Getting to Know the St. Mark’s Class of 2018 a Little Better

by Paige LaMalva '20

At St. Mark’s, it is a long-standing tradition to have Prize Day. The day is specifically designated to present the hard work of the graduating VI Form class and to guide the new alumni into the real world. Prize Day originates all the way back to 1866, a year after the school was founded. Like most schools, St. Mark’s holds the tradition of the Valedictorian, but what’s different here is that VI Formers vote for the student representative for Prize Day. Anthony D’Angelo ‘18 was elected by his classmates as the Valedictorian and to address faculty and students on Prize Day. Anthony is the epitome of a St. Marker: he succeeds in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in the community.

Students at St. Mark’s are challenged in every way. For many of us here, the hardest idea is to find time to balance academics, athletics, and extra-curriculars. Anthony strives to be a successful student who can do it all. Academics is vital to him; Mr. Lubick, Director of Financial Aid, a leader in the Admissions Office, and a VI Form English teacher, has been a true role model for him. Not only is he intuitive, according to Anthony, but he’s also compassionate and caring, and it is a faculty member who Anthony aspires to be. During his time at St. Mark’s, Anthony has succeeded in integrating himself into the community. He has taken on multiple leadership positions, including captain positions and Peer Discussion Leader (PDL). PDL’s are V Formers who help to guide a designated group of III Formers through their first year at St. Mark’s through Peer Discussion Groups (PDG), by answering their question and helping them become comfortable in the new environment. I had two PDL’s, and one of them was Anthony. He truly lead by example and reflected some true values of a St. Marker upon my group.

Football is an important aspect of his life. What stands out about Anthony is his positive energy and attitude towards everything. He devotes 110% on the football field; his commitment and passion for the sport is unteachable, as it is something that must come from within. A St. Mark’s memory that is most prominent for him is his Groton game his junior year. Although not a lot of people go to the football games, he said, this one in particular was mobbed. It was a close game all of the way through, and St. Mark’s came through victorious. All of the fans were decked out in blue and white everything, especially face paint.

Anthony exemplifies true leadership qualities on the field and for the underclassmen. I asked some of his fellow football teammates how they perceive him. These words were those of a true leader, being that he is a “thumb guy”, “mentally strong”, “a fountain of energy”, and “the best leader I have ever known”. While interviewing his teammates, I learned that Anthony has inspired his teammates to always work their hardest and be their best. This isn’t the only sport he displays. Being a tri-Varsity athlete, he is able to demonstrate his attributes on St. Mark’s Varsity Wrestling and Baseball teams. He has become the heart of these teams, according to his underclassmen teammates, and his presence will not be forgotten next year.

If Anthony had to give one piece of advice to the younger St. Markers, it would be to stay true to yourself. When times are stressful, do not let others try and change you. Allow your strong values to shine to the world. Trust yourself and how you communicate with the world every day. By being real, you will develop a stronger connection with yourself and others around you.


Endowed Faculty Chairs 2018

by Sanjna Patel '19


On January 19th, 2018 the ceremony of the Endowed Chair Installation took place. This ceremony awarded the Trustees’ Chair to John Camp, Associate Director of The Center, Student Enrichment and English Teacher, and The Mrs. William Greenough Thayer Faculty Chair to Heather Harwood, Classics teacher. The entire St. Mark’s community gathered to honor and congratulate both Mr. Camp and Dr. Harwood for their incredible achievements.

The Trustees’ Chair is a “fully endowed faculty chair established by the St. Mark's Board of Trustees and by the generosity of an anonymous challenge gift.” When asked if Mr. Camp expected this award he said: “No! When I earned the Kidder Faculty award on Prize Day in 2012, I didn't expect that, either. I will say, though, that I work diligently to be the best teacher and colleague that I could be so that I could be considered worthy of an award. As a teacher, however, I would never expect an award. I'm happy when my students get awards!” Receiving the award of this Chair is an incredible honor and is extremely prestigious. Faculty vote upon these chairs and it is apparent that the St.Mark’s community appreciates Mr.Camp’s contribution to the school as a teacher. When asked what this Chair means to him personally, he responded: “The Trustees Chair is probably the most important honor that I will get in my career. St. Mark's isn't a stepping stone job for me--rather, I would like to be an important stone for the school for the remainder of my career; the chair honor makes me feel that part of the school, which is a great feeling.” Colleagues and students have been very supportive of the well-deserved award, as Mr. Camp says, “I sincerely appreciate the comments and support that I've received from my colleagues. Each congratulation or comments that I got are really important to me. Immediately after Mr. Warren made the announcement at school meeting, Colin Boylan emailed me to say congratulations. That was an awesome message to get!” As a community, we are all very proud and pleased with the honor that Mr.Camp has received.

