Becoming Magazine Spring 2020
Anne Backus Wanzer ’50
My husband and I live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Exeter, New Hampshire, having moved here from Concord, Massachusetts, where we lived for 50 years. We are relatively well, though I don’t drive due to poor vision. We have the sons, all in New England, and six grandchildren. The only Harley pal I have been in touch with recently is Dixie (Jean) MacLean McKelvey of Atlanta, Georgia, and a member of the class of 1949. I loved Harley and attended from kindergarten—with Charlie Fry—all the way through, except for two years during WWII when a gas shortage made driving to Harley from Webster impossible. My brother Dick (1940) and sister Puss (Priscilla) 1941, also attended and loved The Harley School. We received extraordinary educations from a highly educated, devoted, but underpaid faculty.
The Aftermath of a Harley Education by Mary Critikos ’54
My sister, Penny, and I had no input into the decision-making that affected our move from P.S. #1 on Hillside Avenue to Harley. It was the week before Thanksgiving in third grade for me, second grade for Penny, that my mother asked at dinner one night, “How would you like to go to Babette’s (Becker ’54) school?” and in a rare moment of solidarity, we replied in unison “You mean Harley?” My father said simply, “You start tomorrow.” And that was that. So the next day, the four of us trotted off to #1 School to bid our farewells, and upon being asked “Why Harley?” I announced in a confident voice, “Because they have art and typing twice a week.”
Then it was off to Clover Street. I remember walking through the tunnel led by Nan Sheehy ’54, a soon-to-be-classmate, to the Third Grade classroom and Mrs. Mac[Glashon], where Mrs. Mac put her arm around my shoulders while giving me two pencils and a scratch pad and showing me my cubby. I felt as though I counted, and I was in awe—something like shock and awe. My seat was at a small table for four, on a floor partly covered with a painted map of South America. I was situated on Brazil.
Two blackboards: one with the words to “Over the River and Through the Woods” and the other to “Jerusalem.” It was approaching Thanksgiving and Candlelight, respectively, and the class was learning the words. It was a very far cry from the rows of desks at P.S. #1.
For the next 10 years, there was never a judgmental call—never a turn-off. Silence, I expect, was viewed as a greater reinforcer. It was a safe community from which kindness and a sense of gentleness and compassion abounded; not soppy, but genuine care and concern. We fledglings were protected from start to finish. The numbers, just over 200, were the only shortcoming of those years, as they didn’t provide much by way of competition and diversity. That’s since been rectified. Real life is competitive and diverse. Getting along, being effective with folk, is essential in all relationships.
There are three common denominators from then to now: Clover Street, the creek, and the relationship between faculty/staff and parents/students. That last element defines the Harley family, which is as strong now as it was then. It’s the mortar that holds the bricks together. It’s always been the mortar.
And that mortar has a heaping dollop of direction, patience, and a sense of oversight in the mix. Big-time. From that role, over the years, it became evident that students would gain by introducing a formal program dignifying universal wants and needs as real and essential—far beyond those of reading, writing, and arithmetic. It has do to with being human. Now, happily, there is a formal hospice program supporting those wants and needs for understanding and empathy. A plus of the first order.
It’s that exposure to tolerance and simple kindness that extends, dear friends, to a recognition that a sense of giving back to those who have supported us along this journey of life is owing. None of us does it alone. This leads me to my point. It’s called a legacy—something one leaves behind at the end.
Legacies come in various forms, and institutional legacies have a particular bent: It’s called financial solvency in the first instance and financial security in the last—to ensure that the School can survive and thrive on a solid footing for the next 100 years. For those of you from the 1950s, especially, we don’t have much time to spare! It’s up to us to think about those who have held us up and, yes, give back. Remember those early years in simpler times. Who doesn’t want to be on the right side of the Legacy Scales when our time is up? It’s time, now, to act.
I plan to leave a legacy to reflect the aftermath of care and love and, yes, tenderness I felt at Harley. As with all institutions, the moral character and tone begin at the top. The best way I figure to attribute this is to provide a Head of School endowment to attract and retain a Head who embraces the Harley Way—nurturing, kindness, and compassion toward becoming a more perfect human being. That said, I have included a provision in my will toward that end.
Please have a think about those Scales. As with those in the bathroom—they don’t lie!
Mary Critkos ’54 working on her needlepoint of Harley’s alma mater, one of her many gifts to the School.
Jack Anderson ’54 was in town from Colorado and wanted to stop and see the plaque made in honor of his friend J. Allen Gray ’55.
Klaus Gins ’70
Dear Jenni, Dear Pete
What an incredible surprise and joy to get the card from you. After 50 years!
First of all, I want to say how very sorry I am about the loss of your mother, Jenni. I know how painful and shocking this is, even though you may have seen it coming. I lost both of my parents 7/10 years ago, and even now I often think about them and want to ask them things about the past, but there will be no answer. I hope you have family and good friends who can buffer the pain and help work it out.
Before the official invitation and your card arrived, Mark Mariner, who has been a close friend all these years, told me about the reunion. It is a long way, but I was so happy that you seem to really want me to attend that I am seriously considering coming. It would be difficult for various reasons, but there is a chance. It would be so incredible to see some of you again and maybe even some teachers. Plus, it would be a pure nostalgia tour for me to see all the places in Rochester I remember. My memories of that exchange year are very alive and very positive. What an intense time. I can picture you, Pete Henderson, Scott, and many others very vividly. It would be fantastic and also probably an “input overload” to catch up on what everybody was up to in the past 50 years. 😀
So, Jenny and Pete, I’ll keep you updated, if I can manage to come.
And thanx so much that you remembered and invited me.
Hope you and your families are OK.
From my heart
Klaus Gins ’70
As a clinical psychologist, I spend my days addressing violence, abuse, and oppression. As such, I felt compelled to write about the current intersection between the two pandemics: COVID-19 and racism. https://www.
I hope this finds the Harley community healthy and safe.
Scott Hampton, 1974.
Donald Gibson Lindsay ’76 recently competed in Italy at the Competition for the World Championship of Beer Sommeliers.
