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IN THIS ISSUE Writing for the Silver Screen j

Using Puppets to Extend a Healing Hand j

Examining the Expanded Offerings of the College Board

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Bulletin Staff Editor Julie Reiff Director of Development Jerry Romano Alumni Notes Karen Dost Design Good Graphic Design Proofreaders Robin Osborn Karen Taylor Photography Peter Finger Stan Grossfeld Don Hamerman Laura Harrington Leslie Manning Archives Julie Reiff Olivia Tuttle Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org

From the Editor A new millennium has dawned (at least according to some) and yet we find ourselves going about business as usual. No brave new world has arrived, nor did the Y2K bug turn our society into some Orwellian dystopia. Perhaps we have softened the impact of the technological revolution by embracing change in our daily lives and adapting our society to new means of communication. Clearly we have access to information to a degree George Orwell never thought possible. To many we may seem to be drowning in the Age of Information. Dave Frohnmayer, president of the University of Oregon, prefers to call this new era the Age of the Editor. Critical and informed selection, he tells us, “giving ethical value and analytical order to the promiscuous proliferation of unorganized facts,” is the skill to be most valued in our new society. It is an awesome responsibility he gives the editor—one not to be horded or coveted but to be shared.

What is the purpose of a liberal arts education, after all, if not to learn how to weigh and evaluate that “promiscuous proliferation of unorganized facts?” It’s a skill most of you learned at Taft. As befits a new century, there are some additions to this issue I would like to point out: First, a new column called “Ten Things.” Jim Morrison ’43 has shared his suggestions with us for creating a better world. Look for future lists throughout the year by other alums on their favorite topics. Next, the appearance of our first crossword puzzle on page 32, something that will hopefully be part of future issues as well. Give it a try; I hope you enjoy it. In our features, the Reverend Laura Biddle ’77 has received some much deserved publicity for her creative outreach programs for children in Massachusetts. English teacher Sara Beasley shares a compelling interview with young screenwriters Jill Kopelman ’92 and Carrie Doyle ’90. “These are two amazing

Send alumni news to: Karen Dost Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1-860-945-7777 http://www.TaftSchool.org This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

Hong Kong: Some of the representatives of the remarkably loyal alumni-parent body in Hong Kong, after a dinner there during the November Visit of Director of Admissions Ferdie Wandelt ’66 and Headmaster Lance Odden.


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women,” Sara said. “Seeing the chemistry between them, it’s clear why their first screenplay is so good.” Other alumni are in the news for their political or athletic pursuits, including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter ’67 and his probable run for a Congressional seat in California. Also in California, the prolific Barnaby Conrad ’70 has a new book out this winter. Cycling is clearly popular among alumni; three competitors are highlighted here, but we know there are many more of you! On the campus front, I have interviewed a number of Taft teachers about our Advanced Placement program. Although none of you are likely (nor am I) to be taking an AP exam anytime soon, this article will give you a sense of some of the educational issues faculty grapple with on a continuing basis. And, not to be missed is the larger-than-life tribute to Headmaster Lance Odden for his 60th birthday in December, page 18. The Taft story continues to unfold every day as new items cross my desk (or my computer screen). Here is the next installment. —Julie Reiff, Editor

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SPOTLIGHT A Fashionable Film ..................................................... 4 Carrie Doyle ’90 and Jill Kopelman ’92 write for the silver screen.

By Sara Beasley Puppets help extend a healing hand ............................ 8 Minister Laura Biddle ’77 uses creations to lift children’s spirits.

By Wendy Killeen, Boston Globe Correspondent Examining the APs .................................................... 10 A look at the College Board’s Advanced Placement offerings.

By Julie Reiff

DEPARTMENTS Alumni in the News .................................................. 15 Cycling, Republicans on both coasts, Conrad’s new book, screenplay award and more.

Ten Ways to Save the World ........................................ 7 A new alumni column

By Jim Morrison ’43 Around the Pond ...................................................... 19 Cum Laude Society, teaching fellows, a magical musical, celebrating 60, and visiting speakers and artists.

Sport ......................................................................... 21 Big Red Scoreboard and fall season wrap-up.

By Steve Palmer Alumni Notes ........................................................... 22 Crossword ................................................................. 32 Milestones ................................................................ 44 On the Cover: Laura Biddle ’77 and her daughter Asia mingle with the puppets Laura uses in her outreach efforts with children. Photo by Stan Grossfeld The Taft Bulletin 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. E-Mail Us! Now you can send your latest news, address change, birth announcement, or letter to the editor to us via e-mail. Our address is Taft Bulletin@TaftSchool.org. Of course we’ll continue to accept your communiqués by such “low tech” methods as the fax machine (860-945-7756), telephone (860-945-7777), or U.S. Mail (110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100). So let’s hear from you! Visit Taft on the Web to find the latest news, sports schedules, or to locate a classmate’s e-mail address. www.TaftSchool.org or www.TaftSports.com. The password to access alumni or faculty e-mail addresses—or to add your own—is dutton.


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A Fashionable Film Two Screenwriters’ Debut By Sara Beasley

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ay you were to surf the World Wide Web, find your way to the Internet Movie Database, and type in the name of either Caroline Doyle ’90 or Jill Kopelman ’92. You then would be just a click away from reading the cast and company credits for a promising new film, a romantic comedy called Intern. Carrie and Jill co-wrote the screenplay last year, in just a month of feverish and inspired collaboration.

Having premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Intern boasts a cast of big-name talents, including Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Paulina Porizkova, Dominique Swain, and Peggy Lipton (yes, of the Mod Squad). A host of well-known figures in the fashion industry—including Tommy Hilfiger, Cynthia Rowley, and Narciso Rodriguez—also make appearances in the film. Carrie’s old buddy Gwyneth Paltrow adds a cameo appearance at Il Cantinori, an East Village restaurant. Directed by the well-respected Michael Lange, whose television directing experience includes The Larry Sanders Show, Sisters, Northern Exposure, and a bunch of episodes of Beverly Hills 90210, Intern promises a fresh look at the fascinating and complex world of fashion—its

models, its designers, its magazine editors, and most importantly, its poorly paid, put-upon but clear-sighted young intern Jocelyn (Swain). Carrie and Jill came up with the comic premise after writing a short film of the same name. It’s the story of a young magazine intern who offers a frank look behind the scenes of the fashion industry while she pursues love with a handsome British art director. Carrie and Jill realized the potential marketability of their idea, and, using their combined work experiences at MTV News, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Interview, and the background of Milan and Paris fashion shows they had attended, they transformed their own worst moments as interns into hilarious vignettes for the big screen. ;

The characters in the film are based on real people, but Jill and Carrie hasten to point out that they’ve created composites: no one in real life was perhaps quite as egomaniacal as some of their fictional models and editors are. They do not fear that anyone they know will get mad. They enjoyed the entire process of making the film, and were especially pleased to have had a say in the choice of director and in the casting. Dominique Swain signed on first, having expressed great enthusiasm for the project. Writing into a Powerbook computer set up on the Doyles’ dining room table, Jill and Carrie worked non-stop for four straight weeks. Both had just quit their jobs and had moved in with their respective parents. At the time, they lived only blocks Taft Bulletin

