Slade Mead’s mask of choice conveys his mission: VOTE. Those four bold letters are a command, an encouragement, a plea.
Mead, who serves as Co-Director of College Counseling, also teaches U.S. Government and Politics and a course in Constitutional Law. He sees himself as a lightning rod for political discourse on campus. “Faculty seek me out to air their views, and students ask me to help them register to vote. Getting kids to vote? That’s my greatest pleasure.” Mead’s blue eyes light up over his dark mask as he describes the process.
“Students come to my office, and I help them register online and fill out the necessary forms. They’ll come back once they receive their ballots, and I’ll walk them through the steps of how to fill it out properly. Each state has different rules so it’s fun for me to see the varying forms. I’ll even supply the stamp — for free!”
In the midst of a contentious election season, Mead understands it’s crucial to remain apolitical and support thoughtful discussion. “Willie Ackerman ’21 wanted to show the second debate in Gardiner Theater. So we made that happen, and a number of students and faculty showed up to watch.”
A consummate educator, Mead creates opportunities to share accurate information. “The day after Justice Ginsburg died, I built my class lesson around what it means when a Supreme Court justice dies and the process that follows. I made an open invitation to the school community to join the class virtually through Microsoft Teams.” Mead offered a similar format after President Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19. “I taught an open class on the 25th Amendment and helped people understand the Constitutional procedure of what happens if a President is incapacitated temporarily or long-term.”
Mead fell in love with Constitutional law when he took an elective on it in his junior year at Taft School. “I’d already been a political geek, but in this class, a lightbulb went off. Constitutional problems are both fascinating and scary, and I follow them closely, for better or worse.” After graduating from Yale, Mead earned his law degree from the University of Connecticut. He later served as an Arizona State Senator in the early 2000s.
His final words? “Please vote. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.”
by Maria Buteux Reade
With an election fast approaching and a pandemic in our midst, the qualities of leadership and creativity prove an ethic of strong citizenship at Trinity-Pawling. I spoke with Headmaster Taylor to gain his insight on citizenship both on campus and across the country:
As a history teacher: How would you define citizenship?
First of all, I believe very strongly that it’s a word that has been poorly defined culturally. Too often, I think schools — including our own — have given out citizenship awards to the nice person, or the person who’s respectful, and the person who gets along with everybody. While I think that those are certainly some important attributes, they don’t even touch on what the full role of a citizen is, especially in a democracy. Those roles have to do with being aware: being self-aware, being communally-aware, and being civically-aware of the world going on around you, so that you can be responsibly engaged with this awareness.
What are some other guideposts to citizenship for Trinity-Pawling students?
I think you are seeing it every day in the midst of a pandemic. The focus of the common good is a critical aspect of what citizenship is. So every time you see someone wearing their mask or keeping their distance, they’re practicing citizenship — not just for this community but for the larger community, too. I think if you see the debate on whether this infringes on individual liberties or promotes the common good, that’s a citizenship discussion. I believe that individual freedom certainly plays a role in citizenship but you can’t be a sole citizen and not be aware of your impact on others if you’re going to be a true citizen. When you apply that to a democracy, this country only works if people vote, if people know that they should vote and that their vote has meaning. Their individual decisions have a collective impact.
So in the classroom, with an increasingly divided political sphere, how are we teaching to bridge those ideological divides?
One of the major themes in my course is the inherent tension between individual liberty and the common good. I think that if we are successful at teaching that historically, we then can teach what the role of citizenship has been historically in this country. In so doing, we are teaching students about their personal responsibilities of living in a democracy: to have an opinion! Not to have a certain opinion, but to recognize that they should have an opinion on things.
We are teaching young people how being a citizen is not just about voting. It’s about being aware of your community and being aware of the voice you have to impact your community, and in our democracy, voting is the process to do that.
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
On October 17, Peter Claro ’21 and Stuart Phillips ’21, with the help of the Trinity-Pawling community, created a stunning display of 34,000 blue and gold flags on the front lawn of campus in memory of the 34,000 New Yorkers who lost their lives to COVID-19. “We hope that drivers going by will be moved by the display and reminded to continue to think of others. We’re all in this together.”
