Keep up-to-date with friends, classmates and other alumni through our Class Notes.
Alumni Class Notes updated through Sept. 11, 2019.
Don Femia checked in with the Alumni Office and shared this gorgeous photo of the view from his home in Ouray, Colorado. Don and his wife drove cross-country back to Wilbraham for his 65th Reunion in June.
Roger Thurston, a former faculty member, stands with his former student Thomas McCallum Jr. at Roger's home in Eastham, Massachusetts. The two had not seen each other since Commencement 1956 and spent a wonderful morning in July recalling their time at the Academy. Tom holds his 1956 Yearbook.
Stener Bernvil reports that he and his wife, Lisbeth, are both healthy and well, enjoying life close to the sea in the middle of nature, close to Copenhagen, Denmark (see photo of their home in the woods). “I spent close to 50 years as an MD Immunologist (Transfusion Medicine) - time to relax."
Phil Danforth and John Danforth and stopped by WMA in July to memorialize their brother Bill Danforth ’56W, who passed away earlier this year.
William “Wilber” James and Sir Stuart Hampson had a mini 55th Reunion this June. They dined in London along with their wives, Janet James and Lady Angela Hampson.
Scott C. Kelly, an entrepreneur in the publishing software field, passed away in December 2018 after a short illness. He had been serving as consultant to Publishing Data Management Inc., a software development company specializing in content management for the financial industry. In recent years, while still working, he devoted more time to traveling with his partner, Terri, and daughter, Elena. He was tireless, inventive, thoughtful, curious and tenacious. He loved figuring out how things worked and how to fix them when they didn’t.
Charles “Nick” Thornblade and his wife, Katy, stopped in Virginia on their way south for Easter, where they visited Ted Ferriter. A great but too short visit where Ted (left) and Nick posed on a different kind of "Senior Wall.’’
Shortly after retiring in March 2018 from a lifetime managing client investments, Robert Humberston enjoyed seeing classmates at their 50th Reunion celebration. Since then, while continuing to manage some health issues, Robert is participating in a writer’s group and conducting a discussion and listening program in music of the Middle Ages and Renaissance at the local library. He is also taking a German language refresher course. Robert writes, “It's been great to step away from the commercial world and back to what the Academy taught me to love, but which four decades of work interrupted. It’s great to see such a happy and engaged student body at the school, and I think Gray Mattern would approve of the Academy’s State of the Union today.’’
Carter Wormeley and his wife Mona visited WMA in August during a trip north from Alexandria, Virginia. It was Carter’s first time back on campus in nearly 50 years and he was excited to revisit his old dorm rooms, as well as his “work station” in the kitchen from the days when student workers helped prepare and serve lunch. Carter plans to retire from his role as Asset Manager for the U.S. General Services Administration at the end of 2019.
Gayle (Cote) Dragicevich published her second book, “Stepping Out in Love,” in 2018. It was the No. 1 new release in its genre on Amazon. The book contains 50 stories about being single, life after divorce, dating and finding love again. Gayle’s first book, “It’s in the Little Things,” is also a best seller on Amazon. Her books are uplifting, encouraging and relatable to all.
Elizabeth Mulcahy had lunch with Faculty Marshal Don Kelly in April while she was on campus to help plan her 35th Reunion!
Ed Bilsky stopped by the campus in March with his son Josh. They were in the area to visit Ed’s parents, who live in Longmeadow. Ed is the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima, Washington. Josh and Ed are pictured here with Nicholas Stafford from the Office of Advancement.
Thanannuch "Bim" Somanand met with Prapatpong "Pooh" Weeramon ’89 and Tadashi “Ted” Kitahara ’88 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Joel Ackerman sported his WMA hat while on vacation with his wife, Terri, this summer. The two traveled to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, then on to the Riviera Maya Cancun, Mexico.
Brittany Makol (with dog Fenway) and Jack Curley visited the Alumni Office to plan for their 30th WMA Reunion. These two were instrumental in getting classmates back to campus for a great alumni lacrosse game honoring Erik Knaus, who passed away in 2017.
Tia (Woodard) Younger and James Younger visited with their three children in August while in the area to see friends and family. It was their first time back since graduation, and they toured with a Gold Key student, visited Mr. D’Avanzo’s science class and had lunch in Lak Dining Hall.
Teresa (Holuk) Bruno and her husband, Frank, welcomed a baby girl to their family. Seraphina Louise Bruno arrived July 23 and joined big sister Ariana and big brother Steven.
