600 students. He lived at home with his mother and younger sister and traveled to school each day by bus. His father died when he was 9 years old. During her visit, Kimberly interviewed Kwaku and was so impressed by his interview that she suggested he become a boarding student at his school in preparation for possibly studying in the U.S. Kwaku moved to his school full time the next month. Two months later, he received a letter inviting him to attend Westminster School as a Davis International Scholar. “I was thrilled and dumbfounded,” exclaimed Kwaku. “The dream of every Ghanaian is to study abroad, especially in the U.S. I wrote an acceptance letter and a letter of appreciation to Mrs. Pope right away.” On Sept. 1, Kwaku’s mother, his younger sister and his school counselor accompanied him to the airport where he boarded a flight to New York. This was his first time traveling outside of his country. Kimberly met him on his arrival and soon had him settled into his new room in Squibb House. “I wasn’t really surprised by the buildings I saw at Westminster because I had checked out the campus on the school’s Web site,” said Kwaku. “However, I was very impressed with the school’s beautiful environment. I had never seen woods before, and the buildings looked more spacious than I imagined.” As a Fifth Former, Kwaku is studying Chemistry Honors, English 5, U.S. History, Algebra II, French II Honors and Introduction to Studio Art. He is especially excited about studying art, one of his major interests. At his school in Ghana, he was a science student and was unable to take art classes. “I look forward to becoming a more

well-rounded student here,” he explained. He also is studying piano with music teacher David Chrzanowski and managed the Second Girls Basketball team during the winter term. He played soccer in the fall. Kwaku is adjusting to life in a new country. “Some of the food dishes are new, and I try to like them,” he said. “Also, my whole life, I have spoken British English, and now I sometimes try to speak American English.” He also thinks the teachers and students at Westminster have a more relaxed relationship than they did at his school in Ghana. “Here you can ask your teachers questions any time,” he observed. Kwaku has only had one major bout with homesickness since his arrival. “Mrs. Pope gave me some Ghanaian coins she had left from her visit to Ghana and that relieved it,” he said.

Kwaku Akoi in his Introduction to Studio Art class. 15


Kwaku spent Thanksgiving with K.D. Ahmed ’08 and her family in Torrington, Conn. They are Ghanaian and visited Kwaku on campus soon after his arrival. “It makes me really happy to speak my native language with them,” he said. He also returned home for winter vacation, where he enjoyed the warmer weather and was able to see family and friends. Looking back now on this major change in his life, Kwaku says he was never nervous about coming to the United States to study. “But sometimes I ask myself if I really am dreaming this,” he said. “Is this reality? Is this me in America studying? I can’t believe it!” Art is one of Kwaku’s major interests. He was unable to study art at his school in Ghana.

Vladimir Bok ’10

Prague, Czech Republic

Vladimir was interviewing for the ASSIST Program (American Secondary Schools for International Students and Teachers Inc.) to study in the United States for a year when Kimberly Pope met him in Prague, while recruiting for the Davis Scholars Program. She identified him as an ideal candidate. At the time, Vladimir was a student at the Czech Republic’s first boarding school, Open Gate, living on campus during the week and at home with his mother and two older siblings on weekends. He was an excellent student at Open Gate, serving as president of his school’s debate club and a leader in its Model United Nations. After Kimberly approached Vladimir and his mother about the Davis Scholars Program, he gladly followed up. When he later heard the news of his selection as a scholar, he says it felt like a miracle had happened to him. Vladimir has many academic interests but favors economics, international affairs and philosophy. At Westminster, he is taking AP English 5, AP U.S. History, AP Economics, AP Calculus AB, and Engineering and Design. He also has been playing a leadership role in starting a debate club and Model United Nations program at Westminster. Previously, he has visited Turkey to participate in the International Debate and Citizen Journalism Institute and has attended the Model United Nations in Prague, Milan and Vienna. “I know the potential of Westminster students in these activities is higher than anything I have experienced before,” he said. “I like helping to develop these new traditions in the Westminster community.” As a participant in Westminster’s delegation to the 35th annual Yale Model United Nations conference in January, he was awarded the position of vice president of Uganda, on one of the Specialized Committees. Vladimir Bok in his Engineering and Design class.

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Vladimir appreciates his Westminster classmates’ motivation for their studies. “The students here prize intellectual activities,” he said. He often brings a European perspective to discussions in his classes. Reflecting on his selection as a Davis International Scholar, Vladimir says he knows it is a life-changing opportunity. “My goal is to prove I deserve this scholarship,” he said. “If I wasted it, it would be unfair to the Davis family, Mrs. Pope, Westminster School and all the others who were not given this chance. Since this has happened to me, I know that anything is possible!”

Vladimir with Engineering and Design teacher Ray Gustafson.

Martha Zamora ’10

Oakland, California

Martha has spent most of her life living in Oakland, Calif., with her three sisters, her brother and her parents, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico. As a sophomore at Saint Elizabeth’s High School in Oakland, she played basketball, participated in the Latina and science clubs and worked closely with the school’s chaplain on community service projects. After school, Martha also attended the Youth Law Academy at Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, where she learned about the legal profession and served as a defense attorney in a mock trial. Martha hopes to become a lawyer and work in the area of social justice.

It was through the law academy that Martha heard about the Davis Scholars Program. After Kimberly visited the academy to identify potential scholars, Martha decided to apply. “I wanted to grow and expand from what I knew and to leave my comfort zone,” said Martha. After what seemed like a long wait, Martha’s mother arrived at school one day in tears of joy about the invitation for Martha to become a Davis Scholar. At Westminster, Martha is taking English 5, U.S. History, Chemistry, Algebra II and AP Spanish. “In Spanish, I am improving my grammar and that is very important to me if I want to help others in the future,” she said. She also participates in the Multicultural Student Union, the EcoTeam, Model United Nations, Gay-Straight Alliance and Speak the World. She played field hockey in the fall and basketball during the winter season. Martha’s parents and one of her sisters visited her on campus for Parents Weekend in October. It was

Martha Zamora

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their first visit to campus. Martha also returned to Oakland for the Thanksgiving and winter breaks and looks forward to performing community service there again this summer. After completing her education, she wants to return to her community and help out in whatever way she can. “If I am going to become a lawyer, I want to help people who need it and provide them a voice,” she said. Martha with Jae Kyung Ahn ’09 in their AP Spanish class.

Nabi Hassanzoy ’10

Paktia, Afghanistan

Nabi spent most of his early life living in Pakistan, where his parents had fled during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 2004, Nabi’s parents, his nine siblings and he returned to their home in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan, in the eastern part of the country. There, Nabi attended Abdul Hai Gardezi School, which includes kindergarten to 12th grade and requires students to attend in shifts. “We used old books and took 16 subjects each year that require a lot of memorization,” he explained. “Since the teachers only make about $50 per month, we might not have a teacher in a subject for a couple of months.

We sometimes paid students in the next higher grade to teach us what they had learned the year before.” Two years ago, Nabi participated in a yearlong screening and testing program for the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program in the U.S., funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Two students were selected from the approximately 4,000 students who applied, and Nabi was one of them. As a YES exchange student, Nabi spent his sophomore year living with a host family in Kane, Pa., and attending the local high school there. After observing his hard work at school and the more than 50 presentations he made in the Kane community about Afghanistan, Nabi’s host mother asked him if he wanted to continuing studying in the U.S. following his exchange year. “In Afghanistan, our schools are pretty much destroyed, and I thought it would be a peaceful environment in which to learn,” he said. His host mother had heard about the Davis Scholars Program and contacted Westminster about Nabi’s possible participation. “I knew I would have to work very hard at Westminster School,” said Nabi. After contacting his family to get their approval, he applied for the scholarship and waited for the news. It came one day in a phone call from his host mother. After completing his exchange year last June, Nabi returned to Afghanistan for the summer to work with other YES alumni in gathering school supplies for an orphanage in Kabul. He also began his summer reading assignments for Westminster School. Nabi Hassanzoy with English teacher Barbara Adams.

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Nabi now resides in Memorial Hall and is taking Biology, U.S. History, Spanish I, Algebra II and English 5. He also serves as co-president of the Multicultural Student Union and says he likes everything about school. “I take every activity seriously and work hard to finish it,” he said. “I sometimes struggle studying in a different language and have to look up words in the dictionary. But the environment for studying here is completely different than at home, where there is war and everybody is threatened.” Nabi has found the Westminster community very welcoming and open to the perspectives he brings to discussions. He was given the Headmaster’s Award for the fall term for his courage, integrity and candor. He also appreciated the arrangements Dave Hovey ’78 made for him to have dinner with a local Afghan family to break the fast after Ramadan. Nabi enjoyed sharing stories with the family about life in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nabi is not sure when he will be able to return to Afghanistan to see his family because of the war there. He may spend summer vacation in Pennsylvania with his host family from the YES program. “When I do return to Afghanistan, I want to help the next generation, so they will not experience the hardship my country is going through today,” he said. “I have two younger brothers who I want to have a good life. I also feel the same thing for every Afghan family and the two million orphans living there. The country needs good leaders and educated people. I want to educate myself and help my country.” Nabi in English 5.

Adjusting to a New Environment Members of the Westminster community were very excited to welcome the Davis Scholars to campus in September. “One of the biggest things the scholars first noticed was that everyone was going out of their way to make them feel comfortable,” recalled Kimberly Pope, who gave them a detailed tour of campus and took them to Boston for the day soon after their arrival. “One of my main goals was to have them bond as a group, so they would always have someone on whom they could depend.” Early in their tenure, Lance Odden, a representative of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, visited the Hill to see Lance Odden how the scholars were adjusting and contributing to the Westminster community. He says he found the scholars loving their Westminster experience and feeling that their voices are being heard. “I think the Davis Scholars Program is one of the most powerful introductions of fundamental change into New England boarding schools, and I can’t think of a

more important time to do it because the United States, unfortunately, has lost some of its luster as an exemplar in the world,” he said. He plans to return to Westminster in May to conduct additional interviews with the scholars, faculty members and other students. While the scholars are at Westminster, their scholarships are jointly funded by the Davis Scholars Program and Westminster School. One of the benefits of the program is that upon graduation from Westminster, the scholars will be eligible for continued scholarship support for four years should they elect to matriculate at any of the Davis United World College Scholars colleges and universities in the United States, now numbering more than 85 leading colleges and universities. While this year’s Davis Scholars are adjusting to their first year at Westminster, Kimberly has been recruiting a second group of scholars for the 20092010 academic year. She recently visited Vietnam and New Mexico. “I am looking forward to identifying an equally illustrious group of scholars that the Westminster community can welcome next year,” she said.

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Educational Links to Hartford

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Public schools in the city of Hartford have been struggling with issues related to poverty and lagging academic performance for many years. A number of recent educational enrichment initiatives are helping students in the city’s school system improve their chances of academic success. Three of those efforts have involved members of the Westminster community: the Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program (CCLP), the Steppingstone Academy Hartford and the Achievement First Hartford Academy. The following stories take a look at each of these initiatives and how they are helping Hartford schoolchildren improve their future educational opportunities.

PHOTO: JAKE KOTEEN PHOTOGRAPHY

Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program Opens Doors of Opportunity By at least one estimate, four out of five Hartford students live in poverty. A recent study also found that only 28 percent of the freshmen who entered Hartford Public High School (HPHS) progressed to their senior year. In the fall of 2001, Westminster faculty member Todd Eckerson wanted to help change those odds by starting a program that would increase the number of HPHS students who graduate. His idea soon gained traction with a number of individuals and organizations and the Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program (CCLP) was incorporated in 2002 with a mission that is best summarized by its motto: “Plan to Graduate. Graduate with a Plan.” Since then, Crossroads has served approximately 200 HPHS students, with current membership approaching 70. The program attempts to identify students before their sophomore year and to support them through graduation, as well as after, if necessary. “We show them where the doors of opportunity are, but they have to walk through,” said Todd, who serves as CCLP’s director. CCLP utilizes a three-pronged approach to help students: summer academic enrichment, after-school meetings, and career and college counseling.

Summer Academic Enrichment Program Over the course of three weeks in August, CCLP’s Summer Enrichment Program aims to build the intellectual confidence necessary for students to flourish in their high school curriculum and beyond. This prong of Crossroads takes

Hartford Public High School seniors Jose Cadiz and Brian Ward are participants in CCLP.


CCLP Director Todd Eckerson.

place at Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford and features morning and afternoon academic enrichment sessions taught by experienced independent school teachers. While faculty members are mostly from Westminster, CCLP also draws teachers from other area schools. Students entering grades 9 through 11 attend workshops in writing, English, history, math and science, and incoming seniors attend workshops in philosophy and college essay development. All students participate in SAT preparation and are provided daily breakfasts and lunches prepared by CCLP volunteers. “Our biggest challenge is making our lessons and activities as effective and engaging as possible,” said Westminster math teacher Tony Griffith, who has been involved with CCLP since its founding and oversees the summer program as its evaluation consultant. “When we help give students confidence, when we help them come up with a plan that they truly own and when we see them go on to college or a postgraduate year, then we know we have succeeded.” Brian Ward, who is a HPHS senior and has attended the summer enrichment session the past three years, thinks CCLP is a great way to get ready for college. “It gets you prepared for the SAT and high school, especially for reading and standing up in front of people,” he said. “I also liked writing my college essay over the summer.” For many students, the meals are a key part of the summer program. Each day, a group of volunteers gathers in the kitchen at Immanuel Congregational Church to prepare five-dozen scrambled eggs, a large box of pancakes, five pounds of sausage and eight pounds of bacon for the CCLP breakfasts. “The CCLP participants love the breakfasts, and we have a lot of fun cooking them,” said Mary Eckerson, a CCLP volunteer.

