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THE BULLETIN SPRING 2014 WESTMINSTER SCHOOL

WESTMINSTER

THE BULLETIN

Preparing Global Citizens A Cohesive Stream of Classroom Materials Making Good Teachers Even Better SPRING 2014

For Alumni, Parents & Friends of Westminster School


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On the cover, an aerial view of campus taken last fall and, above, a key to the buildings shown in that photo. Clockwise from top left, (1) Sherwin Health and Athletic Center and Hibbard Aquatic Center, (2) Memorial Hall, (3) Pettee Gymnasium and Hamilton Art Studios, (4) Werner Centennial Center, (5) Armour Academic Center, (6) Andrews Memorial Chapel, (7) Cushing Hall, (8) Cromwell College Counseling Center, (9) Squibb House, (10) Milliken House, (11) Graduate House, (12) Edge House, (13) Gund House and (14) Kohn Squash Pavilion.

TRUSTEES 2013-2014 John S. Armour ’76 Emeritus Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. Elisabeth M. Armstrong P’04, ’06, ’07 Dallas, Texas Beth Cuda Baker P’09, ’12, ’15 New Canaan, Conn. Susan Werner Berenson ’82 Fairfield, Conn. C. Andrew Brickman ’82 Hinsdale, Ill. Susanna S. Brown P’15 Batesville, Va. Trinette T. Cheng P’08, ’11, ’13 Kowloon, Hong Kong Abram Claude Jr. ’46, P’71, ’80, ’84, GP’02 Emeritus North Salem, N.Y. John A. Cosentino Jr. P’00 Simsbury, Conn. John H. Davis P’05 Emeritus Longmeadow, Mass.

Joseph L. Gitterman III ’55, P’86, ’86, ’90 Emeritus Washington Depot, Conn.

Franklin Montross IV P’16 Bedford Hills, N.Y.

Robert T. Horsford ’89 New York, N.Y.

John C. Niles ’81, P’14 Marblehead, Mass.

David H. Hovey Jr. ’78, P’09, ’11, ’14 Ex officio Simsbury, Conn.

J. Pierce O’Neil ’76, P’10, ’12 Rowayton, Conn.

Leigh A. Hovey P’09, ’11, ’14 Ex officio Simsbury, Conn. Moyahoena Ogilvie Johnson ’86 Bloomfield, Conn.

William V.N. Philip P’06, ’09 Headmaster Ex officio Simsbury, Conn. C. Bradford Raymond ’85 New York, N.Y.

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

Beth Goldstein Soycher Westminster School P.O. Box 337 Simsbury, CT 06070-0377 Or submit via email: alumninotes@westminster-school.org To update contact information ONLY: dribaudo@westminster-school.org Westminster School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin or sexual orientation in administration of its education policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other schooladministered programs.

John B. Ryan ’93 Ex officio Rye, N.Y.

Bernard L. Kohn Jr. ’66, P’92 Bloomfield, Conn.

Thomas D. Sargent II ’77, P’10 West Hartford, Conn.

Seonyong Lee P’08, ’09, ’13 Seoul, Korea

John Sherwin Jr. ’57, P’83, ’89 Emeritus Mayfield Village, Ohio

EDITOR Darlene Skeels, Director of Publications and Communications dskeels@westminster-school.org

Samuel Thorne ’46, P’74, ’76 Emeritus Bedford, Mass.

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING Ken Mason

Jane Kessler Lennox ’88 New Albany, Ohio Andrew D. McCullough Jr. ’87 Houston, Texas S. Bradley Mell P’14, ’16 Far Hills, N.J.

William C. Egan III ’64, P’92, ’95, ’00, ’02 Emeritus Skillman, N.J.

Charles B. Milliken P’77 Emeritus Bloomfield, Conn.

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Published by:

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

Jeffrey E. Kelter P’12, ’14 Locust Valley, N.Y.

Lori P. Durham P’13, ’15 Denver, Colo.

Heather Frahm ’86 Weston, Mass.

WESTMINSTER BULLETIN SPRING 2014

T. Treadway Mink Jr. ’77, P’11 Chairman of the Board New Canaan, Conn.

Gregory F. Ugalde P’05, ’07, ’10, ’12 Burlington, Conn. Armistead C.G. Webster Ph.D. Hartford, Conn. Sara L. Whiteley ’91 West Chatham, Mass. Hilary Neumann Zeller ’88 Weston, Mass.

PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Bergen, Newell Grant ’99, Ken Mason, Darlene Skeels, Stefen Turner and David Werner ’80 CLASS NOTES COORDINATOR Beth Goldstein Soycher DESIGN John Johnson Art Direction & Design Collinsville, Conn.


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Pursuing Multiple Passions . . . . 30

Hill Headlines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Athletics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Giving Students Tools to Succeed as Leaders . . . . . . . . 35

Preparing Global Citizens . . . . . . 16

Supporting Westminster . . . . . . 36

Making Good Teachers Even Better . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Martlets on the Move . . . . . . . . . 45

A Cohesive Stream of Classroom Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

Class Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 In Memoriam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Closing Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Preparing Global Citizens Page

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Pursuing Multiple Passions Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

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Making Good Teachers Better Page . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Supporting Westminster Page . . . . . . . . . 36

Class Notes Page . . . . . . . . . . 49


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Dear Members of the Westminster Community, Since Westminster School’s founding in 1888, academic excellence has been a defining institutional attribute. Our first headmaster, William Lee Cushing, who graduated from Yale in 1872, seized upon Simsbury’s proximity to New Haven to build a relationship with other Yale graduates who enriched all aspects of our early program. William Lyon Phelps, Yale 1888, who went on to become a renowned English teacher at Yale, began his teaching career at Westminster, and Lemuel Gardner Pettee, Yale 1898 and 1905, who taught mathematics under three Westminster headmasters, also served as headmaster himself for two years following Mr. Cushing’s departure in 1920. In the years that followed, Westminster teachers have been recognized as distinguished leaders in their disciplines, and Westminster students have earned national academic recognition. This edition of our Bulletin highlights all sorts of academic initiatives underway at Westminster in 2014, underscoring our vibrant intellectual climate. Common to these initiatives is the enduring commitment of an engaged and energized faculty always seeking to improve their craft in our collaborative and supportive setting. Certainly, faculty participate in formal professional development offerings, but, in my view, it is our collaborative spirit that offers the most exciting opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning on Williams Hill. Today, Westminster faculty continue to explore, innovate and inquire about learning management systems, online education, new research about the brain, global education and new teaching techniques, such as flipped classrooms. Our Westminster Teaching Initiative, led by Mark de Kanter ’91 and Nancy Urner-Berry ’81, offers faculty opportunities for dialogue, coordinates presentations on teaching and learning at faculty meetings, and even hosts an annual symposium for teachers from peer independent and public schools. All the while, our students enjoy an enriched academic experience. Technology is no longer just a medium for social interaction, as is the case for many teenagers, since Westminster students organize their assignments through Haiku, our learning management software. This coming summer, students who wish to review and preview skills for certain courses may enroll in a new two-week online program WHOLE (Westminster Haiku Online Learning Enrichment) being taught by Westminster faculty. And language teachers utilize technology to draw on global resources so as to extend student fluency in other languages. I invite you to learn more about all of these exciting initiatives as you read further in this edition of our Bulletin.

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In addition to incorporating technology into our classrooms, this fall we introduced three programs to expose our students to new perspectives and to enrich their experience in our school community. All Third Formers now take an introductory arts course, which intentionally showcases the breadth of our arts program, including an introduction to theater, music and visual arts. Parenthetically, this past summer, art teacher John Sandoval planned, constructed and opened a gallery in Andrews Memorial Chapel. This space now features faculty and student exhibits, complementing the more formal setting for alumni and guest artists offered by Baxter Gallery in Armour Academic Center. Fourth Formers now meet twice each week during the fall term in a Civic Engagement course which challenges them to consider important values which will shape their worldview as they grow up — who they are, and what they stand for, as well as an appreciation for their obligation to engage in their community. Lastly, the Bruyette Leadership Academy for elected and aspiring student leaders, now meets following family-style dinner twice each month to discuss and reflect upon the qualities that distinguish effective leadership. While all complementary to our core academic program, each of these new offerings also touches on important topics related to our school’s mission and core values. Our community setting is ideally suited for this enterprise, since students and faculty interact with each other on an ongoing basis in a variety of different venues. Relationships at Westminster are multidimensional, not onedimensional, as is often the case in school. At Westminster School, a student’s mathematics teacher might also serve as a corridor supervisor, a coach or an advisor, or share a familystyle dinner table. In the process, the student gains the confidence to reach out for support when necessary, and my faculty colleagues, knowing their students better, are able to tailor their support on a personal basis. Enjoy the articles that follow, as you learn more about the thriving academic spirit that permeates our school community. One hundred twenty-six years since our founding, I am confident that William Lee Cushing would be very proud of this school today! With Grit & Grace,

William V.N. Philip P’06, ’09 Headmaster


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Cultural Series Receives Gift Westminster School has received a $25,000 gift from the Ensign-Bickford Foundation to help underwrite the school’s “Friday Nights in Gund,” a series of readings, lectures and concerts held at Westminster during the academic year. The series is in its fifth year at Westminster and features award-winning authors and musicians as well as accomplished student and faculty authors and performing artists. The events are free and open to the public and are held in the Gund Reading Room of Armour Academic Center on selected Friday evenings. Presenters have included a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, novelists, poets, nonfiction writers, singer-songwriters, guitarists and musical groups. The one-hour evening presentations are followed by a dessert reception where students, faculty and guests have an opportunity to meet one another, discuss the performance, and talk with the authors or artists. “Westminster is extremely grateful for the generous gift from the Ensign-Bickford Foundation,” said Headmaster Bill Philip. “We are delighted that two Simsbury institutions with long histories in the town and with each other are partnering to bring outstanding cultural experiences to our community.” The Ensign-Bickford Foundation has been the principal community involvement arm of Ensign-Bickford Industries Inc. (EBI) since 1952. Its chief purpose is to make philanthropic gifts on behalf of EBI to charitable organizations and educational institutions located in or near the communities where EBI has operations and where its employees reside or have affiliations. It is funded in total by contributions from EBI, which was founded in 1836. “EBI and Westminster have a long and happy history together in Simsbury,” said Chief Executive Officer of EBI Caleb E. White. “Over the years, employees and shareholder children have attended Westminster and benefited from rich resources of the school. Coming on the end of Westminster’s 125th anniversary, we feel the ‘Friday Nights in Gund’ series is a stimulating and educational forum to again forge a connection between all the members of the local EBI family with the Westminster community.”

Top, Chief Executive Officer of Ensign-Bickford Industries Inc. Caleb White, left, presents a check to Headmaster Bill Philip to help underwrite Westminster’s “Friday Nights in Gund” series.

Recent “Friday Nights in Gund” guest presenters have included guitarist James Kerr ’93, above, and performance poet Sean Thomas Dougherty, right.

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Making the Most of a Special Opportunity Westminster has welcomed 16 students to campus from 11 countries since 2007 as a part of the Davis Scholars Program. The scholars have been from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, Somaliland, Vietnam and the United States. Westminster is one of five schools participating in the program, which is designed to increase and diversify the international and domestic student population of American independent secondary schools. Funded by the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund (SCDCF), the program helps promote international understanding and cross-cultural connections across boarding school campuses and around the globe. One of the benefits of the program is that upon graduation from Westminster, Davis Scholars are eligible for continued scholarship support for four years should they elect to matriculate at any of the Davis United World College Scholars colleges and universities in the United States, now numbering more than 91 affiliated institutions. Currently, five Davis Scholars are studying at Westminster from diverse regions of the world. Nadira Abdilahi ’16 is from Hargeisa, Somaliland, and in her first year at Westminster. She previously attended Abaarso Tech School, a boarding school of about 400 students located just outside of Hargeisa. She applied to the Davis Scholars Program because she wanted to study abroad and experience different cultures. She had lived in Somalia her whole life and had never visited the United States previously. She speaks Somali, English and some Arabic, and is currently taking Spanish. At Westminster, Nadira’s favorite classes are math and chemistry, and she played field hockey in the fall and basketball in the winter. “I like the fact that people at Westminster are really close and care for each other,” she said. “I have made very good friends already, and I am really close to my roommate. She also likes the teachers. “They are always ready to help you figure out anything, even though they have a busy schedule.” Although Nadira is not sure about what she will study in college, she hopes her education will allow her to give back to her community when she returns home. “This program definitely changed my life for the better,” she said. “I consider myself lucky to have this great opportunity. I got the chance to come to Westminster and meet so many wonderful people. My future seems so bright because of the Davis Scholars Program.”

