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Esther Kim ’14

Portrait of the artist’s grandfather in oil, done with a palette knife, for a directed study class with Natania Hume.

contents | Volume 99, number 2



Ashley Gearing ’09 talked about her time at Williston Northampton during a recent visit to campus.

10 | New in the Classroom The Science Department made changes to the curriculum, and there’s going to be a lot of light, sound, and dropping objects in the year ahead. 22 | Remember When? Several alumni from the youngest reunion classes share where they are 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years after graduation. 18 | Representing Our School A reflection on Williston Northampton’s visual identity in print, online, and on the fields over the years. 14 | Giant on Campus A conversation with Al Shaler P’80, ’81, ’84, who balanced teaching English, coaching cross-country and track, and playing the campus organ for over 40 years. 17 | First Person Mairead Poulin ’13, The Willistonian’s editor-in-chief, shares her love of good storytelling.

Campus News


The science curriculum shifts to physics first.

5 | Sara Wattles Perry ’77 Lecture Luma Mufleh on her journey from pickup soccer to school founder. 12 | Sports Review An overview of the fall and winter action, including how the girls lacrosse team succeeded on and off the field under the leadership of Coach Jen Fulcher.

PEOPLE/PLACES Ph oto g r a ph s: J oa nn a C h at t m an

28 | Class Notes News and profiles from classmates and former faculty. 32 | A Model Life Stan Gedney ’48 introduces the intricate passion of classmate Jerry Shaw ’48. 58 | Five Questions for… Ashley Gearing ’09, a rising country music star, shares news from Nashville. 62 | Obituaries Remembering those we’ve lost, and introducing a new online page where you can share your thoughts and condolences. 63 | From the Archives Reflecting on Commencement and those white dresses.

Chief Advancement Officer Eric Yates P’17 Director of Alumni Relations Jeff Pilgrim ’81 Director of Communications Traci Wolfe P’16 Assistant Directors of Communications Kathleen Unruh P’13 Rachael Hanley Emily Gowdey-Backus Design Director Aruna Goldstein

Please send letters to the editor, class notes, obituaries, and changes of address to: The Williston Northampton School Alumni Office 19 Payson Avenue Easthampton, MA 01027 T (413) 529-3300 F (413) 529-3427 Established in 1915, the Bulletin is published by the Advancement Office for the benefit of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends. Cover photo: by Joanna Chattman of Ashley Gearing ’09

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s I write this, the Class of

2013 is preparing to graduate, and for the first time in recent history, the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be attending Commencement to help the seniors celebrate their time at Williston Northampton. It’s only fitting that the Upper School comes together one last time at the end of May—the seniors will be able to say good-bye to faculty, and to the younger students following in their footsteps. Just a week after graduation, campus will gear up again for Reunion, and alumni—particularly from the classes of the 3s and 8s—will return to celebrate. Included among that weekend’s events is a ceremony for the inaugural class of the Athletic Hall of Fame. We’re looking forward to welcoming a fantastic group of athletes, coaches, and teams to Williston Northampton. And we’ve included an official invitation (just for you) on page 34. Both Commencement and Reunion are ways our community comes together to share a common experience and to reconnect. This sharing of history is what binds families—and communities such as ours—together. In a recent New York Times article, author Bruce Feiler highlighted research showing that children who know their family’s stories are more resilient. If a strong family narrative makes for a stronger family, then the same is also true (if not more so) for school communities. As Mr. Feiler asks, “What’s the secret sauce?” Knowing stories from the past gives you a context

for the challenges you face. It can give you both a sense of the road ahead and how bumpy that road may be. That brings me to Williston Northampton’s strategic planning process. Spearheaded by a terrific committee of faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees, the effort will map our future path, based largely on the history of the school and the stories we tell about it. As Elizabeth D’Amour P’00, ’03, ’04, ’07, president of the Board of Trustees, wrote in a recent letter to alumni, families, and friends, “While there is broad agreement about what we value as a community, we must examine our current practices to make sure that they align with these values.” We hope you will help with this process. You will soon receive an email with a link to a survey asking for your input about Williston Northampton. I hope you will take some time to share your thoughts. You can also find more information about our strategic planning process at I hope to see you on campus for Reunion June 7-9 and to hear more from you in the coming months. In the meantime, best wishes for a restful summer! Sincerely,

Traci Wolfe P’16

Ph oto g r a ph : M at t h e w C ava nau g h

Head of School Robert W. Hill III P’15

campus news

#Willypride Our alumni may be far flung, but they are never far from one another. Join the interactive conversation on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Garrett Lessard ’10

Liz Gans ’09

legit have only rocked Williston Northampton clothing today #Willypride #GoCats

I love that no matter where I go, there’s always a @WillistonNS alum to catch up with!

Liv ’16 @WillistonNS !!!! I’m #accepted and I cannot wait to join the Williston community!!!

I'm so glad I came to Williston. Even after six years, it still makes me happy every day. — Devon Greenwood ’13

Anuska Sarkar ’12 Being in a theatre once again makes me miss @WillistonNS’s theatre #ohnostalgia

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Battened Hatches

Winter Storm Nemo barreled across New England in early February, bringing heavy snowfall and cancelled classes. The community responded with warmth and encouragement— applauding the Physical Plant staff’s round-the-clock effort to keep the campus safe and the walkways clear. Liz Lynch Cheney “Physical Plant did an amazing job with campus, thank you so very much for all of your hard work. It’s appreciated!” Jennifer Carpenter Reid ’77 “Jeff [Tannatt] and Dan [Curylo] are dedicated and caring, so it doesn’t surprise me that they went the extra mile during the storm. Hearty thanks from a NJ alum who’s breathing easily knowing the Williston community is cared for in so many ways.” Kevin McDermott ’83 “Used to love snow days, but we’d hike into Northampton!”

YouTube What’s new on our playlist? “Willy Pride” by Cade Zawacki ’15 and Jilly Lim ’13. Find more of our favorite student videos at WillistonNorthampton

Jason Bornstein ’96 “This reminds me of living on campus during the Blizzard of ‘96 and the local news media was making fun of us because we were the only place open during the storm. Those were some long walks across campus that day.”

spring 2013 Bulletin 3

Campus News In Each morning in the Birch Dining Commons there was a sense of urgency—eat what you could because lunch would not come around for another five hours. That changed in the fall when Birch Dining Commons started opening throughout the academic day, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Senior Class President Matthew Freire said he envisioned the dining hall as a place “somewhere between the StuBop and library” where students could snack, work, and quietly converse.

Cum Laude

Wildcat Robotics

The Robotics team placed 6th at the state competition and were members of the third place alliance. Check out the full story at

ten inducted into williston northampton's cum laude society

Founded in 1906 and modeled after Phi Beta Kappa, the Cum Laude Society honors scholastic achievement in secondary schools. The newest members are (from top left) seniors: Jilly Lim, Mika Chmielewski, David Fay, Emma Hing, Maddison Stemple-Piatt, George Xu, Keely Quirk, Eric Tallman, Haosho Xu, and Devon Greenwood. Congratulations!

if you were admitted to Williston Northampton from 1982 onward, chances are you know ann pickrell. A long-time field hockey and girls golf coach, Ms. Pickrell has been an integral part of the Williston Northampton community. This year, she’s taking on new challenges as the Assistant Head of School. In this role, Ms. Pickrell now oversees international enrollment, student retention, and outreach to alumni children, working to recruit the next generation of Wildcats.

