Finalsite Academy

October 16, 2014

In this week's Little Hoot, we shine a spotlight on Country School alumni, the best evidence we have that a Country School education does, indeed, last a lifetime. Yesterday, we sent the Fall 2014 Alumni eNews to Country School alumni and their parents. Click here to read the entire newsletter, or scroll down for some excerpts.

A Few Alumni Stories

Helping Others "Unlock their Greatest Potential"
Last week we had a visit from two members of The Country School class of 1999, Eric Fabricant and Noah Stahl. As we approach the school's 60th anniversary, they are interested in helping engage their former classmates and other alumni. As they explain in a letter to fellow alums, what could be more important than "helping young people unlock their greatest potential, in the classroom and in life"?

During their visit, Eric and Noah (pictured today, top left, and at their 1999 graduation, top right) had a chance to visit with their former teachers, tour campus, and meet students. They even got to (re)experience some of the activities they engaged in back in the day—including joining current 8th Graders for an exercise in levitation during Team Time.

Catching up with his history teacher

Being levitated, courtesy of the 8th Grade

Noah is working in New Orleans as a consultant for area magnet schools. Eric is working as a family therapist in New Haven. Explaining why he had gone into family therapy, Eric said he felt fortunate that he had so much support from his teachers when he was growing up. "I was always working hard, but so were the teachers," he said. "I wanted to give back to others what was given to me." Click here for more from their visit.

Planting Dreams
Emily Perzanoski '08 is studying in Jordan this fall, and recently 5th Grade teacher Kerri Kelly received an email from Emily's mother with the photo below attached (be sure to read the caption). Emily has visited Egypt, Turkey, and Greece and she sent this photo from Cairo. Over the years, Emily, and scores of other Country School students, have delved into the history, culture, and art of ancient Egypt with Mrs. Kelly. As Emily's mother, Tammy, wrote to Mrs. Kelly, "You planted the dream!"

Reconnecting with TCS
Recently we heard from Gabriel "Jack" Chin '78, who contacted us to update his alumni records. We reached out to him and learned that he is a law professor at UC Davis, specializing in immigration and criminal law. 

"I teach and write about immigration and criminal law, and also keep a hand in practice, generally with my students," he wrote to us. "Right now, my students and I are representing defendants charged with federal crimes in the Eastern District of California. For some years, I have been working with students to repeal Jim Crow laws still on the books. In 2003, we persuaded the Ohio Legislature to ratify the 14th Amendment. Now, we are urging the California Supreme Court to posthumously admit Hong Yen Chang, a Chinese American lawyer denied admission to the California Bar in 1890 because of his race." (Click here for more.) Jack was also a frequently quoted legal expert during the Trayvon Martin case. Click here for an op-ed piece he wrote on the subject for CNN.

Going Down in the Books as "the Best English Teacher Ever"
Middle School English teacher Willa Ridinger received an unexpected email the other day. After doing particularly well on a quiz at Daniel Hand High School, Allie Mascia '14 was inspired to send the following message to her former teacher:  

Hi Ms. Ridinger.

I just wanted to thank you for having us do the vocab book with the quizzes in 7th Grade and the Word Voyage in 8th Grade. Last Wednesday my English teacher passed out a vocab packet and told us to complete it by Thursday and that we would be having a quiz on Friday. The packet consisted of 3 pages: on the front you define the word and draw a picture of what it means to you, on the second page you match the word to the definition that you wrote in, and on the third page you fill in sentences with the words that best fit it. Since I had done these types of packets in 7th Grade, I completed it with time still left in the class, while the rest of the class was struggling figuring out how to do it. Then, knowing how to study for a vocab quiz (thanks to you), I learned all the words and their definitions by Thursday night and got a 98% (I misspelled a word) and the highest grade in the class.

I also wanted to thank you for having us do the poetry unit both years. We have to do writers imitation as our first unit and part of the imitation is being able to analyze a poem and find the figurative language within it. I was able to do this very well and therefore I thank you. Though I may have thought it would never come in handy at the time, it really, really does. Keep stressing this to all of your students - as I know you do.

