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Charlotte Jones ’79 Blome, BCD Class of 1979

Charlotte Jones ’79 Blome – Charlotte is an award winning designer who has been creating landscapes since 1991, after spending four years in Japan apprenticing to a master gardener and studying traditional gardens. She started designing gardens and managing their care while attending the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned a BA in painting and sculpture. She was also a top designer at Chicago’s well-known flower shop A New Leaf. She spent two years working for the Ruth Bancroft Garden in California as garden manager. For the past year, though, it has been on a consulting basis, as she moved back to Illinois. To see photos of Charlotte’s work go to her website www.charlotteblome.com.She writes: “It is an interesting challenge to manage a garden from 2000 miles away! I also do quite a bit of consulting work here too, but there is a lot of down time in the winter. So, I am starting an artisan chocolate (truffle) business to complement my seasonal garden consulting.Meantime, with our not-for-profit www.whenigrowupiwanttobe.org, we travelled to Haiti for three weeks in January to establish contacts with reforestation and well digging efforts. We have developed strong ties with the Chicago Haitian community, stemming from my husband’s (nationally known sculptor Erik Blome) portrait of Chicago’s French-Haitian founder Jean Baptistery Pointe Du Sable. Artists do tend to lead interesting lives, I guess!I have a lot of warm BCD memories. It was a wonderful little school then, as I am sure it is now and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to go there if only for three years. If I lived in the area, I know where I would want to send my kids! I can tell you right now that the main thing I took away from BCD is an impression (a strong one) of what a good elementary school looks like. I have taken a lot of graduate level classes in education, and I often thought of BCD when we discussed great educators and educational philosophies. The kids who get to go to BCD are one fortunate bunch. That is for sure.”

Charlotte lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children.

By |2018-04-19T09:44:11-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Christopher St. Clair, BCD Class of 2010 2S

I am Christopher St. Clair, BCD class of 2010 2S. I came to Berkshire Country Day Secondary School as a ninth-grader in the fall of 2006 and left in the summer of 2007 with the closing of the high school. I graduated from BCD with High Honors.When I first arrived at BCD, I was incredibly nervous: out of the entire school, I was the only new student. I had not made any close friends during my last three years in the New Lebanon Public School system, and now here I was surrounded by another school of strangers, most of whom had known each other for as long as they could remember. I quickly learned, however, that my experience at BCD would not be what I had expected.
My teachers and peers possessed a true dedication to learning. This made me love my classwork, but what occurred outside of the classroom is what really amazed me about BCD. It was a community. I remember clearly Mr. Clifford coaching us in the three R’s of soccer (and of life in general): Respect yourself, Respect your opponent, and Respect the game. That really sums it all up for me. Our teachers respected us, we respected each other, and we all respected our school. This respect was plain to see in our theater teacher Mr. Howard.
That year I took part in our production of “The Secret in the Wings,” the most exhausting production I have ever been in. The play was a surreal collage of fairytale vignettes where nearly every actor played at least three characters with up to a dozen costume changes. The lighting booth had the most intimidating set of cues I ever heard of. However, Mr. Howard led us through it. No matter our age or talent, he treated us as equals and gave us the guidance and the liberty to make the play our own. I am now a music teacher, and this above all else is how I aspire to teach.Another of my fondest memories from BCD is of our end-of-the-year trip to China. I was in tenth-grade Social Studies that year, so the tenth-graders and I packed our bags and flew for sixteen hours straight from JFK to Beijing. We walked on the Great Wall, explored the Forbidden City, haggled with peddlers for five-dollar Rolex knock-offs, and quickly learned that actual Chinese food is nothing at all like what we have back home. We each even got to live with a foster family for a week. That above all else illustrated to me the greatest lesson that I took from our trip: no matter how different another person’s culture or traditions might be, we are all really the same when it comes to heart and home.The experience itself, however, is not why this is one of my fondest memories of BCD. Instead, it is that I felt equally comfortable among the tenth-graders as among the students of my own year. While at BCD, I had friends in every grade. There was no segregation by age or sect whatsoever. The whole school was one big clique. Nowhere was this shown to me more than on the day when everyone was asked to come to the dining room for an all-school meeting. There we were told that BCD2S would be closing at the end of the year. Then, one by one, every student and every teacher spoke about what BCD meant to them. I have rarely seen such a wealth of emotion, grief, and actual love as I saw then. Nearly everyone was crying, and all at the loss of a school. It was only my second week, and I had only just begun to make friends among my classmates, but it did not take long after that for me to figure out why our school was loved so much: it was a family.

