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Connecting Two Continents Taft and Maru-a-Pula


storytelling winter 2015

In this ISSUe

wInter 2015


Visual Storytelling Taft’s Video Students Learn the Power of Filming By Tracey O’Shaugnessy


Botswana and the Big red Maru-a-Pula Exchange Connects Two Continents By Phoebe Vaughn Outerbridge ’84

30 DepArtmentS

3 4 4 5 11 12 24 40 82 87

On Main Hall Letters Taft Trivia Alumni Spotlight In Print Around the Pond Sports Alumni Notes Milestones From the Archives: Poetry and Images

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m Taft showed its school spirit as it geared up for Taft-Hotchkiss Day with a bonfire on Potter’s Pond.

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


On Main Hall

A wOrD frOm heADmASter wILLy mACmULLen ’78 wInter 2015

Volume 85, Number 2


EdiTor Linda Hedman Beyus dirEcTor of MarkETiNg aNd coMMuNicaTioNs Kaitlin Thomas Orfitelli PHOTOgraPHy robert falcetti

Connecting Two Continents Taft and Maru-a-Pula



aLuMNi NoTEs assisTaNT katey geer

wInter 2015

On the COVer

natasha Batten ’15 performs her solo “fervent interior” as part of Taft’s fall Dance Showcase. RobeRt Falcetti

Taft OnLIne find a friend or past Bulletin: Visit us on your phone: what happened at today’s game? Shop online:

dEsigN good design, LLc | sENd aLuMNi NEws To Linda Hedman Beyus alumni Office The Taft school watertown, cT 06795-2100 dEadLiNEs for aLuMNi NoTEs winter–November 15 spring–february 15 summer–May 15 fall–august 30 sENd addrEss corrEcTioNs To cathy Mancini alumni records The Taft school watertown, cT 06795-2100 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.

THE TaxOnOmy Of EDucaTiOn: On ScHOOlS anD THE PlaTyPuS

Last fall I served on a panel in front of several hundred educators at the annual New England Association of Schools and Colleges conference. The topic was how technology was changing our understanding of schools. I said, “For a long time, it’s been pretty easy to classify what a school was. I think we are moving into a new era in taxonomy, so be prepared to see some platypuses.” Here’s what I meant. Taxonomy is the system of classification that helps us make sense of a lot of very different organisms. In the early 18th century, Carolus Linnaeus introduced the system that gave us the nomenclature that let us neatly label living things. The platypus, though, posed problems for naturalists, since they didn’t know how to classify this weird egg-laying, furry, beaked aquatic mammal. What was it exactly? In the educational world, taxonomy has been simple for most of our history. Classifying a school: it was made of brick and had students and teachers together in classrooms, organized around subjects, which you entered when a bell rang. But it’s not that simple now, and the changes are exciting. For the past five years, I have chaired the Commission on Independent Schools, which accredits all New England private elementary and secondary schools. What we have seen on the Commission is an emergence of schools that don’t seem to fit neatly into the species called “school.” Some of these “schools” have applied to the Commission to be accredited for the first time, and so the classification question is not merely an intellectual exercise. So we are asking ourselves lots of questions about what defines a school right when we are coming across a lot of platypuses. Does a school need even need to gather on a physical campus? What of the New England distance-learning school, which employs a progressive, experiential homeschooling curriculum that families can use independently? How do we classify the Online School for Girls, a supplemental school that enhances the work of “brick and mortar” schools,

by providing high-quality courses designed by expert teachers and offered to girls from affiliate schools? And what about a consortium of 60 leading schools that have partnered together to offer courses limited to 18 students from member schools, taught by experienced teachers who have undergone significant training, and offering a menu of compelling and relevant courses? That’s the Global Online Academy, now accredited by the NEASC, which Taft joined this year. It’s both a careful putting of our toe in the water and a giant step forward. For us, this is an exciting moment, and it’s led to remarkable curricular depth and breadth and has deeply enriched our pedagogy. Today we have students taking Poetry Writing, Multivariable Calculus, Medical Problem Solving, and Japanese Language Through Culture. They take part in and are regularly assessed in asynchronous discussions, individual presentations, and group projects. Here’s what one student shared: “I love the GOA course! I meet with my teacher once a week over Skype, and with the frequent peer-to-peer interactions and group projects, one week with a student from South Africa and the next from California, it’s really cool.” It’s a new way of learning: exciting, innovative, relevant. To be clear, Taft has not become a platypus. If you walk the halls, you still see a school as easy to classify as it was 125 years ago: eager students learning with and from passionate teachers on a lovely campus. That will never change. But we also know another truth from the lessons of taxonomy: that in a changing environment, the species that thrive are those that evolve.

Willy MacMullen ’78 connect with Tafties: Explore Taft: get the app on iTunes.


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“What we have seen on the Commission is an emergence of schools that don’t seem to fit neatly into the species called ‘school.’” Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


LetterS In the fall issue’s On Main Hall column Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, wondering what Horace Dutton Taft might have said to his small group of new students at Taft’s first sit-down dinner as the school began, posed this question: “What do you think he said to those boys?” Here’s an excerpt from one reader’s letter: Boys, I can’t tell you how glad I am to have you here tonight. At this very moment we’re starting a new school. Not me: you and I. We’re in this together. None of us quite knows how to go about it. I certainly don’t. But maybe we can talk to each other, muddle through, and make it up as we go along. I will be trusting you to guide me as I try to figure it out. I hope that on the way I will have earned your trust enough so that you will see me as someone you can learn from too. I expect some of you were expecting me to offer you some lofty and inspiring words of wisdom that will guide you through our new and uncertain adventure. I know next to nothing about education and nothing at all about adolescence. What I really want [to do] is to help each one of you find his own way—to become the man [you] need to become and [are] capable of becoming.

Some of you more learned types will have already studied Latin and read the poems of my namesake. Perhaps you will be expecting me to tell you to seize the day. Well, that isn’t such bad advice. There’s a lot to be said for learning how to live in the moment, to savor the richness of the present as you live it. And Horace said it very well indeed. But as a principle of living, it strikes me as incomplete. To experience fully the present you must have, inside your head, a rich and detailed fabric of stories about the past. And you must have some way of thinking about the future, if only in a tentative and rudimentary way. Without those coordinates you just will not be able to think about your lives and those of your fellow citizens in a useful way. I promise that I and my fellow teachers will have lots of conversations about these things with you. Here’s something I do think: I want you

to be excited. Excited by what you read, excited by what we talk to each other about. Well, that’s all for tonight. I’m all talked out. Get a good night’s sleep. Nobody who doesn’t sleep well can live well. And dream well too. You need your dreams, and you need never to lose them. Oh, and one more thing—try to be nice to each other. That may sound easy, but you will find it harder than you think. I’ll try to help you with that too as we go along. Good night to you all, and welcome to our new adventure. —Victor Altshul ’52

Alumni SpOtLIght

by linda Hedman beyuS

evolving Blues: Dudley taft ’84 wHEn DuDlEy TafT’S mOTHEr gave Dudley Taft ’84 performing at the Blue Note in Poznan, Poland. andRzej StaSzok

Love it? Comments? 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. Linda Hedman Beyus, editor Taft Bulletin 110 woodbury road watertown, cT 06795-2100

Taft trIVIA Where does this carved panel reside at Taft? (Note who is depicted in this detail.) Send your guess to the editor ( The winner, whose name will be randomly chosen, will win a Taft pewter dish.

him an acoustic guitar when he turned 13, she probably didn’t know that his skill would quite literally take him across the globe. Those who attended Taft School in the early 1980s might have known, though. Taft’s virtuosity on guitar was evident in the bands Red Tide and Space Antelope, which also featured future Phish frontman Trey Anastasio ’83. These days, Taft can be found everywhere, from Cincinnati, where he makes his home with wife Michelle and their children (in legendary guitarist Peter Frampton’s former home, no less), to Poland, while on a well-received European tour. Getting that first guitar “just infected” him, Taft said. “I was exposed to a lot of music with my dad, Dudley Taft ’58. He’d play Dixieland songs that I never thought were that cool when I was younger.” Taft’s ability to play a wide variety of guitar styles led to his moving to and playing in Seattle in the 1990s, where he toured with the bands Sweet Water and Second Coming. He was on the road with those bands as they toured with Winger, Candlebox, of Alice in Chains. It was Layne Staley of Alice and Chains who encouraged Taft’s now-trademark long goatee, which reaches to his mid-chest. “I was one of the first goateed dudes in Seattle,” he quips. Taft now focuses on blues guitar, where he likes to push the boundaries. “The blues is an interesting genre,” he says. “There’s a built-in loyal crowd. continued on next page—


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Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


Hillary lewis ’04 (left) at trade show Expo East showcasing LuMi Juice with the company’s director of brand management, Savannah Spidalieri.

