Winter 2009 Taft Bulletin

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Bruce and Helena Fifer From classroom to community Essence Editor Lynya FLoyd ’93 INAUGuration 2009


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Taft heads to the inauguration of America’s first AfricanAmerican president.

Students make connections as they translate knowledge into service.

By Greg Hawes ’85

By Virginia Small

With Unity of Purpose

From Classroom to Community

j 7:10 a.m. Students arrive at the National Mall in the dawn light to stake out their spot for the inauguration, which most viewed on one of the many JumboTrons. Hailey Karcher ’10



10 Questions for Lynya Floyd ’93, health and relationships editor at Essence

A teaching couple nurtures arts at Taft.

Magazine Maven

By Julie Reiff

Bruce and Helena Fifer

By Tracey O’Shaughnessy


B U L L E T I N Winter 2009 Volume 79, Number 2 Bulletin Staff Director of Development: Chris Latham Editor: Julie Reiff Alumni Notes: Linda Beyus Design: Good Design, LLC Proofreader: Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A.


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�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Alumni Spotlight


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�������������������������������������������������������������������������������� From the Archives: Tree of Knowledge

Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A.

On the Cover: Arts Department Chair Bruce Fifer and acting teacher Helena Fifer. Yee-Fun Yin (See page 28.)

Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Spring–February 15 Summer–May 15 Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. 1.860.945.7777 The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 067952100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. All rights reserved. This magazine is printed on 100% recycled paper. (Please see page 2 for more information.)





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The savings below are achieved when postconsumer recycled fiber is used in place of virgin fiber. This issue of the Taft Bulletin uses 10,747.79 pounds of paper that is 100% postconsumer recycled.


From the Editor What did you do with your last issue of the Bulletin? Is it on your coffee table? Did you give it to someone else? Did you recycle it? Any one of those options certainly makes me happy as an editor, and if you recycled your copy (after reading it, of course) there’s a chance some tiny part of it made it into this issue. You may, in fact, have already noticed something different about this particular Bulletin. The paper isn’t quite as shiny, or perhaps quite as white as the magazine you are used to receiving four times each year, but the trade-offs, we think, are more than worth it. For the first time, this issue is printed on 100 percent postconsumer recycled paper. And we’ve traded our UV coating for a low VOC varnish, too. Not only is the paper recycled but the company that makes it also uses emission-free

Love it? Hate it? Read it? Tell us!

We’d love to hear what you think about the stories in this Bulletin. We may edit your letters for length, clarity and content, but please write! Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or

wind power (see details at right). And the company printing this issue buys carbon offsets, providing critical financial support to help get renewable energy projects up and running. So all told, by the end of the year, we’ll have saved the equivalent of 1,750 trees, or three trees for each current student…not to mention the water saved, greenhouse gases prevented and oil unused. As importantly, this choice comes at a time when the entire community is making renewed efforts to reduce our environmental impact. In the midst of a major construction project (see “Serving up space at the heart of the school” Summer 2008) that is LEED certified (see page 9), students are taking steps of their own, joining the Green Schools Alliance Green Cup Challenge (more on that in future issues) and purchasing solar panels as a class gift. On their own, none of these choices may be earth shattering, but together, they just might be, well, earth saving. —Julie Reiff


In the Davis Scholars article [Fall 2008] we mistakenly identified Jenny Jin ’09 as an ASSIST student during her first year at Taft. In fact, Ferdie Wandelt ’66 met Jenny while traveling in Beijing with ASSIST, but she came to Taft on a one-year Taft-funded program. Our apologies for the error.

NativeEnergy Certificate: Villanti & Sons, Printers, Inc. is fighting global warming by supporting the Stanton Landfill Gas project, acquiring 2,386,000 kWh of renewable energy credits in 2008.

? Trivia 2 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

103.18 trees preserved for the future 297.93 lbs waterborne waste not created 43,227 gallons wastewater flow saved

4,849 lbs solid waste not generated

9,549 lbs net greenhouse gases prevented

73,084,968 BTUs energy not consumed

Savings from the use of emission-free wind-generated electricity:

4,961 lbs air emissions not generated

Displaces this amount of fossil fuel: 2 barrels crude oil unused

966 cubic feet natural gas unused

In other words our savings from the use of wind-generated electricity are equivalent to: not driving 5,374 miles

OR planting 335 trees

Mohawk Fine Papers is a national leader in the support of renewable energy projects and 100% of the electricity used by Mohawk is matched with Green-e certified Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from windpower projects.

The school’s third headmaster was formerly a dean at what New England college? (Please name the headmaster as well as the college.) A Taft stadium blanket will be sent to the winner, whose name will be drawn from all correct entries received. The editor made an executive decision to award the previous prize to Stewart Graff ’25, who not only identified the Warren House but was also the only respondent (if not the only alum) to have actually been in the building. To be fair, all other correct responses will be included in this drawing.

Rising to the Challenge When Lisa Firestone ’85 was playing ice hockey at Princeton, her team started teaching girls from Harlem how to skate on an outdoor rink in Central Park, and occasionally bringing them to Princeton as well. When Lisa and a former teammate found themselves in L.A. a few years later, they decided to do it again. And so Lisa began her 18-year association with the Challengers Boys and Girls Clubs. They skated at local rinks when they could get the ice time, and played roller hockey in the parking lots when they couldn’t. Although she still plays occasionally, Lisa no longer coaches. Instead, she has been a board member for the last ten years, the last three as treasurer. Challengers president Corey Dantzler calls Lisa “one of our most active board members.” Challengers got its start in the wake of the Watts Riots in the 1960s. Founder Lou Dantzler, Corey’s father, wanted to help kids build their selfesteem and give them an alternative to gangs. The group has been called

“the oasis of south central L.A.” Past supporters have included Shaquille O’Neal, Sidney Poitier, Colin Powell, Barbara Walters and George W. Bush Each year two Challengers teens receive scholarships for the academic program at Taft Summer School, supported by the Firestone Foundation, giving them an opportunity to meet and interact with teens from all over the world and to learn in a challenging but supportive atmosphere. Challengers has connected with A Better Chance to help place their students in boarding school. One of the first boys to attend Taft Summer School is now at Berkshire. Ferdie Wandelt ’66 really helped make this happen, explains Lisa. “He invited Lou Dantzler out for the Taft Today program and helped build the connection between the two organizations. We are lucky to have him at Taft. He was immediately interested and embraced this connection. This program is really an extension of our

school motto.” Ferdie now serves on the Challengers board as well. “Lisa is the one who got that started,” says Ferdie, and it is clear that these two inspire each other to new levels of service for these kids. “The work she does, and what Challengers does is significant.” Challengers receives generous support from the Firestone Foundation as a result of Lisa’s dedication, but she also donates funds personally in addition to her time, “often getting to know individual members and staff, helping them achieve their goals and dreams,” Challengers acknowledges. Lisa recently became vice president of investor relations at Transmedia Capital. Having been the treasurer for her family foundation for so long, she says she found the transition easy. Lisa is also a freelance and screen writer and serves as a member of Taft’s board of trustees and as a trustee for the African Wildlife Foundation. If you would like to learn more about Challengers, please visit Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


Nonprofit Start Fresh out of college, Supriya Balsekar ’04 is assistant program director for the Bronx, New York, nonprofit CitySquash, where she focuses on development, communications and strategic planning. She also tutors, coaches squash and runs CitySquash’s mentoring program. “While my peers have found themselves stuck at the bottom of the totem pole, yearning to add value and flex their intellectual muscles,” she told, “I have

found myself playing a pivotal role in ushering the organization from childhood into maturity, and gained many of the hard-skills required to start and run a business. At one point, while evaluating the organization’s financial health and readiness for the new challenges posed by the economy, it really hit me—that I held a significant stake in the organization and that I, at 23, was actually going to affect our business practices and our students.”

She also realized that their staff of eight 20-somethings serve as a beacon of light in the community. “‘CitySquash is a miracle in the middle of the Bronx,’ one parent told me on my first day, ‘Thank you for coming to us.’ In that moment, I felt powerful beyond belief. I am confident that when I start at business school, I will bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and perspective to the table. For young people like myself, working at a social service organization might not only be a good thing to do, but a very smart thing to do.” Supriya earned a B.A. with honors in economics and a citation in Mandarin Chinese from Harvard College in 2008. She was the captain of the varsity women’s squash team there and a threetime All-American and All-Ivy League selection. She represented the Indian national squash team five times. Supriya grew up in Mumbai, India, and now lives in Manhattan. b Supriya Balsekar ’04 and one of her CitySquash students on campus last fall. CitySquash players came to campus most Sundays during the winter to play on Taft’s courts. Peter Frew ’75

Play for Prevention “Football” fever has gripped KwaZuluNatal, South Africa, as the countdown is on for the World Cup in 2010. Located in the southeast part of South Africa—home of the Zulu kingdom— KwaZulu-Natal was chosen as a starting place for Africaid’s Whizzkids United, because it also has one of the highest new infection rates of HIV among young people anywhere in the world. A native of Durban, the largest city in the province, Paul Kelly ’01 recently took up a full-time position at WhizzKids as football development manager. “I have a passion for football and for young people,” says Paul, “so this seemed like a fantastic program to be 4 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

part of. I started volunteering for them at first. We use football as a medium to teach HIV/AIDS education life skills to children. My responsibility now is to manage the roll out of our program into each of the 11 districts in KwaZuluNatal and to find potential sponsors for our activities. We have a presence in Ghana and Uganda and hope to start up in England early next year.” The United Nations estimates that 280,000 children aged 0–14 in South Africa are living with HIV. Nearly 13 percent young women aged 15–24 are infected, and 18 percent of the general population. Started in 2006, the original goal

was to harness children’s energy and direct it into a game of football as opposed to running away onto the streets. The boys responded well to having a few men to play football with who acted as positive role models, explains founder