Faculty member Tim Quinn ’96 in a workshop with students during CCLP’s Summer Academic Enrichment Program.

An Innovative Teaching Method Crossroads utilizes the innovative Lesson Study pedagogy, a teaching method that emphasizes faculty collaboration during the creation and execution of each lesson plan, and active student learning based on intellectual self-reliance, group work and public speaking. In his philosophy workshop at last year’s summer program, Westminster English teacher Tim Quinn ’96 taught “The Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius. “I thought it would fit nicely, especially since it is

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basically a list of thoughts, as opposed to one cohesive argument, which meant students could pick it up, open to any page and get something out of it, regardless of whether or not they had read what was leading up to it,” he explained. “I assigned certain passages for students to read, think about and discuss in small groups. They then presented their thoughts to the larger group.” Student responses to “The Meditations” far exceeded Tim’s expectations. “Kids were reading it during break, finding passages on their own that resonated with them, taking it home, and coming back the next day fired up to talk about it,” he said. “It was quite poignant, knowing how difficult most of their lives are, to see these kids so deeply involved in ancient philosophy. However, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. These kids deal with a lot of adversity and deal with enormous suffering, and in some ways, the whole point of the stoicism of Marcus Aurelius is to help us get through those times, to show us that the ‘inner citadel’ of the mind is more powerful than anything external or material.”

After-School Meetings: Walkabouts and “Sit for SAT”

CCLP volunteer Mary Eckerson reviews sample SAT questions with Hartford Public High School student Angel Hernandez during a “Sit for SAT” session.

Touching base with students after school is another important element of the Crossroads program. During “One Minute Meetings” twice a week, the CCLP director and other adult volunteers maintain regular contact with students and track their academic progress. These brief meetings usually start off with Todd Eckerson and the volunteers shaking hands with the students and engaging in the standard CCLP greeting and response: Q: Who is better than you? A: Nobody!

After each marking period, Todd and the other volunteers also accompany the students on “Walkabouts” to visit with their teachers. “When Todd proposed the Walkabout Initiative, I jumped at the chance to volunteer,” said John Karrer, a former Weaver High School teacher of 35 years, CCLP board member and volunteer. “Having taught for many years, I would like to believe that having someone witness my interactions with my students would not influence them. However, I know

Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program Director Todd Eckerson reflects upon the progress CCLP has made during the past eight years.

T.E.: Early on, my overwhelming thought was “please let CCLP be of some use.” It took us a long while to get CCLP up and going. During the first years, our guiding principle was: “Start small, start slow, but start.” I remember being shocked at just how much work it took simply to put oneself in a position to be of service.

Q: What was the impetus for starting CCLP? T.E.: I guess I would have to say that I felt guilty working at a wonderful place like Westminster when every time I opened the paper, I read about the troubles Hartford experienced. The thing that I could not have predicted is that my work in Hartford has now made me a big proponent of private education. Simply, there must exist schools that are free to do it right. Of course, this puts a heavy burden of responsibility on all of us in the independent school world to do what we do as well as we can. By extension, I believe that part of this responsibility includes the idea that private schools have an obligation to think more broadly about their public purpose.

Q: What was so difficult about starting CCLP? T.E.: Before the actual work with the young people of Hartford could begin, there was the paperwork! The certificate of incorporation, the bylaws, and all the other assorted forms associated with filing for 501(c)(3) or nonprofit status. They were mind-boggling. CCLP was incredibly fortunate to connect with the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative (CULI) at the University of Connecticut Law School. CULI is a nonprofit organization that provides legal services to other nonprofits. And, it just so happens that one of the driving forces at CULI is attorney Barbara McGrath, who is connected to Westminster through her husband, John McGrath ’73, and their daughter, Frances ’06. Quite literally, Barbara and CULI’s Director, Bill Breetz, ushered the Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program into existence. Not only did CULI help us with all of the paperwork, but it also served as our fiscal sponsor. This arrangement allowed us to raise money prior to receiving our formal nonprofit status from the IRS.

Q: As you enter your eighth year working with students in Hartford, what are your earliest memories of CCLP?

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better. When someone is watching, albeit in a supportive and nonthreatening way, both teacher and student want to be on their best behavior to make a good impression. Thus, student comments often start with ‘I know that I haven’t done as much work in your class as I should have,’ ‘I know that I could do a better job of paying attention,’ and ‘How many homework assignments have I missed?’ Teacher responses are often ‘I know that you are capable and able to handle the work,’ ‘Perhaps we could set up a time for you to come after school for some extra help,’ ‘I could give you some outside work to make up for missing assignments,’

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or ‘I could change your seat so you would be less apt to be distracted by your friends in class.’ “In almost every Walkabout that I have conducted, the student and I returned to the room where Todd awaited us, with a plan in hand,” added John. “The plan was an agreement between teacher and student to improve student performance with a series of steps.” Preparation for the SAT continues during the academic year through the “Sit for SAT” initiative, where CCLP volunteers conduct brief one-onone sessions with students to review sample math and critical reading questions for the test. Mary Eckerson, a “Sit for SAT” volunteer, has a lot of praise for these meetings. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of helping CCLP students prepare for their SATs,” she said. “I’ve really been impressed by the dedication of some of these individuals!”

College and Career Counseling Program

CCLP volunteer John Karrer on a “Walkabout” with Hartford Public High School student Matthew Noble.

Q: How did you connect with Immanuel Congregational Church? T.E.: A few years before CCLP came into existence, Immanuel sponsored a lecture by education writer and activist Jonathan Kozol. I remember going to hear him speak there. Later, when I was casting about for ways to gain a foothold in Hartford, I remembered that talk. So, out of the blue, I called Immanuel’s Senior Minister, the Rev. Dr. Edward Horstmann to see if he could provide any suggestions. As it turned out, Immanuel was embarking on an initiative “to take care of its corner” of Hartford. Part of Immanuel’s neighborhood included Hartford Public High School. Through Rev. Dr. Horstmann’s contacts, we were introduced to CULI and to various people within HPHS. A secular interpretation of those early connections would assert that it was all quite serendipitous. A more religious interpretation might refer to it as grace. Q: What were your earliest memories of being at Hartford Public High School? T.E.: I remember that the very first time I walked over to HPHS with the Rev. Dr. Horstmann, I saw a student being led out of the building in handcuffs to a waiting police car. That first visit was also instructive because the principal was called away on an emergency and could not keep his meeting with us. I realized that I was “not in Kansas anymore” — that I was neither in Simsbury nor at Westminster School.

Through its College and Career Counseling Program, CCLP seeks to offer HPHS students the same general type of college and career planning available to students in private schools. It also encourages students to prepare for and to take the SAT. During the spring of their junior year and the summer before their senior year, CCLP students meet three times with CCLP’s College and Career Counseling Consultant, Peter Newman ’80, who is also a college counselor at Westminster School. First, they meet as a large group to review general options and to learn about the Naviance software that is intended to help each student create his or her plan; second, they meet in smaller groups for more advanced training with Naviance; and third, they meet to finalize their strategy. “Our hope is that CCLP students take ownership of their college

Q: How did you manage to recruit your first students? T.E.: We started quite small, with about four or five sophomore boys recommended by one of the guidance counselors. I remember that Westminster teacher José Ruiz ’94 went in with me to do the initial interviews so he could translate from English to Spanish if the need arose. Some years after that initial meeting, one of those original students confessed that he did not know who we were or what we were all about. In fact, he thought he was in some sort of trouble, which explained why he did not answer many of our questions. I also remember arranging for that small group of students to visit Westminster. I secured all of the necessary permissions from their parents and HPHS. I also made arrangements at Westminster to make them feel welcome. Unfortunately, when I went to HPHS to get them, no one showed up. I realized later that what I thought would be a fun trip to a new place was actually quite a terrifying proposition. Q: Those were not particularly auspicious beginnings. T.E.: No. Not at all! Back to: “Start small, start slow, but start.” So much of what CCLP is about involves building relationships. And, that takes time. When you get right down to it, my job involves walking around and talking to people. It’s really not much more complicated or fancy than that. Ironically, one of the things that helped CCLP is that it is relatively

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Faculty member Peter Newman ’80 helps students with college and career planning in a CCLP after-school meeting. plans and process,” explained Peter, who is in his fifth year working at CCLP. “With that, comes the initiative to inform and organize themselves along a timetable that is significantly accelerated, we believe, over what they would have been on otherwise, given the tremendous number of students with whom the very dedicated Hartford Public High School counselors must work.” Peter says he finds it very rewarding when students take a genuine interest in their future by sitting at the computer and working on everything from perfecting their college essay to electronically submitting

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the Common Application. “In the end, our goal for each student is that he or she has choices for college,” he added. “Everyone likes to have choices, and that would have to be one of the greatest rewards for them, after the hard work they have put in.” Jose Cadiz, a senior at HPHS, completed his Common Application last fall with Peter’s assistance. “My football coach, Mr. Bellucci, recommended me to CCLP,” explained Jose. “It has helped me learn life skills, meet new friends, complete my Common Application and study for the SAT. It has also helped me focus, not just on my perspective of learning, but on how my teachers think.” Jose hopes to major in criminal justice in college. CCLP students have gone on to attend many universities and colleges including: the University of Connecticut, Temple University, the University of Hartford, Dickinson College, Endicott College, Manchester Community College and Capital Community College. CCLP also maintains a partnership with Career Beginnings, a program associated with the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education that helps students pursue their education beyond high school by providing mentors and a wide array of workshops. By also taking advantage of the Career Beginnings’ offerings, CCLP students increase the range of opportunities available to them.

Bridge to Hartford Initiative A unique aspect of CCLP is that it promotes the idea of a postgraduate year at an independent school, where students can continue to build their academic and athletic resume as well as prepare for the rigors of college. The Bridge to Hartford Initiative (BTHI) aims to strengthen ties between the independent school world and Hartford-

“When you factor in the widespread support CCLP has received both from the Westminster faculty and the larger Westminster community, it is clear that this is a private school that has embarked on a public purpose. If I were an alumnus, I would be proud of how Westminster has extended itself for Hartford.” small and does not cost a lot of money to run. In addition, because Westminster loans my services to CCLP, we have had some extra breathing room. Yes, there is always the stress of raising money, but in some ways we are free of the full force of that pressure. And thus, we have had time to watch, to listen, to learn and to adapt ourselves to what needs to be done in order to be of use. In turn, being flexible has allowed us to be around for as long as we have. And, believe me, we have needed all this time merely to begin to get it right. I think people are just now starting to see us as a resource, not as a threat. In a lot of ways, it has taken this long to earn people’s trust. Q: How would you characterize Westminster School’s involvement in CCLP? T.E.: Westminster deserves a lot of credit. How many schools would

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allow one of its veteran teachers the time to work so closely with kids at another school? By allowing CCLP to exist, Graham Cole and the Westminster Board of Trustees provide powerful evidence that private schools like Westminster can have meaningful relationships with innercity public schools. When you factor in the widespread support CCLP has received both from the Westminster faculty and the larger Westminster community, it is clear that this is a private school that has embarked on a public purpose. If I were an alumnus, I would be proud of how Westminster has extended itself for Hartford. Q: You mentioned that CCLP has made an effort to be adaptable. In what ways have you had to adapt? T.E.: When we first started CCLP, there were grand visions of tutoring and mentoring programs. One of the many lessons we learned very early


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region high schools. While the three-pronged CCLP approach is limited to scholarships to attend independent schools as postgraduates. Over the HPHS students, the BTHI seeks to extend the scope of Crossroads by years, CCLP has, in one form or another, helped place such students at: allowing its director to help place worthy student-athletes at prep Cheshire Academy, Hyde School at Woodstock, Loomis-Chaffee School, schools, primarily as postgraduates. Kent School, Salisbury School, Suffield Academy, The Gunnery, “CCLP has given many students the opportunity to acquire Westminster School, and Wilbraham and Monson Academy. academic skills they lack, as well as develop quintessential social and life “CCLP prepared me for Westminster, where I learned academic skills,” said Paul Meyers, head wrestling coach and physical education skills that have allowed me to do well in college and life skills that will teacher at Hartford Public High School. “The postgraduate year allows allow me to be successful in the real world,” said Brian Sanford ’06, a these students to experience life outside of the city and to build upon junior at Temple University. their writing, reading and literature foundation. The PG year has also created a broader access to college acceptance and Division I athletic Generous Support Brightens Futures scholarships.” CCLP is an independent, 501(c)(3) organization governed by a board Harry Bellucci, head football coach and of directors and made possible through the physical education teacher at Hartford Public High generous support of numerous individuals, School, has similar praise for the impact a PG year foundations and institutions. Westminster can have on a student. “All people who have had School loans the services of Todd Eckerson to contact with Todd and the CCLP program are better CCLP in his role as its director. for it, including me,” he said. “CCLP over the years Looking back on CCLP’s progress over the has placed several of my football players into a PG years, Coach Meyers sums it up best. “Shortly year. Without exception, every single one has after 9/11, Todd Eckerson walked into Hartford benefited from their PG year immeasurably. For the Public High School and began creating this students at HPHS, it is a godsend. Living in an wonderful program that bridges the gap environment so vastly different from their inner-city between inner-city youth and prep schools and surroundings allows an awakening about the world colleges,” he said “Since then, the CCLP outside the tough streets of Hartford.” program has literally saved and changed the As a result of the Bridge to Hartford Initiative lives of many inner-city kids. It has created a in 2008, six students from Hartford’s high schools Todd Eckerson with Paul Meyers, map and a pathway for these young people to head wrestling coach and physical — Bulkeley High School, Hartford Public High reach their full potential.” education teacher at Hartford School and Weaver High School — received Public High School.