Alumni SpOtLIght like Tropicana, which use a flash pasteurization process that uses heat to raise the temperature of the juice, LUMI’s juices “don’t contain anything cooked, so you’re getting 100 percent flavor and nutrition retention,” Lewis says. “Drinking our orange juice is like biting into a fresh orange. And drinking Farmhouse Greens, our green juice, is like drinking a green juice you made for yourself that morning at home.” The juices are now available in eight varieties; in addition to two green juice offerings, there are beet, orange, grapefruit, mango, apple, and pineapple juices. A 16-ounce bottle costs $8 or $9, depending on where you buy it. LUMI is available in 30 states and 310 stores, including Whole Foods in the Mid-Atlantic, Fresh Markets across the country, and Safeways on the East Coast, in addition to being offered for delivery

Love LUmI, mean It Hillary lEwiS ’04 always knew she

wanted to start a company; she just wasn’t sure what it would be. The idea of entering the juice industry came to her while she was shopping for groceries in the spring of 2013, during her last semester at the University of

Virginia’s Darden School of Business. “I saw cold-pressed juice from New York City on the shelves of Whole Foods, and I thought, Why is this in Charlottesville?” Lewis says. She purchased five juices—“the most expensive trip to Whole Foods in the history of

—Taft, continued from previous page

The funny thing is, there’s a lot of… hardline blues guys who don’t want to see the genre change. But a lot of the people they love, all those guys were innovators. They were at the time shockingly different. Now a lot of people want to preserve what it was. I’m not interested in that at all. I’m not trying to limit myself too much. I just want to do my thing.” Taft’s most recent album, Screamin’ in the Wind, features his trademark guitar riffs combined with his raspy vocals and a songwriting ability that have earned him a following here and abroad. He is hard at work on his next collection of songs, which 6

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he’s recording in his basement studio, and he’s continuing to create music for television productions. Taft, who is a many-greats nephew of Taft School founder Horace Dutton Taft, is looking forward to touring again next year. He plans on releasing his next CD in mid- to late February and wants to go back to Poland, where “they treated us like rock stars.” “The European stuff is like a working vacation,” he says. “You just never know what you’re going to run into. You just meet some wonderful, fantastic people. It’s a blast.” j —Bonnie Blackburn Penhollow ’84

my life”—and the next morning walked into her business professor’s office to ask how much he thought each bottle cost. “He said, ‘$2.99? $3.99?’” Lewis told him they were $9.99 each, and he couldn’t believe it. “You’ve got to be kidding me!” he told her. “There may have been a profanity thrown in there because he was so shocked! His family had a tea company that they sold to Nestlé, so he had experience with the beverage industry,” she says. Lewis decided then and there to start an organic, cold-pressed juice company. She already had the name: LUMI, which stands for Love U Mean It. Her professor signed on immediately as the first partner, providing the initial capital to get the business off the ground. From there, it was full steam ahead. Lewis purchased a 35,000-pound Hiperbaric high-pressure processing machine, the latest piece of technology in juicing, which uses 87,000 psi of extreme water pressure (equivalent to “the deepest part of the ocean multiplied by five,” Lewis says) to kill bacteria but maintain all the flavors and nutrients of the juice. Unlike more commercial offerings

in New York City through FreshDirect. Not only was it selected as an official beverage for the Washington Wizards by the NBA squad’s director of player performance and rehabilitation, LUMI Juice will soon debut a custom juice it created for Kris Humphries, the team’s star power forward. The Virginia Commonwealth University basketball team also drinks LUMI. Lewis says she’s noticed the health benefits of juice herself. “I consistently work more than 100 hours a week, and instead of taking a multivitamin, I drink a juice,” she says. “It keeps me going and picks me up when I’m feeling sluggish.” What separates LUMI from the pack? Unlike other cold-pressed juice companies, the company will never offer a juice cleanse. “We’re trying to be a lifestyle brand. We encourage people to have a juice every day, and we want to build a

healthier America and change the way people are consuming food,” Lewis says. In just a year and a half, Lewis has built LUMI into a business with half a million dollars in sales to date, its own manufacturing facility in Charlottesville, and a staff of 10 employees. What’s next for LUMI? “Our mission is to create an organic consumer products company that uses high-pressure processing as the focal point to bring better tasting food, with more nutrients, to consumers,” says Lewis, whose other goal (besides starting her own company) is to one day hold public office. Given her experience as the undergraduate student body president at Penn State, combined with her LUMI success story, that seems well within Lewis’s reach. j —Sam Dangremond ’05

the power of waves generate power waVE EnErgy is “the next big thing,” Phil Kithil ’61 says. He ought to know. Kithil is the inventor of a wave-energy system and is founder, chairman, and CEO of Atmocean, formed in 2006. With roughly 60 percent of the world’s population living within 50 miles of a coastline, wave power can be locally delivered, Kithil says, reducing energy loss to transmission across long distances. Atmocean Wave Energy (AWE) offers a clean, renewable ocean energy source that can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and benefits the environment by reducing CO2 emissions. “This technology satisfies my yearning to create renewability and sustainability,” says Kithil. “The climate scientists are totally right, except on the timing. We need to end fossil fuels by 2030, not 2100, as the IPCC recently stated. Every person and every institution needs to get on board right away.” To be clear, wave energy has nothing

to do with tidal power. Waves, created by winds blowing across the oceans, are distinct from daily tidal surges created by the gravitational effects of the moon as the earth spins on its axis. Compared to wind and sun, waves are more consistent and predictable, Kithil says.

The technology has been tested in more than 25 ocean trials and is “very reliable, and poses no risk to the environment,” he says. AWE works on the same principle as hydropower, sending water continued on next page—

Phil Kithil ’61, far right, with his atmocean wave-energy team at the cal Poly ocean test pier.

Alumni SpOtLIght —kithil, continued from previous page

to an onshore turbine, which spins an electrical generator. The floating pumps are in arrays (see illustration on page 9). Atmocean has an office in Santa Fe and manufactures in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The technology has been tested in California, Bermuda, and Oregon. The company recently received a permit from the government of Peru for its first system deployment, to occur early this year—a big step forward. Why Peru? “Peru has expedited permitting—months rather than years as in the U.S. and U.K.,” Kithil says. “In the U.S., I am told there are 17 different agencies involved

Alumni SpOtLIght in getting an offshore permit for renewable energy. Worse yet, these give conflicting criteria for the permits.” Peru is growing rapidly and is economical for production. “The U.S. government is very risk-adverse, unwilling to move forward for fear of being sued by unhappy constituents,” he says. The wave-energy system will power roughly 200 homes in Peru, helping replace energy previously sourced from the Amazon basin. “If successful, I will have put a small dent in the problem of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels,” Kithil says, “and hopefully encouraged others to make similar efforts. Plus, I will have met my pledge to angel investors by getting them

a return.” To put it another way, it will provide proof of concept for a fully functional system, opening the doors for larger system implementation across the globe. Another big feather in the company’s cap: Atmocean was recently selected as the exclusive wave-energy technology of the Global Technology Deployment Initiative, a joint effort of the P80 Foundation, and the Club de Madrid. Their joint effort, governed under the Little Rock Accord, is to help direct private-sector finance, such as pensions, toward actions and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate sustainability.

Kithil has successfully founded six startups since 1972, in apparel manufacturing and retailing, economic consulting, advertising, public relations, automotive safety, and now renewable marine energy. What pulled him toward wave energy? He says friends of his were impacted by Hurricane Katrina, and he began to research ways to affect climate change with technology. “Entrepreneurs (like me) are always looking for new things to do.” Kithil is spurred on by asking, “How do we make it cheaper and better than anyone else?” He aims big. And who knows what he’ll invent next? j

The first result of their efforts is MARVIN, a mobile, autonomous, retinal evaluation device or “platform.” Its initial application is assessing serious eye problems associated with diabetes and related chronic conditions, such

as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Eventually, MARVIN may screen for other diseases, all detected by their retinal “signatures.” “Diabetes is a huge and rapidly growing public health problem, especially in low- to middle-income countries,” Bedworth says. The International Diabetes Foundation projects that more than 600 million people will have diabetes by 2030. Each person affected needs a thorough eye exam at least once a year, but with the very limited supply of eye doctors available worldwide (most are located in Western cities), “this is simply not going to happen,” says Bedworth. People with untreated or inadequately managed diabetes—often the result of limited medical resources—are at risk of insidious visual impairment, which may ultimately lead to blindness. SocialEyes, a for-profit entity, knew that introducing the right kind of technology could handle the challenge. “Today’s appointment-based medicine, which involves going to a GP, then weeks later, a specialist, and so forth, isn’t relevant for low-resource settings, and doesn’t work all that well even in high-income populations,” Bedworth says. “Innovation in

Seeking and Seeing Solutions nicHOlaS BEDwOrTH ’69 sees

solutions to pressing worldwide public health problems a little differently—literally through the eyes of the several hundred million people around the world living with diabetes.

As the entrepreneur behind SocialEyes, Bedworth assembled and manages an international team of scientists, doctors, and engineers who are working on an entirely new approach for improving public health worldwide.

at the Bangladesh university of Health Sciences’ eye clinic in dhaka, Nicholas Bedworth ‘69, of socialEyes, works with a patient who has diabetes-asscociated eye problems; the two women are sisters.

mobile devices with high usability, combined with an understanding of ‘real world’ conditions, leads to solutions that can work much better, especially at the massive scale required for handling diabetes.” In recognition of MARVIN’s potential, SocialEyes received a major Google Impact Challenge grant in partnership with an international eye care NGO. Ultimately, MARVIN could equip the world’s health care professionals and volunteers with the gear they need to support concentrated urban centers, as well as dispersed, rural communities. Bedworth travels constantly, building partnerships with local governments and health care agencies in Bangladesh and Nepal, as well as in neighboring Southeast Asian countries. “Those living at ‘the edge’—meaning beyond the reach of conventional medical care—are found everywhere,” he says, “but are most prevalent in lowresource settings, where the majority of the world’s population now lives.” SocialEyes is the result of a lifetime of innovation in scientific image processing and computer graphics. “My initial exposure to physics, optics, and

computing—core technologies behind MARVIN—began under the tutelage of an exceptional Taft science master, Edwin North, a visionary in science education, who encouraged me in every way, even letting me set up my own laboratory as a student,” Bedworth says. This led to his summer work, while a Taft student, as an electronics technician and programming assistant at the J.W. Gibbs High Energy Physics Lab at Yale under Professor Horace Taft ’43. There, researchers built a first-in-the-world system for analyzing particle physics experiments at Brookhaven National Laboratory, which allowed scientists to visualize the results on interactive computer graphic workstations. “My father, Griffith Shackleton Bedworth ’39, reads Social Eyes’ technical reports from cover to cover,” Bedworth says. “He remarked that much of what we are doing stems directly from the unique educational experiences that Taft gave me.” “[Growing] up in the context of science and technology, combined with the critical thinking and expectation of public service instilled at Taft, gives one the capability and motivation to enthusiastically take on the big problems,” says Bedworth. j