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Ph oto g r a ph : (l ef t pag e ) pau l Sc h n ai t tac h er (r i g h t page ) M at t h e w C avanau gh

more muffins!

campus news



Everyone’s Talking about…

“I’m Not a Superhero.”

In her speech at the third annual Sara Wattles Perry ’77 lecture, Luma Mufleh said she wasn’t a superhero. But the Fugees Academy founder and soccer coach might be just that. Luma Mufleh is using soccer as a stepping stone to foster harmony and order in the lives of Clarkston, Georgia’s refugee children. The children, from all over the world, have witnessed the worst of our modern age. Ms. Mufleh shared her story: a privileged childhood in Amman, Jordan; hitting rock bottom twice after her parents cut her off financially; and how a wrong turn and a soccer ball changed her life. This fall, Fugees

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Academy, the school Ms. Mufleh founded, had to turn away students due to a lack of physical space. However, the school is fundraising after the recent purchase of 19 acres of land and plans to build new facilities. “I love what I do,” said Ms. Mufleh. “In the past eight years, I’ve gone from playing a pickup soccer game in a parking lot to running the first private school dedicated to refugee education in the country.”

Alli Arbib ’03

In her Cum Laude induction ceremony keynote, Ms. Arbib roused students to be aware of the world they live in. Read more at

Bill Diodato

“Patience, preparation, and the ability to stay true to yourself,” are the most important skills to have in this industry, said Mr. Diodato, during a recent Photographers’ Lecture Series talk. Read more at

Professor Daphne Lamothe P’15, ’16

Smith College Professor Ms. Lamothe spoke about a lesson she has learned over time, “a fundamental challenge in life is the construction of a meaningful identity.” Ms. Lamothe’s talk, “There are Mountains Beyond Mountains So Put on Your Travelling Shoes,” is available at

spring 2013 Bulletin 5

Spaces campus

Ph oto g r a ph s: Joa nn a C h at t m an

The Williston Theatre is home to the costume shop, makeup department, wood shop, and lighting booth. It is also an artistic home to generations of students.

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campus news

|   campus


What was your favorite production? Share your memories of the theater at facebook. com/WillistonAlumni More photos of the theater can be found at willistonnorthampton

spring 2013 Bulletin 7

Diversity Conference Keynote Speaker Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse As mayor, 24-year-old Alex B. Morse calls himself the chief marketing officer for the city of Holyoke. Kicking off the 11th annual Diversity Conference, he explained, “We needed people with a fresh perspective for the city and someone who was going to mix things up, and that is essentially why I ran.” In high school Mr. Morse countered homophobia by founding Holyoke High School’s first Gay Straight Alliance. The youngest and first openly

gay mayor of Holyoke, Mr. Morse announced he was running for office while a senior at Brown University. Rather than move to DC, Boston, or New York, Mr. Morse said he wanted to, “come home to the city that had given [him] so many opportunities.” Holyoke is in the midst of a renaissance with Mayor Morse at the helm. Now in his second year as mayor, Mr. Morse has some big projects in the works, including a high performance computing center and an industrial redesign of downtown.

Senior Charles Frank has been accepted to NYU, where he plans to continue his film career after an internship with independent filmmakers in Portland, Oregon.

History and Global Studies teacher Andrew Syfu and Associate Director of Admissions Christa Talbot ’98 also coach varsity boys lacrosse and varsity girls ice hockey, respectively.

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Former roommates Pierre Deliso ’13 (l) and Tony Kim ’13 (r) graduate this spring. Mr. Deliso will be attending American University and Mr. Kim was accepted early decision to Babson College.

Members of the football team pal around for the camera (l to r): Sebastian Rivera ’13, Marquis Francois ’14, Michael Walters ’14, Jordan Keliinui ’13, and DonQuale Williams ’13.

Ph oto g r a ph to p r i g h t: J oan n a C h attm a n

Community Portraits by Student Photographers

campus news

|   diversity


Rachel Deena ’13, Zoe Lai ’13, and Alex Sampedro ’13 are all smiles at the Diversity Conference photo shoot.

spring 2013 Bulletin 9

The Science Department has decided to make physics a part of the freshmen curriculum in order to build a knowledge of the fundamentals early on.


y this time next year, Science Department Head Bill Berghoff P’14, ’15 expects to see a campus full of hands-on science. “There’s going to be a lot of light and sound and dropping objects,” he said, with a grin. “There’s going to be lots of weird stuff going on next year.” When Mr. Berghoff came to the Williston Northampton School from Choate Rosemary Hall two years ago, one of the first things he did was to sit in on other science classes. What he saw, particularly among the ninth graders, was a struggle with fundamentals. “In biology class they spend the first four to six weeks doing chemistry, but the kids didn’t have any background, really,” Mr. Berghoff said. “They brought a little from middle school, but it was in all different places.”

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While biology students were struggling with chemistry basics, chemistry students were learning about energy, waves, and charges—the fundamentals of physics. “The kids didn’t have any idea what these things were,” Mr. Berghoff said. “So it seemed to me at that point… that we were doing things backwards. Is there a better way to do it than what we’re currently doing?” The key goals—to develop skills and experience that would carry students through years of science—weren’t happening under the existing sequence. To correct that, Mr. Berghoff and his colleagues examined formats that would introduce physics in the ninth grade. While physics is often equated with higher-end mathematics, it doesn’t have to be taught that way, Mr. Berghoff said. Ninth grade physics, also called “physics first,” began appearing in schools in the 1990s, and has since become a popular method for introducing students to basic scientific concepts.

Ph oto g r a ph s: J oa nn a C h at t m an

Light, Sound, and Dropping Objects

campus news


|   new

in the classroom


Dr. Andrew Shelffo explains the school’s new Curricular Technology Initiative.

“Can you explain to me why a feather and a rock hit the ground at the same time if you drop them off the roof?” Mr. Berghoff said. “You can explain that without any numbers at all. The ratio between the force and the mass are the same, so they fall at the same rate.” Much of this experimentation is already happening. Science teacher Paul Rutherford recently took his students to a third-floor bathroom in the Schoolhouse to drop eggs and see which protective containers would allow them to fall without breaking. Before implementing any change, though, the Science Department spent several months discussing the different sequences of classes, plus the logistics of a transition. When the question came to a vote, it was unanimous; the physics-first curriculum was the way teachers wanted to go. Starting next year, ninth and returning 10th graders will take physics classes in the fall; new 10th graders

who have had physics previously may opt for chemistry. Since they’ll be in the former sequence, juniors and seniors will take chemistry and more advanced physics classes. With fewer students enrolled in biology, most of those teachers will switch to physics for a year or two, Mr. Berghoff said. “We know where we want to go, and now we’re just going to develop curriculum to suit that, rather than be driven by something else,” he said. Mr. Berghoff is anxious to delve into the details— the department still needs to order enough equipment for 10 physics sections, as well as figure out logistics to keep classes small—but thinks that physics first is the right decision. “We’re going to touch a lot more kids this way,” he said. “The average Williston Northampton graduate will have a broader scientific perspective because they’ll all have had a basics physics class.”