The installation is part of Peter and Stuart’s Senior Independent Project (SIP). At Trinity-Pawling, the SIP process allows seniors to pursue an idea that is meaningful to them, while they grow as engaged, interested, and aware citizens of the world. Headmaster Bill Taylor explained, “The goal of the Senior Independent Project at Trinity-Pawling is for seniors to consider something for which they have a passion or a driving interest and then to create an original product that reflects what they have learned through the experience. Everyone has been touched by the enormity of the impact of COVID-19, including our students who have been working to adapt their lives so that they can remain on campus for in-person learning in ways that protect their health and the common good. Peter and Stuart’s project dramatically and emotionally captures the devastating impact of COVID-19 in our local and state community. I have heard from many in the Pawling community and some who just drive by how impactful the visual statement has been. For our own students and school community, the project is a vivid statement of the power of young people to engage in their larger community and in ways that connect across generations.”
Read more about Peter and Stuart’s SIP in their press coverage.
Thank you, Peter and Stuart, for your inspiring work and moving tribute!
Every Saturday morning from 11:00 AM to noon, Jay Hooper settles in behind a microphone at WCVR, a country radio station in central Vermont, and conducts a robust discussion with someone in the political arena. “I’ve interviewed Lieutenant Governor Dave Zuckerman, former Governor Jim Douglas, Secretary of State Jim Condos, current state reps and senators, political candidates, newspaper columnists, even local storytellers. I invite them to talk about what they know best. I get great feedback from my listeners who say they appreciate the candid conversations that help them better understand the issues that impact their own lives.”
His program, “The Heat of the House,” reaches about 50 towns in central Vermont, including the five towns that Hooper represents in the Vermont State House. Hooper graduated from Connecticut College in May 2016 and was elected to the House of Representatives six months later. On Tuesday evening November 3rd, he’ll find out if he has secured his third term in office — at the ripe old age of 26.
“Campaigning was challenging during this pandemic,” he says. “My favorite part of the past two campaigns was going door to door, talking to people in their homes, and listening to their concerns. This year, I was relegated to putting ads in the local paper and maybe doing a little phone banking. And yard signs everywhere.”
The gregarious Hooper began his broadcasting career at Trinity-Pawling where he did live color commentary for varsity hockey games in 2011 and 2012. He says his current radio program provides the chance to speak with his counterparts, often with differing opinions, about crucial issues. Hooper is proud that he’s a Democrat yet has Republican supporters backing him. “They like that I’m nonjudgmental and we can have a civil discussion. I’m open to hearing their viewpoints. I’ve learned to choose my words carefully, and listen more than talk. My job is to understand why someone thinks a certain way, not necessarily to change their mind.”
Hooper is not fond of legislating from his couch via Zoom. “When we’re all together in the State House doing committee work, changes in bills and amendments evolve constantly throughout the day. You can access accurate information quickly from someone down the hall or in the next conference room. It’s much harder to track down information remotely. And so many verbal and nonverbal communication cues are lost over Zoom. My hope is that when the new term starts in January, we can convene in person though socially distanced, close the House to the general public, and take testimony via video or livestream.”
Why did he choose to pursue a career in public service? “I wanted to contribute to society. Character matters in politics, and I strive to be a trustworthy actor in our state government. People can disagree with me, but we still keep things civil. I seek to learn from every person I interact with.”
by Maria Buteux Reade
For many Trinity-Pawling alumni, the brotherhood becomes part of their family. The Fritz family is no exception. In fact, for Mike ’90, Anthony (“Rocky”) ’93, and Mike Jr. ’21, the brotherhood is family. Brothers Mike and Rocky joined the Trinity-Pawling community in the early nineties and Mike’s son, Mike Jr., is continuing the tradition as a current senior. I had a chance to connect with the legacy family and learn about their Trinity-Pawling experiences — from hockey to academics and everything in between.
How did your family get started at Trinity-Pawling?
Mike ’90: The simple answer is Brian Foster. Rocky and I both grew up playing ice hockey in New Jersey; Brian was my coach when I was 13. He left the hockey organization to work at T-P, and after about a year, he reached out to my parents about the possibility of my attending the School. He knew it would be a great opportunity for me to get a good education, play high-level hockey, and have a shot at better colleges. The next year, I enrolled as a repeat junior. Best decision we ever made.
Anthony ’93: I took a very similar path to T-P as my brother. Although I needed a little more structure than Mike, and T-P did the trick. I am so grateful to my parents for the opportunity and to Mike and Brian for leading the way.
How did/do you fill your days as a student at Trinity-Pawling?
Mike ’90: Both Rocky and I were hockey and baseball players. We didn’t play a fall sport, although Coach Foster made us train with the cross country team to stay in shape. Watching a bunch of hockey players run with the cross country guys was quite a sight! I also worked on the school newspaper and yearbook and served as a prefect my senior year.