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Alumni SpOtLIght b Healthcorps coordinator clare Parks ’08 helps D.c. high-school students at national geographic’s food Day festival demonstrate the nutritious value of whole grains over white/refined grains.

equitable wellness HOw many HEalTH anD wEllnESS

teachers would run a marathon (as a nonrunner, to boot) to help buy an inner-city school a bike that powers a smoothie blender? Clare Parks ’08 did just that. As HealthCorps coordinator at Washington Math Science and Technology Public Charter High School, in Washington, D.C., Parks was determined to find a way to help buy fitness equipment for the school, which has no gym due to a lack of funding. “Our PE teachers work hard to try and get the kids outside when we have good weather, but we can only do so much when resources are limited,” Parks says. The public-charter STEM school has more than 300 students. “I am always looking for inexpensive, if not free, ways to encourage kids to get outside and move,” Parks says, “and if I was going to suggest running to them, 10

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I had to practice what I preached.” She ran the Chicago Marathon in October. “I was in complete disbelief that I was able to push through it and finish,” Parks says. “I ran cross country at Taft, but I used to get stress fractures, and [frankly] I hated running. I’ve already signed up for another marathon.” “My students had already taught me so much about resilience and perseverance— they bring so much strength to school every day, no matter what’s going on at home—and I applied it to running to help me keep up with the training. It really worked, too, because I fell in love with it.” Parks teaches 10 classes a week, runs after-school clubs, provides healthy lunch demonstrations at least once every month (with the help of her students), coordinates staff wellness activities, and is chair of the school’s Wellness Committee. “The three

pillars of the HealthCorps curriculum are nutrition, fitness, and mental strength, but I have also created lessons on sexuality education, and in-depth lessons on food systems and healthy food access based on students’ needs,” Parks says. All students at WMST receive free lunch and breakfast, because a majority of them qualify based on their family’s income. “The school is physically surrounded by McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, and Checkers, so nutrition and food access has been an enormous focus for me,” Parks says. While her graduate studies were initially on sexuality education, Parks says, “It’s not just sexuality education that is lacking in low-income communities, it’s everything— nutrition, physical education, mental health. I learned as much as I could about all of these health topics as it was clearly a social justice issue that students from lowerincome areas weren’t being taught how to take care of themselves or keep themselves strong and healthy in a meaningful way.” During grad school, Parks says, “I started to question whether I was ready to commit to research without applied experience.” HealthCorps was a perfect fit. The nonprofit, founded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife to combat the childhood obesity crisis, has implemented an in-school model that inspires teens to make healthier choices for themselves and their families. Parks helped raise more than $3,000 for her school through the marathon alone. The Student Wellness Club purchased a Wii Fit to play Just Dance games during lunchtime and the smoothie bike, which is a huge hit. “Since we don’t have a gym, we have to get creative,” she says. They’ve also designated funds for ongoing monthly events. “Sometimes we hand out smoothies to the student body, sometimes we buy jump ropes for competitions. We plan to get feedback from the PE teachers about other gym equipment we need as the year goes on,” she says. j



Inside madeleine Paula BOmEr ’86

From the author of Nine Months and Baby comes a daring new collection that seethes with alienation, lust, and rage. Paula Bomer takes us from hospitals, halfway houses, and alleyways, to boarding schools and Park Avenue penthouses, exploring the complex relationships girls have with their bodies, with other girls, and with boys. The title novella tracks the ins and outs of an outsider’s life: her childhood obesity and kinky sex life, her toxic relationships, whether familial or erotic, and her various disappearing acts, of body and mind. Library Journal wrote, “The stories are often brutal, disappointment being the mildest outcome, with Bomer capturing her characters’ anger and helplessness in a graphic and gritty style.” Bomer is publisher of Sententia Books and the editor of Sententia: A Literary Journal as well as a contributor to the literary blog, Big Other. Her writing has appeared in a number of literary journals and publications.

figuring Shit Out: Love, Laughter, Suicide, and Survival amy BiancOlli ’81

When Amy Biancolli’s husband, journalist Chris Ringwald, takes his life, hers is suddenly broken, and she realizes this incomprehensible trauma requires that she reconfigure her life. It isn’t simply the mundane that Biancolli faces—replacing old doorknobs

or fixing the sump pump—but the larger concerns of a new person that exists without the history of Mr. and Mrs. and answering the question, “Who am I without my husband?” which turns into “Who do I want to be?” Death invites, teases, and demands that she grow and change, and she finds that “the ‘old me,’ who would have never done (fill in the blank) is replaced by a ‘new me.’” Biancolli is an arts writer and columnist for the Albany Times Union and previously served as film critic for the Houston Chronicle and Hearst Newspapers. She is the author of several previous books and a play.

An Innocent Abroad: Life-Changing trips from 35 great writers DOn gEOrgE ’71

Don George’s latest travel literature anthology, An Innocent Abroad, published by Lonely Planet, shares the travel experiences that changed the lives of many great writers, including David Baldacci, Dave Eggers, Cheryl Strayed, Ann Patchett, Jane Smiley, Mary Karr, John Berendt, Richard Ford, Alexander McCall Smith, and Sloane Crosley. In George’s introduction, he explains how innocence and worldliness intertwine into an intricate relationship that enables each to thrive. In this collection, David Baldacci visits Braga, Italy, for a completely unexpected family reunion, for example. Alexander McCall Smith lives and works in Swaziland for six months,

encountering a well-known murderer. Cheryl Strayed misses the ski season but arrives just in time for hunting season in Andorra. And Sloane Crosley decides to go cliff diving in Diamond Bay on her first visit to Australia. George, a travel writer for over 25 years, has published hundreds of articles and essays in magazines and newspapers around the world, in addition to speaking at conferences and festivals and appearing on TV and radio.

the Deal: A guide to radical and Complete forgiveness ricHarD SmOlEy ’74

This concise, practical guide shows how “to forgive anyone who has ever hurt you and to receive a payback of enormous personal satisfaction and inner peace.” The Deal explains how forgiveness—rather than being a “squishy, eat-your-vegetables virtue”— is actually the key to a happy life. A widely respected spiritual writer and thinker, Richard Smoley doesn’t hand you the standard promise that this book will change your life. When you finish it, he concludes, “It already has changed your life.” Smoley was a longtime editor of the spiritual journal Gnosis and is the author of Inner Christianity and coauthor of Hidden Wisdom. j

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

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


Around the pOnD for more information, visit

Around the pOnD By DeBra Meyers anD Kaitlin thoMas orfitelli

the King of Instruments “In my eyes and ears the organ will forever be the King of Instruments.”—W.A. Mozart wHEN TafT acquirEd woodward

Chapel in 2010, it also acquired, notes Director of Planned Giving Paul Parvis, “a diamond in the rough.” Inside the Chapel, known to generations of Tafties as Christ Church, is a classic pipe organ, designed, built, and installed in 1968 by the renowned Gress-Miles Organ Company of Princeton, New Jersey. The origin of the instrument is a simple one. In 1966, Dorothy Ferguson, then the long-standing Christ Church choir director, sent a letter to her fellow parishioners. In it, she encouraged them to consider funding for a new church organ. Ferguson wrote, “When the organ is completed it will be a work of art that will lift the soul of every person who enters the church…” With its 2,595 pipes, 47 ranks, and original ivory keys, Taft’s organ is, as Ferguson predicted, a true work of art. “It is one of the premier instruments built by Gress-Miles,” notes Parvis. But time and turmoil took their toll on Ferguson’s organ. In 2007, parishioners severed their ties with the national Episcopal Church over the consecration of its first openly gay bishop, and abandoned worship in the Christ Church building. Three years later, when Taft purchased the space, it was clear that both the church and the organ would need attention. “There are more than a thousand pipes on the organ,” explains Bruce Fifer, choral director and head of Taft’s Arts Department. “The mechanical 12

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b Phase one of the organ restoration was funded largely by arts patron John Kilbourne ’58 (right, with organist daniel scifo), with additional support from Lois Stebbins (frederick ’28), christopher davenport ’56, and martha and Paul Parvis.

action of the pipes deteriorates over time. You end up with ciphers—sustained notes—or sounds from pipes whose keys have not been depressed.” Parvis and Fifer, along with Taft Director of Development Chris Latham and Woodward Chapel organist Daniel Scifo, began meeting with John Kilbourne ’58 to talk about options for the aging pipe organ. Kilbourne, a longtime supporter of arts programs at Taft, is not only an organ enthusiast but was recently involved with the large-scale Kotzschmar organ restoration project in Portland, Maine. Kilbourne agreed to help fund work on Taft’s historic Gress-Miles organ, and brought in the renowned Foley Baker organ restoration company. Lois Stebbins (widow of Frederick ’28), Christopher Davenport ’56, and Paul and Martha Parvis also contributed to the project.

