finding a way to play
Learning about Leadership in
South Africa S U M M E R
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B U L L E T I N Summer 2007 Volume 77 Number 4 Bulletin Staff Director of Development Chris Latham Editor Julie Reiff Alumni Notes Linda Beyus Design Good Design, LLC www.gooddesignusa.com Proofreader Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Summer–May 30 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1.860.945.7777 www.TaftAlumni.com The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August, and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. All rights reserved.
This magazine is printed on recycled paper.
j Joe Brogna points his inscribed Louisville Slugger at the outfield as he tells the players that, in life as in baseball, “It’s what you learn after you think you know everything that really counts.” Bob Falcetti
F E AT U R E S
Fun, Family and Farewells...................... 25
Beautiful May weather brings graduates back by the hundreds to celebrate Alumni Weekend Photography by Bob Falcetti cover story:
Finding a Way to Play......... 32
Four alumni musicians recount the ups and downs of trying to make it in the music business, making a living doing something they love. By Ryan Nerz ’92
Peace Be the Journey............................ 38
117th Commencement Remarks By guest speaker Richard Smith and seniors Gordon Atkins, Emily Neilson and Ned Durgy
South African Journal............................. 46 A community service and leadership-oriented trip takes students to the Southern Hemisphere over spring break
D E PA R T M E N T S
Letters.................................................... 2 Around the Pond.................................... 3 Sport....................................................... 11 Annual Fund Report............................... 14 Alumni Spotlight.................................... 18 Endnote.................................................. 53 A Word of Thanks to America By Thomas. E. Schellin ’57
On the Cover: Dudley Taft ’84, Chauncey Upson ’94, Kate Donnellon ’86 and Evan Field ’94 may not be household names, yet, but each has persevered in music and found successes along the way (see page 32). Good Design
Taft on the Web Find a friend’s address or look up back issues of the Bulletin at www.TaftAlumni.com
For more campus news and events, including admissions information, visit www.TaftSchool.org
46 What happened at this afternoon’s game? Visit www.TaftSports.com Don’t forget you can shop online at www.TaftStore.com 800.995.8238 or 860.945.7736
From the Editor
When we talk about Taft musicians, many people immediately think of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter ’67 (Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan), five-time Grammy-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter ’76, or Trey Anastasio ’83 of Phish fame, but a quick glance at the class notes in any issue of the Bulletin will tell you that there are many alums for whom music is a major part of their lives. We decided it would be interesting to talk with some of them, particularly those trying to make a go of it as a full-time career (see page 32). The music industry has a reputation for being a tough place to succeed in, but we found four who have persevered, bolstered by triumphs small and large along the way. They, like their more famous counterparts, offer a beacon of hope to others who aim to follow their lead, but they are also models of persistence and dedication inspiring to the rest of us. What price are we willing to pay to follow our passions? Students who embarked on a trip to South Africa in March found inspiring models of persistence and leadership in that country’s fledgling democracy (see page 46). Faculty member Greg Ricks, who recently lived there, orchestrated a unique itinerary for the group that allowed them to observe government, schools, museums, cultural centers, an AIDS clinic, and a host of community outreach programs—and to become involved. In the coming year, a number of the South African leaders they met will also visit Taft. These students have seen first-hand that we really can be the change we hope to see in the world. Non ut sibi ministretur sed ut ministret. —Julie Reiff
Love it? Hate it? Read it? Tell us!
We’d love to hear what you think about the stories in this Bulletin. We may edit your letters for length, clarity and content, but please write! Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Loss of Innocence
I was riding the subway into Manhattan from my home in Brooklyn and, while reading the winter Taft Bulletin, I came to The World War II Letters of Jud Conant ’43 [“Victory Mail”]. As I read, I was transported back into the world of my youth by the guileless simplicity of the contents and the, now, archaic language of the times. It was Gatsby’s children in a world that they would rather have forgotten, talking about the friends and girlfriends of their short lives and expressing simple, heartfelt friendship and concern for those that they knew. I was amused by the writing and the contents and the memories it conjured up of the ’40s. I had read the first five of the seven letters when I arrived at my station, and putting the Bulletin in my pocket, did not resume reading until later when I was back on the subway platform awaiting the arrival of the F train. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t—not until I read the final letter and was reading Cordy Wagner’s description of meeting up with the men of the 6th Marine Division. The F train pulled into the station with the usual roar, and passengers pushed by me to get a seat, but I was facing in the opposite direction with emotions welling up, staring at the empty tracks on the opposite side. I of course never knew Jud or any of his classmates, having arrived at Taft in the fall of 1944, where I sat out the war in innocent comfort, but the names were still familiar for one reason or another. There was not a word of complaint, nor even a description of what he was really
doing in that hell that was the Pacific area war. Even I, who lived during that time, had to stop and conjure up in my mind what, in fact, Jud might well have been going through, and then my knowledge was only superficial, having gleaned it from the newspapers, radio and newsreels of the time. What had suddenly hit me was not only the tragedy of the senseless death of a young man and the irony of Vogt’s letter, written two months after Jud’s death, but the loss of all that innocence. Much has been written of that generation and of what they did and stood for, but nothing hit home so poignantly as those seven letters and the tragic death of a young man and the thousands like him. —Dick Nininger ’47
From the Bench
A tip of my red cap to Coach Joe Brogna and his family on his retirement (Spring 2007). The photo on page 33 of him on the basketball bench was taken at a home game during my senior year in 1979–80. Joining Coach on the bench, from left to right, are Jeff Skaff, Scott Richmond, Hugh Gallivan and Rusty Davis. The Converse All-Stars next to RD belong to me! It is amazing I can look at that 27-yearold picture and know those names in the blink of an eye. That was in the “new” gym, next to the “old” gym right off the main hall of HDT, well before the athletic complex “up the hill” was built. —Jim Ramsey ’80 —continued on page 56 Continuing our theme of female firsts at Taft, how many girls have been elected head monitor since the school’s move to coeducation in 1971? For the most recent, see page 10, and, yes, you should include her in your count. The winner, whose name will be chosen at random from all correct entries received by September 15, will receive a golf umbrella! Congratulations to Ray DuBois ’66, who correctly identified artist Sabra [Field] Johnson as the first woman on the Taft faculty.
For more information on any of these stories, visit www.TaftSchool.org
Around the pond by Joe Freeman
j Sylvia Barrett, played by Maggie Hutton ’08, tries to keep her class in order in this spring’s production of Up the Down Staircase. Rick Doyle
“Disregard All Bells” Sylvia Barrett is a new English teacher at Calvin Coolidge High School. She is young, idealistic and passionate about teaching the classics to her English class, one she envisions as being lively, energetic and insatiably curious. Then she gets to class, and so opens Bel Kaufman’s Up the Down Staircase, this year’s Fritz C. Hyde Jr. ’29 Memorial Production. Faced with the bureaucracy of a large public school, the indifference of her stu-
dents and the hilarious incompetence of her colleagues, Barrett comes to see the incredible impact she has on her students over the course of the play. Maggie Hutton ’08 portrayed Barrett onstage, accompanied by Nick Tyson ’09 as Paul Barringer, John Lane ’09 as JJ Hedgepit, and a rowdy English class that included Simone Foxman ’07, Joe Dillard ’09, Kristine Palmieri ’08, Sydney Low ’09, Daniela Garcia ’09, Tyler Perry ’07, Brian Sengdala ’10,
Khai Do Ba ’08, Alice Gao ’07, Caitlin O’Halloran ’08, Nicola Glogowski ’08, Oscar Shi ’08, Kat Gronauer ’09 and Marryam Khera ’07. Some of the play’s dialogue was adapted for a Taft setting, and many of the actors wrote additional lines for their characters, making the play all the more pertinent for the audience. Director Rick Doyle praised his cast, calling them “one of the most energetic and determined groups I have worked with here.” Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Around the pond Robertson Brings Innovative Designs j Les Robertson explains some of the finer points of engineering to Bob O’Connor’s physics class. Jon Guiffre
Renowned structural engineer Leslie Robertson spent a day on campus in May, meeting with students, attending classes, and delivering a School Meeting about the challenges and innovations involved in designing large buildings. Robertson is most widely known for his role as chief structural engineer for the World Trade Center.
In his introductory remarks, History Department Chair Jon Willson ’82 said: “It was Les’s design that allowed the Twin Towers to remain standing long enough to allow many people in the impact zone to evacuate. Were it not for him, many more people would have lost their lives on the morning of September 11.”
Robertson shared many of his designs during School Meeting, showing slides of projects during many phases of design and construction. He also spoke about the attacks on the World Trade Center, describing how the impact of the planes affected the structural integrity of the buildings. Robertson is responsible for the design of many buildings around the world, including the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, Puerta de Europa in Madrid, the U.S. Steel Headquarters Building in Pittsburgh and the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey. A pioneer in the use of computer technology, Robertson explained how advancements in computer technology over the last twenty years have allowed structural engineers to make practical design breakthroughs that would have been unimaginable without the aid of computer models. Robertson’s visit was part of the Paduano Lecture Series. For more information, visit www. lera.com.
Ken Rush ’67 Exhibits in Gallery
m Artist and teacher Ken Rush ’67 visits with students during his opening reception in the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery. Peter Frew ’75 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
This spring, the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery hosted a show of recent work by Ken Rush ’67. Rush, a painter who works to capture modern landscapes, opened the show to coincide with his 40th Reunion. Though many of his earlier works portray pastoral and agricultural landscapes, his recent pieces concentrate on urban space, juxtaposing warm, bright and vibrantly colored skies with the striking verticality of large buildings. Rush displayed a series of paintings, “Chelsea Sunrise,” “Chelsea Noon,” and “Chelsea Sunset,” which, like Monet’s study of the cathedral at Rouen, considers the way that a street scene can dramatically change over the course of one day. Rush’s show ran from April 20 to May 29, ending a season of exhibitions in the Potter Gallery.
Exploring Strategies of Communication
m DuBois Fellow Tori Clarke, a frequent CNN commentator, visits with faculty before her School Meeting talk. Jon Guiffre
This spring, Taft hosted Victoria Clarke as this year’s recipient of the Rear Admiral Raymond DuBois Fellowship in International Affairs. Clarke, who served as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs under Donald Rumsfeld from 2000–2003, spoke with students about the relationship between govern-
ment and the media. She described the role that journalists play in government oversight and discussed the balance that government officials must strike between disclosing information and protecting national security interests. Clarke was in the Pentagon during the attacks of September 11, and she played a crucial role in collecting and disseminating information during the terrorist attacks. One of Secretary Rumsfeld’s top aides, Clarke spoke about the role she played in the aftermath of the attacks, briefing the media and spending the day in the Pentagon’s Command Center as the military worked to respond to the tragic events as they unfolded. Clarke was also responsible for conceiving, designing, and running the program that embedded correspondents with military units during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and she is considered one of the nation’s foremost experts on communications strategy. After her lecture, Clarke allowed for a question and answer session with
“We have come to bless the trees, but in fact it is the trees that bless us,” begins Chaplain Michael Spencer. Local Lorax Rachael Ryan organized Taft students in a celebration of Earth Day in April. Andrew Parks, Nkem Modu, Bart Cerf and Steve Sclar lifted shovels while Brendan Reich (not pictured) looked on. “Enjoy the dogwoods as you head to the Wu building!” says Rachael. Blaire Farrar
students and faculty. Jenn Medeiros ’07 said, “Watching her in action was incredible. She received a fair amount of criticism for her role in the Bush administration, but she was able to defend and justify her position with great poise. I can see why she’s so good at her job.”
All-School Summer Read This summer, the school community will read Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about Dr. Paul Farmer and his quest to “cure the world.” Kidder looks closely at Farmer’s life and work, “showing how one person can make a difference in solving global health problems through a clear-eyed understanding of the interaction of politics, wealth, social systems, and disease. Profound and powerful, Mountains Beyond Mountains takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as Farmer changes people’s minds through his dedication to the philosophy that ‘the only real nation is humanity.’” Kidder will visit campus in October to talk about his work. The school will sponsor other speakers and host events throughout the year that reflect the theme of Global Leadership and Service. Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Around the pond Music From the Other Side of the World j Members of the Noor Wodjouatt Ensemble explain their traditional instruments at School Meeting. Peter Frew ’75
As a culmination of Taft’s yearlong exploration of the culture of Afghanistan, the school hosted the Noor Wodjouatt Ensemble. Noor Wodjouatt is a leading Afghan music artist who currently
resides in the United States. Raised in Kabul as the son of a prestigious physician, Wodjouatt became interested in music and poetry at a young age, cultivating a love for the arts. After moving
Taft dancers took part in The Big Read in a dance concert in April at Naugatuck Valley Community College. The Big Read is a National Endowment for the Artsinitiated event for the Waterbury Region. The goal is to have 5,000 people read To Kill a Mockingbird. Meanwhile, many other cities in Connecticut are also holding their own Big Read. Fourteen Taft dancers participated in the concert. Sabri Barisser
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
to the United States in 1990, Wodjouatt began to learn music from his older brother, Bassir, who plays the Rubob, a classical Afghan instrument. He also studied classical Indian raga with his cousin, Wali Raoufi. In 1999, Noor Wodjouatt released his first album, “City of Love,” which continues to garner international acclaim. His style of singing is considered light ghazal and incorporates Rumi lyrics, as well as text by his uncle Ustad Ghulam Ahmad Naweed, a popular Afghan poet. The ensemble, which includes Noor’s brother Bassir and tabla player Broto Roy, played for about thirty minutes before a rapt Bingham Auditorium audience. After the performance, Sophia Skouras ’08 remarked, “I feel so much more relaxed after that meeting. The music was like nothing I have ever heard before.” School Chaplain Michael Spencer praised the group, calling their performance “a fitting end” to the school’s exploration of Afghan culture that started with Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner nine months ago. The performance was co-sponsored by the Diversity Committee and the Paduano Lecture Series.