Beginning in September 2013, students will be able to use a hybrid tablet device as part of the school’s Curricular Technology Initiative, or CTI. The program is designed to bring consistent technology to campus so that students can quickly and easily access the digital tools they need to succeed, and in the process, not just keep up with the latest innovations, but use them in their education. Preparing students for success in college —and beyond— in the 21st century means teaching them how to take full advantage of information technology. The CTI will put the latest computing technology into the hands of every student and teacher and bring important systems—Schoology, SkyDrive, OneNote, video and audio conferencing—right into the classroom. The goal is to teach students how to use technology with purpose, passion, and integrity. — Dr. Shelffo is chief information officer and English teacher at Williston Northampton. More about CTI can be found on our News & Events blog blog/cti-faqs/

spring 2013 Bulletin 11

Ph oto g r a ph : Ri sl e y P h otog r a ph y

“There’s no better way to prepare for life than sport.” — Jen Fulcher

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campus news

|   sports


A Lacrosse Dynasty Coach Jen Fulcher P’18 builds a dynasty based on hard work and a refusal to be tired. over the past six seasons, under the

vivacious humor and guidance of Coach Jen Fulcher, the Williston Northampton girls varsity lacrosse team has become unstoppable. Through the 2011-12 season they maintained a 65-5-1 record, gone undefeated during both the 2008 and 2009 seasons, and jumped from No. 42 to as high as the No. 2 girls prep team in New England. Such an impressive record does not come easily, however. While some students are headed to dinner, the lacrosse players are on the field running offenses, practicing stick work, and sprinting. At the core of Coach Fulcher’s coaching ethos is the message: “We will not meet a team who is willing to work harder than we are, who is fitter than we are, or who wants it more than we do. You’re not tired.” From the sidelines of a game, or during a particularly difficult conditioning exercise, you can

hear a chorus of “You’re not tired,” coming from the players. That doesn’t mean Coach Fulcher expects her team to be perfect. “Part of improving and growing up is making mistakes, and we always want to grow,” Coach Fulcher said. “I try to create an atmosphere where kids are not afraid to make mistakes. Kids who play afraid to make mistakes aren’t playing the way I want them to.” Positive attitude and a team-first mentality are a must for members of this team. The girls work hard at practice to become the very best athletes they can be, not for personal gain, but because it will improve the team. They support each other on and off the field, carrying each other through the highs and lows of their high school years. “As a motivator she is truly outstanding,” said Athletic Director Mark Conroy of Coach Fulcher. “She has an extraordinary ability to inspire her athletes to become tremendous competitors and teammates.” “I have no doubt that the life lessons our girls learn playing for Jen will serve them well far beyond their lacrosse playing days here at

Williston,” Mr. Conroy said. “There’s no better way to prepare for life than sport,” said Coach Fulcher. The girls who have played in this program feel “empowered to take things on,” she said. “They can be whatever they want…mothers, coworkers, the president of the United States, whatever they want, and they learn that through the confidence they earn on the field and the resilience they gain from playing the game.” Jeff Simpson, father of Karly ’13 and Gracie ’15, both members of the team, notes that since Coach Fulcher was named head coach, “Williston girls lacrosse has experienced nothing less than a meteoric rise in their dominance over the most elite lax programs in New England.” “All of us should take a moment to think about the rare combination of talents and commitment Coach Fulcher has brought to bear on this program,” he said. “It’s like I tell my son Hudson,” Coach Fulcher said. “You play Monopoly to win, but when you only focus on the hotels you miss the fun in between.”

Fall & Winter 2012-2013 Volleyball (3-10) Field Hockey (9-5) Football (4-4) Girls Soccer (7-7-1) Boys Soccer (6-5-4) Girls Cross-Country (8-4) Boys Cross-Country (11-1) Boys Water Polo (4-8) Girls Basketball (10-9) Boys Basketball (7-16) Girls Squash (3-11)

Boys Squash (4-10) Boys Swimming (2-6) Girls Ice Hockey (15-5-1) Boys Ice Hockey (4-22-1) Wrestling (10-9) Highlights

With an 11-1 record, boys cross-country went un­ defeated against all Division II teams on their schedule.

Boys soccer had a 6-5-4 record, seven shutouts, and placed 10th out of 50 schools in Western New England. The skiing league awarded Alec Guay ’13 with the Zephyr Rapinchuk Award, given “to a student who best exemplifies kindness, enthusiasm, love of skiing, and mentoring others.”

The school participates in Northampton Youth and Community Rowing, and this season 17 students competed in four regattas across New England and New York. During the team's 15-5-1 season, Alex Starzyck ’13 became the third varsity girls hockey player in school his-

tory to surpass the 100-point mark in her career. In an effort to print information in a more timely fashion, only short recaps of a team’s season will be printed in the Bulletin; full descriptions can be read online at athletics

spring 2013 Bulletin 13


Shaler The Many Chapters of

P h o to gr ap h s: Jo a nna Ch attma n

In the 1970s, Al Shaler P’80, ’81, ’84 engineered one of his favorite hoaxes. Actor Paul Newman had just visited the Admission Office with his daughter, leaving the campus star-struck. In the ears of a few key people, Mr. Shaler started hinting that he knew who the next high-profile student interested in the Williston Northampton School would be: Amy Carter, daughter of then -U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The visit was pure invention, but the rumor quickly spread through the school community. “Oh geez, that was funny,” he says, sitting back in his chair happily. “You just tell a couple of people and it’s all over campus in no time at all!” Talking to Mr. Shaler is a bit like flipping through the pages of a good book. There are the obvious chapters—his 40-year career as combined English teacher, cross-country and track coach, and campus organist at Williston Northampton—and then there are his vast number of hobbies and interests. Running through it all, as a common theme, is his self-deprecating humor. — By Rebecca Rideout

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spring 2013 Bulletin 15

“You can’t take everything too seriously,” he advises. “In fact, one of my passions was engineering hoaxes. I organized some very, very good ones.” continues to this day. Each October, students run in the Shaler Invitational meet in his honor. In academics, Mr. Shaler focused his energy on creating new, memorable experiences in the classroom. His African-American literature course, started in the early ’80s, came about when he decided the school should offer it. “I didn’t know anything at all at the time about black literature, so I started to read like crazy,” Mr. Shaler explains. He used the same enthusiasm to create another elective on the uncollected works of J.D. Salinger. Mr. Shaler built the curriculum by uncovering Mr. Salinger’s lesser-known magazine articles and publications. Both courses were favorites; Mr. Shaler continued to offer them until his retirement in 1999. “My class was a little bit off the wall at times,” he admits with a chuckle. “If somebody said something a little wacko or I caught them