Anthony ’93: Hockey and baseball, but other than that, I stayed focused on studying.
Mike Jr. ’21: I play varsity hockey and JV lacrosse. I’m also Head of Model UN and a prefect this year. When I heard my name as a prefect called during the virtual Stepping Up ceremony last spring, I was honestly so surprised and honored. My favorite part was telling my dad.
What does/did the role of prefect mean to you?
Mike Jr. ’21: It’s definitely challenging to be a prefect this year, with so many changes on campus due to COVID. But being able to make a difference and be a role model to my classmates is such an honor. I also enjoy getting to know everyone on campus. It’s the community aspect that I like most.
Mike ’90: I can’t believe it was 30 years ago. Looking back, I remember the role of prefect being both hard and rewarding. I’m lucky that I had a great group of guys serving alongside me. I think it all comes back to relationships. I was able to connect with the younger students, learn from senior faculty members, and appreciate the friendships I made on campus. It was a great opportunity.
What was/is the most rewarding part of your Trinity-Pawling experience?
Anthony ’93: Going to T-P before college and having that sense of independence and structure was life-changing for me. But even more rewarding than that is the fact that I’m here on this call with my brother and nephew. T-P kept us together and connected; it’s played such an important role in our family and I love watching Mike Jr. follow in his father’s footsteps.
Mike ’90: I couldn’t say it any better. We are so very lucky to have T-P. I remember when I brought Mike Jr. for his first year in 2019, it was incredible to see the longtime faculty — the Fosters, Corattis, Reades, Taylors — still changing students’ lives 30 years later! It speaks volumes about the impact of the School and the doors it can open for young men. The relationships you cultivate at T-P and the lessons you learn while there…there’s nothing else like it.
Mike Jr. ’21: I feel so lucky that I have had the chance to have those famous teachers, especially since Mr. Reade retired last year and this is Mr. Coratti’s last year. Mr. and Mrs. Foster definitely have some stories about my dad and uncle too, but it’s probably safer if I don’t ask.
As alumni and a soon-to-be-graduate, what advice do you have for future Trinity-Pawling students and families?
Mike ’90: Take advantage of everything the School has to offer! The boarding school life is different, and not every kid is lucky enough to attend a place like this. Be grateful, work hard, and strive to be the best you can be. You only have a few years there; get the most out of it while you can because it’s a truly wonderful experience.
Anthony ’93: What you put into your time at T-P is what you’ll get out of it. So invest in yourself and your experience. Like my brother said, embrace every part of the T-P life, from the schedule to the sports to trying something new.
Mike Jr. ’21: Trust the Effort System. Hard work goes a long way here at T-P. The teachers will help to get you where you want to be, but you have to show up and be willing to put in the time and effort.
Mike ’90 currently owns and operates Frozen Pond Arena — a hockey rink in Pennsylvania, home of the PHA Icemen and Pittsburgh Yetis. Anthony ’93 is a Senior Account Manager at AT&T in Texas, and in his 23rd year with the company. Mike Jr. ’21 is enjoying his senior year at Trinity-Pawling and plans to play a year of junior hockey after graduation, before heading off to college.
Thank you, Fritz family! You’ve left your mark on Trinity-Pawling.
by Emma Christiantelli
In response to the challenges facing our nation and world, and seeking a more holistic way to find common ground and understanding, faculty member Joe Poon has synthesized a method for the Trinity-Pawling community to engage in difficult conversations with thoughtfulness and empathy. Dubbed the Trinity Method, Poon’s concept culls together an array of dialogue and listening methods — from conflict resolution and psychology to Quaker practices and philosophy. The blended result is a method that fosters constructive, compassionate conversations, both in and out of the classroom.
We heard about the many ways the Trinity Method is being used on campus and caught up with Joe Poon for an interview to learn more.
In a Trinity Method session, there are three parties involved: two students and a moderator. Both sides are afforded the same amount of speaking time (two minutes) and participants agree to be respectful and attentive listeners when the other is speaking. There are two rounds of exchange on the selected topic or question.
“The Trinity Method takes no sides and offers everyone equal time to speak and to listen,” Poon explained. “Students are reminded to not use generalizations or to speak on behalf of an entire group. But above all, the goal of the Trinity Method is really to teach students to listen to each other and begin to care about their opponent’s perspective.”