Mario Benicky ’14, Laila Samy ’14, Nadira Abdilahi ’16, Hieu Do ’15 and Gustavs Gerkens ’15

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Mario Benicky ’14 was born in Mikulas, Slovakia, where his family still resides. He attended a small inner-city school called Gymnazium Michala Miloslava Hodzu before coming to Westminster his Fourth Form year. He speaks Slovak, Czech, Polish and English, and understands some Spanish, German and Russian. “I was determined to find a way to come study in the U.S. and looked up private schools in New England,” he said. “I applied to Westminster because of the strong academics and athletics, and to gain an experience of being independent.” When he was younger, he lived in Hershey, Pa., for four years before moving back to Slovakia. “I desperately wanted to come back to the States,” he said. “I loved it here.” Mario’s favorite classes are AP Psychology, Algebra 2, Modern World History and U.S. History. He plays on First Boys’ Soccer, First Boys’ Hockey and Second Boys’ Tennis. “I like the competitive but friendly atmosphere, the positive influences from the faculty, and the motivation I get when I do my studies here,” he said. “The thing I like best is our community.” He says the Davis Scholars Program has changed his life significantly. “It gave me the opportunity to make my dreams become a reality and that is a life-changing experience.” He will be attending Colby College next year where he will play hockey. In his second year at Westminster, Hieu Do ’15 is from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where his family still lives, and where he attended the High School for the Gifted, which is affiliated with Vietnam National University. He had wanted to study in the United States but thought that dream would never come true because of the resources he would need to do it. When he heard about the Davis Scholars Program, he decided to apply since it would not only allow him to complete high school, it also offered the opportunity for college study in the U.S. Hieu enjoys studying the humanities. “Unlike the teaching method back home where memorization is the focus, Westminster teaches me to think critically of historical events and have my own opinions about literary works,” he said. “This method hones my critical thinking skills and thus helps me make good, reasonable decisions in life.” Hieu is vice


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Hill Headlines president of the Fifth Form and participates in cross country, swimming, track, The Westminster News, the EcoTeam, the John Hay Society, the Math Club and Serving Our Neighbors. By studying in the U.S., he says he hopes to be exposed to diverse cultures and ideas. “This opportunity enables me to learn from and embrace all differences.” Gustavs Gerkens ’15, who is in his first year at Westminster, is from Riga, Latvia, where he attended a school of more than 1,000 students called Riga State Gymnasium No. 1. He speaks Latvian and Russian, and is learning Spanish. Despite having never been to the United States, he decided to apply to the Davis Scholars Program because he wanted to “have a new experience, make connections for future endeavors and attend a top-notch university.” At Westminster, he participates in Chamber Choir and Chorale, Math Club, Model United Nations and The Westminster News. He enjoys studying calculus and U.S. history and finds people at Westminster “very congenial.” He says the Davis Scholars Program has given him an opportunity to achieve his aspirations. “Here I am,” he emphasized. “Now, I have to do the rest of the job.” Laila Samy ’14, who is from Cairo, Egypt, is in her second year at Westminster. She follows in the footsteps of fellow countryman Ahmed Abdel Khalek ’12, from whom she learned about the Davis Scholars Program. “I applied to the Davis Scholars Program because I really wanted to get a good education since my school in Egypt, Misr American College in Cairo, has closed many times because of what was happening there,” she said. Like Ahmed, she excels at squash. Before attending Westminster, she had previously visited the United States for a squash tournament and a school visit. “My first impression of Westminster was that it is a very welcoming place where I found very warm and caring people,” she said. Laila is a member of First Girls’ Squash, for which she was undefeated in dual matches all last year, losing only in the finals of the New England tournament. She also won the U17 division of the 2012 U.S. Junior Open, the largest junior tournament in the world, featuring players from 20 countries. This year, Laila again had an undefeated regular season, punctuated by winning the title in the No. 1 draw at New Englands, which included a win over the No. 3 ranked U19 American player. She likes that Westminster requires students to engage in multiple activities and looks forward to attending Wesleyan University next year where she will play squash. “The Davis Scholars Program changed my life academically by giving me the chance to receive the best education, and it changed my everyday life,” she said. “I am thankful for the great opportunity that I have that many people do not have, not just in my country, but in the world.” Kimberly Pope P’12, ’15, ’16, who serves as coordinator of the Davis Scholars Program at Westminster, says, “The Davis Scholars Program brings the world to us. The students involved help us to understand other cultures and to interpret current events. I feel so lucky to work with such bright, interesting and determined young people.” During the current academic year, she has visited Ecuador and Poland on recruitment trips for new scholars.

Christopher Jones ’16 and Kailin Wright ’16

Brittany Swanson ’14

Students Named WALKS Scholars Last fall, the WALKS Foundation named Westminster students Christopher Jones ’16 and Kailin Wright ’16 as WALKS Scholars for the 2013-2014 academic year. WALKS is an acronym for five Hartford-area schools — Westminster School, Avon Old Farms School, Loomis Chaffee School, Kingswood Oxford School and Suffield Academy. In its 57th year, WALKS’ main focus is to provide students from Greater Hartford an opportunity to attend one of its five member schools. Area businesses, foundations, families and individuals fund the scholarships. Christopher Jones ’16, a resident of Hartford, is a Sorenson Pearson Scholar and a Hartford Youth Scholar. He is a volunteer tour guide, a member of the Multicultural Student Union, plays basketball, manages the football team and participates in track. He also plays AAU basketball and volunteers at a soup kitchen. He hopes to become a mechanical engineer. Kailin Wright ’16, a resident of Hartford, is a Gummere Scholar. She participates in Chorale and Dramat. While a student at Indian Mountain School, she participated in the choir, the theater, the Black and Hispanic Student Association and peer mediation. She also won the English prize. She enjoys volleyball, basketball and tennis and hopes to sing in college but is undecided about a major. In addition to the two WALKS Scholars, Brittany Swanson ’14 was named a recipient of the Barnes Service Award, which annually recognizes one student on each campus who demonstrates exemplary volunteer service either on or off campus. Brittany is a member of Black and Gold, works on The Westminster News and the Spectator, and serves as a peer counselor. As president of Serving Our Neighbors (SON), she is active in planning and executing the events that make SON a vital Westminster community service organization. She has also donated her time to Community Service Day, the MS Walk, the canned food drive, breast cancer awareness events and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The students attended the annual WALKS Scholars luncheon last fall where Christopher spoke about success being the result of hard work rather than natural talent.

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American Cowboy Shares Epic Mongolian Adventures Will Grant, who describes himself as an American cowboy and is the brother of faculty member Newell Grant ’99, gave a presentation to the Westminster community in December about his participation in the 2011 Mongol Derby, the longest, hardest horse race in the world. He competed with 35 other racers in the 1,000-kilometer race across the sparsely populated terrain of Mongolia. The riders were issued a new horse every 25 miles as they traveled from one station to the next in a race that is a loose re-creation of Genghis Khan’s 13th-century, fast-horse mail relay and employs more than 1,000 Mongolian horses and 300 support staff. Will recounted the dangers, injuries and harsh conditions he faced during his adventure. Along the way, he stayed in yurts, made new friends and decided he must return again. “I fell in love with Mongolia,” he exclaimed. Will grew up in Colorado and loves all things related to the open range. He is a graduate of Taft School and Sewanee: The University of the South. He also earned a journalism degree from the University of Montana and currently lives in Santa Fe, N.M.

Gallery Features Student Writing in Response to “Readymade Objects” Westminster’s Chapel Gallery featured an exhibit titled “Ekphrasis: From Object Matter to Subject Matter” from Feb. 11 to March 31 that was a collaboration between Westminster’s Visual and Performing Arts Department and English Department. Objects drawn primarily from the collection of the performing arts served as an invitation for creative student writing. “Around 1915, Marcel Duchamp introduced the idea of the ‘readymade’ when he displayed and recontextualized ordinary manufactured objects as art,” said Chapel Gallery Director John Sandoval. “It is in this tradition that objects were displayed in the Chapel Gallery. Responding to a work of art with another form of art is a process of ekphrasis. The objective of this exhibition was to engage in a type of prosopopoeia, coaxing the objects to speak.” Student writings were exhibited with each object. The gallery is located on the lower level of Andrews Memorial Chapel.

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Will Grant raced in the 2011 Mongol Derby.

He wrote an article about his derby experience for Outside Magazine and was later offered a book deal that enabled him to return to Mongolia last summer for three months to live with nomads and write about that experience. “This was a real adventure off of the grid,” he said.


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Journalist Soledad O’Brien Addresses SPHERE Faculty Westminster kicked off the new year Jan. 6 by hosting a gathering of faculty members from SPHERE schools for a reception and a presentation by award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien. SPHERE is a consortium of 11 independent schools from the greater Hartford area that coordinates programs which bring students and faculty together from member schools. Its mission is to help member schools collaborate in becoming and remaining culturally diverse, inclusive and responsive environments for teaching and learning. The consortium consists of Avon Old Farms School, Cobb School Montessori, The Ethel Walker School, Kingswood Oxford School, The Loomis Chaffee School, Miss Porter’s School, Pomfret School, Renbrook School, Suffield Academy, Watkinson School and Westminster School. Following a reception in Armour Academic Center, faculty members assembled in Werner Centennial Center to hear Soledad speak about her career and issues related to diversity. Soledad is a broadcast journalist, executive producer and philanthropist who has received numerous awards including the Emmy, the George Foster Peabody, the Alfred I. DuPont and the Gracie Allen for her work. She is the chairman of Starfish Media Group, a media production company and distributor.

Soledad O’Brien gives a presentation in Werner Centennial Center.

Soledad began her presentation by talking about her early broadcast career right out of Harvard and how she has been able to work on groundbreaking coverage over the years. “Where you sit and what you see is everything,” she said. She also spoke about growing up as the daughter of a white Australian father and a black Cuban mother and attending a school that was 99 percent white. She said most of her reporting has focused on race and class and talked about her work on the CNN documentary “MLK Papers: Words that Changed a Nation,” including how she was able to see some original drafts of

speeches written by Martin Luther King Jr. She discussed Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and how he was a regular man who decided he could do great things. With respect to school diversity, she said, “Implementing diversity is not as simple as the math. The key is to have blunt conversations about the issue.” She showed some video clips from the PBS documentary “American Promise” that was 13 years in the making about two middle-class black families as they navigate the ups and downs of educating their sons. In closing, she stressed, “Every level of support must be in place to make actual change.”

Students Earn Finalist Recognition Westminster Sixth Formers Mae Mullen and Taite Puhala have been named Finalists in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program and are being considered for a National Merit Scholarship and the Merit Scholar title. They are among approximately 15,000 Finalists competing for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarship awards that will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. Mae Mullen ’14

Taite Puhala ’14

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AP Biology Visits American Museum of Natural History An AP Biology field trip to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City in January came at the midpoint in the year, when the students could apply what they have learned in the class to the displays and processes described at the museum. AMNH is a research facility as well as the home of the world’s premier paleontological collection. Westminster students were able to see science in action during their visit and, with their background from class, appreciate the work that went into making the exhibits. After arriving at the AMNH, the group visited one of the museum’s teaching labs and under the guidance of several museum scientists used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis to analyze the genetics of two food samples for markers of genetic modification. These techniques are ubiquitous now in the fields of forensics as well as phylogeny, and this activity set up the students for more conversations about the recent changes in evolutionary relationships based on molecular evidence. The students also broadly discussed why food is genetically modified and the different sides of the argument about genetically modified organisms in the food supply. The students next journeyed to the Hall of Biodiversity, where exhibits reflect the range of life forms on the planet as well as the biomes in which these organisms interact. A number of ecological videos and displays gave the students insight into the state of the planet and the impact of human activity on natural systems. After lunch, the students visited the Hall of Vertebrate Evolution, which is arranged as a giant cladogram, or evolutionary tree. They had recently finished a unit on cladistics and evolution, so this exhibit became as much about appreciating the process of science as allowing them to witness and wonder about the creatures, like the dinosaurs, that lived in prehistoric times. “This trip was a wonderful opportunity to put into practice some of the knowledge the students have accumulated during these past months,” said science teacher Mark de Kanter ’91. “We look forward to offering other special events to Westminster science students in the future.”

Students in AP Biology had a chance to put into practice some of the knowledge they had accumulated in class during a visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

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Middle School Students Attend Science and Math Collaborative Westminster hosted approximately 200 Hartford middle school students from the Environmental Sciences Magnet School at Mary Hooker and from Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School for a two-day science and math collaborative in November. The project was conducted in conjunction with the Diversity Academy, a program of The Discovery Center, a Hartford-area organization that promotes student leadership and diversity at schools and through residential programs. During the visits, the students ate lunch in Watts Hall and then participated in workshops in classrooms in Armour Academic Center led by Westminster faculty and student volunteers. The science laboratory exercises took place Nov. 6 and involved concepts ranging from sound and beat frequency to linear and angular momentum to light, and required participants to analyze graphs, make computations and discuss the new ideas. In the motion graphing lab, the students learned about basic metric measurements, how to interpret graphical information and the meaning of slope. “They enjoyed working with the motion detector software and had fun trying to match their movements to the graphical information provided,” said science teacher and Dean of Faculty Greg Marco P’08, ’11. “Overall, I felt that the activity was a tremendous success.” “For the mini-unit on sound and beat frequency, we began by reviewing what they knew about waves and sound, and then, with a tuning fork and a slinky, demonstrated how objects create sound by compressing and ‘stretching’ air molecules,” said science teacher Mark de Kanter ’91. “Some of the students came up with great descriptions of this process when we asked them to write about it. We then moved to the back of the classroom, where the students captured sound from either an electronic keyboard or a tuning fork using a Vernier probe. They could then analyze the wave, calculating period and frequency. We asked them to listen to two notes played together to

Science teacher Grant Gritzmacher guides middle school students in a workshop on sound and beat frequency.

make a beat and come up with an explanation.” “I had some spirited students who were excited to learn about the nature of sound, and many of them were thrilled to be working with our technology in the science labs,” added science teacher Grant Gritzmacher. The Nov. 20 math workshops focused on linear equations, the Pythagorean Theorem and lessons on slope. “We like challenges,” math teacher Peter Doucette P’16 told the students during his workshop on linear equations. “We are trying to challenge you.” Westminster also worked with The Discovery Center, located in Farmington, Conn., in January 2013 to host two other visits by students from the same schools. The mission of The Discovery Center is to shape positive attitudes about race and differences, reduce isolationism between urban and suburban/rural schools, and improve math, science and language arts skills. Jason Fredlund, coordinator of the Diversity Academy, said, “We are so honored to be hosted by Westminster School for this program. Our students are challenged, engaged and provided with an unparalleled level of excellence in education, technology and instruction.”

