In March, when we were planning for remote learning in the days prior to announcing our decision that we would be ending the school year in this way, our Remote Learning Committee knew we needed to create a schedule that met four objectives: the delivery of academic content; the creation of virtual community; an attentiveness to the mental health of students, faculty, and parents; and the opportunity to strengthen the resiliency assets of the students. Moreover, we knew that these four objectives were interdependent. If we tried to deliver too much academic content, we would create stress and anxiety in our students that would drive them away from the virtual community gatherings and reduce their ability to grow more resilient. If, on the other hand, we removed too many academic expectations, we could not deliver the content that would be necessary to reinforce the academic skills that the students will need for next year. We had to find and maintain a balance. We adjusted when we felt we needed to, but the interplay between these objectives worked well, for the most part, during this challenging period.
Through this process of remote learning, we are reminded daily of something we always knew but had taken for granted. Teaching and learning are most effective when they happen in community, particularly for adolescents. Community is an accelerant to the learning process because of the relational trust that it establishes and nurtures and the energy it creates. While our virtual community events during this period of remote learning are not the same as being together, they serve their purpose well and provide continuity and an opportunity for reflection and engagement that is of a different nature. While not the same, it is far better than doing nothing to bring people together. Sadly, this has been the experience for many students in different learning environments.
As we look to next year and the ability to return to campus in ways that honor and adhere to the guidance of the health professionals, the advantages that Trinity-Pawling offers to build and promote community will be an asset compared to other types of learning environments. The depth of relational trust at Trinity-Pawling will continue to be an accelerant to the learning process that will be all the more important, educationally, and strategically. And, we will use this summer creatively to ensure that, if we need to rely on remote learning in the future, it will be from a place of enhanced confidence that we are able to do this even more dynamically and successfully than we did with only two weeks to prepare for it.
As a School, we will continue to be prepared for the challenges of an ever-changing world.
by William W. Taylor
Trinity-Pawling community, let’s stand with the seniors!
With the traditions of senior week activities, Stepping Up, and Commencement taking on different forms this spring, let’s rally together and show the Class of 2020 some extra special love!
Get to know this fantastic group of Trinity-Pawling graduates and follow their Instagram page @prideseniors.future (created and managed by the prefects). You can also share your favorite recollection, advice, words of encouragement, and greatest lessons learned at Trinity-Pawling on the T-P Class of 2020 Memory Board. Tap into your creative spirit and post a video, a note, or a picture and welcome these fine gentlemen into our extraordinary alumni family!
Together, let’s stand with the Class of 2020 during this unprecedented time, and lift them up in celebration as their time at Trinity-Pawling ends, and a new chapter begins.
From the Italian serenades and balcony concerts to remote musical collaborations around the world, people are taking music to a whole new level while we cope with these uncertain times. In the spirit of celebrating the power of music, Headmaster Bill Taylor set out to put together a Spotify playlist of the top songs that the Trinity-Pawling faculty members are listening to while we rise to the challenges currently facing our world. Earlier this month, Taylor asked the faculty to share the songs that have inspired them recently so that we could share a playlist with the rest of our School community.
When Bill was asked for his own list of inspiring songs, he shared, “A few tunes come quickly to my mind. As I Zoom in and out of various remote locations, I am reminded that I actually can be in Two Places at One Time. Like all of us, my schedule is fairly hectic with various meetings and a staggering increase of emails. If we don’t take time to listen to music we could easily get buried under The Weight of it all. It’s important to take breaks when we can and get outside when we can. When I do venture out, I try to be quick about being in and out of places. This is no time to be getting Lost in the Supermarket. Yet, sometimes I worry about how this whole crisis is being handled. I remind myself, however, that this worry can quickly be unproductive. So, I try to be disciplined and remind myself “Don’t Worry About The Government.” At the end of the day, we are in charge of our attitudes and we can decide each day to avoid worry and try to be Happy and enjoy the seemingly small stuff, like those three little birds outside the window.”