Tim ’76 and Priscilla Rockwell Wiest ’76 shared a cute photo of their little granddaughter, Luella, in her Harley Baby onesie!
Cate Wiley ’77, a professor in the Department of English at the University of Colorado in Denver, has been doing some writing of her own. Her play The Liberation is one of five original plays that will be showcased as staged readings at the HRC Showcase Theater in Hudson, N.Y., on November 23.
The Liberation is about historian Marianne Turner, fired for a campus sex scandal, who now lives in Paris, researching the French women whose hair was shorn as punishment for “horizontal collaboration” with the Nazis during World War II. When a former lover intrudes, Marianne learns that despite her feminist bona fides, she is not very different than the shorn women of her past.
Class of 1979 sent this right after I posted my June Reunion newsletter:
Bottom row: Jeff Krist, Sarah Todd, Susan Manning, Patty Webster Pape, Keith Marsden. Middle row: Terri Johnson, Laura Bales Barrows, Charlie Rosenberg. Top row: Mike Toole, Don Boss. Absent: Sylvia McFadden and Patti Cameron.
Susan Oppenheimer ’80
I live in Columbus, Ohio, with my husband, Tony (a Brit and a professor of neuroscience) and son, Isaac (a rising high school junior who is passionate about trumpet, computer science, and origami). After relatively short stints as a litigator in the field of medical products liability and as a solo practitioner, I finally discovered education law and am now in my 23rd year with a law firm representing educational institutions. Someday, I hope to make it back to Harley for a reunion.
Michael Goldman ’81 was visiting Rochester from his home in San Francisco recently for the debut of “State of the City” an art exhibit that “brings together a range of artists from various backgrounds and artistic practices … and attempts to build a more connected, resilient, and equitable Rochester by observing, understanding, and learning.”
Here is some more information about Michael and his “Urban Pictograms”:
Michael Goldman (Consolidated Studios) considers himself part craftsman, part entertainer, and part teacher. Employing ample humor, “Urban Pictograms” expands upon his early signage experiments from San Francisco, which made obvious some of the darker aspects of gentrification, technophilia, and economic stratification in the Bay Area. His works use common municipal signage materials and standardized design conventions to engage the public. For “State of the City,” Goldman created four custom graphics specific to Rochester’s physical and cultural landscape. Within the urban landscape, typical pictograms provide a common nonverbal language to transmit information to city residents and visitors, regardless of their native language. Each of Goldman’s pictograms use this familiar style yet point out some of the complex, nuanced, and troublesome experiences that can result when different communities interact. A user’s key to the project is featured in “State of the City” at Rochester Contemporary Art Center. Visitors are also encouraged to find Goldman’s “Urban Pictograms” along East Avenue and Main Street between Prince Street and King Street.
Charly Carter ’82: Training the Next Generation of Leaders
Charly Carter ’82 says her work as founder and executive director of Step Up Maryland is a culmination of her 30-year career in politics. While she has never run for office (yet!), she has helped to create and encourage some change-makers in the political arena in places across the country.
[She says she fell into politics when Molly Clifford ’83, asked her to coordinate volunteer efforts for a presidential campaign. Within a few months, she’d landed a position with a New York City mayoral campaign.]
Her work in the political arena taught her that we need more ordinary people, with regular life challenges, who represent the people of the community, to run for political office. Her plan was to go out and connect people to the government in a fundamental way, teach them to be heard in city hall, recognize the ways that they can better serve the community, and how they can demonstrate, through running for office, their commitment to the community. Over the years, she was able to train hundreds of worthy candidates, and she loved seeing them run successful campaigns but became frustrated when they would get into office and not accomplish what they set out to do.
She had an aha moment in 2014 when she discovered that these new progressive leaders she was training for political success in office were entering a flawed system that set them up to fail. For example, you might have a group of elected leaders discussing a possible change in the law, everyone is in agreement and the law looks as if it is going to pass, and then the law is brought in front of an appointed board and they vote it down. Seeing how strong these appointed boards were, Charly started to send “scouts” out into the community to find strong-minded folks who could be representatives on these appointed boards.
She also discovered that these newly elected leaders, novices in the political world, were being stymied while in office, right from the start. They would go into their job, having made promises to their constituents, and not have the ability to make any changes. Their “freshman” year in office they were expected to sit back and listen. Their second year, they were told what to do by the other representatives, and by their third year, when they were finally allowed to work on what they had promised their constituents, the people who voted them in had lost confidence in their leadership.
In 2018, she started Step Up Maryland as a way to grow leadership in her community in a faster, more effective way. The mission is to “build a new generation of leaders through education, training, and direct action.” Their goal is to empower communities to pull together and make changes by giving them a better understanding of the legislative process, and by providing them with tools to be better community advocates. Step Up Maryland is a nonpartisan group that offers the opportunity for candidates who won their primary to take a six-month training course that is focused on new leaders, to show them the ropes once they are in office. Step Up Maryland teaches these candidates how to stick together to make changes, attract others to their cause, and also offers leadership training for campaign workers and candidates. Charly says that the past two years have been amazingly successful, and the program is being recognized nationally.
She says her Socratic education at Harley, where she was taught how to think, not what to think, is the core to her “Becoming.” She points out that the atmosphere at Harley encourages students to challenge the teachers and find alternative interpretations to what they are being taught. She says that although she never had any intention of going into politics (she attended Cornell University with plans to be a veterinarian), Harley taught her that going outside of your comfort zone and changing plans might just be the best way to make things happen.
Alicia Morgenberger Schober ’85 contacted Harley about a relaunch of her career after an 18-year hiatus. We’ve all heard of internships at the start of a new career, but what about returnships? If you are looking for an inspirational way to relaunch your career, watch the video above and read about Alicia’s experience:
“I relaunched my career one year ago after staying home to care for the family for nearly 18 years. I worked with organizations that specialize in getting mid-career professionals upskilled to return to the workforce. One organization was Path Forward, a nonprofit that partners with companies to create returnships. I participated in a returnship at Sage Intacct, and now I work there full time.