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not knowing something, on a signal the rest of the class would burst out ‘harrumph, harrumph, harrumph, harrumph’ and you could hear it all over the building!” In addition to sports and academics, Mr. Shaler found other ways to participate in school life. He recalled acting alongside students in a number of outstanding musicals and plays produced and directed by former faculty member Dick Gregory. He particularly enjoyed the role of Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The extensive accomplishments in his public life are that much more impressive when set against the backdrop of his personal tragedy. In 1973, when Mr. Shaler’s wife was only 37, she succumbed to terminal cancer, leaving him to raise his nine-, eight-, and five-year-old children. In the wake of the loss, the Williston Northampton community rallied around Mr. Shaler and his family. “Well, you know, a boarding school

is sort of like an overgrown family. My colleagues and even a lot of the students were very helpful and supportive,” he says. Mr. Shaler, who never remarried, lived on campus until 1997 when he bought a home in town. All three of his children graduated from Williston Northampton. Since his retirement, Mr. Shaler doesn’t seem to miss any opportunity for learning and growth. The natural world that inspired his love of crosscountry now draws him to a summer home in the Adirondacks each year, where he pursues another specialty: hybridizing lilies. In his lifetime of flower breeding, Mr. Shaler has introduced four or five varieties that, he says modestly, are “not bad.” When he’s not practicing botany or spending time with his beagle, Mr. Shaler hits the road. He recently returned from a safari in Tanzania and next plans to visit Mexico. He’s been to Guatemala, Panama, and Norway and says his favorite cities include Budapest, Marrakesh, and Dubrovnik. Mr. Shaler’s larger-than-life personality clearly left an impact on students, one of whom wrote recently to say that he was naming his son for the beloved teacher. Mr. Shaler recalls that Board of Trustee’s treasurer David Connolly ’83, another former student, told him, “I wouldn’t be what I am today if it weren’t for you.” Mr. Shaler, of course, downplays such high praise from his students, and simply says that it’s “very nice. You realize that you did make a difference.”

P h o to gr a p h s: Jo a nna C hattm an


lumni, faculty, and staff describe the 75-year-old as a legend among school faculty. Mr. Shaler, though, dismisses such praise with one-liners that are part dry wit and part humility. “I did a lot of things, but none of them well,” he says when asked about his long list of incredible achievements: creating courses on AfricanAmerican literature and J.D. Salinger or founding the cross-country team. Like many faculty members who have transformed the campus during their tenures, Mr. Shaler was young—just 25—when he arrived. He remembers being “a little overwhelmed” at the concept of a boarding school, an educational style he’d never experienced. But he survived, if not without some initial embarrassment: “I looked 14. The first year I went and tried to buy a book from a bookseller on campus, the salesman thought I was a student!” Mr. Shaler, who graduated with a double major in music and English from Hamilton College, along with more athletic letters than anyone else in his class, brought all of his passions to Easthampton. “The headmaster liked me, and I kept hounding him to start a crosscountry team. I think he thought I was going to leave if I didn’t get my way,” Mr. Shaler remembers. Eventually, the headmaster, Phillips Stevens, relented. The crosscountry team that Mr. Shaler started

finding my voice Mairead Poulin ’13, editor-in-chief of The Willistonian, shares her love of storytelling. when i was little, i was a pathological liar. I have distinct memories of creating the most outlandish, completely impossible stories, and sharing them with the adults in my family (who surely must have known that I was telling tall tales). I attribute this unattractive hobby to my love for telling stories. Once I graduated to scribbling, and later typing, out my stories, I formed a distinct definition of writing: the sharing of the details of a story in a way that made people want to read it. I figured that this made me a lover of “creative writing” — someone who specializes in fiction. But when I came to Williston as a freshman, I realized that my love for telling stories could translate into another form of writing, student journalism. We all come into contact with news in our lives, whether we mean to or not. In my house, the nightly news is always on while my mom cooks dinner, and my dad leaves the newspaper on the counter. Even the homepage of our desktop computer directs me to the top Yahoo stories of the hour. It goes without saying that news is important; without journalism, we wouldn’t be informed about what is going on in the world and how it impacts us. A student newspaper shares this information like any other news source. But what makes The Willistonian different is that it tells our story.

Read more from The Willistionion at

The Willistonian is written primarily by the students, for the students. It’s the place where we share our story; we write about what we think is important, whether it be a recap of the latest basketball team win or an opinion piece on school rules. It preserves our thoughts, feelings, and opinions for future generations. When we leave Williston, the articles written for the newspaper will serve as our history; they will tell our story to those who will come after us. This story is ours; it’s what we want to make it. Just like the newspaper. Ironically, my job on The Willistonian editorial board goes against my childhood hobby; I’m supposed to bring nothing but the truth to the Williston community, working with our staff to bring different perspectives on what’s going on around campus and beyond. Our newspaper is one of the only outlets for this kind of information; we print what matters, providing as much information on all desired topics as we possibly can. When I look back on my years at Williston, I can without a doubt say that they will be strongly anchored by writing and editing for The Willistonian. My story is the paper. And yours — whether it be that basketball win, or what you thought when you first found out you needed to sign out to get a coffee off campus — is too.

what is our logo anyway?

For more on the school’s visual identity, visit archivist Richard Teller’s ’70 blog, From the Archives, at www.

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our School …and clearing up our identity confusion. The way a school represents itself changes over the years and Williston Northampton is no exception. —Traci Wolfe P’16


hen a marketing team first created the most recent Williston Northampton School seal in the 1980s, the wavy, blurry lines seemed fresh and modern. There had been no visual identity for a decade, so the seal, meant to look like a woodcut, filled in the gap. That seal was just one in a long series of changes Williston Northampton has experienced over the years. Blue and gold school colors had become blue and green. The Blue Devils had become the Wildcats. The alma mater, originally set to a Joseph Haydn piece that later became Nazi Germany’s national anthem, was rewritten and rescored. The way any school represents itself changes over the years; Williston Northampton is no exception. As an institution grows and changes, so must the symbols used to represent it. But, while the school’s colors changed in 1972, and a new alma mater debuted in 2007, few updates were made to the school’s visual identity after 1988.

Last year, in a review of the Williston Northampton School’s visual identity, it became clear that a wide range of designs had sprung up since the 1980s, and it was time to strategically unify the image to best represent the school across all channels and to all audiences. Athletes had travel suits, but were taking to the field in uniforms that differed widely from one sport to the next. Fans donned a rainbow of designs to show their support. Since there was no single official image for the wildcat—and never had been—people borrowed liberally from the Internet, copying the mascots of colleges and universities to make their own gear. On signage and stationery, the school’s image was varied, ranging in size, font, and color. For a 2010 viewbook, for example, an entirely new logo appeared. In short, there was no consistency. In 1988, when the school paired the academic seal with the words “The Williston Northampton School,” the woodcut image worked well. This was pre-Internet, so there was no need for digital files or RBG colors, and very little use for an image that could appear in an enormous range of sizes. With those new requirements in mind, Williston Northampton recently started working to standardize designs on campus and online. A wide range of people from the greater Williston Northampton community—alumni, students, faculty, and Board members—contributed to this project. There had long been a call for a shield, which is another traditional shape that schools

use to represent themselves visually. A Bostonbased design firm helped develop a new shield to complement the seal. During the course of the design process, what slowly emerged was a W with a gap—allowing the N, for Northampton School for Girls, to be visible. This represents the rich history of the school in a present-day school shield. The N helped to balance the fact that people often refer to the school as “Williston.” The shield is not meant to replace the seal, however. It will be used with the school name online and in print. The seal will continue to be used on official school documents such as diplomas, contracts, and invitations to such formal events as Convocation, Cum Laude, and Commencement. The lines on the seal were simply strengthened and simplified so that the design would be clear when used in print and online. In addition to the shield, the school is working to standardize its athletic uniforms over the coming few years. They will remain in an athletic font, with the new W/N combination. The school is also working to create a Williston Northampton wildcat. Since the mascot was first instituted by student vote in 1939, it seems appropriate that students and the wider community now help determine how the wildcat will look. To that end, we hope you will also add your voice. Write to us, or join us online and help make Williston Northampton’s identity as strong as the community it represents. spring 2013 Bulletin 19