on was that we were working with an older group of kids. And that meant that during both the summer and the school year, we were competing for the students’ time, whether it was athletics, or other programs, or jobs, or providing day care for younger siblings. Thus, the grand visions evolved into “One Minute Meetings” twice a week after school, so the students could be in CCLP and still meet all of their other commitments. However, when grades come out these “One Minute Meetings” turn into “Walkabouts” where an adult volunteer walks with each CCLP student to visit his or her teachers. Recently, we began the “Sit for SAT” initiative, which is an offshoot of the principle behind the “One Minute Meeting” — short meetings on a sustained and regular basis in which an adult CCLP volunteer sits with either an individual student or a small group of students to review for the SAT. In brief, CCLP seeks to adjust itself to the realities of HPHS. Q: What would you say is the single most important thing CCLP does? T.E.: Home visits. This is just an extension of walking around and talking. But, this helps the parents trust us. After a home visit, they can put a face with a voice on the phone. It’s the crucial part of the relationship building that is at the heart of CCLP. A close second to the home visits are the breakfasts and lunches that we serve during our summer enrichment sessions. Yes, I am very

proud of the quality of the teaching that goes on at CCLP during the summer. The three-hour classes and CCLP’s emphasis on student selfreliance as well as teacher collaboration and team teaching have produced some truly magical moments. But, my suspicion is that what really draws the students in is the food, which is prepared by Mary Eckerson and a whole cohort of volunteers, mostly from the Westminster School community. Q: What are the challenges ahead for CCLP? T.E.: I’ve been touting our smallness and our leanness, but that is also a regret. The problem with being small and lean is that there are only so many kids you can help. Yes, CCLP’s graduation rate has been good. And, yes, we’ve had a number of CCLP students go off to wonderful colleges and universities. And, yes, through our Bridge to Hartford Initiative, we have helped place 19 students at various independent schools. However, when you get right down to it, CCLP is just a drop in the bucket when compared to the scope of the problems in Hartford. On an optimistic note, CCLP has learned a lot of lessons that can be easily replicated. Other interested groups would have much steeper learning curves than ours. I would relish the opportunity to join with other independent schools or organizations and expand the work that CCLP has begun.

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A New Path to a Better Future On summer evenings when they were in middle school and their friends were out having fun, Atesha Gifford ’12 and Carissa Shannon ’12 were at home studying. On Saturday mornings when others were sleeping in, they were in class. And on school days when regular classes ended, they traveled to another school to take additional classes. Why were they working so hard at such a young age? Atesha and Carissa were among the first group of scholars to participate in the new Steppingstone Academy Hartford, a demanding 14-month academic enrichment program designed to prepare highly motivated seventh and eighth grade students from Hartford for the rigors of applying to and attending Connecticut’s leading independent schools. As Steppingstone Scholars, they attended two six-week summer sessions at Trinity College, a three-day-a-week after-school program and a Saturday-school program. While their friends were relaxing, they were preparing for the SSAT, strengthening their study skills and taking enrichment classes in English, history and math. They also were meeting regularly with a mentor and learning about life at independent schools. All of their hard work paid off. After applying to a number of independent schools last year, they were offered admission by their first choice — Westminster School.

Steppingstone Academy Hartford The Steppingstone Academy Hartford is the primary initiative of the Hartford Youth Scholars Foundation (HYSF), which was created in 2005 to strengthen the City of Hartford by developing and implementing academic programs that increase college access for Hartford schoolchildren. It is part of a major school reform initiative of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez to

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“open the doors of economic opportunity for Hartford residents by increasing the number of Hartford youth obtaining bachelor’s degrees.” Atesha and Carissa were selected for the academy in seventh grade based upon their impressive academic performance, their strong motivation and their financial circumstances. Atesha Gifford ’12 Atesha Gifford was attending Rawson School in Hartford when all five of her teachers recommended her for the Steppingstone Academy Hartford. She had moved around quite a bit in her life, including Florida and New York City, and had been attending school in Hartford for two years. She didn’t know much about private schools, but she had a strong desire to attend college. “I always had a goal to attend college,” she said. “My mom instilled it in me at a very young age. The academy presented me with a more difficult way to get to college, but it would pay off in the long run.” She soon found herself working unbelievably hard as a scholar in the new academy. “There were plenty of times I wanted to give up, but my mom wouldn’t let it happen,” said Atesha. “She wouldn’t let me sell myself short.” Atesha says one of the most difficult parts about the program was having homework in the summer when the rest of her friends did not. “It took some adjusting to,” she said. “There was a lot of work, so I had to manage my time well.” When it came time to apply to an independent school, Atesha submitted applications to eight schools. She visited them all but especially liked her interview with Dana Chapin in the Westminster


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Admissions office. “It was a cold day and Ms. Chapin gave me some hot chocolate and started a fire,” recalled Atesha. “We then had a nice talk. I also got to see the model of the new academic center and take a campus tour with a very good tour guide. After we were done, I was in love with Westminster.” Months later, when she heard the news of her admission to Westminster, she says she “cried right on the spot.” As a Third Former, Atesha lives in Milliken House and is taking Algebra I, Physics, Modern World History, English and French I. Her activities include field hockey, basketball, the Multicultural Student Union and Speak the World. She has found life on the Hill even better than she expected. After initial concerns about living in a dorm and sharing a bathroom with a group of other girls, she has adjusted well. “I have made some really good friends,” she said. Atesha Gifford ’12 with French teacher Sara Deveaux. Atesha’s long-term goal is to study law. She never thought attending a boarding school might serve on its board of directors, and along with many other individuals and be the path to that goal. “I thought I would go to a public school and then sponsors, have contributed to its success. go off to college,” she said. “I never expected it could happen like this.” As the foundation was getting off the ground, Tom Francoline, who serves as its vice chairman and treasurer, helped get Connecticut Carissa Shannon ’12 independent schools involved in achieving Mayor Perez’s goal to increase Although Carissa lives in Hartford, she attended public schools in the number of Hartford students attending college. He and Kelvin Roldan, Plainville for 10 years. “I was never challenged at school, and my mom was looking for me to do something else,” explained Carissa. “When I was recommended for the Steppingstone Academy, I thought I would give it a try, even though my teachers told me it would be very demanding. I thought they were over exaggerating, but it turned out they weren’t. It was very hard academically, emotionally and physically but worth it.” Carissa applied to four independent schools and Westminster was her favorite. “When I visited Westminster, I could see it was a community, and everyone talks to one another and is optimistic,” she said. “I also realized people at Westminster are not afraid to be smart, and I liked that.” She was overjoyed when she got the news of her admission. One of the most important lessons she learned at the academy was to ask for help if she needs it. “Before, I never asked for help and always gave help to my friends, ” she said. “When I got to Westminster, I decided you definitely need to ask for help, especially in geometry.” As a Third Former, Carissa is studying English 3, Physics Honors, Geometry, French and Introduction to Studio Art. She played field hockey in the fall and basketball in the winter. Her other activities include the Multicultural Student Union, Speak the World, and Black and Gold. Carissa has nothing but good things to say about her Steppingstone Academy experience. She made many friends there and says the best part is that it “helped me become who I wanted to become academically.”

Community Involvement From the Beginning Members of the Westminster community have been involved with HYSF since the start. Current trustees Tom Francoline P’96 and Moy Ogilvie ’86, former Westminster trustee Karl Krapek, faculty member Todd Eckerson and current parent Gwen Smith-Iloani P’11 all

Carissa Shannon ’12

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students and staff, I grew tremendously as a teacher, a citizen and an individual,” he said. “The disparate challenges and joys that I encountered have changed my way of thinking and being in many ways.”

Adapting to Boarding School Life To better acquaint Steppingstone Scholars with what life might be like at a boarding school, Westminster has invited the entire class of scholars and their parents to campus the past two years. “Our primary purpose is to personalize the experience in the hope that Westminster will stand out for them,” said Westminster’s Director of Multicultural Affairs and Associate Director of Admissions Melinda Wright. Melinda also stays in regular contact with the academy. Last year, she attended Atesha and Carissa’s matriculation ceremony, and she visited the academy’s summer session. She also participates in regular meetings between independent school representatives and staff of HYSF to talk about the ongoing progress of the scholars. Even though the scholars are at independent schools, they Alex Martin ’10 leads Steppingstone Scholars and their parents on a and their families continue to receive regular guidance and Westminster tour. support from the HYSF. Westminster Admissions Director Jon Deveaux has tremendous praise for the work HYSF does in preparing the mayor’s assistant, visited 17 independent schools and secured students for independent school life. “Since its inception, the Hartford memorandums of understanding for millions of dollars in full and partial Youth Scholars Foundation has taken a thoughtful, thorough approach to scholarships. preparing its students for the huge leap from the public middle schools in With this commitment in hand, the HYSF then connected with the Hartford to independent schools like Westminster. Thanks to the program, Steppingstone Foundation in Boston to create the Steppingstone Atesha and Carissa arrived on the Hill with a stronger academic skill Academy Hartford in the summer of 2007. Steppingstone, which also has base, but also with an understanding of the magnitude of the challenges academies in Boston and Philadelphia, develops and implements they would face. They have adapted remarkably well to life at programs that prepare urban schoolchildren for educational opportunities Westminster, demonstrating grit and grace in the classroom and beyond, that lead to college. and becoming integral members of the community.” “Steppingstone has an unbelievably successful track record of college matriculation and graduation,” said Tom. “They were absolutely key to us getting to where we are in such a short period of time. We had a very successful first class of Steppingstone Scholars, who as far as we know, are adapting well and working hard.” For the academy’s first class, there were 400 inquiries, 150 applications and 27 scholars selected. Twenty of those scholars are now attending 14 different independent schools in Connecticut. “The input from independent schools has been incredibly positive,” added Tom. “It is based largely around the idea that all of the schools identified diversity as a very important objective of the nature of their student body.” Moy Ogilvie, who serves on the executive committee of the HYSF, is also delighted with early accomplishments of the academy. “If the first year is any indication of what this program can do, it is great for the private school community, and it is great for Hartford,” she said. “It helps Connecticut private schools identify kids in their own backyard who have the potential to succeed and thrive academically but who may not have the resources. The kids are so hardworking and deserving. They understand, even at age 13, that they are getting a potentially unique opportunity in terms of their education, and it will be life changing.” Welbith Mota ’06, a junior at Connecticut College, served as an Steppingstone Scholars and their parents meet with Associate Director of Admissions Mara Henze to learn intern at the academy last summer and says it was the most satisfying more about Westminster. job he has ever had. “Throughout my two months working with the

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Putting Achievement First Growing up in Hartford, Conn., Gretchen Unfried ’97 was aware of the disparity between the education she was receiving at Westminster School and the education her neighborhood friends were receiving at local schools. Today, she is trying to bridge that gap as a first grade teacher at a new charter school in Hartford, Achievement First Hartford Academy. The new school is part of a major reform plan for the Hartford school system and was made possible through a partnership of public and private sources. It is operated by Achievement First, a nonprofit charter school management organization, and is modeled after Achievement First’s highly successful academy in New Haven. Achievement First also manages schools in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Bridgeport, Conn. In its first year of operation, Achievement First Hartford Academy accepted students in kindergarten, first and fifth grades, and it has plans to grow in future years to include kindergarten through 12th grade. All of the students in Gretchen’s first grade class are called scholars and are referred to as the Class of 2024, the year in which they will graduate from college. Each classroom is also named after a college or university. “There is a total mindset and culture of the school that graduating college is a given,” explained Gretchen. “Every student song and cheer ends with the phrase ‘and graduate college.’” Students are accepted into the academy through a random lottery. Their school day lasts from 7:15 a.m. until 4 p.m. four days a week, with a 1 p.m. dismissal on Fridays, allowing for 2.5 hours of faculty professional development. All students must also attend a three-week summer enrichment academy.

At the time of admission, all scholars and their parents must sit down for a “family chat” with a school representative about what the family should expect from the school and what the school expects from the scholar and his or her family. After the chat, the parents, the student and the school’s representative all sign a contract. The parents promise to look over their child’s homework every day and to make sure their child is

Gretchen Unfried ’97 with one of the scholars at Achievement First Hartford Academy.