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apart and wrote faithfully every morning. After writing several drafts, they pitched the screenplay successfully, revised, and acquired the backing of a Soho production company, Given Films. They then signed some terrific talents, and made a $1.2 million dollar film that “looks like a $30 million film,” says Jill, gratefully acknowledging that they were given all of their locations, including the restaurant Il Cantinori, for free. That breezy description omits, however, the month-long shoot, which consisted of 6-day weeks of 17-hour days in the heat of a New York City summer. The closing shoot at Rockefeller Center featured a 4 a.m. parade of rats that neither Carrie nor Jill will ever forget. What you can expect from Intern is breakneck speed. Both Carrie and Jill are fans of briskly-edited films such as Run Lola Run (they found the glacial pace of Citizen Kane to be boring) and savage dark humor. The movie plays around with conventions and tries to be inventive, including a fantasy sequence and a musical number. Theirs is a modern sensibility, but their affection for the conventions of pure, old-fashioned romantic comedy is obvious in the film. Although not students of film, both women love movies. The two cite diverse influences but both give Woody Allen the nod as a “benchmark” filmmaker, whose conception of New York they were mindful of invoking in their work. Describing themselves as “thrilled by the inadvert-

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ent inclusions” of incident and setting that the film contains, making Intern was an exciting if exhausting process that has left both eager to continue writing. Their advice to aspiring screenplay writers sounds familiar: “Write what you know.” They feel that their film came naturally out of their own experience, and the fact that they so easily parlayed friendships and work experience into a finished film should be ample encouragement to anyone who is willing to work tenaciously to see a dream realized. Jill was an art history major at Yale who graduated in three years (she took extra courses every semester) and then spent a year traveling around the world. At Yale, she had studied Italian, French, and Spanish. After college, she was a staff writer for Interview and for Vogue. Her senior year at Taft she was an editor-in-chief of The Papyrus; as a mid, she started the “Dear Horace” column. Her experiences as a writer and her academic background in visual art (Rembrandt is a particular interest) combine crucially in her work these days. Carrie was a Russian studies major at Barnard whose interest in Russia she traces to the fact that her classroom windows at Spence overlooked the Russian consulate. Once at Taft, she began to learn about the language and culture of Russia, studying with teacher Phoebe Brown, and taking a class trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg. She wrote her thesis at Barnard on Nabokov, with his niece, a professor there. After graduation,

Carrie headed to Russia, where she had a varied work experience: she did everything from cold calling to sell advertising for a Hearst magazine that eventually folded, to helping to launch the Russian version of Marie Claire. Impressively still able to launch into the full advertising pitch, she speaks the language as well as ever: Carrie and her Russian fiancé will marry in April in Limerick, Ireland. Future plans—working together—include writing a pilot for a TV series. They are considering the idea of developing Intern into a series, not unlike Comedy Central’s British series Ab Fab or HBO’s Sex and the City. The two were also recently hired to do a re-write of a screenplay for Ed Pressman, the producer of Wall Street, Reversal of Fortune, and other films. Their story makes it look easy: the whole process of writing and selling the screenplay and getting it made took less than a year. Yet theirs is not a Cinderella story. As Jill emphasizes, “I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a dilettante.” They’ve had to learn simply by doing; every potential obstacle they’ve managed to turn into an opportunity. Although they’ve accomplished the impossible, they have shown that they have the talent and the tenacity to succeed in a business that operates under no certain rules. Envy them; admire them; enjoy them; wish them luck; and do keep tracking their success. Sara Beasley is a member of the English Deparment and a serious lover of film.


"Via ovicipitum dura est,” or, for the benefit of the engineers among you, “The way of the egghead is hard,” —Adlai Stevenson at Harvard Downtown on any given day it is not uncommon to see a young man with a nail in his tongue and a rivet in his ear, walking beside a girl with green hair. You know full well these folk are not on the way to a chamber music recital. More likely they have mutilated themselves after having listened to Rock and Roll music, which everyone knows rots the brain. Lance Odden never mentioned this cultural phenomenon in his Fathers’ Day remarks this past October. He did, however, paint a bleak portrait of youth now emerging from the nation’s educational system. He confined his observations to the newest generation, who, by and large, renounce liberal arts, embrace segregation, and focus their lives on turning a fast buck. The headmaster in his despair may find some comfort in a comment by the former president of his own university: “The most conservative persons I have ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are men past middle life.” —Woodrow Wilson, President of Princeton Thus, headmaster, to assuage your concerns, this ancient radical submits herewith ten sure fire ways to spur coming generations toward a lifelong pursuit of The Good Life.

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Ways to Save the World By Jim Morrison ’43

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#1 Honor Teaching and Learning

How do you do that? Simple. Follow the corporate example. Throw money at it. Megabucks aimed at K-8. Provide big incentives to attract and develop big teaching talent. Imagine, if you will, a school district with 50 third grade teachers each making $250,000 a year. Chicken feed. A total of only $12.5 million a year; the same as it takes to keep a mere 500 felons in jail.

#2 Teach History

Big, bold, lively, real people, blood and guts, truth and consequences history, that shows how actions of the past bear directly on our present lives.

establish a means of forewarning against the siren song of reckless media and easy ideology.

#8 Bring Back Beanie Weld

Hey, man! Like, cool! Wow! You know. It’s time to, like, value writing a complete sentence? And maybe even, like, organize? You know what I mean, like a coherent paragraph, that somehow begins with the thing of it is. Like, what you are trying to sort of say. Whatever. (Charles Beane Weld taught a vigorous course in English composition at Taft in the good old days.)

#9 Optional High School

Whatever it turns out to be. Technology has irreversibly melted down the old nuclear model, and new ones are rising. We must shape our social institutions to accommodate and strengthen the new.

For some, the high school experience comes too soon. Consideration should be given to the German model. Perhaps for some, the high school experience should be deferred until the ninth grader has had apprenticeship with life on the job. And while we’re at it, let’s ban varsity sport, replacing it with intramural sport, wherein everyone who wishes can participate.

#4 Make it Easier to Serve

#10. Pursue the Good Life

There are more fruitful ways to harness and direct the energy and special skills of willing volunteers than have them serve in soup kitchens.

Speaking at Vespers 60 years ago, Headmaster Emeritus Horace Taft, standing tall in a four-button suit, and looking for all the world like Almighty God, remarked on Aristotle, the golden mean, and the pursuit of The Good Life.

#3 Nurture the New Family

#5 Implement Non-National Service

This is part of #4 above. Rather than a Peace Corps, there needs to be a vehicle at state or community levels compelling youth to a long period of working together in pro bono service; service that is communal, visible, and educational.

#6 Take Care of Others

A startling wisdom that came out of a novel by Alice McDermott in which a character says, “The best way to take care of yourself is to take care of somebody else.”

#7 Guide Crucial Choices

Never in history has youth been offered more choices. However, never has youth been required to make dire choices at an earlier age; choices fraught with peril and with little guidance at hand. There is a need to

While at Taft the idea of The Good Life never ripened in this one boy’s mind, but a seed had been planted. It lay dormant through wartime service and most of his college years. Then, one day while dozing in an eight o’clock class the dullard said, “Ahaa!” and thereafter he never listened to Rock and Roll music, and so, never drove a nail through his tongue.

