Recently in Chapel, I mentioned to the boys that what we all learned to be the first Thanksgiving was not, in actuality, an accurate representation of what likely happened in history between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in Plymouth, Massachusetts. There was, by many accounts, a celebratory feast associated with what would be a fairly typical church celebration of thanksgiving for God’s blessings. Yet, this feast of thanksgiving was held against the backdrop of death and hardship. Half of the Pilgrims who traveled to Plymouth Bay in 1620 had died by September 1621. Moreover, the Native American population in the region had been decimated by disease that had been brought to the New World by European fur trappers and other explorers in the decades prior to the feast. Not only did both sets of dinner guests know tremendous hardship and destruction, they both had grown reliant upon one another for survival. This was the setting for what we now recall as the first joyous Thanksgiving.
When President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November 1863, he did so against the backdrop of a cataclysmic war that had divided the nation and led brother to kill brother. In his proclamation, Lincoln urged every American to express their gratitude to God for the bountiful blessings that this nation has been afforded. He further challenged Americans to express this gratitude while also seeking penitence for the war that had divided the nation and the hardship it had caused. Seven years later, when President Grant declared Thanksgiving to be a federal holiday, he did so against the backdrop of Reconstruction and continued division in the nation.
Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays, perhaps because of the focus that is placed on gathering together to affirm our gratitude for life’s blessings. In today’s world characterized by its frenetic pace and its seeming barrage of challenges and distractions, Thanksgiving seems like an oasis, a respite from the worry and stress of the hardships of life and the world around us.
True gratitude, however, should not exist as an oasis from life’s larger hardships. Rather, focusing on what we are grateful for in life fortifies us to navigate and persevere our way through the challenges and hardships that are inherently a part of our lives. My message to the boys this past week was to find times to be grateful for our blessings because that affirms our mutuality. But, I also underscored to them that doing so was also a means by which we are strengthened for the journey ahead. Gratitude, in other words, makes us stronger, healthier, and wiser.
by William W. Taylor
Wintersession at Trinity-Pawling is a two-week student-centered experiential learning session held between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. It gives students the opportunity to participate in a multi-disciplined project of their choosing with a Winter Project; a dynamic, immersive study of real-world problems with the Global Collaborative Challenge (GCC); or an in-depth exploration of a personal interest with the Senior Independent Project.
Beginning on November 30, students and faculty will embark on their Wintersession 2021 journeys. For two weeks, they will work in groups on their grade level-based projects — all juniors, new seniors, and postgraduates are placed in groups of five to begin the Global Collaborative Challenge; underclassmen will choose a Winter Project; and select seniors will continue developing their Senior Independent Projects.
“Our students and faculty alike appreciate the concentrated time to focus during Wintersession,” shared Roberta Lidl, Dean of Teaching and Learning. “It makes for an enriching deep-dive, a master class experience of sorts, and a series of innovative and creative collaborations.”
Held remotely last year, Trinity-Pawling’s first-ever Wintersession proved to be a great success — helping students work collaboratively, think critically, problem solve, and foster their love of learning. Now safely back in person and on campus, our faculty and students are eager to see what this year’s Wintersession will bring. It is certainly an exciting time at Trinity-Pawling.
“I am looking forward to the upcoming Wintersession,” shared Scott Harff, Director of College Counseling. “Last year was a great experience, albeit a virtual one. This year, the students have the opportunity to dive into each of their projects in a truly experiential and project-based manner.” Harff also applauds the School for adding yet another opportunity for students to stand out academically during the college process. “Each time I describe the Wintersession to the college representatives that visit campus, their reaction is the same: excitement! The collaboration and creativity that our students are exercising throughout Winter Projects, Global Collaborative Challenges, and Senior Independent Projects are exactly what colleges are looking for in their future students.”
With the Fall Term coming to a close and Thanksgiving vacation just days away, the Trinity-Pawling community looks forward to another action-packed, engaging Wintersession. As Headmaster Bill Taylor shared in a recent all-school presentation, “Wintersession is just the beginning of students discovering their interests and following their passions. Our goal is for each of them to emerge with a better sense of self-awareness, responsibility, and direction in the midst of our ever-changing world.”
