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Now&Then @Wheeler

FFfall 2013

A Ten-Year Campus Plan’s Final Step The Center for Community and Performing Arts — Opening September 2014

Now&Then @ Wheeler Vol. 11 Issue 2 Fall 2013 Editor: Laurie Flynn Head of Institutional Advancement: Patricia McLaughlin Board of Trustees President: Meredith Curren Alumni Association President: Etienne Granito Mechrefe ‘95 Parents Association President: Dana Salvadore Cazzani ‘82 Cover: The new Center for Community and Performing Arts as designed by Ann Beha Architects. Nondiscrimination Policy: The Wheeler School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or handicap in the administration of its educational, admissions, and financial aid policies, faculty and staff recruitment and hiring policies, athletics or other programs or activities administered by the school. twitter @wheelerschool LinkedIn: The Wheeler School Alumni Network Instagram: @wheeleralumni Published by the Office of Institutional Advancement The Wheeler School 216 Hope Street Providence, Rhode Island 02906

Message from the Head of School — Dan Miller

A Campus Plan Fulfilled

A year into the job I better understood. Wheeler had been rightfully focused almost exclusively on creating programs, on teaching, on school culture, and given limited resources, this was certainly as it should be. But it was also clear that the campus was tired, and its limitations were beginning to get in the way; it was not welcoming to prospective families, and it could no longer serve the boundless energy and talents of our faculty and kids. So we began to plan, to prioritize. We figured out what we needed to add, and, as important, what needed protecting. We found experts we trusted; we had countless meetings with every possible constituent group, including our neighbors, the city, and preservationists. We had more meetings. We fundraised. And in the end we settled on an ambitious multi-year plan, a road map, driven by the simple premise: a more attractive, more efficient, and more “embracing” campus would make this a better school for everyone. After a very busy decade, we are beginning construction of the final piece of this plan. The so-called “Center for Community and Performing Arts” (pictured on the front cover) will meet
several critical needs. Wheeler Hall will become a fully renovated theater-specific venue, liberated, at last, from its double-duty as the school’s only assembly space by the creation of an adjoining 400+ seat auditorium/lecture hall. Above and below this new venue will be classrooms and practice studios for our extraordinary music program — from handbells to a cappella, to jazz, to classical guitar. And with the Angell Street side of our block completed, the campus I missed when I drove around it 10 years ago will have its finishing touch. Let me close with a cautionary note. A beautiful campus and well-appointed facilities can never be ends unto themselves. Wheeler’s “bricks and mortar” and grand plans must always serve a larger purpose: to facilitate teaching, learning, and the creation of a warm, supportive school culture where adults and children are at their best. I hope the following pages, densely packed with news of our community’s joyous productivity, confirm that we are headed in the right direction.

photo by Vickers & Beechler

On my first visit to Wheeler ten years ago, I got lost on the East Side, driving right past the school on three sides — Angell, Brook, and Meeting Street — and circling the block to Hope Street before figuring out that I’d arrived. Granted, this was in the pre-GPS world, but, in retrospect, I think it was the first time I realized that the campus — surrounded as it was by chain-link fence and fading signage — did not fully do justice to the school.

A Community’s Campaign By Patricia McLaughlin, Head of Institutional Advancement


his year marks the 125th anniversary of our founding by Mary C. Wheeler, and we have the unique opportunity to both honor our past and look to our future. In setting the priorities for our current “Campaign for the 125th,” the Trustees thought first of an oft-used word: “community.” And so we are not only seeking to build our endowment for financial aid to ensure access to Wheeler for talented young people, but we are addressing a critical building need that is long overdue and essential to the type of school we want to be. The image on the cover of this magazine will be the realization of that vision.

As you may have read in previous communications, we are working to create a hub and proper gathering space for our campus. A gorgeous, 400-seat amphitheater assembly hall will provide that venue, as well as lovely performing arts classrooms, practice rooms, and recording studio. As important, by relieving Wheeler Hall of the overwhelming press of demands and events occasioned by our bustling community, we can finally give the school’s most beloved and historically significant building — Wheeler Hall — the make-over it so deserves. The new Wheeler Hall will now house a lovely, intimate theater, properly updated and renovated with both physical and technological assets that allow young actors and theater technicians to develop their skills and pursue their passions.  As Mark Harris put it, our students “make music in the basement, and recite Shakespeare in the courtyard wearing hats and mittens. They don’t need special effects to put on a great production of a classic – but they deserve better.” The integration of these building projects — the assembly space and the renovated Wheeler Hall — symbolize the vital importance of the arts and of community in this vibrant school and are the result of careful planning and discipline. The architects have thoughtfully addressed our needs, the engineering and technological analysis is complete, and our leadership donors have given us the confidence and resources to begin construction. But there are still critical funds to be raised, and the final step will only be possible if our community comes together to make this happen. Gifts at all levels will make a difference in this Campaign for the 125th as we create something wonderful and essential for generations of Wheeler students.


Now & Then @ Wheeler

The integration of these building projects — the assembly space and the renovated Wheeler Hall — symbolize the vital importance of the arts and of community in this vibrant school . . .

At right, designs for the large assembly space (top), second floor lobby (center) and a sample performing arts classroom (bottom). Take an animated walk through the space online at

Now & Then @ Wheeler


Community & Creativity To Flourish In Renovated Wheeler Hall

An architect’s design for the new Wheeler Hall interior shows (above) one of several seating arrangements which will give more flexibility for performances as well as be handicapped accessible. Below, a rendering of how the new construction connects to Wheeler Hall and the Prescott Library, completing the Angell Street side of the campus.


In the very near future, when we say a ‘packed house’ in Wheeler Hall, we’ll mean it in a good way!

At right, the Performing Arts Department’s fall schedule illustrates a “packed house” in Wheeler Hall, and not in a good way. Classes, rehearsals, meetings and assemblies stretch the space beyond its intended use.

Cutaway view of Wheeler Hall from the courtyard shows the renovated theater space as well as the glass lobby connecting to the new Center for Community and Performing Arts behind the Prescott Library. The art studios on the top floor of Wheeler Hall will be preserved. 5

TWo Special Events for o A Wheeler Alumni Group Art Exhibition October 17November 6 Please join us as we celebrate our artistic heritage this anniversary year with a special all-alumni exhibition curated by Sue Carroll in the Chazan Gallery at Wheeler.

Alumni are welcome for the special Alumni Weekend Reception on October 18 as part of the 125th & Reunion celebration events. Everyone is welcome on Gallery Night as all of Providence gets a chance to see our talented alumni or you may visit any time during the exhibition, October 17 - November 6. Hours and details at left. 6

Now & Then @ Wheeler

our 125th Anniversary! design by Caity Sprague ‘09


Wheeler Announces New Technology Initiatives From Head of School Dan Miller — Mary C. Wheeler knew that the best schools are works in progress, forward-looking, always adapting to meet the changing needs of its students. In that spirit of ambitious and strategic evolution, Wheeler is accelerating its integration of educational technology across its grade levels. Under the leadership of Judy Poirier, Wheeler’s very tech-savvy Assistant Head of School and Karie Hayes, our Director of Technology, we have engaged in an intensive period of research and preparation to ensure that our choices reflect more than “bells and whistles,” more than “technology for technology’s sake.” While some schools approach school-based technology with a comprehensive one-device solution, we are tailoring our initiative in a tactical, age-specific way, knowing full well that our approach will evolve as times (rapidly) change. In the end, however, our educational goals are fundamental and timeless: • To deepen student engagement and achievement. • To amplify (not replace) the tried-and-true practices that makes our teachers and their classrooms so extraordinary. • To ensure our graduate’s continued readiness for the next stage of their education, and, ultimately, for a rapidly changing world. I strongly encourage you to “click on the link” as they say – for a more specific introduction to this initiative across all our divisions.

Lingtlanguage : Old Skills, New Ways In Modern Language By Josefina Callender, Middle School Spanish If I were to acknowledge the connection between new technologies and what we used to do “way back then,” in the time of the lab, I may be dating myself, but that is precisely where this wonderful new tool lingt intersects with a past century practice. Here at Wheeler, Modern Language faculty are using a web-based virtual language lab to promote the use and practice of both written and spoken language. In my role of Spanish instructor in the Middle School, I am particularly fond of this wonderful resource, and use it with some frequency as a way of hearing my students’ progress. What it is: Lingtlanguage is a web-based platform that allows us the opportunity of posting assignments for oral / audio practice. One of the things that makes lingtlanguage so inviting, is the ease with which a teacher can create the content, and the even greater ease with which the student can access and record their online assignments. There are no passwords for students to remember; and once their home computers have been set up, they are ready to speak and be heard. The teacher can then listen and send back feedback, either orally or in writing. Sound familiar? Remember the old language lab days? Now the language 8

lab has gone virtual, and students can be heard, and receive direct feedback from the comfort of their home computer. Why I like it: I am particularly fond of lingtlanguage and use it on a nearly weekly basis. Learning modern language requires practice, and by assigning oral practice over the weekend, I make sure a student has one more day of speaking practice on their way towards fluency. Another invaluable gift of lingtlanguage is the joy of listening to the confidence of speakers. Many speakers who are shy in class are bold and confident when working alone. This tool lets that voice out, first in the safety of home, later in the bigger context of class. As our class motto says: we speak to learn as we learn to speak, and now we have one more tool to bring us to that speaking reality. Lingtlanguage, a cool tech tool. If you would like to try out an exercise and see how easy it is to use, please go to - Once there, scroll down to any Callender Spanish class, and try your hand at an exercise (you determine your level of expertise whether total beginner [6th grade] or more advanced [8th grade]. If you are new to the Now & Then @ Wheeler

program, you may have to “allow microphone.” Give it a try, and follow the instructions for posting an exercise. You will see how intuitive it is. When finished, make sure you send your submission with an email address - as prompted - so you can experience feedback. Since you may be doing this during non-school days, please write me at to let me know that you have tried it, and I will listen in and respond.

Among our new initiatives this fall is a BYOD program for all 9th graders. What is BYOD? Bring Your Own Device refers to a school-based technology model where students bring a personally-owned device to school to add a new dimension to their educational experience. Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, all students in 9th grade will be required to bring a laptop or tablet (and keyboard) to school. Among other advantages, these devices will allow teachers and students to uniformly access online materials and texts, benefit from digital note-taking, participate in interactive blogs -- the possibilities are literally endless. Learn more at

Above: students Margot Chisholm and Emma Adrain work with Prezi software in one of Wheeler’s four technology labs. At right: A sample presentation by four 8th graders. photo by Steve Jenks

“Prezi is really cool, it thinks like me!” Eighth graders review new presentation tool By Joe Baer, Eighth Grade History By the time students enter Eighth Grade they are highly proficient with PowerPoint, so I was not surprised to hear “Why do we have to use something else?” when I told the class we were now going to use the Prezi presentation program. Like adults, kids want to know their time and effort is well spent and PowerPoint is very effective and enjoys a wide following, including by me. So why do I want our students to use something else in history class? Prezi gives kids a blank canvas from which they create clusters of text, images, sounds and video in an array of shapes that are organized in a non-linear format. Students then add background music to establish tone or voice-overs to narrate their presentation. These free flowing elements mirror the emerging ability of my students to think in more conceptual and abstract ways than in earlier grades. Integrating Prezi into my lesson plans helps kids develop their thinking in new ways. We have used Prezi throughout the year for both individual work and collaborative projects where kids create and edit material simultaneously.

By Margot Chisholm ‘17

By Emma Adrain ‘17

Prezi is a much faster, thrilling way to create and present the projects we make in Middle School. Prezi puts a spin on boring PowerPoint, using size, animation of text, and space to create a presentation that is not overcrowded, dull or monotone. The blank canvas encourages creativity, and no student has to worry about their presentation not being unique. Sharing work is easier than breathing, and the same goes for adding images and videos to the presentation. I have used Prezi both when it was a required medium, and when it was my decision as to what I should use for my project. It is great for tying together group projects, presenting ideas for history, English and science class.

Prezi is a great tool to use for presentations. What I really like about it is that it is so different from PowerPoint, and it is so much more flexible so you can really add your own personal touch to the Prezi you make. In the process of creating a Prezi you can add your own path to things and you aren’t obligated to go by a path that is basically already set and ordered for you. Everything you add to a Prezi can have its own path. It is really a fantastic tool for presentations because you can flow easily from one topic to the next and go back to other things to compare and contrast. You can set your Prezi to a timer so it will run by itself and form as a video presentation. One of my personal favorite things about Prezi is the fact that you can add background music to your presentation. Prezi can be used as a collaborative tool, so if you are doing a group project, multiple people can work on one Prezi at a time. It is one of the most efficient presenting tools I have ever used in my time as a student at Wheeler, and I hope to work with it later on in high school.

Prezi puts a spin on ‘boring’ PowerPoint Now & Then @ Wheeler


In And Out Of 1. Upper School Chinese 2 students were invited to visit the Kindergarten during the latter’s unit on China. The older students taught simple calligraphy to the younger students and read them a story about the race of the animals to form the Chinese Zodiac.


2. For more than 15 years, fifth graders have travelled for an overnight field trip at the Farm School in Athol, MA. Essays by the students report pride in “being trusted to feed 150 animals,” “doing chores to help out with farm work. If we don’t work, then the farm won’t run,” and hearing their teachers and farmers sing and play guitar! The farm animals are a huge hit — especially baby goats. One student wrote: “Unfortunately, I can’t fit one in my duffel bag!” 3. Wheeler students competed against teams representing high schools throughout RI and took home the state title for the fourth year in a row at the RI Envirothon competition. The winning team, Wheeler 1: Robert Gaines (senior), Peter Satterthwaite (senior), Alex Saccone (senior), Tom Sacco (freshman)and Alex Brown (sophomore) are shown here with their coach and Envirothon representative.



4. The Wheeler Board of Trustees, gave its 2013 Trustee Award — presented to an adult member of the School community who exhibits “extraordinary character and integrity, love of the School as expressed in thought, word and deed” — to our own JoAnn Donahue, School Receptionist. At Wheeler since 1979, JoAnn is the 14th recipient of this prestigious award. She is a member of the Admission Office staff, and has served as coach of Varsity Softball, Middle School Softball and Middle School Field Hockey teams during her career at Wheeler. JoAnn’s family joined her at the event.


4 Now & Then @ Wheeler

The Classroom 5. It’s anybody’s guess what Aerie Director Mark Harris could be pointing out to these second graders on “safari” at the Wheeler Farm this spring. Elephant herds on the field hockey field, maybe? The students enjoyed the end of their unit on Kenya with the traditional event which includes African music, culture and a chance to have their self-made passports stamped for an amazing adventure. 6. With 63 years between them, these three Wheeler veteran teachers retired this year to move onto new adventures! We congratulate Lower School teacher JoAnne Petrie, and Middle School teachers Seth Garfield and Kate Dabney and thank them for their service to our community.


7. Fourth grade parents and students got up with the “early birds” to go birding with alum Drew Wheelan ‘93 in a special field trip to Swan Point Cemetery. Expert birder Wheelan met the group at 6:30am and led them along the wooded edge and down to the water. The walk was perfectly timed to coincide with the warbler migration and the cemetery was alive with bird songs. The kids got good looks at American Robins, Cardinals, Grackles, Goldfinches, Chimney Swifts, a Great Blue Heron and Swans, among other birds. 8. Hamilton Life Achievement Awardee Ben Kilham (center) and his wife were delighted to visit campus and talk about their work with orphan bear cubs to students and parents as part of the 25th Anniversary of the Hamilton School at Wheeler. Kilham’s learning differences have helped him become renowned for working with a species often misunderstood. Hamilton Director Jon Green (left) and Wheeler Head Dan Miller (right) presented the award.