Math teacher Peter Doucette P’16 leads a math workshop on linear equations.

Student volunteer Maxine Smith ’14, right, helps students with a science laboratory exercise. 9


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“The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspre (Abridged)” There was no shortage of laughter during Dramat’s November presentation of “The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspre (Abridged)” in the Werner Centennial Center. This parody of all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays centered around a band of misfits offering skewed and compelling histories of the plays.

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“Into the Woods” Dramat completed a very successful three-day run of the musical “Into the Woods” in February. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and based on the book by James Lapine, the production took everyone’s favorite Brothers Grimm storybook characters and brought them together for a timeless, yet relevant, modern classic.

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Winter Visual and Performing Arts Festival Members of the Westminster community enjoyed music, song and dance at the winter Visual and Performing Arts Festival March 5 held in Werner Centennial Center. Students in the Chamber Choir, Chorale, Concert Band, Jazz Band and Dance Ensemble took to the stage to give a variety of performances that served as the perfect way to end the winter term.

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Season Overviews Sports Information Director Betsy Heckman gives some highlights from the fall and winter athletics seasons.

FALL SEASON It was another outstanding fall season for the Westminster athletics program. Two teams qualified for postseason play and a number of outstanding players were recognized for their accomplishments. First Girls’ Soccer and Field Hockey both reached the Class A New England Tournament. First Girls’ Soccer First Girls’ Soccer tied for Founders League Champions, compiling an impressive 14-3-1 record. The team earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament and won the quarterfinals in overtime against Hotchkiss before falling to Nobles in the semifinals. Captain midfielder Laura Moore ’14 was crucial in a number of the team’s victories over the course of the season. Moore was named a Boston Globe Class A All-Star. In addition, she and forward Sally Sandoval ’15 were identified as Western New England Prep School Soccer Association All-Stars. Finally the Connecticut Girls’ Soccer Coaches Association awarded All-State honors to Moore, Sandoval and Megan Richard ’14. First Field Hockey First Field Hockey (16-3), the No. 4 seed in the Class A New England Tournament, defeated Andover 4-1 in the quarterfinals and fell to Nobles in the semifinals. Brooke Wolejko ’14

(offense) and Ashley Carbone ’16 (defense) earned spots on the NEPSAC All-Tournament Team. For their outstanding play over the course of the season, Kelcie Finn ’14 (forward) and Kat Pate ’14 (goalie) were named Western New England Prep School Field Hockey Association (WNEPSFHA) All-Stars. First Football The New England Prep School Football Coaches Association named Vincent Ferraro ’14 to the All-New England Class B team. Ferraro and Chaz Ruffin ’16 made the All-Colonial League First Team, and Elli Bonadies ’14 and Jacques Wisner ’14 earned AllColonial League Second Team recognition.

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First Boys’ Soccer First Boys’ Soccer goalie John Pappas ’14 earned All-New England honors. In addition, Pappas and Pierce Cote ’14 were named Western New England Prep School Soccer Association All-Stars.

WINTER SEASON First Girls’ Hockey For the third time in five years, First Girls’ Hockey (17-6-3) won the Girls’ Division I New England Championship, but this time, the road to victory was more unpredictable. Seeded sixth, Westminster had to overcome the No. 3 seed, Pomfret, the No. 2 seed, St. Paul’s, and the No. 1 seed, Nobles. The quarterfinal matchup against Pomfret was a game for the ages. It took three overtime periods to put away the Griffins. Tori DeAngelis ’14 scored the game winner. Goalie Brooke Wolejko ’14 ended the game with 51 saves. In an exciting back-and-forth game in the semifinals against St. Paul’s, Sarah Melanson ’16 scored the lone goal of the contest. Wolejko was again unbelievable all afternoon long in order to secure the shutout. In the finals, Westminster faced undefeated Nobles. DeAngelis put the Black and Gold on the board in the first period and went on to score two more goals to complete the hat trick and secure the championship. Over the course of the tournament, the defense, led by Kat Pate ’14, was unstoppable. Wolejko stopped 101 shots and deservedly earned MVP for the tournament. Wolejko was named All-New England Second Team goalie, and Pate was chosen as one of two First Team All-New England defenders.

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First Boys’ Hockey With a 12-10-3 regular season record, First Boys’ Hockey qualified for the Piatelli/Simmons Small School Tournament. The Martlets were the No. 4 seed and hosted Groton, the No. 5 seed. It was a game characterized by too little too late, however, as the Black and Gold fell in the quarterfinals 3-2. First Girls’ Squash For the first time in the school’s history, Westminster can boast about having a female New England squash champion. Laila Samy ’14 completed an undefeated season, capped by winning the Class A, No. 1 Flight New England title. Samy, who was the runner-up last year, faced two talented players in the final matches. It took four close games for her to win the semifinals, and in the finals, she clinched the victory with a 19-17 third-game win. Samy led the team to a 10th-place finish in the tournament, the team’s best result ever in New Englands. She was recognized by US Squash as an All-American for 2013-2014.

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to be left out, the boys established a new school record in the 200 Medley Relay. Henry Chou ’15, Toby Casper ’14, Travis Percy ’14 and Tom Dudzik ’15 came in second place overall with a time of 1:42.69. First Girls’ Basketball First Girls’ Basketball co-captains Rachel Monroe ’14 and Annie Lacey ’14 led a young but energetic squad this past season. Monroe set a new school record, scoring 10 threepointers against Hopkins School in a 54-34 win. She was selected to the NEPSGBCA (New England Prep School Girls Basketball Coaches Association) All-Star Team for the second consecutive year.

Swimming and Diving Westminster hosted the New England Prep School Athletic Conference Division II Championships. The girls finished fifth, the boys came in fourth place overall, and both teams smashed school records. Third Form phenom Leta Giordano won the 100 Fly and set a new school record in the event (1:01.12). She teamed up with Emily Kunsman ’15, Nornia Xu ’17 and Alex Kavle ’15 in the 200 Freestyle Relay to place third, breaking the old school record by more than 1.5 seconds (1:45.42). Not

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Spanish teacher Arturo Solis teaching his AP Spanish Literature class, and, right, Westminster students on a school trip to France in 2013.

Préparer les citoyens du monde

教育全球公民

Preparing Global Citizens PARANDI CIVES MUNDI Preparando ciudadanos del mundo 16


IF

YOU HAVEN’T STUDIED A LANGUAGE IN A WHILE, the experience of sitting in on one of Westminster’s language classes

might not compare with what you remember about your own language classes. Today, language study goes far beyond grammar comprehension to achieving oral, written and cultural fluency. “It is all about communication, both written and oral,” said Sara Deveaux P’14, ’16, who heads the Westminster Language Department and has been a French teacher for 22 years.

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Language Program Westminster’s language program includes nine faculty members and coursework in French, Spanish, Latin and Chinese from the beginning to AP levels and independent study. Students who are new to a language can begin at the first level, but most students come in at higher levels because they have had previous study. Some students even take two languages. “We encourage students to go through four years of study since colleges like to see four consecutive years of language study,” said Sara. “Some students may switch languages when they arrive because they want to try something new, and that is fine. Our goal is to get students to master a language.” In Westminster language classes, Left to right, Head of the Language Department Sara Deveaux P’14, ’16 teaching her the target language is spoken 90 to AP French class; students in the Language Studio; and Chinese teacher Cara Hugabonne, left, with Joanna Beach ’16 in Chinese 2. 100 percent of the time — 90 percent at the lower levels and 100 percent in the middle- to upper-level courses. A Global Themes Approach Homework is about reading or viewing materials and then Sara, who teaches French 3 and 4, French 3 Honors and talking or writing about them. There are still grammar tests, AP French Language, has been grading AP essays for the but students are also assessed through such things as oral College Board for eight years. Three years ago, the College presentations, debates, papers and reports. Board introduced a new AP French exam focused on six “The Language Department prepares students for the global themes. With the advent of the new exam, textbooks real world,” emphasized Sara. “Our focus is vocabulary also had to adapt, beginning at the first level of study. And acquisition in order to facilitate conversation and this new thematic approach has not just been for French; it communication. By the time students leave Westminster, they has stretched across other areas of language study. should know how to write a letter and an email, both “This is a positive change for language teaching,” said formally and informally in a target language. They should Sara. “Within the global themes, teachers are free to select also be able to go online and read news stories in the whatever learning materials they like. For a theme about language and understand what they read. We want them to world challenges, I can have students read articles from the have a skill to take with them. We aim to give them the tool Internet or magazines, or have them listen to news reports. that will let them into other cultures.” Within those materials, students learn the grammar and the vocabulary, and that starts early on in French 1. They are not only learning about world challenges, they are acquiring vocabulary so they can communicate. This makes learning and teaching a language much more interesting.”

Integration of Technology

A “dragon” makes an appearance in Andrews Memorial Chapel during Westminster’s annual Chinese New Year celebration put on by students taking Chinese and native Chinese-speaking students.

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Arturo Solis, who is in his fourth year teaching Spanish at Westminster, is trilingual, having grown up in a home where both Spanish and Portuguese were spoken. He teaches AP Spanish Literature, AP Spanish Language and one section of Spanish 2 Honors and likes the multiple ways


to study language today. years, and six students are doing “The learning isn’t just in the independent studies this year. With textbook or filling in blanks,” he more Chinese programs at the said. “It is about watching short junior and middle school level, videos and commenting on them and more students are entering bringing online activities into the Westminster with backgrounds in student’s home. At the higher levels, Chinese and electing to continue we are reading short stories, their studies. Some are also turning watching feature films and taking to the language for the first time. advantage of the abundance of Cara’s Chinese textbook material out there in order to help emphasizes oral and listening the student learn the culture and how components of language learning to properly speak and interact in and even has an accompanying Spanish. When students see the movie that was filmed in China. language is not just what is in the “When we watch a video and see book, it comes to life for them. That is some conversation exchange, I Spanish teacher Ellie McDonald with students in when they start to really get into it.” have the students get up in class her Spanish 3 class. Arturo says the integration of and try to use it,” she said. “We technology with language study is a start with a handshake and are distinguishing characteristic of Westminster’s language always building off that. I mingle with them and try to push program and greatly improves students’ fluency. them to the next level of conversation by inverting sentence “What has changed in language acquisition over the last order to see if they can be more flexible. That is the part they 10 to 20 years is the amount of speaking students do because and I like the best.” we now have digital technology that allows them to speak When possible, Cara involves native Chinese-speaking the language both in class and at home and record it on their students from campus in her classes. “Sometimes if I see a phones or computers so their teachers can review it,” he said. native speaker walking by our classroom, I will ask them if “Students can create recordings of songs, simulated they want to come in and be a part of what we are doing,” conversations with their teacher and partnered conversations, she said. Sometimes students in her classes will even ask and upload these files to their teachers. Since they are native speakers for help outside the classroom. “I encourage speaking and recording every day, the speed of their oral this because it is good for my students to hear more than proficiency skyrockets.” one voice, and because at the end of the day, the goal is to Chinese teacher Cara Hugabonne is in her fourth year communicate with Chinese people.” Her students also work at Westminster and teaches Chinese 1 through 4 and with native Chinese speakers to put together Westminster’s independent studies in Chinese. The number of students annual Chinese New Year celebration, which often includes a taking Chinese at Westminster has doubled in the past three chapel talk and a themed dinner.

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Learning About History and Culture As a classical language, Latin is still spoken in the classroom but not as frequently as other languages are spoken in class. “We speak it a little in class at the lower levels because it is really important for students to be able to hear the language,” said Latin teacher Maureen Lamb, who is in her fourth year at Westminster and teaches Latin 1 through AP Latin and an independent study this year in poetry. She says one reason students often choose Latin is that it helps them to learn word roots and improve their score on the verbal SAT. However, her biggest selling point to students about why to study Latin is that it can put them in direct communication with people who lived thousands of years ago. “I tell the students those Romans Latin teacher Maureen Lamb reviews a map of the Roman Empire at its may have lived a long time ago and may have height with AP Latin students Madeleine Percival ’15, George Crawford worn togas, but they felt the same things we do,” ’15 and Mae Mullen ’14. she said. “When you take Latin, you are not just taking a language, you are taking a course that Maureen’s students participate in the National Junior includes the history and culture of the last 2,000 Classical League’s Latin exam each year and a creative years of history.” writing contest, in which several students have done Maureen says that most people who took Latin years exceptionally well. She also takes them to the annual Classics ago just studied grammar translation. “Now every chapter in Day at the College of the Holy Cross, her alma mater. Last our textbook comes with a reading passage, so students can year, her students came in second and third in the see how the grammar works in context,” she said. “This has manuscript contest. proven to be a much better way to learn the language. When AP Latin student Charlie Russell ’14 says he has loved you study a passage, you also learn the culture and the taking Latin during his four years at Westminster. “The history, so it ties things together.” amount of help Mrs. Lamb has given me is unbelievable. I She uses technology to keep her students interacting love the relationships I have built among the students and in Latin both inside and outside of the classroom. For the hands-on activities we do in and out of class. Through homework, she often has them translate a section of text Latin, I have been able to make connections to other online and make comments about three of their classmates’ languages.” sections of translation. “Generally, they are doing homework at the same time, so they can ask each other questions,” she explained. “It is like a small chat room.” School Trips Abroad

Charlie Russell ’14, right, who has taken Latin all four years at Westminster, confers with classmates George Doolan ’15, left, and George Crawford ’15, center, during their AP Latin class.