After leaving BCD many of my schoolmates and I enrolled in Bard College at Simon’s Rock and together we took the plunge into the life of early college. Four years later I graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Performance and Audio Engineering. I also had the privilege of designing my ideal thesis: I created an album. I gathered four of my classmates into a band and together we wrote four original jazz and fusion instrumental songs. I organized the rehearsals, arranged the material, and recorded, mixed, and mastered the album. I also transcribed each composition and wrote a dissertation analyzing their structure and recounting the process of creating the recording. Finally, we performed our compositions in front of a live audience, including my thesis committee.

Now, I am living in my hometown of New Lebanon, NY with my fiancée Amy. We are to be married this July. I work as a Studio Engineer at Muddy Angel Music & Arts in Richmond, MA (the same studio where I recorded my thesis and interned for my major). I also give private music lessons, which is the most rewarding work I have ever done. Finding more students to teach is currently my greatest endeavor. Whatever the instrument, they all speak different dialects of the same language, and teaching the intricacies of that language is my greatest passion. If you have a love for the language of music, either as a complete beginner or as a furthering of your passion, write to me at christopher@muddyangel.com. Whether or not you are seeking a teacher, I would be delighted to give you whatever assistance I can.

If I were to give any advice to the students at BCD today, I would say this: pay attention. There are not many places like BCD in our world, and you will have left sooner than you think. Stop and look. See the camaraderie, respect, and love you have for your friends and your teachers. They are family, and all that really matters is our time with our family. (photo by Jane Feldman, www.janefeldman.com)

By |2018-04-19T09:47:44-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Ethan Flower, BCD Class of 1983

Years and grades at BCD: 1st (1973/74) and 5th thru 9th (1978-83)

What are your fondest memories from BCD?
My fondest memories are hanging out on the second floor in the main building in a small room just by the stairs where I learned to use an Apple II and its floppy disk drives. A few of us used the modem into the phone line to connect to certain mainframe bulletin boards before there was the Internet. I remember owning a few boxes of floppy disks that I held dear to me and protected with my life. This was made possible by the generosity of The Sprague Family, who donated the computer to the school.Where did you go once you left BCD?
Josephine Abady, who ran the Berkshire Theatre Festival at the time where I began working professionally as an actor, suggested I study theatre at The Interlochen Arts Academy (we nicknamed it “Fame in the woods”) at the top of Michigan. Funny that I spent years of my childhood around Interlaken, Massachusetts and then attended a high school in Interlochen, Michigan. I would suggest to anyone aspiring to be an artist of any kind to check it out. The mixture of academia and art is fantastic. I would send my kids there in a heartbeat, if we ever acquire any…After graduating from Interlochen, I was awarded a full scholarship at Carnegie Mellon University to double major in Drama and Musical Theatre in 1986. Now keeping in mind that I go against the grain, I realized that fraternities held nothing for me. My favorite thing about CMU was that they used this form of communication where you could get onto a computer and message a fellow student in a simplified forum of inter-collegiate social networking. You typed a short message to them and it would be instantly sent to a personal virtual inbox stored for future retrieval. The drama course proved to me to be walking backwards, since I did not believe that artists needed degradation to then be built back up again. Artists by nature must be individual and unique. After 4 months I dropped out, left a lot of money on the table as they say, and said goodbye to my friends, the early form of email, and Bridget (my girlfriend from Wisconsin.)