The History of the Williston Northampton identity



samuel’s portrait

Samuel Williston’s

view of campus

It was common

portrait made an ap-

in the 1800s to

pearance in the senior

represent the school

yearbook, The Williston

with an image of

Bus. Our archivist notes

the buildings and

that it did not seem to


be widely used.


northampton school for girls Freehand ver-

sions of the seal appeared in yearbooks and in the Pegasus newspaper throughout the 1940s-1960s, but Sarah Whitaker and Dorothy Bement did not use it on school letterhead. It did not appear in the Catalogue until the late 1960s, and then only as a hand rendering.

1871 williston seminary


christo et ecclesiae Debuting in the Annual

Catalogue, the first school seal was circular.

Students wanted a school

It featured the school name, founding date,

symbol that included

and academic symbols of a globe, compass

more flourishes. They

or calipers, quills, scroll, and books. It also

drew this ornate Williston

included the motto “Christo et Ecclesiae”

Seminary design for a

(Christ and Church). Different versions of

student publication.

this seal appeared in the mid-20th century.

20 williston northampton school

1971-1982 no seal When the

Northampton School for Girls merged with Williston Academy, Williston Northampton stopped using a seal. The Willistonian, in a communal gesture, ran both seals on either side of its title from 1971 to 1973.


the sealThis seal was modeled after the

hand-drawn version from 1982. Meant to look like a woodcut, the lines were wavy and in some cases, incomplete, which caused the image to blur when printed small or used online.


viewbook variation The school’s view-

book cover featured Williston+, an academic program. The viewbook also used a blue and green that were different and brighter than those used by the rest of campus.

no identity

1982 the williston elm

A marketing team


school name only The school’s

name also has been visually


introduced a seal that

inconsistent. This version was

included a tree, which

used by the Admission Office

the shield and the seal The shield, to be used

most people assumed

on all its materials, including

online and in print, has a W with a gap between

was an elm, in front of

the viewbook.

the first and second arm, to call out the N. The

Mount Tom.

year 1841 echoes the same year featured in the academic seal. The blue and green were standardized and will be used across campus.

spring 2013 Bulletin 21

Remember When? B y Me g a n Ta d y

22 williston northampton school

We caught up with seven alumni celebrating a reunion year—all from classes 25 years out and younger— and asked them to reflect on who they were “then” as students at Williston Northampton. The alumni recounted a few nostalgic tales from the past—and also gave us a peek into their lives now.

Katie France ’08

5th reunion

then Katie France came to Williston Northampton searching for something. “I was a teenager struggling with my identity, not unlike other teenagers,” she says. “I was questioning my ability to contribute to any particular place. Williston was such a welcoming, warm community for me to explore my talents, instead of telling me I had to be a varsity athlete or telling me I had to be this or that.” What she found was science. “Williston helped me discover my love for science,” she says. “I already knew I had an interest in chemistry that I wanted to pursue. AP chemistry helped me continue on my path to be a chemistry major in college.” Outside the science lab, Ms. France soared. “I found this friend group at Williston and I felt like I didn’t have to try to be cool or pretty,” she says. “I felt like I could be 100 percent myself.” Ms. France and her friends even had a fake language. “People probably thought we were crazy, and we probably were,” she says. “They remain really good friends of mine to this day.”

Matthew Gardiner ’88 25th reunion

then Matthew Gardiner was a self-professed “nerd” at Williston Northampton who was “very interested in homework.” Unhappy at his previous school, Dr. Gardiner found other people at Williston Northampton just as happy to study on a Saturday night as he was.

“I felt like I wasn’t alone,” he says. “In public school, I felt like I was the outcast and that no one really understood me. But [at Williston Northampton] there were people I could relate to. It was so nice to be at a place where doing well was rewarded and wasn’t looked down upon.” Dr. Gardiner learned how to think critically, “how to assess a situation, make a judgment call, and tell if things were true or not true,” he says. “It wasn’t rote. It was, question this. What’s the underlying message of truth beneath the superficial qualities that everybody sees?” Occasionally he did put the books down and have a little fun, like the time he painted the campus lion: “It was Easter. We painted it pink with yellow polka dots. It was really ugly.” now As an eye surgeon and head of the ER at Massachusetts Eye and Ear,

Dr. Gardiner gets up close and personal with his patients. “The eye is such an important part of someone’s face. It’s such a personal thing that a lot of physicians have a hard time dealing with eye injuries — they’re skeeved out by it.” Married to a radiologist, Dr. Gardiner says their dinner conversations annoy his three kids. “We talk about crazy things we’ve seen over dinner,” he says. “It drives the kids nuts. They’ll say, ‘Can you please stop talking about the gross eyeballs?’” When he’s not examining eyes and teaching at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Gardiner, who skied, ran varsity track, and sang with the Caterwaulers at Williston Northampton, hits the slopes with his family.

now Dentistry, says Ms. France, is like a puzzle — and that’s precisely why she likes it; she’s currently a first-year dental student at the University of Pennsylvania. “I like the fact that you work directly with the person to figure out what they want, and the scientific way, the economic way, all of these different factors that come together to find the best treatment for each patient,” she says. “And each mouth is different, so it’s kind of like a constant evolving question.” Before choosing dentistry, Ms. France took a turn as a science researcher. “I did a lot of exploration — what do I like, what do I want out of life? I realized I wanted a more person-centric career.” She said she’s enjoying her first year in dental school, but could do without the “long lectures.” “Williston spoiled me with a lot of interaction and discussion,” she says.

spring 2013 Bulletin 23

Asuka Naito ’93 20th reunion then By the time Asuka Naito came to Williston Northampton at the age of 17, she was a trilingual, worldwide traveler. “The space [Williston Northampton] provided for international students was very safe and comforting,” she says. “Williston was so diverse and international that I actually missed high school when I went to college.” At first, Ms. Naito struggled with the volume of homework teachers assigned. “I had no idea how to read 50 pages of American History in a night on top of three of four other subjects,” she says. Outside of class, she was thrilled to realize that she could try more than one sport. “In Japan, we do sports, but if you play tennis when you’re young, you’re going to play tennis until you graduate,” she says. But her great love was modern dance, which she says was such a “treat and pleasure” to explore with the instructors at Williston Northampton. She performed an improvisational modern dance piece at school while teacher Greg Tuleja played the flute. “I had never danced improv, never danced

alone on stage, and I found collaborating with someone so great for the artistic soul,” Ms. Naito says. “That was one of my top three performances, even today.” now Ms. Naito has done it all — she’s been a trilingual voiceover artist, translator and interpreter, radio host, professional dancer and instructor, and yogi. Listen for Ms. Naito’s voice on flights to Asia; she is the host of Singapore Airlines’ inflight program, J-GOLD, and China Airlines’ NIPPON GOLD. “I feel like I want to experience so many things in my lifetime,” she says. “There are so many things out there that you don’t even know exist.” Now living in Los Angeles, she’s exploring the voiceover industry in the United States and starting a photography business with her fiancé, snapping professional headshots for the web. “For me, the challenge up until now has been how to bring the art and the business side together,” she says. “I have a very solid business background, but I’m an artist at heart. My goal from here on out is finding out how to merge art and commerce and business all in one good package to make an impact in people’s lives.”