Since the start of the Fall Term, faculty and students have utilized the Trinity Method in classroom discussions, club meetings, team-building exercises, school podcasts, and more. “It’s not about opinions,” shared Sam Clougher, Director of Equity and Inclusion. “It’s about listening, reflecting, and learning from one another.”
For Poon, empathy is at the heart of the Trinity Method. The end goal for every Trinity session — whether the topic is academic, political, philosophical, or somewhere in between — is to foster a sense of empathy and compassion between the participants. “The Trinity Method helps participants to accept one another’s ideas (no matter how different they may be from their own), and treat the new ideas as equal to their own,” Poon continued. “It also encourages students to embrace their blind spots and the opportunities to grow and learn about themselves and their classmates.”
And it doesn’t stop at the campus gates. Poon hopes that the Trinity Method can soon be embraced and used by all, including alumni, parents, trustees, and friends of the School. “I’d welcome the chance to conduct a Trinity session for anyone looking for an enriching conversation,” he explained. “After all, the best way to understand the Trinity Method is to experience it yourself, so I say let’s get started!”
The Trinity Method promotes acceptance, equity, open-mindedness, and respect. It provokes critical thinking and confidence while challenging students to care about other’s beliefs and perspectives. It’s not about being right or winning; it’s about acknowledging differences and finding common ground. “The Trinity Method provides our community with a way to build better bonds and hold meaningful conversations on campus. In this way, the Method can be neutral, yet rich political and philosophical discussions can be had using its techniques,” Poon concluded. “One Trinity session at a time, I think we can change the world.”
by Emma Christiantelli
Looking back, Austrian Robinson ’15 didn’t quite have this in mind. Five years in an SEC football program: Ole Miss starting defensive tackle, winner of the Chucky Mullins Courage Award (the highest honor given to a Rebel senior defensive player); father to his junior, a little Austrian; and now, waiting for the next call from an NFL team.
As a sophomore, Robinson left home in Harlem to play basketball for Trinity-Pawling. A young athlete, he was all in as a basketball player. When Coach Coratti saw Robinson’s size as he waited in the buffet line, he quickly did some lunchtime recruitment. Robinson thought he’d play some JV football, stay in shape — instead he became a force in just his first year playing football. “I didn’t know what I was doing at all,” he says, “I was just running fast, out-stronging people.”
He aimed for the pinnacle of college football, the SEC, and quickly saw how the big boys do it. “The speed of the game was different, everybody knows what they’re doing. Strength-wise I was fine, but coming from not as much experience made the learning curve fast.” Robinson elected to redshirt his freshman year, saying “It was a decision from the business perspective. We had depth and it was a better idea to not play 60 snaps a game.”
Robinson ultimately tallied five sacks and an interception in his career, playing in over 45 games for Ole Miss. Robinson says he’s always been a sponge. “I absorb everything I can. I might not always ask the questions, but if I see someone doing something, I’m watching.” He calls on young athletes to follow this lead. “Don’t be afraid to seek help. Take things from other people’s game. Work-ethic wise, push yourself because the window with football is short, and watch film!”
As an undrafted free agent, Robinson signed with the Carolina Panthers, participating in pre-camp during the beginning of the pandemic. A back injury prevented him from joining the final roster. Now healthy, he continues to soak in the game on Sundays, ready for his next unexpected call to action.
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
This week of fall sports ended with snow on the ground and leaves still in the trees.
Throughout the fall, the Pride football team has competed in Wednesday 7-on-7 Blue vs. Gold games that bring out a slate of on-campus spectators. The teams have been divided by class: sophomores and juniors vs. seniors and freshmen, by coach draft, and in their final iteration by player-managers Desmond Sampson ’21 and Mason Clark ’22. The format takes 8-minute quarters, with 20-yard first down markers and a required ‘Big Daddy Down’ in each set of downs to ensure that all players (even the linemen) participate in the game. The final competition will take place on Wednesday next week, November 4.
The Pride soccer team continues to practice hard, appreciating the leadership from outgoing seniors to help prepare a slew of upcoming stars for future success. Congratulations to Sebastian Padilla-Ortega ’21 for committing to the admissions process to play soccer at Manhattanville College.
The cross country runners have built on their intrasquad competition to run a number of virtual races this fall. Beginning with Loomis Chaffee, the runners then faced off in a bigger race against Loomis, Choate, Taft, and Westminster. Harry Clark ’23, Robbie Accomando ’22, and Jimmy Nolan ’21 lead the way for the Pride, and all will look forward to a strong performance in the virtual Founders League Championship at 2:30 PM on Saturday, October 31. With the easiest course at Loomis, the race times of each competitor will be amended on a ‘difficulty factor’ of each home course to ensure that the best runners gain appropriate placement in the final rankings.
