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the pcd participant - Providence Country Day

Issue #02


Accept the Challenge



Living Classroom

On Track with the PCD


The Atlas Preview

And More…



The Participant tells the essential stories of an essential

school. It captures our efforts to deliver an ever-improving

student experience that is always based on the concept

of being involved. The students, faculty, and alumni who

accept that challenge fuel our collective growth as a

school. They represent the strength of our population

that helps us develop innovative programming, improve

facilities, and encourage students to be their best

selves. At the heart of it all is a caring faculty that

genuinely knows its students and presents to them a

vigorous curriculum that connects the classroom to life.

All of this work is undertaken for a single reason: because the education of every

PCD student is important. It is communicated to you for the similar reason that you

are important.

Thank you for your role in PCD life.

At Your Fingertips



If it’s about PCD you’ll find it here: on the

school’s new website that takes advantage

of the most advanced technologies to put

everything PCD at your fingertips. We take our

commitment to good communication seriously

so was designed from

the ground up to provide a critical link between all

members of our community. From searchable secure

data bases and instant access to all our social

network sites, to online forms, galleries galore,

big picture news stories and customizable alerts,

the new PCD website is at your service. We invite you

to comment on blogs of interest so you know what

we’re doing and we know what you’re thinking.

02 THE PCD PARTICIPANT Issue #2 summer 2013

Shaking Up the Day



Armed with research from experts on education and

adolescent psychology, a team of PCD faculty examined our

work and community habits to evaluate how we spend our

time. The result of our inquiry was the introduction of The Atlas—

a new rotating schedule that will enhance the student learning

experience on many levels. The schedule’s built-in flexibility will

create a more efficient workflow, the opportunity for students to

perform during individual peak times, and a regular block when the

school can gather in its entirety to participate in unique off-campus

activities without

sacrificing valuable

classroom time.

An extended

teaching period

at the start of

each day will

support greater

variety of

instruction to

help make the

vital connections

between theory

and practice.

The Atlas will go into

effect on the first day

of school in

September 2013.

The Write Stuff



Critically acclaimed author Ann Hood talked books

with PCD middle schoolers in April. Best known for her

bestseller The Knitting Circle and the award winning Comfort:

A Journey Through Grief, Ms. Hood has recently earned a

reputation as the compelling author of the middle reader

adventure series The Treasure Chest.

Hood told her captive audience that she knew she wanted

to be a writer since she was in grade school. She also knew

she needed to have some adventures that could inform her

writing, and she described how, as a TWA flight attendant, she

wrote her first novel while the passengers were sleeping. All

the students were excited to talk with the author about the

books they had read. One student left the room saying, “It

makes me want to go write a book.”

Little House in the Big Woods




Thanks to a grant from the Champlin

Foundations, PCD’s natural resources

allow students to be more resourceful

than ever. Treating the outdoors as “a new

resource we never had,” last year Mary Frances

Hanover set about transforming PCD’s 10 acres

of woodland and wetlands into a real outdoor

classroom. As head of the Environmental

Education Action Group, Hanover helped secure

a grant to support the expansion of our Living

Classroom, blaze trails, build an outdoor pavilion,

and enhance the campus’s role as an outdoor

educational facility. Head of School Vince

Watchorn noted, “PCD’s curriculum has always

supported many areas of outdoor education,

but this recent initiative to unify the program’s

disparate parts has resulted in a unique

multi-disciplinary facility that fully takes

advantage of what’s already here.”


A Perfect Match



Last fall when students returned to campus they were greeted by a beautifully renovated

Lund Hall. This summer, thanks to a match by the Murray Family and gifts from over 80 donors, students

will find their learning and gathering spaces enhanced once again. The renovations were the special

project of the Class of 2013 senior gift and, together with a successful fund-a-need auction at the Play

for PCD event, the 50% needed to secure the Murray match was raised. As a result, the campus is

bustling with construction this summer—as the upper school commons, Shurman Center, and Chace

Dining Hall undergo transformations that will improve the quality of life at PCD. “Not only do these kinds

of projects tell kids “You matter!” said Head of School Vince Watchorn; “they also provide the kinds of

spaces that invite discussion and foster important community connections.”

A Roof of One’s Own



Helping others is a way of life at PCD. Whether it’s helping a fellow

student who is trying to grasp a math problem or a stranger who needs a home, PCD students understand the importance

of service. PCD was the first high school in Rhode Island to establish a Habitat for Humanity chapter and has been a consistent source of

support ever since—both fundraising and roof-raising. After reaching a high water mark in funds for the organization that provides affordable

housing for those in need, the PCD chapter committed to donating $10,500 over three years. This spring PCD fulfilled its pledge with the final

$3,000 gift. At a time when funds are needed more than ever, the PCD gift will help purchase critical supplies for new home build sites.

