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Posted Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 

Meg Harrington '15 receives Dr. George Rogers Scholar Athlete Award

There are numerous definitions and interpretations of the word "balance." During her time at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Meg Harrington '15 certainly fit one of those meanings.

On May 23rd, during the Academy's 2015 Commencement, Meg was recognized for her ability to balance and maintain both high athletic and academic status, earning the Dr. George E. Rogers Scholar Athlete Award.

This award is given to the student who demonstrates success in both their academic and athletic abilities.

During her 2015 Commencement speech, Ms. Meg Hutcheson said, "Having been Meg's teacher, I saw her determination, her commitment and her motivation to always be consistent and great, whether it was athletically or in the classroom. She's one of the most dedicated and motivated students I've seen in a long time. She's the full package. She embodies the essence of a scholar athlete."

Meg consistently achieved high or highest honors at the Academy and was recently inducted into the Cum Laude Society, furthering her recognition and success at WMA. During her senior year, Meg was on Girls' Varsity Soccer, Varsity Swim and Track & Field teams.

"I would say Meg exemplifies the key characteristics of that award," Athletics Director Mr. Don Nicholson ’79 said, "because she has maintained high academic excellence, has worked really hard in the classroom, and at the same time, amazingly, she has been a key contributor to our athletic program as well. It's not always easy to balance, but certainly Meg has been one of those people who has done that, not just with her focus program with swimming, but also with what she's done in other seasons as well."

Contributing to her academic excellence, Meg was also the news editor for the school newspaper, Atlas, as well as a writing center tutor. As a Global Scholar, Meg went on the Academy’s 2014 trip to China, which served as an inspiration for her capstone project on women's body image and the effects of the media on females today.

Meg said, "The award meant a lot. It was great to be recognized for all the hard work I've been doing at this school for the last six years. It made me feel like I left WMA on a good note. I'm thankful for all the help from my teachers and coaches, including my swim and soccer coaches from the town of Wilbraham who helped set the foundation for my success at WMA."

Meg, who graduated with 13 varsity letters, will attend and be a member of the swimming team at Vassar College.

By Mary Sparago '17

Posted Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 

Brian Kennedy '15 earns Chandler Award

Brian Kennedy '15 received one of the most honorable awards given by Wilbraham & Monson Academy, winning the Cora Pease Chandler Award during Commencement on May 24th. The award goes to the student who has excelled in both working to involve themselves in the activities and success of the Academy, and has shown the greatest school spirit.

In his speech during the 2015 Commencement, Head of School Mr. Brian Easler said, "The Chandler Award is presented each year to the student who has shown the best Wilbraham & Monson Academy spirit during the school year, excelling in character, courtesy, scholarship and athletics. Brian Kennedy is an extraordinary young man and it has been our good fortune to have him in our school community for the past six years."

Coincidentally, Brian's older sister, Teresa, was a recipient of the same award in 2012.

"I've consistently made the attempt to enrich the WMA community in every setting and believe that, in general, I have made a positive impact on each area of my involvement at the Academy," Brian said. "Receiving the Cora Pease Chandler Award was a great honor. WMA has given me so much and I am thankful that the faculty believed that I had contributed back to the community to a great enough extent to deserve such a prestigious award."

Along with his involvement in WMA's daily life, Brian also traveled with the Academy to China. Upon arrival, Brian noticed the poor air quality and excessive pollution in the Chinese cities.

"I have traveled to China twice with Wilbraham & Monson Academy: once to Yunnan Province, with brief stops in Beijing and Shanghai, and another time to only Beijing and Shanghai," he said. "In total, I spent six weeks in the two cities. My time in both cities was characterized by 'heavy' air - difficult to breathe and even see through at times."

Disturbed by the lack of air quality, Brian based his 2015 Capstone Project for the Global Scholars Program on how to efficiently address the issues of pollution. His presentation focused on a facemask, which he developed himself, to be used to filter out air pollution, inspired by the less-effective surgical masks used by the cities' residents. He was later approved for a patent on his design.

Brian, who will attend Notre Dame, graduated with highest honors.

By Mary Sparago '17

Posted Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 

Brian Popovich '15 wins Cushman Award

The Frank Chapin Cushman Memorial Award was awarded to Brian Popovich '15 during Wilbraham & Monson Academy's 2015 Commencement on May 23rd.

This award is given to the student who best represents the ideals of Mr. Frank Chapin Cushman, these being: "Live clean, speak true, work hard, play fair."

During his speech at the 2015 Commencement, Head of School Brian Easler said, "The student to receive the Cushman Award this year has had the most profound impact on this school of any student in my 17 years here. Brian is one of those rare students whose values and integrity are so stalwart and dependable that his peers and the adults in our community naturally assume his role as a leader. He has never let us down, from excelling in the classroom to serving as a genuinely positive presence on our campus, constantly helping make his school a better place to be."