“In addition to being back in a corporate setting, I want to continue the social impact work I do, and I am now focused on helping others return to work by sharing the story of my journey. Path Forward has featured me in a Participant Spotlight article on their website and I have spoken on a panel they organized for one of their returnship workshops. Most recently, they asked me if I would be interviewed for a television show. Last Monday the feature story, “How to Reinvent Your Career with a Returnship,” aired on The List—a syndicated TV show that appears across the U.S.”
Len Wilcox with former student Mary Beth Williams ’89 (with son Joe). Mary Beth and her sons, Jack and Joe, had stopped in for a tour of the School.
On a typical day, Deb Lederer Cox ’93 teaches K–5 art in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School district in North Carolina, and after school, in her spare time, she leads the Carrboro Elementary Visual and Performing Arts program. These days however, with the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing is typical.
Like many of us, she is now working from home and finding creative ways to teach her kiddos remotely. She sends packets home and does various online learning activities; she even created a Facebook group that features fun four-and-a-half minute art lessons using regular household object—i.e., making jellyfish out of paper bowls and monsters out of toilet paper rolls. She’s finding great ways to connect with her students and keep being social, but from a distance.
She had also been busily working on nun costumes for her husband, Bing, a local drama teacher, for his upcoming student performance. Now that school has closed, the play and those nun costumes have sadly been put on an indefinite hold. Scrolling through her email one day, she saw a message from JoAnne Fabric that piqued her interest because it included a pattern for sewing hospital masks. She thought, “I have the material, I have the skills, why not make some masks?”
So, she created an assembly line, cut up all of the fabric and set up the interfacing, sat down at her sewing machine, and by herself made 36 masks! She then recruited her husband, her daughters, Hannah and Ally, and as a family, they more than doubled their output and made 76 more. She says organizations have been contacting her via Facebook and asking her for more masks.
When the pandemic hit, Deb got in touch with local nurse friends who have been notifying her about places in need as well. She is also part of a Facebook group called “Masks for Heroes,” which is made up mostly of women who are normally quilters but who have taken to using their crafting skills to help out with the mask shortage. They’ve set up locations all over the Duke and University of North Carolina area for hospital and medical facility distribution.
Deb and her family just sent a box of their homemade masks out to a cancer clinic in Florida that had run out. The clinic, filled with patients, had been reduced to using paper towels for protection. Deb said that she and her girls are also packing up paper and packets of crayons and delivering them to students in an urban apartment complex in the area.
She really misses her students and has a visceral need to keep this connection and give back to her community. She attributes this personal philosophy to her time at Harley. She said that Harley educates the whole person—socially, emotionally, and morally—and with this ingrained at her core, how could she feel otherwise?
Thank you, Deb, for sharing your talents to help out during this crisis!
Each life has its own special rhythm, its own unique tune. Consider the life song of Melissa Hirokawa Spiess ’95, for example.
Melissa loves to help people. She also loves music. It makes perfect sense she would take her Harley experience and become a music therapist.
Melissa engaged her twin passions of volunteerism and music throughout her time at Harley. She worked with the White Key Volunteer Club in the Upper School, where she contributed her time at places like Sojourn Adult Day Care. Melissa also played the bassoon and saxophone and took advantage of “just about every musical opportunity available at Harley,” whether it was the music pit for a play, the chamber orchestra, choir, or jazz band. Outside of Harley, she performed in county and state solo competitions, the Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the all-state orchestra. It took some time for these paths to cross, but when they did it led to something magical.
During high school and college, she worked summers for ARC Special Sitters Program, a program that “offers families with children with developmental disabilities relief from the day-to-day caring routine.” The summer of her junior year in college, she worked with an incredible girl with multiple severe disabilities.
Melissa says that when she started, the girl could be “a challenge.” She later realized that if you involved music in the caregiving, she calmed down and turned into the sweetest kid there. Incorporating music was easy for Melissa to do, and the two developed a strong bond.
One day, the girl was so agitated that Melissa had to take her to the nurse to give her medications. The girl took it upon herself to use a calming technique that she learned from her music therapist, insisted that she could “sing herself down” and wanted to do so to “make her music therapist proud.” Melissa was astounded when she saw her success with this and knew in that moment that she had found her calling. She returned to Lake Forest College, where she finished her bachelor’s in music, environmental studies, and biology, then continued her studies at Western Michigan University where she earned her master’s in music therapy.
Upon graduation, she moved to Minnesota and worked with patients/clients in hospice, transitional care, neurological rehabilitation, long-term care, oncology, medical/surgical and eating-disorders units, and adult day care. She also worked with individuals with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, children with developmental disabilities, and stroke survivors.
She says that her time working in hospice was incredible because “using music, we can take a potentially very difficult and negative experience and turn it into something beautiful.” In fact, she says, “I’ve had family members I’ve run into in the community tell me a decade later exactly what songs we sang, what stories were told, and the response of their loved ones during our time together.”
Another passion of Melissa’s is helping stroke survivors regain speech, movement, and cognitive skills, especially when other therapies have been unsuccessful. She also loves working with individuals who have dementia, and their loved ones. “I worked with a couple who had been married for over 50 years, but the husband, who had dementia, couldn’t even recognize his wife as someone familiar. He couldn’t put three words together that made sense. I played the song “Always,” and he turned to his wife and said clear as day, ‘That was our song, wasn’t it?’ It was their wedding song. He was able to recognize his wife, to make an emotional connection, and to formulate a thought and clearly express it, all because of the music.”
In 2008, Melissa opened her own music therapy practice—Living Spirit Therapy Services, located in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. She recently hired a fourth additional music therapist to begin this past November. They specialize in neurologic music therapy, an evidence- and science-based model that uses music as a therapeutic tool to treat physical, cognitive, social, and emotional issues. She no longer plays her bassoon or saxophone from her Harley days, but instead uses a lot of guitar, percussion, and other instruments with her patients.
Melissa says she was once painfully shy, but the small supportive community and encouraging nature of Harley gave her the confidence to not only go out and open her own practice but also take leadership roles in music therapy associations in the Twin Cities area, and to present more than 40 times both locally and nationally on music therapy.