“We explored a full range of options for the instrument,” says Fifer. We talked about replacing it, gutting it, restoring it—the entire picture. In the end we kept the instrument and created a master plan for restoring it that will roll out in phases.” Phase one, which was completed this fall, stabilized the instrument, enhanced its sound, and gave it a bit of a facelift. “We restored the woodwork on the console, refurbished the ivory keys, and totally replaced and upgraded the electronic devices that operate between the pipes and the keyboard—everything that makes the organ speak,” explains Parvis. Phase one also added new digital stops to expand the instrument’s tonal spectrum and range to include the sounds like festival trumpets, digital harps, and bells. It also incorporated the installation

. The refurbished organ console was celebrated of musical instrument digital interface during a dedicatory concert in the fall featuring (MIDI) technology. MIDI allows for comwell-known organ pieces performed by daniel munication between the console and Scifo, and the voices of Taft’s collegium musicum other technological components, meanand a local adult choral group, cantus Excelsus; both groups are conducted by Bruce fifer. ing, among other things, that prerecorded musical selections can be programmed into the organ. The introduction of fiber optics also makes the console mobile, allowing for greater versatility in performances. “We have added sonority on the pedal division, and incorporated the most updated, state-of-the-art components that, when combined with new manual systems, give us more options and combinations than ever before,” says Scifo. “There are now infinite ways to use the instrument console.” And many of those ways were on display in November, when the new console was dedicated during a celebratory

The restoration of the gress-Miles organ console was completed by Mike foley, Phil carpenter, and the technicians at foley Baker, one of the nation’s most skilled and bestknown organ restoration teams. “[foley Baker] is one of the best ‘shops’ i have ever encountered,” says Parvis. “The workmanship and attention to detail are exemplary.”

concert in Woodward Chapel. Scifo performed a number of pieces that showcase the organ itself, including Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” and Parry’s “I Was Glad When they Said Unto Me.” He also accompanied Collegium Musicum and Cantus Excelsus on several selections. “Everything surrounding this project is very exciting,” Fifer says. “The clarity and response have never been this true. It is an extraordinary instrument.” And one that elevates Taft’s music program. “Our goal was to get this instrument to a place where first-class recitals and well-known artists will want to play her,” notes Fifer. “I envision a time when organ masters from other schools will come to Taft to play—what we have accomplished is phenomenal.” j Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


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fellowship, Collaboration, Innovation

m Taft’s teaching fellows, from left: Kerry Bracco, David Brundage, martin aspholm, micaela DeSimone, rosy cohane-mann, matthew mullane, Theresa albon, Dylan Procida, and Baptiste Bataille. PeteR

iN 2013 TafT JoiNEd eight of the nation’s top boarding schools and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education in pioneering an innovative, two-year teacher fellowship training program. Established in 2012, the Penn Residency Master’s in Teaching

FRew ’75

(PRMT) is both unique and progressive: It allows fellows to live, teach, learn, and thrive in the boarding school environment while earning a master’s degree in education. At Taft, the program builds on a highly successful teaching fellowship program that has been in place for

more than 40 years; it was shepherded for the past 20 by Steve Schieffelin. “Taft’s program always provided strong mentoring and training in the many aspects of boarding school teaching,” notes Dean of Faculty Linda Saarnijoki. “The addition of the master’s

in teaching through Penn rounds out the program and adds more formal training in education as a discipline—education theory, history, and philosophy.” The movement from an independent program to a collaborative cohort seemed a logical next step for Taft. In partnering with Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Loomis Chaffee, Milton, Miss Porter’s, Northfield Mount Hermon, and St. Paul’s, Taft and Penn offer teaching fellows a one-of-a-kind educational experience, with a curriculum built around knowledge and skills specific to boarding school education. The program is built from the ground up and on the tenet that effective teacher training is anchored in both theory and practice. The process begins with a week of intensive study at Penn’s Philadelphia campus in June and continues with ongoing online work throughout the academic year, as well as a few weekend cohort/faculty workshops and classes. Fellows also engage in weekly online sessions with fellows from similar disciplines at other schools, and in discussions facilitated by online mentors and faculty members. There is mentoring on the Taft

b TafT’S annual cum lauDE SOciETy induction “is a way we celebrate the leading scholars on campus,” noted Headmaster willy macmullen ’78 in opening this year’s ceremony. The Society is a national organization honoring scholarship and scholastic achievement at the secondary school level, comparable to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma xi in colleges and scientific schools. a maximum of 20 percent of the senior class may be elected into membership in the cum laude Society. The 14 students inducted at Taft this fall represent the top 8 percent of their class. Taft’s new cum laude Society members, pictured here with academic dean Jon willson ’82 and Headmaster willy macmullen ’78, are: (back row, from left) Jacqueline Harriet Tyson, Bohan gao, Ezra wojtyla levy, Sung Jun Kevin won, rory Joseph ronan, yiran Bob Meng, Madison faye Haskins, srinidhi sriram Bharadwaj; (front, from left) alicia Shirley wang, nifei (Jennifer) Zeng, Sun Ho (Kelly) Park, Sarah caroline laico, Pensiri naviroj, and Sae Eun (Eugene) lee. yee-Fun yin


Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015

wHaT DO yOu call a largE grOuP Of rHinOS? Officially, a crash, and Taft rhinos crashed the campus in droves on a beautiful sunday afternoon in November to support the school’s teams on Taft-Hotchkiss Day. Students, alumni, parents, and friends got their rally on in celebration of this longstanding Taft tradition.

campus, as well, by faculty within academic disciplines, by coaches on the field, and by program director Eileen Fenn Bouffard ’98. “My role is to bring theoretical learning into closer alignment with daily life at Taft,” Bouffard says. “In that role I work closely with Associate Dean of Faculty Edie Traina, who manages professional development for the first- and second-year mentors. Together, we help our fellows translate their formal preparation into Taft’s expectations.” And Taft’s expectations are high: Penn fellows balance classroom teaching, coaching, and dorm assignments— the boarding school “triple threat.” “The biggest challenge is finding balance—balance and patience with the process,” says first-year fellow Rosy Cohane-Mann. “We’re given tremendous responsibility from the start and want to run with that.” In the second year of the program, Taft’s Penn fellows transition toward full faculty with an increased teaching load while writing their master’s theses. Baptiste Bataille teaches three sections of French language courses, while developing, recording, and interpreting data around

his thesis study of the use of technology to enhance student learning in fullimmersion, foreign-language classrooms. “The second-year shift feels like a very natural progression,” says Bataille. “Knowing the school culture, seeing expectations more clearly, and just an overall greater familiarity with Taft and its environment have allowed me to relax in a way that lets me simply concentrate on teaching, and teaching at a higher level. It is a win-win for me and for my students.” For both Bataille and Cohane-Mann, the advantages of a cohort program are clear. “The exposure and collaboration between fellows, the discovery through discussion that takes place across schools—these are the strengths of the program. They are things you cannot measure,” says Bataille, “but things that define the Penn program.” “I definitely see us as a true fellowship,” Cohane-Mann adds, “in every sense of the word.” j To learn more about the Penn residency master’s in Teaching Program, visit

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A passionate pursuit EVEryTHing malOnE HEDgES ’15

TafT THESPianS played to sold-out houses and garnered rave reviews for the fall production of The Drowsy Chaperone. The Tony award-winning “play within a play” is a parody of american musical comedy of the 1920s. PeteR FRew ’75

Conservation Collaboration MorE THaN 100 sTudENTs, faculty, and

staff from 14 schools gathered at Taft this past fall for the Green Schools Alliance (GSA) New England Schools Sustainability Conference. The one-day program included workshops and discussion on river conservation, school farms, Green Jobs Corps, and the impact of invasive plants on native species on campuses. Taft’s ecomons also led a session on the ins and outs of developing and maintaining a green dorm room certification program. “We were excited to continue the tradition of annual Green Schools Alliance conferences, bringing students together from different campuses but with similar missions and challenges of developing environmentally conscious campus communities,” says Carly Borken, Taft’s director of environmental 16

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015

stewardship. “We were especially excited to host Taylor Hawes as our keynote speaker.” Hawes is the Colorado River Program director for The Nature Conservancy, and the sister of faculty member Greg Hawes ’85. In addition to her keynote address on the Colorado River, Hawes and husband Rob Buirgy of Youth Education & Action, Buirgy Consulting Inc., led a workshop focused on balancing river conservation with activities on our rivers. Uniquely created by schools for schools, the Green Schools Alliance is a global, peer-to-peer network of pre-K to grade 12 schools represented by sustainability coordinators, faculty, staff, and students working together to solve climate and conservation challenges. Since 2007, the Alliance has grown to include more than 4,000 schools in 43 U.S. states and 40 countries. j

does, he does with passion. When he was younger, he threw himself into the world of magic. A short time later, he became a self-taught filmmaker. Malone’s latest endeavor is one that has benefitted the entire Taft community. “I always had an interest in technology, but was mostly self-taught,” Malone says. “I understood the gist of writing code and used it to create a few websites.” Malone joined the Tech Club as a lower mid and took AP Computer Science last year. Both served to refine and advance his already strong understanding of design strategies and methodologies, imperative problem solving, and system design using Java language. Eager to flip theory into practice, Malone turned to Charles Thompson, Taft’s director of information technology. Under Thompson’s guidance, Malone created a computerized system for managing the distribution of sports equipment to replace the issue window’s system of

manual logs. The process follows items from issue to check-in and provides a record of missing equipment for the business office. The success of the project created even greater opportunity for Malone when, in the spring of 2014, he was looking for a new design challenge. “I met with Mr. Thompson and he presented me with a number of options,” Malone explains. “I chose to work on developing a fully electronic system for managing packages that come into the mailroom at Taft.” In building the system, Malone’s intent was to simplify the operation, while preserving and improving on every component of the existing manual system. He thoroughly researched the existing methodology and evaluated each step in the process, assessing its function and utility. Malone met regularly with Thompson and with the system’s end users. He tested, reviewed, and adjusted prototypes, fine-tuning the system that is in use on campus today. That system

m malone Hedges ’15

allows the mail team to digitally log every package that comes into the school, send email notifications to package recipients, and track packages that have not been collected. When packages are moved throughout campus, that movement is recorded with a time stamp and with the identity of the person moving the package. “My projects show that you really can pursue anything you are interested in at Taft,” Malone says, “and that your interests will be enthusiastically supported.” j

. HoracE duTToN TafT wroTE, “a great advantage of boarding school is that it gives opportunities for students to get out of themselves. They must work for others.” and work for others Taft students do, every year for the past 20 years on that special monday in October—community Service Day. This year, students spread across campus, across town, and across the region to make a meaningful difference at nearly 40 different sites. Students, staff, and faculty traveled to places like waterbury’s Brass city charter School, the local ymca camp, churches, and area nature preserves, including Bethlehem’s Bellamy-ferriday House & garden below. anne kowalSki