To learn more about Wintersession at Trinity-Pawling, please visit our website.
by Emma Christiantelli
Hayden Desmond flew his first drone at the age of ten, and since then, his talent for drone photography has soared. “I’ve always been interested in drones, and ever since I received my first drone with a camera when I turned ten, it’s been an obsession,” Hayden began. “I now have two camera drones that take really high-quality photos and videos. I am also starting to expand into first-person view flying in the range of racing and acrobatic drones.”
Flying a drone takes a great deal of skill and precision, and capturing the perfect photo or video while in flight certainly adds to the challenge. It’s this challenging nature of his hobby that Hayden enjoys most. “My favorite part of flying a drone is the different view it can give you on the world. It’s so far above what we see from the ground…a new perspective,” he explained. For Hayden, the most rewarding aspects of drone photography are the “close calls, say with a tree or building, that still reward you with a beautiful shot.” The acrobatic shots, like following a moving car or an animal, are also among his favorite experiences.
At just seventeen years old, Hayden already has an impressive portfolio of drone photography. The photo he is most proud of to date is a beautiful shot he captured off the coast of Thailand, featuring a colorful boat sailing in the vivid blue ocean. You will also see Hayden’s work showcased at the centerfold of Trinity-Pawling’s Fall 2021 magazine — the stunning aerial photo of the new quad walkway on campus.
When he’s not flying his drone, Hayden enjoys taking computer programming classes, mountain biking, and playing hockey. As a junior, he is also eager to take on more leadership roles on campus and is grateful for the wide range of opportunities that Trinity-Pawling offers. Perhaps most importantly, this year, Hayden hopes to share his love for drone photography with his classmates — helping them to reach new heights and experience the beauty of a new perspective.
by Emma Christiantelli
William Norman’s first full semester at Trinity-Pawling has been action-packed. Since arriving on campus as the new Director of Theater Arts, Norman has successfully directed his first play (The Odd Couple), and taught Public Speaking, Improvisation, Theater Practices, and Middle School Theater, all while learning how to be a dorm parent and coming up to speed with the various nuances of boarding school life.
“It’s been very full,” Norman reflects, “but I love having a lot to do. I was at my last school for 17 years, but a boarding school is a new challenge, which is what I’m looking for…I’m thrilled about that.” Indeed, it’s been a thrilling ride thus far for Norman, and he couldn’t be happier. “It’s all very special. It’s beautiful. I love the way things are being run around here. I love the collaboration. I love the way the community comes together for meals and chapel. That’s a very special tradition. I really enjoyed the Saturday night football game. That sort of offering makes Trinity-Pawling a very special place. The whole experience has been great.”
Just as Norman has enjoyed being here, we’ve enjoyed having him on campus, as he brings a wealth of wisdom to his role at Trinity-Pawling.
A graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Norman comes to campus after a long stint in New York City where he taught at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, performed in musicals, and played in various rock-jazz bands across the city.
“I’ve been performing my whole life. In fact, I learned my love of performing at an all-boys school, so I’m hoping to help the boys of Trinity-Pawling realize some untapped potential and creativity. I mean, the arts are fun. I think the arts are a window and doorway to understanding, and so they can be a home to a lot of people. It’s a really friendly environment. It’s collaborative with just a hint of competition, but, in the end, we’re all working toward the same goal. That’s what I love about the arts and performing.”
With one play in the books, Norman has already turned his attention to the winter production. “We’ll be performing Avenue Q (the school edition). It’s a musical comedy that uses Muppet-like puppets to tell the story of recent college graduates trying to find their purpose in life. It’s like Sesame Street but now, instead of learning the alphabet, they have BAs in English and make bad life decisions.”
In addition to directing great plays, William brings his own fun energy to campus life each day. He is joined by his fiancé, Alyce and their dog Scarlet who have also jumped right into community life. “Alyce helped with costume design for The Odd Couple, and even Scarlet got in on the action during rehearsals.”