Lindsey Leduc and fiancé Chris welcomed a baby girl to their family. Vaeda Sea Miano was born February 28, 2019.
Andrew Willis coached the MIT Curling Team to a third place finish at the College Curling Nationals in 2019. He was also the chair of the committee that ran the championships in Wayland, Massachusetts, this year and sits on the National College Curling Committee.
Fuss & O’Neill has added a new owner, Elizabeth Landry (known to her classmates as Betty Yang). Elizabeth started her career with the firm in 2005, after graduating from Smith College with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science. Elizabeth earned a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Hartford and is a Registered Professional Engineer in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She is both a Certified Energy Manager and a Certified Building Commissioning Professional. As an owner of the firm, Elizabeth will help shape the future and direction of the Connecticut-based firm.
Congratulations to Julie Duffy (coach) and Jenny English ’17 (player) for bringing the first Northeast-10 Women's Lacrosse title to Merrimack College in May!
Rob Talevi and his wife, Erin, welcomed a baby boy. Grayson Ford Talevi was born February 14, 2019, and joins big brother Logan. Rob has recently accepted a role as research analyst for the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Boston. He will be working on damage assessment to the parks, and will manage different design and construction projects that the city will be conducting.
Lindsay Jagodowski and her husband, Ryan Burt, welcomed a baby boy to their family. Finn Gregory David Burt arrived Aug. 16, 2019. The family resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Christina Alves Boardman and Damon DeWitt Boardman were married on June 2, 2018, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The couple, who live in Orlando, Florida, welcomed a baby boy into their family this spring. Leonardo David Alves Boardman was born on April 26.
Liz Zenchenko was accepted into the Master in Professional Accounting (MPA) program at The University of Texas at Austin. UT’s McCombs MPA program is ranked No. 1 in the country, according to www.usnews.com. Liz writes: “I’ve been working in finance, consulting and with tech startups over the last 11 years, and am excited to solidify my knowledge through this program! I currently have my own consulting business and hope to get back to it after passing the CPA exam and getting my license.”
Jack O’Leary and his wife, Erika, welcomed a baby girl to their family. Vivienne Elizabeth O’Leary was born May 14, 2019, and joins big sister Clara.
Tim Rainey recently left the field of medical librarianship to pursue a career in the software industry. He is living in Boston.
Fernando de Zavala Carvajal had an exciting couple of months. In May, he graduated from the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program at Georgetown University. On June 14, Fernando married Ancare Velasco Higuero. The couple currently reside in Barcelona, Spain, with their golden retriever Açai.
Brigi Palatino and Kevin Froling stopped by campus in July. Brigi showed off her Senior Stone and the two stopped by Rich Hall and the Village Store during their tour.
Erin Riggan (right) and Peter Jurgens ’06 visited Brigid Jurgens in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in June. Brigid is currently stationed in Virginia Beach with the U.S. Navy. Erin and her husband live in North Carolina, and Peter and his family reside in northern Virginia.
Josh Kennedy married Vanessa Watkins on Aug. 31, 2019 in Strathroy, Ontario. The couple resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario. (photo - Kennedy, Josh)
Caitlin Mitchell joined Young Moore Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, as an associate on the firm’s litigation team, where she focuses her practice on complex business and employment litigation, product liability, and premises liability. Caitlin joined the firm this year after completing a judicial clerkship with Judge Phil Berger Jr. of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In May, Caitlin was honored as one of North Carolina’s most significant up-and-coming lawyers with the Rising Star Award from North Carolina Lawyers Weekly.
Ayano Konakamura has been interning at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing and recently passed the Chinese medical licensing board exam. She plans to move to Japan this year and, as of April, was preparing for the Japanese medical licensing exam. Ayano is interested in the fields of psychiatry, dermatology and cosmetic surgery.
Trevor Moran and his date Jackalin attended their law school ball in March. Trevor graduated from California Western School of Law in San Diego in April. He is pictured at graduation with his parents, Janet Moran, Director of Archives at WMA, and Peter Moran.
Victoria Mordasky and Jordan Tavenner were engaged on Feb. 23 while visiting Niagara Falls. The couple met in Orlando, Florida, where Tori was in the graduate program at the University of Central Florida and Jordan was working as a police officer. Tori writes “shortly after, he was looking for a career change and I had planned to go back to my family business and he followed me up to Stafford Springs.” Jordan now works in video production and photography (see his photos on this issue’s Reunion page), and Tori is the hospital manager for the family’s two veterinary hospitals.