Dr. Harwood was awarded The Mrs. William Greenough Thayer Chair. This Chair was created in the memory of Violet Otis Thayer who was the wife of the sixth St. Mark’s Headmaster. It was created in 1962 and stands as the second longest faculty Chair. Dr. Harwood said that she “never expected it to be me” when asked about her thoughts on receiving the award, she called it a “big surprise!” Her hard work as a teacher has been recognized by the community and she has received positive remarks about the award. Dr. Harwood mentioned how “colleagues have been so generous and kind with their comments and congratulations. That outpouring has been the most moving for me. It makes me feel very appreciated and known by my colleagues which is pretty special.” Even after receiving this award Dr. Harwood wants to keep doing more for her students and to better herself as a teacher, she believes that she still has a lot to learn. “ A teacher is someone who is always learning. I think a teacher is paradoxically by definition someone who both wants their students to learn and also wants to learn more themselves. I feel I am engaged in teaching as an art form and am always practicing and trying to improve upon that art.”

Dr. Harwood and Mr. Camp are well-deserved recipients of the Chairs and highly respected teachers of the St. Mark’s community.  We are excited and proud of their accomplishments and hard work.


Full speeches by Dr.Harwood and Mr.Camp from the Endowed Chair Installation ceremony:


Teaching Innovation

by Laura Drepanos '19


Recently, students at St. Mark’s have been noticing changes in the way classes are taught. More than ever before, we are noticing many similarities between our different classes. For example, it has become typical for a student to notice similar project rubrics in an English class and in a Math class. The situation has left many of us to wonder if there has been a change in the way that teachers at the school communicate with each other.

At the installation of new faculty chairs, Mr. Camp discussed how teaching at St. Mark’s is far more collaborative than competitive. He mentioned how teachers have the opportunity to learn about elements that other teachers use in their classes to incorporate these into their own classes. To those of us who have noticed these similarities between classes, this piece of information made sense. Many of us were even impressed that teachers worked so hard to make our classes better. However, this left many of us to wonder– have teachers always been this collaborative?

To try to find some answers to this question, I discussed with Mr. Wells and Ms. McColloch– a Physics teacher and French teacher respectively. These two teachers represent different perspectives of the school, so I expected to find vastly different answers to my questions. While both offered unique perspectives, I was surprised to find that both teachers have always seen St. Mark’s as a place where teachers work together on class structure. However, there has been change and general innovation in the way teaching is viewed here.

When Mr. Wells first arrived at St. Mark’s, the discussion of the “craft of teaching” was far less frequent and teachers did not reach out as much to try new class activities and software as they do now. The only direction he received from the head of the math and sciences department on his first day was a grade book, a pad of paper, a red pen, and the instruction to “maintain order.” However, he sees the change in teaching as a gradual change that has improved over time rather than a recent revolution.

Ms. McColloch’s perspective seemed to support Mr. Wells’ idea that the faculty have been consistently working to enhance the learning experience at St. Mark’s for a while now. Since Ms. McColloch began teaching here, she has always worked closely with the other French teachers to share ideas and implement new teaching strategies into her classes to benefit the students' learning. She mentioned that the longer professional development meetings that have occurred on a few Wednesday mornings this year have provided more opportunities for teachers to share the work they have done in their classes. While the forty-five-minute block on Thursday mornings is typically only enough time for a presentation or a discussion, this longer block on Wednesdays allows for more collaboration. For example, Ms. McColloch got the opportunity during one of the Wednesday meetings to go to a workshop that Mr. Dolesh and Ms. Brown ran that focused on the team-based learning idea that Algebra II students practice.  Ms. McColloch found this inspiring: “Hearing how other teachers have really interesting ideas and how they use them, it gets you all excited to figure out how you might use these cool ideas in your own classes.” 

So how else have faculty been working to improve classes? One of these ways is by doing research on cognitive science. Andrew Watson, a brain, and education specialist and the founder of the professional development group “Translate the Brain,” has come to numerous faculty meetings to  talk about how learning works so that the teachers could understand it from a scientific perspective. Mr. Wells recalls this is as one of the most memorable faculty meetings he has been to at St. Mark’s. Faculty have also been doing research on their own; for example, Ms. McColloch mentioned that she was part of a group of faculty at St. Mark’s who was able to get a grant to research blended learning. This type of collaborative work is not unusual among St. Mark’s faculty, for Ms. McColloch mentioned that teachers who have common ideas and interests regarding education will often form a group and work together to discover how these concepts can be incorporated in different ways into classes. She clarified that there has not been any push by any faculty at St. Mark’s to collaborate more, it is just that teachers are getting excited and discovering how beneficial this type of work can be. In addition to learning how newly researched concepts can be applied to their own classes, teachers also look at how an element from a completely different class at St. Mark’s could fit in as well. For example, Mr. Wells has found a way to incorporate a version of the learning evaluation infographic in his Modern Physics class that is used in the Advanced Biology course by Ms. Berndt and Mr. Corliss.

To better understand the overall objective of teachers at St. Mark’s, I talked with Dr. Worrell to get her  perspective as the Director of the Center for Innovation or Teaching and  Learning.  In response to my question regarding how the faculty are collaborating and seeking out innovation, she clarified that "Innovation in teaching is both about mindset and practice; it is a commitment to collective learning, a collaborative culture, and iterative practice in order to design the best possible learning opportunities for all students.”

While students often get recognition for their research and  work, teachers are also doing interesting work behind the scenes  to ensure that the teaching strategies used at St. Mark's are as beneficial for us as possible.