Moral: It’s never too early to cast pearls.

Jim Morrison, father of Jim, Jr. ’79, is a film producer who made the movie celebrating Taft’s 90th anniversary. He is the author of Treehouse, a novel, and The Stuff Americans Are Made Of, a book about American culture. Jim is now finishing his second novel.

Alumni are invited to submit humorous or lighthearted essays on any topic for this column. All should be structured in a list of ten items and contain no more than 750 words. Writers will receive $50 if their essay is published in the Taft Bulletin. We regret that manuscripts can not be returned, so please do not send originals. Taft Bulletin

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he Rev. Laura Biddle ’77 immediately noticed the young boy, arms crossed and defiant, in the back of the room. She pulled out her black cat puppet. “I love me. I love me so much I wrote a song about me. It’s called Fiddle Faddle,” she said in a high, tiny voice. The boy pulled up a chair.

Photo by Stan Grossfeld

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Puppets Help Extend a Healing Hand Minister uses creations to lift children’s spirits By Wendy Killeen, Boston Globe Correspondent

Twenty-five minutes into Biddle’s performance with a menagerie of puppets before a group of foster children, the boy moved to the second row. Soon, he was standing in front, singing, jumping up and down and clapping his hands. “Everyone watched this happen,” Biddle said. “People who knew this kid knew it was not like him to engage. But here he was, engaged with this puppet.” Another child approached and began rubbing the puppet’s face. “At that moment I knew I had a huge responsibility,” Biddle said. “This was a child who had given herself over to this puppet.” Biddle knows the feeling. “I love my puppets,” said the 40-year-old mother of four, who sports a rose tattoo on her ankle and drives a motorcycle. There’s Pedro, Wild Thing, Priskins, Petunia, Fiddle Faddle, and about 60 others. Each has a distinct personality, attitude, voice and song. And sometimes, a distinct message. For the performance with the foster children, for example, Biddle created a foster-child puppet who now is part of her troupe. In the past nine months, puppetry and performing for children and adults has become so much a part of Biddle’s


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life that she’s resigning as director of a prison ministry program in five facilities, a job she held for 18 years. “It’s a big change for me,” said Biddle, who in the past year remarried, moved to Topsfield, and became associate minister at Central Congregational Church in Newburyport. She produced a compact disc of a live performance with her puppets, has done workshops for teachers, and has a full schedule of appearances at day care centers, schools, churches, hospitals, festivals and other venues. Biddle, who also writes and sings folk-rock songs, performs in area coffeehouses and has plans to record a compact disc of songs for adults this year. The daughter of an Episcopal minister and an artist, Biddle got seriously involved in dance, drama and music at Taft. She went on to Connecticut College, majoring in dance, and then to New York University. She began playing guitar at age 8 and performing at 12, and was a member of several bands in her late teens and early 20s. She sang in bars and pubs to help pay her way through college. Biddle’s dream was to be a professional performer, and she appeared in several off-off-Broadway shows. Ironically, it was two experiences in the theater that led her to the ministry. In preparation for a part in Harold Pinter’s The Woman, Biddle dressed as a homeless woman and spent a week on the streets of New York. “It was like the reality of the world hitting you in the face,” she said. Then she played Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ. “The two experiences spoke to me and said, ‘You need to go to seminary. You need to take all these things you’re working on, public speaking, drama and music, to make a church service work,’” Biddle remembered. While in seminary in Cambridge, she directed a few plays and began doing performing arts with young prisoners. That led to a prison ministry that has lasted almost two decades.

Biddle got involved with puppetry in 1989 when a woman saw her and her young daughter singing and playing with a puppet in a Jamaica Plain park and invited her to perform at a day care center. “I was amazed how the kids responded,” Biddle said. She began collecting puppets, including finger puppets and marionettes. “You give me a puppet and I can do something with it,” she said. “I look at it and just start talking and it gets a name and develops a personality. These guys become real. And they all have a piece of me, too.” Biddle graduated from the seminary in 1986, continued her work in

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about protecting the environment and shows the children how to recite the alphabet in sign language. And she improvises, a lot. Once a month, Central Congregational presents children’s sermons, and her puppets often make an appearance. She also did a grief and loss service for children several months ago, using the puppets and music, after two popular teachers in the area and a few grandparents of church youngsters died. But Biddle doesn’t use religious language or lessons in her performances unless asked to do so, or performing in a church setting. In other venues, she

“I believe children playing and having fun and singing and interacting with the puppets is an education all by itself.” prisons, was ordained a Congregational minister in 1993 and became assistant pastor at a church in Lowell. In 1994, her marriage ended in divorce. And she began thinking seriously about puppetry as a second career. “Everything about my shows is educational, but it takes you a little by surprise. It’s not forced down your throat,” Biddle said. “You don’t have to use the term nonviolence to have a message about it. I do a lot about hugging and loving and caring. I believe children playing and having fun and singing and interacting with the puppets is an education all by itself.” She uses the puppets to talk about friendship and being different—Fiddle Faddle the cat and Petunia the jellyfish are best friends, for instance. She teaches

said, “It’s a spiritual performance in the sense it’s about children’s spirits coming out.” She also uses puppets in her work with adults, from patients confined to hospitals to women who have survived abuse. “I am finding such incredible things going on with these puppets,” Biddle said. And 10-year-old Jeffrey Walker of Merrimac agreed. “The puppets are like a magnet and I’m metal,” he said. “It draws me to them.” “They all have their different attitudes and different ways they talk and what they do,” he said. “Timothy is a turtle and he always tells the truth.” Walker said he does too. Copyright Boston Globe Newspaper. Reproduced with permission. Taft Bulletin

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Examining the A.P.s By Julie Reiff

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dvanced Placement courses, and the culminating examinations offered by the College Board, have been an option for Taft students for roughly 40 years. In an age of increasing competition for admission to the most selective colleges and universities, it’s no wonder that the popularity of AP exams has grown. Determining the Curriculum As the offerings of new exams increase with demand (up from 11 exams in 1956 to 32 exams by 2002) so do the debates among educators. Although the exam was created with the idea of better preparing high school students for college work, some schools question the wisdom of one private (not-forprofit) company determining national curriculum standards. “The huge tension in any curriculum where APs are offered,” said Bill Morris ’69, academic dean at Taft, “is the tension between the College Board’s

prescribed curriculum (what percent from each topic in a course) and what teachers want to cover. In some cases it may place limits on the curriculum that teachers may not feel are beneficial or educationally sound. It doesn’t mean faculty don’t teach outside the AP curriculum, but there is a limit to how much flexibility exists.” “We need to cover the chronology by the end of the year,” explains Rick Davis ’59, who has been teaching the A.P. U.S. History course since 1973. “We barrel along like a railroad train. We used to stop and look around every once in a while: Mark Potter ’48 would come in and talk about American art, George