A New Crop of Leaders In May, over 80 students and faculty members attended a leadership retreat at Camp Mariah, a stunning camp near the Hudson River in Fishkill, New York. The students, rising members of the upper school who will serve as school monitors and corridor monitors in 2007–08, engaged in a variety of workshops and events planned by Director of Multicultural Affairs Greg Ricks, Assistant Headmaster Rusty Davis, and the Mountain Workshop, a group that helps to facilitate ropes courses and wilderness adventures. After arriving at the camp Saturday night, students met with the current school monitors, who spoke about particularly challenging moments they experienced as leaders in the community. After a long night of small-group bonding sessions, students and teachers
awoke on Sunday to a series of activities designed to build cohesion and to examine the challenges of establishing a healthy school culture. Small groups rotated between a low-ropes course, a workshop that examined common stereotypes in the Taft community, and a raftbuilding exercise, where two groups had to construct rafts and navigate them
around a short course on Lake Mariah. “My team made an awesome raft,” said Jed Rooney ’09, “though the entire thing turned into a massive splash fight after about five minutes. I was nervous that the entire weekend would just be a bunch of meetings, but it turned out to be really fun!” Mr. Ricks hopes to make this leadership retreat an annual Taft tradition.
From building a go-kart to composing a choral piece for Collegium, this year’s senior projects covered a full spectrum of interests. Now in its third year, the senior project program experienced significant growth, with 77 seniors completing 53 projects. Some projects, such as Antonia Pryor’s study of genetically modified organisms, were academic in nature, requiring significant amounts of laboratory work and study. Pryor became interested in the subject after composing a research essay on the topic. “I never knew how hard the lab work was going to be,” she says. “It took me four tries to get the experiment right, but Ms. OhmotoWhitfield provided a lot of support.” Other projects, such as the picnic table constructed by Gus Thompson and Hank Wyman, were designed to enhance the physical campus. “It was so gratifying,” they said, “to walk by the
table before graduation and see a group of kids hanging out around the pond.” The senior project program was designed by Dean of Faculty Christopher Torino in 2005 as a way to provide Taft seniors with a meaningful culminating experience, students quickly found ways to express themselves in a manner not otherwise afforded by the school’s rigorous curriculum. Projects require not only significant independent work, but also opportunities to reflect on the ways in which they have learned and grown at Taft. According to Torino, the program “prompts seniors to demonstrate their genuine passions beyond the limits of the curriculum, to reflect on their learning at Taft and to exhibit publicly the ways in which they embody the Portrait of the Graduate.” For a full list of projects, visit the program’s website: www.Taftseniorproject.org.
m At the Senior Project Museum, Peter Northrop, pictured, and Nick Liotta took turns test-driving the go-kart they built this spring.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Around the pond Faculty Changes
Math Competition Concludes
Retiring j j
Joseph Brogna, Latin Louise Brogna, dorm head
Sara Beasley, English Matthew Budzyn, Spanish j Thomas Fritz, history j Steven Le, English j Robert O’Connor, science j Manna Ohmoto-Whitfield, science j Debora Phipps, dean of academic affairs, English j Nicholas Riggie, photography j Amy Rogers-Wion, college counseling j Michael Spencer, chaplain j Melissa Sullivan, science j Laurel Waterhouse, history fellow j j
On Sabbatical j j
Jean Piacenza, counseling John Piacenza, mathematics
On Leave j
Holly McNeill, admissions
Jon Willson ’82, dean of academic affairs j Colin Farrar, History Department head j Jennifer Zaccara, English Department head j Kevin Conroy, uppermid class dean j Anna Hastings, mid class dean j Ellen Hinman, uppermid class dean j Mark Traina, mid class dean j
Tundé Ayinde, English Middlebury College, BA j Brendan Baran, Latin and history Brown University, BA; Columbia University, MA j Chris Brown ’64, English Yale University, BA; New York University, MA; University of Pennsylvania, JD j
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
m Members of the highly successful math team include, seated from left, Theresa Chang, Oscar Shi, Khoa Do Ba, Pong Chakthranont; standing, Billy Lovotti, Greg Wendzicki, Amy Jang, Carrie Hojnicki, Julia Griffin, Gordon Atkins, Megan Clower, M Sutuntivorakoon, adviser Ted Heavenrich, Ben Zucker, Mohammad Khera, Robin Oh, Hazel Zhang and Fei Zheng. Not pictured, Wilson Yu, Heekwon Seo, Khai Do Ba, Dan Kim, Lee Hsu, Connie Gao, Penelope Smith, Jeremy Philipson, Neal McCloskey, Christopher Cheng and Alice Cho. Bob Falcetti
After six months of competition, Taft’s math team made a strong finish in the New England Math League, earning 170 out of a possible 180 points and finishing seventh out of 200 competing schools. On average, twenty-five students would take an hour-long examination once a month. The top five scorers on the examination would contribute to the team score, and a tally was kept over the course of the year. Over the course of seven examinations, twelve different students placed in the top five, and new faces would appear in the exam room every month. Frequent contributors included Khoa Do Ba ’07, Wilson Yu ’07, Oscar Shi ’08, and Hazel Zhang ’08. Coach Ted Heavenrich was very pleased with the final result of the competition, noting that only two boarding schools, Choate and Andover, finished above Taft in scoring. “Given the demands on our
students’ time, it is incredible that they find the hours necessary to compete at such a high level.”
Grammy-winner and father of reggae Toots and the Maytals perform at Taft for spring concert. Conor Holland ’08 told the Papyrus, “Class Committee ’08 knows they have a difficult task of matching this year’s success and hopes to find a band just as great as Toots.” Peter Frew ’75
In April, photographer Michael Kolster spent a day visiting with Nick Riggie’s photography classes. Kolster, an assistant professor of art at Bowdoin College, hosted composition and printmaking workshops throughout the day and spoke about his life’s work in School Meeting. He shared two of his most recent projects with the community. The first is a photographic study of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where images of the same location at three different times are presented in triptychs. The second is “The Daily Post,” a web-based collection of photographs that grows by one entry each day, as its name suggests. The project began on March 27, 2002, and has no scheduled end date. With few exceptions each photograph is posted on the day it is made. Kolster came to Taft as part of the Rockwell Visiting Artist Series. Glass artist Paula Williams Kochanek spent a day in April with Claudia Black’s visual art classes, demonstrating her techniques in the Gail Wynne Art Studio.
Rachel Cederberg, co-director of college counseling Stanford University, BS, Harvard University, MEd j Rachel Cohen, athletic trainer Central Connecticut State University, BS j David Dethlefs, Learning Center New England College, University of New Hampshire, MAT j Catherine Ganung, college counselor Boston University, BA, MEd; Hawaii Pacific University, MBA j Robert Ganung, chaplain Boston University, BA; Boston University School of Theology, MDiv j William Kron, science College of William & Mary, BS; Hofstra University, MSEd; Wesleyan University, CAS j Luz Lara, Spanish Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, BA; Universidad de los Andes [Colombia], MA j Christopher Latham, director of development Cornell College, BA j Rob Madden ’03, Spanish teaching fellow Amherst College, BA j Janet Mosely, science teaching fellow Wesleyan University, BS j Geordy Richards, mathematics Princeton University, BA j Christopher Ritacco, science Colgate University, BA; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, MS j Rachel Russell, counseling Swarthmore College, BA; University of Michigan, PhD j Benjamin Tarshis, history teaching fellow Tufts University, BA j Panos Voulgaris, history Merrimack College, BA j Yee-Fun Yin, photography, Yale University, BA; Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, MFA j Kara Zarchin, English teaching fellow Middlebury, BA j
Kochanek earned a commercial art degree from Vesper George School of Art. She started working in stained glass back in the early ’80s, when she had a custom lamp designed and made. Thinking to herself, “Hey, I think I’d like to try this,” she took a class in stained glass at a local glass store in Framingham, Massachusetts. Kochanek was hired to design and execute windows and lamps for the store. She was soon asked to relocate to Australia for four months to open up several restaurants in Melbourne. After a year, she came home to pursue a career in business, but continued to work on her art. Her professional life took her all over the country, allowing Kochanek to collect different influences and ideas from various regions. In 2001 she decided to focus on her art and teaching, and creating one-of-a-kind pieces for residential and commercial clients. Her love of flowers, nature and the sea greatly influence her work. Kochanek’s visit was also sponsored by the Rockwell Visiting Artist Series.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Around the pond Uppermid Awards Recognizing outstanding achievement in the Class of ’08 Siemens Award for Advanced Placement Wilson Cheung Yu j Michaels Jewelers Citizenship Award Conor John Holland Elizabeth Rosemary Kessenich j University of Rochester Award in Humanities and Social Sciences Sarah Sullivan j Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Medal Amy In Sun Jang j Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award Madeline Rejene Bloch Theresa Shao-Ting Chang j Brown University Award Nellie Christian Beach j Princeton University Prize Christine Charlotte Call j Smith Book Award Madeline Rejene Bloch j Holy Cross College Book Award Theresa Shao-Ting Chang j Dartmouth Book Prize Johanna Trettis Kirby j Harvard Book Prize Amy In Sun Jang j
Briefly Noted Ellis Award Winner
In June, Daniel Lima ’09 won the Ferris Ellis Award, a literary competition sponsored by the Connecticut Community Foundation to encourage excellence in creative writing among area high school students. Lima placed first in the 9th and 10th grade prose division for a personal essay about his relationship with his father, a work originally composed for a mid English assignment. The award carries with it a $1,000 prize. English Department Chair Linda Saarnijoki calls the award “a wonderful tribute to Dan’s talent and initiative.”
In April, the Humanities Department sponsored a viewing of Invisible Children, a 2004 documentary about the kidnapping and training of child soldiers in Uganda. The film, created by three young American filmmakers who found themselves stranded in northern Uganda, is dedicated to telling the tragic, and largely untold, story of these children, most of whom grow into adulthood in the midst of a guerrilla war. The film focuses on the lives of four young boys, and through them the viewer witnesses the horror of abduction, the courage of survival, and the innate and irrepressible joy of childhood. As a result of the screening, Taft has helped to raise funds for school construction initiatives in Northern Uganda as part of the “Schools for Schools” program.
Japanese Speech Billy Lovotti ’07 placed third at the National Speech Contest of Japanese Language, held in Los Angeles in May. “Fifteen extremely talented Japanese language students throughout the nation gathered there to compete,” explains Japanese teacher Seiko Michaels, “This is such a big accomplishment.” Billy previously won the regional competition, which qualified him to compete in California.
Elected Lily Lanahan ’08 was elected head monitor this spring. Lily is a fourth-generation Taftie, following mother Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73, grandfather Ted Herrlinger ’46 (a head mon also), and great-grandfather Roth Herrlinger ’22. Joining Lily as school monitors are Shanika Audige, Eric Becker, Chelsea Berry, Barry Clarke, Charles Fraker, Conor Holland, Max Jacobs, Johanna Kirby, Sammer Richi, Ann Samuelson and Maggie Widdoes. 10 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
LowerMid Debates While many students spent evenings tossing the Frisbee around the pond, the lowermiddlers donned formal dress and reported to Bingham and Laube auditoriums for the annual lowermid class debates. The debates, sponsored by the History Department, required students to carefully research and analyze contemporary issues. Topics this year included the war in Iraq, the rise in gun violence, and racism and sexism in the context of the Don Imus scandal. These debates have become an established tradition at Taft, and history teacher Greg Hawes praises them as “an opportunity for students to stand in front of their entire class and make a persuasive argument. These debates teach kids the importance of verbal precision and rhetorical argument in the public sphere.”
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Boys’ Track 5–5 The team started the season 1–4 but came on strong to defeat league rivals Avon, Trinity Pawling, and Choate by placing 6th at the New England Championship meet. The ’07 squad was exceptionally strong in several areas, including the shot put where Mike McCabe shattered his own school record during the season (59'5.5") and went on to win the individual New England title for a second straight year (he placed 2nd in the discus). Taft’s other New England champion was Thomas Baudinet ’07 in the triple jump, with a season best of 44'11", and teammate Afolabi Saliu ’07 placed in the top four in both the long jump and triple jump. Finally, Head monitor Gordon Atkins ’07 ran Taft’s best 800 in several years (1:58) to place 4th. Girls’ Track 5–4 This was a young but talented team that finished with an impressive 4th place at the New England Championships. Medalists (top three finish) at that meet included captain Chelsea Berry ’08 in the 300-meter hurdles (2nd) and triple jump (3rd), Kerry Scalora ’10 in the 100m hurdles (2nd), Lindsay Dittman ’09 in the 400m (3rd) and 4x400m relay (3rd) and Brooke Hartley ’08 in the 800m (2nd) and 4x400m relay. Taft’s one individual champion was Katie Bergeron ’07 in the javelin (111'). The loss of captain and 100-meter school record holder Ashley Wiater ’07 for the season to injury prevented the Taft girls
j Lawrence Hunter Stone Award-winner Mike McCabe ’07, throwing the discus, shattered his own school record in shot put this spring and repeated as New England champion.
from winning a fourth Founders League title, but the team is quite strong in the hurdles, jumps and sprints and returns many top athletes for next year.
that played some of the best courses in the Northeast, including the TPC course in Cromwell, Connecticut, and Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York.
