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Posted Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014 
The new middle school dormitory was named in honor of Rodney and Shirley LaBrecque.

LaBrecques honored with dorm

Wilbraham & Monson Academy took the lead in global education when it trademarked itself The Global School®.

This school year, the Academy has again stepped to the front of global education, doing something no other school in the United States can match.

During Family Weekend, WMA had a ribbon-cutting event for the Dedication of The Rodney and Shirley LaBrecque House, which serves as a dorm for 12 Grade 8 middle school students. “We’re the only boarding school that offers boarding for 8-postgraduate,” former Head of School Rodney LaBrecque said.

“This is a different model. I’m pleased with how it came out, and the quality of the students, from what I understand, is great.” Head of School Brian Easler and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Jacobs ’75 offered a welcome to the more than 200 people who attended the ceremony, which was held Oct. 18, in front of the dorm.

Since he began at the Academy in 2002, Mr. LaBrecque felt the Middle School needed a boarding component. In his final year as Head of School, he saw his belief become a reality, with construction beginning near the end of his tenure. Students from China, Korea, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine moved in at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

“What is happening here is to the future well-being of our planet,” Mr. LaBrecque said. “These middle school students are forging a new tradition.”

“The Middle School dorm is another pillar in the career of Rodney and Shirley LaBrecque,” Middle School Director Charlie D’Avanzo said. “Our middle school students will now look beyond their own world to the globe.”

Project donors S. Prestley and Helen Blake, William Faulkner ’57, Edward Gramse ’39 and family, Craig Rubin ’63 and Kent Pecoy were recognized for their generosity during the ceremony.

Also, “There was an anonymous donor who cleaned up a whole lot of extras, I will say,” acknowledged Timm Marini, a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair for the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Mr. Marini added the project was completed in time for the school year due to the efforts of many people, including former Board of Trustee member Mike Flynn.

“Although it was a hard process and a driven process, it was done with class and poise,” Mr. Marini said. “As a result we have a beautiful facility for the kids.”

Mr. LaBrecque was on campus for the first time in more than a month. He greeted friends, faculty and students as they entered the dormitory for a tour at the conclusion of the ceremony.

“It was fantastic to see all of the students and families here, and enjoying this beautiful campus,” Mr. LaBrecque said. “This dormitory will add to the quality of the student body and the quality of the student life, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the school as we move ahead with being a leader in global education.”


Posted Tuesday, Sep 16, 2014 
Kelley's unit captured a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Captain Kelley McCormick '84 of Boston PD returns to WMA

When Kelley McCormick ’84 enrolled as a student at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in 1981, he had no idea what he wanted to do for a profession. He didn’t envision himself being a police officer, and he certainly didn’t envision himself being in the middle of a terrorist attack.

However, even though he didn’t anticipate either, the Academy prepared him for both. Kelley visited classrooms and spoke to the entire Middle School before addressing the faculty and students at school meeting Sept. 11.

“I came back because of the way I was treated here,” Kelley said. “I’m an alum, and I’m also a huge supporter and believer that alumni believe in the Academy, and coming back to the school is part of a way I can help . . . maybe help that kid where I was sitting at school meeting.”

Kelley said WMA gave him the academic structure and skills to be successful, and he values the friendships and mentorships he received. For him, most importantly, he learned the value of being a servant leader.

“The Academy taught me to get outside of my individual self and look out into the world and ask, ‘How can I lead and how can I make this a better place?’” he said.

Kelley, a captain in the Boston Police Department, made Boston a better place in April of 2013. He was working a detail at the Boston Marathon near the finishing line when two bombs exploded. While others were confused, Kelley recognized a certain smell and his experience told him what had happened. The next night, his unit surrounded and captured one of the two suspects.

“I was happy that I was able to make a difference . . . that I was in the right place at the right time to make a difference, especially after 9/11, when I couldn’t get back to Boston because I was stuck in Las Vegas,” said Kelley, a 27-year member of the Boston Police Department. “The worst feeling in the world is helplessness. It was good to make a difference because a lot of people didn’t feel safe.”