Schermerhorn or Alex Nagy about music, Barc Johnson ’53 and others would talk about Poe or Melville. But we have much less time for sight-seeing now. We have more and more history every year.” Of course that’s a problem for all history courses, but it is riskier for AP teachers to cover one topic in depth at the expense of another. “You could get unlucky,” explains Jon Willson ’82, who also teaches two sections of A.P. U.S. History, “if a topic they read about but you didn’t cover much in class is on the exam. So you focus on covering every major topic, all the major themes. The train chugs along; mostly we look out the windows and watch history pass by.” Taft Bulletin

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What are Advanced Placement Exams? Advanced Placement examinations are college-level tests offered every May by the College Board, a nonprofit best known for its SAT tests. Students who score three or higher (on a scale of five) are given course credit, advanced placement, or both, by over 2,900 universities and colleges. There are 32 exams in 18 disciplines. The following courses are offered at Taft: No. of Exams Written at Taft, 1999 Biology .................................... 18 Calculus AB ............................. 50 Calculus BC............................. 11 Chemistry ................................ 25 Computer science AB ................ 2 English language and composition ................... 26 English literature and composition ................... 20 Environmental science ............. 12 European history ...................... 22 French language ....................... 11 French literature ......................... 3 Geography (new exam in 2001) Latin literature ........................... 4 Macroeconomics ...................... 29 Microeconomics ...................... 30 Music theory .............................. 1 Physics C: Mechanics ................. 7 Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism ......................... 7 Spanish literature ....................... 5 Spanish language ........................ 7 Statistics ................................... 11 U.S. government and politics ... 26 U.S. history ............................. 46 Total ...................................... 381

At Taft, there are 37 Advanced Placement sections this year, taught by 29 members of the faculty, many of whom are pictured on these two pages.

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“History APs are based much more on content than on skills compared to other disciplines,” adds Rick Davis, “and there are more AP subject-exams in History (U.S. History, European History, US Government, Comparative Politics, Economics, and soon Geography and World History) than in most other departments. These do put a crimp on what we teach and how we teach it, perhaps more so than in any other department.”

It’s a Good Thing Lest we believe that the curriculum is being written by a group of administrators in Princeton, NJ, it is important to understand how the tests and the course descriptions for them are created. Each exam is written and graded jointly by college professors and high school AP teachers (including a number of Taft faculty). The goal is to create a national exam that tests what is generally taught in a first-year college course in that subject. By and large, Taft faculty have few complaints about the course descriptions (known as Acorn Books) that the College Board issues, or with the material covered on the exams. AP English faculty don’t feel a pressure to “teach to the test,” Steve Schieffelin

said, apart from some evaluations or passage analysis exercises in the spring that emulate the type of questions that would be on the exam. In English particularly, the Acorn Book recommendations are broad, emphasizing skills more than a list of required works. “The AP is a good course,” said Al Reiff ’80, head of the Math Department and an AP Calculus and AP Statistics teacher. “It fits what we do; it fits what we would do. There would be few changes to our math curriculum if there were no AP exams. Ninety-five percent would be the same.” “In sciences, what is on the plate for those courses is the logical place to go anyway,” said David Hostage, an AP Chemistry teacher. “There are some things I would change if it weren’t an AP course—cover a few topics in more depth, do more lab work—but not many. We also offer non-AP courses that do just that.” “The exam isn’t something I teach to,” said Penny Townsend, head of the Modern Language Department, who teaches AP Spanish Language. “I cover a lot of history: Spanish, American, European, the conquest of America, what was going on—pulling themes together for my students. The exam doesn’t restrict


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us from covering all aspects of language, history, and culture, especially in the language exam. I have all kinds of freedom. “It’s a skills course,” Penny adds. “The exam gives you something to hold yourself to, to get your kids to a certain recognized level. The kids like measuring themselves against national, even international, criteria. It really does raise the bar.” That’s one of the reasons Taft offers AP exams, according to Bill Morris. “It is a national standard against which our kids can measure themselves. Because APs test problem-solving skills and allow for student-generated answers, they don’t suffer from the problems of SAT and SAT II (achievement) tests. For the most part, criticism is leveled against that part of the testing program because it’s largely multiple choice, except for a few math problems or a short writing sample.”

Steering the Course AP exams can also be a way for a school to keep its curriculum on track. “APs give us excellent feedback, as a school and as individual departments,” said Al Reiff,

“in terms of how well we prepare our kids for the next level of math. When our calculus students do well year after year, that signals not only that our students receive excellent instruction at the calculus level, but also in the prerequisite courses.” In most cases, the AP subject isn’t really “taught in a single course,” Bill Morris said. “Skills and knowledge are built upon throughout the curriculum.” AP courses are generally the pinnacle courses in their departments, the toughest course a student can take in that subject, but they aren’t strictly “honors” courses at Taft. “As many as 85 percent of students in any graduating class take AP exams,” Bill said. “That’s much higher than the percentage of students in honors courses prior to the senior year.” The effects of AP exams on the school’s curriculum is not limited to the AP courses themselves. The introduction of new exams especially can have deep repercussions within a department’s course offerings as well. “By adding AP Statistics to the Math Department offerings, the College Board may have an influence on what’s taught in lower-level

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How Do They Do? 1999 Advanced Placement Results 381 exams taken in 23 subjects 3.97 average (5-point scale) 83 percent of the Class of ’99 took one or more exams. 57 students received AP Scholar recognition from the College Board. 19 of those students were named AP Scholar with Distinction, averaging 3.5 or higher, taking five or more exams.

courses,” said Al Reiff. “Traditionally all math courses have led to calculus. By default of being an AP, statistics may also become a course students steer toward.” The History Department will have to face complex issues of its own as more “social science” exams are created. Geography and world history are not typically upper-school courses at Taft, explains Rick Davis, and few lower schoolers are prepared to take collegelevel courses. How the inclusion of those AP exams will affect the rest of the department’s offerings remains to be seen.

For the Right Reasons

Advanced Placement courses are generally the most challenging offerings in each department, and faculty often consider it an honor to teach them.

The primary reason Advanced Placement courses are part of our curriculum, said Bill Morris, is because “they give students the opportunity to challenge themselves with courses taught at the college level. Depending on the college, students may also have the opportunity to earn credit or place out of intro courses, allowing them to take more advanced courses in college.” Taft encourages students to challenge themselves to do college-level work. “A student who does well in a regular section of a course can do solid work in an AP course,” said David Hostage.

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Teaching AP Teachers The Taft Education Center, a series of one- and two-week summer seminars for teachers, is the largest Advanced Placement summer institute in the world, offering over 80 workshops. Forty-four of the TEC’s Summer Workshops prepare teachers for Advanced Placement courses.

“What is disturbing to me,” Steve said, “is the student perception of education as a finite process with a finite end, which is easily measurable in a single exam, instead of seeing education as a life-long investment in learning. I think we need to look at how students see learning and how kids look at their success in education.”

External Forces Apply “College admissions is becoming a profession in itself,” explains college counselor Sherrie McKenna, “and few of the college representatives I see coming through have ever worked in a high school. So they look at a transcript to see how many APs are on it. They know what that means.” “What colleges want to know is whether students are taking the most challenging courses available,” Sherrie said. “Taft kids are steered toward courses that are appropriate for them, but the pressure [to take APs] is there,” she said. “What kids want to know is whether it’s better to take the AP and get a 2 or 3 in the course, or take the regular course and get a better grade. I don’t have the answer. Obviously it’s better to take the tougher course and get a good grade.” College counselors also express concern that the College Board is getting too commercial, that it is too market driven. Several new exams have been offered in recent years—psychology, statistics, environmental science—with more on the drawing board (including geography and world history).

