Winter 2014

Friends of Wingra

Where Are They Now?

We love hearing from you! Send in the form at the back, update us on Facebook, or email!


Rebecca Ganetzky (‘97)

I gave birth to my daughter, Leora Mira, on March 28, 2013.

Joel Price (‘92)

I started working at my alma mater, Swarthmore College, in the IT department teaching technology to faculty/staff/students and working on interdepartmental social media projects. I recorded two songs with CDZA ( and

Vannis Smith (‘10)

(via Jill Pardo, Vannis’s mother)
Vannis and I are still in the NW suburbs of Chicago! I thought of Wingra recently because Vannis was chosen as a People to People Ambassador to travel next summer overseas. Out of a class of 250 kids, he was only one of seven students who were selected by his teachers.

The invitation made me think of Wingra and what Wingra strives to achieve. Working on the whole child. Culturally and community ready for the world! In addition, his grades continue to be high. Thank you so much, Wingra!

Joy Rifkin (‘03)

I graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2011 with a bachelor of science in biology and a bachelor of science in environmental studies. I traveled to India to work on an organic farm and then traveled through Europe before beginning Teach for America in Chicago. Teaching was definitely the hardest thing I have ever done.

I owe so much of my success in the classroom to the educational experience I had at Wingra. My educational background (specifically from Wingra) made me approach assessment, teaching, and experimenting in a completely different way. Watching the students collaborate on a lab or make the phases of the moon with Oreos was exciting because not only were they grasping information, but they were also enjoying the process of science.

I remember at Wingra building cells out of different materials in class. I vividly remember the organelles of the cell, and I used this method with my students. Without enjoyment, students feel overwhelmed and unmotivated. There is constant standardized pressure on these students, and it is important to balance that with team building and enrichment activities. I have an incredible group of students that are hardworking and excited about learning science.

Class of 2009

We caught up with some of Wingra’s graduating class from 2009. It’s an impressive group! See where the next chapter of their lives is taking them.

Colin Davis

(via Jane Elder)
After Wingra, Colin spent three years at West High School and then transferred to Monroe Virtual High School for senior year. He recommends Latin I, II and III for those headed to West. He graduated with high honors and is also a National Merit Scholar.

This fall he enrolled at Beloit College where he wants to pursue a double major in physics and psychology. Colin said that his time with Allen at Wingra helped him learn how to work well with his teachers to explore his interests, and he’s looking forward to a similar kind of working relationship with the faculty at Beloit.

As we looked at colleges, the phrase “Wingra-like approach” came up in our conversations about those that made the list of top choices. The family agrees that Colin being at Wingra School for the middle school years was a great choice.

Helena Marnauzs

This year, I started at Kalamazoo College in Michigan for a bachelor of arts with a $48,000 scholarship. The funding includes a Founders Scholarship for academics, a Merit award for art, and an Enlighted Leadership scholarship for visual arts (select group to bring art involvement to the Kalamazoo community). 

I was at Madison West for two years before auditioning and getting into the Milwaukee High School of the Arts where I was a visual art major and voted Best Visual Artist for my graduating class. Great memories at Wingra! I miss it! 
Shout out to Room 200!

Emily Ptak-Pressman

As I graduated from high school, I thought a lot about Wingra. I thought about how important my time at Wingra was in shaping my passion for activism and learning, how much I miss writing dialogue journals to my teachers and baking cookies in math class, and how lucky I was to have been a part of such a fabulous community.

I put my Wingra skills to use every day at East High School. After learning that offering muffins at Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) meetings at Wingra was the key to a high turnout, I helped rejuvenate East’s GSA by bringing food. I was also a leader of East’s Words Hurt Club and Student Organization for Human Rights. My favorite things at East were student activism, history classes, some wonderful teachers, and quirky friends. I managed to make East as similar to Wingra as possible.

I am going to Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York and focusing on gender, queer, and ethnic studies. I wish I had visited Wingra more often while in Madison and hope to come by when I’m back in town!

Brian Young

After graduating from Shabazz, I am taking a gap year where I will help my parents move out east, get a volunteer job in labs in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and just relax. In high school, I enjoyed The Stand by Me project and the AP Computer Science Exam, which was challenging but fun all the same.

Wingra is still one of the highlights of my life. I remember the lessons on self-reliance and self-advocacy, both of which are extremely important in high school. However, never lose your individuality; that is the biggest pressure in high school.