Girls’ Golf 11–0–2 The highlight of this undefeated season came at Greenwich Country Club, where the Rhinos knocked off Greenwich Academy, a team that had not lost in several years. Led by lowermid Bridget Wilcox’s eagle on the par-4 5th hole, Taft defeated GA 3–2 and Hotchkiss 5–0 on that great day. Captain Holly Walker ’07 posted a 10–1–1 record in the number five spot for the team, while Tanya Dhamija was 10–0–2 at number three. Carolin Schweppe ’08 was Taft’s top finisher at the New England Tournament, tying for 12th in a field of 61 golfers, with Wilcox in 15th. This was a young, talented team
Boys’ Golf 36–2–2 One of the great golf teams Taft has seen, the ’07 squad finished the season with a 386.6 match scoring average, shattering many records set in previous years. Highlights of the season came with 2.5–2.0 match play win over a very strong Brunswick team and a tiebreaker win over Deerfield at home, where Matt Loftus ’07 as Taft’s 6th golfer broke the tie score with his 87. Brad Roche ’07 (75.5 scoring average) and Gus Thompson ’07 (77.6 scoring average) led the team all year and were both named Founders League All-Stars. Captain-elect Alex Bermingham ’08 will Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
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lead several top returning players, for this was a very deep team that had four players shoot under 80 five times during the season; they also set an all-time school low of 378 at Hotchkiss. While the Rhinos finished 4th at both the Founders League Tournament and the K.I.T., the highlight of the season came with their victory over six other schools at the heralded Andover-Newport Invitational at
had 26 goals. Along with Neilson and Smith, Ashleigh Kowtoniuk ’08 (goalie) anchored the defense all season. Boys’ Lacrosse 3–10 The Rhinos started the season with a big win over Canterbury (20–1) but dropped several close league games with some inconsistency in the second half.
the Thirds’ Team and a JV record of 10–1. The varsity repeated as champions of the Founders League and the Southern New England Tennis League (3rd consecutive year), including big wins over Deerfield (6–1), Hotchkiss (7–0), and Choate (4–3). They then played some of their best tennis of the year to down Exeter (4–0) and Choate (4–2) on their way to the New
j Adam Donaldson ’08 returning serve against Westminster as doubles partner Pete Huang ’07 looks on.
j Number 1 Tanya Smith ’09 serving against Hopkins
historic Newport Country Club. Taft’s depth carried the day in an incredibly close competition, as they edged Exeter by one stroke, 319–320. Girls’ Lacrosse 6–9 Six one-goal games tell the story of this competitive team that battled evenly with the best in the prep ranks. Key wins came over Andover (12–11) and NMH (18– 3), but the Rhinos dropped close ones to rivals Deerfield (8–9) and Greenwich Academy (14–16). Meta Reycraft ’07 and Heidi Woodworth ’07 were named New England All-Stars, while Emily Neilson ’07 and Penelope Smith ’07 were Founders League All-Stars. Woodworth was also an Honorable Mention AllAmerican and led the team with 50 points, followed by Scout Berger ’08 who 12 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
The highlight of the season came with the 10–9 overtime win at Kent, behind McCay Claghorn’s ’07 five goals. In that game, Peter Johnson ’08 tallied eleven saves, and Keith Fell ’08 set up John DePeters ’09 for the game winner 45 seconds into overtime. Captain Patrick Milnamow ’07, Matt Petri ’07, and Bart Cerf ’07 provided senior leadership at the midfield throughout the season, while Patrick Clare ’09, Brendan Letarte ’07, and Jeremy Dwyer ’07 were strong at close defense. DePeters led the team with 21 goals on the season. Boys’ Tennis 17–2 New England Runner-Up, Founders League Champions This was a great year for boys’ tennis at Taft, with an undefeated season for
England finals. In the NE championship match, the Taft doubles teams of Adam Donaldson ’08 and Peter Huang ’07, and Bobby Campbell ’07 and Tyler Morgan ’08, both won, but Milton Academy would take 4 of the 5 singles matches to earn the title. Donaldson and Huang were the top singles players all season and a formidable #1 doubles team. Campbell was undefeated in singles and lost only once in doubles with partner Morgan, while senior captain Oat Naviroj ’07 was incredibly steady and competitive in the 3rd singles spot. At the SNETL championships, Taft’s singles players won each of the five draws, including Nate Burt ’08 in the #5 spot. Taft also won the first and third doubles spots for a nearly perfect sweep of the tournament.
Girls’ Tennis 7–5 The team had a good balance between singles and doubles talent, pulling out key matches over Greenwich Academy (5–2), Hopkins (5–2) and Westminster (5–2) for a winning record. Tanya Smith ’09, Brooke Elmlinger ’09, and Caroline Greenberg ’07 were solid in the #1, 2 and 3 singles spots respectively, while Holly
earlier in the season), defeating Nobles, Pomfret and BB&N along the way. In the season finale, the Smith Cup on Lake Waramaug, Taft battled Gunnery in all four races, finishing 2nd in each race and defeating E.O. Smith, South Kent, and Berkshire. The first boat was coxed by Rigel Bricken ’07 and stroked by Charlie Stein ’07, both four-year varsity members. It was also powered by captain
j First boat, Charlie Stein ’07, Doug Farren ’08, Ryan Rostenkowski ’08, Chris Wirth ’08 and cox Rigel Bricken ’07
Donaldson ’07 and captain Johanna Isaac ’08 put up a 6–3 record at #1 doubles. Bre McClurkin ’09 was a strong #4 singles player all season. Captains-elect Meg Culbertson ’08 and Nellie Beach ’08 (the #2 doubles team) will lead a core of talented returning players for the ’08 season. Boys’ Crew This young, light team (few real heavyweights) improved as much as any boys’ crew team at Taft and qualified all four boats for the New Englands at the end of the season—an accomplishment in itself. In fact, each of Taft’s boats improved their times with each race during the spring season. A case in point was the DuPont Cup, where Taft finished 2nd just behind a strong St. Marks team (who had soundly defeated the Rhinos
Ryan Rostenkowski ’08, Doug Farren ’08, Chris Wirth ’08—all returning for a team that loses only two seniors. Girls’ Crew This was a strong but young team, with only two seniors, who overcame the wet, cold early spring weather to defeat some of the best Connecticut crew teams, including league rival Miss Porters three times. The 1st and 3rd boats both qualified for the New England Championships based on their strong records. At the Founders Day Regatta, Taft placed 9th of the 22 teams and 2nd of all the CT squads. The first boat, stroked by Jenny Glazer ’08, with Christine Trusio ’08, Annie Morse ’09, Stephanie Menke ’08, and Kristen Stonehill ’07 (cox), should be very strong again next year. Captain and crew award
winner Clare Maltman ’07 helped power the second boat all season with her dedication and sacrifice. Stonehill and Glazer were named Founders League All-Stars. Baseball 8–9 This was a talented but young team that improved dramatically through the season. In the second half, Taft won 6 of 7 league games, defeating nearly every league opponent they had lost to the first time round. They finished with a great 4–2 run, with back-to-back wins over very strong Avon (9–3) and Loomis (6–2) teams. Mike Mastrocola ’08 powered the offense with a .468 batting average, and just lost out for the team-leading RBI when Mike Talarico ’07 hit a grand slam in their final game, a 13–5 win over T-P. Ollie Mittag ’08, EJ Brown ’07 and Brendan Reich ’07 also batted over .350 on the season. A trio of middlers were key on the mound and behind the plate, with Bobby Manfreda ’09 starting at catcher and Spencer Ward ’09 and Alex Kendall ’09 as the team’s top pitchers. The big win over T-P to end the season was a fitting last game for Head Coach Joe Brogna, a man who has coached more than 84 varsity seasons at Taft, a record that may never be touched. Softball 0–15 The young, persistent team gave a good battle in several games but lacked a dominating pitcher to carry the day. Captain Steph Schonbrun ’07 was the team’s leading fielder on the season, while captain-elect Elena Stein ’08 was the lead-off batter and led the team in total hits. Taft played well in tough losses to Kent (7–9) and Hotchkiss (14–23), but the final game of the season was the most exciting and heartbreaking. The Rhinos held highly ranked Hopkins to a 0–0 tie for the first six innings before bowing in the end, 0–4. For more on the spring season, visit www.TaftSports.com. Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
j 50th Reunion Gift Committee Chair Holcombe Green â€™57 presents a check for $337,686 to the headmaster on behalf of his class at the Thursday dinner on Alumni Weekend. Alisa Jackson DeSilva â€™89
Annual Fund Surpasses $3 Million
14 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
I am pleased to announce that the 2006–07 Taft Annual Fund raised $3,076,682 for our school. This is a new record for the Annual Fund! Thank you very much to all alumni/ae, current parents, former parents, grandparents and friends of Taft for their generosity and loyalty. Thanks especially to all of our class agents and volunteers who have worked so hard to make the Annual Fund a success. I am pleased to report that Taft alumni contributed $1,503,741 to the Annual Fund, with 40 percent participating. Special thanks and congratulations to Class Agent Bill Weeks and the 50th Reunion Class of ’57 for contributing $337,686 in Annual Fund and capital gifts and to Class Agent John Tietjen and the Class of ’60 for garnering 73 percent participation, a great effort for a non-reunion year less than 50 years out! Hans and Kate Morris again turned in a remarkable performance in their second year leading the Parents’ Fund. The Morrises and a strong network of volunteers led an effort generating $1,315,596 in gifts from 92 percent of current parents. Taft’s Parents’ Fund is truly the envy of the prep school world and the support of our parents is a great testament to Taft’s dedicated faculty.
Neither would the school’s many successes be possible without the efforts of the Alumni & Development Office. Thank you to everyone in the office for all of your support and hard work this year. Welcome to Chris Latham, who joins Taft as director of development. Chris and Cynthia are great additions to the Taft family, and I hope all of you get the chance to spend some time with the Lathams in the coming years. This was my first year as Annual Fund chair and it could not have been better! The opportunity to interact with so many alumni and friends of the school is a unique facet of this position, and I am grateful to all of you for making my job so much fun and for making Taft such a very special place. It is a joy to be able to share my love of Taft with all of you. My belief in our school’s mission, faculty and our very fine students has strengthened immeasurably as a result of my involvement this year. I look forward to even greater success for the Annual Fund going forward. A final thank-you to all who have contributed to the 2006–07 Annual Fund. Go Big Red!
2007 Class Agent Awards* Snyder Award Largest amount contributed by a reunion class Class of 1957: $177,686 Class Agent: Bill Weeks Chairman of the Board Award Highest percent participation from a class more than 5 years out but less than 50 Class of 1960: 73% Class Agent: John Tietjen McCabe Award Largest amount contributed by a non-reunion class Class of 1973: $72,707 Class Agent: Ted Judson Young Alumni Dollars Award Largest amount contributed from a class 10 years out or less Class of 1997: $21,854 Class Agent: Charlie Wardell For a complete list of Annual Fund Awards, visit www.TaftAlumni.com.
Sincerely, —Holcombe T. Green III ’87 Annual Fund Chair
*Awards determined by gifts and pledges raised as of June 30, 2007.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
The Parents’ Fund
b Kate and Hans Morris with their children, Mac ’06 and Lucy ’10
c Chairs of the 2007–08 Parents’ Fund, Karin and John Kukral, with their children, Johnny ’11, Julie, and Jimmy ’09
16 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
We are thrilled to announce that 92 percent of Taft’s current parents raised $1,315,596 on behalf of the Annual Fund! In 1977, the Parents’ Fund totaled $86,000. Now, 30 years later, the fund has grown into one of the school’s most impressive credentials and has truly spoken to the current parents’ belief in what Taft provides to educate our children. Current parents, led by a most dedicated group of committee members, have surpassed the school and Board of Trustees’ expectations by raising— for the first time in the history of the fund—more than $1.3 million dollars! We send our sincere thanks to the school’s devoted faculty and staff and the 497 current parents who made this year’s success possible. Thank you all and a warm welcome to next year’s chairs, Karin and John Kukral.