That’s a hit in anybody’s songbook!
Paul Burgo ’97 shared this glorious photo of baby Paulo in his Harley onesie!
Rob Williams ’98 and his partner, Allison Marshall, welcomed their son Oscar Francis Williams (9 pounds 6 ounces) to the world on May 7, 2020.
In honor of Black History Month, February 6, 2020, was named Arthur Ashe Legacy Day in Monroe County, commemorating the death of the three-time Grand Slam tennis champion. Jason Speirs ’99, along with Rochester community biking group “Conkey Cruisers” and another local tennis academy, took this special day as an opportunity to go into 10 Rochester City Schools to teach students some history about Arthur Ashe and lead workshops to show the students about the game of tennis.
Jason, stationed at Franklin High School, came equipped with 40 tennis rackets, nets, balls, and lines. When the first-session students walked in, he introduced himself to the group and spoke about how Arthur Ashe was a pioneer in educating minorities and women about how they can do anything—especially tennis. Jason was there to carry on in this education. Although most of the students had never heard of Mr. Ashe, many of them appreciated the history and were excited to learn, picked up a racket, and gave it a try! Jason says that he saw about 250 students that day, and there was rarely a racket left on the ground unused. He was surprised and very excited, and he reports that the athletic director, Dave Boundy, was also impressed by how successful the day was, saying, “I think it’s incredible how many kids you were able to get to play tennis today.” Overall, around 2,000 students participated in the program at schools around the country.
Jason is a busy man with a family. He is also the owner and executive director of Empire Tennis Academy out of Harley, and he is passionate about taking time and giving back to his community in any way that he can. Not only did Jason participate in this day of tennis workshops, he and his cohort also donated tennis equipment to 36 city schools. On top of that, he is also the founder and director of the not-for-profit organization Tennis Saves, which provides local junior tennis players with affordable tennis match play opportunities to help them develop their skills for future tournaments. Tennis Saves brings together local clubs, parks, and schools to support this program, and it also gives other tennis enthusiasts a way to “create awareness and raise funds for worthy causes.” Tennis Saves has raised almost $50,000 for cancer research, an important cause for Jason because he lost his father to gastrointestinal esophageal cancer in 2009.
Jason says he learned a lot about giving back through his time at Harley, starting as a participant in the Dave Strebel Tennis program and continuing as a student at Harley. When he was 9 years old, his mom signed him up for tennis through the Brighton Rec Program. At the end of the camp, his teacher told his mom that young Jason had real potential. His mom discovered Dave Strebel Tennis, a program at The Harley School, run by Dave Strebel P ’91, ’95. Jason says Dave really went out on a limb for him, and he wants to provide the same opportunities for kids like him. As a student at Harley, Jason learned how to structure his time and prepare for many of the challenges that were ahead. The small classes really worked in his favor. To this day, he is still grateful for the opportunities he had at Harley and at Dave’s tennis program.
Jason says life is pretty busy, but he wouldn’t want it any other way.
HAC cross-country coach Sandy Foster P ’19 ran into former student Matt Andrus ’90 at a cross-country invitational. Matt’s daughter was running for one of the other teams in the competition (but Matt was secretly rooting for HAC!).
Stephanie Thaler ’00
After college at SUNY Geneseo, I moved to Tokyo, where I lived for over a year. Then I traveled around Asia, and the world, for 12 years, to more than 65 countries, learning and teaching ancient and new age forms of healing modalities and workshops, through the harmony of mind body and spirit. I then settled down in Israel and made aliyah and got an Israeli nationality, working for three years as a massage therapist. From there, I went to Australia and met the father of my child a month after arriving. My daughter, Yemaya, is 2 and a half years old. I have lived in the Byron Bay area for three years and recently moved to create my new business in the Gold Coast.
I am the custodian and founder of a retreat and event venue for holistic healing called The Merkava (www.themerkava.com.au). I am the founder of Transformational Breathwork, Soulistic Yoga, and Cacao Heart. I am passionate about embodied awakening and opening hearts, about developmental trauma and holding a nurturing space where my methods stem from ancient Taoist and Tantric philosophies. My mission is to bring connection, loving kindness, health, wealth, happiness, self-love, and playfulness into people’s lives.
Please let me know if you would like to know anything else! Can’t believe its been 20 years—each one goes faster and faster!
Nick Massimillian ’05 and Caitlin Frame ’05 together at REDD, a new restaurant in Rochester, where Nick is the general manager.
Note: This article was written a few weeks ago. Despite restaurant closures around the region, REDD is serving to-go orders, available Monday to Thursday, 12 to 7 p.m.; Friday, 12 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 4 to 9 p.m. Go to www.reddrochester.com for more information.
Not everyone takes the usual path of graduating from high school, going off to college, and then starting a career. Not everyone needs to or should. Nick Massimillian ’05, general manager of the renowned REDD, a new restaurant in Rochester, took a path of his own—and with some hard work and drive, he is doing just fine.
After graduating from Harley, he went off to the University of Rhode Island to study philosophy. He spent a year and a half at the university and figured out that at that time in his life, college wasn’t right for him. He says that the education URI provided was good, but that he wasn’t feeling it emotionally. He went home to Rochester and decided to step into the restaurant scene by getting a job as a busboy at Macaroni Grill. The Italian chain restaurant discovered that they had a very hard worker in their midst, and his skills were utilized in the Henrietta restaurant, as well as in Albany and Boston.
When he returned to Rochester several years later, he was hired at Pittsford’s Label 7 and later 2 Vine in Rochester. He had built up quite a great reputation in the restaurant business, and when Hattie’s opened in the Strathallan Hotel in June 2015, he was hired and quickly promoted from bartender to assistant manager for the hotel’s food and beverage department. In April 2016, he was promoted again to general manager of the food and beverage department, meaning he took on responsibilities at Char Steak & Lounge as well as Hattie’s. After two years, he was recruited to become the general manager at Morton’s Steakhouse in Buffalo. While the daily commute from Rochester to Buffalo was a bit of a bear, he loved his job and says he learned a ton about the finance and business side of running a restaurant.