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during snack time, they read a book; and during cooperative play, they participate in team-building games,” said Gretchen. “We try to be strategic in everything we do in order to maximize learning opportunities.” When Gretchen was a student at Westminster, she never thought about teaching as a career. It was after she graduated from Smith College that she joined Teach for America and soon found herself teaching first grade in a large public school in the South Bronx. While there, she earned two master’s degrees, one in teaching and the other in educational administration. She then taught three years in a charter school in Harlem, before Gretchen, above and below, teaching scholars in her first grade class. deciding to return to her roots in Hartford. When she heard about Achievement First’s plans to open a on time each morning, and the scholars promise to work hard, to do their school near where she grew up, she jumped at the opportunity to be a homework every night, to come to school every day and to exhibit the part of the new initiative. school’s REACH values: respect, enthusiasm, achievement, citizenship and Gretchen says her desire to serve her community stems in large part hard work. from her Westminster experience. “Westminster does an excellent job of Achievement First Hartford Academy has set very high achievement ensuring that students are active members of their community and in goals: 95 percent of students reading at or above grade level and 95 service beyond themselves,” she said. “Knowing what it is like to have an percent of scholars showing 80 percent or above mastery in math. In excellent education, it is essential that we ensure an equal opportunity order to achieve these goals, every minute of its school day has a for our scholars in Hartford.” purpose. “During bathroom breaks, our scholars practice sight words;

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Giving Back to Their Alma Mater Among Westminster School’s 89 faculty members are 12 alumni who bring a special affection for life on the Hill to their roles as teachers, coaches, deans, admissions officers, college counselors, development officers and advisors. While they may have arrived at Westminster at different times and for different reasons, today they share a common desire to give back to the school that shaped their lives in so many ways. Some were in the same graduating classes, many were schoolmates, some coach together and one has worked on campus for nearly half a century.

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Alan Brooks ’55, P’89, ’91, ’96 Alan Brooks has been a part of the faculty at Westminster for 49 years. “I received a phone call in 1959 from Headmaster Pete Keyes asking me if I would be interested in becoming Westminster’s first director of admissions,” said Alan. “I had been close to Pete as a student and viewed the offer as one I could not refuse.” Today, Alan looks back at a career that has taken him from admissions director, to director of development to senior development director. Early in his career, he taught English, was a corridor supervisor and served as the school’s fire marshal, a responsibility he says required a lot more work than people realized since the town fire service was much slower than it is today. He also has coached track throughout his tenure. As a prospective student in 1951, Alan played almost no part in choosing Westminster. “The selection process was managed completely by my parents, which was common in those days,” he said. “I visited only

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Westminster, met with Headmaster Milliken and was admitted on the spot.” As a student, Alan was a school prefect and participated in football, basketball, track, the John Hay Society, the Dance Committee and the yearbook. He also was a member of the Gazelles, a song and dance group he says required its members to weigh more than 200 pounds, and the Harmonotones, a singing group made up of the worst voices in the school. “My first two years were not easy and some scary talk from Prof. Milliken near the end of my FourthForm year propelled me into what proved to be two highly fulfilling final years at Westminster,” he recalled. He says it was the collective influence of many faculty members who got him interested in his education and in eventually pursing secondary education as a career. “It was less what I learned from my teachers, as it was the strong sense I had of their abiding interest, care and concern for me,” he explained. Alan feels his student perspective has infused everything he has done as a faculty member and that it is impossible to separate the two experiences. “Working with kids and their parents in admissions, I had a deeper understanding of the experience they were considering, and in my development work, I am interacting for the most part with alumni with whom I went to school or I admitted

to Westminster,” he said. “We have common ground.” Although many things have changed about Westminster since Alan was a student, he says its soul has remained the same. “Westminster is and has always been a community that is cohesive, caring and challenges us to be the best people we can be,” he said. “Building character, as long as I have known the school, has been at the very core of what we do. Grit and grace is as familiar to the student in the 1940s as it is to students today.” Reflecting back on a lifelong involvement with Westminster, Alan says he has no regrets. “I began my faculty experience as an unsophisticated 23-year-old, uncertain about his future in education or at Westminster, and 49 years later, I can say categorically that I can’t imagine doing anything else that would have given me as much satisfaction or sense of fulfillment. Serving something bigger than myself has made all the difference to me. And that is what Westminster is all about.”


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David Werner ’80, P ’10, ’11 Dave Werner has worn many hats since he was appointed to the Westminster faculty in 1986: admissions officer, corridor supervisor, math teacher, director of College Counseling, director of the Multicultural Student Union, and coach of baseball, basketball and tennis. Currently, he is director of Alumni and Parent Programs and head coach of First Girls Tennis. Dave first considered attending Westminster as a student after his family moved to a new town, where he felt he had a lack of roots in that community. He knew about Westminster from his uncle, Headmaster Don Werner, and decided to apply. As a Martlet, Dave played baseball, basketball and soccer, and was a corridor prefect and member of Black and Gold. He has nothing but praise for the high standards his teachers and coaches held in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the dormitory. “Even as a selfabsorbed teenager, I was able to

recognize the passion and commitment they had for Westminster,” he said. While in his senior year at the University of Vermont and interning at Dean Witter, Dave realized that sitting behind a desk was not what he wanted to do after graduation. “It was after some reflection and a fruitful conversation with my Uncle Don that I pursued becoming a boarding school teacher,” said Dave. His first appointment was a position at Eaglebrook School. A year and a half later and with some experience under his belt, he decided he had something to contribute to his alma mater and applied for a faculty position at Westminster. Dave believes his Westminster student experience is critical to his current work in alumni and parent relations. “Having a great sense of pride in the school makes it easy for me to tell the school’s story,” he said. “Equally important, I enjoy reconnecting with alumni who

are at various points in their lives — the young alumni who are fresh out of college and eager to take on the working world; the alumni from my first 10 years on the faculty who are settling down and starting families; and those from my era, who now have children coming through the admission process. I also like to speak with alumni who were here before me to hear about Westminster ‘back in the day.’”

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Elizabeth Wilde Aber ’88 Elizabeth Wilde Aber grew up in Simsbury in a family with close ties to Westminster. Her two older siblings, Lisa ’81 and Tom ’85, attended Westminster and her father, Peter Wilde, was the chairman of the Westminster Board of Trustees. “It was a natural move for me to look at Westminster when I was in eighth grade,” she explained. As a Westminster student, her first love was music. She was in the Camerata, was president of the Chorale, performed in many of the school musicals, played varsity soccer, danced and was captain of the girls track team. She credits faculty members Todd Eckerson and Erik Nielsen as having a profound effect on her future. “Taking Todd’s Ethical Philosophy class expanded my views, challenged me to think and to question, and stretched my idea of who I was,” she said. “He also served as a fantastic advisor and guided me through what was not always an easy road.” She credits Erik Nielsen, the director of the chorus, with pushing her to pursue her musical aspirations. Elizabeth’s return to Westminster was somewhat of a happenstance. In 1993, while she was studying part time for her master’s degree at the Hartt School of Music and doing some promotional work for the Centennial Theater Festival, Headmaster Don

Werner talked with her about joining the faculty. She served on the faculty for a year, teaching English, supervising a corridor, assisting with theater productions and helping coach track. She then decided to pursue her master’s degree and teaching certification full time. After spending years teaching music in public schools and taking a break to stay at home with her three children, Elizabeth returned to Westminster in 2002 to work part time in Admissions. She has been married to math teacher Dan Aber for 13 years. Last June, Elizabeth took on new responsibilities as director of

operations for the Alumni and Development Office. In that role, she is responsible for event planning, managing an office of 16 colleagues and assisting with the school’s stewardship program. “The most rewarding part of my work is the day-to-day contact with alumni, parents and friends of the school,” she said. “Making connections with others to whom Westminster has been so important is an easy and important part of my job. I have had the good fortune of seeing Westminster through the eyes of a student, faculty member and, hopefully, as a future parent.”

Newell Grant ’99 Newell serves as associate director of major gifts and coordinator of the Young Alumni Challenge program, which frequently take him on the road to visit alumni. “The thought of traveling the country to make Westminster a stronger version of itself was the best possible job I could think of at the time I became a faculty member in 2005,” he said. “I want to ensure that Westminster is around for my grandchildren by strengthening the school’s alumni network and helping secure gifts for various programs and initiatives.” 34


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As an alumnus, Newell believes his first-hand experience with Westminster’s academic demands and traditions is advantageous in his work with alumni and students. “I know what it’s like as a Third Former to trudge through the slush, tie your necktie and cram for an exam on the way to your 8 a.m. class,” he said. “I also know what it feels like to beat Avon Old Farms School in anything.” Newell grew up in Littleton, Colo., where few in his eighth grade

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class were looking at boarding schools on the East Coast. He looked at six schools and decided to attend Westminster because of its size and low ratio of students to faculty. Although he played lower team hockey, soccer and lacrosse as a student, he never considered himself an athlete. “Realizing that I was not going to make an impact on the community on the athletic fields or in the hockey rink, I focused my time on the chapel program,” he said. He served as

president of the John Hay Society, as the Junior Prefect, as a member of the Outing Club and as a photographer for the Westminster News. “My overall experience was one of great memories and strong, deep friendships,” he recalled. Today, the most rewarding part of his work is “finding someone out there who has the same feelings for Westminster that I do.”

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Tim Joncas ’00 As a Sixth Former, Tim Joncas was voted the most likely to return to Westminster. “I guess I didn’t hide my passion for the school very well,” he explained. Thus it was no surprise in 2004, when he returned to Westminster to serve on the faculty after graduating from Trinity College. “I wanted to do for kids what so many other faculty had done for me as a student,” he explained. Tim serves as associate director of Admissions, head coach for First Boys Hockey and as a corridor supervisor in Memorial Hall. He grew up in Branford, Conn., and chose Westminster because it was the one school he visited where he observed a strong commitment to community and involvement. “I remember my tour and my tour guide, as well as my interviewer and the

office I was interviewed in, which is, coincidentally, the office I now occupy,” he said. “Westminster felt right, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.” As a student, Tim participated in John Hay, student government and Black and Gold. He also was a dorm proctor and a tri-varsity captain in soccer, hockey and lacrosse. “There were so many teachers who had a profound impact on my life,” he recalled. “They taught me to do things the right way, not to cut corners and to really value the learning process as well as the outcome.” His coaches were also important role models for him. “It is uncommon in sports to be surrounded by coaches who can find the balance between being competitive and preserving the foundation of character, integrity and sportsmanship,” he said. “That is the philosophy on which Westminster

athletics is built, and what these coaches instilled in me as a young man. Needless to say, I bring this same philosophy to my coaching and that is very much what sets our athletic program apart from many others.” Tim exudes his passion for Westminster as an admissions officer and as a coach. “From an admissions standpoint, I am able to convey to prospective students and their families exactly what characterizes Westminster as a school community,” he said. “And as a coach, I am able to convey to our team members that they are part of a tradition, something bigger than just the moment, and that they must value and respect that tradition.”

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O F F I C E

Peter Briggs ’71, P’01, ’05, ’07 Peter Briggs grew up in New Canaan, Conn., and when looking at boarding schools, was attracted to Westminster because of its size. What sold him on the Hill, however, was his prospective student interview. At the time, Headmaster Don Werner tried to meet as many of the potential applicants as possible. “Sensing my nervousness, he suggested that we go throw a baseball in Keyes garden to finish the interview,” explained Peter. “I thought that was pretty cool and the fit was right.” As a student, Peter played football, hockey and tennis. He also wrote for the school newspaper and was very active with the SPHERE program, assisting kids in Hartford. “It was not an easy time for prep schools given the tumultuous events of the late ’60s,” he recalled. “Many of the students were anti-establishment, broke rules and were expelled. This was difficult to witness and navigate through. I think my intense focus on athletics and classroom activities shielded me from these concerns to a certain degree. Plus, schoolwork was never easy for me. I had to work hard to make the grade.” 36

Although many faculty members influenced his formative years at Westminster, Peter says Dick Hopley took a great deal of interest in him and greatly affected his career path. “Although not my official advisor, in many ways, he served in that capacity by always encouraging me and making me feel good about what I had to offer,” said Peter. After graduating from Westminster and Bowdoin College, Peter returned to Westminster in 1975 to teach economics in the History Department. He liked the idea of working with kids, shouldering a variety of responsibilities and introducing economics to high school students. Over the years, Peter has taught in the History Department, worked as a school dean and a dorm supervisor for more than two decades, coordinated various student organizations and coached a variety of sports including

football, golf, lacrosse, varsity hockey and varsity tennis. Currently, he serves as a dean of students, teaches economics and serves as head coach of Second Boys Hockey and First Boys Tennis. Peter’s student experience is always forefront in his mind in his roles as a teacher and a dean. “Not to say that nonalumni aren’t invested, but that connection to the institution is very strong,” he explained. “You want the school to succeed in the short- and long-terms.” One of the things he likes most about his work is seeing the kids who are struggling as students or citizens turn things around and succeed. “Westminster has always been a values-oriented school, where students are asked to act in a polite and respectful manner,” he said. “We ask a lot of our students in this regard and most meet the challenge with flying colors. I’m very proud of how our students navigate through all of this, particularly when the culture off Williams Hill often is at odds with the values we try to instill.”