Later that year, after teaching spring skiing at Butternut and landscaping for the summer in Stockbridge, I ended up on an airplane to London. I watched rehearsals at the National Theatre for a play called Entertaining Strangers with Judi Dench, and directed by Sir Peter Hall. I ended up 4 weeks later enrolled in the three-year course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. LAMDA. For a rebellious child I certainly ended up in a lot of Academies. I would watch from behind the stage as Tony Hopkins and Judi Dench played opposite each other in Anthony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre. I learned to be an English theatre actor. I lived there for 6 years, working on the stage.

Where are you living now?
After London, I made my way back to New York and, after a few years, landed in Hollywood. Film and TV is what I really love to focus on.

What are you doing now?
In January I have a project on IFC called The Spoils of Babylon, where I have a fun scene with Tobey Maguire. I also star in a film distributing worldwide called Dragon Day, about a Chinese Cyber-attack that implodes the USA, and the family that tries to survive it. Look for it in 2014 on all the usual Movie channels. Of course it’s already all over the Internet if you know how to get your hands on it. I also have a film coming out sometime in the late 2014/15 called Room 105, where I play opposite Lorraine Nicholson (who is Jack Nicholson’s daughter.) I just shot a TV pilot called Rolling and a TV show is being developed from my film Dragon Day. You never know what happens to these projects, but I hope you get to see my face more and more. Oh, and you may have seen me at your local ATT store over the holidays in a 1950’s throwback commercial. You can keep up to date with my work by liking my official FB page at facebook.com/EthanFlower.Official and at ethanflower.com

What are your plans for the future?
I am getting a little more into producing my own projects so that I have a little more control of the content of my work. So send me your scripts. I will be living and working wherever my craft takes me. Acting sometimes involves traveling but for now my wife and I live happily in the heart of Hollywood.

How do you think your time at BCD influenced the choices you’ve made?
BCD was a great environment in which to grow up. It was filled with thinking outside of the box, so I was able to nurture that side of my personality. I believe that BCD gave me freedom of thought and empowered me to believe I was indeed someone special with a unique personality, someone who had a right to be proud and stand up for my own unique choices.

What about your time at BCD are you most thankful for?
I was very lucky when I was very close to being expelled. I was in eighth grade and a troublemaker by nature, always going against the grain. Although I was of generous spirit, I would often find myself in fistfights. More often than not I felt the harder end of the punch or kick, and would generally give students and teachers a run for their money. Having the last name of Flower in the 70s wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with as a boy. I can’t remember exactly what it was that landed the feather onto the camel’s back, but it was Sir James Fawcett (he should be knighted) who played Akademos and saved me by pleading my case. I am very thankful to him for seeing beyond my rebellious antics, and understanding that I was indeed an intelligent and creative kid. So my olive fields grew protected and I graduated smiling from BCD.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD?
Enjoy and trust in the brilliance of your individuality, even if it gets you a little close to the edge. We are all truly original, and bring good forward momentum and change to the world.Ethan Flower, Class of 1983

By |2018-04-19T09:51:56-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Harrison Newman, BCD Class of 2011

Life is Good!I just spent almost a month in Tanzania, working (and playing soccer) in a remote village at the N’getaeu Secondary School. I traveled with the Safi School Project (Safi means Life is Good in Swahili) a foundation out of Seattle, Washington, that has built this remarkable school over a period of years. How did I end up there?My awareness of the global water crisis, specifically in Africa, came to light when I was a 6th grade student in Mr. Ashworth’s geography class. I was shocked and saddened to learn that clean water was a privilege for some, and not for others. During the process of researching my project, I discovered that 25,000 children die from water bourn illnesses each day, and that it was not unusual for women to walk 8 miles every morning to get clean, drinkable water for their families. I asked, how could this be?The following year, as part of becoming a Bar Mitzvah, I needed to choose my project for Tikkun Olam, the Hebrew phrase for “repairing the world.” No question, it was going to revolve around water. I decided to raise and donate money towards building a well somewhere in Africa. Well, that somewhere, was in Tanzania, because of the Hosokawa family, who are members of the BCD community.Instead of gifts, I asked my friends and family to donate money to The Safi School Project, the foundation that the Hosokawa’s support. It was a start, but not nearly enough to drill a well. Dorree, (currently a 6th grade student) and I did some tabling on the streets of Great Barrington and raised more. USA Rotary and the International Rotary got involved, through the foundation, and this past spring, after three years, the well was built on the school grounds.They say little by little fills the pot. It is really the truth.