REDD, offering a contemporary New American menu, opened in Rochester in August 2019, and head chef Richard Reddington reached out to Nick and asked him to take on the general manager position. Nick left Morton’s and started at REDD in November 2019, the week before Thanksgiving. He describes REDD as a restaurant that offers an “elevated dining scene in Rochester” and says that Chef Reddington has “serious chops.” The goal of the restaurant is to provide excellence in service, cuisine, and cocktails. He says every detail is well thought-out and planned.
Nick has also been able to fit in time during his busy schedule to return to school. He has since received an associate’s degree in hospitality from Monroe Community College, and he is looking into a possible four-year degree in hotel management and hospitality at Rochester Institute of Technology or Cornell University.
Hard work and drive have made him a huge success!
Andy Rea ’05 has recently published a cookbook, Binging with Babish, and while touring to promote it, he stopped by The Rachael Ray Show to show off his cooking skills. The book also reached No. 4 on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Jenna Fain Wise ’05, husband, Bryan, and son, Henry, were in town from Brooklyn and stopped by for a visit with Aunt Marilyn (Fenster).
Jessica Bonds ’06
Harley’s Hospice program directly influenced my mid-20s career change from film to nursing.
Volunteering at Isaiah House in Rochester throughout my last years of high school gave me a significant and unique outlook on life and how precious it is. Men and women of all ages shared with me their life stories and desperately tried to impart on me the knowledge and wisdom that was so clear to them in their final days and hours. I became a neutral vessel for healing for those who simply needed a warm touch and a good ear. I often felt as though I didn’t do much as a hospice volunteer. I bathed, changed, and fed patients as needed. I cooked and cleaned and did laundry. I wheeled patients to and from back patios. I applied a warm blanket and brushed hair. But I also often just did my school work in a chair next their beds, some days hardly interacting with the patients at all. This is how I came to realize that sometimes just being present and available is doing something.
At the time, I was young and naive, and death was hardly something I was afraid of or concerned about, because I hardly thought about it happening to me. Hospice volunteering, however, brought those thoughts front and center in both a scary and liberating way. I often jokingly recount that, as a young adult, I still made some bad choices, but I made better bad choices because my hospice volunteering helped me see that all lives must one day end and that all actions have consequences. As a result of my exposure to hospice in high school, I chose to volunteer with a hospice program throughout college, and I continued volunteering in private hospice homes after graduating. Most importantly, I volunteered several times with the Missionaries of Charity, an opportunity that I was exposed to by Harley’s Hospice program. Though unable to volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity in India with my senior class of high school, I was able to connect with my hospice teacher and recreate the experience for myself and a few other classmates my senior year of college. I then proceeded to recreate that same type of volunteer trip with the Missionaries of Charity in both Costa Rica and Peru. This eventually led to me going back to school to receive my bachelor’s degree in nursing—my original intention simply being to be a better volunteer. As it would happen, I fell in love with the emergency side of care and decided to leave my career in film and take a staff position at a hospital in my hometown.
I have recently decided to combine my love of emergency medicine with my passion for traveling and am now a travel nurse. It was the hospice program at Harley that showed me how capable I am of caring for others, and it provided me with the tools needed to both be a caregiver and to cope with the emotional roller coaster that being a caregiver can cause. The program opened the door for me to see how privileged my life is and how much more I have to give than just making movies and commercials in New York City, as exciting and exhilarating as that can be. The program taught me that I am a person—more than just a woman, a creative artist, a sister, and a neighbor. It showed me that I am a sum of ever-changing parts and that growth and change are to be embraced rather than avoided. I learned to love fully, no matter how scary it may be. I learned to fall gracefully, no matter how far. I learned to continue forward, no matter how difficult. I absolutely would not be a nurse, and I most certainly would not be this versed in compassion, if the seed hadn’t been planted by Harley’s Hospice program during my most formative years
Sommer Henry ’06: Reflections on a Harley Education
I entered Harley in Grade 6, and from day one, I remember being welcomed with open arms by classmates, as cliché as that may sound! There was a warm sense of safety and security that many students don’t get to experience. Mrs. Woods, our homeroom teacher, kept us fully engaged in science and nature. Every day felt like a ride on the Magic School Bus—I mean, it’s not every day you get to learn in a room with chinchillas, ferrets, and hermit crabs! I remember going into the creek thinking, This is the most bizarre thing ever—but excited and with an open mind and a desire to continue exploring nature. Harley satiated that desire through creative and out-of-the-ordinary programs, such as Outdoor Education and the various classes in the extensive art wing. Some of my most memorable moments include exploring and nearly getting stuck in the bog at Letchworth Park, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, fishing, and staying after school to zone out with my music and complete art assignments. The resources available to us provided me with a sense of autonomy and freedom, while encouraging my creativity. I wholeheartedly believe Harley taught me the art of mindfulness and how to value being present in this chaotic world.
Harley’s greatest gift to me was Mr. Kane’s presence. In the classroom, his approach to literature encouraged us to think beyond the content and explore the metaphors and symbolism as they related to the world and our personal lives. We all looked forward to his homeroom morning meetings and his infamous “Bye-Bye!” to start our days off with a laugh. Outside of the classroom, there were countless times that he’d allow me to bring my lunch and just sit and talk. While that may sound minor to some, having an adult listen to you without judgment, interjections, and/or minimizing is major to a teenager. He affirmed that I was heard and seen, that my feelings were valid, and most importantly, that I mattered. His endless displays of compassion, sacrifice, and empathy are values that he introduced to me and I hold dearly.
After graduation, I attended a prestigious historically black college, Hampton University in Virginia. My time there was phenomenal. I majored in psychology, with hopes of helping others with the same knowledge, values, and awareness that I had been gifted. Whenever I struggled, I remembered being encouraged to always ask questions that others may be afraid of asking, and that extra help is always there, but you must seek it. I thank Harley for that courage and vulnerability. I went on to graduate school and received my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling in 2014, at Argosy University in Atlanta. In 2018, I completed all requirements under supervision and received my full licensure as a licensed professional counselor in the state of Georgia, where I have a business providing my therapeutic services to a local agency.