Thanks again for teaching me everything I really know about English. You will go down in the books as the best English teacher I will ever have.

Hope everything is going well at Country School! I miss the school and everyone so much!

Thank you for reaching out to your former teacher, Allie. And thank you, also, for allowing us to share your appreciative message. 

Realizing "Anything You Can Conceive Of"
When, as he did last week, David Acheson takes his 8th Grade art students to the Museum of Modern Art, he never knows which student might be transformed by the experience or by time spent creating in the art studio. One student who was most definitely transformed is Jared Madere, a member of the Class of 2001. Jared is one of the featured artists in a show that opened last week at Magasin Grenoble, a gallery in Grenoble, France. Jared, who lives and works in Brooklyn, traveled to France and installed his piece as part of DOOM: SURFACE CONTROLE. Read more about the show in Art Daily.

A photo taken by David Acheson at last week's trip to MoMA


When he was still a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, Jared wrote a tribute to Mr. A. as part of a special publication dedicated to the arts at TCS. We love Jared's closing message in his tribute:

What Mr. A. really left me with ... is far more profound than any sort of technical information. He showed me that through thought, dedication, and hard work, it is possible to realize anything you can conceive of.

Click here for Jared's entire tribute and here for the arts issue of Country Connections. 

For more Alumni stories, go to:

Alumni eNews - Fall 2014

Other News, Announcements, and Reminders

Interesting Subject Matter and Hands-On Experiences: Minds in Motion
A week from this Saturday, The Country School campus will be teeming with inspired, eager young learners. That's when we welcome 150-plus students to campus—along with their parents—for a day of hands-on learning with Minds in Motion and the Connecticut Association for the Gifted. Several Country School teachers and/or administrators will be leading workshops, as will one alumnus, while a Country School parent, a noted psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor at Yale Child Study Center, will deliver the keynote address. Read more.

Our generous hosts, 
the Pacholyks P '21, 
invite you to share an evening of 
gourmet food, good fun, and great friends 
at the Webers' P '05, '08, '14 Saddle Ranch Farms

Purchase Tickets

For photos from last year's Harvest celebration 
at The Country School, click here.

From the PTA
A HUGE thank you to the parents who read and responded to our call for help with decorations during Minds in Motion and the Harvest Gathering. We've amassed a gorgeous collection of pumpkins and gourds right outside the Farmhouse! Keep them coming (hot tip:  Stop and Shop has GIANT pumpkins for $5). We'd be very excited to get some corn stalks or cabbages. Straw bales would also be great! Can you help?

Halloween at TCS
Halloween is just around the corner and for our younger students that means the Halloween Parade after drop-off on Friday, October 31. Stay tuned for details. 

For students in Grades 5-8, the Student Leadership Tream is planning a Halloween Fun Night (Grades 5 and 6) and Dance (Grades 7 and 8) on November 1. The Fun Night runs from 6:30-8 p.m. and the Dance will follow from 8-10 p.m. Both events have a $10 entrance fee and will have a DJ. Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes, and there will be a costume contest. For the Fun Night, 5th Grade is in charge of snacks, and 6th Grade is in charge of drinks. For the dance, 7th Grade is in charge of snacks, and 8th Grade is in charge of drinks!

This Week's Throwback Thursday

For this week's Throwback Thursday we share a photo from Eric Fabricant, one of the alumni who visited us last week. We love the picture, taken during an Outdoor Ed trip on the Hudson, for many reasons, not the least of which is the motto painted on the side of the canoe:

All Pulling Together!

If you have any good Throwback Thursday photos, please send them to Over the course of the year, we will continue to build our TBT archive here.

Visit TCS on Facebook for more Country School news, including:

Third Grade at Mashantucket Pequot Museum
Pamela Druckerman, author, is at TCS one day and in The New York Times the next
The Golden Gate Bridge in PreK
Alumni participating in Westminster Schoo's Day of Service
"Miss Honey," the TCS scarecrow
What a cross country coach does on her day off
More cross country action
And more....

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