—Kate and Hans Morris Chairs of the 2005–06 and 2006–07 Parents’ Funds
2006-07 Parents’ Committee Kate & Hans Morris, chairs
Marion Markham & Randy Abood ’68 Jan & Eric Albert ’77 Rachel Cohan Albert & Jonathan Albert ’79 Colette & Dick Atkins Nancy Cooley Benasuli Ann & Douglass Bermingham Frederic Bloch Callie & Hank Brauer ’74 Kathy & Buddy Carter Vivian & Richard Castellano Susan & Wick Chambers ’66 Sheilah & Tom Chatjaval Peg & John Claghorn Tani Conrad Alanna & Tim Cronin Betty & Carl Crosetto Mary & David Dangremond Susie Delaporte Nancy Demmon ’81 Barbara & Alan Donaldson Jane & Bill Donaldson Kathanne & Bob Fowler Anne Galyean Pippa & Bob Gerard Lel & Tom Gimbel Kristine & Peter Glazer Sascha & Evan Greenberg Gordon & Laura Weyher Hall ’78 Randi & Andrew Heine David M. Hillman Kitty Herrlinger Hillman ’76 Abbe & Michael Horsburgh Robin Houston Donna & Jerry Iacoviello Leslie & Herb Ide
Karen & Paul Isaac Linda & Bill Jacobs Moira & Lance James Barbara & Bob Jones Susan & Tom Kendall Jennifer & Mark F. Kessenich III Nancy & Andrew Kirby Meg & Stuart Kirkpatrick Val & John Kratky Karin & John Kukral Michael & Leslie Herrlinger Lanahan ’73 Lorrie Landis Karen & T.J. Letarte Liné & Church Lewis Diane & Chris Liotta Lisa & Joe Lovering Mary & Joe Mastrocola Bob & Lisa Reid Mayer ’75 K.T. & Alan McFarland Rose & Paul McGowan Fiona & Martin Mittag-Lenkheym John Ourisman Valerie & Jeffrey Paley ’56 Paula & Carmine Paolino Tammy & Charlie Pompea Lindsey & Sam Pryor ’73 Andrea Reid Sera & Tom Reycraft Rosemarie & John Riggins Sr. Sue & Steve Rooney Laura Childs & Ken Saverin ’72 Margaret Shiverick Paul & Betsy Shiverick Mary & Carl Siegel John A. Slowik Charlotte & Richard Smith Kristin & Don Taylor ’76 Doug Thompson Francie & Bob Thompson Ellen & George Utley III ’74 Ellen & Chris White Brooks Hendrie Widdoes ’73 Alice & Peter Wyman Peter & Jo Klingenstein Ziesing ’78
New Development Director Chris Latham
The school welcomed new development director Christopher Latham and his wife, Cindy, in July. Chris has served as director of alumni and development at Tabor Academy for the last 17 years. Prior to his work there, he was associate director for major gifts at Dartmouth College and director of development and alumni relations at Holderness School. He has also worked as a credit analyst in the Corporate Banking Division at Princeton Bank & Trust. A graduate of Holderness, he majored in studio art at Cornell College and originally returned to Holderness to assist with prospect research and help in the final phase of their capital campaign. “Although it was not an easy decision to leave Tabor after 17 years,” Chris says, “Cindy and I feel most honored to have the opportunity to come to Taft. The welcome that we have already received has just served to reaffirm for us the strong sense of community that serves as the foundation for this wonderful institution.” Chris is a member of the AISNE Development Committee and its Board of Directors, the NEASC Development Committee and the Greater New Bedford Community Health Foundation Advisory Board. He was previously a member of the Steering Committee on Volunteerism for the New Hampshire Governor’s Office and president of the Board of Directors of CONFR (Continuing Education in Fund Raising). Chris and Cindy have three grown children: Leah, Hunt and Charlie. Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
A Cup-Lifting moment Drafted into the NHL, and hoisting the Stanley Cup trophy, these are things dreams are made of. And for Ryan Shannon ’01, those dreams came true in June. “As a kid on Connecticut youth teams I dreamed of hoisting the Stanley Cup,” remembers Ryan, “but I could never have imagined the overwhelming emotion of that moment. The hockey program at Taft helped prepare me, on and off the ice, for my college and professional careers. I want to thank all the people who helped me along the way. ” Playing right wing for the Anaheim Ducks this season, after a year with the AHL in Portland, rookie Ryan Shannon scored 2 goals and 9 assists for the team, going into the Stanley Cup. At 5'9", 173 pounds, Ryan has met plenty of skeptics, but that didn’t stop him from captaining the Boston College Eagles to the semifinals for the Frozen Four in 2004 or placing ninth in scoring for the AHL before getting called up to the NHL. b Ryan Shannon #38 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrates lifting the Stanley Cup after defeating the Ottawa Senators in Game Five of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals on June 6 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Senators 6–2 to win the Stanley Cup Finals 4 games to 1. Dave Sandford/Getty Images 18 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
The Big Swim Anne Schuster ’85 is gearing up for her biggest challenge yet. Swimming the English Channel. In preparation, she competed in the Tampa Bay Marathon swim in April and was women’s champion, completing the event in 10 hours 34 minutes. Four solo swimmers and seven relay teams finished the swim of the entire 24-mile length of Tampa Bay on Earth Day. “It was insane, completely and totally kooky,” says Anne. “Our boat broke down and we had to get a new boat in the middle of the water. There were
across the English Channel, so she knows she has her work cut out for her. The shortest distance between the English and French coastlines is only 21 miles, but a combination of cold and strong currents mean that 90 percent of people who attempt this feat don’t make it to the other side. Still, swimming the Channel is the holy grail for swimmers, explains Anne, who is using the swim to raise $21,000 for Camp Fire USA in Dallas, a thousand for each mile she swims. When not swimming, Anne lives in Dallas, Texas, and conducts con-
FNL Wins Peabody
sharks, waves…just nuts. The Channel is about the same distance but significantly colder, so I just have to do a lot of coldwater swimming and then go tackle it!” More people have successfully climbed Mount Everest than have swum
sumer research, having formed ASK Research Inc. in 1996 after six years with General Mills. To see how Anne fares, visit www. swimlong.com for all the Channel particulars as well as a link to Camp Fire USA.
Critics are practically begging for another season of Friday Night Lights, the richly textured serial in which a football-obsessed Texas town becomes a microcosm of America, which also won a Peabody Award this spring. Despite early rumors that the show would be canceled, NBC has promised new episodes this fall. If you’re not already a fan, you can watch past episodes online at www.nbc.com/ Friday_Night_Lights. Peter Berg ’80, executive producer/director/writer for the hit series, directed the movie of the same name back in 2004. The best-selling book on which both are based is written by H.G. Bissinger, who happens to be Berg’s cousin. Peabody winners reflect the best in electronic media, and the latest recipients reflect the ever-broadening definition of electronic media and the international scope of the competition. The awards were presented in New York on June 4. Berg recently directed The Kingdom, an action film set in the Middle East that is due out this fall. He appears most recently in the film Smokin’ Aces with Ben Affleck and Andy Garcia. Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
World’s Largest Amateur Wine Competition j Brad Ring ’84 surveys the more than 3,000 entries at this year’s WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition. Courtesy of WineMaker magazine
WineMaker magazine’s International Wine Competition grew to more than 3,000 entries this year. “The competition was a natural spinoff of WineMaker magazine,” says publisher Brad Ring ’84. “I noticed around 2002 that there was no true competition for hobby winemakers from coast to coast. The only
events that existed were very regional, such as county and state fairs. I wanted to give our readers the chance to compete against the best amateurs winemakers from across North America while getting expert judging feedback on their entries.” All entries in the competition were judged over a three-day period
in April at the Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont. “My favorite part is walking into the main wine room and seeing the amazing diversity among the more than 3,000 bottles sent in from 44 states, 8 Canadian provinces and four countries,” he adds. “We get the full gamut, from an estategrown Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa to a Florida citrus wine or a jalapeño wine from New Mexico. If it can be fermented, it has most likely been entered here over the years.” The winners are posted at www.winemakermag.com WineMaker, launched in 1998 and purchased by Brad in 1999, is the largest circulation magazine for people interested in making quality wine at home. “We try to give practical, well-researched information in a fun format for all home winemakers,” explains Brad. WineMaker’s sister publication, Brew Your Own magazine, launched in 1995 and is the largest circulation magazine for the homebrewing hobby with a website at www.byo.com
Highest Alumni Honor A professor of history and longtime college president, John A. Logan Jr. ’42 dedicated his life to education. Plucked from the classroom at Yale, he was called to lead Hollins College—transforming a small provincial school to a women’s college of national reputation. “When word came out in the Yale Daily News that I was going to be made president of a women’s college in Virginia, the 200 members of my allmale American diplomatic history lecture class stood up and shouted, ‘Take us with you!’” In the tides of coeducation that followed, Jay held fast to the idea that there was a place for single-sex institutions. Later, as president of the Independent College Funds of America in New York, he raised corporate funds to support the smaller liberal arts colleges that produce so many of the country’s most valuable, produc20 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
tive, responsible, well-rounded citizens. “The nation will, I hope, always need educators,” added Jay, “but it will also need corporate and military leaders, doctors, lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, engineers, and, most particularly, voters and political leaders, whose education gives them a breadth of understanding and a sympathy for the human condition that will allow them to govern wisely. One might wish, for example, that more people governing today had been educated in a school like Taft.” The Citation of Merit, presented to Jay at the Alumni Weekend Luncheon in May, reads in part: “You opened opportunities for intellectual commitment for thousands of young men and women, broadening their range of choices and allowing them to deepen their awareness of the potential of
m Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 congratulates Citation of Merit honoree Jay Logan ’42. Bob Falcetti
the human spirit. Above all, you chose to serve, and for this, we bestow on you today, your alma mater’s highest honor, the Alumni Citation of Merit.” For a list of past recipients, or to nominate an alumnus for the Citation of Merit, visit www.TaftAlumni.com.
Stone Gets Win No. 500 at UMass Kiah, who was coached by Mike’s father, Larry Stone, at Taft, said, “To be coached by one was to be coached by the other. Both required that you earn the right to play; there was no favoritism ever.” Coaching, one might say, runs in the family. Katey Stone ’84 is head coach of Harvard women’s ice hockey and, in 2006 coached the women’s national under-22 team. Kelly Stone ’76 is athletic director at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, and Jim Stone ’82 coaches baseball and football and is athletic director at Blair Academy in New Jersey.
j Coach Mike Stone ’74 earns his 500th win at UMass. UMass Media Relations
UMass Baseball Coach Mike Stone ’74 picked up his 500th UMass win in April in a 5–4 victory against Rhode Island. In his 20th season as head coach and respected as one of the nations’ elite coaches, Stone is the “all-time winningest coach in UMass baseball history” with a 500–402–2 all-time mark. He has sent 32 players into professional baseball in his tenure with the university. Stone has led the Minutemen to eight Atlantic 10 regular season titles, two Atlantic 10 Tournament crowns and two NCAA appearances. He has guided the Minutemen to the Championship game of the Beanpot four times in the last ten seasons. Coach Stone is only the second coach to win the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year three consecutive years. After Taft, Stone signed a professional contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
He was a catcher in the Cardinals system for three years and played in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league organization for two seasons. Stone then enrolled as a physical education major at UMass, where he played football for three seasons and graduated cum laude in 1982 and earned his master’s degree from the University of Vermont, where he coached baseball prior to returning to his alma mater as head coach. Andy Kiah ’91, a former captain under Stone’s helm, tells how Coach Stone prepared his players. “At times I felt like I was on the track team instead of baseball,” said Kiah, “and I couldn’t understand why. But later I came to appreciate just how well prepared we were as a team with all the fundamentals when we hit Florida, not an easy task coming from New England.”
Hillary Lewis ’04 was elected president of Penn State’s University Park Undergraduate Association. “I’m pretty overwhelmed, actually,” Lewis told the Penn State Collegian, but “I’m ready to make some changes.” Among the changes Lewis proposed in her campaign were the construction of more student housing, fair sales of student tickets, more sensible food pricing, and encouraging the administration to be more fiscally responsible in order to keep tuition down. University Park, Penn State’s largest campus, has an undergraduate population of 35,000 students. . Hillary Lewis ’04, left, learns she’s been elected president of the Penn State student government association. Jeff Bast/Penn State Collegian
A passion for education Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft ’59 will launch the Center for Educational Excellence at the University of Dayton to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to attract research funding on educational policy issues. Taft’s two-year appointment is with the University of Dayton Research Institute but he will collaborate with the School of Education and Allied Professions. It’s a good fit for Taft, who taught English, math, geography and art to children in Tanzania as a Peace Corps volunteer for two years after graduating from college and earned a strong reputation for school quality initiatives as governor. Under his leadership, Ohio boosted state aid to primary and secondary schools by nearly 60 percent. He spearheaded a $10 billion school construction and renovation program. In addition, he created OhioReads that mobilized more than 50,000 volunteer reading tutors across the
state, and launched the Ohio Core, which requires a more rigorous high school curriculum emphasizing math and science. Taft also served as co-chair of Achieve, an organization created by the nation’s governors and business leaders to help states raise academic standards and close the “expectations gap’’ so that all high school students graduate ready for college and work. “The opportunity to help more students succeed is one of the reasons I ran for governor,’’ he said. “It’s my passion and was a priority throughout my administration. Improving the quality of math and science education is critical to the future of our country.” Taft will devote much of his energy to securing research funding for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives and other programs in the Center for Educational Excellence. In addition, his work will focus on at-risk students in urban schools, and
Former Ohio Governor Bob Taft ’59 may have left the governor’s mansion, but he’s staying in Ohio to launch the Center for Educational Excellence at the University of Dayton. University of Dayton
he will serve as a guest lecturer at the Dayton Early College Academy—a public high school on campus, which has received national attention for preparing high school students to earn a diploma and up to two years of college credit. Taft holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Yale University, a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati.
