Rob Duryea '96, AJ McHugh '95, Headmaster Bill Taylor at Trinity-Pawling School


At Trinity-Pawling, we’re grateful to all alumni who share their time and expertise with the School community. On April 27, over Spring Family Weekend, we welcomed AJ McHugh ’95 and Rob Duryea ’96 to the stage in Gardiner Theater for an engaging alumni panel discussion with Headmaster Bill Taylor.

McHugh and Duryea both work in the world of technology. McHugh, a former CBS News journalist, currently works in Client Engagement and Success for Dataminr, a global real-time information discovery company. Duryea, formerly in the data security industry in Washington D.C., now teaches technology in the New York City public school system. The two alumni spoke about their experiences with the evolution of technology, the meaning of having a growth mindset, and the importance of putting in the effort — in all aspects of the word — to be a successful, lifelong learner.

“It’s simple: growth and learning begin when your excuses stop,” stated Duryea. “You have to work past the point when you want to quit. If you don’t work through it, you won’t be able to look back and be proud.”

McHugh recalled the Effort System from his time as a student at Trinity-Pawling and how it helped to shape his work ethic. “The simple effort of showing up on time, doing the work, and out-hustling the competition is so important,” he shared. “Learning is constant. To find success, you have to take the time and energy to learn as much as you can.”

Thank you, AJ and Rob, for sharing your experiences and expertise with the Trinity-Pawling community! We loved having you back on campus.

Enjoy the full panel discussion here.

Trinity-Pawling students - Winward School Alumni


Much like Trinity-Pawling’s Language through Enrichment, Analysis, and Development (LEAD) Program, the Windward School in White Plains, New York is known for providing specialized academic support tailored to students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. Both Trinity-Pawling and Windward use a modified Orton-Gillingham approach to make academic content accessible to students. The programs are designed to challenge and motivate students, equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to succeed while reaching their highest potential.

Just ask Matt Bologna ’19, Henry Daniel ’20, Rodger Ecker ’20, and Nick Grande ’19. These four Trinity-Pawling students graduated from the Windward School before joining the Pride. All stellar students — in and out of the classroom — the boys know the immeasurable value of these individualized academic programs.

“The transition to Trinity-Pawling from Windward was smooth and it all has to do with the LEAD Program,” shared Henry Daniel ’20, who started at the School as a freshman in 2016. “They use the Orton-Gillingham teaching method, just like Windward.” Rodger Ecker ’20 agreed, “The LEAD Program is a great bridge from one school to the other. It provided extra reading and writing support and the small class sizes made the transition much easier.”

Both Trinity-Pawling and Windward pride themselves on providing dynamic learning environments that empower their students to truly excel. The small classes allow teachers to recognize the individual learning needs of each student and find the academic strategies that work best. “Most importantly, at Windward and here at T-P, I’ve learned to advocate for myself,” shared Ecker — certainly a valuable life skill.

Roberta Lidl, Director of the Center for Learning Achievement sees the success of students from Windward firsthand. “Our boys from Windward arrive with a well-developed academic toolbox and a robust understanding of their learning style, which seamlessly dovetails into Trinity-Pawling’s LEAD program,” she shared. “Their resiliency and grit are developed brick by brick…Matt, Henry, Rodger, and Nick brilliantly demonstrate these qualities.”

According to Daniel and Ecker, the greatest strength of Trinity-Pawling’s LEAD Program — and all the academic departments — is the attentive and supportive teaching staff. “The teachers at T-P are available, accessible, and committed to our success,” said Ecker. “They always make time for me and really care about how I’m doing in class and at school in general.”

“Without my learning experiences at both Windward and Trinity-Pawling, I would not be the student or person that I am today,” Daniel concluded confidently. That’s transformational learning at its best.

by Emma Christiantelli

Zef Vataj ’14 with Coach LaFontaine and Coach Coratti


Whether on Capitol Hill or in Manhattan’s Financial District, Zef Vataj ’14 is on the fast track in his career. Currently in a paid internship at the NYC-based PR firm BerlinRosen, Vataj handles six accounts, mostly real estate, managing their day-to-day media. His work includes writing press releases, pitching stories to media outlets, and monitoring the media for any mentions of clients.

“It’s exciting work and the culture is fantastic! I didn’t have a background in real estate PR before coming to BR, but have really enjoyed it. It’s an area I’d like to explore further,” comments Vataj.