In 2018, I also took advantage of the creativity that’s been instilled in me to create hand-poured, fragranced soy candles that promote mental wellness. The symbolism is centered around being able to create your own light in times of darkness, and I find great joy in selling these gems online, at local markets, festivals, and other events. My near-future goals include creating programs and training opportunities for schools nationwide that will implement mental health into their curriculum and programs, advocating for mental health being included in primary care services, and creating a podcast to encourage mental wellness and mental health awareness. I have so many exciting ideas for my future as an entrepreneur, and I know that there’s nothing that can hold me back from whatever I set out to accomplish.
I owe all of that courage and self-efficacy to Harley, and I am forever grateful!
Congratulations to Tammela Platt ’06 and her husband, Fabian. Little Emma Isabel Zimmer was born December 11, 2019.
When Sara McIrvine Crabtrey ’07 was a senior at Harley, she participated in the Hospice program with Bob Kane. She says that her work with hospice patients is where she “fell in love with helping people.” She saw through her work that she could make a direct impact on the lives of the people she worked with.
Her hospice training also helps her care for her mother, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. Not only does she do “hands-on work” like helping her mom physically get around and sometimes dress, but her sensitivity and compassion also shine through.
Sara is now a living unit supervisor at Conway Human Development Center in Arkansas, for people with developmental disabilities between the ages of 6 and 85. In In her role, she does some direct care with patients as well as some administrative duties. She says she wouldn’t be as successful in her career if it weren’t for Bob Kane’s Hospice class.
Caley Fain ’08 [see 2010]
Connor Frame ’08 sends along cheers from London with his new Harley thermos!
Proud mom alert. This just in from Elaine Lennox:
In October, Luke Lennox ’08 was inducted into the St. John Fisher Athletic Hall of Fame for soccer.
Some stats from the St. John Fisher website:
Luke Lennox was a three-year member of the men’s soccer team and in that span put together one of the top careers in program history. A three-time Empire 8 First-Team selection, he was named the conference’s Player of the Year after a prodigious sophomore season that saw him post a conference-leading 18 goals, seven assists and 43 points.
For his career, Lennox is among the top offensive weapons in Fisher’s history with 32 goals, 18 assists and 82 career points. An All-Region player during his time on campus, Lennox would go on to be named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America in both 2008 and 2009.
With Luke in a Cardinals’ uniform, Fisher posted two winning seasons and made three trips to the postseason. Overall, Fisher posted a 27-24-5 mark during his three seasons.
Luke and his wife, Maria, are physicians and live in the Buffalo area with their two kids, Leigh Grace and Tucker.
Jonathan Benjamin ’09 and Debbie Bui tied the knot this summer!
George Berking ’10 was in town from Vancouver, Canada, and he and his mom stopped in for a tour.
Becca Cinqino ’10 and Caley Fain ’08 are both social workers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), where they share an office. We had a chance to meet with them and discovered that their paths have been pretty different, but their connection to The Harley School pulls it all together.
Did you always know you wanted to be a social worker?
Caley: I always knew I wanted to foster change and engage with people, so when I went to college, I majored in psychology, with a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. I discovered psychology wasn’t the path for me and went for my master’s in social work (MSW) at SUNY Albany. As a social worker, I have found that I get to work in different settings and it’s a chance for me to be creative. I feel like an MSW is a great “foundation degree,” because you start with that but can advance to higher degrees with higher qualifications. I also love that every day is different.
Becca: I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted liberal arts, a small school, so I went to the College of Wooster and graduated with a major in sociology and a minor in psychology. At one point, I thought I might want to be a teacher [like her dad, Harley Lower School Teacher Tony Cinquino, and Caley’s aunt, Marilyn Fenster]. I interned in a first grade classroom at New Canaan Country Day School, but it wasn’t for me. I took a couple of years off, and my mom suggested social work, saying “You always want to help people!” I did some research and discovered that I wanted to work in a medical setting, with kids, but I didn’t want to go the route of a doctor or nurse. Social work was a perfect fit. I received my MSW from Nazareth College.
How long have you been at URMC, and do you specialize in a specific unit?
Caley: I have been there for four years, as of last December. I started off working in the cardiology unit, but I didn’t feel like I was growing as a learner. I now work in the general medicine unit, a very “colorful unit,” where I work with people who are in the hospital for medical issues but at times have social barriers that they need to work through. I also work with some patients who are in the hospital for social issues. I do a lot of problem-solving and talking with families and patients. I work with a fantastic team and would be nowhere without the talented nurses, doctors, and physician assistants I work with. [Side note: Caley was recently awarded “Outstanding Social Worker of the Year” in the medical and surgical units at URMC. It is a decision made by the nurses in the unit!]
Becca: I have been there for a year and a half. I work on the solid organ transplant floor. I help do evaluations before surgery and make sure patients have adequate social/emotional support following surgery. I like it because you see different issues and different people every day. [Side note: Caley says that Becca’s unit is very selective about who they choose for the social worker position, because there are only two or three social workers qualified to work on this unit. It is a really difficult position, and Caley says that she could not do what Becca does.]
How did Harley help you get where you are today?
Becca: How did Harley help? How did Harley not help! Everything …
Caley: I totally agree.
Becca: I started at Harley in Grade 1, and I really don’t know anything else. I look back at Harley and think I have a really strong work ethic and I hold myself accountable for my actions. When I went to college, this helped keep me focused. I also learned to value other opinions, value community, and to have acceptance of differences.
Caley: I came to Harley in Grade 4, and when I look back I see that a solid educational foundation like this can make a massive impact on a student. For me, it created a drive, a hunger for learning, and taught me how to think creatively. Harley fostered ways to be inclusive in me and how to observe and listen. The whole community makes an impact on the individual. Harley helps you develop as a whole person, teaches you to respect others.
Becca: And to respect yourself.
Caley: Definitely to respect yourself and feel secure, safe, and know that it’s OK to feel the way you feel.