A French Campaign David Wisner ’00 has always been interested in foreign affairs and politics, so when he was offered a position working on Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidential campaign in France, he “jumped at the opportunity.” Sarkozy was elected president of the French Republic in May after defeating Socialist Party contender Ségolène Royal. David worked in his foreign policy office.
This election proved to be particularly interesting, David explains. “The rejection of the European Constitution by the French voters in 2005, the riots of the same year and the next spring, the continued drop in both French prosperity and country’s clout in the world all culminated into making this one of the most interesting elections in the republic’s history; a fact confirmed by a record voter turn out of 85 percent. How could I turn down the offer?” The International Herald Tribune calls Sarkozy “one of the most polarizing figures to move into Élysée Palace in the postwar era. He is a whirling dervish of ideas who inspires hope and fear on both sides of the French political scene.” What will David remember most from his nine months with the campaign? “When the candidate gave his
foreign policy speech on live TV before 400 journalists—having worked on both the ideas and the structure of the speech—it was amazing to see the words and topics we had been refining for four months being spoken to and dissected by the corps of correspondents and the general public to overwhelmingly positive reviews. The candidate had a great many qualities, but if he had one shortcoming coming into the election, it was his depth of knowledge about foreign affairs. It was simply fantastic to see the hard work of my office come to fruition and to witness how he had learned from the work we had done.” David is taking the Foreign Service exam this summer and then heads to Yemen to start learning Arabic as he awaits the results.
Mary Chapin Carpenter ’76 Zoe Records, 2007
A Crowd of One:
The Future of Individual Identity John Henry Clippinger ’62 PublicAffairs, 2007
Barnaby Conrad ’40 Fundación José Manuel Lara, 2007
A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children With Autism:
Stories of Hope and Everyday Success Colleen Sell, editor; Nici Derosier ’86, contributor Adams Media, 2007
Self-Advocacy Skills for Students With Learning Disabilities:
Making It Happen in College and Beyond Henry B. Reiff ’71 Dude Publishing, 2007
Jason Tandon, former faculty sunnyoutside, 2007
America’s Second Revolution:
How George Washington Defeated Patrick Henry and Saved the Nation Harlow Giles Unger ’49 Wiley, 2007
If you would like a copy of your work added to the Hulbert Taft Library’s Alumni Authors Collection and listed in this column, please send a copy to Taft Bulletin, The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100
Het Kersten Spiel
Het omstreden netwerk van de masseur van Himmler Freek van Rijsinge ’58 Boom–Amsterdam, 2006
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Heard on NPR Several alums have been heard on public radio recently, beginning with Bryan Danforth ’78, a professor with the Department of Entomology at Cornell University. Danforth recently discovered a 100-million-year-old fossil ancestor of bees and wasps. “The fossil provides insights into the morphology of the earliest bees and provides a new minimum date for the antiquity of bees and bee-mediated pollination,” Danforth explains in Science magazine last fall. “His work is widely respected,” says classmate Cliff Cunningham, who works in the same field.
In March, Mary Chapin Carpenter ’76 performed a concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, celebrating the release of her new disc, The Calling (see “In Print”). She followed that performance with a spring tour that included the Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut. The school organized a reception at the theater for the large number of alumni and faculty who were in the audience that night. Will Hitchcock ’82 followed on Weekend Edition on March 25, talking about whether the original intent for the European Economic Community,
which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, has been met in the EU. Will, a professor of history at Temple University, is the author of The Struggle for Europe (Doubleday, 2003). More recently, director Peter Berg ’80 was interviewed on April 11, the night his critically acclaimed TV series, Friday Night Lights, ended its first season. The show earned a coveted Peabody Award (see page 19), but, NPR wrote, “its struggle to find an audience means there may not be a second season.” For more information on any of these stories, visit www.npr.org.
On and Off the Wall Kendall Ayoub ’92ied Exhibition
The Latcham Gallery Annual Jur April 14–May 12 Art Integration Project Vaughan Juried Art Exhibition, an April 23–May 27 ayoub.com For more information, visit www.kendall
Galen Cheney ’80 ion: the activation of the observer Abstraction and emot
re Park, Stowe, Vermont West Branch Gallery and Sculptu Art in Vermont.” in May: Conversation on Contemporary May 25, as part of their “Three Fridays tically charged paintings. poli with inky expanses of pitch black in her Her work combines bold blocks of color r of our shared humanity. ld events while serving as a poignant reminde wor over ern conc her ct refle s ting pain Her
Jane D. Marsching ’85 Arctic Listening Post
ton Institute of Contemporary Art, Bos 7 December 10, 2006–March 11, 200 art research project An interdisciplinary collaborative hybrid www.janemarsching.com
24 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
8 was the Ted Squires â€™2 mnus attending most senior alu this spring. the festivities
The women of â€™87: Jane Scott Offutt Hodges, Heather Adair McDougald, Betsy Jaffe, Alison Jahncke and Michele Barth Still
Alumni Day 2007 The Weekend in Pictures Photos by Bob Falcetti
Alumni were treated to a perfect May day in New England as they returned to campus to visit with old friends, look up a favorite teacher, or simply stroll the campus. Highlights this year included an alumni baseball game in honor of retiring coach Joe Brogna and a celebrity autograph or two! Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
w ’97 and Sonja Killebre r’s the headmaste t a 7 ’9 o ok d Josie I rday evening dinner on Satu
Adam Duritz ’8 2, from Counting Crows, returns for the 25th Reun ion.
Ken Rush ’67 welcomes classmates to his show in the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery.
roudly Rib Hall p ss of ted the Cla ld n e s e r p e r O ar at the ’33 this ye er. n Guard Din
Collegium Musicum processes into Christ Church for the Service of Remembrance on Friday afternoon. 26 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Mary and Dick Crane ready to lead the 50th Reunion Class in the parade
Alumni Day 2007
Mike and Gre ta Brogna Ca mpanale ’92 with daughter Stella ohnson itus Barclay J r e m e r e ch a n English te e 40th Reunio th s d n e tt a , r r Phil ’53, cente faculty membe r e m r fo h it w Dinner wife Sylvia. Zaeder and
s ’02 Colin FitzSimon and son Peter
A number of brave souls took to the field for the Alumni Lacrosse Game: Front from left, George Utley ’74, Josh Gruss ’92, Scott Willard ’92, Gil Rotchford ’92, Colin FitzSimons ’92, Andrew Belcher ’02, Willy MacMullen ’78; standing, Coach Jol Everett, Rod Moorhead ’97, Bob Anderson ’82, Brook Stroud ’06, Rob Peterson ’80, Lewis Fenton ’92, Peter Hafner ’02, Jim Burchetta ’92, Haynes Gallagher ’02, Will Brame ’02, Andrew Bisset ’02, John Macaskill ’02, Jamie White ’02, Jon Stevenson ’97, and Matt Donaldson ’88 (Chris Sturgess ’02 not pictured).
Classmates Se ra Reycraft and Lauren F ifield ’02 at the luncheon Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Classmates Andrew Belcher, Sarah Walsh, and A Sinderbrand ’02 at the Collegium reunion in Walker Hall on Saturday morning
Stephanie and Ned Os terhus ’82 watch the games with their son, Eric.
The Old G uard trave ls to the lu ncheon in sporty fashion.
moms pushing their Double trouble for these to watch the games double loads up the hill 28 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Rob Jennings ’67 and son Tyler ’02 were both back on campus for reunions.
Alumni Day 2007
The men of 1957 at their 50th Reunion Class Dinner Peter Frew ’75
Golf Tournament winner s. Jeff Foote ’73, left, an d son Andrew ’05, third from left, won thi s year’s tournament with the low net and low gross scores respectively. John Br ittain ’77 and Ben Andrysick ’05 made up the foursome.
’92 introduces on om ol S w e r d An l to classmate his son Michae . lacrosse game e th t a d r fo Gil Rotch
A number of emeriti fa culty return for the festivities , including Gérard LeTend re.
2002 Classmate s Blair Boggs , Sarah Walsh, and B rooke Townsen d, with faculty membe r Ginger O’She a at the Headmaster’s Dinner on Sa turday Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
2002 classmates Pete Hafner, Scott McGoohan, and Harry Jones at the Headmaster’s Dinner
er ’67 nd Dick Wechsl a e um Pl n oh J Classmates eunion Dinner at the 40th R
John Sargent and Ed Me ad ’42 travel in style for the parade.
n ’57 and Wayne Jackso s ’57. Farish Jenkin a ’89 DeSilv Alisa Jackson
30 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Alison Jahncke ’87 finds a quiet moment outside CPT before the parade.
Alumni Day 2007
Bob Murdock ’47 leads the Class of ’47. Jane Scott Off utt Hodges ’87 and Alisa “Bum py” Jackson DeSilva ’89 join their fathers at the 50th Reunion Dinner for the Class of 1957 on Thursday nigh t.
s and r emeritu to c e ir d c e Athleti arry Ston L h c a o c w llo ogna longtime fe r Joe Br e b m e m y i lt the Alumn tiring facu t e a r s e r is o u n o o h ife L ing. and his w rday morn tu a S n o Game Baseball
Horace Taft watches over the day’s events as Holcombe Green ’87 and his family stroll the campus before the parade.
The headm aster introduces n e w Alumni Trustee Ha nk Torbert ’90
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” —Friedrich Nietzsche [1844–1900]
e fin ing
a way to X lay
Four alumni musicians recount the ups and downs of trying to make it in the music business, making a living doing something they love. By Ryan Nerz ’92
van Field ’94 isn’t answering his phone. I know this because I’ve been barraging the poor kid with calls and text messages. I’m standing outside the Knitting Factory, a music venue in New York’s SoHo, staring helplessly at my phone. Judging from his last e-mail, Evan is inside setting up the stage for his CD release party. Maybe he can’t get a cell phone signal inside a soundproofed stage. It is a thought that probably should have occurred to me before now. There is a tattooed person with a clipboard out front, a gatekeeper. I walk toward him and try to seem official. I am a reporter, I say, here to interview a guy from a band called Honor by August. The clipboard confirms that this band exists, and I get the nod. Once inside I am transported into a sort of fourth dimension of the rock music industry. Guys with asymmetrical, gelled-up hair are running around in a torrent of preparation. A couple of agent-looking types are walking around making calls on phones that, I can only assume, get better reception than Evan’s. I can’t tell if the clumps of young women are groupies, girlfriends or bandmates. The one in front of me appears to be none of the above. Another gatekeeper. Behind her is a door, and behind that are the distinct sounds of rock-band warming up—loud guitar licks and the word “Check one, two” said over and over, ad infinitum. She says I’m not on The List but grants me access anyway. Behind door number two I see a dimly lit bar off to my left and more beehive behavior near a stage to my right. Speakers and amps and instruments crisscross the stage as if they’re being self-propelled through the darkness. I hear the name “Evan” and walk toward it. “Excuse me,” I say. “Is there an Evan around here?” A guy puts an amplifier down and walks toward me. He comes off as more guy-nextdoor than overt rock star, with short hair, no obvious tattoos or piercings, and a disarmingly radiant smile. After apologizing for being so hard to find, he asks if it’s okay to go ahead and talk here. We grab waters from the bar and sit down at a back table. I pull
out my digital recorder and press “record.” “So how did you get started in music?” I ask. “Started in music? Um, basically, I…” Evan’s voice is instantly mowed down by the ferocious roar of a guitar onstage. He laughs. “That’s all right,” I say. “It’s actually kind of nice background music.” “Okay, cool. So yeah, I’ve just always been…” It’s the guitar again, louder this time. “…really into…” Another guitar blast. “…MUSIC!” We’re both laughing now. I turn off the recorder.
musical roots I quickly discover that it is a stupid question. Ask a musician how long they’ve been into music, and they’ll say always. To get a better sense of where it all started, you have to ask about their earliest musical memories. Dudley Taft ’84 remembers he was 13 and living in Houston, Texas, when he got his first guitar. “I bought it at some store where they sell you an acoustic, and then sell you a bunch of lessons. So I was playing these awful tunes, like ‘Jingle Bells’ on the high strings. It was ridiculous.” His saving grace came in the form of a local guitar hero in Indianapolis, where Dudley moved when he turned fifteen. Dudley’s mom found a flyer for guitar lessons stapled to a telephone pole, and Dudley called. A man named Rob Swaynie answered and promised that lessons would have nothing to do with Jingle Bells. Instead, he would teach power chords and solos and scales. “Rob basically taught me how to rock.” Dudley also remembers his first night at Taft, in 1981, on Eric Drake’s HDT 3 dorm floor. He broke out a guitar and an amp and started playing a few riffs. In no time his room was filled with kids. “It was pretty much the icebreaker that got everyone to know each
Evan Field ’94 live at the Verizon Center in D.C. when his band, Honor by August, played with Bon Jovi. John Harrington
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Dudley Taft ’84 playing a custom shop “Seafoam” stratocaster he bought in 1990. “It is by far the best sounding strat I have ever played,” says Dudley. “(I have six of them.)” Kip Beelman
other. So that was cool. I was instantly known as my grade’s guitar player.” Dudley soon met musicians from the grade above him, including Trey Anastasio ’83 of the now world-famous rock-jam band Phish. After a brief stint with a band called Red Tide, Dudley and Trey got together with Doug Parsons ’83 on drums, Rob Gordon ’83 on bass, and a strange kid who went simply by The Dude of Life [aka Steve Pollak ’83]. They procured keys to the basement space beneath Bingham Auditorium and started practicing there. Space Antelope, as the band called itself, went from performing cover songs to writing original material. Dudley remembers performing at Vespers, where he played a few rock songs of his own creation, and a couple “more wacky jam-band songs” of Trey’s influence. The Dude of Life, for his part, wore strange glasses and fashioned a giant saw into an instrument. By senior year, Dudley had eschewed all extracurriculars and basically just jammed full time. “I barely got my work done,” he explains with a laugh. “I played guitar every day, like four hours a day. I just lived and breathed it.”