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One way Westminster students can connect what they have been studying in their language classroom to real life is to take one of Westminster’s school trips abroad, which are often offered by Westminster language teachers during spring break or summer vacation. In 2011, Maureen escorted a student trip to Florence and Rome, where students could see firsthand places they had been studying in Latin such as the Coliseum. And this year, Cara will be chaperoning a student trip to China in June. She escorted a trip there in 2012 and says the experience gives students a sense of the reality of what they are studying. “Chinese is the most spoken native language in the world, and when they take their language skills on the street and it works, that is a very special moment for them,” she stressed. Rosie Wetzel ’14, who studies two languages at Westminster — an independent study in Chinese and AP Spanish Literature — visited China as a Fourth Former on Cara’s first school trip there. “Not only did I have the chance


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to experience Chinese culture and to tour three major Chinese cities, but I also got to apply what I had learned in the classroom,” she said. “The last city we visited was Beijing, and I had the opportunity to stay with a local family who spoke no English. Communicating was scary and uncomfortable at first, and not nearly as seamless as it was in the classroom. But communicating even basic needs was really exciting.” Sara takes a group of French students on a two-week trip to France every other year that includes a home stay with a French family. “It takes a lot to convince the kids about the home stay because the idea of not being understood is frightening,” she explained. “We talk about cultural differences in advance and how it is important for them to just throw themselves into a conversation. It is only through discomfort that a student can grow.” Andrew Bell ’14, who takes AP French with Sara, was one of the students on last year’s trip to Paris and southern France. He spent one week in Nice with a host family and attended school with his host brother every day. “While practicing my French, I was also able to learn about the culture of the south of France,” said Andrew. “I was apprehensive at first about staying with a family who did not speak English, but my experiences were well worth breaking down the language barrier. Overall, the trip will be a highlight of my Westminster career.”

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Rosie Wetzel ’14 studies both Chinese and Spanish at Westminster, and visited China in 2012 on a school trip abroad.

Susie Black ’15, center, is studying abroad in Spain this year. She is shown with some friends on a tour of a castle in Tarazona, a small town outside of Zaragoza, where her school is located.

Studying Abroad Some Westminster students take their quest for language mastery one step further by studying abroad for an entire school year. Westminster students accepted by the prestigious School Year Abroad program, may experience yearlong study and travel in China, France, Italy or Spain. This year, Susie Black ’15 is studying for nine months in

Spanish teacher Sandy Carlisle, center, with Stina Ladd ’15, left, and John Pappas ’14 in her Spanish 4 class

George Knight ’15 gives a presentation to the Westminster community about his school year abroad in China. 21


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Zaragoza, Spain. She says that after studying Spanish at the honors level for two years at Westminster, she wanted “to experience more of the world, see new places, meet new people and try new things.” She lives with a host family in an apartment about a 15-minute walk from her school. “My Spanish has improved so much,” she said. “Spain is an amazing country, and I love getting to see so much of it.” She has visited San Sebastian, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the bullfighting plaza in Pamplona. “The Spanish people are very friendly and very understanding when I do not know how to say something in Spanish. I have also bonded so well with the people with whom I go to school because we are all going through the same situation and are all hoping to learn a lot and go many places.” Although he had no knowledge of Chinese, George Knight ’15 spent last year studying in China at Beijing Normal University High School No. 2. He lived with a host family and jokingly says learning Chinese was a “life and death” matter for him since he needed it to order food, hail taxis and communicate with his host family. When he first arrived, his host father would take him to the park, and George would point out things and ask him how to say the words. George really liked his Chinese classes at school and says he began thinking in Chinese by December, which really helped him progress. He describes gaining fluency in Chinese as a “superpower.” “It is unbelievable to be able to walk up to a Chinese person and strike up a conversation,” he exclaimed. This year, George is back at Westminster and continues to advance his knowledge of Chinese through an independent study with Cara that involves further studies in the textbook he used in China and helping her develop supplemental materials for her other classes. He highly recommends studying abroad, saying it is the “greatest experience of your life.” He loved visiting various parts of China and plans to return again.

Continued Language Study in College About 95 percent of Westminster students continue their study of language in college. Some stay with the same language, while others switch to a new one. Katie Polio ’11, who took French at Westminster, is continuing her French study at Bates College, where she plans to minor in it. Looking back, she especially liked the interactive nature of her Westminster French classes. “We would listen to French songs and try to decipher the lyrics, have debates in French and make crepes together as an end-of-the-year celebration. We were always having fun while developing our language skills.” Katie says participating in the 22

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PHOTO: TARA PATEL

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Katie Polio ’11, who is continuing her French studies at Bates College, is completing college study this spring in Dakar, Senegal, where French is the official language.

Westminster trip to France her Sixth Form year that included a home stay is what really fostered her desire to become fluent. “I think being able to speak multiple languages is extremely valuable,” she said. “I realized during my experience in France that being able to communicate with my host family allowed us to form a reciprocal relationship, learning from each other. I think being able to communicate is clearly the first step to achieving a true cross-cultural exchange.” This year, Katie is learning about another culture through college study in Dakar, Senegal, where French is the official language. “The program requires that we take the language pledge, meaning that we can only speak English in the case of an emergency,” she said. “This immersion will significantly improve my ability to speak and understand the language.” Bridget Gorham ’13 is a freshman at Boston College with a combined Hispanic studies and political science major, and a minor in international relations. At Westminster, she took Spanish all four years, ending with AP Spanish Language her Sixth Form year. She says her Westminster language study greatly influenced her study of Spanish in college. “During my Fifth Form year, Spanish was no longer a study but, instead, a passion,” she said. “From day one of my Third Form year, every class was held only in Spanish. The fact that our teachers expected that out of us was amazing. It made us expect a lot out of ourselves.” In fact, she says she was overly prepared for her language classes in college. “The first class I was placed into at BC consisted of two American seniors and the rest Bridget Gorham ’13 is a freshman at native speakers,” she said. “That says Boston College with a combined Hispanic a lot about the language program at studies and political science major and a Westminster.” minor in international relations.


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Clockwise from top left, Spanish teacher Eliza Childs with students and parents in her Spanish 2 class during Class Visit Days; French teacher Gloria Connell P’99, ’00, leads students in a song in the Language Studio; and Spanish teacher Peter Newman ’80, P’16 teaches Spanish 3 Honors.

Gaining a Global Perspective Knowing multiple languages can be a distinct advantage in a competitive global world. “We encourage students to become proficient in three languages including English,” said Sara. “We hope students continue the language they studied in high school in college and pick up a third language in college in order to keep up with students from other countries who are multilingual. It is important in this global world that they have three.” “Nowadays, it seems that if you cannot speak a second language or third language, it is going to hinder you,” added Arturo. “Businesses have become so international that they want to know they can put you on the phone with someone from another country. They also want to be able to send you to other countries and have you represent the company well. The world has become flat.” Zac Hamilton ’14, who is from Ottawa, Canada, where both French and English are spoken, has been studying French since elementary school. “I feel very lucky to have bilingualism in my life,” he said. “French is an important

language where I am from and to have the opportunity to continue to develop my grasp of the language has allowed me to preserve an important part of my heritage. It also helps me expand my world perspective.” This year, he is taking an independent study in French with Sara that has involved teaching a French 1 class, tutoring French students and reading Sartre and Camus. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to expand beyond just knowing the language,” he explained. “We do a lot of work that intertwines culture into my study, and it makes for a more complete experience.” Arturo emphasizes the importance of language knowledge in bringing people of different cultures together. “I think it opens our eyes to ways in which other cultures do or see things,” he said. “We learn that not everyone may have the same view as we have, and we must be respectful and listen because there is something to learn from every culture. Language study creates better global citizens, and at the end of the day, I think that is what we are looking for.”

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Making Good Teachers

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M

aking good teachers even better is the aim of

the Westminster Teaching Initiative (WTI).

Each Thursday morning, Westminster faculty members take one hour out of their busy schedules to talk about different aspects of teaching. They gather in the Perry Room of the Cole Library to discuss such things as learning theories, noncognitive skills, TED Talks and the role of high school in the educational process.

Formation of WTI

Even Better

WTI was formed in 2010 to enhance teaching and learning at Westminster by encouraging collaboration between faculty members and within departments regarding issues of curriculum and pedagogy. It was spearheaded by former Westminster English teacher Tim Quinn ’96 working with Moral Philosophy teacher Todd Eckerson P’09, ’11, ’16 and former Dean of Faculty Dick Adams P’93. Tim, who now serves as assistant head of the upper school at University School of Milwaukee, says there were four factors that led to WTI’s creation. “The first was the opening of Armour Academic Center in 2009,” he explained. “It was time to put an even greater focus on what happens in the building. The second was that teaching can be an isolating profession, and teachers need to share ideas and learn from one another. The third was that independent schools tend to focus more on content expertise than pedagogical expertise, and WTI attempted to bring some balance to that. Lastly, there is a movement toward internal professional development with teachers being seen as experts, which is more cost effective than bringing in speakers.” Tim points out that there was no underlying philosophy for WTI about the “right way” to educate because that doesn’t exist. “If anything, the philosophy was simply that teachers should be in a constant state of self-reflection, leading to a constant cycle of self-improvement and that this can’t be done unless teachers get together, share ideas and learn from one another.” Tim is quick to give credit to Headmaster Bill Philip, Todd and Dick for their support. “All I did is rejuvenate ideas and programs that previously flourished,” he said.

“...teaching can be an isolating profession, and teachers need to share ideas and learn from one another.”

Clockwise from top left, a WTI meeting involving Westminster faculty; Moral Philosophy teacher Todd Eckerson P’09, ’11, ’16 gives a chapel talk at the 2011 Westminster Teaching Symposium; Tim Quinn ’96 welcomes guests to that symposium; and attendees at one of the sessions, which focused on assessing student learning.

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there and bring back ideas that made sense for Westminster.” WTI began meeting regularly in 2010 during a classroom period. Since not all teachers could attend due to their teaching schedule, the goal was to get as many teachers involved as possible, so additional meetings were held at alternate times. Presentations about teaching called “A Look at Learning” also started taking place at faculty meetings.

The roots of WTI go back to 1993 when Todd served as dean of faculty and established two seminars for new teachers. One met for a trimester and helped all new teachers make the transition to Westminster by addressing issues related to education in general and to Westminster in particular. The second was for teachers who were both new to Westminster and new to the teaching profession and Widening the Circle convened throughout the year to expose them to the After a year of successfully sharing ideas at Westminster, philosophical, pedagogical and psychological fundamentals WTI held its first annual Westminster Teaching Symposium of education. “It was a kind of Education 101,” said Todd. in 2011 and invited teachers from other schools in the region Todd’s efforts went a step further when he established to attend. “The first symposium was an attempt to widen the a Veteran Teacher Seminar at Westminster following a circle of sharing ideas, which would allow our teachers to sabbatical he took in 1996-1997 at the Klingenstein Center learn from colleagues at other schools, and they from us,” of Teachers College, Columbia University. “Klingenstein said Tim. “It was also a public way of saying ‘look at what gives you the tools to think about teaching,” he said. Westminster is doing to enhance teaching and learning.’” He incorporated some of the ideas he had learned at The symposium was titled “The Many Ways of Klingenstein into a seminar for experienced teachers in Assessing Student Learning” and was attended by 32 guests order to examine progressive teaching techniques with from area schools as well as numerous an eye toward incorporating them into their Westminster faculty members. The daylong teaching. Participants visited schools that event was held in Armour Academic Center were significantly different from and featured eight experienced classroom Westminster and produced provocative teachers, including two from Westminster, essays intended to promote thought and who gave presentations about how they discussion among the Westminster faculty. assess their students. “I often brought articles to class for Westminster has held two additional discussion, but there wasn’t any symposiums. More than 150 teachers from homework,” said Todd. The seminar 28 schools in the region attended the continued to meet until Todd stepped away second annual symposium in 2012 titled from the dean of faculty position in 2001“Building 21st-Century Skills” that 2002 to start the Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program featured a keynote address by Patrick Bassett, then-president in Hartford. of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). When Tim, a former student of Todd’s, was appointed He spoke about what he called the “Six Cs” — to the Westminster faculty in 2006, he, Todd and Dick began communication, creativity, collaboration, character, critical talking about the need to start the program again. “We sat thinking and cosmopolitanism — saying they are skills and around between classes and talked about these issues,” said Todd. “We have experts at Westminster, so there is gold right under our nose. However, because we are really quite autonomous in our classrooms, it is absolutely essential to share.” Under their leadership, the WTI was launched in 2010 to advance teaching and learning at Westminster. “One of the premises was that new ideas will percolate up and out,” emphasized Todd. “If we came upon a good idea, we would spread it. At WTI, we wanted to explore the educational literature out Patrick Bassett, then-president of the National Association of Independent Schools, gives the

“We are constantly working on being learners ourselves and putting ourselves in the shoes of our students.“

keynote address at the 2012 Westminster Teaching Symposium.

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values that will be demanded of students and rewarded in the 21st century. During the day, the attendees were able to select from 15 presentations on topics ranging from flipped classrooms, to collaboration through mobile devices, to incorporating creativity into lesson plans. The third annual symposium was held last fall and titled “Collaboration and Feedback: Using Protocols to Create Learning Communities.” It featured guest speaker Gene Thompson-Grove, an educator and author of several protocols for creating and sustaining professional learning communities and studying student work collaboratively. After her introductory presentation, teachers broke into assigned groups to practice a “Success Analysis” protocol and a “What? So What? Now What?” protocol.

Nancy Urner-Berry ’81, P’11,’16, co-director of the WTI, welcomes participants to the 2013 Westminster Teaching Symposium about using protocols.

A session of the 2012 Westminster Teaching Symposium titled “Building 21st-Century Skills.”