Jessica Wyszynski married Alex Vivenzio on October 20, 2018, at the Haley Mansion in Mystic, Connecticut. Alex is a software engineer in New York City, and Jessica is a co-occurring mental health and substance abuse clinician in Norwalk, Connecticut. The couple live in Stamford.
In March, Baihui “Becky” Chen received the 2019 Sun Cinematography Award, conceived to encourage the success of female cinematography students. Award recipients receive: production workflow support from Blackmagic Design; $500 toward the cinematography budget of a project for which the recipient is the director of photography; a one-year student membership in Women in Film; a one-year membership in Friends of the ASC; and a mentorship with a working cinematographer. Becky is pictured with her mentor through the program, Peter Levy, ASC, ACS. Becky graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles in May. Her cinematography reel can be viewed online on vimeo.com (search Becky Chen).
Maodo Lo played for the German national team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, hosted by China.
Julia Beech, Riley-Jane Marini and Brielle Robinson traveled to France together in June, where they watched the World Cup champion USA Women's soccer team take on Chile in Paris.
Heather Little stopped by the Office of Advancement while in town visiting family. She’s beginning her second year with Teach for America Appalachia, where she will be teaching high school math in Eastern Kentucky.
Molly Moran received two surprise visitors - Janet Moran, her mom and WMA’s Director of Archives, and sister Emily Moran ’15 - for her birthday in Chicago in March!
Michael Caine has accepted an Architectural Internship with VSBA Architects and Planners (formerly Venturi Scott Brown and Associates) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Michael is also currently a Master of Architecture Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design in Philadelphia after previously earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Gorkem and Kerem Akalin visited WMA during spring break this March. While the campus was a bit empty, they toured Alumni Memorial Chapel and Rich Hall, found their Senior Stones and caught up with Mr. Kindblom. Gorkem and Kerem are living in Boston, where they attended Boston University and Brandeis University, respectively. Both graduated in May 2019 and plan to return to Turkey. Left to right: Kerem Akalin ’15, Dean of Studies Erik Kindblom, Gorkem Akalin ’15.
In June, Matt Naumec competed in the 119th U.S. Open golf championship at Pebble Beach, California. Naumec advanced to the Open by finishing in the top three at one of 12 sectional qualifiers worldwide, and he is one of only 75 to advance from nearly 1,000 golfers who had reached that round. Matt visited WMA shortly before leaving for Pebble Beach to shoot a segment for Western Mass News, a local TV station, and he found his Senior Stone.
John Tierney visited campus in July to have lunch with Mr. Irzyk. John graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May and is now working in financial services at MassMutual Life Insurance Company.
Andrew Faulstich graduated from the University of Rochester in May. Next up, he is pursuing a master’s degree in international educational development from the University of Pennsylvania, during the fall of 2019.
Joe Schneider graduated from Amherst College. He has accepted a position as a software engineer at FactSet in Chicago.
Hannah Clewes received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Endicott College in May 2019. During the summer, Hannah accepted a position as a registered nurse in the emergency department as Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Payton Grande passed the National Academy of Sports Medicine exam and is now a certified personal trainer. She will be juggling working with clients along with her studies as she enters her senior year at the University of Rhode Island.
Katie Cronin, a junior at Bryant University, and Molly Socha ’15, a redshirt senior at University of Hartford, faced off during a preseason soccer match in Hartford this August. WMA alumni were there to cheer both girls on. Pictured left to right: Ricky Appel ’14, Katie Cronin ’17, Molly Socha ’15, Carly Cronin ’13 and Cam Bouchard ’13.
Mr. Kane, Dean of Studies, met up with Hoang Truong during a WMA trip to Madrid, where Hoang is studying at IE Business School. He loves Madrid, particularly the food and mild winter weather. Hoang told Mr. Kane he wishes he studied Spanish at WMA, but is learning through his business-MBA program.
Nate Towle recently competed in the annual Clarkson University President’s Challenge. This year’s theme was using the Internet of Things (IoT) to make your community a better place. Nate writes, “Our product was an LED solar powered crosswalk that was equipped with pressure sensors which measured estimated traffic levels for each given location. Emergency departments can then access the information to more efficiently map out the safest and fastest route. The LED lights illuminate the crosswalk and also integrate red LED’s that alert drivers of pedestrian right-of-ways.” Nate’s team won the award for best in class - Global Community - and was awarded $5,000 and the opportunity to present in front of a panel of judges to compete for an additional $2,000. “My team, made up of all first-year students at Clarkson, competed against two other teams made up of seniors and graduate students. We did not end up winning the challenge but were very happy with our accomplishment!”