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From the Spring 2009 Caller
Imagine a Northwest community made up mostly of loggers and Native Americans, and imagine they don’t have much to do with one another. How would you bring them together? Will (Chaz) Weigler ’77 recently took on that challenge, and his answer was to have them work together to create theatre.
Will spent eight months with residents of Darrington, Washington (population 1,100) and the 400 members of the nearby Sauk-Suiattle Tribe creating a musical play. People from both communities, aged from 18 months to 85 years, came together to tell their stories and dramatize their historical relationships with one another and their common relationships with the mountains, forests, and rivers that surround them—and they performed the show to sold-out audiences. It’s a perfect example of what Will has been striving to do with theatre for many years now.
Applied theatre caught Will’s attention in a big way when he was an undergraduate at Oberlin College. He had hitchhiked to St. Peter, Minnesota, to attend an international conference on people’s theatre, which celebrates the lives and concerns of people and their communities. Looking to start his career after graduation, he thought about where he had most felt “alive and happy and connected.” He went right back to St. Peter to the theatre company that produced the conference, ready to immerse himself in this vision of theatre as a catalyst for community building.
That work has become Will’s life work, and it’s taken him down many paths as he has explored the role of theatre in diverse communities. He spent time in Portland producing and directing Peace Child: A Musical of Hope with 75 kids at the then-new Portland Center for the Performing Arts. That led to his co-founding a youth theatre company, Young Actor’s Forum. Turn Loose the Voices, a video adaptation of their performance about young people’s perspectives on prejudice and the value of diversity, has become a widely used teaching tool for diversity awareness training. Will’s reflection on the process of collective play creation became an award-winning 2001 book, Strategies for Playbuilding: Helping Groups Translate Issues into Theatre.
Will is now a doctoral candidate in applied theatre at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. He is researching brief moments in theatre performances that have stopped audience members in their tracks and prompted a sudden personal insight (and he invites Caller readers to contribute to his study at www.aesthetic-arrest.com).
He manages to finds time for acting, storytelling, and public speaking. For Will there’s always a next big project, and right now he’s working with faculty, students, and local theatre artists to establish an international applied theatre center in Victoria. Will hopes that it will serve as a laboratory for improving understanding of how theatre can effectively promote positive social change.
Dale Rawls's 8th grade art students "become" noted artists
From the Spring 2009 Caller
By Nadine Fiedler
Art history can be bewildering for middle school students. The works of famous artists can seem remote, lost to time and the changes of culture. But art teacher Dale Rawls has found an antidote to that.
Through study of famous artists and art periods, and research into their social and historical contexts, each of Dale’s 8th grade students chooses what intrigues him or her—and then create a work of art, a copy or a work in that style, over the class’s 18-day unit. The students immerse themselves in Andy Warhol, say, or Wayne Thibaud, or Jackson Pollock, and in the act of interpreting they come to learn right in their own eyes, hands, and brains what makes that artist unique—and the challenges and joys of art-making.
The process begins with students learning to do web-based research on artists and periods. “I have them see that artists don’t create their work in a vacuum; they train, they perfect their craft, they reflect their culture,” says Dale. Then they choose to either make a direct copy, or work in the style but with their own subject matter. That exercise leads directly to problem solving as they grapple with questions about the materials the artist used, and finally how to turn this image and idea into something real—something on paper or canvas, or created with a camera and altered in Photoshop.
Dale builds on what he’s taught before, and what the students already know, by using the same vocabulary of art that he’s used for their first two years in middle school, concepts such as composition, light source, symmetry, color, and texture. “This project is a real epiphany for many students,” says Dale. “They realize how they can use a particular color, or make the work a particular size, and they become more self-directed. They ask for help, and they struggle with it, and I have to zoom around and help everyone, but it’s a project they really run with.”
This class is also these students’ first experience in formal painting composition. “In the midst of all this work, I show them how paintbrushes differ and teach painting technique,” says Dale. “This work teaches safe risk-taking, because you can just paint over it if you take a take a chance and fail.” It also provides a high level of understanding in design and media for more advanced art studies in high school.
The result is amazing. Some works are more polished than others, but they all capture the essence the student responded to in the first place. The students take enormous pride in their finished project: one Warhol-inspired painting sports a huge, confident signature, ANNE—just like Andy Warhol would have done.