Honing a Craft Following Tim’s departure from Westminster in June 2012, science teachers Bill Sistare and Mark de Kanter ’91 took over as co-directors of WTI. That same year, the Edward E. Ford Foundation approved a $50,000 matching grant for the program. The grant provides for a portion of the directors’ salaries, the symposium, books, media, classroom technology and professional development opportunities related to the initiative. A subsequent change in WTI leadership occurred last fall, when science and math teacher Nancy Urner-Berry ’81, P’11, ’16 replaced Bill as co-director, following his appointment as director of studies. “WTI meetings this year have focused on honing our craft as teachers,” said Nancy. “We pick topics that invite discussion

regarding how to enhance our work both with our students and between our teachers. We are constantly working on being learners ourselves and putting ourselves in the shoes of our students. In the future, we hope to videotape teachers in their classrooms, visit other schools and continue to build a library of books and articles about best practices.” “Teaching is something that you can become better at,” added Mark, who continues to co-direct WTI with Nancy. “It is a nuanced skill that people develop over time in collaboration with other teachers. Hopefully, we are offering a model where teachers can build on their skills without having to travel to a conference or a summer course.” After each session, he shares detailed notes with all faculty members, so they can keep abreast of what is transpiring in the meetings if their schedule does not permit them to attend. And to provide extra assistance to teachers who are new to Westminster, Dean of Faculty Greg Marco P’08, ’11, the holder of The John Sherwin Jr. ’57 and W. Graham Cole Jr. Chair, runs a seminar throughout the academic year that is similar to the one Todd created years ago for new teachers and Dick offered to new teachers during their first term. Greg’s weekly meetings introduce new teachers to Westminster and help guide them during their first year at school. Some of the topics include classroom, team and corridor management; parent communications; lesson organization; and time management. Reflecting on WTI nearly four years after it was founded, Tim says, “My hope is that the program will continue to flourish at Westminster and, ultimately, result in teachers having more and more opportunity to reflect upon and enhance their practice.” One of the legacies of his early involvement with the initiative is a book he published last summer titled “On Grades and Grading.” “Many of the ideas in that book spun out of discussions that we had at WTI meetings,” he said. 27


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A Cohesive Stream of Classroom Materials Keeping abreast of new technology designed to improve teaching and learning is a never-ending quest. With the technology boom of the last decade, came tools to bring the Internet into the classroom, proliferation of educational apps and development of comprehensive learning management systems. “It is like drinking from a fire hose,” says Westminster’s Director of Academic Technology Mark de Kanter ’91. “There are so many different options out there.” After reviewing those options, Westminster introduced Haiku Learning, a schoolwide learning management system last fall. As a result, teachers have created Web pages for each of their courses that include such things as their syllabus, content blocks, online activities, online assessments and videos. Their pages have become a storehouse for the materials they are using in their classes. “For the student, it is the integration of all of their materials into one stream,” said Mark. “This was an extension of many of the things we had been doing for years through our email system, the Internet and, more recently,

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Director of Studies Bill Sistare Top, Director of Academic Technology Mark de Kanter ’91 gives a presentation about Haiku during Parents Weekend.


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the tools in our Google domain. It was an opportunity for us to grow as teachers and as a learning institution. We continue to explore different ways of using it.” To prepare for the implementation, teachers attended training sessions about Haiku last spring and summer, and shared knowledge with one another as they created their course pages and mastered new skills. Students were introduced to Haiku before and after school started in the fall.

Building Transitive Skills “Students today are digitally native and comfortable in a world where technology is integrated more and more into their lives,” said Mark. “They are getting fewer handouts and more materials online.”

“Haiku eliminates the confusion and uncertainty about day-to-day work,” added Director of Studies Bill Sistare. “It also facilitates the presentation of supplemental information for students who are naturally curious. In some respects, the students have a mini-encyclopedia they can access for enrichment. Self-motivated enrichment is where some of our students do their best work.” Westminster adopted a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy last year that requires students to bring their own laptop to classes. “They need to learn how to productively use devices in the classroom as well as outside the classroom,” said Mark. “The expectation is that the student can do something online in class at the teacher’s discretion.” He points out that while most students can use technology and social media deftly, it might not always be in a productive way. “Haiku is the type of system that gives them experience with productive technologies. The platforms that they will use in college may be different, but the skills they are learning here with Haiku will be transitive. They will be able to take the skills they learned at Westminster and be ready to meet college expectations.” Another benefit of Haiku is that it allows for a shift in focus from the teacher creating and presenting all of the class materials to the students taking a role in this too. For example, students can work collaboratively to produce study guides to share with other students and embed them on their class’s Haiku page. “I have had students

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use Haiku to create quizzes for their own review,” said Mark. “They are actively engaged in the learning process with each other and not dependent on the teacher as the creator. However, as the teacher, you can act as the arbitrator of whether what they produce is a good resource.” Technology is also challenging students in new ways. “The reality is that technology has raised the complexity of the things students have to master,” said Mark. “Forty years ago, students might have had to draw a chart for a class, whereas now, they are expected to be proficient with Excel, Word and Google Apps to share and present information. If we are making life easier for them in some ways with technology, it is also more challenging for them as well.” Mastering technology skills not only offers advantages to students for college but also for their careers. “To be

conversant in Google Apps and how to do work remotely is important,” stressed Mark. “Although we can’t imagine the tools that will be available in 10 years, we can foster this sense that technology is a vehicle to get around problems you face in the academic and business world.”

WHOLE Building on the success of the adoption of Haiku, Westminster is launching a pilot series of elective, fee-based distant learning courses this summer for returning students to let them preview selected courses they will be taking in the fall. The program is called Westminster Haiku Online Learning Experience or WHOLE. The courses will require about a two- to three-hour time commitment each day from students and will be offered from July 28 through Aug. 8. “We will be using Haiku as the vehicle for the courses, so everybody should be comfortable with it,” said Bill, who has taken a number of distance learning courses himself. “This is an exciting option for families wondering what they can do to help their child get ready for the next level in a certain discipline.”

Additional information about WHOLE can be found at www.westminsterschool.org/WHOLE

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Pursuing Multiple Passions Westminster faculty members Pam and Nick McDonald met in high school in Groton, Conn. He was the drum major in the band, and she liked working on theater productions. He accepted her invitation to a Sadie Hawkins dance, their only date in high school. Years later, they ran into each other at a theater production and haven’t stopped talking since. Married in 1972, they came to Westminster in 1977, when he was appointed to the faculty to teach science. After helping in a number of areas of campus life while taking care of their two daughters, Jennifer ’96 and Amanda ’04, Pam was appointed to the faculty in 1994 as a librarian. The McDonalds will be leaving Westminster in June to live in Stonington, Conn., where they own a home. Their contributions to life both on and off the Hill over the years have been numerous. In a recent interview, they talked about their 37 years at Westminster and their many passions.

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Nick McDonald

came to Westminster following a four-year tenure at Renbrook School where he taught science while completing graduate school. He earned his undergraduate degree at Franklin and Marshall College and his master’s degree at Wesleyan University, both in geology. At Westminster, he has taught biology, chemistry, geology and ecology, and served as head of the Science Department for 10 years. He has coached basketball, swimming, softball and squash, and has supervised the student Work Program since 1998. Nick is considered the foremost authority on the paleontology of the Connecticut Valley and has discovered and excavated thousands of fossils from more than 50 localities in the region. He has been a visiting scholar in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wesleyan, and is a curatorial affiliate at the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale. Having pursued research most of his life, he is the author of 10 major scientific papers, approximately 30 abstracts and two books, and has assembled a personal library on the history of geology. What attracted you to science? Because of a dynamic and challenging teacher in high school, I became enthusiastic about chemistry and wanted to study it further. However, on the first day of college chemistry, we were introduced to quantum mechanics, and I was overwhelmed. Later that day, I sat in on a geology class. When the geology professor started talking about rocks, Earth structure and mountains, I knew I had found my niche. Having spent my childhood exploring local woods and streams, I could relate to geology, and I thrived.

environments those fishes inhabited. I was curious about what the fishes were eating and what was eating them. I also found dinosaur tracks, reptile teeth, fossil plants and invertebrates. Many of these fossils were new forms or had been incompletely described. Of late, my research has moved away from strict taxonomy (naming and describing) to paleoecology, paleoclimatology and paleoenvironments. Fish are only part of the story of the Jurassic. Largely through my work, paleontologists have been able to construct entire food chains and more fully understand local Jurassic environments.

What led to your specialization in fossil fishes? When choosing an original topic for my bachelor’s thesis at Franklin and Marshall College, I remembered a ninth grade trip I had taken to a fossil fish site. I discovered that a 1911 paper was the most recent publication about Jurassic fishes in the Connecticut Valley. I visited Wesleyan, surveyed their collections and met people who shared my interest in fossils. As I worked on my thesis, I discovered a spectacular locality that ultimately produced thousands of fossil fishes. After graduating from Franklin and Marshall, I enrolled in a master’s degree program at Wesleyan to continue my studies.

How did your passion for collecting fossils begin? I was very much an outdoor kid growing up. I would come home from school, change my clothes and then go outside to explore. I always

How has your research evolved? At the beginning, I identified types of fossil fishes and analyzed the differences between them; that is what both of my theses were about. Since then, I have continued to collect and have studied the ecology and the

Top, Nick with fossil slabs in the ’70s and, above, in his classroom with specimens from his rock and fossil collection, which he often shares with students.

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turned rocks over to see what was underneath. I collected everything from bottle caps, to television tubes, to coins and stamps. You have to be in an observational mindset to discover things. Being a good observer requires curiosity, focus, perceptiveness and being able to sort. People have asked me, “You already have a specimen of that fish; why do you need more?” Each one is unique. Some fish are perfectly preserved, as if they swam yesterday; others are partly eaten or decomposed or show unusual features. I am still excited about collecting. Last October, I was knee-deep in a stream in Durham, Conn., that had spectacular exposures of lake-bottom black shale from the Jurassic. What have you done with most of your specimens? Westminster was very kind to let me store much of my fossil collection on campus. A few years ago, I donated 17,000 specimens to the Paleontological Research Institution affiliated with Cornell; more recently, I gave 2,000 specimens of fish, plants and coprolites to the Peabody Museum at Yale. I have also donated specimens to Dinosaur Park in Rocky Hill, Conn. I have kept some of the best fossils for future study.

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It was published in 2010 by the Friends of Dinosaur State Park and has been very well received. I worked on it for four years. It has superb color photos by Richard Bergen of some of the best fossils ever found in the Connecticut Valley. It also gives an account of the discovery and preservation of the trackways at Dinosaur State Park and their geological and ecological context. I do about 10 lectures a year for libraries and various organizations. What does your first book, “The Connecticut Valley in the Age of Dinosaurs,” cover? It is a bibliography commissioned by the State of Connecticut in 1996. It is a catalog and subject index of all the published work written about the Mesozoic rock running from New Haven, Conn., to Northfield, Mass. The book took 16 years to compile and sparked my interest in the history of geology. What led to your fascination with the history of geology and your interest in collecting old books? Geology is one of the newest sciences. Chemistry goes back to the ancient Greeks, while geology was not recognized as a separate discipline until the late 1700s. My study at home has photographs and engravings of the founders of geology. I feel like I am part of a continuum of geologists and have added a tiny nugget of knowledge to geologic science. I have been interested in old books since I was a kid, but my serious book collecting began when I was researching information for my first book and had trouble finding old references. I started buying geological books pertaining to Connecticut, and my collection has expanded from local writings to books on fossils, minerals and mining worldwide. I realized how rare early books on these topics are and decided to focus on the history of geology. What do you like about teaching science? I am passionate about science and want to impart that passion. I love being in the classroom and interacting with students. I tell them that I am not so much trying to convey information as I am trying to hone skills and generate enjoyment of the subject matter. I particularly like object-based learning. When my students study zoology, we look at actual specimens, and when we study rocks, we relate to real rocks, not virtual ones.

Recently a species was named in your honor. How did that come about? Two authors of a British scientific paper named a species of conchostracans, or clam shrimp, for me. They did this in gratitude for my finding and supplying them with specimens. Having worked on fossil research for such a long time, it was gratifying to be recognized. I have always been willing to share some of my very best specimens; collaboration is important. In the late ’70s I co-authored a paper with the curator of fishes at the American Museum of Natural History. I had found a fossil fish that was new to science, and we formally gave it its genus and species names. So I have both named a species, and had one named for me. How has your most recent book, “Window Into the Jurassic World,” been received?

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Why have you elected to stay at Westminster for 37 years? I stayed because I enjoyed the teaching, the students and the community and appreciated the school’s encouragement that allowed me to pursue my research. It was also a wonderful place to raise a family. Our daughters received a very good education here. Westminster’s environment provides opportunities to enjoy a plethora of athletic and cultural events. We are surrounded by energetic colleagues with myriad interests. What do you hope are the legacies of your work at Westminster? I hope my teaching has inspired my students and instilled passion for the natural world. Beyond Westminster, I hope others will appreciate my contributions to the understanding of the geologic past. What are you planning to do in the future? I plan to continue my research, refine my geologic library and occasionally buy and sell old books and ephemera.