8 Now & Then @ Wheeler




Sixth Graders Sow Seeds of Change By Trevor O’Driscoll


ecily patiently showed Sasha how to stitch with a needle without drawing blood. Lucy cut a fresh piece of fleece to start another beanie. Eva was threading the bobbin winder on the sewing machine. Just another work period for the middle school student council community service committee which was gathered in teacher Suzanne Elliott’s room sewing hats for newborn babies. Meanwhile, out at the Farm, Sam Abeshouse’s class spent the afternoon breaking a sweat while clearing the cross country trail of the detritus of winter –fallen branches, limbs, and, yes, a full grown tree – in order to make the course race worthy for Field Day, the date of Jack and Dakota’s fun run to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. What may seem like the events of a typical Monday in the middle school were actually the manifestations of months of strategizing, networking, and preparation by the students. It’s all part of the Sixth Grade Action Plan project. The most remarkable fact that unites these disparate anecdotes isn’t that all of the students are sixth graders. Nor is it that these students are engaged in acts of philanthropy. It’s not even the fact that the students built their own websites to summarize their work. What truly stands out is that these sixth graders are executing ideas they conceived of based on their individual passions. These students, and many of their classmates, have turned a seed idea into an action that serves a greater good. This cornerstone project capitalizes on the zeal and energy innate in sixth graders and helps them refine a host of skills including using research materials, digital literacy, planning backwards from an end goal, and public speaking. All the while they get to do something they love. The sixth grade teachers conceived of this project to enhance yearlong thematic studies that focus on a range of essential questions including “how can a person act on his or her beliefs and knowledge?” While the students have plenty of opportunities through various texts to evaluate how others act upon passions, with this project the students get to experience transformative actions themselves. Cecily, Lucy, and Eva all expressed a love for knitting. But how could they turn a passion for purls and slipped stitches into an act of giving that might leave a place better than they found it? Then one of them

Action Plan Example Sixth Graders Jack and Dakota (far right) spent a year planning a Field Day fun run to support the RI Community Food Bank, resulting in donations of 471 pounds of canned food artfully arranged by Wheeler art faculty. Pitching in were other sixth graders who cleared the running trail at the Farm from downed branches. More than 100 alumni, parents and students of all ages took part in the race on Field Day. had an idea – what if they made the hats for newborns? Soon the research started. They found a contact at a local hospital, and prepared notes for a phone call. They downloaded and compared patterns. They were pragmatic and flexible when they realized they could make more hats by using fleece. They made more adjustments. They recruited Maddie whose plan to make pillows for babies was stymied when she found out hospitals wouldn’t take them. This growing group in turn convinced Mrs. Elliott and her student council group to take on the project. Now on any given Monday afternoon a visitor to the second floor of Hope building can see sixth graders making hats that seem impossibly small. But the effort that went into all of this is much bigger than a casual observer might realize. Dakota likes to run, Jack likes to think big, and Dakota and Jack like each other so it wasn’t a surprise when they asked their teacher if they could work together to organize a 5K race. For Jack and Dakota the passion and the big idea were easy to come by. The questions that followed were what made things challenging. Who is running? What will get them to come? When will it be? Where will you have it? Why is it a cause worthy of an Action Plan? Over the course of several months and after countless meetings with administrators, teachers, coaches, parents, and students, Jack and Dakota can now answer all these questions.

On Field Day, right after the main events, runners of all ages from the extended Wheeler community – or more precisely anyone who brings the equivalent number of cans for the 3K or 5K race they enter – can run a course on the cross country trail (freshly tended by homeroom Abeshouse) in an event to collect food for a charity that feeds 66,000 people per month. Passion turned into action. These are just two of the more than 50 Action Plans carried out by Wheeler sixth graders this year, and there is a story behind each one. Maya P. organized an art supply drive for local students without adequate materials and garnered local press for her efforts and the organization. Izzy and Henry ran an activity to get middle schoolers to reap the benefits of face-to-face gaming which they believe trump the experience of playing video games. Matthew spoke before legislators and the media in his fight for marriage equality for his family. The list goes on. With the freedom sixth graders have to chase their passions comes great responsibility and hard work. For some it may even involve blood and sweat. But thankfully no tears. Except from the newborns. Trevor O’Driscoll was the middle school dean of students and taught sixth grade at Wheeler since 2005. He is moving on this fall to become the middle school principal at Bancroft in Worcester, MA.

A Community Action Sampler Seventh Grade — For over a decade, The Wheeler School Seventh Grade has partnered with The Meeting Street School for community service. For most of that time, Wheeler students buddied with middle school students at Meeting Street for an hour each week, playing games, reading stories, or conducting science experiments. However, as the Meeting Street inclusion program has grown, so has the Wheeler partnership. This year, half of our students work in the Meeting Street classroom, while the other half stays on the Wheeler campus to cook goodies to share with our community. Next year, this pilot

cooking program will be expanded, and the goodies — fudge, jam, cookies, and more — will be sold in the Pelson Student Union, with the proceeds being donated to Meeting Street School. Our students are excited to build upon the cooking skills they learned in the Sixth grade Farm program as well as continue our relationship with the Meeting Street School. Rising eighth grade brothers Jesse and Levi Kase were happy to share their experiences with both parts of this service plan through their words below: Community Service is something that every person at the Wheeler gets to enjoy. As a 7th grader I got to go to The Meeting Street School. The Meeting Street School is a school for people who have disabilities. The first time I went to Meeting Street, I thought that it would be boring, and I was very nervous. But when I left the school after the first day I could feel the warmness running through my body. I was working with a student who was not very attentive and could not communicate with his mouth. He loved clapping and

Eighth Grade — Eighth Grade students go to the Fox Point Community Center to support four host agencies, offering an array of services to the neighborhood. Kids sing and make projects with four and five year olds in Mariposa, make cards and decorations with older residents in the Fox Point Senior Center, stock shelves in the local branch of the Providence Public Library and strengthen the Fox Point Boys and Girls Club by working on maintenance tasks and running programs with local kids during school vacation breaks. This service work becomes a true service-learning course by connecting hands-on experience with a culminating civics and public space project in history class. By Joe Baer, 8th Grade Teacher & Service Coordinator

Upper School —

ECO Club members (in green shirts) helped students and parents recycle their old electronics during Earth Week when 1181 pounds were collected and given to Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island. Visit our Community Service webpage at to see more examples of our 9-12 program. Photo by Sloane DeAngelis ‘86

playing with my hands. When I left I felt that I accomplished something. Even though all I did was clap for Joey, I made his day, which is the most important thing. I realized that doing something for the community is just natural. — Levi Kase (at left with Joey and Dominque) With gloves over our hands, covered in tomato sauce, we placed the lasagna noodles into the slow cooker, over the sauce. We added the tofu and spinach mixture next, and then repeated this process five times. While the lasagna cooked in the slow cooker, my classmates and I pulled off the table clothes, washed the dishes, and dried them with paper towels. We cooked this vegan lasagna and gave it to the Wheeler staff the next day, along with gazpacho, Rolos, pretzels, and M&M’s. This was the first time 7th graders cooked to serve their community, and I have a feeling they will be doing it over and over again in future years. — Jesse Kase By Vanessa O’Driscoll, 7th Grade Teacher and Service Coodinator

Lower School — Lower School students have been dedicated to community service for the past 13 years. From our youngest Nursery students to our Fifth Graders, each and every one has played a large part to all our friends in Providence. Their contributions have been given to the following organizations: Amos House, The Tomorrow Fund, Ronald MacDonald House, Hasbro Hospital, and Pennies for Patients. I think the most memorable piece for the students in third to fifth grades is having the experience of going to Amos House. It is obvious to me when we leave there that the students realize this is time well spent and something they couldn’t experience in the classroom. By Donna Holmes, Third Grade Teacher and Lower School

Performing Arts The Middle School took their audience into a Secret Garden as last spring’s show. They’re going a little wider afield in 2014 as they plan to perform Shakespeare’s Elizabethan comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” outdoors at the Wheeler Farm in late May. Alumnae of a certain era may wonder if the historic outdoor Pageants (shown below) have returned!

Top photo by Steve Jenks.

Bottom photo from marked Class of 1949 from the Wheeler Archives. 14

Wheeler student & Wheeler Alum Earn Theater Roles

8th Grader Lauren Durkin (above left as Annie Oakley in a past Lower School musical) has been cast in a Gamm Theater production this fall while alumna Zoe Chao ‘04 starred this summer in the La Jolla Playhouse production of “Sideways.” Durkin was in the kids cast for Trinity Rep’s 2012 “A Christmas Carol.” Chao has been getting lots of attention since receiving her MFA in Acting from UC San Diego. Photo at right by Kevin Berne

What Do you do when Wheeler Hall closes for renovations next Spring? You head to the farm for wheelerstock! See page 7 for more details. Warming Up To Guitars

Wheeler guitar students participated in a day long guitar festival at Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, NH. this year. Students took an improvisation workshop with Back Bay Trio, technique workshop, and much more. All festival participants performed in a guitar concert that had ensemble of 30+ performers!

Coming on December 12 & 13th 15

Parents Association’s Spirit Supports All Facets of Wheeler By Dana Salvadore Cazzani ‘82 President, Wheeler Parents Association “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” I clearly remember my Wheeler Middle School English teacher Mr. O’Hara talking to his students about this proverb. I often think about it when I am walking around Wheeler. We all can see the changes even if you have been here for a few years: Hamilton School, Morgan Hall, the Nulman Lewis Student Center & the East Campus. And yet so much has stayed the same: Wheeler Memorial Hall, Hope Building, the Lower School (although with many renovations this summer) and the Fresh Air Building (aka where English classes are taught now.) Last May we gathered for the 99th Field Day and this year we will celebrate Wheeler’s 125th Anniversary. Wheeler’s Parent Association (WSPA) has experienced quite a bit of change over the last few years as well. The Big Event Celebration and Clothing Sale have joined forces replacing several smaller fundraising efforts scattered throughout the year. The old book sale has evolved into the Celebration of Reading where distinguished authors visit campus. The last two years we have welcomed acclaimed national lecturers who speak to parents and students and this year we look forward to a visit from filmmaker, activist Byron Hurt (see box on next page). Over the last year the by laws of the Parent Association were refined to reflect and consider the changes in parents’ lives, technology and the addition of new ad hoc committees: Annual Fund, Big Event Celebration, Faculty & Staff Appreciation and Mind Your p’s & q’s. So what has stayed the same for Wheeler’s Parent Association? We still focus on welcoming our new families and building relationships within our community. Class reps recruit volunteers for class trips, Fall Fest, Clothing Sale and Faculty & Staff Appreciation and keep our entire Wheeler family informed and up to date. Most importantly what has stayed the same for the Parent Association is every Wheeler parent is a member. I hope that this year as we celebrate Wheeler’s 125th, you will attend a WSPA division meeting, mentor a new family, volunteer for Fall Fest, the Clothing Sale or Celebration and experience the spirit of Wheeler and your Parent Association.

WPA President Dana Cazzani (left) with Vice President Pam Rotondo photo by Sloane DeAngelis Pilgrim ‘86

You Shopped, Partied Donated and Volunteered Your Hearts Out This Year! More than $349,000 was raised from the combined proceeds of this year’s Big Event Clothing Sale & Celebration, netting nearly $257,000 for financial aid at Wheeler.

Parents Host School-Wide Event To Celebrate Hamilton Milestone Hamilton School’s 25th Anniversary was celebrated at the free annual “Mind Your p’s & q’s Party” enjoying the largest turnout ever of Hamilton and Wheeler parents. Former faculty, alumni and friends of the school also attended the event which was chaired by (from left to right) parents Jen Andruzzi and Kim Esposito with support from 25th Anniversary chairs Kathy Mancosh and Jacky Beshar. See event photos and more at 16

Now & Then @ Wheeler

photo by Pam Murray

Clockwise: A record-setting Clothing Sale crew, lots of love (and food) for Faculty-Staff Appreciation Day, hard-working, but fun, chairs of the Big Event Celebration Pam Rotondo and Donna Frank with spouses and happy teachers and librarians with visiting author Brian Floca.

Save The Date For A Free Fall Parent Forum By Byron Hurt November 7 7 p.m. Wheeler Hall American activist, lecturer, writer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Byron Hurt will visit classes and present a free lecture for parents this November. In 2010, he hosted the Emmy-nominated television show, REEL WORKS with BYRON HURT. The themes which Byron presents in his film: Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, illustrate how the music and culture affect gender representations (including representations of both masculinity and femininity) and ‘isms’ such as heterosexism and homophobia, and the importance of the critical consumption of media. The opportunity to have Hurt speak at Wheeler on these topics will enhance our ability to communicate across and between social group memberships, according to Upper School Unity & Diversity coordinator Marc Harrison. The Wheeler Parents Association is delighted to sponsor this visit. You can read more about Hurt at Now & Then @ Wheeler



Check out highlights and scores at

One School Year = SIX Team League championships! • • • • • •

Boys Varsity Soccer Girls Varsity Soccer Girls Varsity Cross Country Boys Varsity Basketball Varsity Coed Golf Girls Varsity Lacrosse

In the past 10 years, Wheeler Warriors have earned 30 team championships. This year saw honors all three sports seasons. In addition to the six team championships and some nice postseason play, two athletes earned Individual SENE Championships (see their story on the facing page) and numerous athletes earned All-State and All-Division honors. To show our pride, we redid all the old banners from EVERY championship team through the years in new purple & gold and hung them on the walls of the Van Norman Field House at the Farm. Make sure to visit and see them soon. Go, Wheeler!

Waiting In The Wings — Middle School Boys Basketball’s A Team were tournament winners this year as they continue an unbelievable unbeaten streak that began in 2011. Not to be outdone, Middle School Girls Soccer’s A Team had an unbeaten season of 12-0 this year.

Making A Splash — Wheeler’s new coed swim team saw its first season through with standout performance by rising sophomore Ben Hancox (above) who made it to the finals of the D3 NEPSSA Championships where he placed 8th overall in the 100 backstroke. A first for a Wheeler swimmer! Rising junior Kieran McDonough also represented Wheeler at the championships. Photo by Kristin Heynen.


as well as on facebook (wheelerathletics) and twitter (@wheelerwarriors)!

