Posted Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013
Coach Cook honored with regional award
Wilbraham & Monson Academy Boys’ Soccer Coach Gary Cook was named the winner of the prestigious Larry Briggs Award at the Pioneer Valley Soccer Officials Association banquet Nov. 25.
The award, named after the former University of Massachusetts men’s soccer coach, is given annually to a person from the region who exemplifies high standards and contributions to soccer over a long period of time.
“It’s humbling, it’s an honor, and it reminds me that I’m old,” Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Cook has served as the head coach at WMA for 33 seasons. He also spent two years as a junior varsity coach at the Academy, three years at Greenfield High School and Amherst-Pelham Regional High School, and one year as an official. Also, he’s coached at the recreation, town and club levels, and is a long-time member of the National Soccer Coaches Association.
“Coaching and teaching have been a love in my life, and it’s allowed me to give back to the game,” Mr. Cook said. “Most of the coaching I’ve done has allowed me to work with great kids and meet great families. I’ve been blessed.”
Mr. Cook found many connections in winning the award. One of Mr. Cook’s mentors, Peter Gooding, was named the winner of the award in 1996. Also, Mr. Briggs coached at UMass, which is where Mr. Cook played his collegiate soccer. The biggest connection, though, was Phil Shaw, a WMA legend who won the award in 1968.
“He dedicated his life to WMA coaching and teaching, so to win the same award he did means a lot to me,” Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Shaw taught and coached at the Academy from 1936-69. He also founded the Western New England Prep School Soccer Association in 1954, which is the Titans’ current league.
“He’s one of the founders of the league that’s meant a lot to me and WMA kids,” Mr. Cook said. “And the Phil Shaw Award is arguably the biggest athletic award here at the Academy. My son won that award his senior year so that resonates with me.”
Posted Monday, Dec 2, 2013
Brian Easler announces next Dean of Residential Life
Once future Head of School Brian Easler announced the new Dean of Students (current Dean of Residential Life Tiffany Norman) back in October, the next obvious task was to name a new Dean of Residential Life.
"Fortunately, this decision was every bit as obvious and easy as the last. When I began thinking about the possibilities, I asked all of the Deans and several other administrators what they thought," shared Mr. Easler. "Every time I asked a person who they could see as the next Dean of Residential Life, they answered, without hesitation, 'Mike Mannix'...the person I already had in mind."
In his announcement to the community today, Mr. Easler wrote: "Since the day he first arrived at WMA, Mr. Mannix has completely immersed himself in the boarding school ethos, he takes every opportunity to be involved and he has consistently looked for ways to be even more engaged in our community. Likewise, we have continuously looked for ways to get him more involved. His collegiality, attention to detail, work habits, sense of humor, and professionalism set him apart as a leader even before he had a title. As Freshman Dean, the care and concern Mr. Mannix has demonstrated for the students in his charge has served them and the school with distinction. His approach with students, a nurturing blend of high expectations, firm standards, and concern for individual circumstances, enables him to teach the right lessons while earning and maintaining their trust and respect. When we were in a pinch for a Rich Hall Dorm Head, while he was already the dorm head on another floor, Mr. Mannix volunteered to lead two floors. Being a Dorm Head while not living on the floor, while also performing as dorm head on another floor, takes a special kind of attention and dedication. It is a role he has performed wonderfully for the last year and a half; he is as steady and hardworking as that role, and his new role, demand. We are proud to announce that Mr. Mannix will begin serving our community on July 1 as the new Dean of Residential Life."
The search for a new Freshman Dean will commence immediately.
Posted Monday, Dec 2, 2013
Tunnel books bring cities to WMA
Through the creativity of two faculty members at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Binney Hall housed dozens of cities during the first trimester.
Sixty students in WMA’s Studio Art class, taught by Wendy Decker and Marvina Lowry-Brook, created city-themed tunnel books.
“The students made a series of five panels with folded accordions, which allowed for a format in which students could explore both negative space and depth,” Ms. Decker said. “Using a utility knife, students carved away at the paper to make buildings, bridges, cars, trees and people in order to create this sense of space.”
The assignment was broken down into sketching, cutting out the panels and painting the background in watercolors before piecing everything together. The task was mainly sculptural.
“It went well,” Ms. Decker said. “Some kids were abstract with it. You could tell it was an urban cityscape sort of thing. They had some element of a building or park or skyline in the background so you got a sense of space.
“There was a lot of thinking past the sketching phase and thinking about the background instead of the foreground. There was a lot of thinking involved.”
Steve Chu ’16 enjoyed working on his tunnel book so much that he made one outside of the classroom.
“It was fun,” said Steve, who created a Batman theme for his class assignment. “I made my project and then I made a birthday card and gave it to someone. I think I will make something again and teach someone how to do it.”