Dale Rawls got his start in art when a perceptive teacher in his Hillsboro high school recognized his artistic talents. He went on to study at Portland State University under many renowned local artists. In later pursuit of a master’s in education he examined whether making art feeds teaching or vice versa. “I concluded that each nurtures the other,” he says. He and his wife, Barbara, whom he married when both were at PSU, have maintained a studio and shown in galleries for 35 years.
“I love that Catlin Gabel values me both as a teacher and an artist. I’m not just teaching here, I’m talking about what’s essential to my being,” he says. One of the best things a student ever said to him was that Dale doesn’t teach them just so they learn technique, he teaches them how to articulate important things in their lives through art.
Nadine Fiedler is editor of the Caller.
By Nance Leonhardt
Starting a media program at Catlin Gabel has been a dream come true. Coming to a place where creativity and risk-taking are expected norms for students and valued on par with traditionally quantifiable academic skills made this one of the finest years in my teaching career to date.
My yearlong media arts course introduced students to the nuts and bolts of media production, including digital cameras, lighting and sound recording equipment, and editing tools and methodology. Students produced a variety of projects that helped them practice filming, editing, and storytelling techniques.
|Still from a student video by Natalie Ancona ’11|
The real meat of the course centered on learning how to define the audience and how to interlace production skills with storytelling strategies to best communicate an intended message. A unique aspect of any arts course is the symbiotic relationship between artists and their audience. The stakes are particularly high in production work, because the audience’s response is the ultimate assessment. Students see firsthand how decisions they make in what they choose to film, how they edit it, and even the type of music they use to score the finished product can make or break the piece’s effectiveness.
|Still from video by Catie Coonan’10|
These novice filmmakers produced poignant, hilarious, and beautiful films all year. Students made films about everything from the infamous Catlin Gabel goats to an aging grandmother’s reflection on lost love. Catlin Gabel’s new camera equipment joined students on trips to Mali, Mexico, and down the Grand Canyon; shot footage out of a garbage can on the downtown Esplanade; and even found its way into the digital realm of World of Warcraft. When it came time for our end-of-year screening, we were all inspired by the range of work the students had created. Our final exam asked students to participate in a juried examination of these works. Their responses to their peers’ work reaffirmed that they had come a long way in terms of cinematic fluency:
On Catie Coonan ’10’s music video for “Eleanor Rigby”:
“She uses color distortion to tell a story. The character is happiest when the color is bright. When the image is black and white, or in sepia tone, it shows the past. Other people use effects to make the image look cool but Catie’s piece uses distortion to create something pretty to look at and to emphasize the message and story of the piece. She has thought about whether every shot should be in sepia, black and white, normal, or saturated, and the purpose of each choice.”
On Murphy Pfohman ’08 and Ben Graziano ’09’s PSA for safe sex:
“I was struck by the interesting idea of people with signs on them walking around in broad daylight—contrasted with the anonymous feeling of turning all the people who spoke about STDs into silhouettes. With steady camera work, flawless editing, and a fresh message, it all worked well to make a solid convincing piece and is definitely something that will stick with me.”
|A class member behind the camera|
I thank the students who joined me on this maiden voyage for the imagination, dedication, and hope they brought to their work each day. As with many pioneering journeys, anticipated destinations often required a trailblazer’s innovation and tenacity. This is the way of the artist and as the students learned, it’s hard, hard work.
Nance Leonhardt has taught media arts for 14 years. This is her second year at Catlin Gabel, working with Upper and Middle School students. This year her media arts program will include an advanced independent film production class and an animation class.
The Upper School's Catlin Gabel Players presented two evening performances of Shakespeare's great romance. Each night offered a different interpretation. All 30 cast members played two roles: one on Friday and one on Saturday. (Apologies from the photographer who was unable to attend the Friday show.)
A hero, a dragon, girls acting dippy, and boys in tutus. This decidedly eighth grade show is a perennial favorite that has been performed to the delight (and horror) of Catlin Gabel audiences since the 1940s. Borrowing from the same basic plot (we use the term loosely), each class reflects its own personality in St. George and the Dragon. As always, cancellation was threatened, but miraculously the show went on.
On a Friday night in the dead of winter, residents of mythical Almost, Maine, fall in and out of love at an alarming rate. Drama, humor, romance, and the aurora borealis come together in nine vignettes.