This summer, I was invited by Safi to join them on a volunteer trip to see what my efforts have helped to provide. It is one thing to look at a photo and another to actually drink the water and feel it going through my fingers. Amazing.

Now there’s a kitchen, so that the students and staff can have rice and beans for lunch. There are sinks in the chemistry lab, so that they can do real experiments. And all of the people in the village are welcome to walk up the hill and fill their buckets with water. Everything has changed for this community. And everything has changed for me. Safi will remain a part of my life. And so will the people of Tanzania.

I plan on starting a volunteer club at Proctor Academy, where I am now a junior. My goal is to raise money for Safi’s education program.

I sent Mr. Ashworth a facebook message while I was in Africa, letting him know how much he inspired me as a person and as a teacher. My dream is to go back to volunteer again, and climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Who knows, maybe Mr. Ashworth and I will climb it together.

Harrison Newman
BCD class of 2011

Proctor Academy
Class of 2014

www.safischoolproject.org

By |2018-04-19T09:52:56-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Dr. Houston H. Stokes, PhD, BCD Class of 1953

Graduation year 1953 from sixth gradeWhere did you go to school after leaving BCD? I grew up on the AP Stokes place, in “Lake Cottage,” the first house to the south of BCD. I know every inch of the BCD grounds. I started BCD in 1945 in Kindergarten at Clipston Grange on the Lenox School Campus. My parents, William E. D. Stokes, Jr. and Lucia Stokes, were among the handful of families that started the school. Every year, the families and their kids all came together to put together the school. This meant moving boxes, cleaning rooms, etc. Right before my 1st grade year in 1946, I broke my leg and missed 50% of the year. As a result of getting behind, I stayed back in 3rd grade. I went to Lenox School in the 7th grade in the fall of 1953. I skipped 8th grade and graduated from Lenox “on time” in 1958. From 1958-1962, I was at Cornell University and graduated with a BA in Economics in 1962. In the period 1962-1964 I served in the US Navy. In the fall of 1964, I entered the University of Chicago, obtaining an MA in economics in 1966 and a PhD in 1969. Four of my teachers received the Nobel Prize in Economics. In the fall of 1967 I started teaching Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I later became the Department Head for five and a half years and am still on the faculty. I love my job. I stayed in the US Naval Reserve for 22 years and retired in 1984 with the rank of Commander.Where are you living now? My wife Diana and I live in Chicago right across from the Museum of Science and Industry where there are many space capsules. On weekends we go to our house in Sawyer, Michigan. We have two sons. William is 29 and a computer software engineer working on an NIH Grant. He was a BS (2002) and MS (2004) from Cornell University. His wife Melissa is a BS from Cornell University (2002) and PhD (2008) from Rutgers University in Biomedical Engineering. She works for Uni-Solar and they live in Stanton, Michigan. Our other son Houston A. Stokes, 27, graduated from the University of Michigan (with a year at Oxford) in 2004 and Washington & Lee School of Law in 2007. He clerked for a federal judge and is now working in Chicago for Littler Mendelson, in the area of labor law.