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Members of the Taft community showed their support for No-shave November by putting their razors aside to benefit cancer research, education, and awareness.

no Shave? no problem No-sHaVE NoVEMBEr is a time for those itching to grow awareness about cancer to put down their razors and take up the cause. “The important idea in its founding was an event open to all,” notes Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, who personally took the no-shave challenge. “Basically, participants contribute money—usually the money he or she might have spent on hair or

whiskers—to help battle cancer.” No-Shave November is a web-based, nonprofit organization devoted to growing cancer awareness and raising dollars to fight the disease. Money raised each year goes toward prevention, education, research, and support. Founded in 2009 as a Facebook fan page with 50 followers, the organization today boasts hundreds of thousands of followers worldwide and

has partnered with the American Cancer Society. More than 2,000 fundraising teams participated in the challenge this year, including Team Taft. “Last year a number of Taft students took part,” says MacMullen. “This year the numbers increased among both students and faculty.” Team Taft raised $800 during No-Shave November, which was donated directly to the American Cancer Society. j

b in THE waKE Of THE granD Jury decisions involving the cases of Michael Brown and Eric garner, students at Taft organized a demonstration in December to create awareness of and encourage discussion on issues of race, law enforcement, and the judicial process. Pictured (from left) are student organizers aaron Dillard ’16, Talley Hodges ’15, Zach cyrus ’15, Peter Straub ’15, and rio Dennis ’15. “it won’t surprise anyone that on a campus of really smart, engaged, and principled students and faculty we have had a robust and informed dialogue about the grand jury decisions—or that there has been great diversity of perspectives,” says Headmaster willy macmullen ’78. To read more about the demonstration and related discussions that took place at Taft, visit


Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015

rockwell Visiting artist Mary frey works with photography students in faculty member yee-fun yin’s classroom.

In the gallery PHOTOgraPHy TOOK cEnTEr STagE

in the Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery this past fall with exhibits by Rockwell Visiting Artist Mary Frey and Taft senior Allie Davidge. Frey’s Imagining Fauna featured photographs of an all-but-forgotten taxidermy collection. They are printed on black glass using an ambrotype process, in which a glass plate is coated with collodion, sensitized in a silver nitrate bath and, while still wet, exposed in camera. The image is then developed and fixed on the glass. “Photography invites us to pay attention. It describes with economy, precision, and detail. It enables us to stare, scrutinize, and become voyeurs,” says Frey. “Taxidermy allows us to do

the same. Its complete replication of an animal’s stance, gesture, and look provides us a way to study and comprehend its existence. Yet I find that these animals, often portrayed in suspended animation, seem simultaneously strange, ghostly, and beautiful. Their gaze is both familiar and unknown. I intend this work to move beyond what is merely seen to the territory of the imagination, where what is remembered and known is transformed into something new.” In Above & Under, Davidge connected viewers more deeply with the environment, thereby increasing consciousness of the impact we all have on the world around us.

“The air we breathe every day has millions of uses that reflect the way we live and what we do,” notes Davidge. “It is our responsibility to take care of the air, just like any other natural resource, and use it responsibly.” Davidge’s photographs explore the broad range of ways in which air is used or harnessed, and focuses on “situations where people have gone above the normal level of responsibility,” such as using air to generate green energy. “Looking at these situations reminds us of circumstances where we are underperforming in our share of responsibility to protect the environment,” says Davidge. j Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


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ernest O. Kwarteng ’98 Joins Board of trustees ErNEsT kwarTENg arriVEd aT TafT

in 1997 from Gaborone, Botswana, for a postgraduate year. He joined Taft as part of a long-standing tradition spanning more than two decades that allows students from Maru-a-Pula School to spend one year at Taft prior to college. He played on Taft’s varsity soccer team and ran track, where his 4x1 relay team set the school record at the time. After Taft, Kwarteng graduated cum laude with honors in economics from Hamilton College and then joined the Goldman Sachs Private Wealth Management Group as an analyst. After two years in Goldman’s San Francisco office, Kwarteng spent two years with the firm’s Corporate Treasury Group in New York City. In 2006, he enrolled at Harvard Business School to pursue an MBA degree with a

focus on finance and economic development studies, with particular interest in real estate development in Africa. After Harvard, Kwarteng joined Lehman Brothers Real Estate Investment Banking Group in 2008 and transitioned to Barclays, where he is currently focused on advisory and capital raising for public real estate companies. A strong believer in education’s ability to transform the lives of individuals and communities, Kwarteng serves on the board of American Friends of Maru-a-Pula (AFMAP), a nonprofit organization focused on fundraising for numerous developments at Maru-a-Pula, including scholarships for students from low-income homes. Kwarteng lives in New York City with his wife, Sheri, and daughter, Vivienne. j

m four aTHLETic TEaMs welcomed

j froM BaLLET To

saMBa, the fall dance showcase featured a range of performances by members of each of Taft’s dance classes. The 10 pieces presented represented the culmination of a semester’s work in the dance studio.

cOlE JOHnSOn ’16 crossed continents, connected cultures, and tested his 16-year-old mettle by summiting mount Kilimanjaro in July. Johnson challenged friends and family to help him raise $19,341—one dollar for each foot he would climb to reach the mountain’s peak. He exceeded that goal, raising $20,348 to benefit the Provo children’s Home, a residential facility for orphans and other at-risk children in the Turks and caicos.

area youth to campus for a series of sports clinics throughout the fall. Members of the varsity golf, volleyball, soccer, and football teams hosted Police activity League of waterbury program participants; golf team members also worked with Pal Special Olympians. The clinics were part of Taft’s Service through sports initiative, funded in part by the center for global Leadership and Service’s Edward E. ford foundation grant, and coordinated by faculty member ginger O’Shea.

c ENgiNEEr aNd forMEr Nasa astronaut Michael Massimino spoke to Taft students at a Morning Meeting in November about his experiences in space. massimino, now a professor of professional practice in the mechanical engineering department at columbia university, participated in two space shuttle missions to service the Hubble Space Telescope. He was the first person to tweet from space, and has logged a total of 571 hours, 47 minutes in space and more than 30 hours of spacewalking.

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


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the end of an era THE rETirEMENT of Head Athletic Trainer Maryann Laska marks the end of an era at Taft. Laska retired in December after 30 years as a trainer, mentor, leader, and friend to the Taft community. “Maryann revolutionized our athletic training practices and brought them into the modern world,” says Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “She retires with the reputation as one of the best trainers in New England. But she also retires as one of the most important teachers on our campus. Her three decades of service have been extraordinary.”

Laska says goodbye to her Taft colleagues at a retirement celebration in november.

b Laska, at her retirement celebration, with (from left) athletic trainers rachel cohen and sergio guerrera, and equipment manager Pat O’Toole.

b fOur TafT STuDEnTS cOmPETED in the 17th annual Physics Olympics at yale university in the fall. fifty schools from across connecticut competed in the event sponsored by the Physics Department at yale, which challenges teams to apply physics principles and critical thinking skills to creatively and practically complete five, 55-minute tasks. from left, Srinidhi Bharadwaj ’15, Sonny an ’17, leon Vortmeyer ’16, and Tong cheunchitra ’15 finished the “pentathlon” in sixth place overall.

Athletic trainer Sergio Guerrera, who worked with Laska for more than 13 years, thinks of her as a Taft legend. “I would put her up there with Coach Larry Stone and Patsy Odden,” says Guerrera. Laska pushed Guerrera—and legions of Taft students—to do their best, to be their best, and to always strive for greatness. “She was a great mentor to me,” notes Guerrera. “She brought life to the athletic training room and truly loved each and every Taft student.” Laska graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in physical therapy. She began her career in health care working with patients who required long-term physical rehabilitation. Before long, she decided to shift her focus to athletic training. Laska came to Taft as an assistant trainer in 1984; she was the school’s first female athletic trainer. Five years later, Laska was named head athletic trainer. “The arc of this profession changed during her tenure,” says MacMullen. “She changed what it means to be an athletic trainer and brought to Taft a new level of professionalism.” In her 30 years at Taft, Laska has made her mark as an industry pioneer. She initiated a preseason screening program for all students, lobbied to bring a neurocognitive concussion testing program to Taft,

and led efforts to strengthen communications among private school athletic trainers. She established an internship program for college students and mentored them during their time at Taft. Laska was feted by her peers at a reception in November, where she was honored for her service to the school, the athletic department, and—most importantly—to Taft’s students. “It is hard to believe it has been 30 years,” Laska told the crowd who had gathered to celebrate her retirement. “I tried to concentrate on what I knew best, which was taking care of people.” j

m Maryann Laska with willy MacMullen on the occasion of her retirement. “Her legacy is hard to capture,” says macmullen.

maryann iS famOuS fOr Saying, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” Those words are on a wrinkled, ripped, yellowed piece of paper that hangs above the window into our office in a frame. Maryann is known for her sarcasm and ability to hold a “poker face”— if you don’t know her well, you might often wonder if she is being serious or if she is really just joking. The inner office is littered with thank-you notes, holiday cards, and photos of Taft’s current and former athletes. She always put students first, and these are mementos of the connection she makes with everyone in her care. Maryann has certainly shaped what athletic training is at Taft. She created a model that is comprehensive and thorough. She expects a lot from everyone— her assistants, her interns, herself. I am lucky to have been “under her wing” and appreciate the opportunities I have been given to work with Maryann and learn from her. —rachel cohen, assistant athletic Trainer

b STuDEnTS, faculTy, nEigHBOrS, and friends gathered in woodward chapel on december 16 for the 79th annual service of lessons and carols. luminarias lit a festive path from the main campus to woodward chapel, where the service included nativity readings by faculty, staff, and students, with seasonal music by collegium Musicum, the Taft chamber Ensemble, and the woodward chapel Brass Ensemble. a reception featuring music by Taft’s Jazz Band followed the service in the newly restored undercroft of the chapel.