Discussing with the Dalai Lama Project Happiness, a feature-length documentary, follows a senior highschool class from Mount Madonna School near Watsonville, California, on a journey to discover the true nature of human happiness. Joining them on this quest are students from the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India, and students from the Dominion Heritage Academy in Jos, Nigeria. “The students began their journey,” explains Mount Madonna leader Ward Mailliard ’65, who has deep connections to India (see Fall 2006 Taft Bulletin), “by reading the Dalai Lama’s book, Ethics for the New Millennium, a secular and nonreligious text that empowers young people to reflect on the connection between the choices they make and happiness in their lives. Using email, blogs and video cameras, the students from three continents exchanged their cultural perspectives. Over seven months, students shared personal stories, opinions and challenges, which created the foundation for lifelong friendships.” The conversation also extended

Marcus McGilvray. “These kids came from extremely difficult backgrounds, where family structure is often void, poverty is rife, opportunities are scarce and where HIV prevention hung low on their daily list of priorities.” In an attempt to make the time spent with the kids even more productive WhizzKids began life-skills training based around HIV prevention before each football game, to developing ways to teach football and relate it to life skills so that they’d enjoy the learning experience. More than 3,000 kids have completed the Life Skills course to date. One principal reported 100 percent

school attendance in kids who completed the initial 20 hours WhizzKids Life Skills. The same school reported more than 150 new pupils enrolled at the school because their parents wanted to be certain that their kids would take part in the WhizzKids program. “Life in South Africa is good,” adds Paul, who graduated from the University of Richmond, Virginia. “I have been back three years and have reluctantly given up the football boots as a full-time professional player, although I still play part-time semi-professionally for Rangers Football Club.” To learn more, visit

to others outside these communities when students interviewed celebrities and visionaries from other cultures, including actor Richard Gere, filmmaker George Lucas, musician Adam Yauch, former President of India Abdul Kalam and Sobonfu Some, keeper of African Indigenous wisdom, about their definition of lasting happiness. Following many months of reflection and cross-cultural conversation, the American students traveled by plane, train and 4WD to India to connect for the first time face-to-face with their counterparts. As a community, they continued to test their theories, ask hard questions and prepare for the meeting of a lifetime ... a private interview with the author of their text, the 14th Dalai Lama. Using an experiential curriculum together with digital media, Project Happiness inspires teens to explore the relationship between their choices and happiness, and to discover a new sense of awareness and compassion for themselves, and the world around them. Project Happiness hopes to expand the success of the program to 500 schools and 50,000 students worldwide, as well as to support their Nigerian school, Creative Minds International Academy. Ward Mailliard, senior teacher and one of the founders of the school, also created the Mount Madonna School Government in Action Program to provide students with deeper understanding of government and a more accurate and complete picture of those who devote their lives and intellects to creating a better and more sustainable future. In addition, he created the Values in American Thought curriculum, based on Bill Moyers’ A World of Ideas.

Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


Up to the Task

m Commander Cindy Thebaud ’81, second from left, with other APS participants in Lagos, Nigeria.

Captain Cindy Thebaud ’81 took command recently of one of the Navy’s busiest task forces, “the fleet’s ‘banner mission responsible for Western and Central Africa,” reported the Stars and Stripes. Based out of Naples, Italy, Thebaud serves as commodore of Destroyer Squadron Six Zero and as commander of Africa Partnership Station, or APS. A destroyer squadron, or DESRON, has about half a dozen “combatant” ships, she explains, and as commodore, she is responsible for the operational training, readiness and employment of those ships. APS currently encompasses a region from Cape Verde and Senegal in the north to Angola in the south. “The maritime security challenges throughout the region are common: illegal fishing, illegal trafficking (drugs, humans, etc.), piracy and high-seas crime, and so forth,” she says. “Our common goal is to strengthen Africa’s maritime capabilities against these global threats, 6 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

which is seeing Africa lose nearly $1 billion a year through smuggling, human trafficking, oil bunkering and other such activities. “We also work closely with other government agencies and departments,” she adds, “as well as some nongovernment organizations. The four main areas of focus are helping to build maritime professionals, maritime infrastructure, maritime domain awareness and maritime response capability. Partnering across the spectrum, we address regional concerns, build on partners’ expertise, and coordinate and facilitate with other ongoing efforts.” The original staff for the deployment included members from 11 nations—5 African and 6 EuroAtlantic. They taught courses to more than 1,500 students from 15 nations in more than 15 subjects including small boat operations, port security, maritime law, engineering and general shipboard maintenance and repair.

“It’s a pretty broad mission and undertaking,” says Thebaud. “Everything we do is at the behest of the partner nations in Africa, and with the concurrence and support of the U.S. ambassador in that country. She recently spent approximately 2 months of a 6-month deployment doing APS work, in Cape Verde, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and then Gabon. “In all those locations, we assisted with engineering and shipboard maintenance and repair—and training thereon—operations center development, maritime law enforcement and response capabilities and concepts. We spent about a week in each location. Our training and assistance is tailored to the needs and desires of the specific Navy or Coast Guard we’re working with.” In November, she headed to Angola, where they were only the second U.S. Navy ship to visit in over 30 years. They continued on to São Tomé; Lome, Togo; and Dakar, Senegal; before finally heading home to Norfolk, Virginia. “When I first arrived,” she adds, “a team of SeaBees was just finishing up the renovation of two medical clinics, a school and a road into one of the clinics in Monrovia, Liberia. They were doing the work along with members of the new construction company that is part of the new Armed Forces of Liberia. So, in addition to the community outreach it provided, it was also a multi-month training session for the Liberian personnel as they learned how to plan, implement and execute civil-engineering projects. I attended the ribbon cutting of one of the clinics in Monrovia; it was amazing not only how appreciative the local community was of the work, but also how true friendships had been built between the SeaBees and the Liberians they were training. Pretty amazing.”

In Print

Penelope Ayers: A Memoir By Amy Julia Truesdell Becker ’94 Xlibris, 2008 Penelope Ayers is a memoir about a beautiful, gracious, lonely New Orleanian who discovers one February morning that she has cancer. Penny’s life to this point has included an alcoholic husband, divorce, depression, and raising two boys on her

own. And yet this crisis prompts her to reach out for help. Three generations of her fractured, colorful family respond, and in so doing, they all experience grace and healing. “This is a true story,” writes Becker, “although most of the char-

acters’ names have been changed, and some details have been compressed. The story takes place in 2002 and 2003, and the first drafts of the book were completed before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and changed the city forever.”

Jamaica, A Photographic Journey Through the Island of Wood and Water By Eladio Fernandez ’85

Eladio Fernandez is a conservation photographer and a naturalist. He worked as a business manager for more than 13 years until his love for nature and photography became a full-time job. He has one of the largest image banks on the last natural landscapes, as well as the fauna and flora of the Greater Antilles.

His photographs have appeared in several publications, including the “Wildlife as Canon Sees It” ad campaign for National Geographic, Condor, Nature Conservancy and Living Bird. He coauthored Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Princeton University Press) and

is also the author of Hispaniola: A Photographic Journey through Island Biodiversity (Harvard University Press, 2007) and Orchids of Dominican Republic and Haiti (Curva Vertical Press, 2007). He cofounded the Sociedad Ornitológica Hispaniola to preserve the birds of Hispaniola and their natural habitats.

The Black Woman’s Guide to Healthy Living: The Best Advice for Body, Mind + Spirit in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s & Beyond By Essence Magazine Editors [Lynya Floyd ’93, health editor] Little, Brown & Company, 2009 From the African-American community’s trusted authority, Essence Guide to Healthy Living is an interactive manual designed to help black women care for their bodies, minds and spirits. Covering both major health issues such as diabetes and heart disease and tackling everyday concerns from weight loss to balancing work and life, this

handy guide has a reader-friendly tone, actionable service and chapters packed with checklists, inspiring real-life examples, space for journal entries and worksheets for readers to execute their own personal wellness plans. Developed with expert advice from leading physicians, nutritionists, fitness instructors, psychologists, spiritual gurus and

other healthcare experts, Essence Guide to Healthy Living is designed to help black women lead healthier and better lives. This guide includes: step-by-step exercise plans; guidance for achieving emotional balance; tips for enjoying a healthy sex life; listing and explanation of medical tests; and inspiring real-life weightloss success stories.