SM Global Citizenship in Action:Chilean Exchange

by Kaela Dunne '18 and interviews conducted by Ji Woo Kang '21

As most of you know, the Chilean exchange students headed back to Chile last Monday after a month-long stay at St. Mark’s and, according to Mr. Cifuentes, St. Mark’s Partner School Coordinator,  “they had a great time!” Mr. Cifuentes and Dr. Warren work together to ensure that St. Mark’s global exchange programs run smoothly and that St. Mark’s students are acclimating well to their exchanges- that students visiting us are made to feel at home and welcome in the community. As our exchange students visit a totally new part of the world, they get to experience academic and community life at St. Mark’s, but also learn about American culture beyond campus. In addition to attending classes, the Chileans also got to see the area we live in from a tourist’s point of view. Mr. Cifuentes took them into Boston to experience the city and its history, particularly the Freedom Trail. The Chileans also spent a day in Cambridge. Mr. Cifuentes reports that “they love to shop!” and they particularly enjoyed frequent trips to the Wrentham Outlets and the Mall. Additionally, Ms. Fu took them into Boston to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown. So, not only did our Chileans get to experience the community and academic aspect of St. Mark’s, but also the sharing of cultures and global citizenship that St. Mark’s works towards. Looking back on their stay, Mr. Cifuentes reflects that, “Overall, I think they liked visits to Boston, shopping and the community feel at St. Mark's.”


Investigation on Michael Flynn

by Anishka Yerabothu '20



On December 1, 2017, Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of lying to the FBI.  He arguably had the shortest tenure of post in U.S. history!  He served in office from January 20, 2017 to February 13, 2017.  Flynn resigned after it became apparent that he misled Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.  On February 13th, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department informed the White House that Flynn “mischaracterized” the nature of his conversations with Kislyak to such an extent, he had made himself vulnerable to blackmail.

Robert Mueller was investigating the possible collusion of the Russian government and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US Presidential Election. Flynn admitted that he had lied to the FBI about the nature of the phone calls with Russian government officials. Later, he agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s investigation.

Barack Obama, President at the time, had just imposed sanctions on Russia for its interference with the 2016 election. Flynn was accused of lying to the FBI about being in contact with Russia right after the Election, attempting to block a UN Resolution condemning Israeli settlements in exchange for removing these sanctions.

Michael Flynn is also suspected of having vested business interests with Russia and Turkey.  According to a whistle blower, Flynn texted a business colleague saying that the plan was “good to go.”   The “plan” in question was to build nuclear power reactors with the Russians in the Arab world, given that sanctions would be lifted. Moreover, he is alleged to have been part of a discussion to kidnap a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, since the U.S. refused to extradite the cleric.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified that Donald Trump had asked him to “go easy” on the investigation into Michael Flynn. Trump tweeted, “I had to fire Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”  This tweet is tantamount to admitting obstruction of justice. In response, Trump’s lawyer claimed that he drafted the tweet, not Trump. He claims that the President “cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer, and has every right to express his views on any case.”

Mueller’s team is investigating potential obstruction of justice when Donald Trump fired James Comey as Director of the FBI.  The role of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is also being investigated as part of the probe into Russian interference. This is a federal investigation that seems to deepen with each passing week.  Stay tuned for the next update!

Solar Panels on St.Mark's Campus

by Laura Drepanos '19

One of the newest additions to the St. Mark’s Campus is the solar panel field. Situated on West Campus, this solar field is presented in a conspicuous manner. While many St. Marker’s have noticed this addition, very few know its exact purpose.  I spoke with St. Mark’s new CFO, Mr.Robert Kuklewicz who explained some of the facts about the solar panels to me.

The system is a 641.7 kW DC and 480 kW AC set of panels operated by Tesla. While the solar panels do use solar energy to generate usable energy, that is not their primary purpose for St. Mark’s. Unfortunately, St. Mark’s uses far too much electricity to be generated by the solar field alone. The purpose of the solar panels is to lower the electricity cost for St. Mark’s. The savings is estimated to be fifteen to twenty percent of the annual electrical cost. However, this percent is dependent on the amount of sunlight for a given year. In addition to the cost savings, the solar panels are a great leap in sustainability efforts at St. Mark’s as they will generate energy in a manner that is far less harmful to the environment and more efficient than other methods.

An interesting fact about the solar panels is that they are not actually running yet. However, this is soon to change. In order for the solar panel system to be energized, the Southborough Fire Department needs to run a safety check to ensure that the department could turn off the system in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the engineers of the solar field need to give it a final survey for the Town of Southborough Conservation Commission. As these are the only tasks remaining, the solar panels should be running by the end of the month.

Tree Lighting: Drone Footage

Video by Funny Movie Corporation

Article by Rick Sarkar '19


On the first Friday back from Thanksgiving break, St. Markers joined together for the House Cup Holiday Songfest, also known as Deck the Halls, followed by the Christmas tree lighting. The SM jazz bands opened up Deck the Halls with renditions of “Blue Christmas” and “Charlie Brown Christmas.” They were followed by Maple and Pine-Oak with original takes of holiday classics. Gaccon, Marr-Coolidge, Thayer, Sawyer, Coe, and Theriot-North also showed their holiday spirit with performances that included spirited costumes and live instrumental accompaniment. After the songfest wrapped up, the community moved outside to the VI form quad. Below is a video taken via drone of students enjoying the tree lighting. The video was provided by Funny Movie Corporation, a group that has been increasingly involved on campus this year.