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Pam McDonald After earning her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Connecticut, Pam’s early career included working at a radio station in Groton, Conn., where she grew up, and later, in the Reserve Room of Olin Library at Wesleyan University, shortly after she and Nick were married. She also took classes at UConn toward a master’s degree in education and completed an internship at Renbrook School where she taught first grade while Nick taught science there. When they were expecting their first child, Nick was appointed to Westminster’s science faculty, and they became corridor parents in Memorial Hall. In 1994, she was appointed to the Westminster faculty as a librarian. She completed a master’s degree in library science at Syracuse University in 2000, in the early days of online education. Over the years, she directed the multischool World Affairs Seminar, helped with Dramat productions, served as the advisor to the EcoTeam and has worked with student diversity projects. Pam early in her Westminster tenure. Off campus, Pam helps coordinate Simsbury’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration and shares her research on the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King’s two teenaged summers in Simsbury. She is also recording secretary and a board member for People’s Action for Clean Energy — a statewide organization that promotes alternative energy — a teacher with Co-Counseling International and a trainer with the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. Did you have an early interest in libraries? Growing up, I lived next door to a Smith College graduate who advocated nationally for including libraries in schools. I still remember my first visit to the “new” library in the basement of my elementary school. I also had a little library in my room at home, and made paper book pockets and borrowing slips for my books, just for fun. What is most rewarding about being a librarian? I enjoy working with students one-on-one. I really like helping students who enter the library with that slight look of panic in their eyes as they begin their first research project. First, I get a clear idea about what they want to know. Most people ask the librarian the question they think the librarian will be able to answer, rather than the question they actually have. But when we get to the real question, we can identify the right resources. It is such a good feeling for me when they walk out relieved, knowing they have the resources they need.

that make a huge library of online books available, many more books than we could ever buy for our library. One advantage of online books is that they are easy to search. But if you want a feel for a topic, it is still much easier to get a book off the shelf and browse through it, looking at photos and headings. What sparked your interest in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Dr. King was important to me when I was growing up. Through his leadership, as I witnessed it on TV, I saw the values I had learned in Sunday school being lived out in a way that made a real difference. We had lived in Simsbury for years before I read a newspaper

How has the use of the library evolved while working there? Part of the library is now available from a computer screen. There is also a Haiku page for each class-assigned research project, and I have done some YouTube tutorials to make it easy for folks to use our library resources. We have databases Pam with a display she prepared for the Cole Library about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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article about the fact that he had spent two summers here in the mid-1940s working with other Morehouse College students earning tuition money. I was surprised that I had not known about his time here and was determined to share that information. How did your research about his time in Simsbury come about? When I was in library school, I had an opportunity to do an independent project, so I focused on Dr. King’s time in Simsbury. Although he did refer to his Simsbury experience in his autobiography, it took some Above and below, Pam helps students in the Cole Library. digging to fill in important details. The Simsbury Free Library has a copy of my research notebook for expectations are set up for students to perform in a mature and capable the project. In the summer of 2010, I worked with Richard Curtis, a history fashion. Westminster has a tradition of kindness and mutual respect. I teacher at Simsbury High School, and some talented students who did like being in a learning environment where students and faculty are additional research, which they expanded into a 15-minute documentary making it their business to grow and become better people. that received national attention. The YouTube video “Summers of Freedom” provides a quick overview of that research. I have given a Was Westminster a good place to raise a family? number of talks about Dr. King’s time in Simsbury and am involved in It is a rare privilege to raise one’s children with neighbors who know the annual celebration of his summers in Simsbury. you well and who know your children well. Our girls thrived here. Jennifer graduated from Cornell in 2000 then decided she wanted to be a doctor. What has your work with the Connecticut Center She graduated from medical school at Columbia and is a critical care for Nonviolence involved? anesthesiologist at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, where I did several weeks of training at the University of Rhode Island in she lives with her husband, Adam Kravetz. Amanda, who graduated from the principles and skills of Kingian Nonviolence. I have since helped train Franklin and Marshall College in 2008, lives in Washington, D.C., where people in Rhode Island and Connecticut. she works as grants director for Youth Service America. As a co-counselor, What will you miss about what do you do? Westminster? Co-Counseling International (CCI) I will miss my colleagues and the started locally and became international. community aspect of living on campus. I It is a peer process in which everyone will also miss the town of Simsbury and my involved is trained in techniques to support friends in town. Living here has been an introspective work. I have been coincubator for developing values I most counseling for 24 years and am trained wanted to express. as a co-counseling teacher. What has stood out for you about your time at Westminster? I have loved being in the midst of high school students. I have a personal commitment to respecting and interacting with them as adults, coaching them to behave self-responsibly. When they arrive at Westminster, structures and

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What might be next steps for you? My family lives in the Stonington area where we will be moving. I think it will be best to plant my feet, find my niche and explore ways to contribute to the community there. I may teach yoga, tutor, help folks with research or develop some new opportunity.


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Giving Students Tools to Succeed as Leaders While election or appointment to a leadership position is an honor for any student, many struggle with how to make the most of the opportunity because they have never been exposed to the skills that make leaders effective. A new Westminster program called the Bruyette Leadership Academy started last fall to help leaders of student government, athletics teams and organizations develop their leadership potential. Approximately 60 students have been attending biweekly meetings throughout the academic year to gain skills necessary to be more successful in their roles. The idea for the academy sprung from conversations between Director of Athletics Tim Joncas ’00 and Ken Dixon, a West Point graduate, a coach and board member with the Connecticut Northern Lights Girls Ice Hockey Program, and a business executive with a master’s degree in leadership. The two, who have known each other for a few years, began talking last spring about how students could become better leaders if they only knew how. They created a proposal for a student leadership program for Westminster, and it was approved to begin last fall. “I thought this was something we needed as a school, but I knew I could not tackle it alone,” explained Tim. “I felt Westminster students could benefit from Ken’s knowledge about leadership and a structured program to help them bring about positive change as leaders.” “What we are trying to do is build a better school community,” said Ken. “We believe that students have the ability to do that with a little more knowledge of some of the things that can make them more successful.” The meetings usually involve Ken giving a presentation about some aspect of leadership, and the students sharing progress reports on how they are implementing various strategies with their teams, forms or organizations. “Ken prepares the presentation, and I relate the discussion to what is actually going on at school,” explained Tim. “If we get going on a tangent that we feel is productive, we will just go with it. I think there is a genuine desire among these kids to make positive change, not just change for the sake of change. That is why we started the program.”

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In one recent session, the focus was on the importance of interpersonal communications in getting people to work together. “The more you get people to work together, the more successful they are and the more successful you will be in your leadership role,” Ken emphasized to the students. The students shared what they want to work on at student council and team meetings and how they plan to do it. The academy is underwritten by Kathy and Gene Bruyette P’77, ’78, through the Brian T. Bruyette ’77 Fund (BTB) they established to honor the memory of their late son, Brian T. Bruyette ’77, who died from cancer in 1977, just months after his Westminster School graduation. Over the years, the BTB Fund has funded a variety of unbudgeted expenses for the athletics program. As a Martlet, Brian distinguished himself playing on First Football, First Boys’ Hockey and First Boys’ Lacrosse, singing in the choir and as a member of the John Hay Society. His sister Barry Bruyette O’Laughlin is a member of the Class of 1978. In another tribute to Brian, the award that is given annually at graduation to the Sixth Form boy and girl who exemplify excellence in athletics and who contribute to the character of their teams is named the Brian T. Bruyette ’77 Award. The Bruyettes also honored Brian’s musical interests by donating the Verdin Carillon in Andrews Memorial Chapel in 1978. “We are very fortunate that the name of the academy is the Bruyette Leadership Academy and that the Bruyette family has been kind enough to underwrite it,” said Tim. “When I explained the goal of the academy to them, they were extremely supportive. In addition to honoring Brian, the academy is helping develop current and future leaders.” “I can see nothing but pluses from it,” said Gene, who says he can recall his own school days when captains of teams were selected because they were the best athletes, and class leaders were elected because of their popularity. “Nobody cared about leadership competency, and it makes a huge difference,” he explained. “Students should not be at a loss in their leadership roles. This academy has a wonderful opportunity to provide positive impacts on just about everything going on at school. I hope that true leaders emerge as a result of it. If I were now a parent hunting for a school for my child, this program would be very persuasive to me.”

Director of Athletics Tim Joncas ’00, left, and Ken Dixon, right, with students during meetings of the Bruyette Leadership Academy.

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Our Alumni Network in the Palm of Your Hand Introducing EverTrue — Westminster’s New Alumni Community App Westminster has just launched the mobile app EverTrue, a new and easy way for alumni to stay connected with each other and with the school. The app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices provides secure access to features such as an alumni directory, a “nearby map,” and information from LinkedIn, Facebook and social media streams. The app is accessible exclusively to Westminster alumni through the use of the email addresses on record with the school.

Information That Will be Displayed This new app will help alumni keep in touch with one another, wherever they are! The information that will display in the app includes: Name and year of graduation Hometown Company name Home address and telephone number Email address With EverTrue, you can email classmates, make calls, and even sync your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts with the directory right from your mobile device. You can also sync with the alumni directories of colleges and universities you attended if they support the EverTrue app. If you had previously asked Westminster for your contact information to remain private, it will not appear, but you can contact us if you now wish to include it and be part of the directory.

Networking and Connecting Through EverTrue’s map feature, social stream and filterable directory, you can easily build and maintain your alumni network. Below are a few examples of how: CONNECT WITH CLASSMATES Use the EverTrue map to see classmates who are nearby your current location, whether you’re at home or traveling. From your classmates’ profiles, you can email, call or connect with them on LinkedIn directly. SEARCH FOR JOBS The EverTrue app is an effective resource for alumni who are looking to network professionally or are job hunting. Through the app’s filters and directory, a user can search through the alumni

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database to find fellow alumni in a specific field. For example, you can reach out to fellow classmates who work in finance to ask them for advice on entering the field or about their experience at a certain company. This is a particularly attractive aspect of the app for young alumni who may have just completed their higher education and are looking for job opportunities or are building their network. MOVING TO A NEW CITY? CONNECT WITH EVERTRUE When moving to a new city, the map feature is a great way for alumni to connect with each other. By using the map, you can see fellow classmates in the area where you’ve relocated. It’s easy to connect and perhaps get together for coffee, dinner or to learn more about your new neighborhood. INVITE YOUR WESTMINSTER FRIENDS EverTrue has an easy way to find former classmates and friends by simply searching by name, town and class years. With a simple touch of “Invite Your Friends,” you can invite others in the directory, in your email contacts or in Facebook and LinkedIn to join your network. INTEGRATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA EverTrue makes it simple for alumni to visualize all their different social media feeds and information in one place. And by clicking on the “Social” tab in the app, it is easy to retrieve and view all of Westminster’s social media posts, photos and videos. Having EverTrue on your mobile device also creates an easy way to keep in touch with and support Westminster. It’s a direct connection to the school’s mobile website where you can access news, athletics scores, schedules, team rosters, the calendar and the online gift page.

Download the EverTrue app and start networking today!


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FAQs About EverTrue — Q: Who can use the EverTrue alumni community app? A: All Westminster alumni and faculty may use it. Information is protected and only Westminster School constituents may access it.

authentication message in your email inbox. Be sure to open the email you receive on the mobile device you used to download the app. Then click “Verify,” and it will grant you access to the app.

Q: Which devices support the app? A: The EverTrue platform is currently available for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. For iOS, it supports the 5 and higher operating systems. For Android, it supports back to OS 2.3.

Q: What if I do not receive a confirmation email? A: If you do not receive a confirmation email, it may mean that we do not have a current email address on file for you. If this is the case, please call Ellen Hannah in the Alumni Office at (860) 408-3054 or send her a quick email at elhannah@westminster-school.org to verify or update the email address we have on file for you.

Q: How do I get EverTrue on my mobile device? A: Search for “EverTrue” in the Apple App store or the Google Play store. Once you have downloaded the app and opened it, you will be prompted to “search for your community.” Type in “Westminster School” and select it. Q: How do I log in, once I’ve downloaded EverTrue and selected the Westminster School community? A: Please log in with your first and last name, and your email address. If the email address matches what we have on file, you’ll receive an

Q: How do I customize privacy settings or update my contact information? A: Unless you indicate otherwise, your contact information that will appear on the EverTrue app includes your name, year of graduation, address, phone number, email address and company name. To exclude your contact information from EverTrue, please call Ellen Hannah in the Alumni Office at (860) 408-3054. (continued on next page)

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You may customize your profile so that particular information will not be viewable by other constituents. If you would like to hide information in your profile, go to “My Profile” and click on “Update My Profile” at the bottom. Then, type in any updates you would like to make and click “Send.” (Please note that it may take up to 48 hours for changes to appear since we review and confirm each updated profile prior to posting changes.) Q: How do I search for people using the directory? A: Tap “Directory” in the left corner menu and then type in the search box the name of the person you are seeking. If you are unsure of the spelling, you may type a few letters in the name, click “Search” and the app will pull a list of possible matches. You also have the option to search by class year and company name by typing into the search box.

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Q: How do I search for people nearby? A: Tap the “Alumni Nearby” tab in the left corner menu. A map will appear with pushpins indicating Westminster alumni who live or work in your area. Clicking on one of the pushpins will open that person’s listing in the directory. You may also click the clipboard icon in the top right corner of the map to view a list of people nearby. To search for alumni in the map feature, click on the search icon (magnifying glass) at the bottom of the map. If you are traveling and looking to visit Westminster alumni in other cities, you may search for them across the globe by entering any ZIP code, city, state or country, and the map feature will show you that location along with alumni in that part of the world. You can also click the filter icon on the map page to narrow your results. Q: How do I connect using my LinkedIn and Facebook accounts? A: The app allows you to connect and network with other people using LinkedIn and Facebook accounts. When you first log in to the app, you will be asked if you would like to connect via LinkedIn and/or Facebook. You may choose one, both or neither. Your LinkedIn and Facebook profile information will then be added to your EverTrue profile. Once you are in the app, you can view information that people have included in their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles along with the number of connections you have in common. Anything marked as private in Facebook or LinkedIn remains private. If you are not connected to an alumnus/alumna, you will not see his/her private information or feed, nor will he/she be able to view yours. Don’t forget to list Westminster School in the education field in your LinkedIn profile and be sure to join the Westminster School LinkedIn and Facebook groups. If you opt not to immediately connect your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, you may do so at any time by going to “Set Up” and clicking on “Manage Accounts.” Likewise, you may disconnect those accounts in the same manner. Q: Can I email or call alumni directly from the EverTrue app? A: Yes. From the “Directory” tab, click on the mail or phone icon at the top of someone’s profile to email or call. Phone calls may only be made from devices with phone capability. Your normal calling/text charges may apply.