In Quest of Tolstoy Hugh McLean ’42 Academic Studies Press, 2008

Leo Tolstoy has held the attention of mankind for well over a century. A supremely talented artist, whose novels and short stories continue to entrance readers all over the world, he was at the same time a fearless moral philosopher who explored and challenged the fundamental bases of human society—political, economic, legal and cultural. Hugh McLean, professor emeritus of Russian litera-

ture at the University of California, Berkeley, has been studying and writing about Tolstoy for many years. In these essays he investigates some of the numerous puzzles and paradoxes in the Tolstoyan heritage, engaging both with Tolstoy the artist, author of those incomparable novels, and Tolstoy the thinker, who, from his impregnable outpost at Yasnaya Polyana, questioned the

received ideas and beliefs of the whole civilized world. In two concluding essays, “Tolstoy beyond Tolstoy,” McLean deals with the impact of Tolstoy on such diverse figures as Ernest Hemingway and Isaiah Berlin. McLean is the author of Nikolai Leskov, the Man and His Art, and editor of In the Shade of the Giant: Essays on Tolstoy. Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


For the latest news on campus events, please visit

Around the pond by Sam Routhier

b Community Service Day Director Roberto d’Erizans, Bess Lovern ’11, Annie Oppenheim ’11, Holly Lagasse ‘09, Jenny Janeck ’11, Caroline O’Neill ’11, Tim Cronin ’10 and Max Frew ’10 (in front) get ready to do a little yard work. For more on community service activities, visit Yee-Fun Yin

Non ut sibi at its finest Coordinators saw some unique trends with this year’s annual Community Service Day event. Director Roberto d’Erizans says he was struck by how the nation’s current economic struggles put service at a higher premium. “The needs of our community were more apparent than ever,” he says. “The worried tone of the community leaders that run these organizations meant that our work was critically important. Not only did Taft provide our face-to-face support during that day, but we also provided supplies 8 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

to get longer-term projects rolling.” Once again, on October 20, the entire Taft community mobilized to act out the school motto, Not to be served but to serve, during the school’s 13th annual Community Service Day. Led by d’Erizans, teachers Linda Chandler, Baba Frew, and Andi Orben, as well as student coordinators Giovana Espejo ’09, Amy Brownstein ’09, and Catie Moore ’09, this year’s event involved 58 projects, approximately 5,200 man-hours, and journeys as far as Hartford and Bridgeport. Meeting

the needs and desires of all parties required huge coordination. “Taft is trying a new approach to volunteering in general,” says Espejo, who saw how the day relates to the greater presence of service in the Taft community. “We are trying to give student volunteers public outlets to discuss their work, and everyone is trying to communicate that volunteering is not for just one type of person but that it is universal.” The projects that involved the highest number of Taft students were exchanges among local schools. More than a hundred elementary school students came to Taft for an on-campus program that included Japanese culture, math, and “Physics Fun,” as well as an athletic clinic in basketball, soccer, volleyball and the climbing wall. Conversely, dozens of Taft students and faculty went out to local elementary schools Judson, Polk, and John Trumbull to interact with students there, leading workshops, games and taking part in recess— long held in our collective nostalgia. Yet these programs only scratch the surface of the impact that CSD has on the local area.

Hardhat Headlines: TAKING THE LEED The second in a series of updates on campus construction

By estimating the number of points a project will be credited at various stages of construction, planners predict the HDT project will achieve LEED Silver at the very least, and possibly gold. “This is a major accomplishment,” adds Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, “particularly when you consider that

much of the project involves renovating a building that goes back to 1912, as well as a facility that is still in constant use. We face challenges here not seen in completely new construction. But there was never a question about whether we would build a LEED-certified building. It is very important for us as a school.”

Club Spotlight Promoting Open Minds—FONTS Students are at the center of campus initiatives exploring philosophy and religion, and several clubs exist on campus under religious banners, including the Christian group FOCUS and the Jewish Student Organization, or JSO. Additionally, a new forum is called FONTS, or the Fellowship of Non-Theistic Students. With their grassroots drive toward open dialogue, FONTS has brought religious discussion into the forefront of the Taft consciousness. Ben Zucker ’09 and Keith Culkin ’09 began the club in the fall of 2007 as an opportunity “for atheists, agnostics and anyone else not sure about religion to have casual discussion.” Membership in the group is open, and they aim for weekly, hourlong meetings. Early on, they discussed

topics ranging from the existence of God to religious freedom in the U.S. The group has found more success recently with an online discussion board, where any student or faculty member can post thoughts on a range of topics. In fact, FOCUS head Jessica Yu ’09 is a frequent contributor to the FONTS forum. While some have responded negatively to the group’s unorthodox mantra, the founders have maturely taken those views into account, and allow all discussion topics on the forum and in meetings. “On the forum, atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews and people of all creeds—without faculty oversight—intelligently, meaningfully, and for the most part politely, debate innumerable topics relating to God, faith, and religion,” Zucker says. Taft Annual

The renovations to the west end of Horace Dutton Taft Hall, and the new dining hall addition especially, presented the school a unique opportunity to reduce its environmental impact. To advise architects and builders in the process of “greening,” the U.S. Green Building Council created the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process. A registered project checklist helps estimate, based on a system of points assigned to such areas as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality, what level of certification a project might achieve. The school worked closely with architects at Gund Partnership in the course of design, using LEED checklists to inform the decision-making process. “Early on in the process we sat around a table,” says project manager Lou Cherichetti, “looking at the checklists and started asking ‘Can we do this practically? financially? What’s most important?’ ” Some of the ways the project will minimize environmental impact include recycling 80 percent of construction waste, using reusable materials for floors and walls, and providing bike racks near the entrance and special parking for a hybrid vehicle. “They also allot points for being within a quarter mile of public transportation,” says Cherichetti, but it’s slightly more than that to the public bus stop on North Street if you exit HDT on the west side. “Among the areas where we reached,” he adds, “was in adding a cistern to collect rainwater for use in toilets, and reducing the ‘heat island’ using pavers in the courtyard instead of asphalt, which also helps runoff percolate through the surface. We’re also using wood products, including paneling, from renewable sources.”

Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


Around the pond WISE-ing to the occasion

m Amy Brownstein ’09, center front, organized a 5k on campus to raise money for the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research, a school in Muhulu Bay, Kenya. Courtesy of Larry Brownstein ’74

Amy Brownstein ’09 found her interest in women’s rights piqued at last summer’s Youth Assembly at the United Nations. She heard Andy Cunningham, a bright, talented activist, speak about WISER, or the Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research, a school in Muhulu Bay, Kenya, that focuses on empowering African women to beat the HIV crisis. Last fall, Brownstein has started a WISER group at Taft, with the goal of raising money and awareness of this cause. The group has caught a wide following due to having Cunningham speak at Taft, as well as the 5K run that Brownstein and her group coordinated and that raised $335 toward WISER’s benefit.

Lessons from a Civil War With student groups that raise consciousness of global conflict, guest speakers discussing a range of issues relevant to a multicultural citizenry and an academic department devoted to discussing global service and scholarship, the energy for developing dialogue and understanding is palpable. A lap of the campus will show any visitor that Taft is a more global and diverse community than ever. In line with this goal, and in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, Taft brought guest speaker Francis Bok to campus in November. Francis Bok is from the Sudan, where he experienced decades of civil war firsthand. In 1986, at age 7, conflict between Darfurians and South Sudanese led to his abduction into slavery, in which he remained for ten years. Since he escaped slavery and came to the United States, he has campaigned as an abolitionist and as a proponent of reconciliation between the warring tribes of Sudan. In 2000, he became the first freed slave to address the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and in 2003 he released his autobiography, Escape from 10 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

Slavery. He is now working to build a school in his home village of Gurion. “As a slave, I was deprived of an education,” he told a captive audience. “There is no more strategic help I can get for the people of my hometown than to invest in education for their children.” Donations for the school come from Americans, South Sudanese, and Darfurians, in a symbolic gesture toward unity among the warring factions that have torn the country apart. Bok stayed at Taft for the entire day and held a follow-up session in the faculty room that evening, which more than 50 students and faculty attended. After his visit, students and faculty alike discussed the implications of Bok’s story and his efforts. Having Francis Bok come to speak was a highlight of a wide array of activities relating to Taft’s global consciousness. Other guest speakers in the fall included Andy Cunningham of WISER, an organization to promote women’s rights and education in Kenya, and Steven Donaldson, a human rights photographer who spoke passionately about injustices

m Dan Henry ’09 during a class with former Sudanese slave Francis Bok. Yee-Fun Yin

in our world. A new publication, Global Journal, also debuted, in which students write interviews, essays, opinion pieces and narratives on globally related items. “The student body is way more informed about global issues now than ever before,” says Annabel Smith, head of the Global Scholarship and Service Department (see page 20), “partially due to the internet, partially due to our diverse community and definitely due to our ability to engage all of these pieces at the same time. The Global Journal attempts to create outlets for communicating this engagement.”

The Breakfast Club One element of being a senior at Taft is taking ownership of one’s education. With senior projects, independent research theses and a wide array of elective courses to select, seniors can apply creativity and passion to the close of their time in Watertown. With this in mind, senior Will Sayre spent his fall directing a theater-in-the-round production of the 1980s film classic The Breakfast Club. And there was ample support for Sayre to follow his idea. Senior Dean Jack Kenerson ’82 readily approved the project, the Arts Department provided funding, video teacher Rick Doyle led the crew who built the set and acting teacher Helena Fifer gave her input to the performers. Sayre cast the play himself and looked to the Taft Improv group as well as the theater club, Masque and Dagger, for talented, passionate actors. He cast head monitor Bob Vulfov as “The Criminal,” Juliet Ourisman as “The Princess,” Keith Culkin as “The Brain,” Kathy Demmon as “The Basket Case,” Ben Zucker as “The Principal,” and Jared Knowlton ’10 (the only nonsenior) as “The Athlete.”