Click link for video:

Community Service at St Mark's

by Laura Drepanos '19



If you are interested in getting off campus and doing something that you can feel good about, sign up for community service! St. Mark’s does not have a community service requirement because the decision to do community service should be solely driven by your desire to help others. However, the school still provides students with many opportunities to live a life of leadership and service in this way.

If you are uncertain as to whether or not you want to commit yourself to community service, consider signing up for Our Father’s Table as it is the only community service opportunity that does not have a weekly requirement. Our Father’s Table is a soup kitchen in Marlboro that provides and serves meals for individuals and families. St. Markers who participate in OFT set the tables, serve the food and drinks to each individual, and clean up afterward. This is a fulfilling form of community service as your actions directly impact others, and additionally, you become familiar with the individuals who come for a meal regularly.

Another great community service opportunity is the Immaculate Conception after-school program in Marlboro. At IC, the kids really love to build close relationships with the St. Markers who volunteer. Volunteering consists of either helping the students with homework, doing crafts or games with them, or playing outside with them. Speaking from personal experience, coming into IC and seeing kids who are so excited to see you bring the best feelings in the world.

In addition to IC, there are many great community service opportunities to work with and be a good role model for kids. At the Boys and Girls Club, you can play with the kids in the gym or help out in the game, homework, tech, or crafts room. There are more children at Boys and Girls Club than IC, but St. Mark’s students in the past have really been able to have a significant positive influence on some of these children.

If you are interested in staying on campus for community service, the Lego League is a really great option. This is on Thursday evenings in STEM, and you get to help little kids build Lego robots for an hour. Helping children think critically and learn in this way can be very rewarding, and additionally, the children will develop close connections with the volunteers.

Lastly, our newest community service opportunity is Coding for Girls at the Trottier School in Southborough from 6-7 on Tuesday nights. St. Mark’s volunteers at this community service opportunity get to help teach a computer class for girls. In addition to the relationships you build, empowering young girls to pursue their passions in STEM is a really meaningful and undeniably worthy use of your time.

If any of these opportunities interest you, please contact Mrs. Wells or look out for the email that she will be sending soon. If you are unsure, I highly encourage you to at least give Our Father’s Table a try, and if you find that you like community service, branch out to the other great opportunities that the school provides!

Korean Exchange Students: Hear Their Voices!

by Lora Xie '20

Korean Exchange Students.jpg


Name: Grace

Form: IV

Fun fact about yourself?

I had my appendix removed.


What’s the funniest/weirdest moment you’ve had since you’ve been here so far?

In my first day of class, almost everybody chose to sit across from me because I was new. It seemed like they were as scared as I was!


How is your experience here different from that at home? How do you feel about the difference?

I like how SM is more close-knit, cozy and diverse. In classes, because of the small size, teachers are closer to students, and students have the chance to participate more. I really like the school meeting at SM because it is relaxing and fun, and sometimes there is meaningful content like the video about Devin. In KIS we only have serious, formal monthly community meetings in the auditorium. For the same reason, I like the chapel talks too. Furthermore, I really appreciate the free blocks I have here at SM because we don’t have free blocks in KIS, even though we have many more assignments there. I like how I have time to take a rest here. Finally, SM has a much more diverse community, and I love the diversity here. People are not afraid of differences, and they respect one another’s culture. I think that such open-mindedness is really important.


What would you say to someone who is considering an exchange program, either a student from SM or KIS?

I would definitely recommend it! It might be challenging, but you will love it! It gives you great experiences and a lot of new friends. You will discover a new self. Harry is even seriously thinking about transferring to SM. Don’t be intimidated by something you have not tried yet.

Name: Julie


Form: IV


Fun fact about yourself?


I have no eyebrows. Hair does not exist above my eyes, so I struggle every morning to make myself not look like Mona Lisa. I heard that eyebrows grow at the same speed as our hair does but mine does not like to grow at all :(


What’s the funniest/weirdest moment you’ve had since you’ve been here so far?

I was surprised to find out that sometimes teachers allow students to have “second breakfast” or work in places of their choice during class. Such occasions are definitely not possible at KIS.


How is your experience here different from that at home? How do you feel about the difference?

The classes here at SM are more engaging because it incorporates more discussion compared to the lecture-based classes at KIS. Also, there is a greater emphasis on “non-academic knowledge” here, like how to be a better person. For example, in my social justice class, the Gray colloquium speaker came in and talked for almost the whole period. This would not happen at KIS, where covering course material would be the priority. In addition, I like how SM is more cozy and people-oriented. I think this derives from the long history of the school. Finally, the buildings here have character. In KIS, buildings all have an industrial look because they are recently constructed.


What would you say to someone who is considering an exchange program, either a student from SM or KIS?

You will need to prepare for being open-minded about differences and new experiences. It might be discomforting at first, because you might feel like you are not “owning the place.” But it is exactly this out-of-comfort-zone experience that teaches you things that you cannot learn in your own culture. Even if you regret going on the program, it is better to regret doing it than to regret having the experience at all!

