My office is a veritable museum of items that have particular meaning to me, either personally or professionally. In fact, if someone ever wanted to do a forensic analysis of my personality, they could probably attempt to find meaning in the hundreds of items that adorn shelves, bookcases, and tabletops in my office. Of course, the meaning of each item is deeply known to me.
There are the obvious items that do not require such heady analysis: the family pictures, mostly including photographs of my son and daughter as children; the various lions around the office; or the nameplates from past offices. Then, there are a whole host of other items that would make someone’s head itch with wonder: the hard hat; the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man; or Gumby.
Among the more eclectic of items is something new to the collection. It is a Chinese print of a hibiscus tree with the caption in Mandarin that reads “Spring Returns to Heaven and Earth.” It was presented to me recently by a student upon his arrival this March to Trinity-Pawling — his first return to the campus since last spring when he was forced to leave due to a rapidly escalating pandemic and return to his home in China. It has a treasured spot in my office, sitting on a windowsill ensuring that it will catch my eye when my gaze drifts above my computer screen to the sights on the quad.
When he gave it to me, he explained that it was a gift from his parents and from him, in gratitude for his return to campus and in recognition that the campus was as safe as it could be from the effects of COVID-19. Now, this is a student who left China en route to Pawling, New York knowing that he was required by U.S. regulations to spend two weeks quarantining in Dubai before he could return to the United States, where he would then have to spend another ten days in quarantine on campus before he could resume some semblance of a normal life. And, he was thanking me!
The picture will likely never leave its place on the windowsill as long as I occupy this office in Cluett. It is a daily reminder of the gratitude that I have for this boy, his family, and so many others who made incredible efforts to return to campus to bring life to this learning community in the midst of a pandemic. Without such a commitment, Trinity-Pawling would not be the place that it is. Perhaps, it would not even be open. No, it is I that must thank each of them! Spring has returned to Heaven and Earth, indeed!
by William W. Taylor
In just one short year as a postgraduate student at Trinity-Pawling, Michael Acquaah-Harrison ’21 has found great success, in and out of the classroom. His Senior Independent Project (SIP), for instance, is just one outstanding achievement from his time in the Pride this year.
“For my Senior Independent Project, I expanded on a project I began last June before I enrolled at Trinity-Pawling,” Michael shared. “I created a fundraising campaign to build a mobile application that would provide a safety solution for people in critical incidents. After reaching the full $15,000 funding last August, I spent this school year managing the development of the application, communicating with backers, and planning advertisement campaigns in preparation for the launch.”
Eager to expand on the success of his project, Michael joined a small group of fellow seniors at Trinity-Pawling who will earn a Diploma with Distinction — specifically designed for students who choose to go above and beyond with their SIPs. The Diploma with Distinction includes a formal presentation to a panel of faculty members, as well as the larger school community.
For Michael, the most rewarding aspect of his Senior Independent Project process was that central word: independence. “I found the unique and challenging nature of the SIP to be its most rewarding quality,” he explained. “As an older student, the traditional structure of education (lecture, study, test) has become very familiar. Having the opportunity to undertake an independent project and learn to present the findings effectively and persuasively has helped me reinforce skills that I know will be paramount to future success.”
In addition to his SIP success, Michael has also excelled on the basketball court and in the college admissions process. Thus far, he has been accepted to an array of prestigious schools, including Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Hamilton, and WPI, to name a few. Once he makes his college choice, Michael plans to major in business management with a concentration in finance.
As a postgraduate student during a pandemic, Michael’s experience at Trinity-Pawling has certainly been unique, with remote and hybrid learning, shortened athletic seasons, and an obvious change in campus and community life. Nevertheless, he has chosen to focus on the silver linings. “For me, this year of COVID has highlighted the importance of living with purpose and gratitude,” he added. “We’ve had to learn firsthand that nothing is guaranteed and simple luxuries like being able to gather together and receive an education should be cherished.”
So, what is Michael’s secret to success as a student-athlete? “While time-management and good study habits are known to be important, I believe one of the secrets to success is understanding your “why”. That’s being able to articulate the reason for what you do and what motivates you to give your best every day in the classroom and on the court,” Michael concluded. “Understanding this source of motivation will enable you to find perseverance in times of stress.”
Thank you for your contributions to the Trinity-Pawling community this year, Michael! We congratulate you and the Class of 2021 on your upcoming graduation and wish you all the best in college and beyond.
by Emma Christiantelli
When Van Metcalf was hired in the spring of 2004, his primary responsibility was to oversee academic technology in the Dann Building. Teaching was secondary. He settled into the spacious ground floor wing where he patiently mentored faculty as they incorporated technology into their teaching and calmly assisted students with their computer issues.
Van had left his previous career as an engineer to come to Trinity-Pawling, at the suggestion of MacGregor Robinson, his good friend and fellow resident of Norfolk, Connecticut, who served as Director of Admission. “Trinity-Pawling had a similar vibe to Taft, where I had gone to school. I saw the relationships that faculty and students developed and knew this would be a good community. The corporate tech life had lost its allure, and I wanted to be able to make a difference in kids’ lives.”