If you have questions, please contact Ellen Hannah in the Alumni Office at (860) 408-3054 or elhannah@westminster-school.org.

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February Face-off In its second year, February Face-off is an Annual Fund participation competition among young alumni from Westminster School, Avon Old Farms School, Berkshire School, Hotchkiss School, Millbrook School, Salisbury School, Taft School, Trinity-Pawling School and Williston Northampton School. Westminster had 15.2 percent participation during the effort, representing gifts from 255 young alumni in the Classes of 1994 through 2013. Martlets met in New York City and Boston to celebrate the competition.

New York Alumni from the Classes of 2001 to 2009 gathered in New York City on Feb. 11.

Boston Alumni made a stop at the Four’s Restaurant in Boston on Feb. 18.

Reid Acton ’08, Karina Srb (Berkshire ’10), Kevin GarciaRamirez ’08, Scott Morell ’08 and Steve Decelian ’08

Ashley Jeffress ’09, Julien Boutet ’08, Ryan Tocci ’08, Caroline Scott ’09, Will Danforth ’09 and Julia Simons ’09

Will Ames ’05, C.C. Webster ’05, Adam King ’07 and Bailey Harris ’05

Kate Sullivan ’08, Greg Carey ’07, Andrew Polio ’08 and Kelly Cheng ’08

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Class Visit Days Westminster parents had a chance to observe their son’s or daughter’s academic experience on the Hill and to join their child in classes during Class Visit Days on Feb. 14 and 15. Other activities in which parents participated were a reception with faculty, Dramat’s performances of “Into the Woods” and athletic contests. The Westminster College Office also gave Fifth Form parents and students a full overview of the college process at Fifth Form College Day on Feb. 15. An admission panel included representatives from Holy Cross, Southern Methodist University and Yale University.


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2014 Alumni Winter Games Alumni returned to Westminster Jan. 12 to compete on the courts and on the ice in the annual Alumni Winter Games. Events took place in basketball, hockey and squash.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

SQUASH

BOYS’ HOCKEY

GIRLS’ HOCKEY

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SUPPORTING WESTMINSTER

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Holiday Receptions Alumni, parents and friends of Westminster gathered at holiday receptions in Boston, New York City and Hartford.

New York The New York City reception took place Dec. 11 at the Yale Club.

Ted Levine ’04 and Phil Lauderdale ’02

Don Reeves ’05, Tread Mink ’77, P’11, Luis Quero ’06 and Pieter Melief ’05

Hope Whitney-Wu ’83, P’16, Douglas Wu P’16 and Peter Van Duyne ’82

Spencer Van Pelt ’93, Beecher Scarlett ’94, John Ryan ’93 and Derrick Logan ’93

Drew Malbin ’04, Tami Couch ’04, Mimi Pitney ’04 and Kiley Murphy ’04 42

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Elyse Spalding P’08, ’12, Hans and Natalie Tallis ’81, and Michael Spalding ’74, P’08, ’12


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Hartford The Hartford reception was held at the Hartford Golf Club on Dec. 4.

Laurie and Dmitry Yekelchik P’16, Carmen Sierra P’16 and Celia Haydee Sierra GP’16

Peter Newman ’80, P’16, Ryan McGuigan ’90 and Tom Sargent ’77, P’10

Tom Hodson ’77, P’08, ’11, Ann Gilman P’78, ’80, Larry Wasiele ’75, Larry Gilman P’78, ’80 and Chester Way

Dave Childs ’52, John McCormick P’12, ’16 and Berney Smyth P’16

Kristen McCausland P’14’, ’16, Anne Sargent P’07, ’17, Chad and Denise Alfeld P’16, and Bill Cranshaw P’08, ’12

Caitlin Hodson ’08, Emily Cranshaw ’08 and Tom Scanlon ’08 43


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1888: Greenwich Martlet platform tennis enthusiasts gathered Jan. 29 at the Round Hill Club for an evening of social and competitive play, thanks to host Curt Brockelman ’86. The presence of this winter’s polar vortex did little to stop the gritty Westminster faithful.

Front row, Scott Stevens P’07, ’09, ’12, Adam King ’07, Will Katz ’07 and Dave Werner ’80, P’10, ’11, ’16 Back row, Nate de Kanter ’95, Tread Mink ’77, P’11, Ned Burns ’84, Sarah Davis Johnson ’90, Lars Noble ’80, Curt Brockelman ’86, Ellen Brockelman Bailey ’90, Billy Lewis ’87and Sam Babington P’15. Photographer and paddler: Scott Johnson

Westminster Upcoming Events May 9-11

June 23

Westminster Reunion Celebrating classes ending in the 4s and 9s

Reception for Alumni and Parents Hosts: Trinette and Herbert S. Cheng P’08, ’11, ’13 Kowloon, Hong Kong

June 1 Iron Horse Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Simsbury, Conn.

June 21 Reception for Alumni and Parents Hosts: Hyun and Sang Duck Lee P’12, ’14, ’17 Seoul, Korea

June 25 Reception for Alumni and Parents Hosts: Mei-Wen Chou Wang and Chun-Chi Chou P’15 New Taipei City, Taiwan

August 6 Reception for Alumni and Parents Hosts: Ann and Graham Gund ’59 Nantucket, Mass.

Please check www.westminster-school.org/1888 for locations and times

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Enjoying the Whole Process

Lake Bell ’97

Lake Bell ’97, best known for her starring roles in television’s “Childrens Hospital” and “Boston Legal,” and the film hit “It’s Complicated,” with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, is now an award winner for a film she wrote, directed and stars in titled “In A World…” It is a comedy released last fall about a two-bit vocal coach, portrayed by Lake, who gets pitted against her father, the patriarch of the voice-over industry. Lake even wears a Westminster T-shirt in a number of scenes. Acclaim for the film has included the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival, the New Voices in Screenwriting Award at the Nantucket Film Festival, the Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera Award by the Phoenix Film Critics Society and a National Board of Review Award. Lake’s first professional acting role came shortly after graduation from Westminster, when she portrayed Sylvie, the French maid, in “Move Over Mrs. Markham,” a summer stock production staged at Westminster’s Werner Centennial Theater. “I begged Dean Adams to let me audition,” recalled Lake. “I got the part, and stayed on campus that summer.” While still collecting accolades for “In A World...,” Lake is filming back-toback movies. She recently completed work on the action thriller “The Coup” opposite Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan, which brought her to remote areas of Thailand for several months in 2013. She was off to London just weeks after finishing “The Coup” to star opposite Simon Pegg in “Man Up,” filming in London. Her short break between films afforded her the opportunity to take a long overdue honeymoon with her husband, renowned tattoo artist Scott Campbell, whom she married in June 2013. The couple met when Campbell was starring as himself on the set of HBO’s “How to Make it in America.” While at Westminster, Lake won the Cowing Art Award her Third and Fourth Form years for her drawing and painting. But she says she always knew she wanted to be an actress. “I never had any other inclination. I walked into the Westminster theater and knew it was the 100 percent choice for me. Media art was a complement to a growing brain.” As a student, Lake played major roles in theatrical productions and assisted with technical crew responsibilities. She was elected co-president of the Dramat Association and worked on The Westminster News, as art editor and cultural editor. She also was an officer of the Student Activities Committee (SAC) and a volunteer student tutor. She played on First Volleyball and was a corridor prefect and a tour guide. Lake quietly developed her writing talent at Westminster. “I have secretly been writing my entire life,” she said. “My mother and I wrote letters back and forth. We took our correspondence seriously.” Lake went on to attend Skidmore College for one year at the behest of her parents, who wanted her to study liberal arts, before transferring to the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London. “At drama school, I started liking dialogue-based writing,” she said. “I learned how it works in Los Angeles.” She collaborated with another writer on her first project over a span of four years. “It was like a college course in story structure.” While that project never came to fruition, Lake now has two more writing projects in development. “In a World...” took more than five years to produce from conception to release, and Lake says it is too soon to announce her next projects. “They need the right amount of time to gestate!” Lake says feeding off of other people’s excitement and energy invigorates her. “I’m doing acting jobs now,” she explained. She will appear on the screen this May in the Disney film “Million Dollar Arm,” directed by Craig Gillespie, where she will star opposite Jon Hamm, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Aziz Ansari and Suraj Sharma. “It helps me to write with care and refrain from moving too quickly. Writing, acting, directing — I like doing all three. Four if you count producing! I enjoy the whole process. It’s a multiple cocktail mix of creative choices that I’m honored to make.”

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An Unexpected Path

Adélaïde Sisk Ness ’01 with her children, Josephine, left, and Eléonore, standing, and her husband, Matthew.

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A marathon year is underway for Adélaïde Sisk Ness ’01. Last year, she was named executive vice president of The Rainmaker Companies, an organization dedicated to providing the consulting services, training and alliances to help accounting firms grow. While engaged in a busy time of professional growth, she is also gearing up to run her first marathon this spring. Adélaïde explains that Rainmaker Companies provides the resources small boutique accounting firms need to offer the same services as the Big Four. “A small firm can remain local but have the resources to be competitive,” she said. “Accountants are smart and savvy but often don’t have the soft skills like business development, marketing and communications. We evaluate systems and help give them the tools to lead, succeed and grow.” Accounting wasn’t Adélaïde’s expected career path. She graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in French, Spanish and communications, and worked briefly her final semester as an event coordinator for the Nashville Sounds, a minor league team for the Milwaukee Brewers. “I realized that pulling tarp in heels wasn’t for me,” she said. A phone call from Rainmaker Companies to the head of the French Department at Vanderbilt seeking someone with bilingual skills and a business sense would lead Adélaïde to the firm. “The department head contacted me and told me that Vanderbilt appreciates it when companies reach out to us, so please go on the interview,” recalled Adélaïde. “I was 22 and didn’t know anything about the accounting industry.” Ten days after graduation, she joined Rainmaker Companies as the membership services liaison between national and international firms. Her running aspirations also began at Vanderbilt. Adélaïde met her husband, Matthew, at the beginning of her senior year in 2004 during a layover at Newark airport while he was in the Army and stationed at Fort Campbell. Adélaïde completed her first half marathon while Matthew served in Iraq. “Running helps me stay focused,” she said. “I don't want to take body and life for granted. I can run anywhere, whether I’m at home or on a business trip.” The couple were married in Westminster’s Andrews Memorial Chapel in 2007, and five of Adélaïde’s bridesmaids were Westminster friends. “I love my college friends, but it is a different relationship with my Westminster friends,” she said. “They are the closest thing I have to sisters and are like aunts to my children.” Adélaïde has returned to Westminster for her reunions and served as co-chair of her reunion committee. Recalling her time as a student, she said, “My skills and abilities to conduct business began at Westminster, from respect and integrity to speaking in formal settings,” she said. “Westminster reinforced the ‘nonnegotiables’ instilled by my parents.” She says her favorite Westminster classes taught her life skills. “Everyone remembers Brian Ford’s Wednesday and Saturday writing assignments,” she recalled. “He was not soft about feedback. I learned to take pride in my work. Most kids don’t learn that until they are older.” She also credits history teacher Dick Adams for teaching her to be confident in her instincts. “I would second-guess my answers on multiple-choice questions and not do well,” she said. “He told me he could see where I had made changes and that next time, I should write my first gut response in pen. It changed the course of the way I would do things in college.” While Adélaïde and Matthew were living in France from 2007 to 2010, she established a small office and expanded Rainmaker Companies’ European presence. She also earned an M.A. in global communications with an emphasis in advertising and branding from The American University of Paris, and served as the vice president of communications for the board of the American Women’s Group in Paris for two years. In 2010, she was named Woman of the Year for her contributions to the organization. The couple moved to Boston in 2010 for a career opportunity for Matthew before relocating to Nashville two years ago where Adélaïde is the graphic design chair of the Junior League of Nashville and on the board of the Friends of Nashville Ballet. “Moving back to the states was hard,” said Adélaïde. With much of her extended family still living in France, she says that her long-term goal is to spend summers there with her daughters, Eléonore and Josephine. For now, her family’s summer home on the north shore of Boston is an appreciated constant. Her brother, a surgeon, was a first responder during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. This year, Adélaïde plans to run the marathon with her father and in support of Restore Ministries, a charity that provides counseling and small group therapies to people in need. “I want to give back to Boston,” she said.


