A Note from the Head of School
Phil Cocchiola and John Pritzker '71
Over my nineteen years here at the Academy, certain questions are posed year after year: What happens to our young men after they graduate from The Oxford Academy.Who are they? What do they do? Are they successful in college and beyond?
I suppose the easiest way to answer the question is with concrete examples.After all, I am guessing you already know that our boys have a 100% acceptance rate in an incredibly diverse and impressive list of colleges and university ( hyperlink List) in addition to receiving generous scholarships every year.So let’s talk about what you don’t know.
Let’s start with Gary Jawish ‘50. Did you know that in 1960 Jawish won the Eastern (New York) golden gloves championship and lost the Golden Gloves final to Cassius Clay (Muhammed Ali.) Because of that fight Ali went to Olympics. If you are going to lose, I suppose losing to one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport isn’t too bad.
Or perhaps you have heard of Jonathan Kovler ‘64 who was the former General Manager of the Chicago Bulls from 1976-78 and former part owner of the Bulls. He is currently the President of the Kovler Family Foundation.
Let’s stay in Chicago for a second and talk about John Pritzker ‘71. Have you ever stayed in a Hyatt hotel? John is a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry. His family is known for owning and operating Hyatt hotels, but John has his own business- Geolo Capital, in San Francisco and is owner of Joie de Vivre Hotels and Thompson Hotels. In 1988 he was a founding member of Ticketmaster. In addition, he works with the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund, and is an executive council member of the University of California at San Francisco and the Bernard Osher Foundation.
Let’s go a little farther west and talk about Michael Hammer ‘72. Michael is an American philanthropist and businessman. He is the son of Julian Armand Hammer ’47 and the grandson of industrialist Armand Hammer. Best known for his ties to Occidental Petroleum, the company of his late grandfather, Hammer oversees the Hammer International Foundation, the Armand Hammer Foundation, and owns numerous businesses that include Hammer Galleries, and Hammer Productions, a television and film production company located in Los Angeles, California. He is the father of actor Armie Hammer and Viktor Hammer a businessman and philanthropist.
While we are in California and enjoying some beautiful sun and water, perhaps we should dive deeper with Fabien Cousteau ‘86 who is a renown aquanaut, ocean conservationist, and documentary filmmaker. Grandson of Jacques Cousteau, there is a Ted talk he gave, “What I learned from spending 31 days underwater” that everyone should watch.
Coming back to the east coast, if you have been following politics for a while, then you are certainly familiar with Robert Allbritton ’87. Robert is the owner and founder of Capitol News Company, the parent company of Capitol Hill political newspaper and website Politico. Robert is also a former trustee of Oxford.
If politics isn’t your thing perhaps you are interested in the fashion world. Moises De La Renta ’03. After graduating Oxford, under the direction of his iconic father, Oscar de la Renta, Moises launched his MDLR fashion line and continues to have success as one of the top designers in the world. Most recently former first lady, Michelle Obama wore his designs.
Speaking about former president Obama, let’s segway back to politics and talk about Lachlan Markay ‘05.Lachlan is currently a White House reporter at The Daily Beast. He was a former staff writer at The Washington Free Beacon and Investigative Reporter at The Heritage Foundation. Any questions for President Trump?
Lastly, as we approach the finish line, let’s talk about Felix Serralles ‘09 an up and coming race car driver. After gathering two second-place finishes in the Caribbean Karting Championship, Serrallés joined the Skip Barber National Championship and finished third. Afterwards, he was recruited by Fortec Motorsport and moved to Europe, where he debuted in the Formula Renault. By 2012, Serrallés had fully adapted to formula racing, remaining in the run for the British Formula 3 Championship until the final race of the season and eventually finishing third. After being sidelined by a back injury for most of 2013, he joined Team West-Tec for the 2014 season of the Championship. Young Felix recently signed with Carlin for the 2016 Indy Lights.
The list goes on and on and so could I. Oxford graduates are titans of industry. They are successful entrepreneurs, businessman, doctors, lawyers, and fathers. They are journalists, politicians, athletes, and volunteers. They are actors, missionaries, and philanthropists. Simply put they are people that shape the world around us, every day and make it better.
