W+H Media Mashup
The Head's Vantage
One thing for sure that has remained consistent is The Wardlaw+Hartridge School and its approach to creating a safe learning environment and following the best safety protocols. The school’s steadfast and conscientious approach to safeguarding the students, parents, faculty and staff and its continued commitment to in-person learning have been unwavering.
A Mindful Moment from the Middle
College Counseling Blog
Most people who work in education agree that the breaks from school pass very quickly. Too quickly. After two-plus months of winter, albeit a mild and somewhat uneventful one by New Jersey weather standards, yet another Spring Break has flown by and ushered in the final flurry of events in the 2022-2023 school year.
In just over two months, when that same recent span of winter school time has passed, our seniors in the Class of 2023 will be graduating from The Wardlaw+Hartridge School. Our 140th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, June 9, and the constant buzz of activity will make that day arrive more quickly than it would during a recess from school.
While there are many more events and activities that could be mentioned, I will highlight my selections for the top 10, in no particular ranking order but listed chronologically, on the upcoming school calendar. Please refer to the school website calendar here for times and locations.
Spring Music Recital (April 16) – This annual event showcases many of our finest and most talented instrumental and vocal performers. It’s now open to students in grades 4-12 and the audience is often surprised by the talent level of musicians of all ages.
Upper School Capstone (April 18-19) – Under the guidance of humanities teacher Mr. Jason Murphy, our seniors share thought-provoking presentations on a variety of global impact topics. This scholarly level of research is one of the many ways W+H prepares its students for the future.
WHPA Spring Gala (April 29) – Our dedicated Parents’ Association hosts its signature “fun” raiser, a wonderful, festive evening for the W+H community of parents, faculty, alumni and friends. This year’s red carpet theme will have guests dressed to impress.
Jim Howard Golf Classic (May 16) – Returning for the second straight year after a long hiatus, this community event is now named for the legendary W+H golf coach. The golf outing was a big hit with parents and alumni last year and this year’s early buzz signals continued growth.
Indie Film Festival and Art Show (May 19) – Students display their creativity and artistic ability in different forms, beyond filmmaking as this event now includes a celebration of the visual arts. Dressed in formal attire, the students will again enjoy a mocktail hour and red carpet walk to the Berry Performing Arts Center.
Cookin’ Cabaret (May 25) – This annual treat has brought down the house in a variety of locations over the years including the amphitheater and AP Room, but has now been moved to our beautiful Berry Performing Arts Center. The high quality of our performing artists will make this year’s show another classic.
Middle School Shakespeare Festival (May 26) – This long-standing tradition, appropriately staged both indoors and outdoors last year, includes participation from all sixth, seventh and eighth graders. They all play a role in the staging of these performances.
Lower School Field Day (May 26) – There are few things more precious than watching children at play, and this wonderful tradition brings the community together. Under the leadership of Mr. Lee Nicholls and his physical education staff, the young students, their parents and teachers enjoy the camaraderie and spirit of this event every year.
Rams Recognition Night (May 31) – There will be much to celebrate in the world of W+H athletics at this year-ending event, where Upper School teams and their individual athletes and coaches are honored for their achievements. New athletic director Mike Romeo will host his first RRN and is likely to add a few new features.
Senior Farewell Dinner (June 5) – Held annually on the Monday evening before Commencement, this event features performances, speeches and toasts by our seniors, who also receive awards for excellence in academics, athletics, the arts and service. The retrospective video at the conclusion always brings laughs and a few tears.
As we return to school from Winter Break in the first week of January, young alumni often visit to attend events or just say hello to their former teachers. The pandemic made those little reunions a bit more difficult the past two years and our traditional events became either virtual or canceled. It was wonderful to return to the usual in-person format for the young alumni college panel discussions for parents and students and also to host the annual young alumni pizza party and basketball game and reception again after a two-year hiatus.
As I listened to the young alumni panelists talk about their W+H experiences and transition to their respective colleges and universities, I found myself reflecting on my own journey from W+H graduate to college student nearly four decades ago. It’s also interesting that I have something in common beyond just a W+H diploma with all five of this year’s young alumni panelists.