By Robert Medley and Laurie Carlyon-Ward
There isn’t a culture without artistic expression, that isn’t drawn to creation as part of its existence in one form or another, be it writing or singing songs, decorating everyday items, or passing down stories. Every child feels a need for some kind of expression as he or she learns and grows, and that act of creativity lies at the center of a Catlin Gabel education. This very human act leads to far more than a drawing, a poem, or a piece of pottery: it also develops a sense of the self as an individual and as part of a group, confidence, a grasp of how to use materials, and so much more. This is why it’s so important to value and nurture our students’ creativity.
Having the confidence to put ideas out into the world is difficult. If we manage to teach students that ideas are interesting—but that not every idea will gain acceptance—we form adaptable, flexible people who will have the background and strength to use their talents in the world. In particular, our classes and teaching methods in the arts encourage students to think of solutions in situations that demand constant review and analysis, and to bring their ideas to fruition in music, theater, and the visual arts—in short, to be creative.
At the core of every arts class are students working with teachers to build a set of skills. The teacher poses challenges for the students—“springboard moments”—that encourage them to take their skills and go beyond the basics they have learned. That springboard provides the impetus toward creation. Something that on the surface seems as simple as the way a material is used (whether it’s paint, a musical instrument, a script, or a hunk of clay) can present an opportunity. Beyond a material’s common or intended use is an infinite universe of things you can do with that material, and we want students to glimpse that infinite universe.
Visual and performing art classes work differently from other classes. They are structured, and there is a sequential curriculum, but students often tell us they feel a difference in the way they process information when they shift from left-brain activities, such as learning math, to the more right-sided activity involved in visual and performing arts.
In the busy and buzzing atmosphere of visual arts classes, students operate as if they are in a real art studio. They learn where to find the supplies they need, and which materials are necessary for their current work. They set up their own work area and then evaluate, with the help of the teacher, where they left off on their project from the last class. Are they happy with the work’s progress? Is there another direction to take?
At the beginning of new projects, the art teacher demonstrates how to work with the medium and hands outs written material to get students set up for the activity. Students then take different amounts of time to come up with their own ideas, which eventually become the solution to the assignment. For example, if the assignment is drawing a still life, they make several sketches to decide which way they want to build the composition. Each person includes different objects and arranges them from his or her own individual impulse. There is no one “right” way to form the composition or solve an assignment. There are many ways to view the still life and create a pleasing composition. Similarly, when we take students on a photography field trip we all go to the same area, but every person’s eye and sense of what they could communicate through a photograph leads them toward a different location, a different detail—their very own artistic viewpoint.
Performing arts involve both the brain and the body and the integration of the two. Whether in music, dance, or theater, the performing artist is interpreting another person’s piece of work. The very nature of performing arts—doing your own art, with your own body, within the construct of someone else’s piece of equally absorbing work—pushes creativity and problem-solving to the edge. The nature of performing arts lends itself to endless interpretation and manifestation. Whether performing Shakespeare or Tchaikovsky, the performing artist working on a piece will always look for a fresh take on the material, fresh ways of solving the problems within the structure of the text—whether the artist in question is a designer, an actor, a director, a dancer, or a musician.
Performing arts develops in students the ability to reinvent themselves for the task at hand. They also learn how to work collaboratively, so that all facets of the production become one. Each performance is original—unique, never to be duplicated—because things will change in subsequent performances. Even if recorded, once performed it is gone, a lesson about the transitory nature of life.
Teaching students to feel safe in the arts community is an important aspect of how we teach visual and performing arts at Catlin Gabel. We teach students, who are often their own harshest critics, how to evaluate their own work and the work of others with insight and support. We teach students how to give and receive criticism, and how to see the difference between a finished piece of work and a piece that could use more work. It is a powerful experience to express yourself in any media and then hear or see the reactions of an audience or listener. This circular experience unites the artist, the teacher, and the viewer.
One of the greatest benefits of arts education, especially at the high school level, is that students learn that they are free to take enormous chances in their work (visually, verbally, musically, or through physical expression) in both conceptualization and execution. Sometimes that kind of risk-taking produces a satisfying piece of work, but sometimes that final product just doesn’t come together. Praise or criticism may follow. That doesn’t matter. What’s important here is the student develops the courage to take more and bigger creative risks, and learns to shrug off the sense of failure knowing that another opportunity to try out ideas lies just around the corner. Ultimately students learn that taking bold chances is the way to learn the most. Living through these somewhat scary experiences gives depth and richness to their education.