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


Fall Sports wrAp-Up

for more on the fall season, please visit

By steve PalMer Photography by robert falcetti

Boys’ Soccer 8–6–3 Despite losing several talented players to graduation the previous year, the team demonstrated considerable toughness, spirit, and teamwork following a few disappointing losses early in the season. On the heels of a hardfought draw at Andover (2–2), Taft cruised to convincing victories over Trinity-Pawling (5–0), Williston (4–0), and Salisbury (5–1). As the season drew to a close, Taft earned impressive draws against Kent (3–3) and the No. 1-ranked team in New England, Loomis Chaffee (1–1). The offense was led by Matteo Mangiardi ’17 (13 goals, 4 assists), Miguel Ridruejo ’17 (7 goals, 5 assists), and Porus Shroff ’15 (6 goals, 4 assists). Dan Quirk ’15 (6 goals, 6 assists) and Jimmy Putko ’15 (6 goals, 4 assists) controlled the midfield for the Rhinos, and Fjordi Mulla ’15 anchored a young but tenacious defense. Sam Barrett ’15 developed into a top goalkeeper in the league, and he was a key piece of the team’s success this season. While Taft will certainly miss this year’s seniors, the team will return a core of talented players for what figures to be an exciting 2015 campaign.

big—time and again—for the Rhinos and was named a WWNEPSSA All-Star and Boston Globe All-Star (for the second year). Tri-captain Peyton Swift ’15 led the team in scoring (7 goals) and teamed up often with Jules Falkow ’16 (6 goals) for much of the offensive punch. Midfielders Kyra Thomas ’17

girls’ Soccer 5–8–3

matteo mangiardi ’17 heads a ball while attacking in a 3–2 win over avon Old farms.

With some new, young talent, this year’s team found their groove later in the season, putting together a solid 5–2–2 run over nine games. That stretch included wins over NMH (5–2) and Kent (1-0), and solid ties with Williston (1–1) and Deerfield (1–1). Throughout the season, goalie Madie Leidt ’16 came up

mary alice Ewing ’18 heads a ball away from a Berkshire player during a 2–2 tie.

(All Founders League), Iliana Smith ’15, and Cecilia Sousa ’16 played a key role at both ends of the field. All-League defender Steph Houghton ’16 and Riley Bragg ’17 made for a tenacious pair in the backfield every game. With many returning starters, Taft should compete well with the best in the Founders League next year.

Fall SpOrtS

Fall SpOrtS

Volleyball 7–10 The team’s theme was “Relentless Pursuit.” They were constantly chasing their dream, and one special highlight was defeating Hotchkiss on the home court on Taft-Hotchkiss Day. Seniors Pen Naviroj, Victoria Gordon, and Caroline Leopold played their final game in storybook fashion. These three players had the final three touches—pass, set, and spike—to seal the victory and allow Taft fans to storm the court. The team had great wins against Greenwich Academy, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Miss Porter’s, Hopkins, Canterbury, and Northfield Mount Herman, but did not qualify for the New England Class A Tournament. New England All-Stars were Caroline Leopold ’15 and Pen Naviroj ’15. Founders League honors went to Leopold and Victoria Gordon ’15. Three-year varsity letter winner Naviroj received the Varsity Volleyball Award.

AthLetIC AwArD wInnerS John B. Small Award randall S. mcHugh ’15 rory J. ronan ’15 girls’ Cross Country Award Olivia H. Barnett ’15 colleen m. iannone ’15 field hockey Award rachael m. alberti ’15 lauren a. Drakeley ’15 Livingston Carroll Soccer Award Daniel c. Quirk ’15 1976 girls’ Soccer Award Peyton a. Swift ’15 Black Cup Quentin a. Harris ’15 Justin T. lebek ’15 harry K. Cross football Award Stephen D. mesh ’15 Volleyball Award Pensiri naviroj ’15


Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015

Founders League Championship, and set a new school record for the 3.0 mile home course (16:46). The team’s best race came on Parents’ Day, at home against a strong Williston squad. Taft took the race out hard and held on as Williston moved up for a 25–30 win. The strong crew of upper middlers, including Dullinger, Evan Miller, Leon Vortmeyer, Rob Dettmann, and Abokor Ismael, has the chance to be a very strong team next year.

football 3–5 The football team entered the season with great enthusiasm and hopes to compete for a league title with one of the most athletically talented teams in New England. Unfortunately, this season was one of adversity due to a rash of injuries. Two very talented postgraduates were lost before the end of the first game. At one point, Taft had seven starters unable to play; rather than quit on the season, the boys rose to the occasion and came together. This team was dedicated, perseverant, and full of

Pen naviroj ’15, from Thailand, left, and caroline leopold ’15 react to winning a point against northfield Mount Hermon during a 3–1 win.

girls’ Cross Country 8–2 Thirteen girls vied for position in the varsity top seven throughout the season, and this depth led the Rhinos to a strong dual-meet record, falling only to perennial powerhouses Loomis and Hotchkiss. The team ran away with a 4th-place finish at the Founders League championships and a 9th-place finish at the New England Championships. Livvy Barnett ’15 led the team in each race, earning All-League honors both at the Founders (3rd place) and New England (15th place) Championships, and she set a new school record on her home course (18:58 for 3.0 miles). Maggie Swomley ’16 also earned All-League honors for her 15th-place finish at the Founders Championships. The final dual meet of the season was a memorable one at Kent, where Taft’s pack running paid off as the runners placed

young men with heart. Highlights of the year included defeating Trinity-Pawling (8–6) at home on a 4th down, red-zone stand in the driving rain. The Rhinos dismantled Hotchkiss (49–14), ensuring that this group of seniors never lost a game to our rival. In the final contest of the season, Taft defeated Salisbury (26–18) in a rematch of a game that was a 35-point loss three weeks earlier. This winning result was a testament to the team’s commitment and grit. The squad was led by tri-captains Quentin Harris ’15, Justin Lebek ’15, and Nadir Pearson ’15. Harris (1,642 yards passing, 14 TD passes, 442 yards rushing, 3 TD) received All-Erickson League and All-New England honors. Lebek led the team with his physicality on defense as well as contributing 446 yards receiving and 6 TD in only six games. Pearson led the team in receiving (41 catches for 425 and 5 TDs) and was one of the best defensive backs in New England (6 INT). Senior Stephen Mesh ’15 and postgrads Bobby Nevin ’15 (AllErickson League) and Jeremy Zeitler ’15 were exceptional two-way linemen.

field hockey 6–10–1 After graduating 10 seniors, this young team worked hard all season to begin a new foundation. The overall record does not reflect how well this team came together and competed over the course of the season. Led by a small but strong senior class, the Rhinos also were supported by some very talented younger players. Co-captains Lauren Drakeley ’15 and Rachael Alberti ’15 were both named WNEPSHFA All-Stars, and Sarah Laico ’15 and Hope Tierney ’15 were Founders League All-Stars. The season culminated with a very exciting game against eventual New England champion Hotchkiss, who scored early off a penalty stroke. The game remained at 1–0 until the last 10 minutes when Hotchkiss was able to open up a 2–0 lead. Taft, however, never gave up, and Laico scored, assisted by Drakeley and Alberti, with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. It was only the third goal that had been scored against Hotchkiss this season. The team is planning an international trip this summer to either London or Costa Rica to build on all the growth this year. j

2nd, 3rd, and 5th through 9th after two grueling, mountainous climbs through the woods. Next year’s team looks to be strong, led by tri-captains Sophia Dawn ’16, Amanda Roberts ’16, and Swomley.

Boys’ Cross Country 4–5 The Rhinos’ varsity seven ran well together throughout the season, defeating Berkshire, Suffield, Deerfield, and Avon along the way. Taft was not strong enough to compete with the Founders League leaders (Loomis and Choate) or the New England leaders (Exeter and Andover), making for middle-of-the-pack finishes at those championship meets (5th League Meet; 11th at the Division I New England Meet). However, Tyler Dullinger ’16 led the way for Taft all season, earned an All-League 11th-place finish at the

Sam Okpan ’16 sacks the Hotchkiss quarterback during a 49–14 win on TaftHotchkiss Day.

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? —Percy Bysshe Shelley

taft’s viDeo stuDents learn the pOwer Of fILmIng

m as part of non-classroom work, Jack Elrad ’17 films morning meeting, assisted by video teacher Scott Serafine.

by Tracey O’Shaughnessy photography by Robert Falcetti

d “

Visual storytelling

o you have one where Eduardo’s talking?” video teacher Scott Serafine asks student Emma LaRose ’18. “I think so,” she says, clicking backward and forward on the space bar and arrows, watching Eduardo recite the same phrase over and over. Each time Eduardo speaks, Serafine laughs, a guffaw that tumbles out as he watches the piece of film slide in second-by-second increments over the screen. “OK,” says Serafine. “OK. If you use this one, you’re going to have to match Eduardo’s lips. Do you have an over-the-shoulder, maybe? Great! Great!” he says, hands in the air like a chef who has just come upon a critical ingredient. “I take the voice-over. I line it up. See? I put the…” Serafine stops briefly, looks at LaRose and smiles. “This is tedious, pain-in-the-butt stuff. But you can do it. The idea is to make it look as if it happened exactly at the same moment he was speaking. That’s how you do voice-over.” It’s a Wednesday morning at Taft, and this is Serafine’s beginning video class. It is now his second full year at Taft, after 36 years as a celebrated teacher in the post-industrial public school system of Waterbury, Connecticut. He could be retired now, but to look at him is to look at a man who cannot sit still and who has a determined commitment to his students. “The beauty of this job is that the kids are all different, all the time,” says Serafine. “That’s the coolest part of this job.”