Track Stars Earn Individual SENE Championships One came from ballet and says her high jump rhythm and flexibility can be traced to dance. The other was looking for an off-season training regime for his basketball game and found javelin and shotput the perfect answers. Both took their Wheeler spirit to the Track & Field this spring and came home with three personal and school titles. (Not to mention the fall Cross Country team title, Todesco, a captain, helped earn and the winter Varsity Boys Basketball title, Wignot was happy to celebrate.) New alum Kathleen Todesco and rising senior Nick Wignot earned SENE Championships in events that most sports fans only watch during the summer Olympics. Todesco joined Wheeler in 6th Grade and said she knew nothing about Cross Country or Track and Field when she joined the teams in Upper School. Her coaches encouraged her and her teammates helped with tips as she repeated her second high jump top honor this year as Track and Field team captain. A Wheeler radio interview she did with Warrior alum Sam Fox ‘05 who visited campus and spoke to runners also helped her mentally prepare for the individual event where she cleared 4 ft. 10 inches on her first attempt. Wignot enrolled at Wheeler in 9th Grade after Coach Sean Kelly saw him at AAU games and brought an “envelope filled with Wheeler material to my mom at one of my games.” While Wignot is considered a “big man” in Wheeler basketball doing the rebounding and “dirty work” on the courts, in javelin and shotput he heard other athletes describe him as that “scrawny little Wheeler kid.” Not surprisingly, Wignot used those comments — and music — to motivate himself to win with a 145.5 ft. javelin toss and a shotput throw of 39.10 feet. He also threw the discus but fouled out in that event this year. Why with so many other sports honors would these two students take on additional challenges in areas where they had no experience? Todesco explained it this way. “It’s not surprising or unusual at Wheeler. Nobody looks strangely at you when you say you want to try something the other students aren’t doing. We have an environment where it’s considered good to go out and do interesting things,” she said. “You don’t have to be ‘one track’,” the track star added.

Lots To Smile About For Varsity Tennis — Coach Wally Davis and five of his players had three pieces of news to celebrate this season: • Freshman Nicholas Lowinger was the recipient of the 2013 Individual Sportsmanship Tennis Award. • The 15-member team itself was the recipient of the 2013aDivision I METgoal A Sportsmanship Award. An undefeated regular season Boys Soccer team celebrates last second earning them the SENE title on the same day the Girls team also became SENE • #1 singles player Jeffrey Gagnon was selected RIIL Allchamps — both games taking place at the Farm. See a photo and read more about our UNDEFEATEDS on the last page of this issue.State.


Fencer Lucy Friedmann (at right) admires School Founder Mary Wheeler’s own épée jacket preserved in the School’s Archives. Friedmann noted the heavy canvas jacket lacks today’s protective lamé and shows the tiny size of the 19th century woman.

Fencing Skills Apply To Classroom For This International Athlete Fencing is something almost everyone has watched on a movie screen as swashbuckling pirates clash swords in epic duels, yet fewer have seen in person a sport known as “the exercise version of chess,” according to Wheeler junior Lucy Friedmann. It was a movie in fact, a remake of The Parent Trap, that inspired then 8-year-old Friedmann to ask her parents for fencing lessons. That early interest has not waned, leading Friedmann to the Junior Olympics in 2012 and, this summer, to the USA Team at Israel’s Maccabiah Games. Friedmann is quick to dispel the myths of fencing as old-fashioned and not a true

sport. “Fencing is physical AND mental and takes a lot of patience,” says the soft-spoken member and captain of the RI Fencing Academy’s Club and national team. Constant practice and lots of cardio work are also part of a fencer’s requirements. Friedmann works seven days a week with lessons, cardio and gym workouts and tournaments to hone her skills in épée, her weapon of choice. “épée has a lot of movement and you can fight head to feet. You have to have patience to pick a time to hit your opponent. My favorite move is a toe touch,” she said with a smile as she goes on to explain that of the

other fencing weapons, the foil is for torso work and the saber for head and shoulder and any point above the waist. Friedmann said about a half a dozen current Lower, Middle and Upper students also fence. She says the sport has a lot of advantages for school-aged children. “There are great take-aways for fencers,” she said. “You learn to focus and hone attentionto detail and forget outside distractions. Breathing is important, too, and when I get a little nervous on a test I go back to the breath. “That’s good for life.”

Chess PLayers Look forward to meeting their match “The best chess players have good imaginations,” says Wheeler chess coach Phil Hirons. “They see ahead of the board.” Maybe this is why so many Wheeler Lower School students — with their strong imaginations — are taking up the game? The popularity of chess at Wheeler is easily illustrated by the pairs of young players sprawled on rugs and bent over boards in the Kindergarten room after school. “Is that the Chess Team,” a passerby asks, knowing the school has won the Lower School trophy


in the RI Interscholastic League the past three years — even going undefeated this year at 8-0. But the passerby is wrong. That’s not the Chess Team, just some after-school fun in the WOW elective program. This strong interest in chess could be traced to Mark Harris and the Aerie Program, recruiting a then 95-year-old Brown alum, the late Capn’ Jack Lubrano, to feed a nascent chess interest among a few Lower Schoolers — now moving through the upper grades and coached today by Hirons. Sophomore Raghu Nimmagadda (in photo) came along a little later and is one of the more elite players at Wheeler. Last year he earned RI Blitz Tourney honors and second place at the Brown Scholastic Invitational, qualifying him to represent the State at the prestigious Denker Tournament of High School Champions over the summer. “It’s hard to explain (why I like chess),” says Nimmagadda. “I enjoy playing chess for the same reason that many of my classmates enjoy playing Now & Then @ Wheeler

sports. Through chess I meet new people who share interests with me and compete against them. . . A chess tournament is a chance to improve my own game and see how I measure up against others.” Hiron said Nimmagadda (who started playing as a 7-year-old) is “an avid player who always analyzes others’ matches in addition to his own.” “Chess provides all the right kinds of thinking,” said Hiron. “It’s linear. It’s logical yet requires good imagination.” Wheeler’s budding masters span all three school divisions — Hiron likens it to a “farm system” — and like a physical sport, chess, too, requires lots and lots of practice. The teams’ hard work is evident as Upper School took 2nd place in the RI League last year and Middle School has consistently ranked in the top 4 with Lower School dominating since 2010. In fact, then first grader William Schroeder played last board in 2013. The Wheeler Lower School is so proud that the School’s chess program has its strength in its division that the trophies ALL three divisions have earned are on display in the Angell Building Lower School office. After all, this is the home of Champions.

Focus Section: Wheeler Students

Discipline Is Key To Community Julia Jacobson ‘13 heads to Yale this fall after serving in a key campus leadership position that is among the least publicly known — head of the Disciplinary Committee. The DC, as it is called, most often deals with what goes wrong for a particular student in violation of a school rule. But Jacobson feels the DC actually helps the community focus on all that goes right. “We are not about punishment but about personal and community growth,” she says. “We encourage students to move forward after a mistake and we provide consequences which make the most of the many support systems our school has in place. “We should feel safe in our community at Wheeler and feel free to be ourselves and speak our minds becuse we have this strong underlying saftey net. And when a mistake is made, the DC is a group of people — student peers and adults — who can discuss the consequences and help a student move forward. “After seeing what can go wrong for some students, you have to appreciate that so much goes right here at Wheeler,” she adds.” There is so much personal growth that happens here.” DC faculty advisor Betsy Nickerson agrees and says of Julia, “In her work as Head of the DC . . . Julia understands the vulnerability of students who appear before us, she respects confidentiality and she appreciates the subtleties in discussing ‘the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.’ What impresses me most is the clarity with which Julia can see and articulate the essence of a case and reflect on its impact for both the individual student and the school community.” Jacobson relished her time as DC Head and appreciated her fellow committee members. “I’m glad to have been part of it.”

Student Senate A Liaison For Upper School

According to the Constitution of the Wheeler Upper School Community, “The purpose of the Student Senate is to act as a legislative body to create, pass and follow through with proposals that will benefit the students attending Wheeler’s Upper School.” To this end, the Senate has addressed a wide range of issues over the past several years, ranging from helping students manage their workload through an online test calendar, to creating a better environment in the student union with a new structure for lunch duty. Comprised of two Senators from each grade, as well as a President and Vice President, the Senate meets weekly to discuss current issues in the everyday life of Wheeler students. In all of their work, the Senate seeks to be a liaison between the student body and the faculty. Outgoing Senate President Spencer Roth-Rose recognizes that it is “interesting and challenging to make sure both sides are represented.” Students often bring concerns to their class Senators who will then address those issues at the weekly meeting. After discussion of the concern and possible ways to address it, Senate leaders sometimes come to full faculty meetings or they consult directly with the Administration. For example, after hearing numerous complaints about the structure of lunch duty, Senate leaders worked with Peter Lau, Dean of Students, to develop a system of organizing lunch duty through Advisor groups so that it will be more manageable for students and faculty alike. Likewise, the faculty and Administration consult the Senate to get a sense of students’ views on particular issues. When Morgan Hall was being renovated, Senators (along with other student leaders) gave feedback about lockers to the architect. This winter Karie Hayes, Director of Academic Technology, attended a Senate meeting to gain a broader understanding of how students are using technology currently, and to garner feedback on the upcoming BYOD initiative for next year’s ninth grade. As he looks towards next year, President Elect Daniel Michel, Class of 2014 says, “I am looking forward to leading the Senate in the coming year, continuing to improve Wheeler’s infrastructures, dealing with student issues, and working closely with the faculty to build upon the many strengths of the Wheeler community.” By Sophie Lau, Advisor & History Department Head, pictured above with a few members of the 2013-14 Senate


Focus Section: Wheeler Students

Spirit giveth life award goes to pair who exemplify the best For a lesson in positive thinking, look no farther than new alums Courtney Lau and Michael Schiavone. One is solid gold. One is fiercely purple. Both share the honor of selection by the Upper School faculty for the 2013 Spirit Giveth Life Award. The award is conferred annually by the Upper School faculty to one girl and one boy in the senior class whose actions in their lives at Wheeler exemplify the community values we hold in esteem: integrity, compassion, responsibility and respect for learning. Lau is at home in the Art Studio, while Schiavone is at home in the Wheeler Student Radio booth when he’s not on the water. Both are highly respected by their classmates. Witness the standing ovation Schiavone received from the Senior Class and all of Upper School when the Coast Guard came to present his appointment. Or the resounding applause Lau could hear as she walked the stage at Commencement. In separate interviews, each referenced their entry points in Middle School and the Middle School’s motto of “Leave A Place Better Than You Found It,” as resonating strongly. With true school spirit, each has made the most of what their school had to offer. For Lau, a leadership role in SICA (Students Involved In Cultural Awareness), as well serving as a mentor in the Community Action program gave her insight into her

fellow students and exemplifies the Wheeler School motto for which the award gets its name. “SICA has been a great outlet for me,” she said. “Through SICA I can talk about topics such as social differences which can often be uncomfortable. In CAP I see how giving


“I had to run a mile and a half in under a certain amount of time. Coach (Tom) Wharton and classmate Dylan Gastel brought the team out to The Farm for practice to set the pace for me. And they set a pretty fast pace!” Schiavone stepped up himself to serve as the first student Fire Marshal at Wheeler, assisting the School’s faculty and staff fire marshals with informative announcements called “Fire Marshal Minutes” about emergency preparation and safety on campus. Schiavone established the student role and now senior Kyle Blacklock will continue to keep the Upper School informed. For Lau, being part of a strong community has helped her persevere through classes which naturally become increasingly challenging through the progression of grades. “All my teachers are so dedicated to us,” she points out. “I can truly say I loved every class even though I struggled through some. I love working hard at something difficult. It’s something I learned from my mom.” Both award winners feel the sense of loss that comes from leaving their close group of classmates but are eager for the next set of challenges they will face. “Being involved on campus helps you feel closer to the real reason for being here,” said Schiavone. “It’s about the community.”

With true school spirit, each has made the most of what their school had to offer. and unselfish my classmates can be towards others. I learn from my peers,” she added. “Everyone here has something they love and to be able to admire people your own age is amazing. My greatest memories and life lessons have come from being at Wheeler.” Schiavone agrees that it’s more about the entire community of Wheeler people than himself when he thinks about how the Spirit Giveth Life. He gives an example of when he needed motivation to complete his Coast Guard personal fitness requirement. The Wheeler Cross Country team stepped up to help.

Leah Grear’s Painting Class (at right) was a Wheeler first — mixed grades taught outside the more selective Studio curriculum. Students were excited for the chance to enroll and work on such skills as color mixing with only two colors and white~ the idea being to mix as many colors as possible with a limited palette. Photo by Leah Grear

Giving It 100 Percent

With the leadership of co-chairs Jackie Chan and Kyle Titsworth, the Class of 2013 Senior Gift Committee attained 100% participation for the Annual Fund this year, the fifth consecutive graduating class to do so. The Class voted that their gift be directed to student financial aid, noting that their class grew stronger with each of its members and losing one would have meant a loss to their sense of unity. Not to be outdone by their children, the parents of the Class of 2013 (led by Katherine & Mark Pelson), met their own 100% participation goal. Members of the students committee included Luke Barr, Anna Belkin, Julia Jacobson, Yoo Kim, Isabel Lamb, Richard Lewis, Eldridge Ropolo, Alex Saccone, Taylor Santoro, Michael Schiavone, Anna Stolle, Zidi Wang and Jared Wisen. Photo by Jenna LaFlamme Now & Then @ Wheeler


Faculty Profile — Jean Carlson By Ben Goulet, Lower School Librarian She’s the holder of the faculty-voted Jason & Carly Siperstein Faculty Chair, head of Wheeler’s Physical Education Department and veteran title-winning coach of numerous Tennis, Field Hockey and Lacrosse Teams. But at home, she’s mom to Rosie and Gracie, the patient, yet social media-savvy pups who promote national and local causes and events, including many connected to Wheeler School. Here’s a side of Coach Carlson that will make you smile! I want to be the person my dog thinks I am. – Bumper sticker. A couple of years ago, Jean Carlson, Wheeler and Hamilton’s longtime physical education teacher, was having her morning cup of coffee on her backyard deck. Her dogs, Rosie and Gracie, were sleeping at her feet, as they usually did. Jean got up to leave for a moment. When she returned, she found Gracie sitting in her chair, with the coffee cup in front of her. “I came back out and saw Gracie sitting in my chair with the mug in front of her,” she remembers. “I thought it was hysterical. I asked Rosie to get on the other chair and I put a mug in front of her. It was so easy. They just sat there and I took the picture.” At 5 and 6 years old respectively, Rosie and Gracie aren’t little poodles with bows and a four-legged sweaters. Gracie is a Boxer/ Pit Bull mix and Rosie is a Doberman. Jean couldn’t believe how poised the dogs remained, sitting in place as if they were posing for the pictures. At first, Jean turned the pictures into Christmas cards for family and friends. Then the list of holidays grew: New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. The holiday cards led to social media, with Jean posting the pictures on her personal Facebook page. At the same time, she circulated the pictures to her faculty and staff colleagues at Wheeler and Hamilton via email. The positive response was overwhelming. Some of the feedback she received included “requests” for outfits, each one more elaborate than the last. Happy to oblige, Jean used sunglasses and floppy hats, scarves and sweatshirts. All the while, her dogs sat as long as was needed, while their owner (and stylist) clicked away. And in short time, Rosie and Gracie became Wheeler and Hamilton’s unofficial, online mascots. Who rescued whom? – Paw print car magnet. The dogs’ fates could have been very different; especially Gracie’s. In February of 2009, Gracie was scheduled to be euthanized at a “kill shelter” in Ohio, spending nearly all of her time in a cramped metal cage. 24

With only three days to live, she was saved by a Doberman rescue organization that put her up for adoption. One day, Jean was scrolling through the pet rescue website Petfinder. She came across Gracie’s listing and immediately “fell in love with her face.” The process of adoption followed and soon Gracie went from being an anonymous dog on death row to the new member of a happy, loving home in Rhode Island. The following year, after her beloved Doberman named Cagney passed away, Jean adopted Rosie from the Doberman Rescue League, located in Sandown, New Hampshire. “I’m a firm believer in adopting animals,”