The seven of them worked each afternoon on blocking, delivery and adjusting the cinematic version of the story to the stage. Sayre had to alter the script to unfold in only one room, and Vulfov had to change the actions of his character to be more movement-oriented, as “The Criminal” spends most of the movie sitting down. “I loved having it be a student-run production,” said Sayre. “The fact that it was our show made it so that we could really take ownership of how to act it out, how to adjust the lighting, and how to be most effective in delivering our lines. Furthermore, since the play is about high school, we all really identified with the content and were able to make it our own.” The Breakfast Club filled the Black Box for three performances, with Friday’s opening show reserved for seniors, followed by a class feed.

m Senior Will Sayre directed the ’80s classic as an Independent Studies Project last fall. Poster and photo by Andre Li ’11

Cum Laude inductees Yee-Fun Yin

Fourteen members of Taft’s senior class were inducted into the Cum Laude society in the fall, based on their academic records from the previous two years. The students were Sarah Albert, Wells Andres, Palm Harinsuit, John Lombard, Querino Maia, Bobby Manfreda, Mike Notaro, Robin Oh, Diana Saverin, Bennett Siegel, M Sutuntivorakoon, Nick Tyson, Hannah Vazquez, and Ben Zucker. The inductees represent the top 8.1% of the class, explains Academic Dean Jon Willson ’82, with weighted averages that ranged from 5.145 to 5.583 for those years. “And in contrast to last year’s all-female group, they were mostly boys.” Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


Around the pond “Working” for the weekend Director Rick Doyle calls the fall musical, Working, one of “the best musicals you probably have never heard of.” An ensemble show that highlights the experiences of different working Americans of various social classes and professions, each vignette had a different musical number, requiring large-scale dance and singing rehearsals. According to actor Nick Tyson ’09, the dance numbers were

the most challenging: “Not everyone in the cast was a trained dancer so we had to work extra hard to make sure that the dance numbers were really good. And in the end, they turned out great!” Working was the hit of Parents’ Weekend. c Brianna Ong ’09 dances away the blues in the fall musical based on Studs Terkel’s oral history of working life. Peter Frew ’75

Rallying for school spirit Taft gathered for the annual Big Red Rally in November, a spirit-injected night to prepare for Hotchkiss Day. This year’s rally was a bit different than in recent years, with classes the next day and the dining hall split. However, those factors did not inhibit the wonderful spirit of the night. Some highlights included a faculty skit that featured a harmonicaplaying headmaster, dancing teachers, and some great musical numbers, videos by the school monitors, a performance by the step team, a bonfire on the pond, and a dining hall filled with red decorations during dinner. Said senior Liesl Morris, “I was on a high the whole night, it really felt like the school was coming together.”  Actual twins Jan and Anna Stransky ’10 catch the spirit on Twin Day. Julie Foote ’09

12 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

m Taft Jazz Band performs in Walker Hall after the annual Service of Lessons and Carols, the sixth in the series of Walker Hall concerts. Peter Frew ’75

Music For a While This year’s Walker Hall Concert Series has been exceptionally popular. In October, the Harold Zinno Jazz Orchestra played to a full house. The 18-piece jazz ensemble wowed the audience, and inspired them to move the chairs out of the hall and start dancing by the end of the show. Zinno himself is an adjunct teacher of saxophone at Taft, and this was the first time his group has performed at Walker Hall. Later that month, Four Flutists from around the World came to perform. They were led by Sergio Pallottelli, adjunct teacher of flute at Taft, and the performance oc-

curred the night before their Carnegie Hall debut! December saw jazz trio Bill Mays and the Inventions come to Walker Hall after an afternoon workshop with Taft’s jazz band. The annual holiday Service of Lessons and Carols followed two weeks later, held at the Watertown Congregational Church, due to the large numbers that flock to this traditional celebration—from campus as well as the local community. The service was followed again this year with a performance of Taft’s Jazz Band in neighboring Walker Hall—at which dancing was highly encouraged.

Math Online

m Robin Oh ’09 gives a 20-minute presentation on the limits of sequences for his independent course in Real Analysis. Julie Reiff

Brian Change ’10 and Robin Oh ’09 did independent coursework in math in the fall, having already run through the department’s offerings. The arrival of online courses has allowed students to go well beyond traditional highschool curriculum. “If Advanced Placement BC Calculus is the equivalent of a college

freshman course, and our multivariable calculus and linear algebra course a typical sophomore course,” explains Math Department chair Al Reiff ’80, “then what Robin and Brian are doing is roughly at the third-year college level.” John Piacenza, who advises both students in their work, asked each to take one or two concepts they found inter-

esting in their courses so far and present them to an audience in a 20-minute session and to open it for questions. Brian, who completed multivariable calculus as a mid, took a course in Number Theory, which is the study of integers. He presented several proofs that particular multivariable equations did not have solutions among the integers. Robin, who took a course in Real Analysis, gave a presentation on limits of sequences. “There was a huge blossoming in mathematical thought in the century after Newton and Leibnitz laid the groundwork for what we call calculus,” explains Piacenza. “Mathematicians began using these ideas in unanticipated ways. But there were skeptics who worried about the soundness of working with numbers that have no real size, as quantities get infinitesimally smaller, close to zero, and almost vanish. There was this need to put calculus on more solid ground, and that’s what Real Analysis does. It was clear that calculus worked, but now they tried to explain why it works, and when it won’t.”

Yee-Fun Yin

Gordie Day On the evening of September 16, 2004, Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr. (“Gordie”) and 26 other fraternity pledges around a bonfire were “encouraged” to drink four “handles” (1.75 liter bottles) of whiskey and six (1.5 liter) bottles of wine in 30 minutes. They were told, “No one is leaving until this is all gone.” When the group returned to the fraternity house, Gordie was highly intoxicated and stopped drinking. He was placed on a couch to “sleep it off.” He was found dead the next morning. Gordie was the brother of Lily Lanahan ’08, and this happened during her freshman year at Taft. Since then

she and her family have been spreading alcohol awareness through the Gordie Foundation’s Circle of Trust to educate students about the dangers of alcohol abuse, peer pressure, hazing, and their many adverse side effects. There are hundreds of chapters of the Circle of Trust all across the nation. On October 22 students celebrated National Gordie Day to help raise awareness. More than 1,700 students die each year because of alcohol. Gordie was just one of them. “Save a life. Make the call.” For more information, visit —Mackenzie Holland ’09 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


For more on the fall season, visit




W r a p - u p by

2 0 0 8 S t e v e

Pa l m e r

Playing at Taft under the lights versus Suffield, Omar Bravo Regional All-American Liesl Morris ‘09 takes a shot in the ’11 stretches for the ball as Will Ide ’09 and Mitch Wagner ’12 quarterfinal NE match against Nobles. Rob Madden look on. Peter Frew ’75

Boys’ Cross Country 9–0 The first undefeated season since the early ’90s was keyed by early victories over league rivals Choate (22–33) and Loomis (27–30). In the big meets, Taft placed 3rd at the 32-team Canterbury Invitational to open the season, 2nd in the Founders League Championship race, and 6th in the New England championships to end the season. Co-captain Mike Moreau ’09 led the team in every race, placing 3rd overall in the N.E. meet and becoming the third Taft runner under 15 minutes on the 2.75-mile home course. Fellow seniors Jimmy Kukral, Burr Tweedy and Schuyler Metcalf played an important role and made for a very deep team. The convincing 19–44 Parents’ Day win over Williston was Taft’s strongest race ever on the present home course, established in 1992. 14 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

Girls’ Cross Country 1–8 This young team broke through late in the season with an important win over Kent (26–31), on their rambling, mountainous, challenging course. Taft then went on to have its best race at Westminster, a 5th-place finish at the Founders League meet. In that race, Emma Nealon ’11, the team’s top runner, made All-League with a 13th-place finish, followed by Kristin Proe ’10 (24th), Zoe Hetzner ’10 (25th), and captain Diana Saverin ’09 (33rd) in the field of 55 runners. The Rhinos return five of their top six runners for next fall. Volleyball 9–10 Having lost the New England title by a mere three points a year ago, the Volleyball team was determined

to get back there. However, the Rhinos fell one game short of returning to the tournament, despite solid wins over Porter’s (3–0), Greenwich Academy (3–0), and NMH (2–0). Perhaps the highlight of the season was an exciting 2–1 win over Exeter, and the team would have several, drawn-out five-game matches. All season, Taft was led by the defensive and offensive play of All-League and All-New England players Grace Dishongh ’09 and captain Geneva Lloyd ’09. Dishongh led the team in service points and kills while captainelect Carly McCabe ’10 led the team in blocks. Clare Greenan ’09 was also a solid blocker and outside hitter, as was Miller Bowron ’09, who suffered a broken ankle in September, a real blow for the team, but returned for the final matches.

a strong Choate team, again leading 14–0 at the half but losing a tough one, 14–21 at the very end of the game. In that game, Derrick Beasley ’09 scored both touchdowns for Taft and went on to play a big role in the exciting win over Loomis, with three catches for 82 yards. In that back-and-forth game under the lights at Loomis, Taft was down 7–21 before storming back for a 24–21 win on middler Mike Moran’s 23-yard field goal late in the game. Senior Jed Rooney led the team all year at quarterback, amassing 499 passing yards and adding three rushing touchdowns. PG West Anderson’s speed was a real threat for every opponent all season, as he gained 766 yards on the ground, 114 in the air and was also the team’s leading tackler on defense.