What are you doing now (work/family/personal projects)? I plan to continue to teach and do research. My area is econometric software development, International Economics and Applied Econometric Research. I have 94 publications, many of which are on line at www.uic.edu/~hhstokes

How do you think your time at BCD influenced the choices you’ve made? What about your time at BCD are you most thankful for? During my time BCD was a warm place where the teachers really tried to help the student. Students in the upper grades helped those in the lower grades. The classes were small. While in the 5th grade, I was the only boy in the room. This presented no problem. In my 6th grade year, several boys came into the 5th grade. When I graduated in 1953 there were no girls graduating that year and I was the sole graduate of the school!  By far the best teacher I had at BCD was Mr. Cowhig, who taught 5th and 6th grade.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD?  The most important thing is to dream big and never give up. Many small things are happening all around you and only in later years do you see their eventual impact. For example, in my life in 1954 the transistor was developed. In the fall of 1957 I tracked Sputnik on my Ham Radio 6 hours after it went up. In 1962 the US put up John Glenn in orbit around the earth and in 1969, when I obtained my PhD, I saw Armstrong walk on the moon. It was quite a period of which I was excited to be part. The rise of the personal computer has taken scientific research away from the monopoly of the major universities and into the world and has resulted in major gains that can be shared among all people.In my own experience, in the lower grades many of the tasks involved things such as penmanship and spelling and foreign language that are not my strong points. I was not at the top of the class and felt pressure to do better. At Cornell I started in Economics, a very abstract subject that I found both fascinating and at which I excelled. My ability to do abstract work well helped me in statistics and computer programming and in my applied economic research. Memorizing was not needed. (I still have problems with spelling and penmanship but it matters less.) In my opinon one should strive to do what one likes and what one can do well.Student(s) currently at BCD can expect to still be alive in the year 2100. My only regret is that I will not be here to see all the exciting things that they will experience. My life has been wonderful.

By |2018-04-19T09:54:07-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Cornelia ‘Nini’ Brooke Gilder, BCD Class of 1964

BCD was still housed on Walker Street, in an old and historic dwelling, when in the spring of 1961, my sixth grade year, I had one of the most fulfilling learning experiences of my life. Our history class, led by Mrs. Dengler, suspended its fairly cursory progression past pyramids and forums of the ancient world to spend the spring semester on local history. That year Berkshire County was celebrating its bicentennial, and The Berkshire Eagle was filled with stories and photos related to the past. Our school assignments included assembling great clipping files on Herman Melville, Balance Rock, paper mills, lime kilns, iron mines, local fires, and local landmarks. It opened a new world to me! Here was history that explained the buildings, the street names, the natural landmarks around me.Now, I realize this class was the groundwork for everything I have done since then. Later, I majored in history at Vassar with 18 months “reading” history at New Hall, Cambridge University. I then worked for the New York State Historic Preservation Office in Albany and returned to England for graduate work at the Institute for Advanced Architectural Studies in York.For the last 15 years I have been writing and speaking about the wonderful historic buildings of Albany and the Berkshires culminating in several recent books: Houses of the Berkshires with Richard S. Jackson (2006) and Hawthorne’s Lenox with Julia Conklin Peters (2008). With a team that dates back to my days in the New York State Preservation Office, I am the principal contributor to a new book, Architects in Albany (Mt. Ida Press: 2009).
Thirty-some years after my own student days, BCD re-entered my life in the education of two of our children, Richard and Nannina. We still talk of the memorable teachers of their era—the Fawcetts, Geoff Ashworth, Gary Miller, Tim Gore, Steffi Fletcher, and Adrienne Cosel—who set high standards and opened academic and athletic doors for both of them. How fortunate we are in the Berkshires to have this remarkable school!

By |2018-04-19T09:57:04-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Mary Talbot Fee, BCD Class of 1972

Years at BCD: Grade 6 (1969) through Grade 9 (1972)Where did you go to school after leaving BCD? Taconic High School and then on to American University and then San Diego State University for a degree in Modern Dance/Education. I attended graduate school at the University of San Diego and received a degree in Education.What have you been doing since you left BCD? After having an incredibly satisfying stint as a figure skater while at BCD and Taconic High School, I decided to major in Modern Dance in college (first at American University and then at San Diego State University). Later, as an elementary educator, I also taught creative dance for young children, as well as writing and publishing Children Dancing, a step-by-step book with photography on teaching dance to young students. In addition, throughout my late teen and adult years, I have been pursuing jazz vocal music.