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
Parents’ Weekend looked a little different this year, but still provided a lot of important information and good connections for our parents and faculty. The virtual event kicked off on Wednesday, October 14 with a panel discussion led by Headmaster Bill Taylor. During the meeting, our parent community learned more about life on campus and plans for the Winter Term and the Winter Projects. Students and faculty were featured on the panel, allowing parents a window into the everyday experience at Trinity-Pawling.
Over the next few days, parents attended virtual meetings with their sons’ advisors. Advisors had been briefed about their advisees’ individual classes, sports, clubs, and dorm life, so they were able to provide a comprehensive overview of each student’s progress, performance, and goals. Students joined the meeting as well, which allowed for an interactive conversation and review.
Following the weekend, parents pulled together in an incredible way during our “For The Pride” giving day. Thanks to a visionary family who provided an outstanding dollar-for-dollar match, and to our generous community of parents, the campaign raised over $200,000 for the School. These funds support the boys and their experience every day, and also provide for critical campus needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic. Our parents truly went the extra distance For the Pride, and we couldn’t be more grateful!
Parents, if you haven’t had a chance to make your gift yet, there’s still time! You can contribute via phone, check, Venmo (TrinityPawlingSchool) or visit our For The Pride giving page.
by Kate Vengrove P’22
Using an IRA to make a charitable donation can lower your tax bill and help a worthy cause. Distributions must be made payable directly to the charity — not to the owner or beneficiary.
The qualified charitable distribution (QCD) rule allows traditional IRA owners to deduct their required minimum distributions on their tax returns if they give the money to a charity. By lowering your adjusted gross income, the QCD rule can effectively reduce your income taxes.
The SECURE Act became law on December 20, 2019. The SECURE Act pushes back the age at which retirement plan participants need to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), from 70 ½ to 72, and allows traditional IRA owners to keep making contributions indefinitely.
You can maximize your charitable impact and make a tax-smart gift!
HOW IT WORKS:
1. If you are at least 70 ½ years old, you are eligible to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from your IRA and receive tax benefits in return.
2. At your direction, your plan administrator can transfer as much as $100,000 a year from your IRA directly to Trinity-Pawling. This qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is considered nontaxable.
3. Required minimum distributions (RMD) are not required this year, due to the CARES Act. However, you can still take advantage of tax benefits when you support Trinity-Pawling through your IRA.
NEXT STEPS: Contact your tax advisor or your IRA plan administrator to learn if this gift is right for you.
QUESTIONS? If you have questions or would like a sample letter to request a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA administrator, please contact Colleen Dealy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-855-4831.
Thank you for considering a tax-smart gift to Trinity-Pawling School.
Thank you to all who participated in our first-ever virtual Reunion last week! For those who missed it, you can tune in to the webinars at any time on our website. We had a great line-up of events, featuring:
- A lively discussion with Dave Coratti P’08 who was celebrated by alums Stew McKnelly ’86, P’21, Eric Drath ’88, Chris Cattani ’93, Paul Mancuso ’06, Austrian Robinson ’15, and Super Bowl XL Champion Chukky Okobi ’96.
- A toast to Ned and Maria Reade, who reflected on their years of service and shared future plans with Headmaster Bill Taylor and JP Burlington ’95.
- A wonderful tree dedication to former faculty Carol and Ted Kneeland, a gift from the Class of 1980.
- The State of the School address by Headmaster Bill Taylor and Board President Erik Olstein ’86, P’11,’14,’17. During the presentation, Jon Pettit ’70 was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame posthumously, and Joe Rice ’50 and Terry Ray ’55, P’01 received the Distinguished Alumni award.
- In honor of the Class of 1970’s 50th Reunion, Headmaster Bill Taylor led an interactive, online discussion of Trinity-Pawling Now and Then, featuring former Prefects Mike Colhoun ’70, David Foster ’70, Tom Hess ’70, and Duncan Tenney’70; Bruce Birns ’70 from the 50th Reunion Committee; and a group of current students.
- Our traditional Alumni Memorial Service was led by Father Danny Lennox and featured David Foster ’70 and AJ McHugh ’95 as readers. The chapel bulletin may be viewed here.
Thank you one and all for your participation and terrific input!