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Nancy Urner-Berry ’81, P’11 It was while she was attending Granby High School in Granby, Conn., that Nancy Urner-Berry realized that in order to have a better shot at a good college, she needed to start working harder in the classroom. Her parents had encouraged her to look at private schools in eighth grade, but she was resistant. After a change of heart, she looked at Westminster and decided it would provide her the very challenges she needed. As a Martlet, Nancy soon found herself getting to know her teachers well and becoming more motivated in the classroom and on the athletic fields. She went on to earn awards in mathematics, science and general scholarship and to participate in field hockey, swimming and lacrosse for the first time. She points to faculty member Michael Jackson as the person who instilled in her a love of math. “I went to college thinking I would major in math until I hit linear algebra, and then I switched to chemistry as a major, since I had very much enjoyed studying that with Ken Stone,” she said. After graduation from Middlebury College, she did not want to pursue research or a master’s program right away, so she thought she would try teaching at Westminster.

She was appointed to the Westminster faculty in 1985, took a leave to work at a day school and then returned to Westminster to fill a vacancy left when faculty member Bill Sistare moved to Philadelphia. He later returned to Westminster and, today, they work side by side in the Deans’ Office. In addition to serving as a dean of students, Nancy teaches chemistry and math. She also is married to Scott Berry, head of the Science Department. During her Westminster career, she has lived on corridors and has coached field hockey, swimming and lacrosse. “Here I am still!” she exclaimed. She says the most rewarding part of her work is spending time with students, especially outside of the

E N G L I S H

classroom, when she is providing extra help or chatting after check-in in the dorms. She says that she is reminded regularly that one thing that has stayed the same since her student days at Westminster is that the faculty expect students to do their best academically and also to try new things. “This often involves making new activities fit into a day that often feels about three hours too short,” she added.

D E P A R T M E N T

Tim Quinn ’96 After teaching in a number of other private schools in New England and in Korea, Tim Quinn was appointed to the Westminster faculty in 2006 to teach English and Moral Philosophy. He also serves as a corridor supervisor in Memorial Hall, assistant coach of First Boys Hockey and head coach of Third Boys Lacrosse. He had an idea in his SixthForm year at Westminster that he

might want to pursue teaching at a boarding school. Tim grew up in Newington, Conn., and as a prospective student felt very comfortable at Westminster during his revisit. “Westminster also had the best hockey program at the time,” he added. As a Martlet, he played varsity hockey, football and lacrosse, served on student council, was a dorm prefect and worked on the yearbook and school newspaper. “I made some great friends, had some amazing teachers who inspired

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me to become a teacher, and experienced great moments on the athletic fields with my teammates,” he said. “Todd Eckerson and Michael Cervas were the most inspirational teachers I ever had, and I find it unbelievable, as well as an honor, to be teaching alongside them today.” As a faculty member, Tim says he often finds himself telling students how much harder he had it when he was a student on the Hill. “I laugh every time I start a statement with, ‘back in ’96,’ but it doesn’t stop me from doing that over and over again,” he confessed.

C O L L E G E

C O U N S E L I N G

Peter Newman ’80 In his 19 years on the faculty, Peter Newman ’80 has filled many roles: teacher, basketball and lacrosse coach, advisor, corridor supervisor, development associate, assistant athletic director, athletic director, dean of students and college counselor. Currently, he is a Spanish teacher, a college counselor, the admissionathletic liaison and the head coach of First Boys Lacrosse and Second Boys Basketball. Peter grew up in Burlington, Conn., and says it was the prompting

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of neighbors and his father’s recollections of playing basketball in the Pettee Gym in the 1960s that first led him to Westminster School. He describes his student life at Westminster as invigorating and filled with an alphabet soup of activities: sports, John Hay, student government and the Westminster News. “I never imagined that I could look forward to going to school every day, well, almost every day,” he explained. “The classes were

challenging, but the support, which I had to learn to use, was not only available but expected. I found that teachers and coaches held us to new and different expectations from those at a much bigger school, which my parents thought was worth the $2,800 tuition.” Peter credits a number of teachers for helping shape his future aspirations. “Playing for Scott Berry made me want to be a coach, learning from José Ilzarbe made me want to study Spanish, listening to Richard Miller made me want to be a good citizen and observing Don Werner made me want to be a good leader,” he said. “And, though I could not sing a note, Ann and Larry Gilman made me realize that there was other wonderful music besides Lynyrd Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin.”


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Peter returned to Westminster as a faculty member in 1987, following graduation from Colby College, working in insurance sales and teaching at two other private schools. He says he did so because of his very

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positive student experience and his desire to pass along similar experiences to others. “Westminster has an undeniable energy and a wealth of shared experiences every day that make our

H I S T O R Y

community truly special,” he said. “Despite major changes in technology and physical plant, our character remains constant. Also, every time I walk on the Sixth Form Lawn, even after 29 years, it still feels special.”

D E P A R T M E N T

Whitney Jackson ’96 Although Whitney Jackson spent her childhood in Simsbury, she did not know much about Westminster School at the time. “After my freshman year at Simsbury High School, I wanted smaller class sizes and a school that was going to challenge me more as an individual student,” she said. After enrolling at Westminster, she found the sense of security — socially, academically and athletically — that she was missing. “In such a tightknit community, there was a constant sense of place,” she said. “I was confident that faculty would support me in the classroom, coaches would support me on the athletic field and classmates would always be there for me.” Her favorite times were on the soccer field and the basketball court. Whitney says faculty member Dick Adams, who was her teacher, coach and advisor, played a major role in her life as a student: She also remembers Jane Houston’s energy and enthusiasm on the track as infectious. “She

convinced me that I would be good at the 800 meter and then ‘smoked’ me on the track as I struggled to breathe,” said Whitney. “At the end of my embarrassing performance, however, she was the first to give me a high-five and gush about how well I did. I was just psyched to finish!” After graduating from Gettysburg College, Whitney realized how positively Westminster had affected her as a young adult and felt a need to

return the favor to the school. She is now in her fourth year teaching history and is the dorm head in Cushing Hall. She also serves as head coach of First Girls Soccer and assistant coach of Track and Field. “Working with students in so many different facets of their lives is the most rewarding element of my work,” she said. “Much of the work we do as faculty extends beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachable moments abound, and we take advantage of every one of them.”

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D E P A R T M E N T

José Ruiz ’94 While José Ruiz was attending public school in New York City, a guidance counselor suggested he apply to some programs that helped place inner-city students in private schools. “After visiting several programs, my parents discovered that these programs placed students in boarding schools, a notion they were not particularly pleased with,” explained José. “After some convincing, I was allowed to visit several schools and I chose Westminster. I had a great overnight experience as did my mother.” As a new student at Westminster, José had a difficult time adjusting and appreciated the efforts of faculty members Scott Berry, Peter Newman ’80 and Dave Werner ’80 in making his experience more positive. “When I was a Fifth Former, I felt more comfortable with the environment, and I began to appreciate the school

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better,” said José. By the time he was a Sixth Former, he was a tour guide, captain of the track team, an officer for the Multicultural Student Union and a member of John Hay, the Student Activities Council and the Improv Club. After graduating from Westminster and Middlebury College and working in advertising in New York City for a year, José found he wasn’t enjoying himself. “I figured I’d try something new, while I decided what I wanted to do with my life,” he explained. He was soon appointed to the Westminster faculty and over the past decade has worked in the Admissions Office, served as director of diversity and been the advisor to the Multicultural Student Union and the Student Activities Council. Currently, he teaches Spanish, is the dorm head of

Andrews House and is assistant coach of First Football and head coach of Track and Field. “In my first year on the faculty, I discovered that I really enjoyed working with young people and that I had made connections to students in much the same way that teachers had made connections with me,” he explained. His favorite part of his responsibilities at Westminster is advising. “Speaking with young people, indirectly or directly, about their lives and the difficult choices they face every day is what makes this so worthwhile,” he said. He often weaves his own experiences as a student into these conversations. “I share my experiences as a student of color and the challenges that I experienced then versus some of the challenges of today,” he explained. “I also talk about my athletic experiences and about college and the transition and challenges I had leaving Westminster.”


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S E R V I C E S

Morgan Shipway ’61, P’12 Morgan Shipway had a transformational experience as a student at Westminster. He had failed all of his courses at Princeton Country Day School when he applied to become a student at Westminster in 1956. “Somehow Westminster accepted me, and almost immediately, I found myself doing very well,” he said. As a Martlet, he served as editor of the Westminster News, president of the Discussion Group and played varsity hockey. “By the time I was a Sixth Former, I had made the jump to being really interested in ideas,” he said. “I loved English, I won the history prize and I put myself through a vocabulary building program. I went from being a kid who did no homework and wasn’t interested in school to being a good student.” He went on to earn degrees at Princeton University, Duke University and Wesleyan University. After teaching English at other schools and working in film and television production, Morgan wanted to return to Westminster as a teacher because of what the school had done for him as a youth. He is in his 10th year teaching study skills and coaching three seasons. He served as the head coach for Track and Field for nine

years and now coaches distance. He also started the girls hockey program nine years ago and currently serves as head coach of Second Girls Hockey. He is especially proud of what that program has accomplished. “I hope I teach the girls with whom I skate to be proud of being a Westminster athlete, that there is discipline to hockey and that they have to be smart,” he said. He added with a chuckle that he remembers the days when Hill Holidays were devoted to spraying and shoveling the old outside hockey rink. “I am both a grateful and a proud alumnus,” he added. “I am glad to be here and very proud of what Westminster has become. It is great to be an alumnus, a teacher and a parent.” Morgan’s younger son, Emmet, is a Third Former this year.

“I am both a grateful and a proud alumnus. I am glad to be here and very proud of what Westminster has become.”

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The Sixth Form Pin

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F

or the past 11 years, part of the tradition in

becoming a Sixth Former at Westminster is to receive a Sixth Form Pin on the Senior Lawn on the opening day of school your Sixth-Form year. How did this tradition, which is so much a part of life at Westminster today, get started? The Class of 1998’s Head Prefect, Josh Gladding, and its Junior Prefect, Parker Corbin, recall some of the history.

Tradition Q: Why did your class want to identify members of the Sixth Form? Josh Gladding: In the spring of our Fifth-Form year, the Class of 1998, with the guidance of Dick Adams, our form dean, and Mr. Cole, decided to take a more active leadership role on campus during our upcoming Sixth-Form year. The class officers met multiple times to determine not only how each member of the class could accomplish this, but also how the Sixth Form could visibly stand out from the rest of the student body, especially to new students. During our class officer meetings, we decided on two ways that the Sixth Form could become more visible: One, Sixth Formers would not be required to wear blazers, and two, we would start a tradition of the Sixth Form wearing a pin designed by its class. Parker Corbin, the Junior Prefect, came up with the idea of the pins and the rest of the officers, and the class as a whole, quickly embraced the idea. The officers proposed these ideas in front of the faculty and the class pins were accepted while, not surprisingly, the idea of removing blazers was not. Q: Why did you select a pin? Parker Corbin: My father actually helped me come up with the original idea for the pin. As a Pomfret student in the 1960s, he fondly remembered athletes earning their “letter” sweaters — signifying the achievement of a varsity athlete. While we had long

Class of 1998 Head Prefect Josh Gladding, left, with Junior Prefect Parker Corbin in a picture from their 1998 yearbook. been told of Westminster’s tradition of black ties and yellow ribbons, our class was focused on reversing the historic practice of singling out new students and instead the concept of the sweaters sparked the idea of using an object to help identify a Sixth Former. In our first meetings, we all agreed that a common symbol, which Sixth Formers would wear on a daily basis, would help to distinguish our class. Along with Mr. Adams, our dean, we selected the pins, which could easily be worn regardless of gender, styles or season. Q: What was the vision for the future of the tradition? Josh Gladding: Our vision was that each class would design its own pin and receive it during a ceremony on the Senior Lawn. During the ceremony, the outgoing Sixth Form would also present honorary pins to members of the faculty or staff for their special contribution to the school or the class. The first year, we held a special chapel service at the beginning of the school year to explain the new tradition as well as the significance of the Senior Lawn. We then had a quick presentation, where each member of our class received their pin outside on the lawn. Parker Corbin: It was a natural progression to have the pins become part of the ceremony on the Sixth Form Lawn. Josh Gladding: It’s not surprising this has remained a strong tradition as it complements the other long-standing traditions at Westminster. 43


Parents Weekend Parents of current students visited the Hill Oct. 16-18 for a busy slate of Parents Weekend activities. They attended teacher conferences, form receptions and a performing arts presentation of the Dance Ensemble, the Concert Band, the Jazz Combo, the Chorale and the Chamber Choir. In between the performances, Headmaster Graham Cole and Director of Studies Greg Marco announced academic achievement awards earned by students from the spring 2008 trimester. Many parents also attended Saturday athletic events.

