100 Overlook Circle New Rochelle 10804
100 Overlook Circle New Rochelle 10804

Looking Up

April 28, 2020

Looking Up

Dear T-D Family,

Yesterday all of Thornton-Donovan’s troubles seemed so far away as Monday, Monday was so good to me. Several of T-D’s finest found their way back to the Circle – back to where they once belonged. More than a handful of students and an equally good number of T-D faculty members were on hand arriving on campus at various times throughout the morning.

With Dr. Benoit Van Lesberghe behind the lens creating a Thornton-Donovan infomercial for our website-the campus became alive again. David Montgomery showcased a few of T-D’s great book selections and spoke about our writing program. Scott Paris kept us up to date on utilizing tech in school and at home. He’s been doing it for years prior to T-D. Great Scott!

The G-man, Eric Griffin, looking more and more like one of Hemingway’s progeny, couldn’t stop talking about his most exotic course – Science Fiction as History. Imagine teaching this course for two decades and still finding it so engaging. He also excitedly shared his own experiences garnered during international adventures with us and then marveled at how T-D keeps bringing so much international exposure into its domestic program.

Lower and Middle school head Virginia Keating Miller emphasized how T-D is transforming itself for a new reality by using virtual tools. Thanks VKM.

Waiting in the Illumination Room in the Fleming Winter House, Dr. Kernell sat poised and ready to pontificate about his love of the classics. It was also clear how much he loves the arts and architecture of the city of his residence: The Big Apple. Adding some flare and opening up in Italian, Assunta Pugliese should have been singing That’s Amore. Over in the White House Al Goodman was recorded pointing out the wonderful resources in T-D’s three music studios. He had no trouble tooting T-D’s clarion. Lastly, Andrew Chong discussed T-D’s Chinese language program and his ESL offerings.

Then Dr. Van Lesberghe moved to the Heritage House and comforted a few T-D students who were ready to speak freely about Thornton-Donovan’s school year on hold. They did very well and no one was camera shy. All in all Dr. Van Lesberghe made these students more poised than he ever imagined.

Not all teachers were accessible for T-D’s one morning of nostalgia and fun. A few days earlier, Jeannie D’Annunzio did a drive-by and is always a welcome sight at T-D. Sandy Pilla has buzzed by numerous times as only “Mary Poppins” could. Almira Bubesi happily checks in by phone, text and emails as she is staying with her family in Tappan, New York.

Keeping T-D ever so close together while separated, Shannon Moss continues to help families and students stay “well screened.” Dr. James stayed in his comfort zone in Norwalk. Imagine teaching a class called infectious diseases at this time as he is doing. Maybe a future T-D graduate will outsmart a microbe? Too far away to make a cameo was Don Johnson whose courses require lots of creative energy. Just imagine trying to teach physics and calc on line? Not playing chicken, but tending to them in Fort Montgomery, 55 miles north, was math teacher and T-D’s Annie Oakley, Olena Vasendin. She teaches all the angles.

Living close to T-D allows Michele Colangelo to visit often. She wants school to open tomorrow. So, do I! Christine Richy feels very much at a loss without her students near her. She wants to begin the new normal. Still keeping in touch with all her fans is Angela Tudisco. No one is more accessible. Lastly both Marge and Annemarie have been helping keep T-D afloat and Taking Care of Business.

On Monday it was what a Wonderful World – then it went to What a Difference a Day Makes – Tuesday. We had to transfer back to VR-virtual reality from VR-very real as in Monday.

On this Tuesday, however, around 12:00 noon, the Blue Angels flew overhead. Each and every new day is another day to keep your heads up. I couldn’t ask for a more thunderously positive T-D omen.


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.