Name: Emma


Form: IV


Fun fact about yourself?

My mother is from Mongul; my dad is from China; but I was born in Korea.


What’s the funniest/weirdest moment you’ve had since you’ve been here so far?

It feels weird when people asked me this question: “how good is your English?” I guess it’s a cultural difference. In Korea, we never ask foreigners “how good is your Korean?”


How is your experience here different from that at home? How do you feel about the difference?

I think the biggest difference is that students at SM participate more in class. In KIS, students rarely ask questions. Also, SM gives students more freedom. For example, you can keep food in the dorm, you have free periods, and you can go back to your dorm room during the academic day if you have free time.


What would you say to someone who is considering an exchange program, either a student from SM or KIS?

Just try it! I think putting yourself in a new environment is important. You can make new friends, and you will feel refreshed.

Name: Harry


Form: IV


Fun fact about yourself?

Once I played 80 hrs of video games in 5 days.


What’s the funniest/weirdest moment you’ve had since you’ve been here so far?

I think it’s the overall difference. Korean culture is more conservative, so it shocked me a little bit to see people wearing minimal clothes in dorms.


How is your experience here different from that at home? How do you feel about the difference?

KIS has many rules that SM doesn’t have, such as no food in the dorm and no phone at night/during class. Classes here are more discussion-based and therefore encourage more student participation. The SM campus is really big, so there are more resources, like the PFAC building that is specifically dedicated to art. I also like the natural elements on campus. I do miss the air conditioning at KIS though.


What would you say to someone who is considering an exchange program, either a student from SM or KIS?

After coming to SM, I would definitely recommend any exchange program. You will be impressed by the new perspectives in a different culture, even from countries close to your home country.

Name: Sophia


Form: IV


Fun fact about yourself?

My name is actually Sophia, not Sophie. It’s misspelt in the email address.

Today (Nov. 6th) was my birthday!

I can sleep for 14 hours straight but I usually only get to sleep 6-7 hours a day in Korea (because of the amount of work of course).


What’s the funniest/weirdest moment you’ve had since you’ve been here so far?

I felt kind of weird when people asked me how much English I speak because it's a very unusual thing to ask in Korea. If some foreigners speak or understand Korean well, we just assume that they have mastered it for a while or have lived in Korea. Another thing I found weird is that people are allowed to use their phones during classes. In KIS, boarders do not get their phones until school ends, and day students are punished alike if they are caught using phones.


I find the spirit week very fun. Back at home we compete with other schools (there are only four international schools in Jeju island) vigorously for sports too, but there is not as much tension as there is in the rivalry between SM and Groton.


How is your experience here different from that at home? How do you feel about the difference?

In KIS we don’t have free periods, but study hall instead. We are not allowed to enter the dorm until school ends, and we have to get out of the dorm by 7:45 in the morning. Because there aren’t that many regulations, dorms at SM feel more like a home than a dormitory. Another difference is that at KIS we don’t have sports practice every single day. We only have 2 hours of practice twice or thrice a week, depending on the team. Also, at KIS, we have a lot more ongoing assignments and projects at the same time. A lot of students tend to sleep late at night.


What would you say to someone who is considering an exchange program, either a student from SM or KIS?

I would highly recommend an exchange program to anyone who gets to have the opportunity to do so. Just try everything you can. Don't regret after missing the chance!

If there is work that you need to do for the homeschool, (for me there is a lot, especially notetaking for Global Studies and Chemistry) please finish that earlier so that you can fully enjoy your exchange experience!

The Importance of Off-Campus Conferences

by Lauren Menjivar ‘18 and Grace Darko ‘18

Off-campus conferences.png


Every year, a number of our St. Mark’s students attend off-campus conferences to learn and discuss topics and issues surrounding diversity with other students from independent schools. Unfortunately, most of the students here do not know about any of these conferences that former and current students have attended due to lack of interest or exposure. I’m here to tell you that these conferences do exist, and they are worth attending. The four main conferences that St. Markers attend are the the Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC), AISNE (Association of Independent School in New England) Student of Color Conference, White Privilege Conference, and Unconference. These conferences provide safe, open spaces where students from across the nation meet others to exchange thoughts, ideas, and paths to solutions on issues that schools face today. Although students who attend the conferences tend to be vocal about improving their schools’ approach on difficult issues such as race, gender, and socioeconomics, you could attend one of them to learn about something you never knew before.

Each conference has a different focus on current social issues. For the White Privilege Conference, students examine what privilege and oppression are, and they work together to create solutions to make the world more “equitable.” Each year, 1,500 people attend this conference from different states and countries. Secondly, the AISNE conference is oriented towards supporting students of color and working on diversity education. Last fall came the addition of the Un-Conference, an event that is run by the attendees, who get to decide the topics that will be discussed. Anyone who wants to create a meeting space and time for a certain topic are open to do so.

Lastly, there is SDLC, one of the biggest multicultural and multiracial conferences in the U.S. It is highly competitive to get into, for only six students from each member school can attend. The conference provides a safe space for discussion and teaches students to “self-reflect, form allies, and build a community.” Students learn to listen to one another and communicate effectively with others from different backgrounds and perspectives. Some students also take on a role as peer facilitators who lead small group discussions amongst students. Applying is highly recommended, as it is a worthwhile experience.