Chris Miller ’93 20th reunion

then At Williston Northampton, Chris Miller was an all-around athlete; he played basketball and was captain of the football and baseball teams. “I was confident, arrogant, insensitive, sensitive, happy, unhappy, etc.,” he says. “I suppose ranges of emotion and states of mind is typical amongst most teenagers.” Mr. Miller says he has fond memories of Williston Northampton, like the time, “Dr. Seybolt, my English teacher, invited me to his home and showed me his wood shop and many wonderful pieces he had crafted.” Or when, “Harris Thompson, another English teacher, took the basketball team on a miserable overnight adventure in the freezing cold woods of some forest.” And he says he was impressed with the diversity of students at Williston Northampton, remembering classmates from every corner of the world: Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China, Japan, Africa, Bermuda, London, and South America. “I’m an open-minded, social, conscientious person,” he says. “I believe these qualities were derived from Williston. The Medici Effect works.”

now Mr. Miller started his own company when he was relatively young, and he says that Williston Northampton helped instill his self-reliance. “I know that Williston matured me; it was a big step to be away from my mother at 15 years old.”

Mr. Miller balances work with play — heavy on the play. His sports of choice: fishing, golf, tennis, wiffle ball, football, basketball, and paintball. He’s still “trying to compete with the younger guys.” But he’s also keeping up with his two young daughters, who run endless circles in their playroom. And he takes an occasional run to Foxwoods or Vegas to try his luck. “I enjoy playing poker, specifically No Limit Texas Hold’em.” Talk about lucky? For his birthday every July, Mr. Miller’s wife plans “mini adventures,” like whitewater rafting and chartered fishing trips. 24 williston northampton school

Liz Culley ’03

10th reunion

then Liz Culley, a California girl who stubbornly tried to wear flip-flops through the winter, came to Williston Northampton to get on the stage. “I was an insecure teenager who desperately wanted to sing and act and was too afraid to do it,” she says. She wrote her first song at Williston Northampton and performed it in the chapel. “I was terrified, legitimately shaking, about to throw up,” she says. “I got up with the jazz ensemble and I sang it. Later, I overheard kids humming and singing my song, and it was a crazy moment where I went, ‘Whoa, maybe this is something I should keep doing.’” Ms. Culley was also a proctor, which she says taught her responsibility. “I took it to heart and I took it really seriously,” she says. “Sometimes my feelings got hurt in the process and sometimes it was amazing to comfort a girl who was from half way around the country, and I could help her. It made me a stronger, more compassionate person.” now Ms. Culley is now a journalist, social media expert, singer and actor. She fronts a band called Liz and the Lifted, which recently opened for the band Furthur, which includes Phil Lesh and Bob Weir from The Grateful Dead. But she says she’s mostly focusing on “making movies.” She’s producing and starring in her first film, called Dog Years. “It’s a super funny, dark comedy about 29-year-olds who are struggling in the world,” she says. “The job market blows and our parents are saying, ‘Wait, you went to an Ivy League school, get it together.’” Ms. Culley is a branded content producer at Myspace and lives in West Hollywood, soaking up the sun, and paddle boarding in Malibu. “Malibu is the promised land,” she says.

spring 2013 Bulletin 25

Joe Maloney ’98

15th reunion

then Joe Maloney spent his middle school years as a day student at Williston

Northampton. But when his family moved from Holyoke to Michigan, he stayed behind and entered his freshman year as a boarder. “I caught the best of both worlds,” he says. “I was already independent, and I got to ditch my parents and be at a place that was insanely familiar. It was completely easy.” What wasn’t easy was his AP U.S. History class with teacher Peter Gunn. “I was easily intimidated by the intellectual prowess of my peers,” he says. “I just didn’t think I was up to snuff.” Trying to keep his head down and slide by wasn’t acceptable; in that class, students had to defend their work — and confidently. Mr. Maloney says Mr. Gunn demanded more from him. “It just wasn’t good enough to be a wallflower who studied hard at night and then tested well on exam days,” he says. “The class and instructor brought the challenge right to me, and got me out of the comfort zone. It remains, to this day, the very first class that showed me, in an academic setting, [that] nothing is given to you; everything is earned.”

26 williston northampton school

now In 2003, Mr. Maloney met a friend and future business partner at John Kerry’s presidential campaign headquarters on Locust Street in Des Moines, Iowa. Now they co-run a public affairs consulting firm named after this spot, called the Locust Street Group, and based in Washington, D.C. Working across sectors—from energy to hospitality to health care—Mr. Maloney helps his clients achieve their public policy objectives. “At the end of the day, I really and truly love being an advocate,” he says. “I love the intersection of politics and business.” He attributes his firm’s success to “a lot of good, lucky bounces. I just sort of shake my head and pinch myself sometimes. It’s an entirely rewarding and exhilarating experience.” Equally exhilarating are the changes he’s experienced on a personal level; in the last two-and-a-half years, he’s gotten married, bought a house in D.C., and is expecting his first child in September. “What do I do when I’m not working?” he says. “My wife and I love to hang out together.” And he’s enjoying the nation’s capitol. “It’s an awesome, diverse, melting pot of really proud and sturdy groups of people who have been here for decades,” he says. “It’s an awesome place to live culturally.”

together… we accomplish terrific things as a community, and we can’t do it without you. Every Annual Fund gift—no matter its size—makes a difference. Added together, they provide the foundation on which a Williston Northampton education is built. Please make your gift to the Annual Fund by June 30 this year and join us in supporting today’s students and faculty. Every gift, any amount, every year. or mail your gift to 19 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, MA 01027

spring 2013 Bulletin 27

Northampton School for girls, mid-1940s William Rittase took this photo from the Montgomery House porch looking across the lawn at Hathaway House.

c l a s s n o t e s  | 


A Confederacy of Dunces, which is set in New Orleans. Great book, plus I ended up going to Tulane! —Cat Thomson ’94

Illusions, by Bach. It wasn’t an assignment, it was recommended to me by another student, Rob Gans ’83. —Halli Brown Fossaceca ’84

All Salinger… The Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey… anything Mr. Harrison had us read! Loved that English class! —Liz Zieminski ’97

Boswell’s Life of Johnson RUINED an entire month of my life. Poor Steve Randall...trying to interest a bunch of 10th grade knuckleheads in that… —Chuck Vernon ’62

The Grapes of Wrath and Things Fall Apart. Can’t decide between them. —Katherine Wesmiller ’00

Unquestionably Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. —Margaret Lacoste ’71

Brave New World by Huxley had me think about life in ways I had never explored. It was the first time in a class discussion that I realized that my opinion was meaningful. Before that I was just answering questions to show that I had done my homework.—Agda McNamara Hart ’71

Machiavelli’s The Prince in George Snook’s class popped into mind first. —Denise M. Dumouchel ’80

Invisible Man by Ellison. —Kiera Durrett ’88

Macbeth in 11th grade English. —Ryan Frere ’96

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. I read it in Dr. Henchey’s English class. —Chris Osgood ’70

I learned so much about the past by reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. —Stephanie Hall ’09

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Wolfe. —John Intorcio ’78

Nabokov’s Lolita from Ms. Levchuk’s Writers’ Workshop. —Tereza Kickova ’11

The Handmaid’s Tale by Atwood and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (she spoke to our school that year!). Oh, and Night by Elie Wiesel, who also came to speak! —Alicia Murphy ’90

What book did you read at the school that had the biggest impact on you?