The College Board, which administers both college entrance (SAT) and Advanced Placement exams, drew a lot of criticism last September when it announced plans to create a for-profit subsidiary to manage a new $30-million web site. Critics accuse the College Board of attempting to profit from its reputation and from its endorsement by the higher education community. The site will be financed in part by advertisers, part of the ever-growing multi-billion dollar college preparation industry. To college placement consultant Howard Greene, based in Westport, Connecticut, and others in the field, the College Board’s decision to go commercial underscores everything that has gone wrong with a once- dignified and logical process.

Would a student get more out of a traditional course? “AP takes a different approach,” Rick Davis explains. “There is more initiative on the student’s part; they are less spoon-fed. There is a wider variety of readings. We put a premium on their seeing the connections between things themselves. Eager students tend to flourish in a If impressing college admission offices course like this. There are fewer tests. weren’t incentive enough to try to load It’s more like the college experience. up one’s schedule with AP courses, there Kids rise to the course’s expectations.” is always the lure of college credit— Still, it’s no secret that we offer the tempting parents with the potential of AP program “because it’s necessary for saving thousands in college tuition dolour kids to apply to college,” Bill said. lars and students with placing out of “There is no question that colleges untedious freshman intro courses. derstand what an AP course is on a “If we look at the AP Program in transcript. So all schools feel a fair the context of the last 25 years,” Bill amount of pressure to offer the program.” Morris said, “I think we would have to And that is a sore spot for some conclude that it has served Taft stuteachers. “One of the biggest problems dents astoundingly well as a standard with the AP program is that it motivates of excellence to reach for while at Taft kids to take courses for the wrong reaand as an opening to opportunities in sons,” said Steve Schieffelin. “This is college, both in admissions and in particularly true of students who are course placement.” very eager in the fall because it looks For faculty, teaching the most able good on transcripts. It’s and motivated students in less for self-improvement their subject is a reward in or enlightenment than to itself. “Another benefit,” showcase themselves as amadds Al Reiff, “is that it keeps Advanced Placement Exams Nationally—Then and Now bitious students,” Steve said. many seniors highly moti“Students want to take 1956 1999 vated well into May—a courses with AP in the title,” 11 different exams 30 different exams vaccination of sorts against added Al Reiff, “and some1,229 students 704,298 students senior spring. AP students times it’s not appropriate for 2,199 exams 1,147,515 exams taken rarely check out after college them; they’re not yet ready.” Cost=unknown Cost=$76 admission letters arrive.”

My, How They’ve Grown

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Rewards


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Alumni IN THE NEWS

Baxter for Congress Former Doobie Brother Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter ’67 is considering a run for Congress—in California’s 24th Congressional District, one of the wealthiest areas in Greater Los Angeles. He has retained a campaign consultant, but won’t say for sure yet whether or not he’ll actually run. His opponent would be Harvard-educated tax attorney Brad Sherman, a Democrat. That’s right; Jeff would run on the Republican ticket. Many are pointing out the parallels to the high-profile campaign of Minnesota wrestler Jesse Ventura. According to the Los Angeles Times, Jeff “has earned a reputation around Washington in recent years as a staunch ballistic missile defense advocate, chairing a civilian advisory board in his trademark Scottish black beret, droopy mustache and jeans.” A strong gun-rights advocate and supporter of Vietnam veterans, Jeff would still run as a moderate, promoting his support for abortion rights, among other issues, said campaign consultant Dale Neugebauer. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), who counts Baxter as a close friend, told the LA Times he fully expects the guitarist to run for the long-held democratic seat. “He’s going to throw his beret in the ring,” Rohrabacher said. “Jeff Baxter has been

Ex-Rocker Skunk Baxter ’67 shakes up California politics.

a phenomenon that has swept through Washington and is about to sweep through Southern California. He is trying to reach out to a variety of voters that Republicans have traditionally ignored.”

The race promises to be “one of the hottest congressional contests in Southern California” in years. Source: Miguel Bustillo, The Los Angeles Times

Taft Bulletin

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Art, Aviation, and Pan Am

Green Mountain Biking Katheryn Curi Hansen ’92 started mountain bike racing this summer as a NORBA (National Off-Road Bicycle Association) sport rider. The categories in mountain biking are beginner, sport, expert, pro. Katheryn did 11 NORBA races, winning all but three of them, and one EFTA (Eastern Fat Tire Association) race, which she also won. The big wins of the summer were at Eastern Cup in Williston, VT, and at NORBA National Finals in Mt. Snow, VT, where she competed against women from all over the country. In the fall and spring, she races for the University of Vermont, where she is a firstyear graduate student working toward her master’s degree in school and mental health counseling. “As for my collegiate racing,” she writes, “I have won eight of nine races— including the Eastern Championships at Penn State—and came in ninth out of 83 women at the Collegiate Nationals in Helen, GA. At that race, there were expert and pro women riders. “My hope,” she adds, “is to make a grassroots team or continue to race for my local bike shop at the expert level next year with the possibility of going pro in a couple years. I will continue to race for UVM both on the road and mountain bike through the three years that I will be in the program.” Katheryn lives in Essex Junction with husband Paul, who enjoys cross country skiing and rock climbing.

In Pan Am: An Aviation Legend, author Barnaby Conrad III ’70 celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit that launched the world’s most famous commercial airline, Pan American World Airways. Filled with fascinating images of the early “Clipper” ships and their historic moments, the book details the birth of the commercial airline industry, from its infancy to the landmark 1935 trans-Pacific flight, and later, to the 1988 tragedy over Lockerbie, Scotland. Who can forget that blue and white logo that was synonymous with international travel for generations? Barnaby mined the photo archives of the Historical Association of Southern Florida, the Richter Library at the University of Miami, the Boeing Company, eBay’s Pan Am site, and several other sources. What he came away with are some rare, wonderful pictures that describe another era, when Clare Booth Luce wrote, “A Clipper flight will be remembered as the most romantic voyage in history.” Not something commonly said about air travel today. In his thoroughly readable style, Barnaby creates a historical narrative that blends seamlessly with images of everything from cabin flight interiors and in-flight shots of Pan Am’s famous “Clipper” aircraft to colorful ads, art deco brochures, and cutaway drawings of luxurious airplanes. In Pan Am, we see cheering crowds greet Charles Lindbergh and Pan Am executives as they visit Caribbean islands and South American outposts, delivering some of the first international airmail. Pan Am crews perform heroically—and their planes reliably—during World War II. Although the airline stopped flying in 1991, the photographic history of its golden era stirs the imagination of the traveler much as images of the Orient Express intrigue railroad buffs. Pan Am: An Aviation Legend is Barnaby Conrad’s sixth book, following his “bachelor’s good life series:” The Martini, The Cigar, and The Blonde. A review of his first book, Absinthe: History in a Bottle, appeared in the Taft Bulletin in 1989. Source: Woodford Press


ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Woman of Iron Not simply a marathon or even a triathlon, Patty Buttenheim ’79 has completed a DOUBLE Ironman: 4.8 miles of swimming, 224 miles of biking, and 52.4 miles of running, consecutively. In August, Patty placed ninth overall at the 12th annual Odyssey Double Iron Triathlon in Colonial Beach, Virginia, with a time of 31 hours and 38 minutes. The third woman to cross the finish line, she’s only the eighth American woman ever to complete this distance—and the 18th worldwide. Her efforts achieved notice from The Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, NYU Today, New York Runner, and The New York Times, among others. Last fall, she was featured on The Discovery Channel: Discovery News. “It’s quite an experience to have NBC follow you around for five days straight—shopping, eating, brushing teeth, etc.” It has, however, helped attract sponsors. “Attracting sponsorship can sometimes be a full-time job,” she said. To train for the race, Patty, a registered nurse, rose at 4 a.m. every day before work to cycle 40-plus miles around Central Park, then do an hour and half of yoga and strength training. After work, she’d run or swim for an hour or two. On weekends, she’d travel all over the country to participate in 100-mile bike rides, 50-mile road races, or 4-mile swims. The weekend before the “big race,” she completed a single Ironman triathlon. She made the move from NYU Medical Center to Goldman Sachs in November, running their global health services exchange. “It’s quite odd being in a corporate environment after the hospital setting for over 16 years.” She continued to be a “guinea pig” in a variety of research studies at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center: active and passive recovery with cycling; women, cycling, and nutritional needs; and strength vs. endurance-based training and their cardiac function. She has taken the course work and exam to become a certified triathlon coach with the USA Triathlon Associa-

tion. Now she’s taking a six-week bike mechanics course (since repairs and cycling in general are quite expensive). “The recovery from a race of this length takes a couple of months,” Patty said. “Although one can go for a jog, bike ride, etc., the energy to compete or to push oneself isn’t there. I’ve done easy workouts, with an emphasis on cross training. Luckily, this time of year is considered the time for base building for people who live in the Northeast, so that’s what triathletes are doing—working on skills and technique, strength training, and experiencing other sports besides swimming, biking, and running.” As for future plans, Patty said, “The 2000 Eco-Challenge (a multiday adventure race held each year in a different place) is filled, but I’d like to try for 2001. There’s actually a double deca Ironman (20 times the Ironman distance!). I’m realistic in my abilities and limitations and think that these distances are more than I need to do. I would, however, entertain the triple Ironman. I’d like to beat the women’s 24-hour world record in tan-

dem bicycling this summer. With all of these ultradistance events, though, sponsorship is key. If I’m able to get financial support, I’ll take on the events. Training is demanding enough when one works full time, but then to try to solicit sponsors? Forget about it. I also have to see how the demands of a new job come into play and keep my priorities straight!” Plenty of people ask her why she would do any of this. “It’s about picking a goal and seeing it through to the end,” she said. “It’s not finishing the distance that’s important, because circumstances can come along, but actually making it to the starting line, that’s the true test. And one doesn’t have to pick a sport either; it can be anything one has an interest in but has put off because one’s priorities were skewed. I can tell you that what I have learned from years of being in the hospital setting is as cliché as it gets: Life is fragile, taken for granted, precious, and too short. I didn’t want to have regrets for not doing something I always wanted to do.” Source: Liz Neporent, The New York Times

Patty Buttenheim ’79 at the finish of the double iron triathlon in August. Taft Bulletin

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ALUMNI IN THE NEWS

Honored in Vermont

Vermont’s Former Lt. Governor Barbara Snelling presents the Richard A. Snelling award to Fred Ehrich ’33.

Republicans in the Green Mountain state honored former state senator Manfred Ehrich ’33 in November with the Richard A. Snelling Award for his long career in public service. Fred served in the Vermont Senate from 1994 to 1998, was chairman of the Republican Party in the late 1970s, and was county chairman in 1991 and 1998. He has recently stepped aside to “allow the next generation to take up the leadership position.” Fellow Republican senator Gerald Morrissey told the Bennington Ban-

ner that Fred “brought humor and calmness to the Republican party in the county and the state.” The award is named after former governor Richard Snelling, and was presented by Snelling’s wife, Barbara, which “made it even more of an honor,” Fred said. Fred and his wife, Elane, live in Bennington, Vermont, where Fred has practiced law for over 50 years. Source: Patrick McArdle, Bennington Banner

Pedal Express

Film Festival Favors “Nemesis Factor”

David Soderberg ’97 rode his bicycle cross country last summer, following mail routes similar to those used by the Pony Express a century ago. David, a music student at the University of Connecticut, began his journey in Seattle, Washington, after more than ten months of planning. Battling oppressive heat, rain, dust, and potentially hostile trucks and automobiles (perhaps more dangerous than Indians), David traveled through some of the toughest and loneliest, but among the most beautiful territory this country has to offer—the Rocky Mountains, Dakota Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Iowa cornfields. After nearly two months, David and a friend arrived safely in Clinton, Connecticut. The trip, sponsored in part by Whelen Engineering, where his father works, is something David says he will remember fondly for the rest of his life.

Tom O’Connor ’65 won an Tom got hooked on award at the Telluride film at NYU’s Tisch School Indiefest in December for his of the Arts, where he rescreenplay The Nemesis Facceived his degree in 1971. As tor. It was one of a dozen part of his course requireworks chosen from more than ments, Tom created an 400 entries at the December independent study in which festival in Colorado. he rode around with the Set in southern France, Screenwriter, minister, NYPD’s Emergency Services The Nemesis Factor “follows an actor, stuntman, District, creating what might American intelligence agent and former be considered the precursor and a French reporter,” Tom NYPD employee to the current television Tom O’Connor ’65 explains, “as they track topshow, Cops. His work ultisecret government information stolen by mately aired on PBS as a documentary. a terrorist group. Surprising and deadly An interfaith minister, Tom is also a relationships develop as the agent and re- graduate of the New Seminary in New porter are targeted by terrorists, police, York City. He lives in Park City, Utah, and intelligence agents—all competing for and commutes to Telluride, offering spirithe volatile stolen information.” tual advice and performing wedding The story is largely based on Tom’s ceremonies and blessings. He also works own experiences working with the with the newly formed “Mountain ChapNYPD and the Terrorism Research and laincy,” a nonprofit organization that will Communication Center in New York. allow him to help public safety workers (Although he retired from the Center 13 on a one-on-one basis. years ago, secrecy agreements linked to His advice to aspiring screenwriters: his former career only expired in 1993.) “Write about what you know and His varied career outside law en- research thoroughly what you don’t forcement has included stuntwork, know—and keep a budget in mind.” commercials, off-Broadway shows, and a buck-naked stage appearance in Hair. Source: Jane Southey, The Park Record

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Winter 2000


AROUND THE POND

pond Teaching Fellows 1999-2000 teaching fellows, at the Beginning Teachers’ Institute last fall. Clockwise from top, Andrew Parker (history), Steven Laufer (science), Lindsay Stanley ’93 (economics and mathematics), Bebeth Schenk (computer science and mathematics), and Sally Dickinson (science).