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Grandparents Enjoy Day on the Hill Grandparents of many Westminster students visited campus Oct. 29 to participate in Grandparents Day and learn more about their grandchildren’s lives at Westminster School. Approximately 100 grandparents from as far away as Ontario, Canada; Omaha, Neb.; and Jamaica, Wis. began their day meeting faculty members in Hinman Reading Room and then attending classes with their grandchildren. During classes, they were able to meet faculty members and see what their grandchildren are studying in various subjects. “The biggest thing I see here are motivated teachers and smiling faces,” said Dr. Julian Mandell, grandfather of Ben Mandell ’10. “I am so happy to see smiles when I walk into school here. Smiles are disappearing from our society.” And as Mary Peterson, grandmother of Tommy Kirsch ’11, headed off to geometry class with Tommy, he commented that he was excited to go to class with her and have her meet his teachers. Following classes, grandparents ate lunch with their grandchildren in the dining hall and were able to tour the campus. They also attended a presentation in the Werner Centennial Center where Headmaster Cole gave a brief update on the state of the school, and faculty members Kathleen Devaney, Melinda Wright, Tim Quinn ’96 and Tony Griffith spoke about their campus responsibilities and answered questions. Some of the topics that were discussed included the new academic center, college placement, challenges facing teachers and the joys in teaching. “I went to three classes today and it was hard to tell who was having a better time: the students or the faculty,” commented Deborah Reyelt, grandmother of Abby ’09 and Will Stevens ’11. Headmaster Cole closed the program by thanking the grandparents for attending the event and invited them to attend the afternoon’s athletic contests.

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SUPPORTING WESTMINSTER

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New Trustees Join Board The Westminster Board of Trustees welcomed five new trustees and three ex officio members at its fall meeting.

Trinette Cheng P’08, ’11 Trinette lives in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and studied industrial engineering at Stanford University. She has been a member of the Westminster Parents Committee since 2006 and has been involved in fundraising activities for the Hong Kong International School. She is treasurer of the Ladies Section of the Hong Kong Golf Club and is currently a member of the Parents Advisory Board of Stanford University. She and her husband, Herbert, have four children: Kimberly, Kelly ’08, Katherine ’11 and Herbert.

Bernhard Lyon Kohn III ’92 Ben lives in Los Angeles and is a partner at Rizvi Traverse, a private equity firm. Previously, he worked at Angelo, Gordon & Co., an alternative money manager. Ben graduated from Tulane University with a degree in finance and earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University. He and his wife, Marti, have a daughter, August.

George N. Thompson ’72, P’93, P’98 George serves as Commanding Officer of the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., and a captain in the U.S. Navy. He also is a member of the National Naval Officers Association. After graduating from Westminster, he attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and enlisted in the Navy, where he attended the Armed Forces School of Music. He and his wife, Penny, have two children: Dorian ’93 and George ’98.

Gregory F. Ugalde P’05, ’07, ’10, ’12 Greg is president and chief legal officer of T&M Building Co. Inc. He is a graduate of Assumption College and Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law, where he earned his J.D. He serves in senior leadership capacities with the National Association of Homebuilders and the Home Builders Association of Connecticut Inc. He also has earned the designations “Certified Green Professional” and “Graduate Master Builder” from the NAHB University of Housing, and he serves on the HOMEConnecticut Steering Committee. Greg and his wife, Mary-Jane, live in Burlington, Conn., and have four children: Kathleen ’05, Andrew ’07, Sara ’10 and Aaron ’12.

Danielle S. Virtue P’11 A resident of Rye, N.Y., Dani is a graduate of Middlebury College for which she co-chairs its Leadership Gifts Committee. She also is co-chair of the Class of 2011 Duke Parents’ Fund and is a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent’s Hospital. She and her husband, Ted, have four children, Matt, Tucker, Garrett and Taylor ’11.

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THE THRING SOCIETY Ex Officio Members

A Lifelong Relationship

Heather and John M. Kreitler P’10 Heather and John live in Fairfield, Conn., and have four children: John ’10, Henry, Charlotte and Annabelle. Heather earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Vermont and her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University. She is treasurer of the Woman’s Board for Pediatrics at Bridgeport Hospital. John is a graduate of Princeton University and most recently was Global Head of Credit Trading at Barclays Capital. He also serves on development committees for Horizons at Greens Farms Academy and Princeton University. Both are board members of the Kreitler Foundation.

Wis Silver ’59 served as Junior Prefect during his Sixth-Form year and has helped organize several reunions. Westminster is very fortunate to count Wis among its loyal alumni and is grateful that he has included Westminster in his legacy. “My impetus for giving back to Westminster and for joining the Thring Society goes back many years,” explained Wis. “Prior to attending Westminster, I was a student at a small private school in Pennsylvania, where both of my older brothers had graduated. However, they thought I would never reach my potential in that environment and encouraged my father to find a better school. This led to our selection of Westminster. “Soon after my arrival at Westminster, I realized that if I thoroughly applied myself, I could achieve my goals in life, including ones that had eluded many of my family members. I fondly remember my father, John Silver, attending many Westminster sporting events and afterwards reminiscing over cocktails and piano music in the Keyes living room. He also was a loyal Westminster friend and supporter. After military service, marriage and raising two wonderful children, I decided it was time to give back to those institutions that helped with my success. “Not only have I joined the Thring Society, but I plan a future investment with the Westminster Retirement Annuity, as it seems like a logical win-win situation since it will assist both my family and Westminster.”

Timothy I. Robinson ’85, P’10 Tim is president of Millennium CME Institute Inc. and lives in Hampton Falls, N.H. He earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University, a J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center and a L.LM. in taxation from Boston University Law School. Tim and his wife, Mickey, are the parents of Nik Schultz ’10. This year, new trustees Trinette, Ben, George, Greg and Dani are rotating through committees of the board, attending the Committee on Faculty and Students in the fall, the Business Committee in the winter and the Development Committee in the spring. Ex officio members John and Tim are serving on the Development Committee, and Heather is a member of the Committee on Faculty and Students.

The Thring Society takes its name from the Reverend Edward Thring, Headmaster of the Uppingham School in England from 1853-1887, whose writings and ideas inspired William Lee Cushing when he founded Westminster in 1888. Westminster’s Board of Trustees established the Thring Society in 1991 to recognize any member of the Westminster community who has made planned gifts or bequests with Westminster as a beneficiary. If you have questions, or if you would like more information on gift-planning opportunities, please contact: Douglas Allen, Director of Planned Giving, (860) 408-3027, dallen@westminster-school.org or visit our Web site: www.westminsterschool.org and select “Supporting Westminster.”

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1888 Events 1888: San Francisco In early July, Westminster alumni gathered at the home of Ian Morton ’87 to catch up with one another and to enjoy listening to Michael Cervas, head of the English Department, read selections from his new book of poems titled “Inside the Box.” For Michael, being at the “front of the class” with former students was a wonderful way to share some of his own work and to highlight how poetry impacts Westminster’s English curriculum.

Faculty member Michael Cervas P’96, ’01, ’10; Conrad Cowan ’49; and Arlene Cowan.

Bob Bynum ’69 and his wife, Gretchen. Doug Warner ’00, Ian Morton ’87 and C.J. MacDonald ’98.

1888: New York City Forty Westminster alumni gathered at the Boat Basin Cafe in New York City for a multi-school reception on Sept. 18. Taft, Lawrenceville, Peddie, Blair and The Hill School also invited their alumni from the classes of 1989 through 2004 for an evening of socializing and networking. The evening had the feel of a pre-reunion event for many in attendance, particularly those who graduated from college just three months prior. This was the second year Westminster took part in the gathering, which may include more schools from New England in the future.

Ollie Tuckerman ’99, Kelsey Morgan ’98, Zara Kyasky Morgan ’98 and Matt Zimmerman ’99.

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Maggie Pierson ’01, Maika Takita ’02, Lara Glaister ’01, Lindsay Daly ’01 and Alex Dattlebaum ’00.


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1888: Fairfield County Westminster alumni and parents gathered for a golf outing at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien, Conn., on Sept. 25. Hosts Lars Noble ’80 and John Von Stade ’84, as well as parents Art Brown P’06, ’08, Patrick Robinson P’07, ’10 and George O’Brien P’10 brought together four foursomes for an afternoon of great golf and conversation.

Back row, left to right, Lars Noble ’80; Tom LaMotte ’54; Art Brown P’06, ’08; and Greg Marco P’08, ’11. Middle row, left to right, Aileen Daversa ’90; Ursala LaMotte; Jon von Stade ’84; Patrick Robinson P’07, ’10; George O’Brien P’10; Stan Keating ’81; and Buzz Gavel ’82. Kneeling, left to right, Scott Stevens P’07, ’09, ’12; Dave Werner ’80, P’10, ’11; John Kreitler P’10; and Jon O’Herron P’08, ’10, ’12.

1888: Boston More than 30 Westminster alumni visited the Westminster hospitality tent in Reunion Village at the 2008 Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 19 in Boston. The tent’s riverfront setting along the Charles River just across from the Harvard Boathouse allowed Westminster’s faithful to brave the damp breeze flowing off the Massachusetts Bay and to see up close some of the top teams in high school and collegiate rowing. Alumni dropped by the tent throughout the day to enjoy refreshments, to watch the competition, to hear about what’s happening on the Hill and to reconnect with one another.

Alex Lavoie ’06, Ned Reeves ’05, Alex Gerson ’07 and Eddie Scott ’00.

Mark ’91 and Julie Frahm.

Alexa Siroy ’04 and Jillian Neary ’04.

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1888: Los Angeles Westminster alumni and friends gathered Nov. 11 for a special sneak preview of “The Brothers Bloom,” a feature film starring Adrien Brody, Rachel Weisz and Mark Ruffalo. Host and trustee Ben Kohn ’92 opened a screening room at the MGM Tower in Century City for the event. After the movie, the group moved next door to the Hyatt Regency for a casual gathering. Matt Schwarz ’93, Ali Hillis, Jason Fransen ’98, Jeff Fransen ’99 and Darcy Halsey ’94.

Mike Million, Laura Dine Million ’92, Nancy Irani and Martin Irani ’83.

Mark Wike ’90, Chay Wike, Michele Hatchette ’05, Dave Pope and Joy Bryant ’92.

1888: Hanover Alumni and parents gathered Nov. 30 for brunch at the Canoe Club in Hanover, N.H., followed by a hockey game pitting Dartmouth against the 2008 National Champion Boston College Eagles. Ben Smith ’06 and Tommy Cross ’08 play for Boston College, and Jon Wolter ’06 plays for Dartmouth. Conversations over a great meal lasted nearly two hours before the 4 p.m. faceoff. Though the Big Green appeared to have the better part of play for the first two periods, the Eagles pulled out an exciting overtime victory.

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Faculty member Scott Stevens P’07, ’09, ’12 and Stanley Teale ’39.

Bill Stetson ’76 and faculty member Amy Stevens P’07, ’09, ’12.


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Holiday Receptions Westminster hosted three holiday receptions for alumni, former faculty, parents and friends of the school. As always, there was a great turnout for each event. The first reception took place Nov. 13 at the Downtown Harvard Club of Boston, where alumni mingled with present faculty members and members of classes from 1965 to 2004. The second event welcomed an energetic group of 130 alumni and friends at the Yale Club of New York City Nov. 20. The final event was held Dec. 3 at the newly renovated Hartford Golf Club, where 125 people toasted the school’s success and the upcoming holidays, shared stories, and reunited with friends and faculty.

Boston

Abram Claude ’71 and faculty member Greg Marco P’08, ’11.

Melissa Silvanic ’04, Adjovi Koene ’03 and Hank Kahn ’03.

Dan Burke ’87, Brad Thomas ’85 and Warren Dibble ’84.

New York

Tim Smith ’49 and Warren Hay ’50.

Lindsey Armstrong ’04, Luis Quero ’06, Emily Ginnel ’04 and Mimi Pitney ’04.

Andrew Sullivan ’02, faculty member Dennis Daly P’01, ’04 and Mike Moriarty ’03.

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Williams Hill Society Dinner Westminster’s Fourth Annual Williams Hill Society Dinner Sept. 19 provided a wonderful opportunity to thank the school’s most generous supporters. Following a blessing of the meal sung by Tiffany Liu ’10, Chairman of the Board of Trustees John Armour ’76 welcomed 150 guests back to Williams Hill to celebrate the successes of the past year. The nearly completed exterior of the school’s new 85,000-square-foot academic center created a stir among those who hadn’t been to campus in a while. There was further excitement with the announcements of recordbreaking fundraising results and a banner year in admissions. Keynote speaker and trustee Susie Werner Berenson ’82 also shared her recollections of growing up on the Hill, illustrating the impact of Westminster’s faculty on their young charges. (Please see “Closing Thoughts,” inside back cover.)


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Ted Virtue P’11 and Pat McDonald P’09.

Amy Danforth P’09 and Crista Ryan P’06, ’07, ’12

Barbara Adams P’93; Gerry Pastor P’09, ’10, ’12; and Jane Porterfield ’78, P’09, ’10, ’12.

Scott Stevens P’07, ’09, ’12; John Dibble ’50, P’84; and Allie Dibble P’84.

Andrew Brickman ’82, Colin Flinn ’82 and Graham Cole.

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Alumni Turn Out for Great Competition Despite a fierce snowstorm the night before, more than 50 alumni turned out for spirited competition on the ice and the hardwood on Jan. 11 for Alumni Games Day.