Photo: 2019-2020 Trinity-Pawling Jazz Band
“Maintaining a connection with each other — faculty to student, faculty to parents, students to students, parents to parents — is a benchmark of the Trinity-Pawling community,” began Katie Allen Berlandi, Dean of Counseling. “The Wellness Task Force allows us to keep these connections in a time of physical separateness.”
Trinity-Pawling’s Wellness Task Force was created at the start of the remote Spring Term, made up of Dean of Counseling Katie Berlandi, School Chaplain Father Danny Lennox, Director of the Center for Learning Achievement Roberta Lidl, Dean of Residential Life Dutch Keel, and Nursing Team Leader Tami Harrah. As a team, the Task Force’s main goal is to provide support, resources, and an open line of communication for students and parents during these uncertain times.
“As a community that studies, eats, plays, and lives together, we rely on connection and daily interactions to fuel our lives. One of the things that is so challenging about the times in which we are living is that those daily check-ins are curtailed by the isolation we are all experiencing,” shared Father Lennox. “The Task Force is a way to keep that sense of community and continue those essential social interactions.”
Roberta Lidl, Director of the Center for Learning Achievement, echoed the mission of the Task Force. “We know that creativity and opportunity can build bridges, especially when things become uncertain. The loss of daily interaction has created a void in our community and collectively, we want to bridge that gap.”
Each week, the Wellness Task Force offers the opportunity to “meet” in the Allen Reading and Writing Lab — virtually on Zoom. Students and parents are able to connect with a member of the Task Force to discuss their concerns, anxieties, and more. Sometimes, the team helps through collaboration and problem solving; other times, the solution is simply listening or celebrating even the smallest of victories. “Just being an ear to listen has been so helpful to several students and parents,” shared Dutch Keel. “Overall, we’re here to listen, reflect, and support. We’re all in this together.”
Although the Wellness Task Force was formally named this year, the concept behind it is certainly a familiar one. “The Task Force is just a new name for something Trinity-Pawling has always done: support one another and try to grow more fully into who we are designed to be,” concluded Father Lennox. “We hope students and parents can consider our team to be part of their extended families and a powerful resource as we navigate this Spring Term and beyond.”
by Emma Christiantelli
Photo by Father Danny Lennox
Sue Webber P’17, ’18 is hard-wired for intensity, a vital trait for a 25-year veteran of critical care nursing. She’s worked in emergency rooms and trauma ICUs across Connecticut since 1995. When Sue and her husband, the environmental science teacher and coach Mike Webber, moved to Trinity-Pawling in 2003, she started work at Danbury Hospital and has been there ever since. But even with a quarter century of professional experience, Sue says she has never seen anything like she witnesses daily in the COVID pandemic.
“I was working in the ER tent stationed outside Danbury Hospital in mid-March when the first COVID patient arrived. The next three weeks were surreal. The rate of decline was shocking. People went from feeling poorly to barely able to breathe within a few hours. The ICU became a factory. We converted other hospital units into ICUs and quadrupled our capacity. It’s like a scene from a war movie. Just large open rooms with intubated and sedated patients on ventilators everywhere you look. We spend our shifts in full PPE. We can’t eat, drink, or breathe freely. There’s barely time for a bathroom break because it takes so long to strip out of our PPE.”
Sue works the night shift, donning her protective gear at 7 PM and then peeling it off and placing it into an airtight plastic bag twelve hours later. Over the course of the long night, she and her team do whatever it takes to provide care and compassion for their patients. “We learned from our peers in Italy that patients oxygenate better on their stomachs so we have teams of nurses who go from bed to bed every 16 hours, gently proning and flipping patients like pancakes.” She also facilitates FaceTime conversations – or even visuals – with her patients and their families. “Every patient has an iPad on a stand next to their bed. Families can call in any time and check in on their loved ones.”
