Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Mr. Dziura presents at national conference
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Center for Entrepreneurial & Global Studies teacher Michael Dziura, who has an extensive traveling and media studies background, gave a stirring presentation to a national audience at the Global Educators Conference, which was hosted by the Global Educators Benchmark Group in Miami April 23-25.
Mr. Dziura’s topic - Obama, ISIS and the “Globalist Ebola Conspiracy”: Helping Students Navigate News Media Biases When Investigating Contentious Global Issues - researched how global education programs challenge students by tasking them with research and analysis of divisive current issues and events.
“Complicating things is the fact that most of this research is undertaken utilizing Internet-based, new media sources,” said CEGS Chair Wally Swanson, who serves as treasurer for the GEBG. “Given the deep pool of information available, Michael’s presentation shared best practices from the Academy regarding how we instill our students with the tools necessary to navigate opinion and bias to find relevant sources for their projects and written work.”
Mr. Dziura’s influence in the group has grown in recent years. Along with his recent presentation, and trip leadership, he worked with Mr. Swanson on an iBook and has also produced videos for GEBG.
“Michael’s discussion at the conference was very well received,” Mr. Swanson said. “His exposure at the conference and his exposure to different schools have taken off. He has helped put the Academy name out there as a leader in thoughtful understanding and analysis of global programming.”
WMA, trademarked The Global School®, is a founding member of GEBG. The group, which began with eight members, now serves 100 schools.
“In addition to sharing data and best practices from schools around the country, we also work collaboratively with fellow schools to take students abroad,” Mr. Swanson explained.
Mr. Dziura was part of a GEBG trip to Cambodia in 2013 with schools from around the country, and then led a large contingent of Academy students there during March break. Mr. Swanson and WMA students will be part of a joint trip to Namibia in June. The connection to the GEBG and the opportunities it has afforded the Academy’s students and faculty have helped highlight WMA’s programming and people, while also creating a platform for continual learning and improvement.
For more information on GEBG, go to www.gebg.org.
Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Dr. Mark Keroack '72 named as Commencement speaker
Dr. Mark Keroack ’72 MD, MPH, who saw two of the biggest transitions in the history of Wilbraham & Monson Academy, will be this year’s commencement speaker at the Academy’s graduation ceremonies May 23.
“It means a lot to me to come back,” said Dr. Keroack, who visited with students and administration April 21 during a private luncheon on campus. “I was in the first class of Wilbraham & Monson, and now it’s been 43 years. I’m hoping I’m going to share some of the unexpected twists and turns in my life, and how what I learned here at the Academy helped me prepare and adapt to them.”
Dr. Keroack, a Springfield native, attended the Academy when it went co-ed, and was entering his senior year in 1971 when Wilbraham Academy and Monson Academy merged.
“It’s remarkable to me, all the technical learning I’ve done is less useful to me in this moment than the stuff I learned here,” Dr. Keroack explained. “I got a masters degree in bio statistics: I don’t do statistics anymore; I got an MD from Harvard Medical School: I don’t practice medicine anymore.
“But I have to influence and inspire people every day, and I have to rally people toward a common purpose, and I have to help people see the higher value of what they’re doing. All of those things, I’ve drawn from here, and also Amherst (College). The idea of maintaining balance in your education is one of the things I’m going to try to get across.”
After teaching for a dozen years at the University of Massachusetts and serving as the senior vice president and chief medical officer for the University of Health System Consortium, Dr. Keroack was hired in 2014 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Baystate Health, the largest medical organization in Western Massachusetts.
“I’m thrilled to have Dr. Keroack as a commencement speaker because I think he has an extremely interesting and engaging story in the track of his life since he left here in 1972,” Head of School Brian Easler said. “I’m excited for the community to hear his story.
“In addition to that, he’s the President and CEO of the largest employer in Western Massachusetts, and he’s using innovative practices to maintain the independence of Baystate Health. It’s going to be a good message for everyone.”
Posted Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015
Ally Stoll '15 sets Girls' Track record
After four years of trying, Alexandra “Ally” Stoll ’15 has her school record.
Ally etched her name into the Girls’ Track record books April 25 when she ran the fastest 110-meter high hurdle time in school history. In a home quad-meet, Ally ran a time of 16.35 seconds, smashing the mark set in 1999 by Jaimie Prashaw ’99.