manilow to mcCartney Kate Donnellon ’86 says her musical beginnings are so distant she can’t quite place them. “I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t singing—being part of the choir, in a 34 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
musical, in community theater, making up dance routines, torturing my friends by playing the audition for Annie.” According to her mom, Kate got her start at the ripe age of two, when she was enrolled in singing lessons in New York City. By the time Kate moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, she was borderline monomaniacal. She started taking piano and cello and voice lessons, and her most loyal friend became a Panasonic tape recorder. “I would just sit around and sing Barry Manilow and the Beatles. My biggest fantasy when I was little was to pretend that I was Paul McCartney’s sister. And they would bring me up on stage, and I would do a few songs with them.”
big bands and jazz cats Chauncey Upson ’94 started taking saxophone lessons in fifth grade. Growing up in Southbury, Connecticut, he took lessons with Mickey Lange, an old-school saxophonist who earned his chops back in the big band era. But it wasn’t until Chauncey’s mid year at Taft, when he met a German exchange student and jazz pianist named Dominik Schrader ’93, that he fell in love with pure jazz—improvisation. “I was sitting in the band room, and Dominik was running some changes, playing blues. And I was like, ‘Wait. What was that? And he showed me a few things, and that was it. I instantly connected.” From that point on, Chauncey’s most salient memories of Taft are, well, not really of Taft. He was a day student, and in the evenings he was out on the local big band circuit. He played with the community college band, the Hart School of Music, the Berkshire Big Band, and the Sonny Carroll Orchestra. “I played with Jackie McLean, a big time jazz legend who used to play with Charlie Parker. And I played gigs all over Connecticut. I was sixteen, hanging out with these old school jazz cats, like 60-year-
old dudes who played with Woody Herman in the New York big band scene in the ’50s. It was pretty crazy.”
the power of guitar Evan remembers when his best friend in Mystic, Connecticut, Ranjit Bindra ’94, dragged him to a nearby mom-and-pop guitar shop to watch local musicians jam. It was then that Evan had a clear vision of his future. “I was convinced that by the time the guitar arrived in my hands, I would be a star. The hard part was getting the guitar. I played air guitar with lacrosse sticks and tennis rackets, until my parents finally caved.” The guitar came for Christmas when he was 13, and he couldn’t so much play it as not play it. But he practiced obsessively, four hours a day after school, until he made headway. Later that year, he went to his first concert—David Lee Roth of Van Halen fame. Embarrassed by the memory, he confesses that Roth’s stage presence made a profound impression. But the real clincher came between his uppermid and senior years at Taft, while touring through Europe with Mr. Nagy’s jazz band. During one particular session, at an all-girls school in Switzerland, Nagy let Evan, Ranjit Bindra, and a bass player perform a short rock ’n’ roll interlude in between jazz sets. “These girls were sitting around, being very polite throughout the jazz. And then we broke in with a Jimi Hendrix tune, and they were like, ‘Yeaaahhh!’ I ended up getting a Swiss girlfriend out of it. It was pretty sweet, man. That’s when I first understood the power of guitar.”
paying the rent But quixotic visions of musicianhood often become complicated by the more pragmatic concern of paying rent. After graduating from Pitzer College, Dudley moved to Los Angeles. To keep his musical dreams afloat, he worked at a video
store, and then for a construction company. And the music itself didn’t exactly seem worth the sacrifice. “I played in a couple bands in L.A. that were just absolutely horrible.” Kate started out at NYU, then transferred to Chicago University, where she studied cultural anthropology with a focus on ritual performance. “It opened my mind up to how cultures work, how religious values inform cultures and how rituals inform all of that.” While there, she met a guy, a songwriter, and they ended up performing in clubs all over Chicago. After graduation, Kate followed her muse to San Francisco, where her cousin was in a band. She checked out a magazine with ads for musicians until she found some people she clicked with. They formed a pop band called Lilyvolt, and their live shows started attracting attention. They found themselves doing “showcase gigs” to which industry people— publicists, agents and record label reps—were invited. “We found a manager, and a lawyer, and we kept getting close to getting signed. But no one would ever put a stamp on it.” Lilyvolt soon disbanded and morphed into a band called Low Hum Satellite. Things looked promising again, but not so promising that she’d consider dropping her gig as a waitress at an upscale vegetarian restaurant. Still, Low Hum Satellite played the Filmore, a historic San Francisco venue, and the band was featured in a film, The Space Between Us. But after more frustrating brushes with record labels, Low Hum Satellite fell apart in 1999. This, it seems, is one of modern music’s fundamental truths—bands form, then perform, then dissolve. “It’s always so dramatic,” Kate explains. “People get so pissed at each other, and there’s so much ego involved. And then you throw boys and girls together, and… well, you know.…” Evan is no stranger to the band breakup routine. In 2000, two years after graduating from Georgetown, his band Mobius Trip “fizzled out.” Further, his extramusical gig working on Capitol Hill for the House International Relations Committee looked good on paper, but mainly involved shuffling paper. So he got a new job doing human rights advocacy with the International Campaign for Tibet. And he
“This, it seems, is one of modern music’s fundamental truths— bands form, then perform, then dissolve.”
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
continued to play the nightclub circuit as a hired gun for a series of bands. Meanwhile, Chauncey found himself on the other side of the practicality vs. music dilemma. After studying for four years under the esteemed blind tenor saxophonist Eric Kloss at Carnegie-Mellon, Chauncey landed a job as a pension fund manager for an investment firm. He quickly found that the reverse commute from his Stamford, Connecticut, office to his Manhattan apartment drained him of musical energy. Still, he started to make musician friends and land some choice weekend gigs. His favorite was a weekly Sunday brunch gig at Metrazur, a posh restaurant in Grand Central Terminal. “I’d bring in bass players and Wurlitzer players. We’d all be hung-over from the night before, but we’d get there at noon, and they’d feed us. And we’d rock out BeBop standards for the brunch crowd.” Kate Donnellon ’86 and her ’80s cover band, Notorious, whom Modern Bride ranked among the best wedding bands in the country in 2002. She also performs original work with a group called Hopscotch.
36 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
getting paid to play If there’s a moral to this story it’s that true musicians will find a way to play, and get paid to play. In the summer of 1990, a friend told Dudley to check out Seattle. He did just that, instantly bonded with a bunch of like-minded musicians, and decided to move north from L.A. The first band he formed in Seattle was called Sweet Water, and the optimisticsounding name turned out to be appropriate. At Sweet Water’s third show, they opened for a band called Mookie Blaylock, which soon changed its name to Pearl Jam and dropped one of the highest-selling rock albums of all time. In no time, Sweet Water had sold out shows and a contract with Atlantic Records. Dudley quit his job at Seattle Music and went on a three-month national tour. Though Sweet Water’s self-titled album didn’t do as well as the band had hoped, it still remains one of Dudley’s proudest achievements as a musician.
Unfortunately, the band had differing views about the direction the second album should take, and Dudley quit the band. After a foray with the aptly-titled band Hapless, Dudley formed Second Coming. The band made its bread-and-butter money by playing grueling cover gigs, seven nights a week, three weeks out of the month. Meanwhile, they were writing their own original tunes and setting aside money for studio time. By the time Capitol Records signed Second Coming, their self-financed album was nearly finished, at the bargain rate of $30,000. It was a heady approach that allowed the band to basically pocket their $400,000 advance. And in a further coup for Dudley, Second Coming’s main hit, “Vintage Eyes,” which made it to #10 on the Rock Radio charts, was the only song on the album for which he wrote the lyrics. Dudley left Second Coming when his daughter was born, in August 1999, but he still makes money via music. He works for iQ beats, making “sonic logos” and jingle music for radio stations. He has also lined up a lucrative side gig with a cover band called Spike and the Impalers. And those royalty checks keep rolling in. One nice source of income is the Second Coming song, which was used in the movie Sixth Sense. Dudley chuckles at the funny ways in which paid dues are recompensed in the music industry. “A year ago, I got a huge check from an old Sweet Water song that they used in Holland. It must have been used in some TV show. I don’t even know.” Kate has found herself even more ensconced in the cover-band scene. Not long after Low Hum Satellite disbanded in 2000, she formed Notorious, a cover band that specializes in the ’80s music of Madonna, Joan Jett, AC/DC, etc. Notorious was an immediate success, such that she finally quit her waitress gig. And in 2002, when Modern Bride magazine ranked Notorious among the best wedding bands in the country, they became an all-out phenomenon. They now perform more than 100 nights a year, with a rough breakdown of 30 percent club gigs, 30 percent corporate events, and 40 percent weddings. Meanwhile, Kate is able to channel her passion for original songwriting through her side project, a band called Hopscotch. That
said, she’s not at all slighting the artistic satisfaction of performing with Notorious. “Our mission statement is to make everyone crazed with happiness. If that happens, we’ve succeeded. Hey, somebody’s gotta rock the people.” Even Chauncey, while maintaining a “straight world” life as an international equityfund manager for Brown Brothers Harriman, has somehow managed to rock the people. In 2001, he became a 50 percent owner of K-Pasta records, a label that has produced more than 20 jazz, funk and Afrobeat albums. The label has a fully functional studio at the Westbeth’s Artist Residence in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. He now lives in Brooklyn with his fiancée, a jazz singer, in an art-splattered apartment with a family room that doubles as a music den. He continues to produce and play for KPasta recordings, teaches saxophone, and manages to squeeze in an hour of daily practice in the evenings before dinner. After another decade or so of stressful 12-hour workdays, he hopes to retire early and get his master’s degree in jazz saxophone. “I just love jazz,” he says. “I’d love to teach. I’d love to give back.”
beyond reason To finish conducting our interview in peace, Evan and I have moved to the foyer of the Knitting Factory. But I wouldn’t exactly call it serene. Each time the door opens our conversation gets blown away. “At the end of 2003, I was playing a gig at the Grog and Tankard, which is like the diviest dive bar in D.C. It’s a rite of passage that every local band has to play there. And after the gig, this guy grabbed me backstage and asked to play for me. He played three songs, and I was totally skeptical at first. But it was good songwriting, really excell—” The door opens and Evan gets cut off once again. He is attempting, in fits and starts, to tell me about how he met Michael, the lead singer of Honor by August. As for the rest of his bandmates, it’s been a war of attrition. “We’re on our second drummer and our second bass player, but sometimes the road doesn’t agree with people. It’s tough, you know.”
But Evan is sticking with it. He’s doing this music thing full-time these days, and signs are pointing toward the band’s success. They’ve worked with Grammy-winning producers. They cut a demo with Curt Smith, of the popular ’80s band Tears for Fears, who heard Honor by August’s music on the Internet. Their song “Only in Photographs” won grand prize in Billboard magazine’s World Song Contest. They beat out over 150 D.C.-area bands to win XM Satellite Radio’s “Have a Nice Gig” contest, to open for Bon Jovi in front of 20,000 fans in the Verizon Center. And most importantly, reps from both Island Def Jam and Atlantic Records will be attending their show tonight. “Theoretically,” Evan added. “After tonight, we could be signed artists.” But despite all the promise, Evan quickly concedes that success in the music industry requires commitment almost beyond human reason. Each week, from Wednesday to Friday, the band tours from venue to venue in a conversion van. In order to keep the band up to speed, he has become an aggressive multitasker—a booking agent, a webmaster, and a van chauffeur. Describing the daily routine, he almost seems to surprise himself. “It’s crazy. We drive up to ten hours a day and then unload 1,200 pounds of gear. I’ve thrown my back out like three times. We set it all up, do sound check. And then the exact opposite has to be done after your set is over. And you do all that for 45 minutes—tops—of playing.” Evan shakes his head and laughs. “It’s pretty obvious how much we love playing music. Because any rational human being wouldn’t do this.”
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard, right, sits in with Chauncey Upson ’94 and his band at an informal jam session. Chauncey took a master class with him one summer at Boston’s Berklee School of Music while still at Taft.
Ryan Nerz ’92 is a freelance writer in Brooklyn. Inspired by this story, he plans to take jazz flute lessons with Chauncey Upson.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
On a warm and sunny May Saturday, the Class of 2007 received prizes, honors and diplomas before marching as the newest alums of the Taft School. Here are excerpts from the dayâ€™s ceremonies.