These conferences are great ways to create connections with other students and learn about topics that are not typically discussed in school but that apply to our everyday lives. Anyone is welcome to attend any of these conferences– contrary to popular belief, it’s not for a specific “type” of person. Get off campus and go to one of these conferences. It will open your eyes to something you didn’t know before.

Interview with Bill Isaac: Economic Philosophy

by Rick Sarkar '19; featuring Bill Isaac, Former Chair of the FDIC, on the State of the Economy

Over the Trustee Weekend, Connor Browder ’19 and I had the pleasure of interviewing an SM parent and trustee Bill Isaac. Mr. Isaac is the former chair of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), the government department charged with insurance banks and maintaining public confidence in them, and today he is a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting in Sarasota, Florida. He served as the chair of the FDIC during the 1980s, in a tumultuous time for the economy, in which he had to manage nearly 3,000 bank failures. We discussed his economic philosophy (at the start of the video), tax legislation (at 2:16), banking regulations (at 6:45), current day polarization in America (at 15:32), and advice for high schoolers like us (at 18:39). A slightly condensed version of our interview is below. If you wish to see more from our interview, including information about Mr. Isaac’s role at the FDIC and his thoughts on Janet Yellen as the chair of the Federal Reserve, please feel free to reach out to me.

Big Dogs on Campus

by Kaela Dunne '18

The novelty of the beginning of the school year always brings lots of excitement to St. Mark’s and while we warmly welcome our new students and faculty members, one group in our community sometimes goes unacknowledged on campus: the new faculty dogs! So if you’re interested in making a new furry friend this Fall, be sure to be on the lookout for these four new members of our canine community!

Name: Pip

Name Origin: Pip was originally named Pickles then Sweetie for a little bit. Her current official name that she’s registered with is the Swedish word for heart. But her name is Pip, short for Pipsqueak, because she is small and squeaky.   

Breed: Swedish Vallhund

Fun Fact: She likes to play fetch with tennis balls and she will “touch” your hand with her nose if you ask her too.

Who let the dog out? Mr. Corliss

Personal Pound: Coe

Name: Buckeye

Name Origin: He is named after the Ohio State Buckeyes, without his owners final approval on the name.

Breed: Coton de Tulear

Fun Fact: He is a fetch fiend! His raw talent is unmatched as a wide-receiver in the U-15 pound League because of his speed and his mouth-eye coordination for catching balls and toys

Who let the dog out? Ms. Finnerty

Personal Pound: Gaccon

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Name: Lady

Name Origin: Lady is named after the Lady Byng, which is the NHL award for the player who has exhibited the best sportsmanship and conduct.

Breed: Chocolate Lab

Fun Fact: Lady cuddles with a stuffed moose when she sleeps.

Who let the dog out? Ms. Pickett

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Name: Cora

Breed: Akita mix

Fun Fact: She was adopted when she was a one-year old from the Washington D.C. Animal Rescue League. They had taken animals from a shelter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa after the river there flooded in 2009 and destroyed the shelter.

Who let the dog out? Mr. Kuklewicz

Meet the New Faculty!

by Helynna Lin '18 

Dr Smith-Nichols

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Dr.  Smith-Nichols is joining our science department from Moravian Academy in Bethlehem, PA where she taught Biology and Physics. Carol Smith-Nichols brings a wealth of experience from the elementary level through the collegiate level. She is teaching Advanced Chemistry and Honors Chemistry.  She is living on campus and will coach tennis and squash.Her life is also much richer by her three cats Muffin, Nomar, and Xau.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part of teaching is when I hear a student say “aha!” or “hmmmmm”. That means to me that either they’ve understood something really well (a lightbulb has gone off!) or they’re pondering the next step, asking themselves, what if? Either way, it’s very satisfying! I also really like seeing my students outside of the classroom, whether that’s in the dorm or the dining hall, it’s nice to get to know them as people and not just students.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I really enjoyed the blessing of the animals in chapel early in October. It was fun to see everyone with their dog (or pictures of their animals), walking up the aisle through the chapel. Definitely a highlight of my first few months here.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

In the dining hall, I really like the chilled water with lemon slices. I know that sounds silly but it’s always refreshing and reminds me of my native California.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

My favorite article of clothing is my Birkenstocks! I lived and worked in Germany and a German tradition that I love is that you have a pair of shoes that are your outside, traveling shoes but also a pair of inside, at-work, thinking shoes. When you get to work you change your shoes. Everyone in my lab wore Birkenstocks at work so they remind me of being in a space where I’m thinking. Instead of a thinking cap, my Birkenstocks are my thinking shoes. Besides, I don’t have to tie laces!

Favorite musician?

My always, eternal, forever favorite musician is Neil Young. He’s a Canadian (I’m half Canadian) who now lives in Los Angeles, where I grew up. His music always spoke to me about justice and environmentalism, and he’s always reinventing and discovering himself.