“That was amazing to me,” Ally said. “For four years a goal of mine has been to set a record. That record has been here since 1999, and I think mine will be here a while. Leaving a legacy now as I graduate seems really great.”
When Ally finished, she wasn’t sure she had broken the record because her hurdling form was off for the race.
“I’ve been trying to beat it for two years,” she said. “I was running and thinking, ‘If I can sprint just as fast as I can . . . ’ My form went out the window. I must have hit every hurdle. My knee is still swollen. But it was worth it because I beat the record.
“When I finished I thought I was a little too sloppy. I told Mr. (Steve) Gray ’73 before the race I had to be faster than 16.89, and he showed me the watch when I finished and it was 16.35 and I was very happy.”
Along with the high hurdles, Ally has excelled at the pole vault and 300 low hurdles, scoring roughly 15 points/meet for the Titans.
Ally, who has worked on her hurdling with Coach Marissa Axtell, will attend and run track at Mount Holyoke College next season.
Posted Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015
4 WMA musicians play in college-level orchestra
Four Wilbraham & Monson Academy students participated in the largest musical event of their young careers last week.
Jonathan Lee ’15, Chanling Bai ’18, Ashley Bradway ’18 and Gene Kang ’20 traveled with the Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra to Madison, N.J., April 18, to play with the Drew University Chorale and Choral Union.
“It was interesting,” said Jonathan, who played first violin for the orchestra. “It felt like a big event.”
WYSO director Jonathan Brennand graduated from Drew in 2008.
The WMA students were spread throughout the orchestra, with Chanling on the harp, Ashley playing the oboe and Gene performing on the bass clarinet. The orchestra performed pieces by Rimsky-Korsakov, Vivaldi and Bizet, and Stravinsky.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for them,” said Thad Wheeler, a member of WMA’s Fine and Performing Arts Department. “They got to travel from Worcester to New Jersey and got to play with a chorale, which is local and university people. They got to have that experience, and then they got to go to New York City and see the Juilliard Orchestra perform the next day.
“It was a full weekend. They experience their own concert, and then saw really advanced performers from one of the best conservatories in the world.”
Posted Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Anthony Garro '15 headed to URI Football
Colleges from throughout New England were recruiting Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Anthony Garro ’15 to play football.
When it came time to make a decision, though, the chance to play at home was too good to pass up.
Anthony, a resident of Westerly, R.I., will attend and try out for the football team as a preferred walk-on at the University of Rhode Island.
“Coming out of Westerly, a lot of students go to URI, but I don’t know of any recent grads that have played football there,” Anthony said. “To be offered the opportunity to play for a FCS program is something special. I have been lucky to have been surrounded by great coaches at Westerly and WMA that motivated me to play at the next level. The work I put in with my coaches, teammates, father and brother has all culminated, and it’s pretty cool to see how everything works out in the end.
“I’m going to be majoring in kinesiology, specializing more in athletic training, so even if the football route doesn’t go as planned I have the chance to work with the team from that aspect."
Anthony had offers from Division II Stonehill College and the University of New Haven, and was also recruited by Division III Bates College and Norwich Academy. He also considers playing baseball at Division III Eastern Connecticut State University and Roger Williams.
Anthony made his decision after attending the Preferred Walk-on Day at URI in March.
“The presentation by the coaches, tour of the facilities and overall day was just great,” he said. “They reviewed my film and talked to me about competing for a starting position as a punter.”
In his postgraduate season for the WMA Football team, Anthony averaged 44 yards/punt, led the team in interceptions and was the second-leading receiver in catches. He earned all-conference second team honors.
“The opportunity I’ve received at WMA is something I’m thankful for,” he said. “Coach (Jeff) Vartabedian is a fantastic guy. He helped me through the whole process. He made this URI thing happen.”
After a successful March trip to Historic Dodgertown in Florida with the WMA Baseball team, Anthony has helped the Titans get off to a 5-1 start, with clutch batting from the clean-up spot and his play at first base.
At Westerly High School, Anthony played football, basketball and baseball, earning First Team All-Division II South in football and baseball.