Head to Head



Less than two years

into his tenure at PCD,

Vince Watchorn has

been recognized as a

talented and successful

Head of School by the

National Association for

Independent Schools (NAIS).

NAIS hosts an annual

Institute for New Heads

(INH), which recently added

Watchorn to its faculty.

Mr. Watchorn’s association with the INH started in 2011,

just as he was transitioning into his new job as the Head of School

at PCD. As a participant, he appreciated the opportunity to step back

and think planfully about the journey ahead. “Your career prepares

you,” he said, “but having a chance to reflect with peers and mentors

just as you begin a new chapter is important.” The Institute invited

Watchorn to return the following summer to share his first year

experiences with the new class of first time heads, after which he

was asked to join the faculty on a permanent basis.

Chart Your Course



PCD has launched The Compass—a program administered

by the college counseling office—to help ensure that the

college search process is not the first time students

think deliberately about who they are and where they

see themselves going. As a college-prep school, PCD

prepares students for their educational next steps in and

out of the classroom—through

lessons in algebra and

literature, pottery and jazz,

fitness and sportsmanship,

leadership and participation.

Students are prepared to

embrace the academic,

social, and emotional

challenges that come

with higher education and,

ultimately, life beyond school.

Blending activities that are already

part of the PCD Upper School experience with new grade

level-specific inquiries, The Compass will ask all students to

think intentionally about their strengths and aspirations

as they progress through the Upper School.

04 THE PCD PARTICIPANT Issue #2 summer 2013

All About Alumni

Color My World

Welcome to the alumni section of the Participant, where

you’ll find updates from PCD grads and those connected

to them. The Alumni Association has been busy—developing more

ways than ever for alumni to connect to PCD. We are pleased to

welcome Meredith Sondler Bazar ’02 as the Association’s new VP.

She, along with President Pat DeSocio ’95 and other active members

of the Association, launched several key initiatives this year:

Alumni Survey – coming

soon to your in box— to help

us create the programs

and events that interest you

the most.

Class Representative

Network – a vital link

between you and PCD.

Social Media &

Communications Review –

making sure we find you

at your favorite social media

site, with the information

you want to know.

Please send questions and

updates to Joe Cheeseman,

at cheeseman@providence

Artist Megan Seiter’s ’04 exquisite colored pencil

drawings were recently featured in Drawing Magazine.

Her meticulously rendered still lifes have quickly earned her

a reputation for a “signature style and passion,” clearly the

result of commitment and hard work. “If you want to be an

artist,” she said, “you have no choice but to be driven. …I’m

learning to be my own boss and accept disappointment when

a piece isn’t juried into an exhibition or awarded a prize.” Seiter

took her first art classes at PCD and earned her BFA from the

Maryland Institute College of Art.

Knights Night


Despite attending

PCD 55 years apart,

Terry Murray ’58 and

Marquis Harper ’13

have a lot in common.

Both are proud PCD

Knights, were stars on

the football team, and

were recognized May 6

by the Rhode Island

Football Foundation—

as much for character

off the field as for

performance on it.

Harper was selected to Rhode Island’s Golden Dozen, which

honors both academic and athletic excellence. Harper is the first

all-state football player in PCD history, having led the State in

points scored this season.

A veteran offshore yacht racer, Dan Alonso ’80 never

imagined the adventure he was in for when he set off for

Bermuda in the East Coast’s biggest short-handed yacht

race. Sailing solo in high winds and seas, Alonso was excited

for the conditions that might have given him a chance of winning

the coveted prize. But 250 miles from Bermuda Alonso received

a call “for assistance.” Torn for a split second on how to proceed

(with his eye still on the prize), Alonso made the only choice he

could—abandon the race and help his fellow competitor in need.

A new race ensued—this one against the setting sun, and the

clock that was ticking for the sailor in distress. Alonso’s heroic

rescue may have cost him the race but it yielded a prize of far

greater value. Read Alonso’s harrowing account at

Murray received the Distinguished American Award for

the positive impact he has had in the Rhode Island business

community and throughout the US. According to the Foundation,

“His distinguished career has brought recognition and honor to

the State of Rhode Island.” Murray is a former CEO of Fleet Bank.




PCD living legend

Tom Ossman has

worked at PCD

for half the life

of the school—

a remarkable

45 years.