To be sure, his current work is a definite shift from previous career endeavors, which were focused solely in the political arena. A recent graduate of Saint Anselm College with a BA in political science, Vataj had devoted much of his time interning in local, state, and national government. His resume boasts experience in the offices of the New York State Attorney General, the US Senate office of New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and in his junior year, a 5-month full-time internship in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Chuck Schumer.

“My time on the Hill was definitely a high point for me. I was able to see firsthand how a congressional office is run — with responsibilities that involved everything from attending committee meetings, to lobbying for specific agendas, to constituent outreach. It was truly a capstone experience in my college career,” Vataj explained.

Although he continued to pursue politics right out of college (Vataj’s first “real job” last summer, was to run the campaign finance portfolio for New Hampshire Secretary of State candidate Colin Van Ostern), he was beginning to feel a call to other pursuits, which led him directly to New York City and BerlinRosen. While Vataj does have one client in the political arena, his real estate accounts comprise the bulk of his workload, and he is glad for the expansion in his skillset and experience.

When asked about Trinity-Pawling, Vataj states: “My time at the School has influenced every single aspect of my college and work experience. I give all credit to Trinity-Pawling, and to Mr. Mead, who ignited my love of government.”

Godspeed Zef, as you race onward in your career! We look forward to following your success.

by Kate Vengrove

Trinity-Pawling Winter Project


A picture is worth a thousand words.

That’s the simple, yet profound idea behind the Memory Project, a nonprofit organization that uses art to inspire global awareness and kindness. Each year, the Memory Project partners with different artists around the world to create portraits for children who have faced hardship, such as violence, war, extreme poverty, and natural disasters. Since its founding in 2004, the organization has delivered over 130,000 portraits to children in 47 different countries.

During the Winter Term, four Trinity-Pawling students partnered with the Memory Project for their Winter Project. Toby Berner ’21, Seong Jun “Sean” Kim ’23, Mitch Lukas ’19, and Zeyu “Sony” Wang ’23 created portraits from photographs of Syrian refugee children. The project combined three disciplines: visual art, language (Arabic), and history/current events.

“The project was much more than an artistic venture,” shared Ramsay Antonio-Barnes, one of the faculty advisors on the Memory Project. “Students were introduced to advanced drawing techniques and honed new skills to create their portraits of the children. They also researched the Syrian conflict to better understand the ongoing refugee crisis that these children and their families are living.”

During their research, the group learned that the children in the photographs speak a specific dialect of Arabic. “It just so happened that one of our current seniors, Huma Bekhiet, speaks that same dialect at home in Egypt,” shared Antonio-Barnes. “I invited Huma into the group to help us with translations. After completing their portraits, the boys wrote messages in Arabic to the children.”

Earlier this month, the finished portraits were successfully delivered to the children in a refugee camp in Syria. “They absolutely loved them!” shared Rose Franz, Outreach Director for the Memory Project, in a letter to the Winter Project group. “The children were so excited to receive your artwork and very touched by your efforts. Thank you for helping us to grow international friendship and kindness through the arts.”

For Berner, Kim, Lukas, and Wang, their experience with the Memory Project was eye-opening. “I learned the importance of simple gifts,” shared Berner. “I tried to imagine Kinan, many miles away in a very different place from safe little Pawling, opening his portrait, and how excited he might have been to see it. It makes me feel good knowing that my hard work made him smile and gave him something to hold onto.”

Every child who receives a portrait through the Memory Project has a different story. The common thread is their courage and resilience through adversity. By creating portraits for the children, Berner, Kim, Lukas, and Wang used their artistic talents to show support and honor the children’s strength. Perhaps most importantly, the project helped to build their sense of empathy and create meaningful, cross-cultural connections.

“The project was a personal experience for the students — one that opened their hearts to the bigger world out there,” Antonio-Barnes concluded. “The willingness to share their talents to spread joy, positivity, and good will so that others feel valued is an experience that the boys can continue to build on. Those feelings will stay with them for years to come.”

Watch a thank you video from the Memory Project

by Emma Christiantelli

Trinity-Pawling Lacrosse


The Pride is off to a 5-3 start in the regular season. Attackman Richie LaCalandra ’19 has 32 points, Kyle Playsted ’20 has scored 7 goals with a .750 shot-on-goal percentage, Cole McKenzie ’19 has forced 13 turnovers on his relentless ride, and Griffin Moore ’19 tallied a 5-goal game in a win against Berkshire on Saturday. The defense continues to be strong with M cubed (Nick Morgan ’19 and twins Tim and Dan Manning ’19) standing tall in front of leading goalie Jake Giannone ’20 between the pipes. Young faces Stuart Phillips ’21 and Tucker Kellogg ’23 earn high minutes for a deep Trinity-Pawling sideline. The boys had a tough loss to Salisbury in the home opener (8-7), and a big loss to Deerfield (13-4). The final stretch against Millbrook, Avon, Choate, and Brunswick will be the best test for the boys, who continue to focus on team growth and effort on and off the field. WATCH US LIVE!