Digging Pink: The volleyball team raised more than $2,000 for breast cancer research through the Side Out Foundation, dedicating their match against Miss Porter’s in October as a Dig Pink Event. To highlight the occasion, the Taft team wore pink shirts, pink headbands, and pink socks. Peter Frew ’75

Football 1–7 The Taft football program got off to a promising start under new head coach Panos Voulgaris, who has strong ties to Taft having worked with Jimmy Stone ’83 at Blair Academy. The ’08 squad was a small team with good speed, and despite being outweighed by every team they faced, the Rhinos started the season leading talented Avon 14–0 at halftime of the first game. The main weakness for this team proved to be depth, and that showed up as the Rhinos dropped this first game in the fourth quarter. After two more losses, Taft looked as if they would turn things around against

Field Hockey 13–3 New England Quarterfinalists This powerful team scored 61 goals on the season, giving up only 13 en route to a no. 3 ranking in New England. Key wins came over many strong teams including Loomis (3–1), Choate (3–0), Deerfield (4–0) and Westminster (2–0), and the Rhinos would have ten shutouts by season’s end. Taft did suffer two, tough losses: one away at Greenwich Academy (2–3) and the second, a 2–3 game at home in the first round of the New England tournament to a speedy Nobles team. While Taft controlled sections of that exciting game, the all-important goal did not bounce our way. Britt Vasconcelos ’09 led the team with 17 goals, while co-captain Kelsey Lloyd ’09 led with 26 total points. Co-captain Liesl Morris ’09 was a defender and offensive threat all season. Vasconcelos, Lloyd, and Alexis McNamee ’09 were nominated as Academic All-Americans. Morris and Lloyd were named to the 16-player Allregion team for the Northeast. Then from all the regional teams, Lloyd was picked to be First-team All-American—only one of 16 girls in the whole country and the only player from Connecticut.

Girls’ Soccer 4–7–4 The Rhinos started the season well, going 4–2–2 for the first eight games, sparked by early wins over Suffield (4–1), Berkshire (3–0), and an undefeated Hopkins team (3–0). Despite some tough losses late in the season, perhaps the two best games were ties, 2–2 against Choate and the final game, a 2–2 tie against Hotchkiss. In that game, Taft was down 2–0 but played the most determined soccer of the season to even the match. Kerry Scalora ’10, a Boston Globe All-Star, led the team with 12 goals and 5 assists, and was a dangerous combination with the speed of Jenny Janeck ’11 and Laurel Pascal ’12 up front. Co-captain Holly Lagasse ’09 was an All-League and Western New England All-star, and teamed up with Katie Van Dorsten ’09 and Maddy Martin ’09 for a formidable back line, the strength of the team. Boys’ Soccer 9–7–1 This was a well-balanced team that put themselves in contention with the best in New England with four straight wins late in the season. An early 1–0 win over undefeated Avon gave notice of Taft’s potential, and goalie James Hottensan ’10 had perhaps his most important save of the season, a diving clear of the ball off the goal line in the final minutes. A hardfought 1–0 win over talented Salisbury would up the Rhinos’ record to 8–3–1 at that point, and in a thrilling finale, Taft dropped a heartbreaker (0–1) to eventual New England Champion Hotchkiss. The game would end on a narrowly missed tying-goal, as senior Will Ide’s shot just passed the post. Throughout the season, co-captain Dan Lima ’09 sparked the team from the back, while Bobby Manfreda ’09 controlled the midfield. Brooks Taylor ’10, Omar Bravo ’11, and Jack Nuland ’09 provided much of the offensive power for a team that scored 32 goals. Taft Bulletin Winter 2009



Unity Purpose of

j Uppermids Alex Hutchinson, Carly McCabe, and Nina Martin, seniors Kira Parks and Bisi Thompson, and middlers Austen Dixon and Tom Sasani— aka Yellow 3—stake out their turf on the mall by 8 a.m.

More than 200 students and two dozen faculty head to the nation’s capital to witness the inauguration of America’s first African-American president. By Greg Hawes ’85

w Going to the inauguration was amazing; I will remember it for the rest of my life. It was awesome to witness not only Obama's oath, but also the amazing speech he gave afterward. Being able to experience that with my friends, teachers and over a million people from around the country was truly unbelievable. —Tierney Dodge ’10

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation,

we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. —President Barack Obama in his inaugural address On the morning of November 5, while I was still bleary eyed from watching the returns come in, Greg Ricks called me into his office and said simply, “We have to go.” The serendipity of Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration of America’s first African-American president presented such a powerful opportunity to expand education beyond the classroom that the decision seemed easy. Headmaster Willy MacMullen gave us as a faculty a single charge: “What lessons of citizenship, democracy and history are latent in this day that we might seize as a school?” “Taft was founded by a man whose family firmly believed in both education and public service,” says Rachael Ryan, who teaches A.P. Government. “Our founder’s brother served the nation honorably as the 27th president and then as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Horace Taft’s vision for his school was to provide an education for young men who could go on to serve others in a variety of capacities. Because of the school’s continued commitment to education and service, our students graduate with a sense of purpose in the world, and this Inauguration trip would only serve to heighten that sense. Our students would be able to witness and be part of history and realize the significance of public service and what

it means to all Americans. That said, even our international students wanted to take part.” It was important for students to learn that history is not something that happens in a textbook, that history happens all around them. And it was important that they learn that the news is something that happens beyond their TV screens, that there is more to civic life than blogs and YouTube. It was the planning that looked hard. To take hundreds of students from Watertown to DC by bus, get to the National Mall somehow. Stay together in a sea of people somehow. Watch the speech somehow. Get every student back to the buses and to Watertown somehow. Was it possible to plan a trip this dependent on last-minute variables? Led by Ryan, interested faculty began to hammer out the details in spare moments between teaching, coaching and dorm duty. Latin teacher Brendan Baran, who grew up in DC, took on the many logistical details. History chair Colin Farrar, late of the US Navy, put together a communication plan with built-in redundancies and fail-safes. Science teacher Jim Lehner put together the medical plan in conjunction with his wife, Kathleen Plunkett. Bus captains Mark Traina (history), Leon Hayward (math), Nikki Willis (English) and Kevin Conroy (Spanish) sounded out ideas and headed off problems.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions—who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. b Students took advantage of their time on the National Mall to check out the Lincoln Memorial and other sights.

. Students and faculty filled six coach buses to be part of the historic day and to witness the smooth transition of power that is a beacon to democracies around the world.

Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


w Our trip to the inauguration will remain important to me forever, not just because we witnessed the first black president take the oath, but more so because that moment in history was a defining one for my generation. The youth vote was one of Obama's most loyal voting blocs, and it was inspiring to witness the culmination of such a widespread, impassioned movement. After listening to his speech among so many captivated spectators, I know that Obama understands that my generation has the capability to rise up and meet the challenges of the future. —Hailey Karcher ’10

As we pondered the unknown it was impossible not to hear the voices of doubt, some external, some within. Were we nuts? Other schools thought so. Certainly, as we heard numbers like four million attendees, we wondered if we would be traveling overnight to stand in a mob on 17th Street far from history. While we knew everyone would return exhausted, we also know that exhaustion and short hours of sleep are a fairly common staple of Taft life. We knew it would be cold. We knew we would be far from the Capitol podium. Wouldn’t it make more sense to watch it in the warmth of our homes and classrooms? What in the name of Horace D. Taft did we think we were doing?

Today I say to you

that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America—they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

ww ItItwas wasawesome. awesome. Being Beingpart partofof that thatmany manypeople people joining joiningtogether togetherisis one oneofofthe thecoolest coolest feelings feelingsever. ever. —Max —MaxFrew Frew’10 ’10

Departure time was set for 10 p.m. Monday night. With excited energy we boarded six coaches, pulled out onto Route 6 and then remembered how hard it is to fall asleep on a bus. Seven mostly sleepless hours later we pulled up outside the White Flint Metro station in Maryland. Bundled against the pre-dawn cold, we crammed into hot train cars. With each stop, more bodies pressed into the cars. Under hats and scarves and mittens and long johns and parkas, the air became close. And yet, every time you made eye contact with a stranger, they smiled. Small conversations struck up in the crowd. “Where are you coming from?” “Do you have tickets?” “Where are you going to watch from?” As we got farther downtown, and we tried to squeeze yet another body onto the car, someone called out, “Yes, we can!” And then out into Farragut Square, the cold stabbing at any exposed skin. The dawn was just breaking as the crowd flowed down toward the Mall. We moved onto the mall around 17th Street, and as we cleared the trees lining Constitution Avenue we saw the Washington Monument—our first rally point—standing with the morning sun rising behind it.