In short time, Rosie and Gracie became Wheeler and Hamilton’s unofficial, online mascots.

she said. “I only wish I could rescue more.” Rosie and Gracie became best friends right away, sleeping on top of each other and following each other around the house. Dobermans and Boxers are known as “working breeds,” dogs that like having a job to do. And while their dress-up days might not be difficult, this hardwired eagerness to please might explain why Rosie and Gracie take their modeling “jobs” so seriously. “Believe it or not, when they see me with an article of clothing in my hand, they get all excited thinking ‘dress up time!’” Jean said. “They don’t even require treats right away. They’ll go back into the house after I take the clothes off and then I give them a dog biscuit.” Bark less…Wag more – Bumper sticker Nowadays, Rosie and Gracie have a full schedule of eating, sleeping, running and,

of course, modeling. When asked about some of her favorite shots, Jean ticks off a long list. “I really loved the Olympic-themed ones. They wore bathing suits, fencing uniforms, boxing, field hockey, track and field. I got a ton of hits on those that summer. They’ve also dressed in quite a few Wheeler athletic uniforms like baseball, tennis and lacrosse. They’re Wheeler Clothing Sale models, too!” Everyone from alumni to current families have enjoyed seeing the “infamous canines’” photo shoots. Parent Dr. Marie Donabella said, “Rosie and Gracie’s costumes always bring a smile to our faces. We each have our favorites. Our daughter Grace especially loves the sports outfits. Teal loves their couture with matching purses and I always look forward to the Hallowe’en costumes!” Parent/alumna Taylor Joyce Reilly ‘96 adds, “Jean has so much love for her doggies! All dogs should be family members, and Jean’s dogs certainly are members of the family! Alum and parent Dana Salvadore Cazzani ‘82 adds, “I remember the day my former coach (and my daughter’s coach!) came to the Clothing Sale looking for outfits. We picked out spring scarves and purses. . .and the ‘models’ pushed the Sale on Facebook!” Jean’s personal favorites are the “Gronkowski” series commemorating the New England Patriot tight ends injuries. “I put Gracie’s foot in a boot and dressed Rosie as Coach Belichick in his grey hoodie. Then, after Gronk broke his arm, I had Gracie with her arm in a sling, sitting with Rosie as Coach Belichick.” So what’s next for Jean and her dogs? She’s considered making a calendar with all of her best shots and donating the proceeds to an animal rescue group. Her friends want her to make YouTube videos of her dressing up the dogs. Whatever she does next, Jean Carlson has her two fashion models at hand, ready and eager for the next photo shoot.

ROSIE & GRACIE respond Interviewer: When Coach Carlson first asked you to dress up for photographs to send to her friends at Wheeler and on Facebook, what did you think? Gracie (at left in photos): Well, I will be the first to say, I had my misgivings. I contacted a lawyer of course, and advised Rosie to do the same. We did a background check. The standard stuff. Interviewer: But Coach Carlson had been your owner for years. Didn’t you trust her? Gracie: You never know with people and potential successful ventures. In the end, she checked out OK. Rosie and I each got our own agents, and it has been fine. In fact, our agents will need final approval for this article, just so you know. Interviewer: What do you think, Rosie? Did you have the same reservations as Gracie about letting Coach Carlson dress you up for photographs and sending them to the entire Wheeler community as well as on Facebook? Rosie: When’s dinner? Interviewer: Tell us what a typical day is like for the two of you. Gracie: Well, we know it’s going to be a photo day because Jean starts getting a certain look in her eye. There will always be some sort of theme, a holiday, a sports function, or something she wants to have us celebrate for her on Facebook. Then, the gathering begins. She starts combing the house for clothes or props, and even though she threatened us before this interview not to tell, she even buys stuff to dress us in-- our lawyers told us that we could say that. Interviewer: (I notice Gracie is looking around the room.) Gracie, you don’t have to look nervous. Nobody can hear our interview from in here. Does Rosie always look so scared stiff? She looks like she in a trance. What are you thinking, Rosie? Rosie: Will there be a snack before dinner? Interviewer: Gracie, tell me what you think Coach Carlson gets out of all this? Gracie: That’s a good question. We hear her scream things like: “That one got 40 comments!!” or “This is the best one ever!!!” but she always says that. Truth be told, we are pretty bored by it all. We love Jean and so we do it for her. She is laughing the entire time and so, although we don’t understand it, we like to make her happy. We hear it makes her friends happy, too. There is talk of a future calendar or a book that is maybe linked to a charity and that would be cool. Interviewer: If that happens, what charity would you like to pick, Rosie? Rosie: Purina? Interviewer: Do either of you have any parting words to the Facebook & Wheeler Fans of Coach Carlson and Rosie & Gracie? Gracie: We wish everyone could enjoy their pets like Coach Carlson does. We bring a laugh to people and that is worth something, you know? At least it might be worth a paycheck, but that’s a discussion we need to have. Right now Jean is having fun and we often are able to hide our boredom, so it’s worth something. I’m only worried someday we’ll find the public humiliation and attention is not worth wearing a tiara and rain boots. Rosie: I’m only worried we missed dinner. By Anonymous 25

Alumni Weekend October 18-20, 2013

Celebrating our 125th Anniversary and Reunion of the Classes ending in 3’s and 8’s

We want everyone to get the news about Reunion 2013. View the list of Lost Alumni online and send us a mailing address or email and we’ll followup. Or, let a friend know that Wheeler is looking to connect with them! Contact the Alumni Office with information. For more information contact the Alumni team of Martyn Hollands, Sloane DeAngelis ‘86 and Jenna LaFlamme. Call us at 401.421.8100. Visit for more details and to register for all events.

Mark your calendars! All Alumni are invited back to campus this year, with special celebrations for classes ending in 3’s and 8’s. Make plans with your friends and classmates to come back to


It’s time to rally your classmates to come back to campus and help Wheeler celebrate its 125th year!

Alumni Weekend 2013 Schedule of Events The First Alumnae/i Event of the 125th Anniversary Year!

Message from the President of the Wheeler Alumni Association Dear Wheeler Alumnae/i —

Friday October 18, 2013 Back to School….All alumni are invited back to campus to renew friendships and reconnect with Wheeler.

This year Wheeler celebrates its Quasquicentennial — 125 years of providing an exceptional education to eager young minds. As an alumna, I, of course, can wax nostalgic on my experience at Wheeler — as can all of you, I’m sure. This June I attended graduation, at The Farm, on a beautiful sunny day, under a white tent. The students were led by the same bagpiper who led my class 18 years ago, the young men were dressed in their khaki pants, blue blazers and Wheeler ties, and of course, the young women in their crisp white dresses. As I watched this procession and heard the music I was transported back 27 years to my first days at Wheeler as a fourth grader. I remembered a time of innocence, eagerness, and a pure appetite for knowledge — mixed in with some scatterball of course! I can picture my classmates’ faces as they grew from awkward Lower Schoolers to accomplished, strong-minded, talented young graduates. I remembered fondly my “favorite” teachers, many of whom my children have also had while at Wheeler — another thread that will connect us as they become alumni. I realized as I listened to the commencement address, the Head of School and the class presidents speak that this is the place where I grew to maturity. Good memories, bad memories, embarrassing memories, accomplishments — all of these moments in my head, these are what formed the foundation of who I am today. The old adage applies of course: you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Wheeler ensured my student experience was filled with exposure to new ideas, people and perspectives that would change the way I saw myself , the world and my place in it. Wheeler ensured I would find value in my individuality and flourish once I graduated. What I did not contemplate while I was a student was that I could make an impact as an alumna as well. Not only amongst my peers but among fellow alumni. Wheeler knows that its best ambassadors are you and me, the graduates, the ones that they nurtured. Our actions day to day reflect where we have come from, the beginning, those young stages of life where we started to discover our strengths and weaknesses. One common thread lies amongst all of us ­— being a Wheeler student. Whether you learned to tie your shoes, read a chapter book, build a robot, win a trial, play handbells, record a CD, win a state championship -- whatever it is that stands out to you during your time at Wheeler, that’s what we celebrate today. As Wheeler Alumni that is what we all share - memories, 125 years of memories. Memories of times passed, but reminders of the threads that make Wheeler and us what we are today. This fall, come back to Reunion. Come back and show Wheeler what they have helped to produce in this world. All of us as Alumni have emerged from a community of teachers, staff and peers that have put value into our individuality, into our endeavours and accomplishments - a community that takes pride in their students. Come back and show us. As our wise young graduating senior class presidents said at commencement “ You may have left Wheeler, but Wheeler never leaves you.”

Etienne Granito Mechrefe ‘95

Registration Schedules and information will be available.

Cummings Room, Hope Building

Hospitality Suite Yearbooks, slideshows, coffee, refreshments

Tower Room, Prescott Library

Alumni in the Classroom Teachers welcome Alumni into their classrooms, as students or guest speakers. Come share your experiences with current students! (Register in advance for a specific class topic.) Schedules for drop-in classes will be available at Registration. 11:00 AM

Alumni-Student Roundtable Madden Gym Share your stories and represent your profession, academic interests or Wheeler class at a roundtable discussion with upper school students. We will also be presenting The Founder’s Award to Deb Allinson ’68.

12:15 PM

Lunch with Dan Miller, Head of School Lunch for the roundtable participants with Wheeler’s Head of School.

Madden Auxiliary Gym

2:15 PM

Campus Group Tour

Hospitality Suite

3:00 PM

Legacy Tea & Dessert Nulman Lewis Student Center All alumni invited to join us for a gathering with our current students who celebrate being a legacy at Wheeler. (Annual photo will be taken of our students who are children or grandchildren of alumni!)

5:30-7:00 PM

Alumni Art Show & Reception Chazan Gallery Mary C. Wheeler would be proud! Join us to celebrate some of our talented alumni artists!

7:00-8:30 PM

Alumni Weekend 125th Anniversary Celebration Wheeler Hall We welcome all alumni and faculty back to campus to kickoff Alumni Weekend and celebrate the beginning of Wheeler’s 125th anniversary year. Catch up with classmates, friends and former faculty. The evening will feature a welcome by Head of School Dan Miller, student performances and a celebration of the newly inducted honorary alumni. Enjoy light fare, cocktails and good conversation!

5:30-9:30 PM

WOW @ Wheeler Children’s Program for ages 3-11 Kindergarten Room Fun for your children while you enjoy time catching up with your classmates, friends and teachers. Reservations are required.

As of June 2013Schedule Saturday, October 19,Subject 2013 to @Change The Wheeler Farm, Seekonk MA Explore and enjoy the beautiful Wheeler Farm for the day. Bring your memories (and family) to these fun events. Later in the evening, return to campus for class dinners and celebrations.

10:30 AM1:00 PM

Alumni Welcome & Information Tent

11:00 AM2:00 PM

Fall Family Fest Alumni and their families are invited to join in the events co-sponsored by the Wheeler Parents Association. Fun at the Farm will include: Fall Family Fest events are free. Food items available to purchase or bring a picnic lunch!

11:00 AM

Alumni Lunch

Back on the Providence Campus…

Alumni Tent Outside the Blackwell Pavilion

Columbine Hill House Reunion Celebrations

5:30 PM

Reunion Cocktail Reception Wharton P. Whitaker Building Join Head of School Dan Miller and all the classes ending in 3 and 8 to toast classmates and friends at a reception in honor of your reunion.

7:00 PM

Half-Century Dinner Cummings Room, Hope Building Hosted by Head of School Dan Miller, this dinner honors the Class of 1963 and all alumni that have th reached their 50 Wheeler Reunion.

7:00 PM

Reunion Class Dinners Enjoy a special celebration with your classmates and friends. Class Photos will be taken. Classes of ’68, ’73, ’78, ’83, ’88, ’93, ’98, ’03, ’08

Sunday October 20, 2013 11:00 AM Tennis Tournament Coed Tennis Round Robin, continental breakfast, lunch and prizes.

Various Locations on Campus

The Wheeler Farm

Jackie Brookner ‘63: Uniting Beauty, Function and Society By Rebecca Greenberg ‘14 Upon exploring the biosculptures of artist Jackie Brookner — which filter and remediate polluted water and create veritable miniature ecosystems in places as varied as California to Finland — it is an understatement to say this award-winning artist and Wheeler alumna has discovered the ideal marriage of her two passions: art and biology. Indeed, if the fruits of Brookner’s career represent the dovetailing of her two interests, they also bring Alumni awareness to communities Profile around the world about the impact of humans on the fauna and flora, water and air, while actively meeting the aesthetic or environmental needs of local adults and children. As she put it herself, when reminiscing about the beginnings of her career: “I felt that a lot of art projects didn’t engage the community in a real way. I was very concerned about how passive our culture is….and I asked myself, how can I affect that?” The Gift of Water, a Brookner project in Grossenhain, Germany provides a ready answer to this question. A pair of cupped hands of special textile-reinforced concrete reaching into a wetland provides a home for mosses and lichen, which in turn naturally purify the water. This sculpture serves as part of the wetland filtration system for the town’s large swimming pond complex, which as a result contains “no chemicals or chlorine, just plants!”


   One of Brookner’s best-known projects is Urban Rain (see photos on facing page) in the Roosevelt Community Center of San José, California. This biosculpture is composed of outdoor art pieces that detain and filter storm water from the roof. An oversized stainless steel thumbprint sculpture aerates rainwater carried from the roof by two water-chutes which drop the water through filtration rocks into a subterranean bio-swale, and a translucent rock filter, which makes the natural rockfiltration process visible to all. The basis and motives for this project are further explained in a book about her work, also titled Urban Rain, which documents the artist’s process, from sketches to installation. With the ingenuity of Brookner’s artwork in mind, it is hard to believe her eco-artistic career started between the walls of our very own Wheeler School more than 50 years ago. Then again, maybe it isn’t. As an eighth grader from nearby Nathan Bishop School, Brookner originally believed she could “breeze through Wheeler.” She quickly realized, however, thanks to a surprising B+ on a test of As You Like It, that she “had to really study.” As she grew accustomed to Wheeler, she began to thrive in its environment of piquancy and rigor. What was it about the Wheeler environment that made the education, in her words, “better than Harvard?” For Brookner, one answer was the thoroughness of the courses, elements of which still influence her art. During the 1960s, after Margaret Plummer’s tenth grade biology class, Brookner became certain she wanted to pursue biology, and this penchant for the natural sciences is responsible for the functional side of each of her pieces. Brookner’s four-year Wheeler course in Latin gave her a love for “dissecting words” and language in its entirety, and made its way into her titles, such as Prima Lingua. Her 1993 Tongue Chairs (tongues made of earth that are large enough to embrace an entire human body) explores the relationship between the outside and inside world — that of the mind and body, as the tongue does, but also that of the human and natural world. As Brookner sees it, we humans tend Now & Then @ Wheeler

to “separate earth and sky, night and day, girl and boy, and usually prize one over the other… We talk about the earth as dead matter, and think of ourselves as alive and separate [in an immiscible dualism]… We live in a culture obsessed with control, but there is one thing we have never been able to control — the fact that we die… We know that flesh dies. And flesh is of the earth. Matter and mother is of the same root. As humans we are very young, like babies lashing at mother for not giving us what we want. So what does it mean to sit in a dirt tongue? It becomes the threshold between the inside and outside, between mind and body and starts to break down this [harmful] dualism.” The style of Brookner’s Wheeler education was also important for the trajectory of her career. In an English class taught by Brown students, she recalled that she was “taught to speak up, disagree… everything after never quite compared to that — the freedom of discussion.” Indeed, this thirst for deeper meaning and understanding became the catalyst for her career. After graduating from Wheeler, Brookner attended Wellesley College, where she majored in art history. She subsequently enrolled in a PhD program in art history at Harvard. Toward the end of her graduate studies, Brookner started making welded steel sculpture. Although creating art was “much scarier and more mysterious than [studying] art history” it soon became a higher priority than her dissertation.  Initially, this resolution seemed “a violation of who [she] was.” Yet for the first time, Brookner also felt it more important to honor her own integrity than the demands of the outer world. As she put it herself, “this was not easy, but it was a necessity in order to become an artist.” Brookner left Harvard and a few years later assisted a professional sculptor in Vermont, where she realized her work to that point was based only in art, not in nature. She then spent a year at the New York Studio School, where she drew and sculpted from models. She rented a studio and eventually began working with wax and learned to cast bronze. Although she had some solo exhibitions at that point, Brookner was “very introverted” and “spent a lot of time by [her]self.” However, in the

Artist Jackie Brookner will return to campus for her 50th Reunion this fall. post-Reagan eighties, Brookner felt the world was a “real mess, with AIDS and environmental problems, and the poverty.” She wondered about the purpose of her work in the context of her world. How could her work make a difference? The answer came a few years later, when Brookner was asked to edit an article on art and ecology in Art Journal magazine. This brought her into contact with artists whose work was not just about nature, but who worked with nature. Eventually Brookner’s own work, Of Earth and Cotton, brought her to the conclusion that she “couldn’t just work with ecology, but [had to work] with people too.” Since then, her work grows out of the desires and needs of people themselves as well as the needs of the natural environment of a particular site.