Hockey In one of the most competitive and engaging alumni hockey games in many years, the alumni, who were on the brink of victory, saw their younger counterparts steal their anticipated celebration in the final few seconds of the game to win 6-5 in overtime. Alumni coaches Tom Earl and Peter Briggs ’71 remarked that the defeat ranks right up there with the most devastating in their long coaching careers. Despite the snowy weekend, the alumni returned “quantity and quality” to the Hill. Every alumni player had productive minutes in the epic battle. Current Westminster varsity coaches, Tim Joncas ’00 and Tim Quinn ’96 formed a line with Jack Kennedy ’98 and had a great time mixing it up and scoring against their student charges. Chris DeJohn ’06, Stonehill forward Andrew Web ’07 and Trinity’s Chris Oetting ’04 teamed up to provide some great

Tommy Cross ’08 and Luke Brindamour ’04 shake hands with members of First Boys Hockey.

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offensive shifts. The unit of Chris Suchy ’08, James Einstein ’08 and Steve Theall ’83 made their presence known all afternoon. The “older timer” line of Frank O’Brien ’81, Lou Shipley ’81 and Seth Worcester ’83 were a forechecking force down the stretch — helping to create the go-ahead goal in the third period. The impressive group of alumni blueliners included Boston College’s Tommy Cross ’08, Jordan Dewey ’08, Babson’s Casey Fazekas ’06, Trinity’s Derek Sandberg ’07, Mike Ashe ’85 and David Rush ’98. Luke Brindamour ’04 returned to give some quality minutes between the pipes. Despite the stacked lineup of many former Westminster captains, past and current college players, somehow the alumni squandered a 5-4 lead with only 15 seconds remaining in the contest. The overtime session went to the current Martlet players. Nonetheless, the game was fast paced and fun, thanks to all the alumni who braved the weather and showed up to play.

Basketball For the second straight year, the snow tried to keep loyal basketball alumni from the Hill, tempting them further with the NFL Divisional playoffs, but they were eight strong for a tilt against the very athletic First Boys team. Time constraints kept the

Alex Baker ’09 with his uncle, Frank O’Brien ’81.

Members of the alumni hockey team.

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Alumnae basketball players, in white uniforms, back row, are Jane Zink ’98, Emily Hoffman Vincent ’98 and Rebecca Brooks ’96; and, kneeling, are Margaret Obermeier ’02, Michele Ribaudo ’08, Lyndsey Zavisza ’08 and Maria Leonardi ’05.

game from going into overtime as the two halves ended in a 44-44 tie, following a late-game comeback by the alumni, led by C.G. Grant ’07, who led all scorers with 14 points and dropped 6 dimes along the way. Kevin García-Ramirez ’08, Ryan Naujoks ’93 and Desmond Mighty ’08 were large in the paint at both ends of the floor, but T.J. Doherty ’07 dominated in rebounds, 11, and “pips” (points in the paint) with 12. Other notables were swing man Todd McDonald ’00, who led all players in the “step in the gym and I’m in range” category, and, along with C.G., Freddie Linton ’03 was all over the floor defensively, hitting a few “treys” of his own to round out the powerful alumni backcourt. Representing the “older guard” were Dave “Ansel Adams” Werner ’80 who spent the entire 32 minutes trying to get the perfect shot for posterity and Peter Newman ’80, who peaked in the layup drill and led the alumni in most wisecracks from a coach’s seat. For the fourth annual alumnae basketball game, eight determined women made it to the hardwood floor to take on

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Coach Alan Brooks ’55, P’89, ’91, ’96 brings the team together to start the second half.

the First Girls Basketball team in front of appreciative spectators that grew in numbers as the game went on. The alumnae team, made up of older graduates Whitney Jackson ’96, Rebecca Brooks ’96, Emily Hoffman Vincent ’98, and Jane Zink ’98 reinforced by recent grads Michele Ribaudo ’08 and Lyndsey Zavisza ’08 and rounded out by always reliable Maria Leonardi ’05 and Margaret Obermeier ’02, managed to hold on to slim leads throughout all four quarters. Executing some snappy passing and mixing up their defenses against the varsity, which had not played a game in more than three weeks, the alumnae finished up on top, 39-35. With Brooks ’96 dominating the boards and Zink ’98 driving the lane, the young Martlets had their hands full. Zavizsa ’08 and Ribaudo ’08 teamed up for the first time in almost a year, and the chemistry was evident up and down the floor. Clearly, the two have found ways to stay in shape as first-year college students.

Members of the alumni basketball team and First Boys Basketball.

Coach Peter Newman ’80 sets up an inbounds play during a timeout.

Freddie Linton ’03 at the free-throw line.

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Admissions and Alumni Trip to Asia and Australia Director of Admissions Jon Deveaux and Director of Development Scott Stevens visited with alumni, parents and friends of Westminster during a fall trip to Asia and Australia. Their visit included stops in Seoul, Hong Kong and Adelaide. Sean and Eunice Lee, parents of Jeannie Lee ’09, hosted Jon and Scott’s visit to Seoul and assisted them with visits, events and accommodations. An alumni and parent reception was held at the JW Marriott Hotel Seoul, and a group of parents gathered for a day of golf at the East Valley Country Club outside of Seoul. In Hong Kong, Scott and Jon were hosted by trustee and current parent Trinette Cheng P’08, ’11 and her husband, Herbert. They were kind enough to arrange for a reception for prospective students and families at the Hong Kong Club as well as a dinner for alumni and parents at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

At the East Valley Country Club, front row, left to right, Eui-Seok Byeon P’11, Scott Stevens and Dong Man Park P’10; back row, Sang Duck Lee P’12, Jou Weon Yoon, Jon Deveaux, Sean Lee P’08, ’09 and Ho-sung Park P’06, ’09.

Parents of current students at the reception in Seoul.

At the alumni table were, left to right, Kevin Chau ’79, Jon Deveaux, Scott Stevens, Michael Kim ’98 and Jin Kim ’90.

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Eunjoo Oh P’09 and Jae Hee Kim P’12.


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Using Voices to Create Art

Halsey Burgund ’91 at the opening of his sound art exhibit, “ROUND,” at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

If poetry is an art form, then why not commentary? Or recorded stories? Sound artist Halsey Burgund ’91 collects recordings of human voices, combines them with music and creates mixed-media art. His most recent solo exhibit, “ROUND,” was featured at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn., last year. It invited museum visitors to become a part of a constantly changing interactive audio tour by recording their thoughts about the art they were viewing so that other visitors could hear what they had to say. Halsey’s work has attracted the attention of The Boston Globe, The New York Times and ABC News, as well as UNICEF. UNICEF was in the process of collecting stories for a new project that will share online stories of people, cultures and communities from around the world called “Our Stories” when some of its staff visited the “ROUND” exhibit last summer. They were so impressed that they asked Halsey to create an online audio experience using children’s voices. “When representatives of UNICEF experienced ‘ROUND,’ it was clear that my approach was a good match for what they wanted to do,” said Halsey. He is now creating a framework for the project, which will include spoken voice, music and visual art. It is set to launch in mid-2009. Originally a percussionist, Halsey uses computer technology in his music composition. For the UNICEF project he will use algorithmic music, which he describes as “controlled randomness.” He adds layers of sound to evolving 16-note patterns, which results in constantly developing music. “Dynamic voices cannot be paired with static music and computer-generated doesn’t mean stagnant,” said Halsey. “The computer makes markedly different decisions than I would make.” In addition to the randomness of his music, Halsey takes risks with spoken word recordings as well. “People usually have something interesting to say, and I’m looking for both the factual and the emotional,” he said. “Recorded comments put everyone on a level playing field and create unexpected moments you wouldn’t come up with on your own.” A lifelong New Englander, Halsey lives outside of Boston. He graduated from Yale in 1995 with a degree in geophysics, though he never considered his studies to be preparation for a career. Geophysics allowed him to combine his love of sailing with his interest in science. Early on in his career, Halsey earned a living as a maker of fine furniture in Maine and Vermont, creating commissioned pieces, as well as items sold in galleries. He then worked for a successful technology start-up company, setting up new offices around the globe. Quitting his corporate job was a transformative experience for Halsey. “I could now be my own boss and determine what to do with my life,” he said. “I didn’t have to follow a path that others had carved out.” Though Halsey has never formally studied art, music played a large role in his Westminster experience. As a student, he was recognized as a talented drummer, performing at dances, concerts and theater productions. “My drums were always set up in the Werner Centennial Center, so I could hang out there and play them,” he said. Through his mixed-media art, Halsey now strives to give people experiences they can take with them. He hopes they will learn to consider voices not just as a mode of communication but as a form of music. Halsey performing with his band, Aesthetic Evidence.

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Fashion Line Improves Lives Hadley Pollet ’88 has taken a beautiful, yet circuitous, departure from a career in public relations to one in fashion. After graduating from New York University with a degree in English and American literature, she went to work for a Boston-based full-service public relations firm. Assigned to the crisis communication team for the Malden Mills account when a historic Massachusetts fire destroyed the mill in 1995, she developed a long-standing friendship with owners Aaron and Louise Feuerstein. It was from Louise that Hadley learned how to design jacquard textiles. While still working in communications, Hadley took a fashion design class at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her final project was a belt fashioned from trim wrapped around a large buckle. “When I wore the belt to a party in Boston, five people asked me where I got it,” she said. This prompted her to create 12 samples and bring them to her favorite Boston shops: Eye of the Needle and Wish. “They were the first to place orders,” said Hadley “At that time, we were using vintage trim. Within six months, our belts were being sold in more than 50 stores, and it became apparent we had to start designing our own trim!” Today, Hadley’s custom belts, clothing and bags are featured in national fashion publications. They also are available in shops ranging from small boutiques to Bloomingdale’s, as well as on her Web site, hadleypollet.com. Using the power of her product line to improve life for women and children is important to Hadley. She donates proceeds to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, a domestic violence support organization, and Our Journey in South Africa, which assists families affected by AIDS. Fittingly, proceeds from her new Après Yoga Wear will benefit Our Journey. “Ten dollars buys a school uniform, and the lack of a school uniform is often the only barrier between a child and an education,” said Hadley. While all of her products are made in the United States, Hadley says she is looking for other places in the world where her company might empower communities. “Since there are beautiful alpaca in Peru, perhaps we can support that environment by working with Peruvian companies,” she said. At Westminster, Hadley served as president of Black and Gold, and played field hockey, lacrosse and paddle tennis. Her artistic endeavors, at the time, were limited to making Christmas cards and weaving bracelets. In the coming months, Hadley’s product line will expand to include bags crafted from a newly acquired stock of vintage fabrics. At the same time, she hopes to expand the network of community organizations supported by her company.

“Ten dollars buys a school uniform, and the lack of a school uniform is often the only barrier between a child and an education.”

Hadley Pollet ’88 with products from her popular fashion collection.

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Rising to the Challenge

Whitney Johnson ’02 with Philiswa, age 10.

Whitney Johnson ’02 came face to face with a world of crime, poverty, disease and crushing unemployment when she volunteered at an orphanage in Khayelitsha, one of the most impoverished areas of South Africa, during her junior year abroad while attending Colorado College. Whitney’s experiences in Khayelitsha inspired her to attack what is perhaps South Africa’s most pressing crisis — the prevalence of HIV among its population. After completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Whitney returned to Khayelitsha and in November 2006 established Ubuntu Africa (UBA), a not-for-profit organization that provides healthcare and support services to HIVpositive children and teens in Khayelitsha (www.ubafrica.org). “I was moved and motivated by what I saw there,” says Whitney. “Children were suffering with HIV completely alone. I saw that countless young people were not receiving the care and love they desperately needed. I had to do something. I had a feeling I was supposed to go there.” Launching UBA required Whitney to do extensive fundraising and establish relationships with Khayelitsha residents. “I had to incorporate the organization and raise money for something that didn’t exist yet,” she explained. Presently, UBA serves 42 children, while another 150 remain on a waiting list. That list will become shorter this summer when the center moves from rented quarters to a new building funded by an anonymous donor. Whitney expects that with the new space, UBA will be able to help at least 100 children, more than doubling the organization’s current capacity. Children are transported each day from school to UBA’s Child Healthcare Center, where they receive medical care, nutritious meals, social work services, counseling and HIV education. UBA also offers children fun and empowering activities such as yoga, surfing lessons and art. The parents and caregivers of all the children also take part in support group meetings at the center and are given education sessions about how best to take care of their HIV-positive children. “Many HIV infected people in the Khayelitsha community have to contend with the stigma associated with their disease and lack easy access to healthcare, food and even indoor plumbing,” said Whitney. “These factors make the management of the illness particularly difficult — especially for children.” It is estimated that around 80 percent of children in South Africa who need to be on medication to treat HIV are not accessing treatment. Many people attend their clinic appointments sporadically and don’t follow through with their HIV medication regimen properly, which makes the virus more drug-resistant and virulent. UBA works with the children and their families to ensure that they access the medication they need and comply with their treatment programs correctly. “We empower our participants with the knowledge and confidence they need to take care of themselves,” said Whitney. “We are the only organization in the area providing a comprehensive HIV care program for children.” Whitney returned to New York in late December and continued her fundraising and public awareness work. One of the places she visited was her alma mater Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y., where she spoke with students in grades five through nine about her mission in Khayelitsha. “It is very exciting to get young people from this corner of the world more involved with the needs and concerns of the HIV-positive children and teens with whom I work in South Africa,” she said. Through future speaking engagements, she hopes to further broaden youth involvement in HIV/AIDS prevention. Whitney credits her Westminster education for giving her a strong foundation in community awareness and the inspiration of teacher Brian Ford, who shared his own stories of volunteerism and travel, for influencing her to try something new. “He played a big role,” she added.