Posted Friday, Apr 24, 2015
Steve Fleury '16 leads WMA to win over Williston
When Wilbraham & Monson Academy pitcher Steve Fleury ’16 is on, he’s tough to beat.
Against one of the Titans’ biggest rivals, Steve was on . . . again.
Steve, who beat Suffield Academy last week, fired a two-hitter and struck out 15 of the 27 batters he faced as WMA thumped host Williston Northampton School 13-0 April 23.
“It’s a big win. Williston is always a rivalry game,” said Steve, a hard-throwing right-hander. “We got out in front of them early and put up a lot of runs. The past two games we had 49 hits. It’s awesome and great to get that sort of run support.
“My fastball was locating well and my off-speed pitches were moving a lot with the wind blowing back.”
Steve withstood some challenging elements, with the cold, wind and a touch of snow making an appearance during the league game.
“Steve had a nasty curve ball today that froze many batters,” Coach Jim Irzyk said. “He hit his locations and was in command throughout the game.”
WMA (5-1) pounded out 22 hits, with the top four batters in the lineup combining for 13 hits. Shawn Boston ’15, who hit a game-ending grand slam the previous day in a win against Pomfret, and Anthony Garro ’15 were 4 for 5. Roy Goodman ’15, Jonathan Cotto ’17 and Jake Breton ’17 all had three hits.
Posted Thursday, Apr 23, 2015
2 WMA students selected for elite writers' seminar
Two Wilbraham & Monson Academy students were selected to participate in one of the country’s most prestigious writing seminars this spring.
Payton Grande ’16 and Daniel Qin-Dong ’17 were picked from a pool of applicants to attend the New England Young Writers’ Conference at the Bread Loaf Campus of Middlebury College May 14-17.
Payton and Daniel will be among 200 high school students who will be working with professional writers in workshops and classes to hone their craft.
Payton, a member of the school newspaper since freshman year, was recommended for the NEYWC by WMA English Department Chair Timothy Harrington ’73, a graduate of Middlebury.
“Honestly, this is such a honor,” Payton said. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m interested in writing. I might want to minor in something along those lines in college so I’m excited for this opportunity.”
The selection to the conference added to Daniel’s impressive resume. He received an award from the Boston Globe’s Scholastic Art & Writing Contest in March. Dean of Curriculum Meg Hutcheson, who attended Middlebury for graduate school, endorsed Daniel.
“Since I have a passion toward English, and the arts in general, that’s what drove me toward applying,” Daniel said. “I felt it was a good opportunity, and I wanted to see how my writing would stand up and see if I could get my writing to improve.
“Writing is such an important part of life, in college and after, so being accepted will be good for me not just in my high school and college career, but also if I pursue something that has to do with writing. It’s what I’m driven to and what I’m passionate about.”
Posted Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015
Andrew Faulstich '15 wins fifth athletic award
This winter was a difficult one in regards to training for runners.
Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Andrew Faulstich ’15, though, somehow made it work. After another strong athletic season, Andrew was named the Coaches Award winner for the Winter Track team.
“I was honored to receive the Coaches Award for winter track,” Andrew said. “It was a great way to end my final season on the team.”
And Andrew has seen that team get better and better over the past few years, with the Titans now at the point where they can compete against the top competition in the northeast.
“I’ve seen the program grow over the last three years,” explained Andrew. “It’s nice to see us turn from a team that used to get laughed at to a team that is a formidable opponent. It was nice to have the addition of Mr. (Tom) Iannacone as the distance coach. I got a lot better. And going to the Armory, it showed us what track life was like outside of Andover and put us up against tougher competition. It’s great Coach (Sean) McGrath (’07) was open to all of that.”
Andrew’s highlights for the season were running the mile in four minutes, 52 seconds, and placing second in the mile at a meet at the historic Armory in New York City in 4:55.
This was the fifth award won by Andrew, who also won the Coaches Award for Winter Track a year ago. He earned the Coaches Award for Cross Country in the fall and the XC MVP Award in 2013, as well as the MVP Award for Spring Track a year ago. Andrew will major in music and run cross country at the University of Rochester.
“I’m looking forward to running at the next level and pushing my skills that much further,” said Andrew, who set the WMA Cross Country course record in October.