And that’s exactly what he did, in his own quiet manner. Van discovered he loved the challenge of teaching computer science and sharing that passion with students. “I enjoyed taking kids under my wing and watching them grow into confident young men. It was a pleasure to work with guys like Jimmy Lee ’14, AJ Keller ’10, and Chris Schek ’07, some of whom went on to study computer science in college.”
Over the course of seventeen years, Van built a demanding computer science curriculum, which now includes three intensive courses, including Advanced Placement. “You never truly master teaching computer science because the field is constantly evolving,” Van notes. “I learn something new almost every day.”
Van will retire at the end of this school year. He and his wife, Shirley, will move to Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a perfect location for these avid sailors. Next fall, the couple plans to ramble around the United States in a camper van, visiting state parks and exploring the country.
Final words of wisdom for students? “Keep programming!” And for his faculty colleagues? “Keep on pulling for our students. It’s incredibly rewarding to be a teacher here.”
We wish you all the best, Van, and we thank you for your years of dedicated service.
by Maria Buteux Reade
The story begins before Justin Cooper ’14 even arrived at Trinity-Pawling in the fall of 2013. When childhood friend and Pine Plains High School teammate Tyler Lydon headed to another notable basketball prep school, Cooper realized that the opportunity to play at the NEPSAC level would help extend his own basketball career. Just an hour down Route 22, Cooper found his way to Trinity-Pawling and onto Coach Casson’s team as a PG. “It was a good experience to play NEPSAC — the level of play top to bottom is so different,” he remarked. “Everything outside of basketball at T-P prepares you: academics, eating correctly, being in the weight room, and learning how to handle being away from home.” During the winter of 2014, Cooper proved he belonged by leading the team to a Founder’s League Championship and was then recruited to play at SUNY Cortland.
With great success for three years in the SUNYAC and a budding experience as a summer AAU coach for youth programs in Dutchess County, Cooper knew he had what it took to keep sharing his passion for the game. “I thought I was going to be coaching, I didn’t even really know what a trainer was,” he said. That is until he met skills trainer Steve Dagostino at a high school event in 2018. Soon after, Cooper and Lydon — who has since played a few NBA seasons for the Denver Nuggets — officially started their training business, LMC Athletics. This past summer, Cooper had the opportunity to represent LMC and work at an NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Albany through the strong mentorship of “Dags” (Steve Dagostino).
Although COVID-19 was a setback, Cooper adapted to the world of virtual communication by offering ball-handling workouts and clinics on Instagram Live and Zoom to keep his players sharp. Whether in-person or online, he says communication is paramount in the world of sports training. While the budding industry has notable faces around the country, Cooper has begun to make his regional mark, working with many college-level players and even Trinity-Pawling sophomore standout DeAndre Williams ’23. Find LMC Athletics on Instagram at LMC.Athletics and connect with Cooper @justincooper10 on Twitter to hone your basketball skills. Roll Pride!
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
After graduating from Trinity-Pawling, it didn’t take Andrew Manley ’08 long to discover his love for studio production and media management. Equipped with a communications degree from Southern Vermont College, he dove headfirst into the industry and dabbled in a variety of production jobs, from audio mixing to special effects. In 2016, Manley followed his passion to New York City for a new job opportunity at an up-and-coming digital media company — now the pop-culture sensation known as Barstool Sports. “When I started working at Barstool, there were only 40 of us on the team,” he explained. “Now, we’re well over 250 people! We’ve grown exponentially and this is just the beginning.”
Manley serves as the Manager of Studio Production and Live Events at Barstool. A problem-solver by nature, he helps to keep the studio operations running smoothly, which means every day at the office is a little different. “I never know what the day will hold for me, so it keeps things exciting. We have four podcast recording studios, a radio studio, and four video filming studios here at the headquarters. I’m in charge of maintaining the spaces during production — from lights to mics and of course, any and all troubleshooting.”
When the pandemic rocked the world in the spring of 2020, Manley and the team at Barstool Sports stepped up. In an effort to help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during COVID-19, Barstool founder and CEO Dave Portnoy created the Barstool Fund. It didn’t take long for the grassroots fundraising effort to go viral. Now one year later, the Barstool Fund has raised a whopping $37 million dollars with 332 small businesses fully supported — and there’s no end in sight.
“Barstool has done charity work before, but nothing will ever top the Barstool Fund. It’s truly inspiring to see the generosity and people’s willingness to help others during a challenging time,” Manley shared. “It has made me genuinely proud to work here.”
The best part for Manley? “I help to produce the FaceTime videos in which Dave gives the exciting news in real-time to each small business owner. Witnessing the sheer joy and gratitude on their faces…it’s incredible. I get to see firsthand the difference the Fund is making for families and their businesses. Our work is demanding here at Barstool, but it’s so worth it.”
Looking back, Manley credits Trinity-Pawling — specifically his former dorm parent and teacher Jay Kellogg — with putting him on the track to success. “T-P taught me the importance of being present and putting in the right amount of effort. We’re all still learning, whether as students or professionals, and we’ll never have all the answers. What matters most is the care and time we put into finding the answers. I learned that at Trinity-Pawling.”