Tell us about your love affair with music. My love of music began with the exposure to my mother’s musical and theatrical career in the Berkshires. I was well versed in show tunes, light opera, and choral pieces by the time I started my own pursuit of jazz. I immersed myself in Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn’s styles and learned scores (pun somewhat intentional) of Duke Ellington, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Jerome Kern to name a couple. Recently, I recorded my debut CD called “Midwinter Night’s Dream” which has tunes in French (thank you Mme Grad!), Portuguese, and Italian written by such luminaries as Stevie Wonder, Django Reinhardt, Lennon/McCartney, and Jobim. (Jobim’s “Angela” is a tribute to my mother, Angela, who passed away just after the last recording was completed.)

Did BCD play a role in your love of music? We had a weekly music class that was held in Furey Hall but as I remember it, it was mostly focused on classical music. [Music class] bolstered my knowledge of music but what BCD really did for me was to expose me to more independent and creative thinking, which made me a more well-rounded student and individual. I was immensely enriched by my BCD exposure – the nurturing and stimulating environment – it made me appreciate my creativity and music.

What have you taken away from your years at BCD? I started at BCD in the sixth grade. The experience was quite intimidating at first, coming from a small public elementary school in Richmond. I found that A’s were much more difficult to attain and that the intense caliber of teaching required much more of me. Suddenly, I was taking two languages, learning to read A Tale of Two Cities and delving into the Russian Revolution! It was a humbling experience that set me up for more advanced classes in high school (French 5 by junior year, as well as Honors and Advanced Placement classes), and an interest in life-long learning.I thank Mme. Grad for her persistence in requiring us to correct all of our mistakes and to use the new vocabulary many times to learn them. Mr. Bemis’ demonstrations of scenes from A Tale of Two Cities will be forever imprinted on my brain, and Mrs. Jones’ technique of using a scepter to organize class discussions is something I used as a teacher myself. I loved Mr. Potter’s Latin classes as well as watching him as he carved little wooden animals between classes and, of course, the BCD Fair every year! The stimulation, creative freedom, wonderful teachers and brilliant friends from all over the county were an invaluable experience for me. I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but BCD was the best overall educational experience of my upbringing. The enthusiasm and energy that the staff and teachers kept for the school made for bright, electrified students. I see that now and I see it in photos of the faces of today’s students. BCD raised the bar for me. The influence of my highly driven parents combined with BCD’s can-do environment has made me not afraid to continue to go for my creative dreams, even now.

Where do you currently live? In San Diego, CA. I am married and have one child who is 19 and a musician as well. He is into computer music.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD? Don’t be afraid to change your mind and to try new things. I’ve had a lot of passions and interests in my life and have tried new things as they came along – it’s important to keep your options open and go for the things that interest you.

By |2018-04-19T09:55:16-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Joni Michelle Guerette, BCD Class of 1988

Years and grades at BCD – Entered Nov. 1980, in second grade graduated in 88What are your fondest memories from BCD (events/teachers/trips)?
I loved our ‘fateful’ trip to Cape Cod in seventh grade; we all went to the oceans edge at night with Mrs. Sadighi to see the sand ‘light up’ when we scraped our fingers in the sand as the waves rolled away. Something to do with algae. I also loved our girls’ varsity soccer team and the soccer banquets at the old Lenox House. Working on the yearbook in 9th grade was an eye opener; so much work goes into it. Canoeing and camping on the Housatonic (don’t get wet, PCBs!)was a blast, hot Tang!Where did you go once you left BCD? High School, College, Grad School, travels?
Miss Hall’s School, Pittsfield 1991; Skidmore College, BS, 1995; Lesley College, MEd, 1998.Where are you living now?
Lenox, MAWhat are you doing now (work/family/personal projects)?   Teaching at BCD, I am the B3’s teacher. I have 2 sons, Cameron, 10 in 5th grade at BCD and Trevor,9 in 3rd grade at BCD, this is their first year @ BCD; I am a Den Mother for their Cub Scout Troop. We love to travel and recently went to California and Florida and Cape Cod.What are your plans for the future? To continue teaching at BCD! To spend time with my boys and watch them enjoy their childhood.How do you think your time at BCD influenced the choices you’ve made? BCD taught me to approach situations with an open mind, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover”.