Laudable Achievements The Cum Laude Society recognized eleven Taft students for superior academic achievement during their junior year in high school. At graduation, other members of the class will be inducted based on their academic record during their senior year. Class of 2000 fall Cum Laude inductees (photo) are, from left, Emily Smith, Husain Chhatriwala, Lindsay Dell, Laura Fidao, Michael Purcaro, Emily Piacenza, Michael Baudinet, Heather Lindenman, Ribby Goodfellow, Irina Magidina, and Pranisa Kovithvathanaphong. The Cum Laude Society is the secondary school counterpart of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at the collegiate level. Students were honored at an induction ceremony in the morning and later with a dinner at Headmaster Lance Odden’s home. Taft Bulletin

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AROUND THE POND

Peter Pan The classic story of Peter Pan came to life in Bingham Auditorium, under the direction of Rick Doyle. “This play is the most difficult and exciting to do because it requires so much flying by many of the characters,” Rick said. Still, it’s a story that “everyone has specific memories of because they grew up with it, and they have to be given back their memories. The key to performing this play well is to maintain the magic.” To do this, he

said, “everyone needs to let loose and throw away their inhibitions.” Eleanor Gillespie ’02 starred as Peter Pan, Ben Smith ’01 as Captain Hook, Rachel Holmes ’00 as Wendy, Jason Donahue ’00 as Smee, Ryan Burns ’01 as John, Brendan Lewis as Michael, Kim Noel ’00 as Tiger Lily, and Emily Cummings ’01 and Ribby Goodfellow ’00 as Mr. and Mrs. Darling. New to Taft this year, Eleanor is blessed with a beautiful voice which earned her both the lead role as the soaring Peter Pan and a spot on Taft’s all-girls a cappella singing group, Hydrox. With years of experience she boldly took to the stage in her 22nd musical. Participating in musicals as an after-school activity since she was seven, Gillespie has developed a passion for performing. For six years she has been a summer member of a children’s choir, but has never received an individual voice lesson. Source: Abby King ’01 and Anne Stephenson ’01, Taft Press Club

For the Man Who Has Everything On December 6, shortly after midnight, while St. Nicholas was filling wooden shoes all over Europe, Taft seniors quietly strolled up to the Headmaster’s House to serenade Lance Odden on the occasion of his 60th Birthday. “With Patsy in her kerchief and I in my cap, we’d just settled down for a long winter’s nap, when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a rhino and a bunch of singing seniors.” Later, at the end of Morning Meeting, Rick Doyle unveiled a larger-than-life birthday card on stage, which students then signed throughout the day. Lance has kept the 12-foot card, but said he has yet to find the right place to display it.

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Winter 2000

In Brief Dr. Christian Jernstedt, professor of psychology at Dartmouth College, spoke at Taft on the subject of “Appreciating the Uniqueness and Power of the Human Brain: Implications for Learning and Teaching.” The conference was one of three sponsored by the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools this year. Dr. Jernstedt gave a fascinating presentation at Taft’s opening faculty meetings in 1994.

Artist Koo Schadler visited the classes of Jenny Glenn Wuerker ’83 on Tuesday, November 16. A wonderful artist and a lively, engaging speaker, Koo gave demonstrations in the use of egg tempera paint, a very old and traditional medium used in early Renaissance painting, before the development of oil paint.

Morning meeting speakers this fall included Ms. Paula Chu, academic dean, Ethel Walker School; Jo Goldberger ’83, visiting architect; Rockwell visiting artist Christopher Parris; Harlow Unger ’49; Kevin Jennings (GLYSTEN); and David McColgin ’74, public defender, Philadelphia. . History Department head Jack Kenerson ’82 welcomes author Harlow Unger ’49, who spoke about the subject of his latest book, Noah Webster.


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sport Fall Wrap-Up by Steve Palmer Boys’ Crew The boys’ crew team finished their third fall season with a 5-2 dual meet record and some inspiring efforts at the larger regattas. For the first time, the team competed at the Head of the Charles in Boston, the largest regatta of its kind in the world. In addition, all three boats raced in the Hartford Riverfront Regatta. The number 1 boat might very well have defended their title from last year had they not been confused with another school and given the wrong finishing time. In the end, the success of this year’s squad came from the inspiring words of coxswain Michelle Holmes ’00, as well as the powerful shoulders of seniors Ryan Sochacki, Nick Ryan, and Graham Steele. Graham is one of a few four-year varsity rowers in the history of the team. Nick Ryan won the individual award and was described by coach Al Reiff as a superb technician and, pound for pound, one of the strongest rowers Taft has ever had.

Varsity Volleyball The varsity volleyball team posted a 6-9 season record, but more important was the dramatic improvement after the first few weeks. Led by senior co-captains Meredith Morris and Kathryn Parkin all

season, the team coalesced into a strong offense, capable of competing with the best in the league. The highlight of the season came in the form of an overpowering 3-1 victory over a talented Choate team and a hard-fought 1-3 loss to league champion Loomis. The team also posted convincing wins over Miss Porter’s and Greenwich to build a solid record before dropping the final two games.

Varsity Football The varsity football team opened the season with a dominating 38-6 win over Lawrenceville, signaling that this was a new season for a team that had struggled in the past two years. The second game, versus a talented Deerfield team, firmly set the foundation for this inspiring 5-3 season. Down 21-7 in the third quarter, the team battled back for a dramatic 2221 victory, and the Taft gridders went on to shut out T-P and Choate for a 4-0 start. The highlight of the season followed an uncharacteristic let-down versus Avon. However, the 17-14 overtime victory over Kent on Parents’ Weekend was certainly the most exciting game at Taft in many years. John McNicholas ’00 was the hero of the day, with three interceptions and the stunning 44-yard field goal in overtime that brought hundreds of fans

Outside Recognition Football Venroy July ’00, John McNicholas ’00, and Jake Sexton ’00 were named to the Erickson All-Conference Team.

Volleyball Kathryn Parkin ’00 received special recognition as a Boston Globe All-Star for New England Prep schools.

Soccer Senior Art Solis’s quick feet and fine touch earned him Connecticut AllState status for four straight years, and he was selected as the MVP of the New England Prep School Senior Select Game this fall.

Field Hockey Seniors Katie Putnam, Keely Murphy, Abigail Lamb, upper middler Chrissy Murphy, and middler Brooke Townsend received All-American Nominations. Grace Morris ’02, Brooke Townsend, Kathleen Fenn ’00, Katie Putnam, Abigial Lamb, Chrissie Murphy and Keely Murphy were all chosen to participate in the U.S. Field Hockey Association Tournament.


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swarming over the field. The euphoria of that great win was not enough to carry the team over rival Hotchkiss in the final game of the season, a hard-fought 34-20 loss, but this was a defining comeback season for Taft football. Led by captain Venroy July, who “never came off the field,” and senior newcomers Jake Sexton on the line and Adam Zell running the ball, Taft propelled itself back to the forefront of the league.

to join them at the end. All three placed in the top 20 at the New England championship meet to help earn a 4th place finish for Taft. Perhaps the only disappointment in all this spectacular success was the fact that the girls were a slim nine points out of second place at the New England meet. But, with six of the top eight runners returning, it should be another strong year in the fall of 2000.