 Currently, Brookner is working on one of her most ambitious projects to date: turning an expansive empty field that acts as a storm water retention base in Fargo, North Dakota into wonderland of restored native prairie grass and wetlands, natural play areas, an amphitheater, and a community garden. Here, instead of designing the purifying or land-remediating artwork herself, she guides people towards it and lets it truly “be theirs.” So what does restoring prairie grass and purifying water ultimately have to do with people? According to Brookner, a more appropriate question would be “where do humans begin and end and where do plants begin and end? We literally can’t breathe without trees, and of course, let’s not forget 90% of each of us is bacteria. We are in fact more like villages than people.”

Upper School students will hear her speak at their weekly M-Slot Assembly, Thursday, October 17.

Alumni Profile

As she grew accustomed to Wheeler, she began to thrive in its environment of piquancy and rigor. What was it about the Wheeler environment that made the education, in her words, “better than Harvard?”

Images from URBAN RAIN project at Now & Then @ Wheeler


Founder’s Award 2013

Alumni Association To Award Highest Honor to Deborah Allinson ‘68

Alumni Profile

The Wheeler School Founder’s Award honors a distinguished alumnus/a during Alumni Day & Reunion Weekend, which is our flagship event for engaging alumni and showcasing the campus. Specific Criteria: • Must be a member of a Reunion Class • Leader in keeping their class engaged with the Wheeler Community • Consistently takes part in outstanding class outreach work • Has made a positive difference to Wheeler whether it is academic, volunteering, or philanthropic • Incredible ambassador of the School

Past Recipients: 1997 Gertrude “Trudy” Coxe ‘67 1998

Miriam Graves Kenney ‘53 1998 Polly Carpenter ‘73 1999 Dr. Marlene Cutitar ‘79 2001 Maria Mariorenzi-Barone ‘76 2005 Josh Schwartz ‘94 2011

Deb Allinson (shown at this past year’s graduation) will be honored at the Alumni-Student Roundtable Luncheon, Friday, October 18. Watch for the next issue for photos and article from the presentation. 28

Now & Then @ Wheeler

Stephanie Danforth Chafee ‘76 2012 Marcie Cummings ‘72

Alexander Boeglin ’03: A Journey from Engineering to Business With a Stop at Harvard In Between By Rebecca Greenberg ‘14 For Alexander Boeglin ’03, who graduated from Harvard Business School (HBS) this May, passions for engineering, business and learning in general can be traced to the teachers and colleagues he has met throughout his life. A native of North Kingston and a competitive high school icedancer, Boeglin graduated a year early from Wheeler to pursue an electrical engineering degree at the University of Rhode Island. What made him so ready to leave the nest? With solid foundations in science, math, and even writing and art, Boeglin couldn’t help but feel ready. For one, the “math curriculum was just great”, and Boeglin enjoyed working with faculty member George Lewis. Science classes were just as rigorous and hands-on. Former teacher Tara Weinstein, a “quirky Canadian,” started her engineering classes with a cool high-tech online system, which opened the door to the very passion he later pursued at URI. Boeglin’s honors physics class, a “college-level commitment” made him feel like he was in “the real thing”. APES was just as memorable: Otter was always telling hilarious stories, and the day he dressed up as a cat in black spandex for the environmental science project Cats of Borneo — an image printed indelibly in every APES veteran’s mind — is still vivid in Boeglin’s. (The only anecdote that could rival the Otter memory: the day Mr. Perkins mixed a strange concoction that ended up exploding into his hands.) In reality, though, Boeglin left Wheeler with more than great science and math lessons and a couple of chuckles under his belt. Wheeler also led to his mastery of subjects he didn’t always love. If Boeglin “was pretty bad at English” he grew fond of the English department’s “awesome teachers” and learned to master important writing techniques, such as clarity of syntax, which would help him the rest of his career. Indeed, writing became for Boeglin one of the “unavoidable facts of life” that followed him as he worked in the sciences: in college, it took the form of labs and scientific papers—both of which required clear communication to the reader in addition to well-written sentences. Finally, his background in writing became more and more indispensable as the years passed—as anyone could guess, his thesis included “tons of writing.”

The arts were also memorable for Boeglin. He especially enjoyed performing with his guitar ensemble class at the Holiday Festival and still “picking up a guitar every now and then.” So leave all of this for electrical engineering? First, Boeglin asserts, “electrical engineering is not just about what makes your light bulb turn on.” Indeed, he was drawn to this type of engineering due to its rich and broad science and math content: it explores all elements that electricity touches--such as telephones, microphones, internet, circuits--and even holds the secret to the Facebook face recognition mechanism. After a master’s in electrical engineering from Brown, Boeglin went to work for Raytheon where he worked on sonar and radar systems, including one on Cape Cod. His favorite project as an engineer, however, was the year he moved to Arizona to conduct research on missiles, which encompassed so much international relations work and world history background that he started to wish he had “taken AP US history class.” In Arizona, Boeglin and his close-knit team worked on improving missile development. Important research questions they tackled included: “Do countries need a defense system? If so, how would a missile from one country differ from that of another? It was at Raytheon that Boeglin realized he “knew nothing about finance.” He felt himself intrigued enough he ultimately decided to pursue a business career and applied to the Business School at Harvard. Despite Boeglin’s change of career, he still values immensely the experience he acquired as an engineer. When asked if he has any regrets about switching gears, the answer, however, is no. And yet there still are “a couple things he could have done” that would sure have eased the path to his current situation. The most obvious one, according to Boeglin, would have been talking to people about their experiences, which would have given him “a Now & Then @ Wheeler

path to follow”. To this end, Boeglin often takes part in Wheeler’s Alumni Roundtable to share advice with students. Boeglin clearly remembers being on the other end of the table and this opportunity always helps him “provide some light” on the vagaries of a career path in addition to the importance of taking classes “outside [one’s] major”. Boeglin often wishes he had taken more Alumni humanities classes—not Profile just for his resume, but for his own learning. Indeed, Boeglin would never have guessed that such things as the Cuban Missile Crisis would ever have come in handy—until he found himself at Raytheon discussing the pros and cons of war weaponry and wishing he had learned more about it. For these reasons, he is a big believer in the general education requirements he encountered at college, the classes of which, such as “History of Jazz” ended up being truly “priceless.” As to how he sees himself ten years from now, Boeglin replies: “definitely not retired.” What the future holds for Boeglin is pretty much anyone’s guess. Perhaps investment banking? What is certain is that wherever fate may lead him, it will include “interesting people, smart people—and hopefully a family.” Boeglin below with Ali O’Malley.


Benjamin Rubin ‘06: film career garners Prestigious awards for self-described wheeler ‘weird kid’ By Rebecca Greenberg ‘14 Benjamin Rubin ’06, a 24-year old MFA graduate in Creative Producing from Columbia University, proudly embraces the notion of having been a “weird kid” at Wheeler. If being weird is a path to social exclusion in your average K-12 school, Rubin’s unique tastes and passions found genial ground at Wheeler, flourishing into confidence, leadership, and a keen propensity for risk-taking Alumni and challenges, the fruits Profile of which he still harvests to this day. Just this year Ben beat 50 Columbia students to receive the HBO Young Producer’s Award, acquiring the sum of ten thousand dollars to produce his senior thesis, Melvin, a short film about a bullied student who befriends a dinosaur who ends up eating all of the aggressors. Attracting the “Obvious Choice Award” in a Columbia Film Festival, the production of Melvin also enabled Rubin to be hand-picked by Danny Strong—the actor/screenwriter who was a series regular on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gilmore Girls, and Mad Men and won two Emmy awards for writing Recount and Game Change for HBO — to be his personal researcher and development assistant as he writes several screenplays, including Mockingjay, the third in the Hunger Games film trilogy, and The Lost Symbol, the third in the Da Vinci Code movie series. If the award had an influence in his receipt of the job, Rubin’s initiative had an equally significant role: Rubin went up to talk to Strong himself after spotting him at a Q&A session of the film festival. Perhaps most impressive of all, considering Rubin’s still-budding career in producing, was that his short film, Skin, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Festival. Skin, a movie about the coming of age of a young taxidermist, played alongside 64 other short films out of a whopping 8,102 submissions. Universally acclaimed as the “holy grail for independent filmmakers,” some producers spend their lives trying to enter into the festival. Rubin gained entry at age 24, while still a graduate student. Rubin notes that at any other school, he likely would have been “shoved into lockers.” At Wheeler, however, he developed the confidence to discover and pursue a passion for creative expression and politics 30

that have become the cornerstones of his current freelance-writing and producing career. Among the many essential building blocks that Rubin recalls about his Wheeler career was the freedom to follow his interests, especially outside the classroom. Indeed, he notes: “I feel like I got away with a lot.” Take Bob Schmidt’s Biology class for instance. Despite being a “terrible Bio student”, Mr. Schmidt actively supported Rubin when he decided to found Wheeler’s first-ever Ski Club during his freshman year. One of his most memorable achievements

as President of the Jewish Federation was hiding a piece of matzo around the school the day of Passover. During his reign as Community Council President, as an “attention seeking CC head,” he enjoyed “roasting the seniors” about their early years at Wheeler. His interest in left-wing politics started when fellow students started the Young Republicans Club. Defiant as ever, Rubin founded the Young Democrats Club: “I had no idea what I was talking about.” Nevertheless, this bold move gave him a major presence at Wheeler, but also a larger role as he ended up in a nation-wide political video. More importantly, his role as head of the Young Democrats awakened a nascent interest in politics, which would live on in his later projects and creative producing career. Now & Then @ Wheeler

His second major focus at Wheeler was not academics —“I was never interested in academics until my second year in college, the only exception being creative writing in English class”— but in film. As vicepresident of the Wheeler Film Club, he organized film screenings, an activity that would hone his interest in films and the film industry. Rubin also took many film classes through the Aerie program with Aerie teacher and Wheeler alumni parent Loren Marcus, a tradition that started with her middle school “movie magic” elective. This elective, to which Ms. Marcus —“a phenomenal baker”— would bring loads of food, was very popular among middle schoolers, and as one can probably guess, it wasn’t just due to the movies. Ms. Marcus continued to create Aerie film classes for Rubin throughout his high school career, including classes on American film history and international films. “I never appreciated then what she did for me,” Rubin remarks, “but she created a whole curriculum for my passion in film.” So how did Wheeler prepare Rubin for college? In many ways, according to Rubin, “it didn’t.” Going from a private school on the East Side to a “practically bankrupt” public university (University of California, Santa Cruz) was a “culture shock.” What Wheeler did give him, however, was the confidence to “know what [he] wanted to do” and the desire to “try things, to always reach out, even if it doesn’t work out.” During college, Rubin also continued along the political path he first blazed at Wheeler — landing him a job interning for Dennis Kucinich, the left-wing congressman and 2008 presidential candidate from Cleveland, Ohio. And yet it could not have started more simply: Rubin was watching presidential debates with his roommate and came to admire how “brutally honest” Kucinich was, unlike what Rubin said he saw in the other candidates. He decided to call Kucinich in the hope of helping with his candidacy. The next thing Rubin knew, he was flying off to Cleveland, Ohio, which, despite its adverse economic situation became the locus of four intense months of work. Starting out as an intern, he eventually became Kucinich’s Deputy Communications Director. Daily work for Kucinich included speech-writing, video editing, fundraising, and helping with

Konique Ballah ‘98: A Record Still Stands While She Moves On campaigning strategy. Perhaps the brightest highlight was meeting President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And all of this because of a phone call. “I didn’t dream they would have hired me...” After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Film & Digital Media and in Politics, Rubin attended Columbia University, from which he graduated this spring with an MFA in Creative Producing. Why did Rubin, who loved creative writing, choose producing rather than screenwriting itself? The difference for Rubin was simply that “as a screenwriter you might end up being at Starbucks and handing out scripts, with no guaranteed entry into a true film project. As a producer you make things happen.” Indeed, Rubin’s experience as a producer, which can be broken down into the stages of pre-production, production, and postproduction, goes above and beyond the marketing and distributing of a movie. For one, note the “creative” before the producing: before many of his shorts, Rubin wrote and developed many of the ideas implemented in the story line. In the preproduction stage, he was also in charge of delegating responsibilities between the art department, camera, sound and locations departments, and sometimes oversaw the shooting process itself. Often, the middle production stage was less of a stressful period, but not always. Sometimes Rubin had to calm down the anxious parents of child actors; sometimes he had to apologize to the filming crew for having to run overtime (sweetening the blow with “more coffee, anyone?”). Post-production included taking care of credits, music implemented in the film, and, finally, applications to film festivals. In short, creative producing according to Rubin is “being responsible for every single one of the million details in [a] film.” Rubin, however, is hardly content to idly bask in the light of these accomplishments. If producing has been an invaluable experience, Rubin hopes to inject more screenwriting in his work in addition to the freelance writing (ghostwriting and script-writing) he does between movie productions. Indeed, he notes that he’s “got a long way to go” before he can feel successful and that, believe it or not, his career is only “just beginning.”