Math teacher,

former coach,

and landscaper


Ossman has

positively impacted

hundreds upon

hundreds of

students during

his tenure here, and

Head of School

Vince Watchorn

honored his milestone at the all-school awards assembly June 7.

To a standing ovation from students, parents, faculty, and staff,

Mr. Ossman received a “new” office chair—a seat from the old

Yankee Stadium. The gift clearly meant a lot to the diehard Yankees

fan, and also to everyone in the audience, whose cheers confirmed

that, even in the heart of Red Sox nation, this was the perfect tribute.

Within minutes of posting the news on Facebook, over 150 former

students echoed the sentiment.

Betsy West, daughter of beloved former PCD Headmaster

Evan R. West (1965-1985), and lifetime friend of the

school, is an associate professor at the Columbia

Graduate School of Journalism, and an award-winning

producer in her spare time. Her most recent project was

as executive producer of Makers: Women Who Make America,

an online video archive and PBS documentary about the

women’s movement, which aired nationwide in February 2013.

Over her 30-yearcareer

in broadcast

media, West has

served as a field

producer for ABC on

Nightline and was


producer of Turning

Point, which earned

her 21 Emmy

Awards. As a senior

vice president at

CBS News, West

Betsy West on the Makers set with Lynn Povich,

the first female senior editor at Newsweek.

oversaw 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, and was executive-in-charge of

the Primetime Emmy-winning documentary 9/11. Continuing to

bring pressing issues to the fore, West is currently producing The

Lavender Scare, a documentary about the origins of the gay

rights movement. Visit Makers online at

Alumnus Graduates—Finally!

Almost 34 years after his first day at PCD,

Terry Murray ’85 received his diploma. Murray

delivered the invocation at PCD’s Commencement

on June 12, after which he sat down, only to

hear what sounded like his own introduction.

“He arrived here in the fall of 1979 for his seventh

grade year,” said Head of School Vince Watchorn.

“...He graduated from boarding school in 1985, went

to Harvard, and then…funny thing…he stayed loyal

to PCD.” Watchorn spoke about Murray’s lifelong

connection to the school he called home for only

three years as a student, and ever since as an

alumnus. “And yet, this alumnus is not a graduate,”

Watchorn said. “Until today.” No one was more

surprised than Murray to be honored with a PCD

diploma, and have a chance to celebrate his own

lifelong ties to the Red & Black.

06 THE PCD PARTICIPANT Issue #2 summer 2013

College Corner

Regular NPR listeners

know the program “This

I Believe,” in which

selected essays are read

by the authors on air,

expressing a perspective

worthy of broadcast on

both “Morning Edition” and

“All Things Considered.”

The short audio essays—

which are modeled after Edward

R. Murrow’s radio segment

of the same name from the

1950s—are a popular weekly feature. Rachel Wasser ’15

read her essay “Ukulele Power” on the program last November,

and this June, PCD Director of College Counseling Terry Ward

was selected to share excerpts from his op-ed that was featured

in the Providence Journal in May. In his sonorous baritone,

Mr. Ward reminds students (and all of us) to keep events in

perspective. The recorded essay can be heard online at The full op-ed

can be read at

Making Movies

PCD’s first promotional video was hot on YouTube during


the winter’s coldest months. Accept the Challenge shows

an intimate view of PCD life and set the stage for a series of

shorter vignettes to follow. See Things Differently and Get Your

Hands Dirty take fresh looks at what it means for PCD students

to be totally engaged—both in and out of the classroom. During

the final springtime shoot, filmmaker Michael Lines enlisted the

help of students in every corner of campus to capture on film

what we all experience every day. Stay tuned as the last three

films are released beginning in September. Click on the Accept

the Challenge button on our homepage to take a look.

Swinging with Lincoln Center

Eight PCD musicians had the rare opportunity to attend

master classes with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in

January, as part of an invitation only event sponsored by the

First Works arts-learning residency program. PCD’s daily

schedule includes instrumental practice and lessons at the RI

Philharmonic across the street, and some of the State’s top high

school musicians have come to PCD to avail themselves of the

unique resources. So it is no surprise that they were invited to study

with a handful of the world’s jazz greats. The culmination of the

week-long First Works program was a performance by renowned

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the

Veteran’s Auditorium. A highlight for PCD fans was the opening act:

four members of the PCD Jazz Ensemble!


After Hours


After learning that

her town library was in

danger of losing funding,

Dean of the Middle School

Sharon Hanover decided

to take action. Loss of

funding would mean the

loss of state certification

and fewer open hours. “I really

do value libraries; I think

they’re a reflection of the town

and where its values are,”

Mrs. Hanover said. Not one to

stand on the sidelines, she ran

for town library board and won. Campaigning and serving on the

board have been more work than she expected, but definitely worth

the effort. The town restored the funding, and Mrs. Hanover

learned firsthand both the challenges and rewards of

local government.