Being one of the biggest awards given by the school, Brian said, "The award didn't need to happen to me. It's such a nice award for everything I've done because it shows that I've done the most here that I possibly can to benefit myself and everyone at the school. It was a really nice reward as a going away thing for me. It could've gone to anyone. I'm just lucky enough to have been selected. It was an honor and meant so much."

Brian, who ran the activities program for the Academy during his senior year, will attend Bentley University.

By Mary Sparago '17

Posted Thursday, Jun 25, 2015 

WMA signs Sister School Agreement with Jiahui Yangguang School

On March 30, a small delegation from two schools, WMA and the Jiahui Yangguang School, met in Dalian, China to sign a sister school agreement.

What is a sister school agreement and what do both schools hope to gain from the relationship? First, it is simply a way to formalize the relationship between the two schools in the hope that both constituencies will learn and grow from the friendship. Second, it is the opportunity for the exchange of ideas, programs, and people, again in the hope that both constituencies will be better together than even the sum of their parts.

Our first introduction with the Jaihui Education Group (a private school with six schools throughout Dalian serving elementary, middle and high school students) occurred last summer when a group of approximately 130 students, teachers, and administrators came to our campus in August. A WMA staff of five teachers and 11 student prefects worked hard to make our guests feel welcome and to give them a sense of what life in America and WMA is like. It was a result of this hard work, and the good experience they had, that they came back to us in the fall to ask if we would consider entering a sister school agreement with them.

After a small team negotiated an agreement stateside, Head of School Brian Easler met with the administrators in China in March and signed the agreement. In very basic words it states that we will share with each other information about programs, exchanges, and professional development opportunities in the future without holding either party in any kind of contract that requires anything except continuing the friendship.

The first exchange they asked us to be a part of will be happening in July. We will send a delegation of 12 educators who will travel to China to run a summer program July 13-24. We will be teaching English, Culture, Drama, Economics and PE. 

In August, the Jaihui Education Group will be sending a second group (this time 155 students, teachers and administrators) to our campus for another American Culture camp experience. 

Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015 

Peter Caine '16 attends U.S. Naval Academy Summer Seminar

The motto for the United States Naval Academy is "From Knowledge, Sea Power."

Wilbraham & Monson Academy's Peter Caine '16 lived that motto and then some when he attended the Naval Academy's 2015 Summer Seminar in late May, a challenging weeklong training camp designed to prepare those who attended for their futures as potential students at the Naval Academy. The camp comprised of numerous exigent obstacles and classes, challenging the students and their abilities.

Peter said, "We woke up at 5:30 every morning to go to a workout as a battalion, and after that, carried out our days. I went to workshops, including seamanship and navigation, topics in math, aeronautical engineering, astronautical engineering, oceanography, meteorology and finally a guided missile destroyer ship handling simulation.

"One day, we had what is called sea trials. It started at 5:15 when we woke up and went to breakfast. From there, we did PT (physical therapy) in different variations, including rifle PT, and poolside PT, as well as many other forms. We also did many fun things during sea trials, such as zodiac races, flak jacket races, and mile-to-mile runs in order to get to the different locations on campus where they were being held."

The camp simulated life serving the Naval Academy, even including MRE's, or Meals Ready to Eat, which are prepared meals given to those in combat. The camp also tested the students' persistence, endurance and leadership skills.

"WMA definitely taught me a lot of leadership skills that I needed down there, and will continue to need if I get accepted there," Peter said. "From going out on yard patrol boats to listening to Marine Corps and Naval officers speak about leadership, everything about it was great.

"I've wanted to go to the Navel Academy since sixth grade, and you can only do this camp the summer after your junior year, so, after I applied in January and heard I got accepted in March, it was crazy . . . just so exciting. The camp overall was a great time and I wouldn't change anything about."

- By Mary Sparago '17

Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015 

2 WMA faculty members serve as AP Readers

There are a few reasons why Wilbraham & Monson Academy students traditionally score above the national average on the Advanced Placement exams.

One of those reasons is the teaching ability of the Academy’s faculty, specifically, educators who have experience grading as AP Readers at the annual AP exam within their respective subject.

Center for Entrepreneurial & Global Studies Department member Gary Cook and World Language Department Chair Kevin Kane, as they have done many times, graded the 2015 AP exam in their field.

Mr. Cook, who has graded six of the last seven AP U.S. History exams, spent eight days in Louisville in early June. He read 500-600 essays for at least eight hours each day.

“It’s intellectually rewarding,” Mr. Cook said. “My table was five high school teachers and four college professors, so you get a sense of what’s out there in the field of history. The biggest reason is outside of a master’s degree, it’s the most intellectually rewarding thing I’ve done and it makes me feel incredibly good about what our students do here at the Academy.

“It keeps me thinking about what I need my students to do to prepare. At the end of the day, it comes down to what I can bring back to them.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kane was in Cincinnati for nine days in mid-June tackling the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam for the eighth time. He said the professional development he gains is invaluable.