Peace Be 117th Commencement Exercises
Photographs by Bob Falcetti (except where noted).
As is the school’s custom, the Commencement Address was given by a parent:
father of Emily ’00, Nicholas ’04, Alastair ’05, and
Penelope ’07 as well as an avid pilot and rower. I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to share some thoughts with you about what the Taft experience has meant to me, my wife, Charlotte, and my four children. Let me share with you how I ended up here. My first introduction to Taft was with my eldest daughter, Emily, in October 1995 when most of the Class of 2007 was only about six or seven or eight years old. Emily and I were spending a few days visiting some of the finest secondary schools in the world. They were all amazing, but for both of us Taft stood out. There was a spirit, a sense of community, a sense of warmth in the corridor. We couldn’t then quite grasp why, but both knew this was a special place. And so, Emily attended as did Nick, Alastair and Penelope in succession. Each always diligently evaluated multiple other institutions and each for their own special reasons decided that Taft was right for them. And fortunately, courtesy of Ferdie, Frew and others on the admissions team, each was offered the opportunity to join the Taft family. Now, our eleven straight years of nearly weekly visits traveling the 150 miles between our home and Taft for sporting events, concerts, parents’ weekends, college guidance or even just a meal are coming to a close. Taft has been so much a part of our family for so long, it’s just hard to believe that here we are at Penelope’s graduation. As you sit there thinking about your time here, what sticks out? Foremost, I would guess would be all the people you have come to know—and not just your friends and classmates, but everyone else here that makes up the Taft family. Do you think of the roommates you have had? How about
j Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78 greets keynote speaker Richard Smith P’00,’04,’05,’07.
the Journey b Charmaine Lester, who received the Class of ’81 Award, waves to family and friends.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
your adviser? How have the relationships you have formed here shaped your life? Think back to the beginning of senior year to Super Sunday and everyone covered in pies, eggs, Crisco, paint and who knows what reflecting just how much fun it was and screaming “Oh-Seven” while Mr. Frew shot the first picture of the class all together. Finally, think of two days ago when the third and last class picture was taken and how far you have come since the chaos and rowdiness of the photo taken on Super Sunday last September. So yes, 2007, yours is a unique class, but remember you are surrounded by a special environment with educators, coaches, advisers, dorm heads, college counselors, physical trainers, staff and so many who dedicate their entire lives with all their hearts to enriching your life here in this community. You supported each other in innumerable ways. Well, I have eleven words for you to remember to help you on your way. First, honesty. Continue to make honesty, truthfulness and integrity the bedrock of everything you do. These, along with perseverance and self-reliance, are the heart of character. You will never, ever, ever regret it.
Openness. Always be yourself; be forthright; be receptive to change. Most people don’t fully understand Darwin on the survival of the species. While he did write that “the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals,” more importantly he wrote: “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Respect. Always do your best to earn the respect of others. Respect everyone, but particularly those less fortunate than you. Appreciate diversity. If knowledge is power, diversity is strength. Just as any financial portfolio is stronger through diversity and, as James Surowiecki points out in his recent book, The Wisdom of Crowds, any decision is better made with a well chosen, diverse group, be sure to make diversity a part of your life. Does not Taft gain so much from diversity? Have not you, has not your class benefited from its diversity? Courage. Be thoughtful, not reckless in taking risks. Always have the courage to do what is right, not what is easy. But push the envelope; challenge yourself and those around you. As T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who take the risk of going too far, find out how far they can go.” Excellence. Set a standard of excellence for yourself and make up your mind to live to that standard. As the great football coach
Photographs by Bob Falcetti (except where noted).
Vince Lombardi said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.” Strive for excellence in all you do. Dedication to service. If there is anything inculcated in a Taft student, it is the concept of service to others. It is in giving that we receive. You will have more happiness in your life through service to others than anything else. As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Tenacity. Be determined, resilient and engaged. You will not have anything like the support infrastructure in college that you have had here at Taft. You will have to be much more self-reliant. But take advantage of your new opportunities to be engaged and in the fray. I think Teddy Roosevelt said it best. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who
spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, as least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” With all your talents and with all your opportunities you will surely know more triumphs than failures if you are tenacious in achieving your goals. Attitude. How you approach issues, problems and life is as important as what you actually do. Don’t have an attitude, have the right attitude. Your attitude is your choice; it can’t be forced on you. Wake up every morning ready to make a difference. But also know that there isn’t a moment to lose. Most of the time, you don’t get a second chance. So, make every effort your best effort. Don’t let the daily opportunities to do the right thing in so many small ways slip through your fingers. Family. We all have our parents and perhaps brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, but the Taft community is your family too, a family you can rely on and you will forever be a part of that family. Finally, trust. Trust others and they will trust you. Hard to earn and easily lost forever, earning trust should be part of your very essence.
Left to Right: b Enjoying a sunny day for the ceremonies, seniors patiently await the awarding of diplomas. b Loueta Chickadaunce congratulates Esther Yoo, who received the Mark Potter Award in Art. b Senior Class Dean Jack Kenerson ’82 lines up his charges for the procession. b Tyler Perry, who won the Chinese Prize, raises a toast (of ice tea) to his class. b Ben Grinberg, who received the Theater Award, and Simone Foxman, who won the Spanish Prize. b Senior Grace Scott, who received the Theater Award, wears a festive lei for the occasion. Peter Frew ’75
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
So, Class of 2007, I hope as you head off on your many different paths today you will remember these eleven words and I’ve even made it easy because all you have to do is take the first letter of honor, openness, respect, appreciation, character, excellence, dedication, tenacity, attitude, family and trust to come up with the name of a very special person we all owe a great debt of gratitude to. And it is? Horace D. Taft.
For instance, take one of my To-Do lists from last week: I had written things like, 1) Take pictures of the Taft campus 2) Return my track uniform to Mr. Joe Halton 3) Play pickup soccer And 4), which is somewhat embarrassing, Give winners of this year’s Halloween Costume Contest their Jig certificates.
When we complete a chapter of our life, we often tend to worry about whether or not we’ve completed this list. For us as seniors, it’s been a while since we’ve arrived at Taft, and, like it or not, this school has become a part of our lives. If we leave our Taft To-Do list unfinished, will that part of our life be incomplete, unfulfilled? And the answer is No! Inherently, To-Do lists are never fully completed, because if they’re good, they’re very difficult to check off. Each list is constantly changing. And often, time simply runs out. For instance, when I wrote down this week “1) Upload all of Dan Fertig’s Techno to my computer,” I simply ran out of time. I never did it, never will. So when you receive your diploma on this very emotional
Gordon Atkins ’07
Writing this speech and choosing its theme have been at the top of my “To-Do” list lately, and ironically, I’ve decided to talk about just that—my perpetually changing, ever-demanding and usually misplaced or lost To-Do list. Everyone has them. Not all are written down or tangible, but everyone does have them. Sometimes they’re long, sometimes they’re short. Sometimes they’re about the long term, sometimes the short term. Always it somehow feels like they’re never complete.
Left to Right: b Head monitor Gordon Atkins raises the class stone before placing it in the wall of Centennial. Gordon received the 1908 Medal. . The headmaster congratulates class speaker Ned Durgy and school monitor Steph Schonbrun. c School monitor and Cunningham Award-winner Oat Naviroj and class speaker Emily Neilson c Senior AJ Houston gets a congratulatory hug from his uncle. c Valedictorian Rob Parisot ’07 also earned the Spanish Prize and the Alvin I. Reiff Biology Prize.
Photographs by Bob Falcetti (except where noted).
day, your Taft To-Do list may not be complete, but it is finished. Fortunately, it’s not what you’ve left undone that matters. It’s what you have done. It’s what we’ve done. And we’ve accomplished a lot—both as a class and as individuals. So this afternoon marks the beginning of our new ToDo lists—those regarding the summer, college, and Life. I’m excited to graduate, but Taft will be very difficult to leave behind. This school has been great. This class has been great. And it’s been an honor to speak to all of you about life, liberty, and the pursuit of your To-Do list.
Emily Neilson ’07
I would like to thank the faculty for their time, their feeds, their extra help sessions, their coaching, their advising, their teaching, their dedication, and their inspiration. Without your guidance, I can say with affirmation that you have in some way, and in probably every way, touched the lives of those sitting before me.
Second, I would like to thank the parents for sending your children off ostensibly to grow to adulthood, or close to it, for your support, and for your trust in Taft. On behalf of you, my fellow classmates, I wish to endow you with the realization of where we are in our lives, and the empowerment that stems from it. Taft has left an indelible mark on each and every one of us—whether we like it or not. We are Tafties. We have had the privilege of laughing and crying and growing and thinking within these brick walls. It’s scary. I’m sure our parents are nervous—to let their children into the real world: a place that is ever more competitive and infinitely less forgiving, and perhaps worse, infinitely less caring. We venture into the unfamiliar, without any comfortable Taft term to mark the way: no walk-backs, no scene, no Jig, no Hotchkiss Day. Likewise, I do not want to insinuate that there exists no fun in where we are going, but instead suspect that we must be courageous and passionate. I hope that you take with you two things: passion and affiliation. Without these, none of us can hope to find true happiness. A very wise person once said one very late night to invest in what you love and whom you love, and that is all that mat-
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
ters. I hope each of you will be true to your own passions. Taft may have sparked a passion for you; and for others, I hope that you leave knowing you can be passionate about something. Our time at Taft has inevitably led to the formation of friendships that will last forever. This brings me to affiliation. The root of affiliation derives from the Latin verb affiliare, to adopt; and to continue, filius in Latin means son, while filia means daughter. We are the sons and daughters of Taft. We are a familyâ€”a group of kindred spirits, infinitely connected by this institution that has willingly adopted us. Affiliation affords us the ability to return, in some way, to a place that has been our home. Cherish this kindred connection. Its value is worth more than whatever fame or fortune may come our way. Peace be the journey.
Ned Durgy â€™07
The first vital ability that I acquired at The Taft School was that of conceding; surrendering and perhaps, even eventually accepting. In light of this I do not feel beaten, nor do I feel
oppressed. Instead, a sensation of liberation has steadily enveloped and comforted me over these past four years. There is no place for unadulterated idealism at this school, or in this world. I have conceded a simplistic vision of a perfect world, and I was very glad to see it go. For what is an education worth if it does not inspire the participant, even forcibly, to question who they are and what they believe? Time and again we were coerced into this action. Taft has relieved us of our innocence, our inexperience. However, the trade is more than fair. What we have gained is far more valuable. Over these four years we have abandoned our pubescent selves, in favor of the hybrid that stands before you. Perhaps misleadingly manly, and by many accounts still quite young. Aside from the moments of both birth and death, the most stark and dynamic transformation of our lives is currently concluding. And despite the school that binds us, we are each incredibly unique people, having entered this place with deceptively dissimilar values, goals, perspectives, and eccentricities. Inspired by this experience, we have shed our youthful ignorance. We have been exposed here to truth, and it has humbled us. But in no way has Taft left us helpless to confront this
Photographs by Bob Falcetti (except where noted).
reality, or without the means to effect positive change within it. Battles still can be won and lost. Just this past Wednesday several among us attended a Watertown Zoning Board of Appeals hearing to speak in favor of what will be the first residential windmill in Connecticut. Despite a determined opposition the measure passed, 4–1. We have not been left to shrink before adversity, but conditioned to rise eagerly to challenge and conquer it. For bestowed upon us all is an insatiable ambition to succeed and the faculties to do so. Perhaps most of all we are thankful for a timeless, dependable truth, the just inspiration of all our future efforts. I honestly did not realize the significance of our school’s motto. Until this week I never accurately interpreted it. Instead, this final truth was constantly and painstakingly demonstrated to me over four years of life here, ingrained in my subconscious, only to emerge quite recently. We may not strive to succeed in this life for ourselves, our own pleasure, or even our legacy, for all these things will lose significance, legitimacy, and meaning with time, but that we may accept the duty that lies before us: to leave this world in a better state than in which we encountered it, by, at the most basic level, living not for ourselves, but for all, for the greater
good. We recognize the impossibility of a perfect world, but instead dedicate ourselves to approaching that impossibility by how we live our lives. This is the greatest glory and the highest purpose, all which we are invited to seize today. Nearly as difficult as facing the future is accepting that we will miss this place. We may not miss intimately knowing 7:50 on a Saturday morning, but at times we will miss even our ignorance. We will miss the people who have become our family, whose loyalty and support we will count on until death. We are going to need each other in the years ahead. I am confident we will all accomplish the truly impressive and meaningful, yet I am equally confident none of us will do it alone. I pray only that we begin the next installment of our lives for each other, and that in time we may extend this blessed capability to all those with whom we come in contact; that we, by our time together here, might maintain the hope and ambition that we have worked so hard for, that we might live and achieve for the betterment of all. To read the speakers’ complete remarks, or to see the list of students and faculty honored at commencement, visit www. TaftSchool.org.