It’s been action-packed for sure, but that’s just the way Norman likes it!
by The Reverend Daniel Lennox
Tom and Becca Ahrensfeld come from families with a long history in law enforcement and firefighting. So wherever the couple has lived, they make a point to support the local police and fire departments. “If you’re wearing a badge and helping people out,” Tom states, “we’ll help you out.”
The Ahrensfelds, who split time between their homes in Cape Cod and Key West, recently showed their support for the Key West Police Department with an unusual offering: a handsome German Shepherd named Jigsaw. Tom had heard that the department needed to replace another dog who was ready to retire from his loyal service in a K9 unit.
The highly specialized training of a K9 unit – dog and human partner – can cost up to $35,000. The dog alone comes with a price tag of $15,000. Pups are born and raised in Germany or Austria, then shipped to the United States where they undergo six months of intensive training, conducted in German. Upon successful completion of this rigorous course, the dogs meet their working partner who moves to the K9 site. For the next four to six weeks, the officer and dog will continue the intensive training (the officer must learn commands in German) and bond as a certified team. From the moment they meet, a K9 unit lives together and becomes inseparable, until the dog retires or is tragically injured in the line of duty.
The Ahrensfelds chose the name Jigsaw because of the Key West Police Department’s deep involvement in the Autism Society of the Keys, whose logo is a blue puzzle piece. Jigsaw is now two years old, and Officer Tommy Anglin could not be more grateful for his beautiful, brilliant, and faithful K9 partner. Tom and Becca share that deep love for animals: their Cape Cod farm is a peaceable kingdom that includes retired horses, goats, donkeys, laying hens, and ducks. And of course, four dogs.
by Maria Buteux Reade
Ian Craig has spent 30 years in independent school education, including serving as head at three different schools. His career has taken him and his family around the country — Boston, Dallas, Nashville, Fort Worth, New Orleans — as he ascended the ranks from history teacher to middle school director and ultimately, head of school. This past June, Ian became head of Rumsey Hall, a kindergarten through ninth-grade boarding and day school just over the border in Washington, CT.
No stranger to independent schools, Ian grew up on the campus of Friends Academy in Long Island before his father became head of Moorestown Friends in New Jersey. Ian’s mother was also a teacher and director of admissions. What compelled him to become an educator himself?
“My first job right out of Syracuse University was selling mutual funds in New York City, and I hated every moment. I left after six months and applied to New York University graduate program for Secondary Social Studies Education.” Ian has been a teacher of history and coach ever since. “At Rumsey, I’m still an advisor and coach football, ice hockey, and lacrosse.”
Even after 30 years, Ian’s joy has not diminished. “Every day is the best. I love being with the kids. The international students here at Rumsey have been the best surprise for me. We have students from across the United States and 12 countries. They bring a different perspective. I’ll sit down to a meal with kids from all over the world, and I’ll learn more at one lunch than I could learn — or teach — in five history classes.”
As head of school, Ian most appreciates that he has the opportunity to change the trajectory of a child’s life. He shared a powerful story:
“About 20 girls from an Afghanistan boarding school, essentially refugees, arrived in New England last week, and we were able to welcome two sixth-grade students here at Rumsey. They’re amazing, sweet, positive kids, and they’ll be able to spend two years with us. That’s a life-changing experience for them and enriching for our own community. It’s incredible to grant a child access to a school like Rumsey.”
Ian acknowledges that his three years at Trinity-Pawling shaped his decision to work in boarding schools. “Living on a campus encourages strong relationships among students and faculty. My wife, Holly, understands that the school community becomes an extension of our own family, and she enjoys being part of the culture of a boarding school.”
Ian and Holly have been married for 25 years. The couple has two adult sons, and their adopted daughter, Maia, turned three in September. Congratulations, Ian, and we wish you well as you lead Rumsey Hall.
by Maria Buteux Reade
Throughout its history, Trinity-Pawling School has been graced by countless people, programs, and places that have changed lives. On November 30th, we’ll come together as a community to celebrate and honor all of these elements – whether a teacher, classmate, campus landmark, or program – that collectively create a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational experience for students around the world.