“Here at Barstool, we’re a comedy brand at heart. We try to keep things fun and upbeat,” Manley concluded. “The Barstool Fund has allowed us to bring joy and relief at a time when everyone needs it most. Playing a small part in sharing that feel-good story with the world makes me so happy.”
by Emma Christiantelli
The Pride baseball team found their way to a 2-0 win against Lawrenceville School last Saturday after a postponement of their originally scheduled series with Brunswick School. The game was highlighted by excellent defensive plays, beginning with a put-out at home plate by right-fielder Nick Vega ’22 to save a run in the opening frame. Connor Haywood ’21 was gritty on the mound through three scoreless innings and Jon Link ’21 sailed through the middle frames. Younger brother Peter Link ’23 cashed in an RBI single, and catcher Liam Haywood ’23 impressed in his first Trinity-Pawling start with two hits and a run scored, while backup catcher Chris Watrous ’21 made a strong throw to second base to pick off a runner in the bottom of the seventh, helping PG Chase Swain ’21 to his first save of the season. The team looks towards Kent this weekend for a three-game series.
Varsity lacrosse faced a tough matchup against top-ranked Brunswick last weekend, dropping both contests. Goalie Sam Silverman ’22 shone in the 13-5 opening loss with a number of impressive saves to keep the game close through three quarters, and Stuart Phillips ’21 notched his first goal of the year with a rare off-hand bouncer from 16 yards out. In Saturday’s beautiful home opener, a socially distanced parent’s section had the opportunity to see the boys play live for the first time in two years. Alas, the Pride struggled to keep up with Brunswick’s 25-man rotation, dropping their home opener 13-8. Tucker Kellogg ’23 showed off his impressive shooting, leading the Pride in scoring on the day. As of this writing, the Pride leads Kent School 6-3, and looks to sweep the weekend with a home contest on Saturday.
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
Forget the market jargon, you probably already know the story. Hedge funds made a big bet against the stock of once-thought defunct mall retailer GameStop, but a group of mostly anonymous Reddit users on the r/wallstreetbets forum began buying up the stock — first as an investment, then largely as a symbolic joining of hands against the financial elite.
As heaps of Reddit posts and internet clickbait headlines mounted, ABC News partnered with Eric Drath ’88 and his company Live Star Entertainment to produce and deliver the first feature-length special on the short-squeeze event: GameStopped.
With a career-spanning connection to ABC News, the assignment dropped into Drath’s lap with a 25-day turnaround deadline. Many of Drath’s pitches through the years have bit the dust, but he believes that failure can be the best teacher, while sometimes the best chances seem almost providence. “God presents different opportunities in our lives and you never know where or when they will come. I truly believe if I live a life with integrity — not something I always did — and if I try to be of service in everything I do, opportunities like this one present themselves.”
In just four weeks, ABC booked big names like analyst Jim Cramer, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, and angel investor Mark Cuban, while Live Star contacted everyday investors involved in the GameStop saga to balance the piece. The process of telling this story, which Drath describes carefully as “collaborative art,” took the work of four editors, three assistant editors, four producers, and their assistants to film interviews and stitch together the final documentary in record time — beating seven other studios to first release. “It’s a fairy tale story,” Drath said. “Revenge of the nerds in a way. The people will be empowered, with the irony of Robinhood being the platform.”
Check out GameStopped on Hulu, and find more of Drath’s 30-for-30 sports documentaries on Showtime.
by Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris
Over the past year, we’ve been surrounded by inspiring individuals, around the world and on our campus. While extraordinary, this spirit is not unique. Throughout the School’s history, countless heroes have walked the halls of Trinity-Pawling – faculty, staff, roommates, coaches, friends, trustees, and many others.
Tuesday, April 20th, we’ll shine a spotlight on all those who have made a difference at Trinity-Pawling over the years. Who is your Trinity-Pawling Hero? Join us by celebrating them, and making a gift in their honor.
BONUS! Trustees past and present have promised a $250,000 match – each and every gift for this giving day will be DOUBLED!
Honor your hero with a gift today!
Online » www.trinitypawling.org/oneday
Venmo » @TrinityPawlingSchool
Phone » 845-855-4830
Check » 700 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564
Hubbard Hoops 2021 concluded with Baylor’s win over Gonzaga for the NCAA Championship!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Hubbard Hoops bracket challenge. We would like to extend a big CONGRATULATIONS to the first-place finisher and winner of the Trinity-Pawling gear package: Sean Solecki ’16.
We would also like to extend special recognition to our second and third place competitors, Andrew Jacknick ’01 and Andy Havens ’03.
Thank you all for playing! See you next year!
Tune in to hear a panel of Trinity-Pawling alumni and parents share their experiences working in the music industry. The conversation will include industry insights, current trends, advice on how to make it in the music business, and more.
The webinar panel features John Coscia ’01, Regional Promotions Manager at Atlantic Records; Debbi Gibbs P’21, President at Just Managing; and Gedney Webb ’86, Music Editor for feature films.
May 12, 2021 • 7:00 PM
Register now to join the conversation!