Ariana Di Landro ’21 and Rose Kassam ’22, who attend Princeton and Boston University, respectively, both wrote and edited for the Beacon student newspaper during their Upper School years. I was a Beacon writer and later served as sports editor for two years in the early 1980s. Rose even gave me a shoutout as her Beacon advisor during the panel discussion with parents in the Oakwood Room. Izabel Korycki ’22, now a freshman at Rutgers, played varsity soccer with Ariana during their high school years. I played for longtime coach and W+H Hall of Famer Howard Freeman back in the day. Ramon Gonzalez ’22, a current freshman at Columbia, was a catcher on the baseball team last year. I once wore the tools of ignorance for the Rams in both Middle and Upper School. Calum Huang ’22, a Villanova freshman, continues to be active in video production and backstage work after honing his skills in the Berry Performing Arts Center. The equipment wasn’t nearly as impressive when I recorded events as a member of the school’s Audio Visual Club in the 1980s.
Why are these coincidental facts important or relevant? They prove once again that Wardlaw+Hartridge continues to provide countless opportunities for connection and leadership, even across the decades. I know I felt prepared for college when I headed to the University of Notre Dame in 1983, much like last week’s young alumni shared with our parents and students. Although last week’s young alumni panelists attended W+H many years later, we have similar experiences that will keep us connected.
still have fond memories of attending Fall Fair and Homecoming Day as a student back in the 1970s and 1980s. Playing soccer in the morning or afternoon, running around and having fun with friends after the game, and enjoying various culinary delights and snacks made those great days to be a Ram.
Four-plus decades later, the 2022 version of the annual autumn event brought back memories of the past. While the campus has changed and the members of the community are different from my generation as a student, it felt like old home week. For starters, we welcomed the graduates from the 1972 classes at Wardlaw Country Day School and The Hartridge School for the celebration of their 50th reunion. Meeting most of these alumni/ae for the first time was a privilege and a pleasure. Hearing the old stories and witnessing the warmth of their reconnection made me look forward to my own 40th reunion next year.
Later in the day, we hosted our first Alumni Awards Ceremony and Reception since 2019. During my 14 years working at W+H, this has become my favorite event. I didn’t realize until Saturday how much I had missed this event during the COVID-induced hiatus. This year’s ceremony honored four old-time alumni/ae who epitomize the school’s proud heritage and tradition of excellence.
Congratulations again to Missy VanBuren-Brown ’72, who received the Distinguished Alumna Award. Missy, one of our most active and dedicated alumnae, rallied her Hartridge classmates for this special reunion weekend. It was wonderful to see her classmates and friends celebrate the award with Missy. Longtime Board of Trustees president and Emeritus Trustee Joe Bonk, parent of alumni Joseph ’94, Bryan ’98 and Chris ’02, delivered a fine introduction for Missy.
The W+H Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2022 ranks as one of our finest to date. We began with the induction of Carole Horne Boyd ’69, daughter of former headmaster Prentice Horne. Carole was a three-sport standout who reflected on her years at Hartridge. I enjoyed catching up with her at the reception and shared some personal memories of Mr. Horne, who was the headmaster during most of my time at W+H. Beverly Baier Keur ’73, a W+H Hall of Famer, made a wonderful introduction on behalf of an athlete she admired in her school years and also today.
Next up was Roxane Brown-Campello ’79, arguably one of the most accomplished student athletes in school history. Roxane did it all, and her presenter, classmate Mitch Reider ’79, provided ample testimony. Roxane accumulated 15 varsity letters as a standout in field hockey, gymnastics, basketball and lacrosse. I was in eighth grade during Roxane’s senior year and still remember what an all-around star she was on this campus.
Last, but certainly not least, we inducted Matt Albano ’81 to the AHOF. Matt excelled in wrestling but was also a captain and leader on the soccer team and record-setting distance runner in track and field. Classmate Rob Berg '81 provided a respectful yet humorous introduction of his close friend and teammate. Matt graduated two years before I did so I rarely competed with him at W+H but enjoyed the chance to play intramural sports with him at the University of Notre Dame. We lived in the same residence hall, mostly because our beloved history teacher Doc Rud also lived there during his ND years, and we connected for a game-winning touchdown in a flag football playoff game back in 1984. Matt outran a defender, which is no surprise, and I fired a bullet for the decisive score on the last play of the game. The movie Rudy was not inspired by this play!
Celebrating with all of these folks, along with former teachers like Link Keur, Jim Howard and Doc, was a nostalgic experience to say the least. During my congratulatory remarks for Roxane, I mentioned that her mom, Helen Brown, was my first history teacher at W+H way back in seventh grade. Doc taught AP US History and was my last history teacher before college. Link and Jim taught math and coached me in a variety of sports.
I’ll never make the W+H Hall of Fame, but it sure was a pleasure to walk down memory lane with some of the finest people this school has ever known.
Welcome to W+H Media! Connect with us through our social media channels, watch school videos, read our fantastic faculty blogs and catch up on all the lastest school news and headlines.