For the last two years the JV and thirds lacrosse teams have combined for most practices. This offers a unique opportunity for more experienced players to mentor and coach younger boys who are just learning the sport, engaging the less experienced players as they are exposed to the game in a challenging yet attainable learning environment. This year’s weather has been particularly challenging, resulting in the cancellation of two JV games already. The boys have been resilient and competed hard in the three games to date.

The thirds squad started the year 1-3 with an exciting overtime win against a talented Gunnery team. The team is led by Seamus Balistreri ’22, Budd Desir ’20, and Kai Solik ’21 on the offensive side. Captain Tyler Marma ’19 and goalie Mikey O’Rourke ’22 anchor the defense. The team has shown signs of improvement throughout the year and will look to achieve more success in May.

The varsity baseball team began the regular season at 3-3. Second baseman Julian Uejima ’20 leads the offense with 12 hits and 7 stolen bases in front of slugger Luke Shliger ’20’s two home runs and team-leading .524 average. Sophomore outfielder Kyle Stober ’21 has shown off his young talent with an astonishing .636 on-base-percentage, while senior Will Rickert leads on and off the field. Connor Harris ’19 shines on the mound, throwing 22 ⅓ innings on the season with 33 strikeouts while giving up just 10 earned runs. Jonathan Link ’21 and Nick Selden ’20 offer consistent support from the bullpen and have recorded one start each. The team has been flexible during a rainy April and will look to make up some postponed games on Mondays in May. Smith Field House offers a comprehensive outdoor practice alternative with a bullpen and indoor batting cage so the boys can stay prepared on wet days. This week is crucial for the team as they take on boys school rivals Salisbury and Avon Old Farms.

The JV baseball team will focus on improving as a team in the second half of the season. Tucker Webb ’22 has found success as a pitcher and dominates at the plate. Seniors Nolan Laplante, Christian Keyes, and AJ O’Buck are leaders of an otherwise young lineup.

Minimal experience has hurt varsity tennis thus far, and our results highlight the difficulties of having a young squad. Despite some struggles, Henry Daniel ’20 and Andrew Zhang ’20 have shown great leadership and a strong desire to improve. Tommy Li ’21 has worked hard every day to grow into a competitive player, while Henry Bi ’19 and Henry Hatfield ’20 have united to form a strong doubles tandem.

This spring a number of JV players have made strides in serving, hitting, and resiliency in the challenging mental game of tennis. Standout singles player Henry Hopkins ’22 leads the team, with great contributions from Nick Szymanski ’20, Thomas Solecki ’20, David O’Keefe ’20, Griffin Fluehr ’20, and Nico Mooney ’20.

The thirds tennis squad has had two matches and two rainouts so far, with Oliver Shao ’22, Ken Lee ’20, Nolan Maclear ’21, and Whit Hazlewood ’21 leading the way. The team will continue to improve during the rest of the season, with sights on JV play next year.

The golf team is improving through the early stages of its season. Despite having only 3 competition days so far, the team is working hard to improve play around the greens in order to become more competitive in matches. Max Levine ’19 has been the team’s low scorer in each match, earning co-medalist honors against Hopkins. Others making strides are Jack Musa ’22, Phip Waugh ’19, and Shjon Whitehead ’19 while the return of Jake Aloi ’21 and Peter Meng ’19 to the lineup has had an immediate impact on the team’s performance. Now the season gets busy with two or three competitions per week in May.

Every member of the JV golf squad competed in their first-ever golf match at Bull’s Bridge in April. Mark Trainor ’19 shot the best score of the day, while Shane Murphy ’19 and Cal Hade ’20 also competed well. The boys have one more match before the end of the season.