The Mayor of Casterbridge, in Dick Henchey’s 10th grade English class. I liked it so much I think I read everything he wrote, including all of his poetry. I did my senior thesis on Hardy’s works!! — Duff Tyler ’63 The American Pageant by Bailey (US History text) and Heart of Darkness by Conrad. —Glenn Swanson ’64 France’s Penguin Island, which Horace Thorner recommended that I read, and V. by Thomas Pynchon, and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. These awakened in me a never-ending watchfulness of authoritarian personalities. —Thomas Gilbert ’68

alumni answer

Let’s see, hmm, Virgil’s Aeneid with Mrs. Teller was definitely up there, but also Hardy’s Jude the Obscure which I read for Mr. Friend. —Cassandra Laity ’70 I still reread Salinger’s The Catcher In the Rye every year or so. Archibald McLeish’s J.B. and Wilder’s Our Town also captivated me. —Jennifer Carpenter Reid ’77 Not really a book, but The Tempest from Mr. Gilmore’s Middle School English class. —Paul Sigrist ’78

The Trial by Kafka, Victory by Conrad, and Walden by Thoreau: And I still have those books! —Luca Bencini-Tibo ’70

Melville’s Billy Budd, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Bettleheim’s The Uses of Enchantment. —John Anz ’82

The Joy Luck Club in a senior English elective with Jackie Rubin. —Christa Talbot ’98 Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury.­ — Todd Cumberland ’86

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.—Robin Saex Garbose ’78 Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift and More’s Utopia with Thomas Allen Crain. I loved reading though I spent hours in the library trying to get a page down in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. —Ginger Kahn Stuck ’81

Answers compiled from responses on Facebook. Thank you to all who participated! Find more at WillistonAlumni

spring 2013 Bulletin 29

a model life Jerry Shaw ’48

Stan Gedney ’48 has long admired the meticulous work of his classmate Jerry Shaw, a Korean War veteran who worked with couture fashion houses, but whose passion lies in building model ships.


erry Shaw and I went to Williston together many years ago. We didn’t spend too much time together because he lived on the new campus and I lived on the old. We were teammates on the great basketball team that won 13 games in a row and lost the 14th to end the season. Jerry and I got together many years later. It was a pleasure to see him again and meet his lovely wife, Sydelle. It was then that I got to see the results of the hobby that he had begun many years before. This hobby has impressed me, and shortly, will impress you. Jerry makes models—fantastic models. He designs and creates every piece of these models. The United States Navy was so impressed that they have made sure that all the naval models he builds shall find a home at the United States Naval Museum. Take a good look at how Jerry has accomplished so much with his life, and hobby, since leaving Williston. I hope you enjoy this story about a Class of ’48 Sammy who

32 williston northampton school

has made a permanent mark on this country. Great job, Jerry! We are proud of you. ­—Stan Gedney ’48 In His Own Words

I started building things from shirt cardboard when I was seven. Every model was a little more intricate than the last. After World War II, you could buy small D.C. motors and surplus metal gears. This opened a whole new world for me, because I could suddenly mechanize models. My first mechanized project was a four-foot model of the DD 668 (the same ship I served on during my Navy career). It had 12 motors and could sail in a pond. The model took two years to make. Next came a nine-foot model of the Battleship Missouri BB 63, which has 30 motors — including all the guns, radars, props, rudders, and a working crane. That project took six and a half years. I then built a 12-foot scale model of the first Super Aircraft Carrier USS Forrestal CV 59. The carrier took 14 years to build and has 80 motors. There are working elevators, tractors that pull planes, five radars, two crane anchors, and bomb elevators. It has 90 aircraft, each made by hand to scale, and light systems.

c l a s s n o t e s  | 

Mr. Shaw stands against the backdrop of his completely functioning model of the USS Howard DDG-83.

But I committed the cardinal sin in my model carrier. One should pick a year in the life of the ship and build it to those specs, because these ships change — as well as the aircraft. Being the first of its class, many mistakes were made in construction of the USS Forrestal CV 59. Over its 42-year life, many things were corrected, so the ship looks totally different now than when it was built. My wife, Syd, and I did fundraising shows for the Navy for 22 years. The Navy brass let me do anything I wanted, which included photographing and riding on the ships when they were available. Every time I came from a trip, I would develop the film and change the model as they did the real one. I have spent over 30 years — and over 30,000 hours — on my model of the USS Forrestal CV 59. To make it worse, the aircraft changed four or five times during this period (and I have over 400 planes to prove it!). I graduated from Williston in 1948 after spending four years in the Junior School, and four years in the Upper School. I believe I was the only one in my class to attend Williston for the full eight years. I then attended Hobart College for three years before decid-

ing to transfer to Hofstra University. At this time the Korean War broke out and I was drafted, so I enlisted in the Navy. After boot camp, I went to sonar school in Key West for two months. Then the only ships with sonar were destroyers; I was assigned to DD 668 and served in Korea for three years. Upon returning home, I had one year left in the Navy and married my wife, Syd. We have been married for 59 years, and we have three children and nine grandchildren. My first job was with the couture designer Hattie Carnegie in late 1954. A year later, I joined the firm of Jane Derby, another couture dress company, and in 1964, Oscar de la Renta joined the firm. Oscar and I bought out the existing partners, and it became Oscar de la Renta, Ltd. We had a wonderful career together for over 30 years. Oscar did the design, I ran the business, and Syd ran our sales force. We did over 100 shows a year throughout the U.S. Anyway, I am still building working models: a 12-motor mobile crane, a tugboat, a 1/6 scale army jeep and half track, a Tiger 88 tank, and many more. For me, it beats watching TV.

1936-2 012

A view of the Howard from the bow shows the enormous scale of the ship; those blue and yellow figures are people.

The intricacy of Mr. Shaw’s work can be seen in this close up of the command deck of the USS Missouri BB-63. spring 2013 Bulletin 33

5 Questions for Ashley Gearing ’09 We caught up with rising country singing sensation Ashley Gearing ’09 while she was home for the holidays from Belmont University.

1 . When did you first start singing?

Honestly, I’ve been singing since before I could talk. I started singing in front of people at church when I was seven. Then people would say, ‘Come sing at my sister’s wedding,’ or, ‘Come sing at my best friend’s birthday party’ and I would get called upon to do a bunch of different crazy things. I decided it was something I really loved to do and started taking singing lessons. 2. You moved to Nashville while enrolled at Williston but returned. What were you feeling at that time?