Working this pandemic has convinced Sue to leave her position in administration and return to full-time emergency room nursing. “I became a nurse to give care to people, to make a difference. I belong at the bedside, not poring over data and metrics and compliance issues.”
What keeps her sane through these traumatic times? “Knowing that Mike and the kids (Larry, 21; Joe, 20; Veronica, 12) are safe. And taking long walks on my days off to clear my head.”
And although the virus seems to be slowing down, she remains concerned about the next inevitable wave. What can we citizens do to protect ourselves? “Wear your mask in crowded areas, maintain proper hand hygiene, and stay vigilant as the country slowly reopens. This thing is not going away, and until a dependable vaccine is developed, which will take at least a year, we’ve got to be on guard. All we can do is control ourselves.”
Words of wisdom from a front-line veteran.
by Maria Buteux Reade
With uncertainty all around us, the comfort of connecting with members of our own community is more important than ever. We’ve created Pride Perspectives, a series of interactive webinars to do just that! These weekly talks have been designed to highlight our shared bonds as a community, with an aim to engage, inform, and provide an avenue for communication.
Don’t miss your chance to join this new series with the experts of the Trinity-Pawling community!
Wednesday, May 13 at 7:00 PM (EST) — Join Dean of Counseling Katie Allen Berlandi as she provides valuable tips for coping with the challenges currently facing parents and students. Register here.
Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00 PM (EST) — Join the Roundtable with Alumni Faculty, hosted by Father Danny Lennox. Tune in as Brian Foster ’79, Josh Collins ’95, JP Burlington ’95, Ralph Fedele ’04, Josh Frost ’04, Chris Gillman ’05, Peter Lockwood ’10 discuss their Trinity-Pawling experiences — first as students and now as alumni and faculty! Register here.
Wednesday, May 27 at 7:00 PM (EST) — You’re invited to join Bill’s Book Club, a new remote book club for the Trinity-Pawling community! Hosted by Headmaster Bill Taylor, we’ll be diving into and discussing the books that keep us all inspired. Bill’s May selection: The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks. Register here.
Wednesday, June 3 at 7:00 PM (EST) — Inspiring Creativity – A Talk with the Trinity-Pawling Art Department will give you the opportunity to join Chair of the Arts Ned Reade and Trinity-Pawling’s dynamic educators of the arts (visual art, theater, and music teachers) for an engaging discussion on the value of creativity. Register here.
Wednesday, June 10 at 7:00 PM (EST) —Join Co-Directors of College Counseling Slade Mead and Scott Harff for Current Trends in College Counseling to discuss the college process, the Practicum advantage, and what’s happening in the world of college admissions. Register here.
We look forward to connecting with you!
Watch previous webinars & register for upcoming conversations! Find the full list of webinars in the Pride Perspectives series here.
Bruce Knickerbocker lived in the Menzies’ dorm in Hastings his freshman year. That’s when their 7-year old son, Gil, came down with a heart infection and needed a transplant. “I remember Gil being inspired by a male nurse who took care of him and put him on the road to recovery. I decided I wanted to be that person who could offer hope to others, as a male nurse in a female-dominated field.”
“Being a nurse is so different from what people assume,” Bruce explains. “It’s not all bedpans and passing pills. Nursing involves highly technical skills and medical knowledge. And then of course, it’s providing the touch of compassion. In fact, it’s the same feeling of compassion and responsibility fostered among the brotherhood of Trinity-Pawling. We’re trained to look out for and take care of each other.”
Bruce earned his nursing degrees from Albany Memorial Hospital School of Nursing and from SUNY Delhi. He started as a registered nurse at Vassar Brothers Hospital in 2006 and then shifted into hospital administration for a number of years. However, he chose to return to nurse management in 2018. “I missed the hospital and working directly with patients and my colleagues. I didn’t want to spend my career in a corporate office.”