Students leave the Hill prepared to pursue their future aspirations. They go forth confidently because of the knowledge, skills and values they learn from our faculty.

Your gift to Westminster, no matter the size, directly benefits students and faculty and makes a significant impact on this small school community. Make your contribution to the Annual Fund today, before it closes April 30, and know that you are benefiting many lives.

ONLINE GIVING IS FAST AND EASY

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In Memoriam 1939 James Q. Rice III of West

Hartford, Conn., passed away on Sept. 20, 2008. Jim grew up on a tobacco farm in Bloomfield. Conn., before moving to Hartford and then Essex, during his teenage years. He started college at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. World War II interrupted his education, and he joined the U.S. Coast Guard as a member of its Picket Patrol, otherwise known as the “Canvas Hangers.” Jim served on the converted yawl Thistle listening for German submarines in the North Atlantic before returning to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he was trained as an officer. He then served as an officer aboard the destroyer escort Forsyth. After the war, Jim resumed his education and graduated from New Haven College. He applied his engineering degree at various firms in the Hartford area including United Aircraft and Hartford Steam Boiler. He was a certified public accountant and partnered with Adam Rhodes to start the accounting firm Rhodes, Rice & Company in Hartford. He was an active member of the Exchange Club and the Hartford Golf Club. Jim met his wife, Norma Gentle, at a ski instructor seminar. They passed their love of skiing down to their children and their grandsons through their affiliations over the years with the Newington Ski Club and the Hartford Ski Club. Jim also loved cruising and racing with Norma on their Tartan 30 sailboat named Wild Rice. He was an active member of the Essex Yacht Club,

Baldwin Yacht Club and the Off Soundings Club. Jim is survived by his wife of 46 years, Norma C. Rice; his son James Q. Rice IV; daughter, Prudence G. Rice; and three grandsons.

1944 Robert Ellis Redfern of

Madison, Conn., passed away on April 27, 2008. He lived in White Plains, N.Y., for 30 years, before moving to Madison, the home where his grandfather was born. Bob was a U.S. Navy pilot during World War II and later graduated from Yale University. Before retiring in 1990, he worked for Merrill Lynch for more than 25 years. He was a former governor and longtime member of the Madison Beach Club. He was also a member of the Madison Country Club, the Larchmont Yacht Club, the Storm Trysail Club, and was a director of the Madison Historical Society and the Deacon John Grave House. He was an active community volunteer, a sailing instructor at the Mystic Seaport and a driver for Madison Community Service. Bob is survived by his wife of 50 years, Lois DuPuy Redfern; three children, Robert Redfern, Jr., Nancy Redfern and Sally Redfern; two stepchildren, Susan Nathan and Lynn Patrisi; three grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. George Anthony Trainor, 84, of Edgewater, Fla., died on June 21, 2008, in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. He was born in Highland Park, Mich., son of the late George and Eva (Whittey) Trainor, and had lived in Weatogue, Conn., prior to

moving to Edgewater, Fla., 11 years ago. George was a veteran of World War II, having served in the U.S. Army. He worked as an electrical engineer at Chandler-Evans, West Hartford, Conn., for many years prior to his retirement. He was also a member of the VFW, the American Legion, the Moose Lodge, and the Elks Lodge. He enjoyed antique cars and his beloved pets. George is survived by his fiancée, Sylvia A. Masgay; his sister, Marie Corr; a nephew, William Corr and his wife, JoAnne; a niece, Cynthia Bushey and her husband Steven; and three grandnephews. Lloyd Wilbur Wise, Jr. of Basking Ridge, N.J., died on July 25, 2008. He graduated from Yale University and served in the Navy during World War II. Lloyd was a member of the Yale Club of New York and the Garden City Golf Club, as well as president of the Lloyd W. Wise Lumber Company in New York. Lloyd leaves his wife of 55 years, Alice Walker Wise; three children, Peter Wise, Alice Dew and Edward Wise; and eight grandchildren.

1947 Thomas Arthur Johnson, Jr., a long-time Dutchess

County businessman, sportsman and Republican leader, died on July 13, 2008. A graduate of Nichols Junior College, Tom went on to become the owner and president of the J.D. Johnson Company, a family plumbing, heating and air conditioning supply house, which had branches in four states. Following his

retirement in 1989, he began the redevelopment of the large J.D. Johnson warehouse property in Poughkeepsie, which later became Dooley Square. Tom was a horseman, a golfer, a hunter and a bridge player, as well as an active Republican, who served on many committees. Former classmate John Rigby said that he played football with Tom and that Tom played with a lot of determination and grit and spirit. He was very dedicated to the game. Tom even won a tackling trophy at one point. Tom is survived by his wife of 26 years, Kathleen Merrins Johnson; two daughters; two stepchildren; and several grandchildren.

1949 The Rev. John P. Bartholomew, dean emeritus of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Hastings, Neb., died on July 12, 2008. He was 77. Bart graduated from Cornell University as a history major. Following a tour of duty in the Army as a battalion adjutant, with the 2nd Armored Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, he began studies for the priesthood at the Philadelphia Episcopal Divinity School. Following his ordination, he was curate at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa., from 1958 to 1961; rector at St. James Church in Piqua, Ohio, from 1961 to 1967; and rector of St. Thomas Church in Garden City, Kan., from 1967 to 1973. On Jan. 15, 1973, Rev. Bartholomew was elected the ninth dean of St. Mark’s Cathedral in Hastings, Neb. He served for 25 years, the longest tenure in the church’s

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In Memoriam history. From 1976 to 1997, he was elected deputy from Nebraska to eight consecutive national triennial Episcopal Church General Conventions. He was chair of the Department of Missions in Nebraska for 12 years and was president of the Standing Committee from 1982 to 1986. He also served terms on the school boards in both Garden City, Kan., and Hastings, Neb. He was a counselor and chaplain in the chemical dependency unit of the Hastings Regional Center and instituted the Mary Lanning Hospital YearAround Christmas Toy Chest for young patients. In 1985, he was voted “Outstanding Religion Leader” for the Hastings community. Following his retirement, in 1998, he moved to Lake City, where he was a supply priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Lake City and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Winona. On July 25, 1972, Bart married Elinor Miller Monroe of Dayton, Ohio. She preceded him in death in 2000. He was also predeceased by his brother, Walter ’42. Bart is survived by a stepdaughter and a stepson. William James Glazier of Rochester Hills, Mich., passed away on July 5, 2008, just two days after celebrating his 53rd wedding anniversary with his wife, Gertrude. Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007 and decided to give it a good fight. Bill’s three sons and their families arranged for a surprise 79th birthday party, which caught him completely off guard.

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Gert writes, “Westminster featured prominently in his life, and one of his favorite stories was that he had never had sufficient credits to graduate properly. After four years in the Air Force, Bill was admitted to Nichols Junior College in Dudley, Mass., and after that, he transferred to Syracuse University. Pete Keyes, who was the headmaster in those days, made it a point on one of his college visits, to present Bill with a Westminster diploma. After all, said Pete, if he could make it through Syracuse, Pete guessed it was high time to make Bill an honest Westminster grad.” Besides his wife, Gert, Bill leaves his sons, John, Jeff and Doug; and their wives, five grandsons and one granddaughter.

1953 Raymond George Crooke

of Pewaukee, Wis., passed away July 26, 2008, at the age of 74. He was the husband of Lynda; father of Sharon (Dan) Kimmel,

Deborah (Jeff) Tschurwald and Carolyn (Mark Powell) Crooke; and proud grandfather of Hannah, Ella, Emma and Griffin. Born in New York, Ray was a graduate of Cornell University and served in the Navy. He enjoyed a successful career in sales and management and resided on Pewaukee Lake for 32 years. He loved sailing and traveling and was a warm, fun-loving friend to many.

1964 Richard S. Barnes, Jr. died

on Jan. 17, 2009, in Munich, Germany. He was born in Englewood, N.J., in 1945 to Elizabeth N. Barnes and the late Richard S. Barnes. He is survived by his mother; his wife, Hannelore; three children; six grandchildren; and brothers David ’69 and Robert ’65. Richard moved from New Jersey to Germany in 1966, where he raised his family and pursued a career as manager of the Munich office for Bache Securities.

1969 Lionel Louis Holder III

passed away on Sept. 29, 2008. Following graduation from Westminster, he received a language arts scholarship to attend Temple University, where he majored in communications for two years. He served as a systems technician at various telecommunications corporations, and in later years, he acquired skills in computer science, which he gladly shared with others. Lionel was active in many sports including paddle ball, basketball, biking and all outdoor activities. He was also an avid reader. Lionel is survived by his wife, Murline; daughters, Danielle and Jeanette; mother, Eunice; father, Lionel; and brother, Steven.


Closing Thoughts Children of Westminster

By Susan Werner Berenson ’82, Trustee

I had the wonderful good fortune of being born and raised as a Westminster faculty child and have lived from one end of campus to the other. My father, Don Werner, was an English teacher, coach and, finally, headmaster working at the school for more than 33 years. My mom, Mimi, had her own responsibilities as headmaster’s wife, in addition to her work as a community volunteer and mother. During that time, my parents, my older siblings, Peter and Betsy, and I lived at the far end of campus in West Cottage, then moved briefly to the bottom of the hill near the entrance to the school, and finally moved to Pratt House at the far eastern end of campus. Quite literally, the whole campus, from one end of it to the other, and top to bottom, has served as my backyard. As you might imagine, growing up on such a beautiful, expansive campus is a magical experience for a child. Within the safe boundaries of the campus, we faculty children had enormous physical freedom. We set our own agendas: we explored basketball courts, a swimming pool, the athletic fields, the empty chapel, and the tennis and squash courts. We spent hours writing and performing plays in the old theater, and we invented games everywhere. My memories are filled with images of afternoon-long games of capture-the-flag or kick-the-can, exploring the woods, and raiding the school kitchen for ice cream or cake, begging for treats from the patient and indulgent kitchen staff. In hindsight, I understand there were many adult eyes watching over us; one benefit of being a faculty child is the number of surrogate parents looking out for you. As a child, however, I knew only that the world of Westminster was ours: interesting, varied and ready for any game of our invention. The fact that Westminster was actually a school, and not simply my playground, was of interest to me only because of the students. My friends and I loved going to the Westminster games and rooting for our favorite players. It was like having a host of professional teams playing a range of sports each week right in my back yard. I learned the players’ names and numbers, and, if my father coached the team, I would follow the players’ statistics from game to game. The students were unfailingly kind to us and as I walk around the campus today, I have to smile whenever I see current faculty children interacting with students. Not surprisingly, I see the same type of indulgent warmth displayed by today’s students toward the children of today’s faculty as was displayed by the students I looked up to so many years ago. Once I became a student at Westminster, I discovered another benefit of being a faculty child: All the adults who were formerly my neighbors, family friends and parents of my childhood playmates were now my teachers. To be honest, as a ninth grader, I was a bit more interested in playing sports than doing my class work. But, having such

strong connections with my teachers made me want to work hard and do well. I felt that these teachers, many of whom I had known my whole life, were particularly invested in me as a student and sincerely cared how I did. Teachers, some of whom are still here, like Peter Briggs, Dick Adams and Joan Howard, all encouraged my development as a student. I have to note here that there is one glaring exception to this compassion. In tenth grade, Scott Berry gave me my one and only “D” of my academic career, in his biology class. It was not a year-end grade, but only an interim grade. I knew he was a tough grader, but I felt this “D” was undeserved. Years later, I asked him if he felt badly or just a little uneasy about giving his boss’s daughter such a poor grade. He smiled and without hesitation said, “No, Susie, you truly earned it.” By virtue of having been a faculty child, I always considered my Westminster experience unique. Who else could have grown up in this environment with the freedom to explore so independently, yet still be so profoundly connected to the community? My school was my home, my teachers were my neighbors and friends, and my fellow students felt like they were part of an extended family. I was truly a child of Westminster. It wasn’t until I graduated that I realized that my classmates, both day and boarding alike, felt just the same way. My friends all describe how for them, Westminster was home, and the faculty, staff and students were like their family. They cared so much about the school because it was clear how much the school cared about them. They, too, felt the same wonderful freedom to grow as students on the hill — intellectually, spiritually and creatively — while at the same time being nurtured, guided and supported by a faculty who knew and cared about them deeply. At reunions, we often hear graduates say they feel like they are returning home. Friends talk about the connections with the faculty that just can’t be replicated, and the bonds students make with their peers here last a lifetime. Of course I have a special connection to Westminster. I was born here and lived here until I went to college. I also was married on this campus 20 years ago. And now, I am honored to be back home serving as a trustee. But the formative influence the school had on me as a person, and my deep love, loyalty and devotion to it as an institution are widely shared. Just go to any athletic event, sit in on a class, or listen to graduates talk about their experiences at any reunion weekend, and you will see the breadth and depth of those feelings among students, faculty and Westminster families. It turns out that my Westminster experience wasn’t unique after all. In the ways I now recognize are most meaningful and important, all of us are children of Westminster. Adapted from remarks she gave at the Williams Hill Society Dinner, Sept. 19, 2008


Scenes from Dramat’s winter musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”

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Westminster Bulletin Spring 2009  

News and articles about Westminster School. Simsbury CT