Join us in Giving Thanks on Giving Tuesday! Your gift will have a direct impact on the Trinity-Pawling experience, supporting our faculty, students, programming, and active learning initiatives on campus. Thank you for your investment in the School!
Act I: A hot summer night in 1965. The scene opened to a disgruntled group in a dilapidated apartment, waiting for a poker hand to be dealt.
Hung Phan ’23 played Felix Ungar, the pathetic divorcee who was taken in by Oscar Madison (played by Harry Clark ’23) after being kicked out of his home. Quickly, the cluttered apartment was tidied by Felix to the point of annoyance for his new host Oscar. In rolled poker night, and the group was dismayed to see their friends at each other’s necks as the differences that once fit the two together proved incompatible as roommates.
The laugh-out-loud comedy showed the myriad ways friends need each other, while sometimes they just need some space. Guest actors Sarah Knowles and Ellie Poon played the hilarious Pigeon sisters, and the rest of the cast quipped and guffawed as friendships were tested, unraveled, and patched together.
Congratulations to Mr. Norman for his first Trinity-Pawling production, and many thanks to Mr. Bresler, Mr. Reilly, and Mr. Poon for all their behind-the-scenes work!
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
The Pride completed a successful return to action this fall season with some big wins and even bigger personal achievements.
The football season ended with an incredible game under the lights at Brunswick School, where star running back Jack Kaiser ’22 led the way for the Pride with two touchdowns and an excellent defensive showing. The boys had a chance to tie the game with 40 seconds left, but couldn’t punch into the end zone.
Congratulations to the new coaching staff on the varsity soccer team, as the young group grew and improved over the first season under new leadership. Thanks to the seniors for all their hard work!
Cross country saw old faces and new stars, as the boys raced hard and often to finish the season with the best showing at Founders League championships in over four years, and strong finishes by runners Tyler Olsen ’24, John Berbano ’24, and Harry Clark ’23 at New England’s.
Lastly, the newly-minted mountain bikers trailblazed to a top team finish in the Housatonic Mountain Bike League. The Pride earned 29 podium spots over six races and three racing levels on the season. The community is proud of the team for being so dominant in their premier season!
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
We’ve missed you! Please join us as we gather together again for merriment and good cheer this holiday season!
Boston Holiday Reception
December 6, 2021 • 6:00-8:00 PM
Harvard Club of Boston
374 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA
Hosted by Peggy and Phil Haughey ’53
Join Headmaster Bill Taylor and Jennifer Taylor, fellow Trinity-Pawling alumni, parents, friends, and faculty members Brian Foster ’79, Chris Gillman ’05, Mike Webber P’17,’18, Slade Mead, and Ned Reade for a fun evening in Boston.
Sunday, December 12, 2021 • 5:00 PM
Trinity-Pawling School – All Saints’ Chapel, Reception to follow at Gamage Lawn
700 Route 22, Pawling, NY
Hosted by Jennifer and Bill Taylor
Join the Trinity-Pawling community for a beautiful chapel service of Nine Lessons and Carols, followed by a festive outdoor reception behind Gamage House. Please note: Masks must be worn during the service.
New York City Holiday Reception
December 13, 2021 • 6:30-8:30 PM
Union Club of New York City*
101 East 69th Street, New York, NY
Hosted by Jean Doyen de Montaillou and Michael Kovner ’58
* Union Club requires formal jacket & tie for gentlemen and equal formal attire for ladies. No jeans or sneakers are permitted.
Enjoy connecting with Headmaster Bill Taylor and Jennifer Taylor, fellow Trinity-Pawling alumni, parents, friends, and faculty members Slade Mead, Brian Foster ’79, Chris Gillman ’05, Maria and Ned Reade, and Debbie and Dave Coratti P’07 in New York City.
Questions? Reach Out! If you have any questions about the 2021 holiday receptions, please reach out to Janet Hubbard P’07 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-855-4830. We look forward to seeing you soon!
IMPORTANT: For all receptions, attendees and guests must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend. A valid vaccination proof is required upon entrance. Masks are required in All Saints’ Chapel. All events are subject to change if forced by the response to COVID-19.