Taft students are working on a range of video projects this year. Olivia Paige ’15, of Southport, Connecticut, is creating a full-length movie, called A Rotten Crowd, written by fellow student Nicky Ganeck ’15. Paige, who also films sports videos for the school, recently completed a 25-minute project for her statistics teacher involving a goalie simulation case study. Many video students, like Paige and Chandler Houldin ’16, combine various academic disciplines to tell a story in video format. Houldin is at work on a project that combines research, history, and narrative storytelling by researching the founding of Taft. Relying largely on Horace Dutton Taft’s autobiography, Memories and Opinions, as well as Taft’s archives, Houldin’s film plans to re-create the school’s founding with a Taft actor playing the school’s founder. Jack Elrad ’17, of Glencoe, Illinois, is making an adaptation of the 1959 John Knowles classic A Separate Peace with Taft actors and his own screenplay. For these students, it’s the essence of this class that inspires them to go beyond creating simple “process” videos and clips for the school’s website. Many video students, in their free time, also film events at the school, from plays and dances, to Morning Meetings, recitals, and special events, with Serafine’s help. Serafine took over the position of video production teacher

b Video student Jack Elrad ’17 controls a camera crane while working on a video.

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


m will Sisson ’17, front,

b Tise Ben-Eka ’17 at work in the video lab.

in January 2013. He was still teaching six classes in Waterbury’s Arts Magnet School, two classes at Taft, and supervising an independent study, which gives an idea of his energy level. He retired from the public schools that June and began full time at Taft in September 2013. Since then, the video production at Taft has become more dynamic, with students adapting novels, creating mini-series, and producing video work for other academic subjects. The video production classroom is not merely an artistic alternative for students steeped in the moving image, according to Serafine. It’s a critical piece of a student’s education that integrates academic learning through the lens of a camera. “This is a generation where the communication is really about video,” he says. “They communicate through this. Your résumé is going to be on a video. People interview through Skype now. It’s a cultural change. We are not losing anything. We are not missing something. We are just adapting with the times.” Although Serafine is the first to admit that most of the students in his classroom have seen more videos in their lives than he has, Elrad, who has excelled in video production, explains that most of the students in the video class are limited in their approach to filming. They know little, for instance, about taking

lauren fadiman ’17 and chandler Houldin ’16 editing a film in the video lab.

prepares a camera to film while fellow student Jack Elrad ’17 operates the crane.

video or editing it, but are eager to learn. “He’s real over-ourshoulders,” Elrad says about Serafine’s approach. “When we critique our videos, we really go frame-by-frame and talk about what we did right and what we could have done better.” Felicity Petruzzi ’16, of Woodbury, Connecticut, has an artistic interest primarily in writing. “I had no experience filming or editing or using the software,” says Petruzzi. “I like being on the other side of the camera. I like writing. It’s a really cool feeling.” She plans to create a mini-series of 20-minute episodes. Coming to Taft was a natural segue for Serafine. For 10 years, he served as the assistant director of the summer Taft Educational Center and for five years taught a weeklong video production class in that program. In 2006, Waterbury Public Schools named Serafine Teacher of the Year, and that same year he was a semi-finalist for Connecticut State Teacher of the Year. His wife, Lillian, is Taft’s assistant librarian and the couple lives on campus. Still, he had already put in more than three decades as a teacher when the Taft opportunity arose. “If there were two words I’d use to describe Mr. Serafine, they would be ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘experienced,’” Houldin says. “Even if you have one little question, he really goes on for about 10 minutes [to help us understand].”

iDeo is not just a hiP concePt PoPular aMong toDay’s teenagers. It’S A wAy fOr AnyOne tO teLL A StOry.

It is that kind of enthusiasm for teaching that led the school to call on Serafine, says Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “His commitment is hard to exaggerate,” MacMullen says. “This is a guy who cares deeply about students. He has a quiet insistence on excellence and high standards—you have to perform for him. Yet there’s this remarkable ability to encourage risk taking. It’s pretty hard to find someone who has the years of experience he has with the passion and enthusiasm of a young teacher.” To a large extent, that’s because Serafine, whose quick patter and dynamic classroom demeanor belie beguiling warmth and patience, believes in video as a new language in which all students must be fluent. “The whole concept behind here is to ‘shoot to edit,’” Serafine says, straddling a classroom chair and sitting in front of a Macintosh monitor. The monitor is among a dozen in the classroom, which is also home to a pride of giraffe-like tripods, Canon camera bags, and backpacks burgeoning with storyboards. Oliver Salk, a 2013 Taft graduate now studying film at the University of Southern California, said the school’s video production materials rival those of USC. Students in the class use Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premier, After Effects, Motion, Garage Band, and a few other specialty software packages, as well as 10 professional-level video cameras.

it’s BecoMe a new stanDarD for coMMunication. It hAS ChAngeD the wAy we thInK AnD DO BUSIneSS.

Ultimately, Serafine would like the school to have a TV studio and teach the students to do live switching and editing, but for now he is spending his energy helping students create documentaries and event promos. For Serafine, video is not just a hip concept popular among today’s teenagers. He sees it as a way for anyone to tell a story—not just Hollywood. It’s become a new standard for communication, he says, and it has changed the way we think and do business. Since he took over video production at the school, he shifted its previous focus on animation and moved to a “shoot-to-edit” style, in which students tell stories through a variety of video shots, which they then edit down to a cohesive narrative. “We start with the building blocks of how to make videos, how to tell stories. The skills that the students learn can be applied almost anywhere,” Serafine says. “Any student can make a video these days, but it’s a challenge to create a quality video that tells a compelling story. These are skills that almost every student could benefit from. I tell them, yes, this takes time and patience, but we’ll keep working at it until we get it right.” “I look at the program as communicating in pictures,” Serafine says. “We develop a real sense of what the images say and learn to enhance them with music and dialogue.” j

To view Taft videos visit

Tracey O’Shaughnessy is associate features editor at the waterbury, connecticut, Republican-American.

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


Maru-a-Pula Exchange Connects Two Continents Maru-a-Pula exchange student K.K. Mokobi ’15 at Taft sporting the flag of Botswana and Rhino pride.

by Phoebe Vaughn Outerbridge ’84

Botswana j The campus of Maru-a-Pula School in Gaborone, Botswana.

and the

Big Red

c maru-a-Pula’s marimba Band at Taft. goitseone Thebe ’14, seated, far right, performed with them the year before she came to Taft. PeteR FRew ’75

“I think the bond between the two schools is great, as each school can


here were so many “firsts” for Ernest Kwarteng ’98 during his initial weeks as a postgraduate (PG) at Taft: first time traveling outside Africa, first time eating pistachios, first snow, and, at soccer practice, his first tentative slide tackle on soft green grass. “Coach Mac [Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78] kept asking me why I wouldn’t slide tackle,” laughs Kwarteng. “But our soccer fields at home are dirt!” Like his fellow schoolmates who came to Taft before and after him, Kwarteng would experience plenty of other differences between his home country of Botswana

and the United States, between the ivy-laden brick walls of Taft and the school he had attended on the outer fringes of the Kalahari Desert, Maru-a-Pula. “I can hardly think of a more striking physical contrast between the two schools,” says Andy Taylor ’72, principal of Maru-a-Pula, which means “clouds of rain” or “promises of blessings” in Setswana. “Taft has rolling lawns and precipitation, but in Botswana we are either recovering from a drought or preparing for one.” Taylor, a native of Woodbury, Connecticut, has been principal of Maru-a-Pula since 2004, but his first stint there as a history teacher from 1980 to 1984 spawned what has now become an

b maru-a-Pula school students in Botswana with their principal, andy Taylor ’72. ntsoaki rampa ’13 at far left.

learn from each other’s differences but also benefit from their similarities.” annual exchange program between Taft and the independent school located in Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone. They may have opposite climates, but Taft and Marua-Pula do share a similar reputation. Maru-a-Pula is considered one of the top independent schools in Africa and is the best in Botswana, a country about the size of Texas or France that is sparsely populated by about two million. Two-thirds of Maru-a-Pula’s 730 students (in seven grades) are Batswana, or natives of Botswana, with the remainder being expatriates from the African continent and beyond. Taylor states that top colleges from around the globe visit the school; the ultimate expectation of many Maru-a-Pula students is to study overseas. Currently, several Maru-a-Pula graduates are attending Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, Williams, and two at Oxford as Rhodes Scholars, in addition to other colleges outside Botswana. International exposure and exchange are not only a driving part of the mission at Maru-a-Pula, but, according to Taylor, it is also what initially inspired the formation of the Taft–Maru-a-Pula partnership. “I was brought up in a family where we constantly hosted international students through AFS [American Field Service],” he recalls. “I thought it would be a spectacular opportunity if Maru-a-Pula students could go overseas and have a similar experience at Taft.” So in 1981, the first intrepid Maru-a-Pula student bought a parka and headed for Watertown. And just

about every year since, a Maru-a-Pula student has come to study as a PG at Taft. In 1986, Gordon and Emily Jones, who had taught at Maru-a-Pula, came to teach at Taft and the exchange program became formalized. Though Taft was the first school to receive top exchange students from Maru-a-Pula, other schools subsequently forged links with Maru-a-Pula, including Brooks, Deerfield, Emma Willard School, The Hill School, Catlin Gabel, Hotchkiss, Menlo, and other international boarding and day schools. “The Maru-a-Pula kids set foot on our campus, and you’re immediately in the presence of a different aura,” says Peter Frew ’75, director of admissions at Taft. “They are incredibly open and their faces welcome you in a distinctly ‘un-Yankee’ way. You can feel their warmth, energy, and humanity instantaneously.” Frew and Taylor, whose friendship dates back to carpooling days as Taft students, have to have a certain degree of faith in each other regarding who will be the best Maru-a-Pula candidate for a PG year at Taft. The selection process is determined in Botswana with little input from the Admissions Office at Taft. “The candidates have to be top academic performers, leaders and ambassadors for our school and country, and also need to be outgoing individuals,” explains Taylor, adding that students also must demonstrate their ability to give back through active community service. Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


b maru-a-Pula students celebrating a sports victory on their home campus.

b Taylor chats with a maru-a-Pula student.


y experience at Taft and Maru-a-Pula laid a strong foundation for my future. Having been around so many smart people at Taft made me feel there was nothing I couldn’t handle at college. The experience is not lost on us, and we Maru-a-Pula students are always grateful.”