Left to Right: b Saying goodbye to seniors is difficult for underclassmen. Kira Parks ’08, right, congratulates Erica Maia, who won the Maurice Pollak Award. b Seniors become celebrities for the day; cameras become ubiquitous. b The headmaster gives the official sign to begin the ceremonies. . Chris Cheng ’08 and salutatorian Bill Lovotti, who earned the Japanese Prize and the Heminway Merriman Award
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
South African Journal
Celebrating the Rainbow Nation and their New Democracy
Eighteen Taft students accompanied Dean of Multicultural Affairs Greg Ricks (and teachers Jennifer Zaccara and Pilar Santos) on a two-week leadership and service trip to South Africa over March break. “In the 13th year of its new democracy, South Africa is still a combination of the first and third worlds,” says Greg. “I wanted students to see the amazing developments, challenges and excitement this country is facing. They were able to look beyond their eyesight and see, even in these squatter villages, the real wealth of humanity. We are really hoping to repeat the trip next year.” Each of the students shared journal entries from some the trip’s highlights, excerpts from which are included here.
By visiting some of the poorest townships, above, the group had the opportunity to observe South Africa’s greatest housing challenge. Carolyne McManama ’07, below, makes a new friend.
Photography by Jennifer Zaccara
The Apartheid Museum Immediately upon arrival at the museum in Johannesburg, our group was divided into “Whites” and “Non-Whites,” according to the identification cards that the curator distributed. Depending on our classification, we were required to use separate entrances into the museum for the first portion of our tour. The museum provoked intense emotions in all of us and gave everyone an opportunity to understand fully what apartheid did to humanity.
—Lyssa Lincoln and Carolyne McManama ’07
Racial classification was the basis for all apartheid laws, labeling individuals as white, Asian, colored or native. Identity documents like this one, which everyone had to carry, were the main tool to implement that divide. For more information, visit www.apartheidmuseum.org.
Visit to Parliament, Cape Town The first speaker talked about annulling South Africa’s carbon footprint with a tree-planting campaign. The United States, the only member of the G8 unwilling to accept the requirements of lowering the greenhouse gas emissions of the Kyoto Protocol, has much to do or much to lose. To hear these speakers talk about America gave us all helpful international scope: we are, even when our constant tumble finds a solid ground to crash into, still a world leader and are looked to as such. There were many ways in which this experience renewed us, plus, the room had AC.
—Michael Furman ’07 While visiting parliament, the group meets Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a South African Zulu leader and founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, who is now a member of parliament.
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Constitutional Court, Johannesburg We had the opportunity to meet South Africa’s first African female justice, Yvonne Mokgoro. Since the court was built in the location of a former political prison, Justice Mokgoro explained the importance of the building’s architecture. We were able to sit in the chairs of the justices in the court, symbolizing our potential to become great leaders.
—Charmaine Lester ’07
> Taft students talk with Constitutional Court Justice Yvonne Mokgoro (South Africa’s equivalent of Sandra Day O’Connor).
Zulu Village A muscular warrior introduced himself to us while dressed in his traditional Zulu outfit—strips of animal fur wrapped around
the bottom of his knees and hanging down to his ankles, shreds of leather hanging all around his waist, a leather
vest, and a hat made out of feathers. On the other side of the gate lay the practice field for combat. We saw spears, shields, maces and blades hanging from the fences. The chief of combat snatched the weapons from the fence and hopped into his ready position for battle. The chief and our leader vigorously demonstrated the art of fighting for us, and taught us the names of each weapon. Each weapon’s name was derived from the sound that it made once the blade is twisted into the enemy’s flesh. For a moment, I wondered what it would have been like to use those weapons, to go into a real battle, to be born a Zulu—a warrior.
—Oat Naviroj ’07 < While at the Ithuteng Trust, an afterschool program in Soweto launched by Nelson Mandela, students are greeted by kids in traditional dress. 48 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Stellenbosch High School > Members of the student government at Stellenbosch High School, Cape Town, shared ideas about leadership, community service and diversity. Stellenbosch High School is a preparatory institution affiliated with Stellenbosch University. Both identify themselves as being Afrikaner—as proudly upholding the Boer tradition. With about 500 students, the school in many respects resembles Taft, not just in terms of its long history but also its commitment to athletics and to other areas of student life. Many questions and answers were exchanged, but the two most poignant pertained to how the school encouraged community service and how it approached culture and diversity in student life. They told us about their weekly excursions to
orphanages and charity foundations within their immediate community, and went on to explain how these efforts involved the whole school. As we drove away from Stellenbosch, the
scenery twirling by our bus drastically changed to show us the familiar townships and their shanties, which stood in stark contrast.
—H.K. Seo ’07
Ikakeng Itireling AIDS Ministry Ikakeng Itireling means “do something on your own,” which is precisely what this AIDS ministry, founded in 2001
by Mama Carol, is teaching its 1,770 children. Mama Carol, fueled by her passion and dedication to children,
began this program to counsel children with AIDS on coping with their disease. The children form bonds with each other with the knowledge that they are not alone in the struggle. Sure, there are companies like Love Life whose sole purpose is to educate the youth about safe sex, abstinence and the disease itself, but still the AIDS rate steadily increases. Our discussion helped open my eyes to a new reality—a true reality. Our ears were not bombarded with political correctness; instead they were fed the raw truth. Hopefully, we can use our experiences on this trip to help make a better and more diverse Taft, and to affect the world on global events and international affairs.
—Shanika Audige ’08 Shanika Audige finds time to dance with students at Chris Hanni School. Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Ithuteng Trust, Township of Soweto One of the most overwhelming experiences of our trip was our visit to Ithuteng Trust, an afterschool program in Soweto. As we took a right onto one of the small streets in Soweto, we immediately were forced to stop the bus because the street was lined with children dressed in their native clothing, cheering, dancing and clapping. As we got off the bus, these children ran over, grabbed our hands and taught us the dances they were performing. Mama Jackie, who founded Ithuteng, used to work in the jail system until she could no longer tolerate the fact that young kids were being sent to jail mostly because of their economic background and lack of opportunity. Mama Jackie’s motto is “each one, teach one.” What makes her program so unique is that most of the kids are homeless and desperate to survive—some girls used to be prostitutes, older boys have hijacked cars and most of their parents have died from AIDS. Every day, these children risk their lives to go to school and learn so that they may have a better future than their parents—something we do not and never have experienced here at Taft.
—Emily Boyd ’07
“Mama Jackie” Maarohanye, in the red plaid hat, who was recognized at the World Economic Forum in Davos for her work at Ithuteng, spends the day touring with the Taft group.
Kliptown, Soweto We arrived in Kliptown in a bus feeling like obnoxious tourists. We were acutely aware that we were a bunch of white kids from Taft in a place not even recognized by the government—a place without
electricity or proper homes. When we reached the youth center, however, we were greeted with smiles and hugs and quickly realized that we were not seen as visitors but as friends. We eventually
made it to the “guest house” in the center of town where we met Brother Bob, essentially the mayor of the town. He started serving Kliptown when he was 15 and hasn’t stopped for more than 20 years. All the kids know his name, and he takes it upon himself to fix up houses and serve as a counselor in the community. He is the glue that keeps the people together. He kept reiterating that he wanted no sympathy and that everyone was happy in Kliptown, and I truly believe that. It was so refreshing to be reminded that money really is not important. Bob had unwavering faith in the bond of the town and saw a future for its children. His vision is what keeps Kliptown functioning.
—Lee Ziesing ’07 Brother Bob Nameng (second from left), founder of SKY (Soweto Kliptown Youth), was recently selected as a CNN News World Hero. Each week, SKY offers hundreds of children free meals, sports and cultural activities. 50 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Robben Island An island 12 km off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island was for many years a prison where the apartheid government held political prisoners, including former president Nelson Mandela. One tour guide showed us the stone quarry where jailors forced prisoners to extract limestone and other parts of the island, but later, a former prisoner gave us a guided tour of the main prison, leading us through the narrow corridors of one of the cell blocks to give us a firsthand look. The cells did not contain a bed; prisoners had to sleep on the concrete floors using what little they had for warmth and comfort. Prisoners were allowed to receive one letter every six months and visitors once a year, provided the visitor was at least 18, which prevented prisoners from seeing their children. Each
Visiting a cell at Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. cell includes a picture of the previous occupant and an account of prison life. On our short walk back to the pier, the beauty of the waves and Cape Town beyond them contrasted sharply
with the grim purpose the island once served. Several penguins waddled by and a tortoise shambled across the road, blissfully unaware of the cruelties of man.
—Connor Flath ’07
Soccer Game at Kliptown Following our second trip to SKY (SowetoKliptown Youth), we organized a soccer game on a local public “field” (little more than dirt with patches of grass). Our group, wearing sneakers and borrowed jerseys, arrived at the field with some friends who worked at SKY. Although our group had only a few soccer players, our morale was high, and we were bolstered by some great local talent. The other team soon arrived, with their jerseys, cleats and shin guards, a daunting sight to say the least. Seemingly outgunned, our ragtag team played well and we managed to score several goals to hold the lead for much of the game. The rival team tied the game with little time remaining but our team was able to answer, putting us in the lead until the final whistle sounded, winning 5–4. We learned later that the South African national soccer team
was playing Swaziland in a scrimmage. Accompanied by members of SKY, some of us went to the game in downtown Johannesburg. Although the stadium wasn’t filled, the fans who were there
more than showed their support. We were lucky to see the host of the 2010 World Cup play an exciting and interesting culmination to a great day.
—Casey Larkin ’07
Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Service Day in Kliptown As we returned to SKY in Kliptown, after meeting Brother Bob and being inspired by his work, it made our experience at SKY that much more significant. We were appointed different tasks for the day—making afterschool snacks for the children, playing/working in the preschool (becoming “trees” for them to climb), cleaning the computer lab and organizing books in the library. I was impressed by the number and diversity of the donated books. Up to this point in our trip we had not done many hands-on activities at the organizations we visited. Eye-opening. Although the people of Kliptown have next to nothing, they are happier than I may ever be, and the hope they have for the future is inspiring.
—Eve Lewis ’07
Linda Twala and Alexandra Township In 1986, at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle, the security police threw hand grenades into the house of Linda Twala, one of the most inspiring leaders we met on this trip. Bringing groceries to his mother’s house, he received a phone call to say his house had been attacked
and that he should go into hiding. Luckily, he survived, or else Alexandra would never have existed. Alexandra is close to the center of Johannesburg. It had been threatened with demolition many times, especially during apartheid, as it was located “too close to the
whites.” Twala is well known in this township, mostly for his commitment to save “Alex” and to improve current conditions in this severely impoverished community. About 85 percent of its 200,000 people earn less than $125 a month, with unemployment as high as 60 percent. Most people live in shacks built on top of one another. While Twala has the financial ability to move to the richest neighborhood of Johannesburg located just across the highway, he chooses to stay. He was inspired by his generous mother, who brought him up with two guiding principles: discipline and empathy—and the ability to give up your dinner without hesitation if a stranger appears at the door.
—Adrienne Lam ’07 People who made a significant contribution to the township of Alexandra are remembered in this mural at the community center: from right, Linda Twala, Jamella Lee (City Year), Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, TaBo M’Beki, and Greg Ricks, who founded the Clinton Democracy Fellowship with City Year to create a community service program there. 52 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
A Word of Thanks to
Tom, above, in Germany not long before coming to Taft, and his mother Ruth, below, a young widow who came to the States to practice medicine in the early 1950s.
eing from Germany, I need to become a bit personal. My father was killed as a medical doctor in Russia during the Second World War. My mother was a young widow in her early twenties then with two small children. She decided to study medicine and, after finishing, immigrated to the United States. Two years later she wanted me to come here, too. Asking around, another doctor, a Taft alumnus, told her about his former school. She got herself on the road to Taft for an interview with Mr. Cruikshank, telling him she could not afford the tuition, and Mr. Cruikshank said, “Bring me your son.” In the summer of 1954, at the age of 13, I arrived in Brooklyn from Germany. I stepped off the boat: too tall, too skinny, shy and without any self-confidence, with my model railroad set under my arm. My mother met me and, without hesitation, I was brought to Taft the next day. Now the absolutely hard-core program started—summer school, learning the language, and when school started in the fall, it got even worse. I had to rely on the help of Phil Reinhart, my first roommate, who did as well as he could answering my questions. At first, everything was stress for me. But after a while, I learned to apply myself and that hard work is of value in itself and that it pays off. I felt that I received a gift from the United States such a short time after a disastrous war that destroyed our family in Europe. I felt accepted; I became American—and I still am. Like many of us, I wanted to find out where my family came from. I never intended to move back to Germany, it just turned out that way. I found interesting work that kept me there until now. Nevertheless, my contact to the U.S. never broke up. I traveled to America quite every year, attending conferences, visiting friends, even for vacations. I was back at Taft for our 25th Reunion and again in 2003, when Andrea and I were here for a spontaneous visit. The circle closed in 2004 after my retirement. I had the opportunity to teach as a guest professor at Virginia Tech University. I am still active there. In fact, we headed to Blacksburg directly from reunion in May to attend the graduation ceremony at Virginia Tech. I am thinking of a dead professor I knew. Everything that became of me until today I owe to America, and Taft was the beginning. I got to know America from its best side: its generosity in giving a chance to everyone. For that I am forever grateful and say thank you to Taft. —Thomas. E. Schellin ’57 Taft Bulletin Summer 2007
Commencement 2007 For more images, visit www.TaftSchool.org
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Published on Feb 2, 2017