Mr. Ahlgren


Mr. Ahlgren is the Assistant Director of College Counseling.  He has been a counselor, teacher, and coach at Gilman School (MD), University Liggett School (MI), and Casady School (OK). Most recently he has served in the financial aid office at Johns Hopkins University. His professional commitments include serving NACAC as a national delegate (2006-2008) for the Potomac Chesapeake ACAC, where he also served as Chair of the Membership Committee. From 2002 through 2005, he has been a Mentor and committee member in the Camp College program for New York State ACAC and Michigan ACAC. From 2004 to 2006, Mr. Ahlgren was director and faculty member for NACAC’s Tools of the Trade program for new college counselors. More recently, Carl has also served on the Board of Directors and as Board Secretary for ACCIS. Mr. Ahrlgren lives on campus.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I am not teaching an academic class this year, but one of my favorite fall duties is reading and reviewing application essays for VI Formers.  I've learned so much about the seniors, but also about St. Mark's and the richness of student experiences here.


Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I've heard about Neon, and I've read about Broadway Night, which I am really looking forward to.  I also especially like the contrast between the formality of Chapel with the easy going informality and humor of School Meetings.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

I really liked the three flavors of wings we had a few weeks ago!  I also like a lemonade-iced tea combo. It's great that there's fresh spinach every day.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

As I was leaving Baltimore, a good friend gave me some very colorful socks as a going-away present.  I guess this might be my favorite right now.

Favorite musician?

Whenever I'm on a long drive, I end up listening to Son Volt.  That's my go-to music I suppose... but recently I've started listening to Alison Krauss, who I am starting to like very much.


Ms. Kosow


Ms. Kosow is the Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Student Life. She is coming to St. Mark’s from Tilton where she was the Media Integration Specialist and worked in the Dean of Students’ office, organizing student activities and leadership, as well as helping to oversee Residential Life. Ms. Koscow will be coaching field hockey and tennis. She is also the House Head of Gaccon.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part of organizing weekend activities is the opportunity to interact with the entire student body and learn about individual interests. Already I have learned that we have students who sing acapella, dominate on the knockerball field, create amazing works of art and more. My goal is to integrate these individual interests into the weekend activities offerings.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I am really looking forward to being a part of Groton Week!

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

Flik dining creates wonderful dishes, but so far my favorite has been their mussel and shrimp dinner.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

Although I willingly live in New England, I am not a fan of cold weather and therefore anything polar fleece is my best friend in the winter. I own fleece sweatshirts, sweatpants, jackets and even fleece sheets and blankets. My favorite fleece item would definitely be my Patriots jacket.

Favorite musician?

That all depends on my mood. I enjoy working out to Beyonce, relaxing with James Taylor, hanging by the pool with Jimmy Buffet and working in the office while listening to Thomas Rhett.


Ms. Finnerty

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A SM alum, Ms. Finnerty is a graduate of Bowdoin College where she majored in psychology and french. While at Bowdoin, Colleen was a field hockey and ice hockey captain. She is joining us from Holderness School in Plymouth, NH where she taught French and coached field hockey and ice hockey.  At St. Mark's Ms. Finnerty is teaching French and Psychology, and coaching field hockey, ice hockey, and softball. She is living in Gaccon along with her dog Buckeye.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I enjoy watching my students develop a sense of self-worth and pride in their achievements, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they may be. Each person brings a different experience and perspective to the classroom, and their learning is impacted by those experiences. I hope to provide a space where students can share their experiences, take risks, and expand themselves and their thinking beyond what they previously thought was capable.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

Having graduated from St. Mark's, none of the traditions strike me as unusual. As a day student, I became especially fond of Cloister Ball, playing daily as I waited for my ride home. I still love a good game of Cloister Ball!

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

Flik does a wonderful job in the dining hall, and it may be too early to declare a favorite meal. However, I am a sucker for a good potato chip, and those warm chips in the Dining Hall are amazing.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

When dress code hours are over, you will rarely see me around without a hat on my head. I own upwards of 35 hats that I have accumulated over the years. What started as an easy way to tame the 'whispies' of my hair has become my comfort zone.

Favorite musician?

I love Hootie & the Blowfish. They come together again in August of each year to play one concert in South Carolina, the state in which they met and formed. Hopefully, I make it to the concert one year!


Mr. Corliss

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Mr.  Corliss is a graduate of Tabor Academy where he was a 4 year rower and captain of the crew team. He then went on to Wesleyan University where he earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Biology. Caleb has been teaching Middle School science as well as 9th grade Environmental Science and upper-level science electives at the Darrow School and most recently at Harpeth Hall School in Tennessee. At St. Mark's Mr. Corliss  is teaching Advanced Biology and Advanced Environmental Science, as well as coaching crew and basketball. He is living in the Coe along with his wife and their puppy named Pip.  

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is the opportunity to see students grow and feel empowered by their progress.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

So far at SM, I think I'm most surprised by the animal heads in the dining hall. I love seeing the younger faculty children get excited about them (or roar at them), but there's also something creepy about having them around all the time.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

So far, my favorite dining hall food item is ice cream sandwiches, though there was a dinner where I took the last one and felt pretty bad about it.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

My favorite articles of clothing are jeans lined with flannel. I'm waiting to be able to wear them comfortably in cold weather.

Favorite musician?

My favorite band has got to be Annie Clark aka St. Vincent. She's not the hero we deserve, but she's the hero we need.