—Ernest Kwarteng ’98

Each July (the middle of the school year for the Southern Hemisphere), while students are preparing for their IGCSE exams, teachers at Maru-a-Pula look at the top third of that class, whittling the pool of approximately 35 students down to 15, who fill out an application to become a Maru-a-Pula Scholar. Following interviews and final deliberation, Marua-Pula announces approximately 10 winners in January. The Maru-a-Pula students contribute to life at Taft in a variety of ways, sharing their perspective and their culture in the dorms, at meals, on the playing fields, and in the classrooms. As Frew says, they all “sparkle,” and Kwarteng was no exception. He joined the soccer team and delved into all Taft had to offer, though Kwarteng concedes that while he felt well prepared through the discipline he developed at Maru-a-Pula, he was not quite ready for the volume of homework he would encounter at Taft. “I was pretty close to being overwhelmed by the magnitude of work we had to do outside of class,” recalls Kwarteng. “I was also getting used to the new culture and different teaching styles.” Kenna (K.K.) Mokobi ’15, one of this year’s Maru-aPula exchange students, finds the workload manageable but sees other nuances in the academics of Taft and Maru-a-Pula. “People warned me about the workload and I was expecting a lot more difficulty adjusting, but it’s been easier than I thought,” says Mokobi, who also attributed the curriculum differences to the American system

versus the English system used at Maru-a-Pula, where he says the lion’s share of work is spent preparing for their IGCSEs. “At Taft you’re free to explore the material more gradually and naturally—it’s completely different.” Mokobi is also getting used to the highly scheduled regimen of boarding school. He noted that at Maru-aPula the day begins at 7 a.m. and ends by 1 p.m., when students are free to choose from a range of activities, categorized by service, physical, and enrichment (SPE). In fact, Maru-a-Pula’s SPE program has an ethos that mirrors that of Taft; the website reads, “For us, afternoon activities are ‘co-curricular,’ not ‘extra-curricular.’ That’s because lessons learned outside the classroom are important—often more important than those learned inside.” George Shepherd ’17, an American who was living in Botswana and enrolled in Maru-a-Pula for a year and a half, notes that the lifestyle there is much more relaxed than at Taft, but feels the Maru-a-Pula students gain much from the experience. “I think the bond between the two schools is great, as each school can learn from each other’s differences but also benefit from their similarities,” he says. Taylor concedes the Taft workload can be “crushing” to a new Maru-a-Pula student, largely due to the relentless pace of boarding school life. He and Mokobi also note the relevance of race in the transition from Maru-a-Pula to Taft—especially considering the inherent

contrasts between the demographics of a country that is 96 percent black and a New England boarding school. Maru-a-Pula was founded in 1972 with non-racial ideals, and though the school has a student population that is one-third expatriate, Taylor says, “Nobody thinks of himself or herself as black or a certain pigment. These students aren’t used to being a minority.” Mokobi concurs: “I never had to declare my nationality or ethnicity, but suddenly I’ve become ‘black,’ ‘international,’ and ‘minority.’ For once I actually feel my home roots more—I feel more African.” Cultural exchange and diversity are at the heart of the Taft–Maru-a-Pula partnership. But it is not a oneway street—Taft sends a student or group of students to Botswana on a semi-regular basis, as well, though the misalignment of the schools’ academic years makes a semester stay for a Taft student prohibitive. In 2009, Maru-a-Pula hosted Harrison Glazer ’12 for a summer stay. In 2010, 38 Taft students traveling to South Africa made the jaunt to Botswana and visited the Maru-aPula campus. Most recently, Izzy Stack ’13 traveled to Maru-a-Pula for three weeks during the summer of 2013 (supported by a grant from Taft’s Robert Poole Fellowship). The exchange relationships have longevity. Former Maru-a-Pula student Leungo “Donald” Molosi ’05, a playwright, was one of several panelists who spoke at Taft’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2013. Former Taft parents and authors Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick were the host family and “fell in love with Gobakwe Montshiwa ’09 from Maru-a-Pula,” Frew says. “He lived with them every vacation, and is like a third Taft son to them.” Taylor is proud of his school and is smitten with Botswana and Africa. He recalls his first visit to the

African continent, as a PG student visiting his best friend who was Kenyan: “I was invited for a three-week vacation near Nairobi. The minute I landed, a beautiful sweet smell emanated into the plane, and I was bowled over by the beauty of Kenya. I went hog wild.” While he has had a zigzag professional trajectory, with stints in South Africa and at Horace Mann School in New York City, Taylor seems at home among the Batswana. “The people are kind, humble, generous, and welcoming. There is an eagerness by our students that is earnest,” he explains, then citing two closely related words used in Botswana: botho and ubuntu. Botho is the deep sense of another person’s humanity, while ubuntu means humanness, or the idea that you are who you are through other people. Kwarteng embodies the concept of ubuntu, expressing his gratefulness for the people and the institutions that played a part in his journey. He received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and now is a vice president at Barclays Bank in New York. Kwarteng was also recently elected as a Taft trustee (see p. 20 of this issue). “My experience at Taft and Maru-a-Pula laid a strong foundation for my future,” notes Kwarteng. “Having been around so many smart people at Taft made me feel there was nothing I couldn’t handle at college. The experience is not lost on us, and we Maru-a-Pula students are always grateful.” j Phoebe Vaughn Outerbridge ’84 is a freelance writer living in Pennington, new Jersey.


A person from Botswana

Batswana: People of Botswana


The language of Botswana

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015



frOm the

Poetry and Images iN THE LaTE 1960s, faculty member Sabra Johnson’s

lower-mid art classes created a series of three portfolios of linoleum block prints and handset text. For the first series, she assigned each of her students to illustrate a selected poem and to collaborate as classmates on typesetting the verses. The students also designed and produced a paper jacket for the printed leaves. Here are four winter-themed illustrations from the first portfolio, Poetry and Images, A Folio of Illustrations, made in the spring of 1967. If you were involved in these projects, please let us in the Archives know—we love to have the stories behind the artifacts! j

et, Poetry

ck m Paper Ja


and Imag

—alison gilchrist, The leslie D. manning anning archives

b A Patch of Old Snow —robert frost illustration by Jerry Boak ’70

Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015


frOm the


. Untitled llustration by David B. Edwards ’70 illustration

m Th eS

kate r of G —w host .r. B Lake enet illus trati on b carlt y on S exto n ’70

ods g by Wo ning e v E y ow on a Sn t s rt fro —robe tion by a tr s lu il 0 Hard ’7 rt robe

in c Stopp

Increasing Our Commitment to Scholarships The first time he visited Taft, Fernando Fernandez ’14 decided the school would be a great fit for him. “I was right,” he says now, “and I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend Taft. The school gave me both structure and freedom to grow.” And grow he did. Fernando—who came to Taft from the Bronx as a scholarship student—excelled in Taft’s classrooms, on the fields, and on the stage. He served as a tour guide, played football and track, co-founded the Latin Dance Club, sang with Collegium Musicum and Gospel Choir, and led charity efforts to support orphanages in the Dominican Republic, where he had spent summers with family as a child. Fernando was the first recipient of Taft’s Frederick H. Wandelt III ’66 Scholarship, which was created by Ferdie’s family and friends to honor his four decades of leadership at Taft. Since being established in 2013, the fund has already benefitted three Taft students, including Fernando. To date, the Wandelt Scholarship Fund has received more than $2.9 million in gifts and pledges from 184 donors toward its $4 million goal to fund four scholarships. “It’s fitting that the first recipient of a scholarship named for Ferdie Wandelt—a man who shrank the world, who created great cultural connections and brought people together—was awarded to a student who is similarly inclined to building bridges, who connected so well with people,” says Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. Last fall, Fernando began as a student in the prestigious Huntsman Program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is double majoring in international studies and business.

As for possible future career choices, Fernando is keeping his options open, but is interested in working at the United Nations or studying business law. Fernando is just one of the hundreds of Taft students who receive financial aid each year. This year, 38 percent of students are receiving some form of financial aid. “What touched me so much about the scholarship was the fact that it would be a way to carry on Mr. Wandelt’s legacy,” Fernando says. “Ferdie’s attentiveness to every student and his way of putting others’ needs before his was amazing. He was extremely kind and was always so attentive to others’ needs—he always wanted to hear more.” One of the major goals of the Ever Taft Even Stronger Campaign is to add $55 million to our endowment in support of financial aid. Today, only 57 percent of the school’s financial assistance is endowed, but we hope to increase that percentage dramatically, and ultimately to fully endow this program. On a relative basis, Taft commits more of its resources to financial aid than at peer schools with larger endowments. “Put simply, our historic commitment to financial aid means every year we give a larger slice of a smaller pie,” MacMullen says. Each year we must turn away highly qualified students because we simply do not have enough scholarship dollars. We must increase our financial aid budget, or we will fall behind peer schools and run the risk that the best and brightest students will not be able to come to Taft.

Financial aid is just one of the priorities of the current campaign. To find out more, visit, or contact Director of Development Chris Latham at 860-945-5923 or


Taft Bulletin / wInter 2015

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6, 2015 May 15–1

Winter 2015 Taft Bulletin  
Winter 2015 Taft Bulletin