What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

From the Washington Monument, the teams of eight to ten students with a faculty leader dispersed to find their own, best vantage points. Some pressed ahead toward the Capitol, distant and glowing in the dawn light. Some hunkered down on the high ground before the Monument. One group threw themselves into a pile for warmth. Some went west to-

w Our group had many dance circles, and a few strangers joined our festivities. The movement was a good way to keep warm. It was amazing to see our country come together and prove to the rest of the world that we DO stand for something important. 18 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

—Reid Shapiro ’09

w I myself feel called toward civic duty more so than ever before. I am excited to be in a position of service at this time in our nation's history, to be in a position where I can teach values of patriotism, passion, loyalty and diligence. —Sam Routhier, faculty

ward the Lincoln Memorial to watch from that historic spot. For the most part, we watched on the JumboTrons scattered around the Mall. But more important than what was happening on the screens above was what was happening on the ground around us. The purpose of the trip was less to witness the historical inauguration than to witness the crowd that witnessed history. There was the undeniable, almost unbelieving pride of the African-Americans who alternated between weeping, shaking their heads in disbelief and embracing whomever they could. There were the young people, of all races and backgrounds, whose smiles seemed as bright as the day itself: a generation of youth who were inspired to rise out of themselves by a most unlikely leader. There were the soldiers and police officers who stopped watching the crowd and turned to the monitors to watch history. And there was, in the cold and the wind, a clarity to the light, a vividness that made everything seem both more real and more dreamlike. As a Good Morning America correspondent who interviewed several Taft students noted, it felt like a music festival. But that was the surface. There was the joy and common purpose found in any large group, but there was also an awareness in everyone we met that this was different. This was a pivotal moment in history. In the end it worked because of the students. They were magnificent. They embraced their responsibilities to each other, to the moment and to our expectations of them. They were resilient in the face of no sleep and cold weather. They made us proud of them as their teachers and, yes, their countrymen.

m Middlers Molly Lucas, Lillie Belle Viebranz and Grace Kalnins stake out high ground at the Washington Monument.

America, in the face of our common dangers,

in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations. Author Greg Hawes ’85 teaches history at Taft. All photos were taken by faculty and students. For more photos, visit b Mission Accomplished: Dean of Faculty Chris Torino and history-teaching couple Rachael Ryan (who spearheaded the trip) and Greg Hawes ’85 successfullly account for all 220 students back at the Metro station after the ceremony.

w The inauguration trip was the coolest and most powerful thing that I have done at Taft. Despite the all-night bus ride, the cold weather, and the huge crowds, I didn't hear anyone complain once. The enthusiasm from everyone involved made me proud to be a Taft student. —Paul Kiernan Taft Bulletin Winter 2009 ’09 19

Photos by Bob Falcetti

From Classroom

20 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


nity School •

to Community By Virginia Small

Students make connections as they translate knowledge into service

ren's C o m



-Pula Sch a u oo ar


Taft Sch e h T oo l•

Service has always played a significant role at Taft. Now students can broaden their commitment to community service in the classroom as well.


a late autumn afternoon, Nick Tyson ’09 and Jessica Yu ’09 stand before a class of fourth and fifth graders at Children’s Community School (CCS) in Waterbury. These weekly sessions at CCS are hands-on segments of an elective titled Service Learning, now in its second year. Located in an old red-brick building, this private school enlists children from the city’s poorest families in a rigorous curriculum for pre-K through grade 5. “Every single student is below or around the poverty level; their lives are at best tough,” observes Ollie Mittag-Lenkheym ’08, a student in last year’s course. This school “gives these children…something to be happy about and something to look forward to. CCS also inspires and motivates their students to want to succeed.” Today, Tyson and Yu use their storytelling skills to engage the younger students in a discussion about another group of students who live and study at the Maru-a-Pula School in faraway Botswana. To learn more about the African students, CCS students come up with a plan to write them letters. They want to ask the faraway young people about their lives and to share stories from their own. The project’s focus this semester is to strengthen ties among the three private schools. In the process, both Taft and CCS students are learning about people, culture and education in another part of the world. In turn, Maru-aPula students will receive support from their American peers and possibly gain more insights into American culture. Back in a Taft classroom, seven students seated around a large circular table investigate service from an academic,

22 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

but also practical, perspective. Annabel Smith, Taft’s chair of Global Service and Scholarship, leads a discussion about the logistics and implications of community activism. She draws diagrams on a white board as the class analyzes the potential “causal chains” involved in opening a hypothetical food bank. “How will volunteers be enlisted? Where should the bank be located? What are the local needs and how will you meet those needs?” She raises thorny issues, such as how to avoid “stigmatizing” of clients, and how to determine their eligibility. As the exercise builds, students begin to see the complex issues inherent in setting what might seem like a simple goal for a volunteer effort. Then Smith introduces another analytic tool called a “needs overlap analysis.” It’s designed to assess the potential agendas of service providers and their constituents as a way to find common ground. She advises these budding volunteers to avoid making assumptions and to consider that the greatest need in a situation might be the least glamorous. For example, residents at a home for seniors might just want someone to share a conversation with them, while volunteers might prefer to lead an activity or provide entertainment. “It’s important to assess what is considered valuable, and by whom,” explains Smith. The students are asked to think about these issues in the context of their own volunteer activities. Sam McGoldrick ’09, another member of last year’s class, believes that the most impact he made as a volunteer at a Waterbury soup kitchen was on a personal level. “Although we assisted with physical tasks, like serving

meals and organizing the food storage, the biggest help was probably in just making a personal connection with people who came there for a meal. It seemed to really brighten their day to have someone acknowledge them and talk with them. A lot of these people seemed really lonely.” Recruited in January 2007 by headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, Smith exudes a passion for all aspects of service. She brought to her newly created position a background as a history teacher in the United Kingdom and East Africa, as well as experience in running community service programs in South Africa and Philadelphia. She believes that it’s possible to create “a very powerful model” when a rigorous academic dimension and an experiential service component are fused. “This experiential form of learning fosters independence, critical thinking and compassion,” she says. Student responses back this up. As Natalie Landis ’08 worked at the Waterbury soup kitchen last year as part of the Service Learning class, she began to appreciate “a common humanity among all people. I came to realize that helping others could have an impact.” Students also said they valued the insights they gained by reading works by contemporary authors, such as Ivan Illich, Jamaica Kincaid and Peter Singer, who explore social topics including poverty, human rights, education and health. Barry Clarke ’09 calls the class “an amazing, intriguing, life-changing experience—one that reinforced service in the community, heightened my view of existing global and local issues, and created a deeper passion for community service.”

"Service Learning is truly a class that is based on the ideal that you get in return what you put in. Each Thursday the class ventured into the heart of Waterbury in order to put what we had learned the previous days into action." -Ollie-Mittag-Lenkheym '08 23 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

"Do the intentions someone holds in their heart going into service matter? If one's heart is not in it, then their work might cause more harm than good. These are the tough questions we debated daily in class....

Linking Taft, Maru-a-Pula and Children's Community School

As Taft students volunteer weekly within the bustling community school, they are asked to ponder larger questions. For example, what challenges do these disadvantaged youngsters confront in their homes and neighborhoods? How do these adverse conditions affect their ability to achieve academically? What motivators help them to overcome obstacles? Both Taft and CCS students also learn from trying to create bridges with the Maru-a-Pula students. For example, 20 percent of Maru-a-Pula students are orphans whose parents have died from the AIDS epidemic. “Sometimes it’s difficult to talk to CCS students about this topic,” Nick Tyson says. “So there’s a learning curve in that process.” This is where the team approach comes in, says Smith. “Luckily we have the CCS social worker and teachers on hand to advise us on the best way to approach these difficult issues with different age groups.” One aspect of the current project is to raise funds for Maru-a-Pula’s AIDS Bursary Fund through a penny drive at CCS and a matching fund-raising effort at Taft. Students at CCS can see that there are children who have even less than they do, and for the first time for some, they can feel the rewards of giving instead of always feeling needy. The Taft community has nurtured a close relationship with the Maru-a-Pula School for more than 25 years. The school’s headmaster, Andrew Taylor, graduated Taft in 1972. Each year, one Maru-aPula graduate attends Taft

24 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

as a postgraduate. The Botswana secondary day and boarding school enrolls 600 students and has earned international renown for its progressive, holistic and “color-blind” approach to education. Smith visited Maru-a-Pula last year and found it “an amazing place.” She hopes to build upon those relationships not only among Service Learning students in this class, but also throughout the Taft community. Smith sees many advantages in building ongoing relationships between the Taft and CCS communities. “Being in this environment is a great way for our students to connect with what’s happening in the larger world. They’re experiencing something rather than just reading about it.” And it helps CCS staff and faculty to have “student teachers” come in on a weekly basis, since the school relies heavily on support from volunteers.