Girls’ Varsity Soccer Girls’ Cross-Country The girls’ cross country team made it two in a row, dominating the Founders’ League for the second straight year. At the league meet, which Taft hosted, the team placed five runners in the top 10 (in a field of 120). The girls also won the Shaler Invitational at Williston and, for the first time ever, the competitive Canterbury Invitational, which included 25 teams from four states. Throughout the season, junior Vanessa Wood and freshman Marisa Ryan shared the top two spots in many races, with senior co-captain Heather Lindenman closing the gap

According to coach Andrew Bogardus, this year’s girls’ varsity soccer team was filled with physical, competitive athletes, and that is exactly the way the season played out. Starting slowly, 1-3, but fighting their way back to finish 8-6-1, the team earned respect and praise from the best teams in New England. There were no losses due to a lack of effort for this year’s squad, made up of a core of 2nd and 3rd year players. Standing at 5-5-1 with four games remaining, the team put together a string of impressive wins over top notch teams: 2-1 over Kent, 2-0 over Westminster, and a very tough 1-0 win

over Kingswood. Although they dropped the final game, which was theirs to win, to rival Hotchkiss, 0-1, this was a team that competed well against everyone and had a real shot at the post-season tournament. The JV squad put together a great undefeated season, 11-0-1.

Boys’ Varsity Soccer With his youngest starting crew ever, including six lower schoolers, head coach Willy MacMullen knew that it would be an interesting and challenging season from the start. Playing tentatively in their first few games, the boys’ varsity soccer team dropped a couple they could have won. But, according to Coach Mac, this was a team that never stopped improving, pushing themselves, or competing, and they finished the season at 8-8-1. Offensively, the team turned to senior Art Solis throughout the season, one of the most skilled strikers Taft has seen and certainly the most decorated in terms of All-State and All-League awards. The defense was anchored by seniors Ramsey Brame and Thomas Smythe, leading the coaches to characterize this as a team with “great senior leadership and significant young talent.”

Girls’ Varsity Field Hockey

The girls’ varsity field hockey team celebrates its first New England championship after three trips to the finals in four years. Photo by Kathleen Kraczkowsky

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It was a storybook season for the girls’ varsity field hockey team this fall. The team had dropped two heartbreakers to rival Hotchkiss, a 0-1 loss in the New England Championship game a year ago, and an overtime 0-1 loss on November 15 of this year, snapping Taft’s 13-game winning streak. The season also started with some key personnel losses, but this was an extremely talented team that never looked back. Their 13-1 season was defined by spectacular team offensive play and determined come-back victories versus Deerfield and Greenwich Academy. In the end, Fran Bisselle’s players ended four years of NE tournament frustration with an intense, nerve-wracking, drawn-


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out triple overtime win over Greenwich to win the New England title for the first time. Outstanding senior leadership was at the core of this great season, including five four-year seniors.

Boys’ Varsity Cross-Country The boys’ varsity cross country team posted a 4-6 overall record and was characterized by tight, “pack” running all

season. Lacking a clear front runner made for some close losses early in the season, including a one-point loss to Trinity Pawling followed by a two-point loss to Loomis. However, this was a team that ran well together all season, and they came together at the right time on the right day. Surprising nearly everyone at the Shaler Invitational at Williston, Taft won the 10team meet by placing their top five all within 25 seconds of each other. Five of

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the ten teams at the meet had previously defeated the Taft harriers, but an inspirational team effort carried the day. Senior co-captain Michael Baudinet and newcomer Alex DiCicco ’01 carried the team through the early season by sharing the 1 and 2 spots. Seniors Charlie Baker and Cameron White came on strong to race well in the league meet and the New England Championship meet at the end of the season.

Fall 1999 Big Red Scoreboard Boys’ Crew

Football

Head Coach: ............................................................ Al Reiff Captain: .................................................. Ryan Sochacki ’00 Record: ........................................................................... 5-2 Crew Award: .................................................. Nick Ryan ’00 Captain-elect: ................................... Greg de Gunzburg ’01

Head Coach: .................................................. Steve McCabe Captain: ....................................................... Venroy July ’00 Record: ........................................................................... 5-3 Black Football Award: ........................................ Venroy July Cross Football Award: ........................ Mark Marigomen ’00 Captain-elect: ................... Dan Welch ’01, Rhodri Lane ’01

Boys’ Cross Country Head Coach: .................................................... Steve Palmer Captain: ............ Michael Baudinet ’00, Cameron White ’00 Record: ........................................................................... 4-6 John Small Cross Country Award: ...........Michael Baudinet, ................................................................... Cameron White Captains-elect: ......... Alex DiCicco ’01, Will Culbertson ’01

Girls’ Cross Country

Head Coach: ............................................ Willy MacMullen Captain: ............................. Ramsey Brame ’00, Art Solis ’00 Record: ....................................................................... 8-8-1 Carroll Soccer Award: ............................................. Art Solis Captains-elect: ........................................... Taylor Leahy ’01

Founders’ League Champs Girls’ Soccer

Head Coach: .................................................... Karla Palmer Captain: .............. Lindsay Dell ’00, Heather Lindenman ’00 Record: ........................................................................... 8-0 Girls’ Cross Country Award: .................Heather Lindenman Captains-elect: ..... Ashley Deming ’01, Courtney Krause ’01

Field Hockey

Boys’ Soccer

Head Coach: ............................................ Andrew Bogardus Captain: ................. Emily Blanchard ’00, Kelly Sheridan ’00 Record: ....................................................................... 8-6-1 1976 Girls’ Soccer Award: .... Emily Blanchard, Kelly Sheridan Captains-elect: .............................................. Jenn Feffer ’01

New England Champs Girls’ Volleyball

Head Coach: ..................................................... Fran Bisselle Captains: ............ Keely Murphy ’00, Katherine Putnam ’00 Record: ......................................................................... 13-1 Field Hockey Award: ........ Keely Murphy, Katherine Putnam Captains-elect: ..................................... Chrissy Murphy ’01, .......................................................... Brooke Townsend ’01

Head Coach: ................................................. Bebeth Schenk Captains: ............. Meredith Morris ’00, Kathryn Parkin ’00 Record: ........................................................................... 6-9 Volleyball Award: ......................................... Kathryn Parkin Captains-elect: ........................ Khayriyyah Muhammad ’01, ............................................................. Ciara Rakestraw ’01 Taft Bulletin

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The Taft Educational Center Summer Workshops for Teachers July 2000 One- and Two-Week Workshops Featuring: All Advanced Placement Subjects Library Science, Internet, Graphing Calculators, Computer Applications, & Others. CEUs & graduate credit available. For a catalog, call (800) 274-7815 or (860) 945-7850 E-mail: TaftEdCtr@TaftSchool.org http://www.taftschool.org/home/tec

The Taft Summer School

2000 June 25 - July 29 Five-Week Enrichment Programs in Watertown Young Scholars, Liberal Studies, String Study & Performance

June 25 - August 5 Six-Week Study, Travel and Homestay Programs in Nantes, France, and Cรณrdoba, Spain For a catalog and information, contact: Taft Summer School Office 860-945-7961 summerschool@TaftSchool.org

Winter 2000  
Winter 2000