He now manages the night nursing staff at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York. “We oversee the entire hospital from 7 pm to 7 am. I work three 12-hour shifts each week which actually gives me the flexibility to be home with my wife, Kelly, and our three kids (Carter, 8; Brie, 6; and Cora, 1). This schedule provides great dad time.”
Bruce knows what it means to lead under pressure. His first day as Head Prefect was September 11, 2001, and he draws parallels between the deep anxiety of that fall to the current pandemic. “There was as much uncertainty and trauma then as we have now. As Head Prefect then and administrative leader now, my job is to support my team through emotionally draining and physically trying times. I just work for them.”
As nurse administrator, Bruce must “ask my friends and colleagues to be strong and selfless and keep going into the COVID units night after night. It’s like asking soldiers to go into the battlefield. Each person is taking enormous risks and making a huge sacrifice. No bathroom breaks, no food or drink for hours. They’ve got sores on their faces from the pressure of the masks. Numerous staff members have contracted the virus and are furloughed while they recover.”
Bruce expresses tremendous respect for his colleagues in the nursing force. “They take great pride in their role and responsibilities. The outpouring of support from the community as they celebrate nurses and medical professionals as heroes really uplifts us all, more than you might believe. The firemen parades, gifts of masks, meals delivered to the hospital staff – all of that provides a bright moment of joy, of solace. None of us do this work for public recognition. We’re simply driven by compassion and the will to do good.”
by Maria Buteux Reade
As a pediatric nurse, Aniece Collins P’23 has spent 19 years caring for infants and children hospitalized for an injury or an acute illness. They arrive, they heal, they leave.
In late March, she was pulled from her pediatric work to serve as a nurse in the COVID ICU at Danbury Hospital. “I took a one-day crash course, an intensive up-training, followed by two straight days of studying to prepare for my new responsibilities.”
Aniece admits she was nervous entering her first night shift in this new territory of adult care. “It was a totally different population from pediatrics. I was meeting new staff; I didn’t know where things were. Talk about stressful!” Not to mention the dangers of the virus itself.
Fortunately, she had Sue Webber P’17, ’18, her friend and Trinity-Pawling neighbor, as her wing woman. “Sue took me around and showed me the ropes. She’s like the mayor of Danbury Hospital! She knows everyone and how to get things done. Sue gave me the confidence to make the leap from pediatrics into adult ICU, in less than three days.”
Aniece adapted quickly. “I had to completely relearn 19 years of pediatrics training and shift to a new mindset. Children and adults on ventilators have vastly different lung capacities and respiratory rates. And pediatric medications are given incrementally based on weight. Adult COVID patients receive a much higher dosage of meds, and they often arrive with complex co-morbidity factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure. I had to learn to read and react differently to these situations. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting.”
Whether tending children or adults, Aniece remains fiercely protective of her patients. “I’m a nurse and caregiver. I don’t have a choice, I just keep going. Doing nothing is not an option. These are human beings who deserve the most profound respect. I never forget my patients’ faces. I look at the photographs taped on the wall of my patients and their families. I find comfort in washing my patients’ faces, rubbing their feet, massaging their legs and back. I talk nonstop to them, saying their names, knowing or hoping they can hear me, so they feel a little less alone and scared. I try to make a connection. I hold their hand, give them comfort. I believe in the power of touch to bring hope and healing.”
Small victories include taking a person off the sedation meds, and watching her eyes open, and seeing that person come back into the world. “It’s gratifying when my patient looks at me and I know they can hear and sense my presence. That keeps me going,”
Aniece and her husband, Dean of Students Josh Collins ’95, made the hard decision to have Josh move with their three children to their home in Westerly, Rhode Island. “I miss them terribly but we talk every night. At least I know they’re safe. Returning to my home on campus provides the quiet time I need for recovery. No beeping, no monitors. I take walks, get fresh air, work in our garden. Try to catch up on sleep. My life is a series of short naps.”