Connecting the Dots of Service at Taft

The Service Learning course represents just one aspect of Taft’s effort to foster its motto: Not to be served but to serve. “We’re transitioning into a multifaceted definition of service that is more all-embracing and sustainable, that’s beyond just dropping in as volunteers for a day,” says Smith. She envisions a Taft curriculum that eventually includes servicelearning components within virtually all disciplines. The goal would be “to enhance and emphasize the connections that naturally exist between key themes (such as poverty, human rights, education and health) and the academic program delivered through each department.” Smith wants to help “join the dots” to promote service across the whole school community. “These dots include se-

...Through passages from newspapers and books, we looked deep into how each person can benefit others, where help is needed." -Kathy Demmon '09

nior projects and independent study projects, electives, clubs and societies, athletics, trips and travel, visiting speakers, the Papyrus, all Greg Ricks’ leadership work, summer reading, alumni events, parents, the board, Community Service Day organized by Roberto d’Erizans, all our community partners, the Volunteer Council run by Baba Frew, Orphanage Outreach trips to the Dominican Republic, Maru-a-Pula School in Botswana, our friends and colleagues in South Africa, and all of us and all our classes. We are all dots.” Ultimately, her vision is to provide ever more chances for students to experience life outside the Taft campus, learning about and being useful within the community. According to students in last year’s Service Learning class, there’s much to be gained from performing community service while studying its implications in a larger context. Sam McGoldrick enthusiastically described the impact the Service Learning class made on him. “I learned about how to do community service effectively, and to understand what we can accomplish when we really consider the best ways to get involved.” He was also eager to express his appreciation for Smith’s approach. “She has brought to Taft a new energy about community service and has inspired a lot of enthusiasm for looking deeply at both local and global issues. Her own devotion to service has inspired me to want to involve myself in many ways. She’s done a great job of broadening the sense of what we can do.” Virginia Small is a freelance writer in Woodbury, Connecticut, and author of Great Gardens of the Berkshires, published by Down East Books.

"We attempted to record the stories of the students at Children's Community School through interviews, conveying their ethnic background, siblings, and the impact CCS has had on their lives. Simply put, these kids were amazing." -Barry Clarke '08 25 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


By Julie Reiff

In her book-laden office at Essence Magazine, amid a library like hush, Harvard-educated editor Lynya Floyd ’93 has her finger on the pulse when it comes to issues of women’s health and relationships. Today, it’s more than just about the “quiz.” For many women the magazine can be a vital source of medical information with a healthy dose of inspiration.

? How do you decide what topics to address?

I interview doctors and medical experts, read magazines, online medical journals and advance copies of books. I talk with PR people about new products. I have to keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the health field so I can pass that information along to our readers. A new trend I just learned about is medical identity theft. Imagine opening up your credit report to see, not that someone has charged a TV to your Visa but that someone’s used your insurance to buy a prosthetic that, of course, you never paid for and now your credit is ruined. The issue is apparently becoming more common.

? what do you find most rewarding about what you do?

Helping women improve their lives. I enjoy fine-tuning articles and generating new ideas, figuring out what will grab the reader. I’m the kind of person who brings home new information on this and that and shares it with a friend. I think what we do is very service oriented. In October we did a breast cancer story. Most people think of breast cancer as one disease, but there are several kinds, and although African-American women are less likely to develop breast cancer in general, they are more likely to get the more aggressive forms and to die from it. One of them, known as triple negative, is the kind Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts has, and I interviewed her about her struggle with the disease.

? Do you have a mission? What do you want to achieve?

I focus on educating readers about the health issues that disproportionately affect African-American women and empowering them to make wise health decisions. My mission is to make sure we stay the magazine Black women come to first for information they know will keep them fit. We plan so far in advance that it’s sometimes difficult, but I aim for items to be newsy, including the latest studies and new or little-known statistics.

? do you think women value relationships over their own health?

Sometimes. We recently ran a first-person narrative about a young woman who contracted HIV. She didn’t ask her partner to use protection because she thought the fact that he didn’t press using it himself meant she was special. She valued herself based on how he valued her. What she realized later is that she risked her own health for him. Coming to terms with that was a big part of coping with her illness. We also run weight-loss success stories where time and again women talk about focusing on their careers or their families first and putting their health last. When they learn how to prioritize, they really turn their lives around. I hope people have more conversations about these issues, that they feel informed and empowered after reading our stories. I interviewed a doctor a few months ago who said, “I know someone’s going to rip this story out of the magazine and bring it into my office, so here’s what I want to say.” That makes me proud.

? how have women’s magazines changed?

They’re definitely more daring. Every month we strive to show women something they haven’t seen before, tell them something they haven’t heard before and that takes greater effort every year. Covers are more about celebrities than models now, but we still do a lot of real-women stories. And the em-

phasis on health has grown. I started out at Glamour, where I spent almost three years, first as an editorial assistant and then as assistant editor. That’s where I got interested in health and medical issues. I really enjoyed doing the health pieces, but there were so few pages devoted to health back then.

? how do you think the shift in the economy will affect health and relationships?

Unfortunately, people losing their jobs usually means losing their health insurance. Or, if you’re underinsured, putting off an expensive doctor’s visit. We’ve done pieces on the importance of prevention and different insurance options. Again, it’s about empowering readers with information: telling them how to find cheaper prescriptions, the availability of pharmacy miniclinics and local health clinics, how to negotiate with a doctor for a lower fee. I was just talking to a woman the other day who said even though she has health insurance, the copays are so high for physical therapy she was thinking about not going anymore. But I encouraged her to explain the situation to her physical therapist so that he could arrange for a wrap-up visit and perhaps give her a list of exercises she could do on her own. Doctors understand the financial bind we’re all in. But if you disappear on them, they can’t help you. We really want to help women learn to advocate for themselves. Interestingly enough, I predict that because the outside world—economy, jobs—is so unstable, people will invest more in personal relationships. So perhaps it will have a positive effect on couples. Although, I just did a radio interview in Baltimore about inexpensive dating ideas, so money still has an impact.

? do you follow your own advice?

Absolutely. I would never tell anybody to do something I wouldn’t do myself. If I have a weakness, though, it’s good food, and New York is loaded with so many great restaurants. So I definitely cheat a little there.

? if you had to choose one thing you really wanted readers to understand, what would it be?

Taking control of your own health. People used to expect their physicians to be the guardian of their health. And while they are there to help you, ultimately, you’re the one responsible for your own health. If you find a lump, come down with an illness, get pregnant, you need to inform yourself and make smart decisions. It’s not about just doing what the doctor says. Today you need to ask questions, take notes, bring someone with you to help you think of questions you might be too nervous to remember or to ask. You have to keep yourself honest, too. You’d be surprised by the lies people tell their doctors. At the end of the day, you’re only hurting yourself by not giving this expert all the info he or she needs.

? what are you most proud of professionally?

Well, I’ve been here at Essence more than three years, and what stands out, what I’ve worked really hard on is our book released in January, called The Black Woman’s Guide to Healthy Living (see page 7). The other huge project, which became a finalist for the ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors) award for best interactive feature, was “30 Dates in 30 Days.” We followed five single women in the first-ever interactive Web reality dating show. Every month we present readers with stories in print and online that I’m really proud of. And I look forward to more of them.

Watch Lynya’s interview on CNN’s “Black in America: Why are so many black women single?” Or listen to her latest interview on NPR:

28 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

Bruce and Helena Fifer A teaching couple nurtures arts at Taft By Tracey O’Shaughnessy

Bruce Fifer stands like a swimmer at the edge of a deep, cerulean blue pool. He spreads his arms

wide and tilts forward with an ache of aural anticipation. And then, swoosh, he breaks the silence, pivoting off his toes and reaching back and under with his arms in one, hopeful, embracing stroke—suddenly, harmony. Soaring, pitch-perfect, ecclesiastical harmony swells through the oak-paneled Choral Room. The sound brings a look somewhere between serenity and ecstasy to his face. Here, just weeks before Christmas, with the afternoon light casting long, sloping rectangular shadows on the merlot carpet, Bruce can feel himself coming full circle. Fifer, 63, is the revered director of Taft’s prestigious Collegium Musicum program, which has insinuated itself through the pores of Taft’s academic and social fabric. It has also traveled to Italy, France, China, Australia and Spain, to perform majestic music in suitably august settings. “What is most exciting is how Collegium has become something so many diverse students want to take part in,” said Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78. “To look at that group is to see a snapshot of the school. You see upper and lower schoolers, athletes, students of all races and nationalities.... In the end, they are singers.” Since arriving at Taft from New York, where he was

director of liturgical music and drama at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 13 years ago he has made the Collegium prominent and desirable. His wife, Helena White Fifer, is drama teacher at Taft, a woman who can teasingly remind him that she fell for his big, broad baritone voice immediately on hearing it at a music festival in Cambridge, New York, nearly 25 years ago. But who wouldn’t? Even relaxing on the carrot-colored sofa of his North Street living room, Bruce has the kind of stentorian baritone that suggests rich mahogany sideboards and glinting decanters of port. Short and sturdy, with a neatly trimmed ivory beard and thick, boyishly cut white hair, his avuncular demeanor belies his sonorous, “Masterpiece Theater” enunciation. Helena, by contrast, is earthy and athletic-looking, a quickwitted, inventive cut-up whom students call “passionate” and “eccentric.” One of 11 children who grew up on Long Island, Helena is the great-granddaughter of the celebrated architect Stanford White and her cultural and artistic pedigree is evident in the paintings and volumes that adorn the couple’s home. Puckish, enthusiastic and intuitive, she “is the kind of woman who can immediately sense if things are going OK and adequately responds to how you’re feeling,” said Madeline Bloch ’08, a former student now pursuing performance studies/theater at Northwestern University. That’s because Helena has an uncanny rapport with teenagers, says Debbie Phipps, longtime academic dean at Taft.

b Bruce and Helena on a Collegium Musicum tour of France. Peter Frew ’75 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


c Bruce conducts a Collegium Musicum reunion concert in Walker Hall on Alumni Day. miChael Kodas

“She gets things out of kids that no one else gets out of high-school kids,” says Phipps, now head of Upper School at Moses Brown in Providence, R.I. “She would pick these tremendously challenging plays which would be a learning experience for the kids, and the plays would become hits.” Farce is a particularly juicy genre for Helena, who introduced it to Taft with plays like Noises Off! and Scapino. Phipps believes Helena’s flair comes from her “active listening” ability, gleaned from years on the stage. “She’s the kind of person

who tells exactly the parallel story that makes everything come clear and really gets kids.”