By Martyn Hollands, Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Boys Varsity Soccer Coach According to the Rhode Island Track and Field Association (RITFA) Konique Ballah ’98 still holds the 500m indoor record of 1:15.87, which she established at the Brown Invitational, 30th December 1997. The longevity of this record, plus the unique distance of the event, still makes this record a talking point amongst track and field aficionados in Rhode Island. RITFA states that “These ‘ALL TIME’ Rhode Island High School Records are believed to be the best performances ever by Rhode Island secondary school students.” Konique’s senior year at Wheeler was fittingly also the inaugural year of the Wheeler track team, still going strong after more than 15 years. Prior to that Konique trained with the Hope High School team and competed in Rhode Island Interscholastic League events as an individual. She helped to create the foundation for the Wheeler teams to follow, before blazing a trail at the collegiate level and setting the standard for future Wheeler track and field stars. Konique had a stellar four-year career at Brown University where she competed for the Bruins in the 55m dash, 200m, 400m, 400m x 4 relay. In her junior and senior year Konique captained the sprint team and in

2000 in the Heptagonal Championships she placed 5th in the 200m indoor and 3rd in the 200m outdoor events. These two meets are the premier athletic events on the Ivy League schools’ track and field calendar. According to Konique competing at the Alumni collegiate level was “a Profile great experience” and her favorite memory is of a trip to England and Ireland where she raced against teams from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. After leaving Brown University with a degree in Community Health, she went on to complete her MPH degree in Health Policy & Management at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Currently working at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Konique oversees compliance for quality and transplant programs. Konique has kept her ties with Wheeler by volunteering with the Breakthrough Providence program and this year she will be working with her classmates to make her class’s 15th Reunion year and Wheeler’s 125 celebrations, memorable — and possibly record-breaking!

Konique Ballah ’98 still holds the RI Track and Field 500m indoor record of 1:15.87, which she established at the Brown Invitational in 1997. The longevity of this record, plus the unique distance of the event, still makes this record a talking point amongst track and field aficionados in Rhode Island. Now & Then @ Wheeler


An Interview Plus, An Alumnus Evaluates The Studio’s Impact

The Curator Has Left the Gallery: By Ben Goulet, Lower School Librarian Almost thirty years ago, Upper School Studio Art teacher Sue Carroll walked into Wheeler’s art studio for the first time. She was visiting for her job interview, not knowing what to expect, never dreaming of legacies and long careers. In those first moments, she simply stood in the huge studio space, awestruck. “I was blown away by the beauty of the space,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘Are you kidding? I’d love to work here – sign me up!’ Of course, I couldn’t have envisioned then that I’d still be here so many years later.” In those early years, Sue taught upstairs in Wheeler Hall, sharing space with Middle School Art. Alongside her former colleague Nancy Ormsbee, they split all of the Foundation courses, with Sue teaching drawing and three Studio Art classes. A full schedule to be sure, but with smaller classes and shorter periods. There she was, a young artist herself, teaching students of all different backgrounds and abilities in art. But for Sue, even in the role of a teacher, she stayed the perpetual student, always learning as much from her charges as she passed along to them. “I’m always learning from my students,” she said. “They’ve been my inspiration over the years and [it’s] the reason I’ve stayed at Wheeler so long. I get so much back from them.” Another huge turning point in Sue’s career came five years into her Wheeler stint, when she became the curator and director of the Chazan Gallery in 1990. Founded in 1969, the Chazan Gallery’s influence in the Providence arts scene grew incalculably under Sue’s leadership. After the Gallery was renovated and expanded in the school’s Prescott Library as a result of the Centennial Campaign that first year of her tenure, Sue brought in thousands of artists and curated hundreds of shows. In addition, she used the space as a blank canvas to display her students’ incredible work. Getting a show at the Chazan is no small 32

Past and present Studio students join Sue for a ‘group hug’ at her farewell. feat. Artists submit samples of their work and Sue chooses the best of the best. This year alone, 150 artists submitted proposals for six shows for the 2013-2014 season. Most art teachers would be satisfied with the achievements that come from teaching thousands of students. But in quintessential Wheeler fashion, that wasn’t enough for

school for talented young people with a passion for visual arts.” All along, Sue has seen the Chazan as a “gift.” It’s a gift to the students who wander through the Gallery to take it all in, to be inspired, to meet artists and write about the work. It’s a gift to the rest of the faculty, who get to know their students in a different way,

Sue Carroll’s vision and leadership has made the Chazan Gallery one of the finest contemporary art galleries in the state.” Dan Miller, Head of School

Sue Carroll. There is an additional legacy to be left for future generations of teachers, students and artists in everything the Chazan Gallery embodies. Head of School Dan Miller agrees. “Sue Carroll’s vision and leadership has made the Chazan Gallery one of the finest contemporary art galleries in the state,” he said. “She’s been an extraordinary teacher and mentor in our Upper School art program and the architect of our legendary Studio Art Program.” Miller believes that, beyond her talents as a teacher and a curator, Sue’s vision has helped Wheeler become a “destination Now & Then @ Wheeler

learning about each of them individually through the prism of their art. And finally, it’s a gift from the Wheeler School to the City of Providence, to its neighbors Brown and RISD and to all of the artists, students and outsiders alike, whose work have graced its walls. But, in the wake of all the accolades, the parties and goodbyes, Sue is left to miss her students more than any of it, unable yet to speak of them in the past tense. “It’s tremendously rewarding to see them grow as artists over the course of their three years in the Studio Art Program,” she said “I get so much from them.”

Sue Carroll Retires From Wheeler By David Cordeiro ‘87 As a Wheeler student in the mid 1980’s I spent some of my happiest hours under Sue Carroll’s direction in the Studio Art program. She introduced our class to new media, the art community of Providence and the ability to look critically at each others’ work.  But, nearly 30 years later, I find myself deep into a career in business and technology and I only occasionally find the time to dig my art materials out of the closet.  Was my blissful time spent in the art studio just a youthful dalliance? Perhaps it is even worth considering if it was a waste of time and money before starting a serious career and life?   One skill that Ms. Carroll taught our class was the ability to see what was in front of us without substituting our own prejudices.  In figure drawing we were asked to sketch, sometimes in a matter of seconds, what was in front of us with a series of gestures.  Such exercises trained us not to substitute our own understanding of the ideal human form but rather to find truth and beauty in the form that was before us.  

 Group critiques also strengthened our fragile young egos to face the reality and deficiencies of own work.  In judging our own work our instinct was to be overly critical and when looking at the work of our classmates we had to fight our own tendency to be overly generous.  While sometimes difficult to hear and to give, this objective criticism allowed us to improve as individual artists and as a class. Years later, during the excesses of the late 1990’s Internet and Telecom boom when I was leading the investor relations for a multi-billion dollar IPO I was reminded of these lessons.  Many of my colleagues and executives were caught up in their own visions for the future of the company and market in which we had all invested our hard work and our egos.  But the lessons of the art studio allowed me to see past the ideal and my ego to the market realities developing around us.  This realization could not avert the tragedy of the following bankruptcies but it allowed me to better navigate the fate of my family, my co-workers and investors through the chaos to come.

. . . the lessons of the art studio allowed me to see past the ideal and my ego to the market realities developing around us.”

Another lesson impressed upon me in Studio Art was the need to treat every inch of my canvas as a work of art of its own. The skills of developing an overall composition were well taught, but I learned from Sue Carroll to also look at each brush stroke as reflecting the overall expression of the piece.  This profound idea was articulated when the mathematical theory of fractals was still quite young and helped me find greater meaning in my art at each scale of the work. As a middle-aged man and a father I draw upon this lesson every day.  Our family believes that the greatest good is to live our lives as works of art whose flourishing (eudaimonia) should be judged on their completion as a balanced and beautiful creation.  But to achieve this grand ambition, each year, month and day must be lived with the same passion and beauty that we wish to see reflected in the whole.  The skill to move between the particular and

the whole learned in studio art continues to serve us all today. I owe thanks to other teachers from whom I learned the skills of an MBA, analysis, foreign languages and the ability to write. All of these tools have served me and my career well, but none so well as those I learned from Sue Carroll in the Studio Art program at Wheeler.  Like Thomas Mann’s Tonio Kroeger, my fate was not to be an artist.  I was indeed “ein Bürger auf Irrwegen...ein verirrter Bürger.” But like Kroeger I have come to see my time in the art world as precious and irreplaceable in determining the man that I have become. It is my sincere hope that after Ms. Carroll’s well-earned retirement, the Wheeler School maintains its commitment to the Studio Art program and recognizes the unique contribution it makes to the lives of both students destined for careers in art and to those of us who followed a different path.

Liz Kilduff ‘86 Is Named New Chazan Gallery Director Sue Carroll, the Director of Providence’s Chazan Gallery at Wheeler since 1990, retired from The Wheeler School this June and the School has hired artist, educator and School alumna Elizabeth “Liz” Kilduff ‘86 to fill her position beginning in July. Carroll, who joined the Art Department faculty at Wheeler in 1984, has been Director of the Chazan Gallery (previously The Wheeler Gallery) at Wheeler for 25 years.  She has a BFA and a MFA (summa cum laude) in art and art history from Ohio State University.  While a faculty member at Wheeler, Carroll directed the Studio Art Program, a sequence of three full-year courses in Wheeler’s Upper School providing an intensive involvement in drawing, painting, color theory and design.    Replacing Carroll is Class of 1986 alumna Elizabeth Kilduff who received a BFA in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1990, an MAT (with honors) from Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 and an MFA from the New York Academy of Art Graduate School of Figurative Art in 2000.  Over the course of her career, Kilduff has served as Gallery Director at the Van Stratten Gallery in Chicago, IL, as well as interim Gallery Director of The Wheeler Gallery and taught art at the American Academy of Art, the Prout School and Wheeler.  Kilduff has exhibited her works extensively and earned Best In Show honors at the Providence Art Club in 2005.  “We are so fortunate to find a person of Liz’s caliber,” said Head of School Dan Miller. “That she is a graduate of Wheeler and a former student of Sue’s adds a wonderful personal dimension to this transition.” Now & Then @ Wheeler


Passings — Hugh Andrews Madden, Head of School 1968-1980 The Wheeler community was saddened by the passing of Hugh A. Madden (Wheeler Headmaster from 1968-1980), who died May 22 at the age of 77. Wheeler Head Dan Miller said at the time, “Hugh Madden was, by all accounts, a dynamic and courageous leader, charismatic and engaging as well as powerfully analytical. He led the school through a decade of dramatic and critical change – from single-sex to co-ed; from boarding to day. In his fearless embrace of necessary evolution, he laid the groundwork for all that Wheeler has become.” Hugh Madden assumed the Headmastership of the Mary C. Wheeler School on July 1, 1968, after serving as the Director of Admission at the Pembroke-Country Day School in Kansas City, Missouri and teaching at Phillips Academy Andover. He had received an A.B. degree as well as M.A. in classics from Princeton and was elected Phi Beta Kappa and selected a Woodrow Wilson National Fellow in Classics. In addition he received his J.D. degree from the University of Missouri School of Law. Madden was the father of Hugh A. Madden Jr. and Heather Madden McShane, who attended Wheeler from 1973-1983, Anne Andrews Badalato and Christopher William Chapman as well as the grandfather of ten. From his obituary it was said, “Mr. Madden leaves a legacy of hundreds of alumni, who remember his fondness for Latin puns, teaching outside on a sunny day, and Gates Kansas City Bar-B-Q. . . Huzzah!”

“I know I'm not going to be the only one remembering this one but a day I will never forget was when Hugh opened up assembly with a field hockey stick and a tennis racket declaring a school holiday by letting all Upper Schoolers out to go to the Farm after both teams won their respective STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS. How many Heads would do that? Jane Forman ‘80 even recollected that moment when she came to campus this spring to speak with some Wheeler students. One of her fondest memories, as well as mine.” Jean Carlson, Coach, PE Department Head

“Huzzah was his way of waking us up, motivating us, or uniting us. In assembly he would punch his fist in the air and shout HUZZAH!! I remember he even had T-shirts made up. On a whim, I opened one box from my memorabilia box and lo’ and behold, I found the t-shirt.” Elizabeth “Bonnie” Phinney ‘70 Bodspir, Author, Speaker, Trainer 34

Hugh at the Junior/Senior picnic in Osterville, MA at Line Gavin Lewis ‘70’s house, May 1969. Photo from Bonnie Phinney ‘70

The Madden Years Among the changes during his tenure include full coeducation, a move from boarding to day only, a change in the uniform dress code at the Community Council’s urging, purchase of real estate to expand the campus, fundraising for a new gymnasium and curricular changes to implement team-taught humanities courses.

From the Wheeler Archives. Top: Hugh and son, Hugh, Jr. in 1968; top right: Hugh and Margaret “Peg” Howe at the dedication of the Madden Field House with its Howe Auxilary Gym in 1980 and right: Hugh (center) at a Jamboree with faculty members from left: Tom Vibert, Tom Tinker, and Army Armstrong. 35

From Zero to 65 . . . and going . . .

Here Are Wheeler’s Class Agents
















17 Now & Then @ Wheeler




A revived Class Agent programs welcomes (to date) 66 alumni who will help Wheeler communicate with classmates about events, news and ways to continue your role in the Wheeler alumnae/i community. Here are YOUR class agents, nearly half of them pictured below. Want to be a part of this program? Contact Associate Alumni Relations Director Martyn Hollands at to learn more. Andrew Wheelan ‘93 Jacqueline T. Caton (8) ‘94 Frederick G. Sandstrom ‘94 Katherine A. Mumma (6) ‘95 Emma B. Heffern (15) ‘96 Taylor L. Joyce (4) ‘96H Kerci Stroud ‘96 Michael J. Esposito ‘97 CJ Freeman ‘97H Tom Kraig ‘98H Debbie Mann Jacobs ‘98 Nicole B. Jennings (17) ‘99 Sara Zarrella ‘99H Megan L. Devendorf ‘00 Tara L. Cavanagh ‘01 Robin P. Glancy (18) ‘01 Alex Schoenfeld ‘01H Becci L. Weiss (27) ‘01

Judi Alperin King ‘79 Ann Marie Barone ‘80 Cristiana M. Quinn ‘80 Betsey A. Robertson (7) ‘81 Bianca F. Cioffi-Zaring ‘82 Cristina B. Del Sesto (29) ‘82 Dana Salvadore-Cazzani (23)‘82 Lynne D. Bell (11) ‘83 Alice A. Moore (31) ‘84 Leslie M. Molson (1) ‘85 Donald M. Forman (16) ‘86 Stacy B. Emanuel ‘87 Elizabeth Heaton (19) ‘88 Amy Baumgartel Singer ‘89 Sarah D.R. Daunis ‘90 David C. Aaron ‘91 Jennifer R. Titus ‘91 David A. Bedrick (2) ‘92 Brian J. Franklin (2) ‘92








28 Now & Then @ Wheeler


Eric J. Palmieri Alexander Boeglin (14) Peter Brown David Culbert (25) Jason E. Siperstein (12) Carrie Alexander (26) Alexander Connor (5) Sabine Schaefers Erica L. Schecter Bethany Crudele (3) Larkin Brown (13) Dean Hollands (30) Kelsey Whitaker Kercofa Francois (9) Lindsay Leddy (22) Victoria E. Frank (28) Caity Sprague Isabel R. Tyler (10) Ashley Vanicek (28) Lara Hollands (24) Caroline A. Frishman Daniel Pickar Christina E. Frank (20) Alexander S. Graff Yoo Hyeon Kim Kate Mancosh Megan E. Pelson Michael Schiavone (21) Sam Shwartz

‘02 ‘03 ‘03H ‘03 ‘03 ‘04 ‘04 ‘04H ‘04 ‘05 ‘06 ‘07 ‘07H ‘08 ‘08 ‘09 ‘09H ‘09 ‘09 ‘10 ‘11 ‘11H ‘12 ‘13 ‘13 ‘13H ‘13 ‘13 ‘13H

H = Hamilton School Alumni






Alumni Events

Upcoming Alumni Events: • Reunion October 18-20 • Alumni Tennis Tournament with Jane Forman, Oct. 20 • Alumni Pick Up Soccer Game, November 29 • Holiday Fest Rehearsal In-College Pizza Party, Dec. 19 • Metro Club parties in Boston, DC and New York

Wheeler Workshops in Providence Undaunted by a blizzard postponement, nearly 50 Providence area alumni came out for the Wheeler Workshops rescheduled last June. Cooking, art, floral arranging and beer tasting were among the options offered.

