Friends of Wingra Newsletter

Spring 2010
Volume 2 Issue 3

You Make Wingra Take Wing! 

Our sincere thanks to all of you who have contributed to the 2009-2010 Annual Campaign.

The Annual Campaign is important because it helps us close “the gap” between tuition and the actual cost of a Wingra School education. Money raised goes to support key aspects of our program: teacher salaries, classroom supplies, tuition assistance, technology, and building maintenance. Click here to see our contributors to date.

There is still time to give to this year's Annual Campaign. If you would like to make a gift, click here to make an online donation, or fill out this PDF form and send it back. Every gift—no matter its size—makes a difference!

In This Issue

Wingra Wayback Machine

Thirty years ago (!) the May 1980 Wingra Newsletter had these student writings:

Their Own Way

There was a school named Wingra
And to this very day,
Everyone in Wingra
Went their own new way.

Lisa went to dancing
Catherine & Meg to sports
Katrina to her prancing
Mariam wearing shorts.

Wendy on her bike
Sarah out to play
Annie takes a hike
Be back another day.

Annie Chiles and Sara Leavitt


Dear Ice Skates,

I wish you and my feet could be more friendly towards each other. With you two fighting, it causes me much embarrassment. For example, I was showing a trick to Katrina, and said “Hey, Katrina, look at this neat-o trick!” And then you two have to start fighting and I trip. If you didn’t fight, I could be an excellent skater.

Love your owner,

Ruth Friedman


A pillow is like a cloud
A table is like a spider
The lights are like the sun
The sink is like the ocean.

Dieter Featherman

2010 Alumni Survey

We are often asked what it’s like for students after they leave Wingra School. What was it like for you?

We’re surveying alumni to collect information about the range of experiences students have following their time at Wingra. What’s it like to transition to a new school? What do students take with them when they leave Wingra? We want to hear your story.

Please know that any information you share is valuable. Answer as many questions as you can (or as few as you like).

Please click here to
take the survey

Class Photos?

If you have a class photo from years gone by, we’d love it if you’d share. Send us a scan or image file, or if you send the actual photo, we’ll scan it and return it to you. Thanks!

This Year’s All School Unit: Food for Thought

The theme for this spring’s All School Unit was Food for Thought. Students and staff came together on food
topics ranging from local to global, and into the future. Activities included daily all-school assemblies,
study groups, field trips, and service learning projects. For the full scoop, see our ASU recap page.

Wingra Urban Legend, or Solid Fact?

If you’ve been around Wingra for any length of time, you will have heard some variant of this assertion:

Seven of the last 13 area high school class presidents were Wingra alumni.

Sounds good, right? But is there data to back this up, or is it an urban legend? Seemed like an IP topic worth taking on.

We started by contacting four Madison public high schools and asking if we could get their records on past class officers. It turns out that this something high schools keep track of. The West High School librarian thought we could find the info we needed in their yearbooks. So, we narrowed the scope of our inquiry:

How many Wingra grads went on to become West High class presidents?

It was time for a field trip to West High School’s library. We looked at old yearbooks and picked Rebecca Jallings’ brain—she’s a West High teacher and mom to Wingra grads Claire, Lili, Geoff, and Stacy Sandler. We found four Wingra alums (two grads and two long-term students) who were class presidents at West between 1995 and the present: Leo Sidran (1994-1995), Ben Wikler (1998-1999), Art Kohl-Riggs (2006-2007), and Benny Witkovsky (2007-2008). Three of them served in the last ten years. Also, Mike Schumacher was freshman VP in 2003-2004.

So, to make a long story short, here’s a statement we can hang our hat on:

In the past ten years, three Wingra alums went on to become West High class presidents.

Considering how many kids go to West, and how comparatively few kids go to Wingra, that’s not a bad place to hang our hat.

Alumni Night 2010

February’s Alumni Night saw eleven Wingra grads, from from high school freshmen to parents of current Wingra students, gathered in the Commons. They joined Sky teachers Allen Cross, Kathy Oker, and Dawn Liska-Tollefson as well as Head of School Paul Brahce and Education Director Mary Campbell in sharing information with current and prospective families about the transition to high school and beyond.

Top photo: Helena Marnauzs, Andy Flores, Ali Garten Stone, James Atkin (standing), Nick Atkin, Will Atkin, Emily Ptak-Pressman, Lucy McChesney, Priscilla Garcia, Anna Thal, and Brian Young. Andy Carne also attended, and can be seen, second from left, in the photo below.

Duck Day Top Ten List

On May 1 (or thereabouts) each year, we celebrate Duck Day. It’s our lighthearted annual celebration of a very momentous occasion—the purchase of our building. The day typically includes lots of quacking and chocolate milk with students (see photo at bottom for a look at quacking). This year, our fourth Duck Day, we added a parent coffee, during which we looked at a Top Ten List of stuff going on at Wingra School this year (though it was tough to keep the list to only ten). Here’s the list.

10. Wingra School’s participation in the Fall 2009 national Progressive Education Network conference—our teachers gave seven presentations. Wingra will host the Regional PEN conference this fall.

9. Enrollment at Wingra increased 10% this year, at a time when many regional independent schools are experiencing a decrease in enrollment.

8. Wingra made a historic decision to replace our 83-year-old heating system! This is a big step in securing the future stability for the school during those cold winter months.

7. The Wingra Reads program was a great success—over 50 parents and Wingra staff participated, which helped strengthen our understanding of progressive education.