MacMullen says he knew on meeting Helena that she could add to what he says is the school’s commitment to artistic expression. “We knew she would be an incredible presence in Bingham and the Black Box,” he said. “In particular, her passion for farce and comedy was palpable. She has attracted so many students to drama, and she empowers them: she has a way of making it safe to take interpretive risks, to inhabit the character, to stretch. This is no small achievement, and in a 30 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

school where we encourage students to take risks, to try new things.” The son of an Episcopal rector, Bruce Fifer grew up around churches, helping spinster sisters in the church periodical club, playing Daniel Boone in the church play, never questioning his parents’ affirming and embracing love. Music played an integral role in his childhood. He recalls with acuity hearing the Bach Bethlehem Choir perform Bach’s B minor Mass at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia when he was a boy. While the rest of the country gyrated to Elvis Presley, Fifer was gobbling up epic film scores, like that of Spartacus and Ben Hur, exulting over Van Cliburn’s success at the First International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1958.

Bruce’s 35-year-performing career includes singing with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein; the Boston Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic under Michael Tilson Thomas, and even, yes, virtually every recent Disney score.

Bruce is on the original soundtrack recordings of Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mulan. It can be unnerving to hear himself over the sound system in a mall, but Bruce’s career has always embraced versatility—not just the choral and orchestral music of which he is principally fond, but enough popular music to be featured as backup vocals for James Taylor, Art Garfunkel and Pete Seeger.

Back in the Choral Room, Bruce spreads his arms out across a field of students dressed in rugby shirts and fleece, argyles and flannels. The students clutch black-leather notebooks filled with music like “O Magnum Mysterium,” and stand poised for Bruce’s instruction, “Breathe,” he reminds them, clapping his hands brightly. “Follow the notes! Don’t make up pitches if you don’t know them.” “We have the most fun jobs in the school,” Helena says later. “Sometimes I have to remind myself, how young they are—you can’t necessarily expect them to know what it feels like to lose somebody or to love someone unrequitedly. At the same time, they are very sharp. They know what’s real and what isn’t real.”

But after 35 years in music, Bruce had reached the pinnacle of his profession and wanted, in essence, to return to where it began—in the embryonic voices of students ready to meet new “Our expectations are very audiences. high,” Bruce continues. “Because At Taft, he says, “I stepped into a well- I think kids want that. We do not established choral program and I was im- play down to them…. Singing pressed by that and I was impressed by the must be work. But it also must be vibrancy of the arts in the Taft community. fun. The students need to connect to that soul, to their core.” They are not peripheral.”

b Acting teacher Helena White Fifer as Theresa in Chang in a Void Moon, the first serialized play ever produced in New York. The ongoing drama began in 1982, won a Bessie Award in 1985. Helena White, as she’s known in the cast, “goes way back” with author and MacArthur “Genius” Award winner John Jesurun and has performed in 60 episodes. One of the original five cast members, she has also worked with Jesurun in Shatterhand Massacree, Sunspot, Dog’s Eye View and Black Maria. Peter Cunningham

Taft Bulletin Winter 2009


From the Archives

Tree of Knowledge A

When Bertram Goodhue and Horace Taft Disagreed About the Garden of Eden

rchitect Bertram Goodhue’s design of HDT has been in the spotlight this year as the building undergoes renovation as part of the dining hall expansion. It is unclear exactly how Horace Taft decided on Goodhue, but by 1910 he had just completed the Cadet Chapel at West Point and had begun planning, as he wrote, “the school for Horace Taft, Esq….which is designed and will be accomplished in two or three years.” The anecdote below is the only record of an exchange we have between the schoolman and the architect. It refers to the delightful ornamental plaster relief above the fireplace in the Harley Roberts Room. In his memoir, Memories and Opinions, Taft wrote: “It was a great pleasure to work with Bertram Goodhue. He was a man of extraordinary talent, but with an artistic temperament that required some diplomacy. Friends of the school will remember the ornamentation above the fireplace in the old library [now the Harley Roberts Room]. Mr. Goodhue had the tree in the Garden of Eden branching out into algebra, literature, and other subjects, and the figures of Adam and Eve. I told 32 Taft Bulletin Winter 2009

him I never liked Adam and Eve anyhow, and that I hoped he would get something else. “When I came home I talked with the masters, who sided with me, and said that the tree in the Garden was the tree of knowledge of good and evil and ought not to branch out into these various subjects. I wrote to Goodhue that it would not do. He replied that it was a keen disappointment to him, and he could not take it lightly. He added, ‘If you give that up, you must give up the motto you so wanted—Timor Domini initium sapientiae—Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. “ ‘However, if that motto is given up, how would this one do? If no man can serve two masters, how in hell can one poor architect serve a dozen?’ ” In compromise, Taft got his phrasing [carved into a wooden mantle below], and Goodhue got his Tree of Knowledge, but with Taft teachers replacing Adam and Eve, each shown with the symbols of their academic subjects. The headmaster is depicted representing Philosophy. —Alison Gilchrist, Taft School Archives

m The bas relief over the fireplace in the Harley Roberts Room, which served as the school library from 1914 to 1930. Inset: Horace Taft as Philosophy

Thanks to Tom Gronauer’s and William Cunningham’s 1970 Independent Study Project “The Architectural Decoration of the Taft School,” of which there is a copy in the Archives.

Alumni Weekend May 7–9, 2009

Thursday, May 7 6:30 p.m.

50th Reunion Dinner Class of 1959

Friday, May 8 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Registration, Office of Alumni & Development 8:00 a.m.

Alumni Golf Tournament

9:00–11:30 a.m.

School Tours


Reunion Class Luncheons Classes of ’34, ’39, ’44, ’49 ’& 54, Choral Room Class of ’59, Watertown Golf Club

5:00 p.m.

Service of Remembrance Christ Church on the Green, Watertown

6:00 p.m.

Old Guard Dinner Headmaster’s Home

over this Great Land may feel


Reunion Class Celebrations Classes of ’64, ’69, ’84, ’89 & ’94

that this is their School, that

Saturday, May 9 7:50–11:45 a.m.

Classes open to visiting alumni

they are an important part

8:00 a.m.–Noon

Registration, Main Circle

of it, and that their Spirit

8:00 a.m.–Noon

Archives open to school tours

9:00–11:30 a.m.

and Loyalty will carry it on

School Tours Departing from the Harley Roberts Room

9:30–10:30 a.m.

Collegium Musicum Revisited, Walker Hall

9:30–10:30 a.m.

to greater contributions to the

Class Secretaries and Agents’ Gathering and Breakfast, Woolworth Faculty Room

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Education of this land than it

Taft Today and Tomorrow, Choral Room Student panel hosted by Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78

11:45 a.m.

Assembly and Parade, Main Circle

12:30 p.m.

Alumni Luncheon Donald F. McCullough ’42 Field House

12:45 p.m.

Children’s Program, Cruikshank Athletic Center

1:30 p.m.

School Tours Departing from McCullough Field House

2:00 p.m.

Alumni Lacrosse Game

3:00 p.m.

Student Athletic Games (for more details visit

5:30–8:00 p.m.

Buffet Dinner Headmaster’s Home,


Reunion Class Celebrations Classes of ’74, ’79, ’99, ’04

“The wish dearest to my heart is that the Taft graduates all

has ever been given before.” —Horace Taft

8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Works by Gail and Amy Wynne Derry ’84 Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery

Taft Bulletin

The Taft School 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 860.945.7777

Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage PAID Burlington, VT Permit No. 101

Change Service Requested

Winter Alumni Games 2009 b Alumni and faculty competitors at the Jan. 10 game included the following: Front from left: Mike Aroesty (faculty), James Duval (faculty), Christian Jensen ’01, Courtney Wemyss ’78, Willy MacMullen ’78, Matthew Barrow (son of Jeff Barrow ’82), Ed Travers ’86, Greg Seitz ’86, Eric Hidy ’93, Kelvey Richards Wilson ’91. Back from left: Gary Rogers ’83, Tim Cooney ’90, Matt Donaldson ’88, George Cahill ’95, Doug Freedman ’88, Chris Watson ’91, Evan Nielsen ’99, Jordan Davis ’91, Will Orben ’92 (faculty), Tucker Cavanaugh ’86, Eric Turgeon ’97, Jeff Overman ’97, Sean Coakley ’97, Leon Hayward (faculty) and Steve Palmer (faculty).

c The basketball lineup included, from left: Jason Honsel, Panos Voulgaris, Casey D’Annolfo (all faculty), Tom Cherry ’01, Dave Halas ’05, Brian Baudinet ’04, Scott Tarnowicz ’02, Victor Smith ’06, Brandon Miles ’03, Jake Heine ’08, Jon Willson ’82 (faculty), Eric Becker ’08, Rob Madden ’03 (faculty) and David Hinman ’87 (faculty).

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