Similar to 9/11, Kelley said the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon disrupted reality and “changed every person I know in some way.”

“When we cleared the area after we caught the suspect I called my wife and let her know I was OK. That was tough. It was the only time in operations that both my wife and sister said, ‘Don’t get killed today.’”

Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 
A group of Korean parents make a donation of $54,000 toward improvements to Rich Hall.

Parents of WMA Korean boys make large donation to Academy

In a tremendous show of generosity to The Global School®, the parents of Korean boys attending Wilbraham & Monson Academy have made a $54,000 donation toward improvements to the dormitory in Rich Hall.

The donation was made to incoming Head of School Brian Easler at a WMA Alumni, Parents and Friends gathering at the Prima Hotel in Seoul on March 8.

“This is a particularly meaningful gift because it’s going to directly affect the quality of life of every male boarding student who comes through the school for the foreseeable future,” Mr. Easler said. “For the Korean parents to do this, not only does it benefit their own children but also every male boarding student in the school.”

As part of a campus priority project, the Rich Hall improvements include refurbishing the shower rooms and amenities. The project is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2014-15 academic school year.



Posted Monday, Apr 28, 2014 
Mr. Swanson & Mr. Dziura participated in a workshop on the finance and marketing of global programs for educators.

CEGS faculty present at global conference

Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Center for Global & Entrepreneurial Studies (CEGS) department was recently represented at the Global Educators Conference hosted by the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG). The event was held at the Collegiate School in Richmond, Va., April 25-26. CEGS faculty members Michael Dziura and Wally Swanson presented at the conference.

Mr. Swanson, Director of CEGS, serves on the board of GEBG, which is a consortium of more than 120 independent schools from across the country and the world dedicated to global understanding. He was a featured presenter at the conference and conducted a workshop on the finance and marketing of global programs for educators just beginning this initiative.

Mr. Dziura served as a faculty leader during a GEBG sponsored trip to Cambodia in June of 2013. He shared his films, which he created specifically for the Cambodia travel that WMA participated in as part of the GEBG consortium, as a way to record student experience and market opportunities to parents and students.

“This school year we built curriculum around Cambodia to support our travel,” said Mr. Dziura. “Next year our travel and study will focus on Islam and Turkey.”

The conference brought together global program directors, heads of school, and teachers from around the country to share best practices concerning the integration of global learning into college preparatory academic programs.

“The conference also gives educators an opportunity to share ideas on how to ensure safe, purposeful and academically relevant overseas travel,” said Mr. Swanson.

Both Mr. Dziura and Mr. Swanson are also contributors to the soon to be published iBook, produced by the Global Education Benchmark Group "Global Education: The Roadmap to Program Development."

Posted Thursday, Apr 17, 2014 
Jeff will be performing original songs along with a presentation by current WMA students.

Artist-in-Residence, Jeff Harms to perform May 1

Singer/songwriter Jeff Harms will headline the 2014 Francis Michael Casey Fund Concert Thursday, May 1 at Wilbraham & Monson Academy. The concert will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Chapel with a reception following at Morrow House from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature Jeff Harms, singer, songwriter, performance artist, fine artist and sculptor. He will be performing original songs along with a presentation by current Wilbraham & Monson Academy students. Jeff is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

The namesake of the fund, Mr. Francis Michael Casey, a former teacher and headmaster of Wilbraham & Monson Academy, passed away in 2006. Arthur H. and Barbara F. Zalkan and their three children, Brett ‘83, Marilyn ‘84, and Ira ‘89 created the fund in 1994. It was established to honor his devotion to and support of the fine and performing arts, as well as the educational experience the school provided.

For more information contact Director of Major Gifts & Campaign Coordinator Christina Cronin at 413.596.9189 or visit us online.

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