Caley: Harley also taught me how to write!
Becca: Me too! In college, I was shocked when classmates were overwhelmed with writing assignments. I thought Harley was harder than college.
Caley: Grad school too!
Becca: Definitely grad school.
Caley: Harley also fostered interpersonal skills, ways to engage with people and “be present.” Harley taught me how to make eye contact and smile. This really helped me when I interviewed for my job—they mentioned it! I was also never afraid to ask questions and ask for help.
Becca: Yes, you were able to be yourself and be comfortable with your teachers, to form a friendship so you weren’t intimidated by them.
Caley: Communication is key in a job like ours. You need to know how to read a situation and react appropriately.
[They both agreed that Hospice with Bob Kane was insightful and taught them how to handle difficult situations and show the appropriate emotional response.]
Did you two know each other at Harley?
Caley: No. When I saw “Rebecca Cinquino” on an interoffice memo, I was like, “Wait, I recognize that name. Mr. Cinquino had a daughter, Becca …” URMC has a ton of social workers, and I thought the chances were slim that it was her. When she walked in, I said, “I know you!”
Becca: We immediately connected. Harley alums have an unspoken bond. I often call Caley for advice when I am struggling with what to do with a patient. She always knows!
Caley: Hey, I call you too! We are there for each other.
Updates: Caley has since left the University of Rochester Medical Center and is now working as a primary therapist at Rochester Regional’s Genesee Mental Health. She began amidst the shutdown and says that the biggest change is that all of her work is now done over the telephone.
Becca wanted to share some updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic: “There are certain units within the hospital that are designated for patients who test positive for COVID-19 and other units for people who are being ruled out. Everyone in the hospital is required to wear a mask at all times. We are trying to reduce any unnecessary physical contact with patients, therefore I have been calling into patients’ rooms to speak to them over the phone when possible. While I understand the importance of this, I am also feeling more disconnected from my patients, as many of them I do not even meet (other than phone conversations) prior to their discharge. Fortunately, our transplant program has been able to continue with surgeries. We are not doing any live donor transplants at this time, but deceased donor kidney and liver transplants are still occurring.”
We received this great email from Sara Fink ’15 about a random meet-up with fellow Harley alum Courtney Dalton Gray ’82 in Boston:
Hi Karen, I thought you might enjoy this photo—there’s a bit of a story behind it.
A few years ago at Bates I was enjoying lunch with a good friend, Holly, and she told me that her mom’s coworker had attended Harley! Bates is extremely separated from Harley in my mind, so naturally, I was floored! A few years went by, and then a few weeks ago Holly invited me to swing by a birthday party she had planned for her dad in Boston. The first thing I asked upon walking into the party was: “Is the other Harley person here?!” Well, she was! Courtney and I had a great chat!
Bjarne Nielsen ’15
After graduating from St. Lawrence University in May 2019, I moved down to Charlotte, North Carolina, to play bass and sing in my band, The New Creatures. In the few months that we’ve been together, we’ve already been very successful, having played gigs in and around Charlotte consistently, as well as traveling to Georgia, South Carolina, and other cities in North Carolina for shows. We also have a single on Spotify, with a full album to be released this spring. If you want to follow us, we’re on Spotify, Facebook, and Instagram (@thenewcreaturesband).
When Caroline Paley ’16 gets a gut feeling, she follows her instinct and runs with it.
Her gut told her that Harley was exactly where she needed to be when she transferred from Penfield High School in Grade 10. She had visited a couple of other schools, and when she walked into Harley she felt a good vibe and knew this was home. Her junior year, she looked back at her time before Harley and knew that now she was a better person and in a better place. She said that Harley teachers are the “greatest resource” for the students because when they take an interest and push them to succeed, the students can soar.
She says Harley prepared her well, especially with writing. She credits the tour de force trio of David O’Brien, Pat Malone, and Kim McDowell for this, and she remembers fondly that during her senior year she was able to experience all three as a part of a curriculum where the class rotated between instructors every few weeks.
Her writing skills are so exceptional that she was asked to be a writing tutor her freshman year at St. John Fisher, and some of her writing was included in the college magazine, Collegium, a privilege usually reserved for upperclassmen.
She’s continued to excel at college and was even named St. John Fisher Student of the Year in the School of Arts and Sciences. She was also recently chosen to be one of 15 outstanding seniors in a video celebrating the “Countdown for Commencement.” But her soaring doesn’t stop there.
When we caught up with Caroline, she was headed to her microeconomics class. This is the one course she needs before she heads to the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall, where she will eventually be awarded a doctor of pharmacy degree. She was accepted into every pharmacy school she applied to, including the top-ranked University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, but when she took a tour of both campuses, her gut told her that UW-Madison was her school.
We asked Caroline if it was difficult to get into pharmacy school when she has always had such a leaning toward writing and the liberal arts. She said that her time at Harley taught her that you need to advocate for yourself and showcase that your differences can be a strength. She took that message and applied it to her graduate school essays, and pharmacy programs all over the country agreed.
We also asked her what she’s most looking forward to when she arrives in Madison. She said she’s excited about the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy program, the fact that she’ll be going to a “big school,” and the great volunteer opportunities available. She is especially excited about a volunteer initiative where a University of Wisconsin medical student, veterinary student, and pharmacy student set up a clinic to help the pets of homeless people in the area. They not only offer services to the pets but also the pet owners!
She plans to get her PharmD degree, and also obtain a certificate in clinical outcomes research with a focus on women’s reproductive health. This certificate will allow her to help pregnant women who are medicated due to preexisting health conditions, and to implement new interventions that will improve the quality of life for the mother and child.
Such high aspirations—and we believe she’s going to succeed in everything she sets out to do!
Alumni College Day
We had a dynamic group of alumni return for this year’s Alumni College Day to share their advice on life after Harley. Thank you to Grace Mendola ’17, Mackenzie O’Hara ’17, Ariel Bernhard ’18, Ben Doane ’18, Kit Taylor ’18, Meghan Green ’19, Maya Hood ’19, Belle Sherwood ’19, and Corey Zhang ’19 for sharing your wise words with the students!