Click here to view a photo gallery of the tunnel books.
Posted Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013
Steph English signs to play basketball at Ave Maria
Wilbraham & Monson Academy Girls' Basketball player Steph English '14 signed to attend Ave Maria University in Florida during a ceremony at the Athletic Center Nov. 25.
Steph, a shooting guard, is a first-year postgradaute at WMA. She received an athletic scholarship to attend the Division II school.
Click here to view a video of the ceremony.
Posted Friday, Nov 22, 2013
4 Girls' Soccer players receive postseason awards
Four members of the Wilbraham & Monson Academy Girls’ Soccer team were honored with league awards at the conclusion of the regular season.
Christina Wakefield ’14, Steph Bramucci ’14 and Tori Bernardo ’15 were named to the Women’s Western New England Prep School Soccer Association’s first team and selected to play in the league’s Class A/B All-Star Game Nov. 10 at Westminster School. Also, Alex Baltazar ’15 made the league’s Honorable Mention team.
“It was a very rewarding experience to have junior Tori Bernardo play in her first All-Star Game as a reward for her outstanding defensive efforts throughout the course of the season,” WMA Coach Don Nicholson said. “Senior Stephanie Bramucci played in the game for the first time and it was certainly a nice way to conclude her four year career. Senior captain Christina Wakefield was a veteran of this game, having been previously chosen as an All-Star. Once again, a great reward for her dedication and tremendous accomplishments during her four-year career with our program.”
Christina scored the game’s only goal to lead her team to the victory.
Posted Friday, Nov 22, 2013
WMA attends Springfield Public Forum
Wilbraham & Monson Academy Upper School students and faculty attended the final lecture in a series of presentations hosted by the Springfield Public Forum Nov. 21 at Springfield Symphony Hall.
Sherry Turkle, author and professor, presented Alone Together: The Flight from Conversation. Ms. Turkle also met with WMA's Global Scholars for a private Q&A before the event to discuss the implications social media and technology have on our society today.
Ms. Turkle has a joint doctorate degree in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard University and is a licensed clinical psychologist.
Posted Friday, Nov 22, 2013
WMA students see MoMath and more in NYC
Six Wilbraham & Monson Academy students and one faculty member took in some of the new offerings in New York City Nov. 16.
Mr. Mark Fischer, WMA’s Mathematics Department Chairperson, took Valeria Surkovaite ’14, Sadie Park ’14, Nick Gilfor ’14, Jackson FrenchRobitaille ’14, Harrison Kroessler ’14 and Berkan Bolkan ’15 to visit the MoMath Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan and the High Line Park.
“The museum was cool,” Mr. Fischer said. “I learned some new things about math. They had simple puzzle things, and a deeper understanding of the pythagorean theorem. Somebody has put a lot of good thought into the museum. The key thing was a three-dimensional, 35-foot paraboloid, where you could see various connections. The math just kept unfolding: it was one big puzzle.”
Valeria agreed, saying, “The math museum, even though it said it was geared for 4-8 graders, we as seniors found it a challenge for ourselves. And so did the teacher. It was interesting. There were so many ways to look at the museum. Visitors could take it as easy entertainment or look at it from a deeper point of view.”
The group got a deeper point of view of New York City while walking along the one-mile High Line Park, which is an above-street level greenway after serving as a railroad for decades.
“I really liked how they used the old railroads to build a walk for people,” Valeria said. “You could see the city from a second floor. It was relaxing. There was a lot of green and plants. It gives you a different point of view about the city.”
The group enjoyed lunch at a restaurant in Koreatown.
“It was a pleasant day for me,” said Mr. Fischer, who added he hopes to return to the museum in the near future.
Posted Friday, Nov 22, 2013
2 WMA students qualify for Western Districts Concert
Jackson FrenchRobitaille ’14 and Jonathan Lee ’15 have been selected to participate with the Western Districts Concert Band and Orchestra Jan. 11 at the University of Massachusetts Performing Arts Center.
Jackson (trumpet) and Jonathan (violin) were picked after their respective auditions at Westfield State University on Nov. 9.
Jackson earned a spot at Western Districts for the fourth year in a row.
“I love the idea of the best musicians from the area coming together to play,” Jackson said. “Every year the pieces we’ve played have been awesome. We play a nice variety: old marching tunes, more modern, emotional pieces. I like the music and being able to meet other musicians from the area.”
Jonathan was chosen last year as well, however, he couldn’t attend due to a scheduling conflict.
“I’m very glad I can go this year,” Jonathan said. “Last year I didn’t have a chance because I was in Korea and I couldn’t change my flight at the time. But since I knew when the performance was, I was ready and I’m very eager to do Western Districts.”