Art allows you to learn how to live a life of quality, beauty, and truth. This is why people often remember most keenly their own artistic experiences. As we think about Catlin Gabel’s construction of a new facility for visual and performing arts (see the next page), we think about how we are forming a legacy of place. We hope to overhear a parent say to a child, “This is where I learned this thing, this is where I took this risk, this is where I was shaped into the person that you see today.” The new Arts Center will be a place where teachers and students see and learn from each other’s creative work. From the common pursuit of art a sense of collaboration, sharing, and most importantly of insight arises that students will pass on to others as their own lives are enriched.
Robert Medley is Upper School theater director and teacher. Laurie Carlyon-Ward is chair of the arts department and teacher of visual arts in the Upper School.
Kathy Blume ’85 is alone on stage, in her piece The Boycott. One moment she’s the First Lady of the U.S., denying sex to the President until he signs a treaty to stop global warming. Then she’s a tree frog, suffering from a skin disease caused by climate change, and then she’s Al Gore, and then she’s herself: Kathy Blume, activist, writer, and actor, a woman with an abiding passion to save the world through theater.
Kathy believes that art can spur people to act in a way most other ways of learning can not. “In the theater, people expect an intense experience and identify with the people on the stage,” she says. “If I create really good theater about something significant, I create an intense and emotional connection that will carry through to the next time they hear about the issue, and this will allow them to engage more deeply.”
Kathy has acted for many years off-Broadway in New York and around the country, as well as in movies and television. She also teaches acting and yoga, speaks in public, writes for various environmental books and journals, and serves as an artistic associate at Vermont Stage Company. “Being in film, television, and plays is enjoyable. But doing relevant work that contributes to the cultural conversation about issues we face is the most valuable use of my time,” says Kathy. “Given the problems we face right now, it’ll take wild, hairy acts of imagination to address the problems.”
One act of imagination that brought her much notice was the successful organization, with her friend Sharron Bower, of a simultaneous worldwide reading of Lysistrata in March 2003 as a protest against the onset of the war in Iraq. The experience inspired her to write a play, The Accidental Activist, which she toured to over 30 cities in the U.S. and Canada, launching her on her solo career. At the time she was working on a screenplay of a modern eco-adaptation of Lysistrata, which she called The Boycott. She decided to turn it into a solo piece, and is now touring with it. (For clips, visit her website.) It’s an unexpectedly funny piece: “Part of me is a terribly apocalyptic thinker. It’s my conscious choice to be positive and funny,” she says.
As a solo artist, Kathy’s time is taken up with the business end of her work, including marketing, fundraising, and public relations—dealing directly with herself and her ideas, as does any entrepreneur. Her goal is to raise money for a live concert film of the production for distribution in theaters or for broadcast on cable channels. Kathy keeps going in the tough work of making theater by always keeping her goal in mind: “It’s not to convince people of global warming but to help them grasp that action has to be taken, that we can overcome overwhelming internal despair and change our habits.”
Catlin Gabel is in the early stages of a campaign to raise money for endowment and a Middle and Upper School Arts Center. This Q&A primarily addresses questions about the Arts Center.
Is the Arts Center a luxury or a programmatic need?
The Arts Center is first and foremost a programmatic necessity. During the past 15 years, as the school has grown, the square footage dedicated to the arts per student has decreased. Educationally, the arts are a core of Catlin Gabel’s philosophy and are key to a well-rounded education. In no other discipline do critical thinking, problem-solving, predicting outcomes, analyzing, reassessing, and creativity come together as they do in the arts. In turn, the intellectual challenges posed by visual art, music, and theater facilitate learning in all other disciplines.
Will the arts program change?
It already has. As a progressive school our curriculum evolves and adapts to student interests. We have recently added essential new arts programs including Middle School drama, filmmaking, media arts, and photography. We have reached the point where the facilities limit our choices and compromise our vision.
Are the facilities really that bad?
The lack of adequate space for teaching the arts has been singled out in our last two accreditation reports as an important area for improvement. Our students deserve better than making do in shoddy outbuildings that were constructed for temporary use more than 30 years ago! Even with these challenges, the arts at Catlin Gabel have continued to thrive – thanks to the tremendous effort, flexibility, and talent of our teachers.