6. The All School Unit, Food for Thought, was a big hit and brought Wingra community and families together with the greater Madison community.

5. Wingra students and staff dove into lots of community service projects this year:

4. We purchased new chairs and tables for the Commons—thank you, Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, for making the purchase possible!

3. Our Strategic Planning process is moving forward. We’ve surveyed the alumni community, and held a Board and Staff retreat to help shape our future.

2. Teachers Allen Cross and Lisa Kass received the Rockwell Awards from UW Madison in recognition of their excellent work with student teachers.

1. In April, Wingra received a $15,000 pledge that pushed us over the first $1 million mark for our Capital Campaign! Our deep appreciation and many thanks to everyone who has made a gift and/or a pledge.

Alumni 411: Class of 2006

Each spring, we get in touch with the students who graduated from Wingra four years back to find out how they’re doing, what they’re doing, and what their plans are for the future. Here’s what we learned.

James Atkin (1997-1998, 2001-2006, left) attended our 2010 Alumni Night with his two brothers, Nick and Will (sister Libby is a current Wingra student). James is graduating with honors from Middleton High School and is going to Colorado University in Boulder to study physics, enjoy the outdoors and have fun snowboarding.

Flora Berklein (1998-2006, right, at Wingra and now) is graduating from West High School and is a National Merit Scholar Finalist. This year, Flora’s been captain of the cross-country and track teams, and is an officer in West’s National Honor Society, as well as a leader of the Young Democrats club. This fall, she will study at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Her chief academic interests include math and science (especially physics and chemistry), languages, and linguistics. Flora will also join Haverford’s cross-country team this fall. She worked in a UW microbiology lab on campus during the summers of 2008 and 2009.

Robin Dein (1997-2006, left) has been keeping very busy during his senior year of high school. He’s pole vaulting on the track team, finishing up getting his Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts, and his forensics season recently ended. He has also been in the band at West High School, playing the bass clarinet. Next year, he’ll attend Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, to study marine biology.

Sarah Frank (2000-2008, right) has gotten accepted into Evergreen State College and is also considering Edgewood College. She’s planning on doing art therapy or therapy for the deaf using sign language.

Ali Garten Stone (1997-2006, left, with her brother Evan, a current Wingra student) served as captain of her varsity tennis team for her junior and senior years. She won two gold key awards in the Midwest Scholastic Art Competition and had her first solo photography gallery show. She’s being recognized at Middleton High School next week for achieving academic excellence. Ali will be going to Columbia College in Chicago next year, with scholarships from her high school and Columbia. This summer, she’’ll be working, teaching Windsurfing for the Youth Sailing Foundation, taking lots of senior photos and helping her mom, Debbie Garten Stone, start a woman’s paddleboard club on Lake Wingra!

Amber Kazi (1998-2006, right) wrote us from the midst of getting ready for AP tests, but said she’s doing well. She’s working on a project right now with a partner for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair competition in San Jose. She’s decided to go to University of California, San Diego.

Molly Lins (1998-2006, left) is graduating from Edgewood High School, and will be attending Berklee College of Music, in Boston, in the fall. She’s considering majoring in songwriting or music business. She writes, “As you can see, I’ve kept music prevalent in my high school life.” She’s going to Ireland with her family this summer and will also spend time with friends and get ready for college. She sees Wingra friends every once in a while, and adds, “Even though we don’t see each other very often, I still have strong friendships with a couple of them in particular.”

Sara Miller (1998-2006, right) is off to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, in the fall. She’ll be studying Spanish and maybe anthropology.

We're continuing our efforts to track down the remaining students from the Wingra Class of 2006: Nora Clifton (2003-2006), Cody Loewen (2003-2006), Max Schulte (2005 – 2006), Gabe Elkind (2001-2006), and Neil Graupner (2004-2006). If anyone is in touch with these alumni, have them send us an email. We would love to know how they are doing.

Mara Rosenbloom Quartet at Wingra

In April, the Mara Rosenbloom Quartet performed for the school. Mara (at the piano, left photo;
in green, right photo) attended Wingra School from 1990 to 1999.

Weaving Our Voices

Sky students (ages 11-14) currently have artwork on display in Overture’s Playhouse Gallery. The Weaving Our Voices exhibit explores questions of identity and community, through weaving (done on looms built by students), designs on functioning skateboards, and printmaking. The images above are from the opening reception on May 6. The exhibit runs through May 13.

Growing Locks of Love

Wingra students and staff got hair cut off in abundance this year, for donation to Locks of Love and other organizations that benefit children with long-term medical hair loss.

Come Join Us!

Wingra Community Celebration - Saturday, May 22
The Wingra School front lawn will be alive with picnics and games as we celebrate another year of building ownership. Don’t miss the cake auction, the Book Walk, and—new this year—the Open Mic.

Graduation 2010 - Thursday, June 10
Join us at the Olin Park Shelter at 5:30 p.m. for a potluck picnic, and stay on for the graduation ceremony for Wingra’s Class of 2010, beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Let us know when we’ll have the pleasure of your company (, 608-238-2525).

Zach Thal (2001-2007) and Trevor Stewart (2004-2007) came by to visit after school, with neighborhood friends. When do we get to see you?

They say all the world’s a stage. What a gift to our children that they have the opportunity to take these risks and make these mistakes and have these experiences and triumphs here and now, with us, together.
- Mary Campbell, writing about Kids Night Out (full article here)

© 2010 Wingra School