English and Latin Teacher Jane Kaufman and Science

Teacher Klaus Amburn will be broadening their horizons

this summer as recipients of EE Ford Faculty Travel Grants.

In administering the grants, PCD encourages

teachers to follow individual passions

(classroom related or not), knowing that

the experiences will not only offer personal

growth, but also enhance teaching with

fresh perspectives. Amburn and his family

will stay on a farm in Austria and hike the

region that, as a child, helped frame his own

life view. Kaufman’s plans were also inspired

by childhood memories. Recalling how her

life as a Classicist began during a family

vacation in Greece, Kaufman said she

was “thunderstruck by the sensory and

intellectual environment.” Kaufman and

her husband will fulfill a lifelong dream to

explore the Roman ruins in Provence.

In My Opinion — What’s New?

Lola Rael (7th grade)

Peter Shang (sophomore)

Imara White (junior)

Nick Pearson (senior)

“Growing up I lived in Maine and

went to school there, so coming

to PCD has been a big change.

One of the biggest differences

is that I never played team sports

before. Last year I took karate

and did a lot of rock climbing

during the summer. This year

I played lacrosse, soccer, and

basketball. I was really nervous

at the beginning. There is

pressure to be better because

it’s not just about me. I have to

help and support the whole

team. But it’s gotten easier as

I have gotten better, and if I

wasn’t part of a team I’d miss

getting to know my new friends

from 6th to 8th grade.”

“They don’t really have baseball

in China (where I’m from), so

I just felt like trying it. I started

from nothing—I didn’t know how

to throw or catch balls. So

I practiced and the coaches

taught me. They were really

patient with me every day during

practice. I became better and

better and after two weeks of

practice I got into a game. In my

second game I hit the ball and

got to first base, and I came

around to score later. Everyone

cheered for me! The best part is

that during the game everybody

helps each other. Baseball

takes a whole team and really

good communication.”

“I hadn’t been in a play since

first grade, and wasn’t going

to try out here. But some friends

on the Cross Country team did,

and being new to PCD, I thought

it might be a good way to get to

know them better. Tryouts were

nerve-wracking, not knowing

anything about Mr. V. or his

style, but I got a part in

The Crucible! As production

week came around things

started getting crazy—trying to

pull everything together. The

night the show went up everyone

was really nervous. I guess

I thought everyone in a play

would be a drama queen, but

everyone turned out to be

really supportive; it was an

amazing experience.”

“I took honors biology this

year—my first honors level

class at PCD. Last year as my

schoolwork got stronger my

chemistry teacher thought

it would be a good idea to

challenge me with an honors

course my junior year. My

favorite part was definitely

dissections, which I had never

done before. I loved that it was

hands on, and I could look inside

the animals I see all the time

to understand how everything

works. There was a lot more

work and it was much more

independent. But that helped

with other classes too. I learned

about bio, but also about

preparing better for class and

developing better study habits.”



Accept the Challenge

First Class Presort

US Postage


Providence, RI

Permit No. 537

The Providence Country Day School

660 Waterman Avenue

East Providence, RI 02914-1724


October 18

Reunion Dinner

October 19

Chowder Day

October 26

Admissions Open House

November 7

New York Alumni Reception

January 8, 2014

Young Alumni Reception at PCD (classes ’10-’13)



to make a gift online.


Visit to follow our blog.

A Lasting Legacy


The PCD community lost a dear friend in February—a friend

whose lifetime of service will continue to make a difference

in perpetuity. Alice R. Chace, mother of Nate Chace ’58, died in

February at age 101, after an inspired career in social services and

community involvement. Together, with her husband Raymond,

Mrs. Chace established an endowed fund at PCD in 1996, with the

purpose of supporting faculty salaries, and in the hopes that other

PCD families would join their initiative. The Chace family chose to

express their gratitude for PCD faculty with a $135,000 bequest,

the interest of which will now benefit faculty each year. As a result,

Mrs. Chace’s commitment to education and PCD will continue to

positively affect the lives of PCD students for generations to come.

We are profoundly grateful for the Chace’s generosity.

To learn more about how you can include PCD in your estate

plans through The Gerald B. Woodruff Society for Planned Giving

or to give to the Raymond H. and Alice R. Chace Fund please

contact Joe Cheeseman at 401-438-5170 X120 or

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