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Great Sounds Lead the Way The sounds of a sports broadcast would be just noise and dialogue were it not for the soundtrack accompanying the action. Phil Hanson ’79 oversees music selection, supervision and clearance for ESPN productions of soccer, college basketball, tennis, major league baseball, lacrosse, boxing, ESPN International and E:60, a sports news magazine program for which his talents were recognized with two Emmy Awards. With the broad audience for sports, Phil says that choosing music is not a perfect science. He stays up-todate on new performers and sounds by monitoring social media, attending shows and screening submissions sent to ESPN for consideration. “Sometimes music chases us,” he said. “We get pitches morning, noon and night. Nothing may happen immediately when we hear a song, but it could be perfect later.” Of the music selections that eventually make the final cut, Phil estimates that half are the result of pitches, and the other half are the result of him and his team chasing songs. It was “the chase” that garnered the first Emmy for Phil and his team when ESPN’s E:60 produced “Catfish Hunters,” a documentary following several Mississippi sportsmen engaged in the art of noodling — barehanded catfish hunting. Phil navigated a complex application and approval process involving the estate of the late Jimi Hendrix, his music publisher and record label to gain permission for E:60 to use Hendrix’s interpretation of the Delta blues standard “Catfish Blues.” He was awarded a second Emmy in 2010 for his work on “Survivor 1,” a story of former soldiers and victims of civil war in Liberia who now play soccer with fellow countrymen and fellow amputees. Phil’s own roots are Caribbean music. His father was a professional calypso singer, and in addition to his work at ESPN, Phil is the longtime host and producer of “Island Bounce,” which is broadcast in the Hartford area and has been featured on The House of Blues Digital Radio Network. “I was trying to get away from music when I was at Westminster,” said Phil. “My parents made me take piano lessons.” As a Martlet, he was a member of the student council, a contributing editor for the Westminster Journal, vice president of the Black and Puerto Rican Student Union and tutored other students. He also played football and lacrosse, and received the Squibb Bowl and Excellence in Spanish awards. After graduation, Phil attended Georgetown University with an intention of studying law but was instead drawn to theater and fine arts. “I realized law wasn’t for me,” he said. He began his professional career mixing sound for off-Broadway theater productions, and went on to become a film commissioner for the Southeastern Connecticut Film Office, scouting and clearing locations for feature films like Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” and various photo shoots, before getting his break at ESPN. Music selection often begins up to six months ahead of a scheduled sporting event or production. Today, Phil is screening music and seeking legal clearance for songs to be used for 2014 FIFA World Cup Soccer in Brazil, and for several projects for ESPN’s Latin networks. Phil’s selections will be heard in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain and Chile. While the music Phil chooses is heard by millions of ESPN viewers around the globe, he rarely has the opportunity to attend sporting events. “Most of my travel is to New York for meetings with the music industry,” he said. “I get invited to a lot of things I can’t attend!”

Phil Hanson ’79, top, with one of his Emmy Awards and, left, at the WMRD radio station.

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Valuable Life Lessons

Top, Charles Santry ’80, P’12 and, above, a product in HKD’s tower gun lineup of snowmaking products.

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Charles Santry ’80, P’12 is still benefiting from the valuable life lessons he learned at Westminster more than three decades ago. “When I reflect back, I’m indebted to the school for shaping who I am today as a person and a businessman,” said the co-founder and president of HKD Snowmakers in Natick, Mass. “Through the many challenges, failures and successes I had at Westminster, I learned that one should never give up — always stay positive and keep pursuing your goals.” Before he became a Martlet, Charles was familiar with Westminster. His older brother, Arthur Santry ’74, played varsity lacrosse, and Charles often attended the games with his younger brother, Robert Santry ’86, and their late father, Arthur J. Santry Jr., who was a Westminster trustee from 1973 to 1991. “Being familiar with the quality coaches and teachers at the school made my decision to attend Westminster much easier,” said Charles. Charles went on to play first team lacrosse, serving as co-captain his Sixth Form year, as well as first and second team hockey, thirds soccer and cross country. “I think it’s great that the school has competitive teams at the lower levels,” he said. “Playing a sport every season taught me how to use my time effectively and the value of teamwork. The humility I learned trying to run cross country or playing thirds soccer helped me in college and years later running my business.” Faculty member Rodney LaBreque ignited Charles’ interest in science during his Sixth Form year. “Academics didn’t come easily to me, but Mr. LaBreque was approachable; he made physics fun and interesting,” explained Charles. “Science clicked with me. The only ‘A’ that I received at Westminster was in physics.” Charles went on to study geology at St. Lawrence University and earn a master’s degree at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Science became the backbone of his career. For many years, Charles cultivated an interest in competitive sailing, though he hasn’t manned a tiller for quite a while. He was a crew member on board an America’s Cup team in Perth, Australia, from 1984 to 1987. Charles worked in banking before partnering with his father-in-law in 1990 to create HKD Snowmakers Inc. Their innovative snowmaking technology required 80 percent less energy than competitors and became the industry standard. Today, HKD snow gun towers are used at more than 700 ski resorts worldwide, from the United States and Canada to France and Korea. Breckenridge, von Trapp Family Lodge, Okemo, Loon, Stratton, Telluride and Val d’Isere are a handful of HKD’s well-known clients. The company has 40 employees, including Charles’ wife, Anni. HKD has a unique tie to the Sochi Olympics: Three years ago, HKD signed a contract to install and maintain 87 snow gun towers at Copper Mountain in Colorado, where the U.S. Ski Team trains for downhill and Super-G speed events. HKD technology allows the team to get one month of extra training time, starting Nov. 1, making Copper Mountain the only early season, fulllength downhill training run dedicated to the U.S. Ski Team. The two-mile trail starts at 12,000 feet and drops 2,300 vertical feet, allowing athletes to soar at speeds up to 75 mph. “It’s pretty special to have this connection to our Olympic team,” Charles said. “I had the opportunity to ski the course with Picabo Street and watch some of the other great downhill skiers train.” HKD’s 30-foot-tall snow guns are controlled by a central computer or handheld device which communicates to each gun and determines how much snow is made at different temperatures. The snow guns start, stop and adjust as needed based on snow quality settings, temperature, pressure and wind speed. “Research and development is important to us, and we’re always working on making our products better and more user-friendly,” said Charles. “We take pride in providing great products and service to our clients.” When reminiscing about his Westminster days, Charles said he has fond memories of teachers and staff members who went out of their way to keep him motivated and challenged both in and out of the classroom. “I didn’t always appreciate what they were trying to show me at the time,” he said. “As I mature and reflect back, I realize and appreciate the incredible value of the life lessons they taught me.” During the winter of his Fourth Form year, Charles and his friends enjoyed many laughs skiing down a small hill at the edge of the school’s campus. “I’ll never forget Mr. Bruce Burdette running the rope tow with his gas engine,” he said. “It was spontaneous and fun. Wonderful!” Charles is the father of four children. His son Gordon Santry ’12 is a sophomore at Colgate University. His proud dad credits Westminster for providing the academic and athletic atmosphere, with supportive mentors, to develop Gordon into a talented, well-rounded gentleman.


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Clifton Nelson Bridges Clifton “Kippy” Nelson Bridges, of Granby, Conn., died March 15, 2013, in Windsor, Conn. Born in Lubec, Maine, he lived in Connecticut 58 years and worked from 1956 to 1991 at Westminster where he was a member of the maintenance staff. He and his late wife of 44 years, Joanne, lived in Orchard House and raised their children on campus. She was a nurse at Westminster. Kippy served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1956. He was a talented musician and, as a young man, sang and played guitar in a country western band throughout Connecticut. He also enjoyed watching the UConn Women’s Basketball team and the Boston Red Sox. Kippy looked forward each year to visiting his family in Maine and his daughters on Campobello Island in Canada. He was constantly surrounded by friends and family who were often lucky enough to hear him sing and play his guitar. He loved being in the great outdoors, spending time on the beach, and having barbeques with his family and friends. One of his lasting legacies will be Uncle Kippy’s Restaurant in Lubec, Maine, which his nephew George Olson and his wife, Sonia, opened more than 20 years ago. Looking back on her family’s years at Westminster, Kippy’s daughter Terry Bridges ’83 said, “I feel very lucky to have grown up on campus, and I know my parents felt very privileged to be able to raise their children there. All of the faculty and staff looked out for each other’s kids. We took all of our meals in the dining room, and I always looked forward to meals when a small group of staff members would eat together. I know my parents enjoyed that time as well.” In his retirement years, Kippy regularly returned to Westminster at lunchtime to play pool in the maintenance shop with members of the maintenance staff. “He was a pretty good pool player,” said James Courtemanche, a tradesperson at Westminster who played pool with him. “He loved a good game of Nine-ball and didn’t mind losing as long as he won at least one game. He also loved the Red Sox and hated the Yankees. He said that as long as they beat the Yankees that was all that counted. When the Red Sox won the World Series, he was in his glory. He was a friend to all of us and will be remembered.” “Kippy did not like to get skunked at pool,” added Jeff Brignano, trades manager at Westminster, who also regularly played pool with him. “I met him when he had just retired in 1991. We asked him to stop up and play pool in the maintenance shop. At first, he was hesitant, but then he started coming every day. He didn’t talk much during pool, so we made a lot of sarcastic remarks to get him going. That was the highlight of the day for him.” “Kippy Bridges, my friend and co-worker, was a gentle soul and a loyal employee,” said Bill Babbitt, manager of

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Kippy Bridges with his wife, Joanne, who served as a nurse at Westminster.

Westminster’s custodial services and security. “I am proud to have known him. His duties changed daily. He drove the morning and evening school bus, plowed snow and covered special events. He also had a special bond with nature. He would feed squirrels and chipmunks from his hand. He was always willing to help others.” Kippy leaves a son, Colby Bridges, and his wife, Robin, of South Windsor; three daughters: Sherrill Mills and her husband, Donald, of Campobello Island; Debbie Mitchell of Campobello Island; and Terry Bridges ’83 of Simsbury; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Kippy playing pool in the Westminster maintenance shop.


Closing Thoughts Planting an Early Seed by Maxine Smith ’14 Five years ago, I drove up Williams Hill as the daughter and great-granddaughter of alumni, four years ago as a prospective student and three years ago as a new Fourth Former. Very soon, I’ll be leaving as a graduate and coming up that same hill as an alumna myself. For as long as I can remember, Westminster has always been a part of the plan. During much of my childhood, my dad, who graduated from Westminster in 1979, subliminally advertised the school. When I was 4 years old, he decided to name our two great Danes after Westminster’s motto, “Grit and Grace.” I also had two Westminster wooden chairs sitting in two corners of my room. I think it’s fair to say that the Westminster seed was planted even before I knew what Westminster was. Although I grew up in a Westminster family, the decision to become a Martlet was ultimately mine. At first, the concept of attending a boarding school wasn’t exactly appealing. I couldn’t imagine having to share a bathroom with eight other girls. More importantly, I couldn’t imagine living away from my parents at such a young age. However, after much thought, I decided to apply. And now, having spent three years at Westminster, I realize that my favorite parts of the school are the same things my dad and great-grandfather loved about it as well. Sharing Favorite Experiences Exactly 90 years ago, in 1924, my great-grandfather, Moreau “Toddy” Stoddard, graduated from Westminster. He spent four years at Choate Rosemary Hall, but chose to spend a postgraduate year at Westminster because he felt he was too young to go to college. I never had the chance to meet my great-grandfather, but my grandmother tells me his favorite things about Westminster were how he was able to be a leader in his own way and the friendships he formed while in school. Among other things, he was the captain of the track team, a dorm prefect and vice president of the music club. He would also tell my grandmother, that despite his four years at Choate, he felt his time at Westminster was when he truly matured. He ended up serving on Westminster’s Board of Trustees from 1935 to 1970, as one of its longest-serving board members. I think that speaks volumes about his allegiance to the school. Flash-forward 55 years later to 1979, and my dad, Richard J. Smith II, walked down the same commencement path as his grandfather. I grew up hearing stories about my father’s Westminster experiences and how he was the “perfect” student (and how I should strive to be like him), and a real teacher’s pet. He would also tell me about how, like his

grandfather, he was able to mature and develop leadership skills as a student. The things he liked best about Westminster were his relationships with the faculty, and just like my great-grandfather, his ability to stand out as a leader. Among other activities, my dad was the president of the John Hay Society, head of the Student Admissions Committee — now known as Black and Gold — and a volunteer student tutor. Some of my dad’s friends and favorite teachers are faculty members whom I have had the opportunity to get to know. Mrs. Joan Howard, his English teacher, has been my advisor during the last three years. Mr. Alan Brooks, the head of admissions back then, helped me with my speech for the dedication of the new dormitories at the 125th anniversary celebration. Mr. Peter Newman, my college counselor and Spanish teacher, was my dad’s friend, and, in fact, won the Keyes Bowl the year after my dad did. A Good Decision Although I still believe that my dad was always trying to persuade me to attend Westminster, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I’ve lived in five different countries — the Philippines, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — so the concept of “home” is a little blurry to me. However, my transition to living at Westminster, also my first time living away from my parents, was much easier than I thought it would be. What helped me the most through my homesickness was knowing that my experiences were similar to my dad’s and great-grandfather’s. My dad went through the same feelings that I was going through when he was first a student. And just like my greatgrandfather and my dad, I was able to become a leader in my own way. I am a dorm prefect and, just like my dad, I am a volunteer tutor in Hartford for the Westminster Crossroads Learning Program. I’ve also been blessed with some of the best teachers and know I will keep in touch with them in the years ahead. My Moral Philosophy teacher, Mr. Todd Eckerson, taught me the importance of transforming, changing, and rolling with the waves and adapting. Mrs. Howard, my advisor, taught me the importance of accepting what life throws at me and of being myself. And Mrs. Barbara Adams, my mentor, taught me to believe in myself, to always be there for people and to show up. More Things in Common Than Not My three years at Westminster have shaped me more than any other place where I’ve lived. I’m sure any teenager can say that about his or her high school career, but I find that my time at Westminster has taught me the importance of leadership, individualism and community. And despite the many physical and technological changes to the campus separating the times between my experience at Westminster and those of my great-grandfather and father, there have been more things we shared in common than not. The school has been able to maintain its core values and uphold its strong sense of community over the decades. Westminster has always been a part of my life, and I am thankful the seed was planted early.

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Westminster School Bulletin Spring 2014  

Westminster School Alumni Bulletin

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