Class of 2007 alumnus Dean Hollands.


Sharing Their Wisdom Class of 2007 alum Dean Hollands (left) spoke to the newest Class of 2013 alumni at a breakfast at the Head of School’s home as they counted down 100 days ‘til their own entry into the Wheeler Alumni Association. Alumni from The Hamilton School at Wheeler were seen a lot on campus during the program’s 25th anniversary year — something we hope will continue — speaking to current students and attending alumni events. Now & Then @ Wheeler

Henry Oestreich ‘09, Erin Gildea ‘04, Tom Kraig ‘98 and Sara Zarrella ‘99.

New Instagram Account For Wheeler Alumni!

It’s easy to follow alumni events and other happenings now. Open to alumni is a new Instagram account where alumni event photos and those you want to share can be posted. Follow or post to #wheeleralumni.

Field Day captures traditional alumni events Members of the Alumni Association’s Executive Board held their annual meeting and then joined other alums down on the main field to lead the Grand March of the Purples and Golds on Field Day. Children of alums who also attend Wheeler gathered for their annual photo shoot as Wheeler legacies (below). You can watch video and see photos from this year’s Field Day at

Burritos, Bocce and Beer Draw Class of ‘09 While New York City Is Site of Big Metro Club Turnout Class of 2009 alums (above) helped kick off a new alumni event celebrating their recent college graduations with a pre-summer party at Wheeler. The Alumni Office brought the food truck, keg and summer fun! More than ???? alums from the New York City area gathered in ???? for free food and drinks at a Wheeler Metro Club event.

Now & Then @ Wheeler


Class Notes Stay connected with Wheeler... > Like our Facebook page: > Join the LinkedIn Wheeler Alumni Network at > Follow us on Twitter @ > Post photos to Instagram at #wheeleralumni

In Memoriam

Hope Drury Goddard ‘32 6/10/2013 Jane Matteson Love ‘32 1/16/2013 Katherine Walker Lind ‘35 2/22/2013 Miriam Parsons Gustafson ‘37 12/1/2012 Elizabeth Lawrence Van Meter ‘37 11/30/2012 Willow Todd Davis ‘38 10/14/2012 Phyllis Bausher Petrak ‘43 4/19/2012 Lesley Crook Henderson ‘45 3/20/2013 Mary Babcock Pitts ‘45 2/4/2013 Elaine Macmann Willoughby ‘45 11/12/2012 Stella Brown Kenly ‘47 11/17/2012 Lenore MacLeish ‘48 2/24/2013 Marjorie Reardon Hartnett ‘51 3/11/2013 Lucy Ferguson McLauchlan ‘51 1/20/2013 Lorea Warren ‘52 3/1/2013 Suny Hiscox Carpenter ‘66 12/10/2012 Susan Curran ‘89 1/6/2013 Matthew White ‘00 1/7/2013 Elizabeth Gao ‘11 3/7/2013 Faculty & Staff Nancy Carpenter, 6/7/2013 Hugh Madden, 5/22/2013 40


Diana Fraser Seamans writes, “My family’s association with Wheeler goes back to Mary C. Wheeler herself who was a good friend, fellow artist and sometimes European traveling companion to my great-aunt Elizabeth Stevens of Portland, Maine. I don’t know how they became acquainted, but they were both Impressionist artists who spent time together in France studying art. My great-aunt actually had a painting hung in the Salon Exhibit in Paris. My mother’s sister, Janet Stevens (later Wilcox) attended Wheeler sometime prior to WWI. Since I spent more than 50 years working with dyslexic and ADHD individuals of all ages, children to 45 year old adults, I have watched (in the bulletin) with interest, your development of the Hamilton School within Wheeler - a marvelous way to deal with these truly gifted individuals who have such a struggle with standard school programs. I was trained early on in Orton-Gillingham Techniques by June Orton, Mr. Orton’s widow, and spent years struggling to convince teachers and administrators that these were gifted folks who needed a different approach - not psycho-analysis. Thank goodness, finally, for the neurological research by Dr’s Geschwind and Galaburda at Beth Israel Hospital who were ultimately able, with all the new MRI’s, etc., to prove the neurological differences. More power to Wheeler and the Hamilton School.”


Nancy Buell Schreier writes, “Grandson, Konrad, is a student at Now & Then @ Wheeler

Purdue and is studying at Freiburg University in Germany for his junior semester abroad. His sister, Amanda, has been teaching English in Prague in the Czech Republic. Granddaughter Katie heads to Cambridge University in England this summer.”


Sara McGowan Rice writes, “I am grateful that I am still able to take care of myself. I worked until I was 73. When I retired, I made going to the gym 6 days a week my “job.” I love the rowing machine. I can still leg press close to 300 lbs, and it’s good to get out of the house and see other human beings. I love being “four score and seven” years old. I’m enclosing a picture of the three “McGowan Girls” taken in 2002. Mary Lee Allison ‘48, Eleanor Byrne ‘38 and yours truly. (See photo above.) Mary Spelman Vincent writes, “My life keeps busy with four children, seven grandchildren and 12 great grandsons and one little girl. To keep busy, I volunteer in an afterschool program helping children with their homework. I also volunteer at the hospital. I also travel about every four to five years to Australia to visit my daughter. However, last year was my last. I’m sorry I will miss the Reunion. I will be thinking of you all.”


Marilyn Blackall Wheeler writes, “This year, it seems, has been made up of a few health related situations. In the spring, I had the cataracts removed from both of my eyes - no more glasses

‘48, ‘38, ‘43 which is great; but still, my eyes have not felt 100%. This summer, I went north to my home on Cape Cod as I usually do. I had lots of fun! It was a hot one, as it was all over the country, but we were lucky to escape the hurricanes, and, in particular, tropical storm Sandy. In July, I ended up with cellulitis due to a couple of what started out as two minor, little scrapes on one of my legs. Then, the doctor thought I had Lyme disease, but even after some blood tests, was not able to make a positive diagnosis. I came back to Florida in mid-September, and now, most of the snowbirds and my friends are back, so life is getting busy. The horse shows, polo, etc., will be starting soon, too. Meantime, I’m still riding my horse which most people think is amazing at my age of 84. It seems perfectly natural to me, however, as I’ve ridden all of my life! I still have my big, beautiful white “Sammie” dog, so ‘life is great!’”


After 15 years, FalconGuides, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, has released a 2nd edition of Walking Portland, Oregon by Sybilla Avery Cook. This compact and informative guidebook by Avery, a freelance writer and former library media specialist, walks you through the best Portland has to offer. Avery has written on a variety of subjects for magazines, including book reviews, travel, and humor and is the author of many books.


Miriam Graves Kenney writes, “Looking forward to begin celebrating the 125th

‘62 & ‘69


year with ’53 classmates at our 60th Reunion!” Deborah Willman Pierce writes, “We’re fortunate! Still able to enjoy skiing (70 days this past winter) and summer on a Maine Island. Family is nearby so very much a part of our lives.”


Susan Bell Wheeler writes, “A second grandchild arrived last September, named Annalee, to my youngest child Kelly; their first child, Gary, is approaching five years old. I’m working on creating sustainability to my home with vegetable and herb/flower gardening. Working at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is also a wonderful challenge as well.”


While in France, Brooke Kaufman and Liz Shepard ‘69 visited Chenonceau together in the Loire Valley. Brooke also plans on visiting the “Wheeler House” in Giverny during her travels. Brooke and Liz met 6 years ago while waiting for a plane to Paris. It wasn’t until 3-4 months into their friendship that they both realized the Wheeler connection! (See photo above.)

Deborah Owen writes, “While my class was celebrating our 50th reunion, I was traveling in Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic with my partner, Steve Salidas. We visited with Sisi EhrenbergHassen König ‘61 and her husband, Heinz, who live outside Vienna. They showed us all the sights in beautiful Vienna and Salzburg. We also visited Sisi’s mother who is 95 years young! Sisi Now & Then @ Wheeler


was the first American Field Service student at Wheeler. She was sponsored by the Social Service organization. My sister, Marty Owen Moore ‘60 was President of Social Service in her senior year when the plans were made and funds generated to sponsor Sisi. Our family volunteered to be the host family, and Sisi lived with us during the school year 1960 - 1961. It was a wonderful experience. In the photo, taken in Salzburg, Austria, are, from left to right, Steve Salidas, Debbie Owen, Sisi Ehrenberg-Hassen König, and Heinz König.”


Patience Peck writes, “I live five minutes from the beach in Narragansett in a really nice apartment. I am retired and try to spend as much time as I can working on my studio creating in pastels, drawing and making collages. I am in group shows several times a year. I am divorced, with no children, and comfortable/happy on my own. I give private art lessons and spend lots of time with my bichon frise, Jesse. I hope to see many of you at the Reunion.” (See photo above.)


Elizabeth West writes, “My latest project owes something to the spirit of our school’s feminist founder, Mary C. Wheeler. It’s a documentary called MAKERS: Women Who Make America, and is about the modern women’s movement. The doc, which aired as a three hour special on PBS this February, is now streaming at, ­— read more on next page­­­ 41


where you can also see our growing archive of video stories and interviews with groundbreaking women - from Gloria Steinem to Sheryl Sandberg to nearly 200 lesser-known but important pioneers young and old.”


Sally Kidder Davis posted on the Wheeler Facebook page about her company, Life’s a Poodle, which raises awareness for kids who learn differently. to learn more. Shepley Metcalf writes, “I’m detouring from my old-time jazz repertoire and doing a new show of songs by Laura Nyro, whose tunes I was passionate about in the ‘60s and ‘70s. I’m excited to be performing her hits (Stoney End, And When I Die, Stoned Soul Picnic) and lesser-known gems in NYC, Wellfleet, Chicago and Worthington, MA, and releasing an album The Songs of Laura Nyro: Live at the Metropolitan Room in April. On the family front, my city-raised daughter and her husband are running a freechoice, year-round, full-diet CSA farm in Western Mass., and as someone with no farming or domestic skills, I am in awe of her bread making, vegetable growing, and barnyard animal caretaking!” (See photo above.)


Karen Pozzo Kiarsis writes, “I am still living in Rye, NY with my husband Victor. We have four children out of college living in New York City and one on her way to Boston University after four years at Suffield Academy. I still own my interior design firm - Jordan 42



Dahl Interiors and can’t believe I have been doing this for 35 years. I stay in touch with Daune Peckham Purmont. We were inseparable at Wheeler and always are able to pick up right where we left off. I am making every effort to attend our big upcoming Reunion.”


Like father, like son! Jonathan Salinger attends a Wheeler baseball game to cheer on his son Sam ‘15 in the photo above. See it on the Wheeler Instagram page at #wheeleralumni.


Sally Hart Petersen stopped by campus to visit with Sloane DeAngelis ‘86, Director of Alumni & Parent Relations.


Karen Pierce Shea is living in Portsmouth, RI with her husband (Dan), three children (Alanna - 17, Kyla - 14, Niall - 11), her mother (Sally), and two dogs (Mickey and Benny). She is an Associate Professor at Johnson & Wales University, and she is working on a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition at URI. Recently, she ran into Mr. Clauser at BJ’s in Seekonk - great memories from Spanish class, 1984!


Leslie Molson ‘85 was in attendance as Noah Rubin ‘84 received his Ed.D from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and shares this photo of Noah, his wife Carolyn, and their baby boy Benjamin at the robing ceremony! Noah will soon join Wellesley College as the Director of Elementary Education. Now & Then @ Wheeler




David Cordeiro writes, “My oldest son, Jacob Cordeiro (16), just authored “Minecraft for Dummies” and it has already gone into its second printing.” Geoff O’Hara and Etienne Granito Mechrefe ‘95 led the Field Day march of the Purples and Golds as president and vice president of the Wheeler Alumni Association. Etienne assumed the Alumni Association presidency at this May’s Annual Meeting.


Danielle Morissette Foley writes, “We are in Australia for a few years because of my husband’s job with Campbell Soup Company. Prior to this we were in Shanghai for almost two years. We are loving living around the globe. It’s an amazing place. Beautiful beaches, great weather, great people! The only drawback is it’s incredibly far from friends and family!”


Michelle Gagnon’s Young Adult thriller Don’t Turn Around was nominated for a top award by the International Thriller Writer’s Association and selected as one of the best YA books of the year by such groups as Entertainment Weekly magazine, Kirkus and YALSA.


Beth Orenstein Franklin came to campus with her two children to visit Coach Carlson. We posted the photo above to the new Wheeler Alumni Instagram page. #wheeleralumni



Jennifer Lena writes, “Starting July 1, 2013, I will start a position as Associate Professor of Arts Administration at Columbia University. I’m very excited to start the new job, and to move to an office right across the street from my current spot at Barnard College!”




A welcome new donation to the Prescott Library alumni collection is the new novel, Almost Gone by author Brian Sousa.


Brad Balukjian received his PhD from the University of California - Berkley this May.

Adrienne Gagnon was named a 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellow by The Rhode Island Foundation. This extraordinary fellowship provides seed funding for ideas that have the potential to make a big impact on the state of RI. Adrienne will receive $300,000 over the next three years to implement her plan to bring the transformative tools of Design Thinking to RI youth, expanding the impact of DownCity Design, the nonprofit design education organization she co-founded in 2009.(See photo from her application video above.)

Saucon Insurance Agency recently hired Jim Charnley as managing director. Charnley had previously been chief risk officer, and before that senior vice president of Caruso Benefits Group, Inc., a division of National Penn Bank. (See photo above.)


Molly Bodell and Jonathan Santoro ‘04 ran into each other in Munich, Germany!

Heather Joines participates in the BAA Distance Medley every year, which included the BAA 5K the day before the marathon.


See our QR Code box on the last page of Class Notes to watch Chris’ video! Wheeler & Hamilton alum, Chris Freeman, is currently a science teacher at a high school in Virginia Beach. He is working with his students and town architects to design sustainability aspects for their new high school.


Nico Muhly is rubbing shoulders with the likes of Duke Ellington & George Gershwin as part of the American Music Festival this year.

2001 2002

Congratulations to Sean Kelly for being named the NEPSAC Class C co-coach of the year for boys basketball. Caroline Woolard will be taking part in the Artist Experiment, “a new initiative in the Department of Education that brings together contemporary artists in dialogue with MoMA educators to conceptualize ideas for developing innovative and experimental public interactions.” Now & Then @ Wheeler

‘03 More information about this project at MoMA can be found here http:// experiment#artists Caroline also gave a talk earlier this spring at RISD and met up with Martyn Hollands, Associate Director of Alumni Relations. (See photo above).