Sleep well, Aniece. Your patients are counting on you to take care of them.
by Maria Buteux Reade
COVID-19 has impacted each and every one of us over the past few months. We are on uncertain footing but remain hopeful as we look toward the future. Our hearts go out to our alumni, parents, and friends in this time and always — we are with you.
Amidst this global pandemic, we have reflected upon Trinity-Pawling’s long history of perseverance, and its mission to educate boys as key contributors in an ever-changing world — now more relevant than ever. The lessons of a Trinity-Pawling education run deep and its teachings are timeless. As our world evolves on a daily basis, our students and alumni are prepared to take action, guided by values of effort, determination, and resilience – values which shape the course of their lives, through both good and challenging times.
The world needs Trinity-Pawling graduates to lead the way. If you are able at this time, will you contribute to the Trinity-Pawling Fund? Each and every gift provides for critical and timely needs at the School, whether for financial aid to enable students to return, unanticipated expenses related to the School’s shift to remote learning, or unforeseen hardships caused by this crisis. Your support ensures the continuity of a Trinity-Pawling education in a moment when it is needed so greatly.
While the path has changed, the destination remains the same: a Trinity-Pawling education changes lives. Please consider giving what you can. Thank you.
The CARES Act — The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — encourages donors to support nonprofits like ours. It includes two legislative provisions designed to incentivize charitable giving. The first allows for the deduction of up to $300 in giving this year, whether the taxpayer itemizes their taxes or not. For those who do itemize their deductions, the new law allows for cash contributions to qualified charities such as Trinity-Pawling School to be deducted up to 100% of your adjusted gross income for the 2020 calendar year. This information is not intended as legal or tax advice. It is important that you visit with your accountant or advisor to see how the new legislation impacts you.
Alumni, as you reflect during these unusual times, we hope you will share an update with Trinity-Pawling!
How are you and your family doing? Did you get married, welcome a new baby into the family, connect (even if remotely!) with classmates? Do you have a special story to share? Let us know!
The deadline for Class Notes for the next Trinity-Pawling Magazine is June 20, 2020 — submit your class notes today.
Questions? Reach Out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Peter Lockwood ’10 at 845-855-4881.
We look forward to hearing from you!
As a published author at just fifteen years old, Francisco Bendezu already has quite the feather in his cap. His first novel, Saunter, was published earlier this spring — and if you ask the young author, he is only just beginning.
“Saunter actually began as a project for The Phoenix (our school newspaper), so I started thinking about it in September of my freshman year,” Bendezu explained. Over the course of the past two years, the project blossomed into a 147-page murder mystery novel. With his sights set on publishing his work, Bendezu made the novel his Winter Project, as he diligently worked to continue developing the story and characters. His faculty advisor, author John Teaford, was the perfect mentor for Bendezu throughout the project.
“Mr. Teaford taught me how to rewrite and edit a manuscript,” Bendezu shared. “More importantly, he really pushed me along with the publishing process for Saunter. My Winter Project became a valuable learning experience on how to self-publish with Amazon — and it really exposed me to the more technical side of writing.”
A fun fact about his newly-published novel: “Part of the influence for the title, Saunter, was all the walking that we do around the T-P campus,” Bendezu explained. “It’s very systematic but it also gives us time to think about how our days are going, especially as we go down to the dining hall for lunch and back up to resume classes.”
So what’s next for this budding author? Bendezu frequently publishes an array of short stories on his website called The Estrian Journal. He also has plans in the works for a longer writing piece, perhaps another novel, that he hopes to work on over the summer. No matter the project, however, Bendezu simply revels in the joy of writing. “My goal for all of my work as a writer is to try to reach people and make their lives just a little bit better than they were before,” he concluded. “The most rewarding thing about writing is the idea that I can say something and the readers will hear what I have to say. I’ve come to realize that writing can be a weapon and a valuable tool — not just an experience. That means a lot to me.”
Bendezu’s novel, Saunter, is available on Amazon, as both an e-book and a paperback.
by Emma Christiantelli