I am proud of each and every one of them.And perhaps the best part of my role here at Oxford is when they call me to thank Oxford for helping them achieve where they are today.And as I look out into the next generation of Oxford graduates, I am excited to see what they do next.
Fall 2017 Parents' Weekend
Friday night, October 13th, a lively reception was held in the rotunda of Knight Hall where all the parents were able to meet and talk to each other and faculty and staff in a relaxed, informal setting.Saturday morning, October 14th, after checking in, parents met with their sons’ teachers and got to ask questions about their progress at Oxford.If they had any downtime, parents could visit with each other in the Brainerd Room over coffee and pastries.At the end of the teacher sessions there was a presentation in the athletic center by Head of School Cocchiola followed by a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Dave in the Opatrny Dining Hall.Afterward everyone went to the athletic field where Oxford emerged victorious over Block Island in a great soccer game.
NYC Alumni Gathering
From left: Edward Hargrave '14, Head of School Phil Cocchiola, Justin York '05, Stefan Thompson '05, John Fillippelli '06, Faisal Al Sudairy '11, Frank Ball '11
On Tuesday, December 5, Mr. Cocchiola, Ms. Asselin, Mrs. Zimmermann, Ms. Massey and Ms. Waldron took the train into New York City and met with alumni, parents and friends of Oxford at The East Wing on the Upper East Side. With great food and drink the group of about twenty people chatted and reminisced about Oxford.Head of School Cocchiola brought everyone up to date on the changes that have been made to the campus and the proposed changes that will come from the Beyond the Building Campaign.All had a great time and everyone wants to repeat it again soon!Our next stop will be in Boston in the spring.Be on the lookout for those details shortly. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared stories.Oxford is alive and well represented in New York City!
New Innovation Lab
The Innovation Lab has officially opened. To celebrate the opening, Oxford participated in a Grand Prix contest, which consisted of making balloon powered cars. Students and faculty were given a bag full of supplies to build their cars, as well as the option to use the 3D printer to build something to put on the cars. The project lead to a lot of creativity and tweaking by all. The grand prize winning group was Mr. Maragliano, Max B. '18 and Gresham H. '19. They each won a $15 gift card to Amazon, a dress down day and a 3D trophy. The runners up were Mr. Sahl, Livingston F. '18, and Zack T. '20. Their group won a $15 gift card to Westbrook Coffee House.
Students prepare to race their ballon-powered cars in Oxford's first Grand Prix Contest
The opening of the Innovation Lab offers an interactive area for both students and faculty to work in. In addition to the 3D printer, there is an Arduino kit, a Raspberry Pi kit, a Makey Makey kit, and a Chibitronics kit. There is also a brand new storage bin full of additional supplies. This area allows the school a place to make and create projects; as well as having the opportunity to learn more about how technology works.
Oxford Nation: Building a Culture of Giving
Members of Oxford Nation delivers gifts to a deserving family during the holidays
The philanthropic club of Oxford Academy, Oxford Nation, meets weekly with faculty advisors Jill Vaughn and Geoff Cartier and students discuss different causes they would like to support, select one and then inform the school body about the charity. The fundraisers are usually on Fridays where students and faculty can wear informal attire for $1 and sometimes there is an additional special basket raffle.During the current school year (September 2017 through January 2018) Oxford Nation successfully raised a total of $658 for the following groups:Westbrook Youth and Family Services, Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation, Unidosporpuertorico, All Hands Volunteers, Tipping Point, Fresh Start Kitchen, Town of Westbrook Heating Fuel Fund, and Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation.
In addition, the student body shops for Christmas presents for five children in two families through Westbrook Youth and Family Services and have done so for the past several years. Oxford's generous spirit was recognized by Jacqueline Ward of Westbrook Youth and Family Services saying “So much to thank you for! You made several families very happy with your generosity and expression of kindness.The piles of donated clothes (and coats) quickly shrunk to just a few items.”