Philip Eil recently took a position as news editor at the Providence Phoenix. Haley Fox married childhood friend, Andy Billipp. They were married on October 6th, 2012 on the steps of their sheep barn by Haley’s mother’s cousin, a minister, who had baptized Andy and Haley as children. Tiffany Metts writes, “I am in Philadelphia now. I finished my Masters in Education Policy in 2011. Since then, I have been working as a Director of Operations at a charter school. I also have a small event planning business, so that’s been a lot of fun as well. I’m a mommy now! I had a baby girl in November. She is such a blessing! I also got engaged last year.” (See photo above.) Olivia Ciel Ramsdell was born on February 7th, 2013 at 10:29pm weighing 6lbs, 11oz. Congratulations to Grace Masquelette Ramsdell on the new addition to her family! (See photo above on next page.)


Check out the #wheeleralumni Instagram account to see photos of many from 2004! Here’s who you’ll see: ­— read more 2004 news on next page­­­ 43


‘05 & ‘09

• Carrie Alexander and John Blasing at an alumni event in Providence. • Nick Parrillo and Bailey Woodhull catching up with some of their ‘04 classmates at a Providence Alumni event. • Brett Robichaud, Coach Carlson and Megan Sheeley at anAlumni event. Jonathan Santoro received his third degree, a doctorate of medicine, from Tulane University. To celebrate, he’ll be sharing what he’s learned in the past nine years when he steps to the podium as the student speaker at the Unified Commencement Ceremony at Tulane University.


Parkinson’s advocate Michael J. Fox has a new challenge for Sam Fox! Next April, Sam embarks a new adventure to climb to the highest point in each of the 48 contiguous states. Visit to see Go Sam Go! Leidy Valencia has recently started an accelerated JD program at Northwestern Law in Chicago. Chris Wolston and Maia Chao ‘09 (photo above) attended Sue Carroll’s retirement celebration where they celebrated the news that each of them were recently named Fulbright Scholars. Marshall Gillson joined the Google Play for Education team whose project was just announced at Google I/O during the keynote. The team is building content management and discovery tools for K-12 teachers using Android tablets. 44



Eric John Ricci was accepted into three dental schools and will be attending Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in the fall of 2013. He recently graduated from Rhode Island College with a Master of Arts degree in Biology. His master’s thesis has resulted in the discovery of a leaf cuticle on the moss Physcomitrella patens and was fully funded by the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR program.


Check out the QR Code box on the next page and see what Rob Elliott and his NSF-IGERT group has been up to lately. Watch the video on innovative approaches to vegetative rooftop design. Alums Dean Hollands, Martin Vivier ‘07, Telvin Lopes ‘12 & Kevin Gil ‘12, played alongside current varsity players, Vartan Hengen, Harry Liggett (not in photo) Chris Kniesche, Kevin Tripp and Jared Wisen. (See photo above.) Bethany Pine writes, “Currently I am teaching Fourth Grade at Lincoln School and it is an extremely rewarding and positive experience. I am also the Head Coach of the Middle School Basketball Team as well as coaching Middle School Field Hockey and Lacrosse. This past summer I completed two Warrior Dashes and the Spartan Sprint and I am currently training for future races.”


Alan Mendelsohn writes, “I just finished my first year at New York Now & Then @ Wheeler

‘07, ‘12 University School of Law and will be spending the summer working for Housing Conservation Coordinators, a tenant’s rights and community organizing non-profit in Manhattan.”


Halee Brown graduated Brandeis Class of 2013, cum laude. She also was the winner of this year’s Robert B. Sherman ‘67 Memorial Prize, given “to a student who has demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing social diversity and cooperation, to promoting social welfare through political thought and activism, and to helping people achieve their rights within Brandeis and the larger community.” Wheeler alums Brett Musco, Ben Mirza ‘10 and Doug Kaiser ‘12 took a break from their studies at Cornell to support the Wheeler model UN team when it visited this year. Thank you Jimmy Rudolph for your work as director/videographer/editor of the fun Big Event video featuring Wheeler faculty & staff! Caitlin Sprague, Nina Frank ‘12, Neeltje Henneman, Annie Funnell and Tori Frank ‘09 braved the elements at Conn College to cheer on their fellow Wheeler alumnae in a Lacrosse game against Amherst this year. (See photo above.)


John J. Masko (JJ) was the musical director for Yale’s spring production of the Gilbert & Sullivan musical “The Pirates of Penzance.” JJ was in charge of auditioning and hiring all of the

‘09, ‘12 cast and orchestra members, as well as organizing and directing the rehearsals. The show was a great success - soldout through its run - and with some faculty noting that it might be the best musical mounted at Yale in decades. JJ will be spending part of the summer in Romania where he’ll be conducting a couple of orchestras. Cathleen Williams received a scholarship from Rhode Island College to attend school in Morocco for the spring 2013 semester. On her blog she writes, “Thanks to the Ridgway F. Shinn Study Abroad Fund, I’m spending the second semester of my junior year in Meknès, the “Versailles of Morocco.” While the title of my blog, “Meknessi Life,” is certainly a reflection of how silly I am, I’m thrilled to begin this chapter of my life in Meknès and to be




able to record it all here. Que ça coule!” http://semesterinmeknes.wordpress. com/


Joe Paolino joined the baseball coaching staff at Wheeler this spring. Priscilla Tyler netted a career-high of eight goals for Amherst’s women’s lacrosse team’s game against Wesleyan. She has had an amazing season so far as she leads Amherst in goals on the year with 24 points.

Faculty member Suzanne Elliot ran into Maggie Godley and Joe Paolino ‘11 at an event at Brown University last spring. (See photo above). Telvin Lopes participated in the MS Walk on April 7th with some of his Babson classmates. Bethany Crudele ‘05 and her family also participated in the walk.


Sam Esserman, Hamilton Alum, returned to campus to visit with Jon Green. (See photo above.)


Zoe Foulkes, Coach Carlson and Faye Granoff Stolzman ‘81, proudly supported the Wheeler Girls Varsity LAX as they defeated Falmouth Academy 12-1.

Use A QR Code Reader to watch these three great videos featuring Wheeler alums!

Adrienne Gagnon ‘93

Chris Freeman ‘97

Rob Elliott ‘07

A Lot Can Happen In Ten Years; Miss Wheeler Would Be Impressed

Marking a Milestone: Dan Miller’s Ten Years at Wheeler By Mark Harris, Director of The Aerie Program Just over a decade ago, the Search Committee for a new Head of School convened atop Columbine Hill at the Farm. We were enormously optimistic. It was hard not to be, looking out at the expanse of impressive improvements from Bill Prescott’s 23-year tenure. We had come a long way and felt that the time was right for a great leap for Wheeler. We wanted to find the right leader to make that leap with us. Our hopes were lofty: we were looking for a compelling vision for the future, success at fundraising, improved facilities, support for promising programs, educational impact beyond our campus walls. We wanted a Head with the ambition and skill to pursue and bring to fruition dreams to which we had dedicated our professional lives. Now, ten years later, our optimism realized, we have made that leap and more. The accomplishments of the decade since Dan arrived are impressive and in some areas, given the school’s historic struggle with fundraising, nothing short of astounding. There’s been a quintupling of the school’s endowment, which has made Dan’s corresponding commitment to financial aid both substantial and geared to the long term. That commitment has resulted in a student body that today reflects more socioeconomic and cultural/racial diversity than ever before. An aggressive initiative to raise salaries of an underpaid faculty and staff has dramatically improved our compensation relative to other similar-sized schools, a goal that was inconceivable just a short time ago. And despite a prolonged recession that affected most independent schools severely, Wheeler’s over-all reputation has been strengthened. The school is on sound financial footing and the admissions/enrollment picture has been robust every year. At the lowest point of the economic downturn, Wheeler’s campus was one of the few places in Rhode Island

where the sounds of jackhammers and saws and cranes could be heard, because the school was forging its path, its optimistic supporters were backing the vision, and there was no delaying the future. Emerging over the decade were the bricks and steel, concrete and glass of the Nulman Lewis Student Center, the Hamilton expansion adding the Wharton P. Whitaker Building, the Pelson Student Union project, the acquisition of the 217 Hope property renamed Baker House and its carriage house, the transformation of East Campus and the old Headmaster’s house, and the Morgan Hall renovations – more than 25 million dollars poured into the physical campus. The solar panels on the Van Norman Field House at the Farm

A creative force is right there, obvious to all, linked to the founder by the same aesthetic energy that has propelled the place for a century and a quarter.


are a tangible metaphor for the energy generated by the much-improved athletic program, which now competes with the school’s reputation in the arts. The Farm’s expanded radio transmitter signals a Wheeler relationship with National Public Radio that can affect a million people each day. The Farm’s Sixth Graders, schooled in boatbuilding and trailblazing, have brought the school founder’s vision of a town and country education into a new century. Dan is the first to credit strong Trustees and supportive parents, his veteran administrative team, the advancement office, a talented faculty, and loyal alumnae/i for these investments and improvements, but no campaign for change starts or succeeds without leadership. “Bold” is an understatement. This coming year will see Now & Then @ Wheeler

the construction of dazzling performing arts facilities complete with an auditorium that can comfortably fit more than 400 people and with dedicated performing arts classrooms and practice rooms as well.There will be the renovation of a dedicated theater space in Wheeler Hall, and substantial improvements in Angell Building, the home of the Lower School. An invisible infrastructure expansion will accommodate sweeping improvements in teaching through wireless technology (the Upper School begins a commitment to BYOD “Bring Your Own Device” teaching this Fall.) In my time at Wheeler, I’d never really paid much attention to the aesthetics of our campus; my focus was primarily on program. Soon after Dan’s tenure began, effects as simple as lighting the exterior of Hope Building at night gave a dramatic emphasis to an historical gem I’d taken for granted all those years. The logo of the school was redesigned. It’s imbedded in the sidewalk at the entrance to the school and on every distinctive sign gracing the campus. Each building project in the last ten years has been accompanied by stunning art that is now part of our daily experience and which puts a public face on the school’s artistic identity. The playground is a showpiece. The turf field is green and usable in January. The eye-catching courtyard is as inviting to small children as it is to clusters of high school students and the teachers who engage with them on warm days. The East Campus space is an attractive refuge, and the renovated buildings on that side of Hope Street accommodate grownup functions, freeing precious campus space for student activities. Our jewel of a campus on the East Side increasingly looks it. The Farm campus has art on a grand scale that emphasizes the dramatic beauty of the fields and forest. In his first opening address to the entire school, now a tradition, Dan suggested that the senior class parade in and sit with the nursery students, a symbolic gesture that vividly captured so much of what our Nursery-Grade 12 institution is about. In another of his early speeches, Dan

Highlights From A Productive Decade • Endowment grows from $5 to $27 million with dramatic improvements in faculty/staff salaries and student financial aid. • Robust enrollment and admissions. • A campus metamorphoses, including: mentioned his first impression of Wheeler, the palpable energy that fairly crackles when you enter Hope Building (now through beautiful oak doors, by the way.) You can feel that energy everywhere on campus. Now that energy is conveyed visually, too, in tile and glass and stone and bronze and brushstroke… Dan doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back at accomplishments. If asked, he’d say his biggest contribution is a deep aversion to complacency or self-satisfaction. He knows in his gut that we can always be better than we are, and this trait probably defines him better than any other (excepting perhaps his love of dogs.) But after ten years a quick glance back seems to be in order. As I exited Wheeler Hall one night recently, after a particularly moving performance, I was struck by the way the lighting accented our buildings, the way a mural warmed the space, the way the plantings smoothed the angles, the way the old and the new are woven into the now. A creative force is right there, obvious to all, linked to the founder by the same aesthetic energy that has propelled the place for a century and a quarter.

> New Student Center and cafeteria

> New Hamilton School Building

> Completely renovated Upper School Building

> Aesthetic redesign of entire courtyard, a city oasis.

> Creation of “East Campus” with new recreation area,

maintenance building, parking lot and conference/office


> Construction begins on new Center for Community and Performing Arts, to be completed Fall 2014.

• School-wide Green Initiative including a solar-powered Farm Campus • School’s radio station now home to NPR and Rhode Island Public Radio • Public Art Initiative with nine large-scale pieces installed on both campuses • Strengthened athletics program in grades 6-12 (with 30 league championships in the past ten years)

“As we approach the 125th anniversary, Wheeler is stronger, both fiscally, and programmatically, and Dan’s tireless focus on improvement — on campus, program, and fiscal health — has paid untold dividends for generations of students to come.”

Board of Trustees President Meredith Curren 2013 Graduation

2003 Installation Now & Then @ Wheeler


Alumni, Parents, Grandparents & Friends!

It’s Wheeler’s Quasquicentennial Coming this September 4 when classes begin and continuing through the year until 125th Class Commencement on June 13, 2014, the entire Wheeler community will celebrate a milestone in our school history. How can you get involved? Check out these opportunities and watch for more as the year begins!


Represent your class at Graduation 2014, June 13 at The Farm. This year more than 80 alumni participated. Help us celebrate as the 125th Class crosses the stage.


Use the hashtag #Wheeler125 and tweet congratulations to @wheelerschool on Mary Wheeler’s birthday May 15, 2014.


Be counted in Blitz125 by making your annual gift to Wheeler on a special day this winter. Watch for dates and times.



Attend an event at Wheeler such as Alumni Weekend this October 18-20 or for parents, our campus visiting day aka Wheeler Day January 31 or for grandparents, Grandparents Day next May 2. Be here in the 2013-14 school year and get a souvenir 125 gift. (One per person please.)


Take part in the 100th Field Day on May 17. If you can’t be there in person, snap a photo of yourself in your Spirit Team colors (or old Field Day shirt) and post it on the Wheeler Facebook page leading up to or on May 17. (Alumni should watch for news of a special ‘virtual’ Apache Race! Through GPS can we track the furthest away Purple or Gold?)

Purchase a special 125th anniversary tee shirt at the School Store and share your Wheeler pride.

Watch the website and your email and snail mail for more special happenings this year! Learn more about our century and a quarter at

The Wheeler Way

Science Lab Shows Its Creative Spirit

Searching for a special way to say “thank you” to all of the parents, alumni, faculty, staff, grandparents, parents of alumni, and friends who made a gift to the school this past year, we started to think about some of the things that makes Wheeler, well, Wheeler! Upper School biology teacher Dr. Donna Lizotte had a creative idea: Wheeler’s Biology students learn about Human Genetics and Molecular Biology as part of the junior year curriculum.

To watch our fun Thank You video and see some of the other “Wheeler ways” that we say thank you, visit

Students perform a Genetic Transformation Experiment in which they use DNA isolated from a jellyfish that produces the protein known as “Green Fluorescent Protein” or “GFP.” This protein gives some jellyfish their bioluminescent qualities. Students put the gene into bacteria and are able to make the bacteria glow. Lizotte and two students, Maggie Chaquette ’14 and Margaret Hanna ‘14 (right and left above), grew the modified bacteria into shapes to say “thank you” to all of the Wheeler donors for the year!

Parents of Alumni: If this publication is addressed to your son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address with you, please notify the Alumni Office of the new mailing address.

Non-Profit Org. US Postage

PAID Office of Institutional Advancement The Wheeler School 216 Hope Street Providence, Rhode Island 02906-2246

Twins Alex (left) and Nick Zigerelli, co-Presidents of the Class of 2013, make sure their classmates can finally tell them apart during the end of their graduation speech at Commencement 2013. Photo by Pam Murray

Providence, RI Permit No. 1023

Fall 2013 Now & Then at Wheeler  

Magazine of The Wheeler School in Providence, RI

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