“There has been an increased amount of professional development opportunities within the weeklong experience,” Mr. Kane said. “At least on the Spanish side, there’s been more of an outreach to connecting us for tip sharing and best practice collaboration. That’s been helpful. It’s interesting to hear the different approaches of a high school teacher and college professor.”


Posted Thursday, Jun 18, 2015 

Baseball enjoys another banner season 

The Wilbraham & Monson Academy Baseball team came within three outs of accomplishing all of its goals for the season. The Titans didn’t reach their final goal, but the program has reached new heights.

WMA enjoyed one of its best seasons in years, winning the Cleary Division and a semifinal before falling in the Western New England Prep Baseball League championship.

“Before we left for Florida I had the guys write down some individual goals and some team goals,” Coach Jim Irzyk explained. “When I put that list together there were clearly three things the guys wanted to accomplish as a team: win the Cleary, which we did; next was to get to the championship, which we did; and next was to win the championship, which we didn’t, but we accomplished two of the three goals.”

WMA lost to the Salisbury School 4-3 in the final after beating the Canterbury School 15-1 in a semifinal.

“We felt we were a championship team so we were very confident going into the semifinal game that we would find a way to win that game, and we did easily,” Coach Irzyk said. “In the championship, we believed we could win. Our guys know now that our expectation is to get to the playoffs every year.”

The Titans bought into Irzyk’s philosophy of “compete, think, team.” From the first game in Florida in mid-March to the final in late-May, the team prepared and worked well as a unit. “We competed each game, each inning, each pitch,” Coach Irzyk said. “That was the mantra, and that’s what it took to win the Cleary Division. It was a great accomplishment.”

Leading the way toward that accomplishment was a great group of seniors. The Class of 2015 – Shawn Boston, Anthony Garro, Zane Kagan, Roy Goodman, Go Mekeda, Jeff Park, Luke Pelletier and Danzel Williams – all brought something to the table for the Titans, whether it was great play at bat and in the field, or support from the bench.

“The senior class . . . they were close,” Coach Irzyk said. “They worked together in the off-season and on the weekends. They were determined to make their senior season the best. What I appreciated was they accepted their roles on the team. I appreciated that, and they bought into the team aspect. It was a determined group of seniors who led by example and who have set a high bar for the sophomores and juniors going forward.”

Five days after falling in the final, the team received some good news when it was announced at WMA’s Prize Day that it won the school’s sought after Trustees Cup, awarded annually to one team based on performance on the field, performance in the classroom and WMA citizenship.

“Winning the Trustees Cup was a complete surprise,” Coach Irzyk admitted. “We didn’t mention it as a team goal. I’m happy that it happened through the hard work on the field, in the classroom and how they presented themselves on campus. They were a team. The Trustees Cup takes into account a lot of different factors a team does during the season, and how they handle themselves on campus.”

Postseason awards included:

  • Team MVP: Shawn Boston ’15
  • Team Coaches Award: Roy Goodman ’15
  • Cleary Division co-MVP of the Year: Shawn Boston ’15
  • Cleary Division Pitcher of the Year: Steve Fleury ’16
  • First Team All-League: Jake Breton ’17, Anthony Garro ’15, Joey Mack ’16, Tom Quinn ’16
  • Second Team All-League: Alex Caldwell ’15, Roy Goodman ’15, Andrew Wood ’17
  • Underclassman All-Star Game: Jake Breton ’17, Jonathan Cotto ’17, Steve Fleury ’16, Joey Mack ’16, Tom Quinn ’16, Andrew Wood ’17
Posted Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 

Steve Fleury '16 repeats as pitcher of the year

For the second year in a row, when it came to pitching in the Cleary Division, Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Steve Fleury ’16 was considered the best.

Steve, who won more than half of WMA’s games this season, was named Pitcher of the Year for the Cleary Division.

“It was great to win the award,” said Steve, a 6-foot-1-inch right-hander. “I’m proud the league recognized me for my performance this year and I felt I earned it with all of my work in the off-season.”

Steve did his work during the season, also. He went 6-1 for the Titans, with 57 strikeouts in 37.3 innings. He only allowed 31 batters to reach base.

“Steve knew going into the year he was going to face the best teams,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “It was going to be our #1 vs. their #1, and he came through. His Williston game was probably the highlight of his last two years, where he pitched a complete game shutout with 13 strikeouts. But Steve is at his best in the most difficult situations. When he needs to strike out a batter, he does. He has that ability to strike guys out.”

“I wanted our team to win the league and the championship, so my goal was to win as many games as possible for the team and do my part,” Steve said.

Steve earned the win in the Western New England Prep Baseball League semifinal against Canterbury School to help the Titans reach the final, where they lost to the Salisbury School 4-3. He’s already drawn serious interest from Merrimack, Hartford and Southern New Hampshire, and more than five colleges have contacted Steve about seeing him pitch this summer.

“He digs down in those tough situations,” Coach Irzyk said. “He loves to compete. He’s going to be a good college pitcher.”

Steve will play in tournaments this summer in North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts.


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