What about your time at BCD are you most thankful for? All of it. We were a little family and really loved each other. I felt save and felt like it was a judgment free zone.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD?   Do your homework! Take time to get to know each other and if you say ‘keep in touch’ you need to take that first step and do it, or you could lose each other. Life is short, enjoy every minute!

By |2018-04-19T09:58:28-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Amanda Rae Busch, BCD Class of 1997

Years and grades at BCD: K-9 (1987-1997)What are your fondest memories from BCD?  Story time with Mrs. Underwood in the library.  Rock-climbing the chimney of the science building during Spring Fair.  Dipping candles and wax hands in Mr. Miller’s shop class every winter, and the first time I used a soldering iron, a chisel, and a pottery wheel.  Constructing projects like a wooden pinball machine and a nightstand.  Crafting Valentines for everyone in the class in Mrs. Rockwell’s art room.  Collecting milkweed and tagging pine trees on nature hikes with Mr. Gore—and the time we found skinny dippers in the brook. Dissecting the owl pellet…and then the frog.

  • Making lemonade for the pizza sales.
  • Classics Day with Mrs. Fawcett. (And those blue ditto sheets!)
  • Slow dancing awkwardly to Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” in the Furey Hall gymnasium.
  • Mr. C clearing the frozen pond for ice skating.
  • Gertrude’s Secrets on our classroom computer in second grade.
  • Telefrancais and Muzzy.
  • Finally finishing the Mad Minute.
  • FIELD DAY.
  • Trying not to laugh while playing the glockenspiel during the holiday recital.
  • The year our class had to chop the onions for Thanksgiving Soup—ow!
  • Bus rides with Mrs. Benner to Indian Mountain and Pine Cobble to play girls’ soccer and lacrosse.
  • And Ski Friday, always the best day of the week.

Where did you go once you left BCD? I went to Taconic High School in Pittsfield before attending the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, from which I graduated in 2004 with a dual degree in Magazine Journalism and Psychology with a minor in French. (Thanks to BCD’s Mme. Zaffanella and our ninth-grade exchange program with students from Lyon!) Second semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, followed by a thirty-day backpacking tour of Europe and a summer internship at the BBC in London with Good Food magazine. The summer after I graduated from college I joined a fledgling Berkshire Living magazine, where I was an editor for seven years until the publication folded in May 2011.

Where are you living now? After my apartment in Pittsfield burned down in May 2011, I set off on a solo journey across the country, and I’ve been chronicling my experiences at AmandaRaeWasHere.com ever since. So far, I’ve visited 30 states, more than 200 cities, and dozens of national parks, museums, monuments, farms, and factories—you name it. I’ve enjoyed an amazing series of new experiences, but the best part has been reconnecting with so many old friends—including a few BCD classmates! I plan to settle somewhere soon, likely out West for a bit.

What are you doing now? I’m currently working on freelance projects, including editing for CULTURE: The Word on Cheese, a niche magazine available at Whole Foods stores across the country, and I’m pitching articles inspired by my travels to various publications. I’ve taken thousands of photographs on my journey, so I’m excited to turn those into something more than just blog posts.

What are your plans for the future? I’m working on a book based on my adventures—the more exciting stuff that never made it to the blog. And while I hope to continue writing professionally, I’m also exploring other creative avenues. I’m passionate about food. I feel at home in the wilderness. After seeing so much of our magnificent country—studying its social history, traversing its vast and varied landscape—I can’t seem to shake the adventuress in me. The future is nothing if not a surprise.

