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Posted Wednesday, Jul 22, 2015 

5 WMA athletes medal at Bay State Games

Even though the Summer Olympics weren't held in 2015, there were still opportunities for athletes to earn gold medals.

In mid-July, the Bay State Games hosted its annual sports tournament, calling upon athletes to represent the six different regions of Massachusetts in various competitions. Four Wilbraham & Monson Academy athletes went home with medals.

Val MacEachern '17, playing a defensive wing for the West team, won the gold medal in soccer, while Marissa Fabbo '17 took home the gold in softball. The tournaments were held at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex in Waltham.

Val said, "It was really great winning. We were originally in second place. It was a fight to the finish, and playing Northeast, a well put together team, was quite difficult. It was just an overall great experience."

After five games of pool play, the West faced the Northeast in the final, with Val and the West posting a 3-1 victory to win the gold medal.

"I would like to thank my coaches for putting me on the team," said Val. "I had a great time meeting all the girls and training for three weeks with them. Once the tournament came, I felt ready to play."

Marissa played every game at catcher for the West, which beat Central 7-3 in the gold medal contest after losing to the same squad 6-2 the previous game.

"I played with a bunch of girls I play travel ball with a few years ago. They're really good," Marissa said. "It was good to get back together with them. We really bonded as a team."

Marissa, who batted .333 for the tournament, said the West hadn't won the gold medal at Bay State Games in seven years.

Nick Kubacki '16, along with his West soccer team, won the silver medal after losing to Central 3-1 during the gold medal game.

The baseball tournament for the Bay State Games took place at Bentley University in Waltham. Outfielder Joey Mack '16 and catcher Tom Quinn '16 supported their West team in winning the bronze medal, with an overall record of 3-2.

By Mary Sparago '17

Posted Monday, Jul 13, 2015 

WMA aligns with Harvard in Spanish videoconference program

Students in Melody Rivera’s Honors Spanish III class won't be studying abroad, but twice a week it sure will feel that way.

Following the recent lead of Harvard University, Wilbraham & Monson Academy has added a professional videoconference conversation program to Ms. Rivera’s class.

“A company named Platica started a pilot program with Harvard in 2011,” Ms. Rivera said. “We’re the third high school in the country using a conversation format in a real world situation.”

Twice a week, Ms. Rivera’s students will have conversations with native Spanish speaking professionals from Platica, which bases the casual discussions off the specific class curriculum.

“This would be like going to a café in a different country and meeting someone new and having an impromptu conversation that isn’t planned whatsoever,” Ms. Rivera said. “It’s the closest to an abroad experience we can provide in the classroom.”

After the talks, which last 30-45 minutes, Ms. Rivera will receive printed feedback on each student, including errors and progress, which she will share with the student.

During her various school trips to Spanish speaking countries, Ms. Rivera has noticed a significant difference in how the students speak. For many, it takes time for a their confidence to grow in order to speak freely in a second language in a foreign country.

“When you’re acquiring a different language, it’s the confidence level that is of the utmost importance,” she said. “You can have studied the language, grammar and syntax, but if you’re nervous and don’t have the confidence to verbalize you’re not going to have the confidence and it will impede your language skills.

“The whole frequency is very important in acquiring a language. We want to gear more toward language acquisition vs. the language learning that’s been going on in the past. For you to acquire a language you need to practice and to create experiences which will then transfer to the long-term memory section of the brain. That's when true learning occurs.”

WMA hopes to offer a trip to multiple countries in South America in March so the students can apply the language skills they have learned in the classroom in a real Spanish-speaking country situation.

“Language acquisition - that’s all part of the plan,” Ms. Rivera said.


Posted Monday, Jul 13, 2015 

Wenyen Gabriel '16 offered hoop scholarship to Texas, Notre Dame

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Wenyen Gabriel ’16 is a hard worker inside the classroom and on the basketball court, and all that hard work is about to pay off.

Wenyen stole the show at the adidas Uprising Gauntlet in Georgia last week, so much so that he was the talk of the showcase.

After the tournament he was offered basketball scholarships from Texas and Notre Dame. The 6-foot, 11-inch forward has already been offered scholarships from Vanderbilt, Rice, Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, Nebraska, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, DePaul, Alabama, Xavier, Providence and Kansas State.

“Playing on a stage like that really excited me,” Wenyen said. “Having all those coaches watching you play is what every high school player wants. I’m just glad it turned out well and I’m looking forward to seeing them again this week in New York at the adidas All-American Camp.”

Click here to read the story on scout.com.

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 Monday, Jun 29, 2015 

Wenyen Gabriel ranked #84 by ESPN

Much like his smile, the future is bright for Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Boys’ Basketball player Wenyen Gabriel ’16.

In the latest ESPN poll, Wenyen cracked the top 100 among the Class of 2016, landing in the #84 spot and #1 in his home state of New Hampshire.

“We are all very proud of Wenyen and everything he has accomplished in his first year at WMA,” Coach Mike Mannix said. “He is continuing to work hard during the summer and I am confident he will keep rising in the rankings. He is a special talent and a young man of high character. Next season, he will have the opportunity to play multiple positions on the floor and be one of our team leaders.”

Wenyen was a leader in the classroom as well, earning honor roll status in each trimester. His athletic and academic talents make the 6-foot-10-inch forward one of the prized recruits in the Class of 2016. He has already been offered scholarships to Boston College, Providence College, New Hampshire, St. Bonaventure, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut, Kansas State, Maryland, Miami, Rice, Xavier, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Rhode Island, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Princeton have also expressed interest.

Wenyen helped the Titans reach the semifinal round of the NEPSAC AA Conference tournament last season. He was named to the league’s honorable mention list.


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. 

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