How quickly do we need to raise the money if we want students in the building by 2010?
We want to press forward with this ambitious timeline to avoid materials price increases and to provide our students with new spaces as soon as possible. We need to raise at least 75% of the cost – $5.6 million – by this spring in order to open the doors to students by fall 2010. And we need to be confident that we can raise the remaining 25% of our $7.5 million project before proceeding.
Why are we launching a campaign when people are worried about the economy?
It may seem counterintuitive to announce a campaign during uncertain economic times, but this campaign addresses the school’s financial security in two important ways. First, by focusing on the growth of our endowment we are setting in motion a plan to alleviate upward pressure on tuition. Second, building appropriate and forward-thinking arts facilities secures our school’s national reputation of superbly educating the whole child for life.
I know this is a stressful time for many people, given the current market challenges. I also know that history’s greatest philanthropists have stepped forward during the most difficult times, and I am confident that those in our community who can, will.
What makes you so confident?
Catlin Gabel parents, trustees, alumni, and friends are incredibly generous and loyal to the school. We are successful in raising funds when the need is clear like it is for the Arts Center. In addition, our savvy community members understand that increasing our endowment is insurance for a healthy future. During my tenure, we have successfully raised money for professional development, endowment, property acquisition, and building or remodeling the track and field complex, the Beehive, and many Upper School facilities including the math, science, modern languages, and humanities buildings, the library, and the Dant House. Our achievements make me optimistic about what we can accomplish.
Does tuition pay for buildings?
Unlike many independent schools, we do not assess a “building tax” on our parents to pay for new buildings. Instead, we fund projects with charitable gifts.
How did you choose what to fund?
The school conducted a comprehensive process to determine the campaign priorities. We developed a strategic plan and a master campus plan. The Imagine 2020 community conference in spring 2006 identified the most important skills the class of 2020 should obtain. Task forces and internal feasibility studies further refined our focus. The resulting priorities — endowment including financial aid, and a new arts facility for the Upper and Middle Schools — surfaced as the most urgent needs for the next five years.
How did you determine the amount to raise?
The campaign goal is based on interviews in which we asked a representative sampling of donors what we could reasonably expect from this community. For the Arts Center we considered the recommendations of our architects and builders, who are mindful of our restrained budget and desire for a simple yet forward-looking and sustainable facility.
My kid is not that into art, music, or theater. Why should I support an Arts Center?
Equipping students for leadership, success, and fulfillment requires much more than academic and technical instruction. Recent brain research is proving the value of training and exercising our creative skills. And, statistically, the measures of success in college, particularly in math and science, are directly related to the scope and depth of previous arts education.
Where will the Arts Center be and what will it look like?
The Arts Center will be built west of the Dant House between the Middle and Upper Schools and will bridge the two divisions. The grassy meadow behind the Dant House is “sacred” space and will be protected. The architecture is Northwest contemporary with lot of light and clean lines. Energy conservation and sustainability have been at the forefront of the design. I cannot adequately describe the design – it’s a visual! Join us for the evening Celebration of the Arts event on October 20, where we will unveil the plans. Also, some of the plans are being published in the upcoming Caller.
How can parents and alumni get involved?
If you’re jazzed by the prospect of a new Arts Center and want to help, e-mail or call Miranda Wellman '91, associate director of development, 503-297-1894 ext. 308.
By Robert Medley
The arts emphasize process over product, which is where hands-on learning really works. My goal in theater is to get students to understand that they have a skill set that they’ll apply in many different situations, and to give them the ability to solve problems (How should we interpret this play? Who should be where on stage?). Hands-on learning empowers students and creates a situation where they are willing to experiment, even to fail sometimes.
You can fail only if you have confidence in your skills and realize that they are flexible. Hands-on learning builds the ability to pursue and do, regardless of the outcome. Experiential learning opens you up to serendipity and the possibility that things beyond your control may manifest in positive ways. I think our students walk out of here with the ability to risk for risk’s sake, the ability to say, “I may not know how to do this, but I know other things and I’m willing to try.”
It’s a real value. When students experience these successes and failures, they build confidence. No matter what they do in life, they’ll still pull from that skill set required to do hands-on, direct work.
|High school students performing in Twelfth Night|
Robert Medley is the Upper School theater teacher and director.
|Jon Bunce ’59|
In the visual and performing arts, as in no other field, children learn with their hands—and their whole bodies. The arts train students in all the skills that underlie the philosophy of experiential education, including problem-solving, analysis, risk-taking, and learning to coordinate the eyes, brain, and hands. Children love being in art classes, where they experience the flow of creativity.