After four meets, members of the Pride track & field team have showed their prowess in a number of competitions. The boys have been particularly successful in the field events, with Captain Eddie Gonzalez ’19 and Jude Buchanan ’22 medaling in their discus competitions and Liam Dietrich ’21 medaling in his shot put throws. Joey Musa ’19 has had success in javelin and sprinting, while captain Taylor Ewing ’20 brings infectious positivity every day. Freshman Marcus Duell has delighted as a newcomer of the year in pole vault, while fellow first-year Kyle Lee ’22 has improved as a sprinter. The team will compete in the Founder’s meet at Hotchkiss on May 11th, with one more home meet on the 15th of May before New England’s the following weekend.

by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris

Trinity-Pawling students walking on the Quad


As an all-boys school, Trinity-Pawling has a unique opportunity to embrace the challenges confronting boys in today’s world and guide our students in becoming ethical citizens. Trinity-­Pawling’s mission, in part, commits the School to “instilling a value system that prepares young men to be contributing members of society.” As experts in boys’ education, our faculty is deliberate in underscoring that respect and responsibility are inclusive in this value system.

In an effort to better inform a larger community of educators, Trinity-Pawling will be participating in a nationwide research study that is sponsored by the International Boys School Coalition (IBSC), of which Trinity-Pawling is a member. The research work conducted with our students in the coming weeks will provide us with valuable information as we prepare boys for life in college and beyond. Trinity-Pawling parents and faculty are also invited to participate in the study in order to gain more perspectives on the broader cultural forces that are impacting boys’ social awareness.

The study is titled Responsible Sexual Citizenship in Today’s World: The Challenges Confronting Boys, and will be conducted by Dr. Ida Sinacore, a professor at McGill University. The focus of the study addresses students’ overall awareness of respect and responsibility with regard to sexuality.

This research study will contribute to the School’s ongoing efforts to help boys become more aware of their responsibilities and the importance of respect in their relationships. As participants in the study, our faculty will be able to learn from the aggregate results of male adolescent awareness of “sexual citizenship” that will help to further guide our work with the boys at Trinity­-Pawling.

Trinity-Pawling Drama Department

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!)

All 37 plays in 97 minutes!

The Trinity-Pawling Theater Department proudly presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged!) on May 16th and 18th at 7:30 PM in Gardiner Theater at Trinity-Pawling School. Join the cast as they weave their way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild, fast-paced, and memorable production that leaves audiences breathless with laughter.

Tickets at the door: $5.00 for adults; FREE for students

Send us your Class Notes, Trinity-Pawling Alumni!


Alumni, have you recently gotten married, entered retirement, welcomed a new baby into the family, embarked on a great trip, been promoted at work, or won a community award? Let us know!

Submit your class notes by JUNE 1, 2019 to be published in the Fall 2019 issue of Trinity-Pawling Magazine.

Respect My Red Institute at Trinity-Pawling


On Monday, April 29th, Trinity-Pawling welcomed Katie Koestner, an expert on sexual misconduct in schools, along with the Respect My Red Leadership Training Institute faculty to campus for an experiential training program designed for student leaders and school professionals. Ms. Koestner is the Executive Director of Campus Outreach Services, which she founded in 1994 to educate schools about best practices in prevention of sexual misconduct, bullying, alcohol abuse, and other student safety issues.

“Katie Koestner brought top-notch co-presenters to discuss affirmative consent with the group, which gathered from 12 nearby schools. It was a truly compelling exercise that showed the crucial role we can be playing in educating our young men. Although we don’t have the daily issues a coed school faces, investing time and energy into this topic should be a top priority to help our students be responsible future adults, and I’d argue an all-male environment is an ideal one to bring these topics to light,” said Amy Foster, Director of Gardiner Library and Learning Commons.

Several area schools were invited to join in the one-day institute at Trinity-Pawling, which focused on best practices to proactively address sexual misconduct issues. The leadership training program featured interactive case studies that encouraged attendees to engage in discussions with colleagues and student peers. “Probably the biggest key that stuck out to me was that you always have to be mindful of what other people are comfortable with. Even if you’re comfortable with something as simple as a hug, ask the other party if they consent to it,” said Solomon Hess ’20.

The training and resources were presented by nationally known subject matter experts on law, policy, and communications and were presented to student and faculty groups separately. “The school administrators broke off to the Alumni Room where we focused more specifically on policies and procedures to be included in school documentation,” added Foster.

All participants worked on building the skills, knowledge, and ability to educate and impact their own school communities on respectful relationships and sexual misconduct. “It was a very powerful workshop. It was great to watch the students fully participate and engage in the activities. The presenters in the adminstrator workshop provided participants with excellent suggestions and tools on how schools can improve and enhance their existing policies and procedures,” said Laurie DeBalzo, Director of Human Resources.

Trinity-Pawling School continues to incorporate initiatives which aim to prepare our students for life beyond Trinity-Pawling.

Become a monthly subscriber at Trinity-Pawling School


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