How do you think your time at BCD influenced the choices you’ve made?  I remember the day we learned about similes, alliteration, and onomatopoeia in Mr. Fawcett’s English class and I knew I wanted to become a writer. Mrs. Fletcher’s gentle encouragement and guidance in creative writing and poetry helped me immensely. One year, I won the BCD spelling bee and advanced to the Berkshire Museum—I was so proud! Finally, working on the school yearbook—and in the darkroom—cemented my fascination with packaging words with imagery.

What about your time at BCD are you most thankful for? Mandatory French, Latin, and sports; field trips that exposed us to so many arts, cultures, and regions.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD? Respect your teachers—you probably don’t realize it now, but they are giving you the tools to become well-rounded and confident individuals as you grow up. Also: take advantage of the activities, and try new hobbies often. Be interesting! You’re only bored if you’re boring.

By |2018-04-19T09:59:29-04:00January 12th, 2015|

Doug Altshuler, BCD Class of 1985

Years and grades at BCD: 1981-1985 (Grades 6-9)What are your fondest memories from BCD (events/teachers/trips)?  I cherish the campus and its surrounding forests as well as the close community I experienced at BCD.  Whether playing soccer on a sunny fall afternoon or tromping through the snowy woods on a natural history lesson with our Science teacher, Sandy Whidden, the beauty of BCD’s campus inspired a sense of personal and intellectual discovery.  I also have fond memories of the time I spent with my four closest friends, and of the camaraderie I felt with my classmates as we all prepared to leave BCD.Where did you go once you left BCD?  High School: Northfield Mount Hermon SchoolCollege: University of California, Santa CruzGraduate School (M.Sc.): Purdue UniversityGraduate School (Ph.D.): University of Texas at AustinPostdoctoral Training: California Institute of TechnologySignificant travels: College junior year abroad in India (1990-1991); Master’s research in Panama (1994-1995); Ph.D. research in Peru (1997-2001).

Where are you living now?  Riverside, California.

What are you doing now?  I am an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of California, Riverside.  I live there with my wife, Sylvia and our two sons, Daniel (age 5) and Gabriel (age 2).

What are your plans for the future?  I have accepted a new faculty position in the Department of Zoology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. We will be moving there in July of 2011.

How do you think your time at BCD influenced the choices you’ve made?  I have a crystal clear memory of my English teacher, Jim Fawcett, telling us that he had given each of his children two important gifts – a dictionary and a thesaurus.  I thought about this over the years and it has inspired two beliefs; first, knowledge is something you need to strive for every day, and second, there is a stunning amount of information available as long as you know how to find it.

Another experience that is influential in my daily life occurred in Ned Douglas’ History class.  I was loose with rules in those years and once let a friend copy my homework essay.  Ned caught us because the word “rough” was identically misspelled on both papers.  He met with just the two of us – no parents were called in – and it was the first time I was held personally accountable for my actions as a scholar.  I came to understand that helping someone else cheat devalued my own work and compromised my integrity.  When I am confronted with difficult choices as an adult, I aim to uphold the ideals I learned that day.

What about your time at BCD are you most thankful for?  I am deeply grateful for the intellectual vigor and spirit of inquiry that I experienced at BCD. When I talk about my education with students and colleagues, I always say that it was the best education I received up until an inspiring four years of postdoctoral scholarship at Caltech.

What advice can you offer current students at BCD?  Take full advantage of the outstanding education available at BCD.  Remember that for every fact presented in a textbook, there were years of painstaking scientific experimentation or scholarship.  In all of these cases, the failures outnumbered the successes.  Keep asking how we know what we know.  It’s an important tool for life, and it’s a very important tool if you choose to pursue a career in academics.

By |2018-04-19T09:50:31-04:00January 12th, 2015|