I started to get a lot of traction in Nashville my freshman year and I got nervous that being in Massachusetts was going to slow me down. That’s kind of it in the music industry; you have to follow the pull and demand. I moved to Nashville the fall of my sophomore year and enrolled in a school there. The school experience wasn’t what I was used to at Williston: not musical, not creative. That's when I decided to return. 3. What did you enjoy most about your time at Williston?

I played varsity volleyball and I really got to experience being on a team; before then I never understood why everyone was so enthusiastic about playing a team sport. For singing I was always on my own. Being on the volleyball team…there were all these people who were so different than me, but we were all best friends because we shared that common goal of being on a team together. It was important for me to feel that normalcy.

58 williston northampton school

4. Which faculty members made the biggest impression on you?

Senior year, I remember, I had Stan Samuelson for math, and I am so bad at math. By the end of the year I was the only one in the class who got 100 percent on the final. He called me and said, “Ashley, you are good at math because guess what, you got 100 and you’re the only one.” My mind was blown. Mr. Demerath was so instrumental, and he still is. We still keep in contact. He made me play my guitar in chapel one day, and I was so nervous, but he encouraged me. I always thought I was just a singer, and he was the one who said, ‘No, you’re a guitar player, you’re going to get up and play for them.’ I did and I was terrified, but I felt so good the rest of the day because my friends could finally see the other side of me. I’m really thankful for him. 5. What can you tell me about your career plans after graduation from Belmont University?

The plan is to graduate from college and then go on tour and promote the music we’ve been working on for the past four years. I don’t want a person to look at me just as this 21-year-old who wants to come and sing. No, there’s a brain and there’s feelings and opinions that I have and feel confident about...I definitely have big goals that I haven’t reached yet. Please email to receive our Alumni Connections newsletter or visit our blog

c l a s s n o t e s  | 

1936-2 012

spring 2013 Bulletin 59

from the archives

For much more about our shared histories, visit the archives blog archives



Graduation is upon us, replete with bagpipes, the Mace, faculty processing in academic robes, Robert Ward’s wonderful “Farewell to Seniors,” hundreds of cameras, handshakes, and hugs. Boys wear suits; girls wear white. The tradition of white dresses goes back to the earliest days of Northampton School for Girls, whose first Commencement was in 1925. It’s all part of the mosaic: Your photographs, academic work, letters, diaries, and other memorabilia, as well as your memories themselves, are the raw material that make up the history of our school. What would you like to share? Please contact Archivist Rick Teller ’70,, 413-529-3288. Pictured are Northampton School graduations from 1933 and 1971.

spring 2013 Bulletin 63

Alumni Association Awards Every year, Williston Northampton celebrates alumni and friends who have distinguished themselves in service to the school. Last year, the following people were recognized during Reunion Weekend.

Linda Stanton Maynard ’62 received the Whitaker-Bement Award, which is awarded annually to an alumna whose loyalty and service to the Williston Northampton School has been outstanding.

Chuck Vernon ’62 received the Samuel & Emily Williston Award for outstanding service and devotion to the Williston Northampton School.

Since its inception in 1959, the Distinguished Service Award has been given to that person who has shown through his or her actions an exceptional measure of devotion to the school. In June, Bob Couch ’50, P’81, ’82, ’83, ’86, ’89, GP ’17 received the award for all he has done for the school as an alumnus, teacher, parent, and now grandparent.

Peter Wold ’67, P’06 was awarded the Daniel and Jane Carpenter Award, given to the volunteer who, through “effort and energy” as well as financial contributions, has had a substantial impact raising funds and participation for the school in support of its students, parents and alumni.

Please join us at Reunion 2013 on June 7-9 as we celebrate as a community once again.

64 williston northampton school

Tony Fragola ’62

Making a Commitment to the World and to Williston


rofessor Anthony Fragola ’62 credits his one year at Williston for putting him on a path to explore his true passions: English, Italian, and the arts. “I would not have become a professor teaching writing, especially at this level, without attending Williston,” he says. “I have no doubts about that.” He’s proud to support Williston, and following his 50th Reunion last spring, he became a Charitable Gift Annuity* donor. Anthony Fragola ’62 arrived on campus in 1961 as a self-conscious post-grad student on a football schol-

arship. He had attended a technical high school in a rough Italian-American neighborhood in Syracuse, NY, which he calls “hard-fought, highly competitive, but not very forgiving.” Afraid he would be pigeonholed into a technical field, Mr. Fragola was pining to learn about arts and literature. Up to that point, he had taken only one non-business English course, and joining a singing group was unthinkable at his school. But at Williston things were different, and Mr Fragola recognized it instantly. “In terms of feeling like I could be accepted for who I was and what my real true interests were… it was almost immediate at

I truly admire and appreciate that Williston still has a strong commitment to the arts. In an increasingly pragmatic world, I think that is absolutely fundamental to what it means to be really educated. Williston,” he says. Mr. Fragola joined the glee club. He dove into books. His head soared with ideas and inspiration. At Williston, Mr. Fragola found that he could be himself – a gift that he says has stayed with him throughout his life. “Williston was a major step forward to allow me to feel like I could venture into the world and be successful at it,” he says. Successful, indeed. Mr. Fragola is now a professor of media studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a published author.

As a teacher of screen writing, he says he’s most interested in crafting a strong development of character. “When I think about the idea of exploring a character and letting a character come alive, it goes back to my time at Williston,” Mr. Fragola says. “It’s a reflection of my own journey.” Mr. Fragola, who speaks and translates Italian, is also a filmmaker documenting the anti-Mafia movement in Sicily. His films include A Beautiful Memory: A Mother and Her Sons Against the Mafia and Another

Corelone: Another Sicily. When he’s not teaching, writing or making films, Mr. Fragola is working the land of his 72-acre farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He owns five miniature Sicilian donkeys and plants what he calls a “very Italian” garden of tomatoes, garlic, herbs, fingerling potatoes, peppers, and onions. Reflecting on his post-grad year, Mr. Fragola says he was most impacted by the community at Williston. “At Williston, [I learned] the idea of accepting people based on who

they are, and not based on race or class or economics,” he says. “We were taught the idea of a commitment to the world beyond our immediate concerns. There was sense of responsibility; there were higher ideals. It wasn’t just about going out and being successful.” * A Charitable Gift Annuity provides a fixed income for life while minimizing market risks. It also allows donors to take an income tax charitable deduction and reduces capital gains tax on appreciated assets.

To Learn more about Charitable gift annuities or other ways to support williston northampton through gift planning, please call Sharon davenport at (413) 529-3075 or email

Parents: If this issue is addressed to a son or daughter who no longer maintains a permanent address at your home, please notify the Alumni Office of the correct new

19 Payson Avenue, Easthampton, ma 01027

mailing address by contacting us

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage PAID The Williston Northampton School

at or (800) 469-4559. Thank you.

Join us in easthampton!

Reunion June 7-9, 2013

Profile for Williston Northampton School

Spring 2013 Bulletin  

This is the spring 2013 edition of Bulletin, the Williston Northampton School's bi-annual alumni magazine.

Spring 2013 Bulletin  

This is the spring 2013 edition of Bulletin, the Williston Northampton School's bi-annual alumni magazine.

Profile for williston