At Parents’ Weekend in May, families can sponsor their sons at a Bowl-a-thon organized by Oxford Nation that will have all the proceeds go to charities that the Oxford Community votes on.
Oxford is proud of this club and the entire student body for supporting such a wide variety of causes and broadening the perspective of the entire Oxford Community!
Lind Hall Lounge
There are several campus improvements that took place at Oxford during the summer of 2017 thanks to some wonderful donors. Renovations done to Lind Hall included new wood floors, light fixtures, painting and new common area furniture and an updated kitchenette and have given the students and faculty who reside there a bright, new sparkling space. Later during the summer, there were upgrades made to Foster Pond that include a new walking path around it.
Corbett and John Storyk '09 donated and constructed a deck around the Sugar Shack.
Finally, thanks to the hard work and efforts of John and Corbett Storyk, class of 2009, the Sugar Shack has a beautiful, brand new deck!
We are honored to have the continued support of our alumni families and friends. Thank you all!
Winter 2018 Class Notes
Class of 1960
Head of School Cocchiola met with Bill Daniel on a recent trip to Alabama and got caught up on all his family news and more importantly discuss football!
Class of 1964
Scotty Anderson continues to stay in touch with us from Hawaii. Here he is with his wife, Karin, and his “animal house” of dogs and cats. They made it to Alaska last year.
Class of 1999
Dave Pethigal stopped by campus in November and was amazed at all the changes in the facilities and culture.He loved catching up with Chef Dave too.He has two daughters, 6 and 3.He hopes his business will allow him to stop by campus more often now that they have a station in New London.
Class of 2002
Gavin Schwartz-Leeper is the Director of Admissions for the liberal arts program at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and is always happy to Skype with students interested in studying in the UK.
Class of 2009
Kyle Greeley manages the sport facilities at Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY.He has been in Oneonta for four years and has won the reputation as the “go to guy to get thanks done.” He also recently added the title of uncle to his name with the birth of his brother Derek’s first child, Hudson.
Corbett Storyk and his family made a very generous contribution to Oxford by installing a new deck on the Sugar Shack over the summer.
Class of 2012
Duncan Egberts and his family surprised Oxford with a visit late summer of 2017.Duncan couldn’t get over the many changes and improvements to the campus and was delighted to see Mr. Cocchiola.
Class of 2017
Will Feinberg stopped by campus in October to visit with Mr. Westbrook. Student Bruce Ngoga appreciated the class break!
Graeme Cohen also took the opportunity to come to campus during his winter break from Bennington College.Over break he is doing an internship at the Dalton School in NYC in their Theater Department working on the set of the upcoming production of 42nd Street at the school.
Quinn Russo has stopped by a few times to visit with Oxford students and faculty too.He is close by, attending classes at Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme, CT.
The faculty enjoyed a professional development day with Michael Reichert, author of Reaching Boys,Teaching Boys
Oxford Academy has long recognized the central role of executive function for all learners. The term executive function is used to describe brain processes that control skills and cognitive abilities such as time management, working memory, impulse inhibition, detail recall, and reasoning. These abilities allow us to engage in goal-directed behavior. All of us have different EF strengths and weaknesses and understanding this diversity and how it impacts learning has become a major focus of current educational research. To more directly benefit from leading research in this area Oxford has enrolled its Dean of Faculty, Zack Hayden in a graduate program designed and certified by Landmark College and Marlboro College: Executive Function and LD: Integrating Strategies, Study Skills, and Technology. This program is designed to give instructors and school leaders strategies for effectively scaffolding executive function challenges faced by all learners. Significant course time will be spent understanding the neurological and situational elements of learning challenges as well as whole courses dedicated to the effective use of technology in improving accessibility. Course participants will develop a complete understanding of concepts like self-regulation, motivation, and student engagement. Mr. Hayden will be working with his fellow Oxford administrators to develop modules and workshops for Oxford teachers to learn the most relevant and novel material from the program. He is currently in the last course of the program and hopes to have the first module ready for faculty participation in June of 2018.