In this photo we see Jon Bunce, who graduated from Catlin-Hillside in 1955, totally absorbed in his sculpture work, not even noticing the photographer taking his picture. Jon thinks he must have been in the 3rd or 4th grade, and he remembers what he was making out of red clay: a plesiosaur, an aquatic marine reptile of the Mesozoic era. The odd-looking spray bottle was probably either for a glaze or for water, to keep the clay moist. “I’m sure the project was of my own choosing,” says Jon, whose father was an artist and who grew up in a house where art-making was the norm. Another memorable art project for Jon was making enameled earrings, starting from pennies that were pounded flat. Art classes during that era were held in the Art Shack, a wooden outbuilding full of enticing art equipment that was connected by a breezeway to the main Catlin-Hillside building.
“I have good memories of 4th grade shop class in 1949–50,” says Jon. “It was Manvel Schauffler’s first year there, just out of Black Mountain College. For our class project he worked with us on building a flat-bottomed boat with wheels. We spent lots of time sanding the wood so it was smooth, and caulking it so it wouldn’t leak. And then we sailed it on Lake Oswego!” “Schauff was the best teacher I ever had, even in secondary school. He connected with students well and stuck up for principles like fairness,” he recalls. One of the days Jon will never forget was the day in 1953 or 1954 when a kidnapper came into Catlin-Hillside and started firing a gun in the hallway. Jon was in Schauff’s class right then and remembers him ordering the students to duck. The kidnapper shot through the door and wounded Schauff; the next day Schauff’s photo appeared in the Oregonian with the caption, “Hero.”
Today the arts permeate Jon’s life. He is a professional musician, having performed and toured for years as a guitarist, and has been concentrating lately on composing music.
Because creativity is a critical component of a 21st-century education, Catlin Gabel is focusing on the visual and performing arts in future master planning. Right now the present facilities for the arts are bursting at the seams, so the school has begun to dream of and design a new creative arts center. Look for new developments in the next issue of the Caller.
Amid the whine of power tools and the dry scraping of hand tools, Tom Tucker ’66 patiently teaches Catlin Gabel students the art of working with wood, an art he learned as a Catlin-Hillside student. “I learned everything at Hillside: how to be curious and excited about learning,” says Tom.
Creativity, and Catlin Gabel, runs in Tom’s blood. His father, architect Ernest Tucker (designer of the Dant House and the Hillside Lower School), always had a home studio, and creating things was part of the family dynamic. Tom’s parents and many members of his extended family have long connections with Catlin Gabel and its predecessor schools. Tom’s sisters and brother are also alumni. After his time at Catlin-Hillside, Tom transferred to public high school, but he kept his CGS connection alive with summer art classes.
Tom’s woodworking skills expanded at Marlboro College, in Vermont. His studies immersed him in law and philosophy, but he also loved building stringed instruments. Music has continued to be a passion, and Tom has long played Irish and Scottish country music with fellow teacher George Thompson ’64 and CGS parent Craig Stewart.
Tom moved back to Oregon after college, setting up a rural homestead where he repaired and built furniture. He reconnected with Catlin Gabel in 1977, when he substituted for his old woodshop teacher Ed Adamy. A couple of years later Ed retired, and Tom returned to teach woodshop for two more years.
His strong urge to build furniture took him away from teaching, but not for long. To make money Tom worked in construction. That ended the day he stood, hammer in hand, in an ugly bathroom, and realized this was no life for him. That night Tom received a call from Catlin Gabel, inviting him to come back to teach woodshop.
Tom has refined his teaching skills in the many years since then. “I’ve learned to really listen to the children,” he says. “The conversations we have about the options available to them, and how their concepts and mine can come together into a final form, are the most exciting parts of teaching.”
Catlin Gabel continues to be a family tradition for Tom. His wife, Laura Frizzell, taught music at the school for 12 years, and both sons are lifers: Ethan graduated last year, and Sam is a sophomore. “Having Ethan and Sam here at school has been a big plus for me,” says Tom. “I loved seeing my kids in the playground, and having them run up to me when they see me and give hugs.”