A sample of the sage advice from our graduates:
- Know how safe a campus is before you decide to go
- College ranking doesn’t matter
- Overnight college visits show you the “culture” of the school more than the orientation visit
- If you are thinking of going to graduate school, make a wise choice for undergrad
- Research college location. Rochester doesn’t necessarily seem that exciting, but it is way more exciting than some of the more rural schools
- If you don’t feel like you fit the culture when you visit, look at another school
- If you are not into partying, you’ll need to find other stuff to do on the weekend
- Academics at college can be very competitive
- Don’t slack off, get your work done
- Later years in college, when you are working within your major, the workload is easier because you enjoy the subject
- Choose roommates with different majors, it keeps things interesting (and you are not together all the time at the dorm and in class)
- Don’t be roommates with your best friend
- Get enough sleep!
- Create a good work-life balance
- If you are a theater person, be prepared to compete with your friends for parts
- Stay focused, though it is difficult, in those big lecture classes
- You get out of class what you put into it, so go to class even if attendance isn’t required
- Be patient with yourself during the first semester, you will make mistakes
- It’s easy to just sit in your room, but you need to get out sometimes, even if it’s just going to the library to study
This group of alumni were very involved with extracurricular activities, including theater, religious life, fraternities/sororities (academic and social), student government, student advising, Frisbee, public health club, emergency medical technician, orchestra, library volunteer, and volunteering at a women’s shelter.
Several said that Harley prepared them for the level of writing at college and gave them the ability to vocalize in class and feel comfortable approaching a professor for help.
Taylor Holloran ’11, a recent graduate from Gettysburg College, where he studied philosophy, is currently living in Wellington, New Zealand, where he is researching, writing, and producing a weekly 15-minute podcast called For Goodness’ Sake. Consistent with Taylor’s approach to life, he has decided we all need a little bit of good news, so he is searching the world to find it and report it. His podcast can be found here as well as on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Taylor’s dad, Peter Holloran ’71, told me Taylor produces the show in his apartment. I asked where Taylor gets his material and was told “Everywhere!” because good news can be found everywhere in the world—we just need to remember to look for it.
Former Faculty News
Former Harley drama teacher Michele Romano, mom to Eric ’05 and Mandy ’09, shares how she is helping the local health care community by making hospital masks:
It all started when local Fairport sewing shop, Sew Creative, got in touch with area health facilities, like Rochester Regional and Strong Hospital, to find out the specific parameters for sewing masks that would offer the best protection for our health care workers. Turns out there are very strict specifications to make masks effective against the virus: You need a certain fabric, and the design has to have a pocket to insert a special, critical filter material.
Through social media, I was tagged by friends who knew that I could sew. (I have a small business where I make golf cart seat covers, and my club, Locust Hill, stocks them in their Pro Shop.) I contacted Sew Creative, and they provided the materials to make 12 masks at a time. Once I drop off the finished masks, which Sew Creative donates, I can then pick up more materials. However, each day there are more and more shortages of the materials required, so the pattern for making them has had to adapt nearly every few days to adjust for the lack of supplies. For instance, the other day we had to change from using elastic to make the ties to binding tape. Apparently there is now a SHORTAGE of elastic around the country, possibly due to more and more people making their own home versions. Sew Creative connects with the health professionals regularly and is told that they will distribute them to places with the most need like hospitals, senior care homes, etc. Right now they have enough of their own masks, but they want to get ahead of the curve. They realize that they will run out as the crisis peaks, and said that having these masks, will be their “safety belt.” I’m trying to sew as many as I can every day, and although I get slowed down sometimes by the changes in pattern design, I simply regroup, rip apart a few, and start again.
I also have made a few for my health-compromised friends. One friend contacted me desperately for her nurse friend who was struggling to find masks. She wanted to pay me ANYTHING to make two. I said, “NO WAY! It is my great honor and privilege to help those who are putting themselves in the front lines to keep us all well.”
Thank you so much, Michele, for using your sewing talent to help us during the COVID-19 crisis.
Len Wilcox, an airplane lover and avid reader, made a discovery recently. A new book, Bristol Scout 1264, by David Bremner, has a chapter dedicated to former English teacher and Head of the Middle School (1954–1964), Leo Opdycke.
Here is an excerpt:
Leo Opdycke (1960–1986)
The last surviving Bristol Scout was taken off the register in 1930 when it was regarded as being incapable of being brought up to current airworthiness standards and was scrapped. The story might have come to an end there, except for a bloody-minded lecturer by the name of Leo Opdycke from Poughkeepsie, New York.
The story of Leo’s Bristol Scout would fill another book, but boiled down to its essentials, he had always been fascinated by early aviation, inspired, no doubt, by Cole Palen’s Old Rhinebeck museum up the road. He had always fancied building a Bristol F2B fighter, but was talked out of it by another early aviation buff, Ellic Somer, who suggested the Bristol Scout as a more practical alternative, the F2B being larger and more complex.
Leo’s qualifications to take on this project were somewhat limited—no workship, no previous building experience, and not many flying hours—but that was not going to stop him. Leo started work in the garage of his house in Rochester, New York, later moving to a fairly spacious nineteenth-century house in Poughkeepsie, where he continued making and assembling parts in the basement …
To get the full story, go out and purchase your copy of Bristol Scout 1264, or come by the Harley School library and take it out on loan.
If you wish to congratulate Mr. Opdycke, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former registrar and Middle School Latin teacher, Pat de Souza, stopped in for lunch and was able to catch up with former colleagues, Dan O’Brien P ’11, ’13, ’17, and ’27, and Doug Gilbert ’87, P ’21, ’24, ’27.
A reunion of champions took place in New York City between former Heads of School Ward Ghory and Paul Schiffman and current Head, Larry Frye. They had lunch with alumni parent Murray Beckerman P ’66, ’70.
Lora Foran ’06 and Miss Renee Hill GP ’01, ’06 (Harley extended day provider extraordinaire!) ran into Doug Gilbert ’87 when they stopped by for a visit this summer.
©2021 The Harley School