Mr. Valitutto

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Mr. Valitutto has come to St. Mark’s from Kent School in Connecticut where he taught math, ran the math team, and oversaw the weekend activity program. Additionally, he has coached football, intramural basketball, and track. Mr. Valitutto is a graduate of Alfred University where he majored in math and chemistry. At St. Mark's Mr. V is teaching math and coaching football and basketball. He will also be the House Head of Coe, where he lives with his wife, Leah and cats Lucky and Sunny.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part is getting students to challenge themselves with difficult questions and seeing them realize that the lessons learned in math class extend beyond the classroom.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I haven't had a chance to see too many traditions in action yet, but I appreciate how we gather as a school every day.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

Hmm... probably the sugar cookie squares.  

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

My shiny purple suit - it looks great (obviously!) and brings up lots of great memories.

Favorite musician?

Tricky one... I guess I'd have to say the Decemberists.

Ms. Zhu

Ms.Zhu is an Admission Counselor and Assistant Director of Community and Equity. Before moving to the U.S., she was an ESL teacher in Hong Kong for 5 years. She has completed her Masters in Language & Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education last Spring. Ms. Zhu has travelled extensively throughout her life, and most recently has gotten to know SM through her work Envoys. She loves Zumba and K-pop dance.  She is living in the Main Building.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

Getting to know each student and see them develop their potentials.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I love the chapel talks, especially when students are sharing their personal stories.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

Chicken parmesan, sesame chicken, gluten-free cookies

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

One-piece dress, because you don't need to think about what else you need to wear in order to match it .

Favorite musician?Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeran (if they count)

Jason Mraz and Ed Sheeran (if they count)


Mr Gayle

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Mr. Gayle is joining us as an Assistant Director of Admission. He is from Jamaica and studied Anthropology, African Studies, theatre and music at Macalester College and has a particular interest in global education. He has just completed his Master's in International Training and Education at American University. Mr. Gayle is an upbeat, outgoing educator who is excited to embrace all aspects of boarding school life at St. Mark's. He is living in Coe.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I work in Admissions so I'm not formally teaching at St. Mark's (at least not yet!) however, I thoroughly enjoy interacting with my advisees and sharing our process of transitioning to St. Mark's together. My favorite part so far of being in admissions is experiencing our current community and then meeting prospective students and families that seem like they would be a great fit here. I also like seeing prospective students’ eyes light up when I am telling them about St. Mark's, who we are and what we have to offer.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

Even though I was unable to attend because I was at admissions fairs off campus, I always thought that the Blessing of the Animals chapel would be interesting, fun and entertaining. Hopefully, I will be able to witness it in the future. Since students constantly talk about Groton night, I'm interested to see what that's all about! Weekly chapel services and seated meals were customs I haven't really practiced since I was in boarding school back home in Jamaica- so, it was interesting trying to get re-acclimated to those customs.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

The food is quite good here so it's hard to pick one meal. That hasn't been working out too well as I may need to double up on the exercise. Weirdly enough, I really like the flavored water and the spread of veggies (I'm not known to be a healthy eater!).

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

It was a stylish ring that was gifted to me by a store owner on the beach in California. She liked my energy so gave me the ring for free. I say this, but I misplaced it recently while traveling for admissions. :( So now, my favorite article of clothing is my St. Mark's belt.

Favorite musician?

Beyonce! Queen Bey is really a sensation of our time. We literally have to bow down when we think of how amazingly talented she is (Okay, maybe I'm over-reacting). I also like Joyous Celebration and Soweto Gospel Choir- both South African singing groups. Overall, my Pandora has eclectic mixes as once a song has a good vibe or beat, I will enjoy it! :)


Mr. Kuklewicz

Mr. Kuklewicz is our Chief Financial and Operations Officer (CFOO). As such, he oversees the School’s business, financial, investment, facilities, human resources, risk management and operational functions. A graduate of the University of Maryland, and a Certified Public Accountant, Mr. Kuklewicz has served for the last eleven years as Chief Financial Officer for The Langley School in Northern Virginia, where he was responsible for the finances and operations as well as some major construction projects. Before becoming Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Kuklewicz served as the Controller at Langley. He lives on campus with his wife, Kathleen, daughter, Libby, and their dog, Cora.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I'm working in the business office as the Chief Financial & Operations Officer.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

I enjoyed learning about the cloister ball game.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

The ice-cream.

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

My running shoes: because they make me want to run or work out!

Favorite musician?

Favorite "Old" Artist: The Police. Current: The Killers.


Ms. Moreno

Ms. Moreno is joining our Modern Language department and will teach three sections of Spanish. Ms. Moreno was a professor at George Washington University and Worcester State University and lives in Southborough with her family. She received her Masters in Spanish from Fundacion Universidad de la Rioja and Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

What’s your favorite part about teaching?

 Learning. You learn when you teach and you learn from your students.

Are there any customs, traditions, or trends at St. Mark’s that strike you as unusual or especially fun?

The dogs walking in the chapel was pretty unique.

What is your favorite food or drink in the dining hall?

Chickpeas with squash soup. 

What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

Flannel pajamas in the winter.

Favorite musician?

Leonard Cohen