Summer Lives of Sturgis Faculty (Summer 2012)

Compiled by Kate Dunigan-AtLee, Librarian -East

Studying Italiano by Thomas Bihl

Ora voglio guidare una Fiat 500

Quest’estate studio italiano a Middlebury College in Vermont. Non posso leggere, scrivere, o parlare in inglese per sette settimane. Frequento le lezioni di storia (dal fascismo ad oggi), di grammatica, di conversazione, e di dizione. Come tutti gli studenti del Sturgis Charter Public School, ho imparato molto sul soggetto del fascismo.  Oggi sto scrivendo un componimento (un «extended essay») con il titolo «L’invasione italiana dell’Albania sotto il fascismo». Ho collegi qua di Russia, di Messico, di Cina, di Canada, di Brazil, di Etiopia e di Texas. I miei professori sono di Bologna e Turino. Mi hanno fatto credere che Turino sia la città più importante in tutto il mondo. Ora voglio guidare una Fiat 500. Ci vediamo nel settembre. Buona estate!

Love in the Mountains by Randy Carspecken

Dawn and Randy in Two Medicine Valley

In 1975 Dawn and I met in Glacier Park, Montana, not far from Two Medicine Valley, when we both worked in the park.  Before teaching we spent our summers working in 7 other national parks in the northwest and Alaska and winters either earning yet another university degree or working in the ski industry, especially yours truly as a ski-patrol / avalanche controller.  In the next decade we bought a home in nearby Whitefish Montana and started our teaching careers.  Each summer in our 7-year Sturgis chapter we’ve returned to Glacier and our friends and our beloved estate in Whitefish to maintain our places which are rented out.

“Talkin About my Generation” by Morgan Derby

Over the summer, Sturgis East English teacher Morgan Derby was selected to be one of twelve people blogging/speaking for an upcoming NPR series. For 8-12 weeks, Morgan will be contributing to a WBUR-hosted program called “Generation Stuck”.

The series will explore the impact of the current social/economic/environmental/political climate on 20-somethings in terms of: career paths and economic wellbeing; relationships with family, friends, and significant others; and self and sense of purpose.

(Details – including blog/podcast URL – TBA as the project gets up and running.)

The Dunigan-AtLee Family Mini-Farm by Kate Dunigan-AtLee

Mateo in the Garden

If we hadn’t become teachers Aaron and I would have been farmers.  There is something deeply satisfying about being able to feed yourself and something magical in watching a tiny seed become a plant that offers up its fruit for us to eat.

In each of the many places we have lived we have tried, with varying amounts of success, to grow food.  We have grown tomatoes in packing crates and radishes in plastic totes, we’ve dug up flower beds to plant peas and cucumbers.  When we were first married we grew carrots and peppers in pots on the fire escape of our tiny apartment.  In the beginning we put some seeds in the ground, crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot along the way.

Ellie with Plant

This summer we’ve been reading about and experimenting with the idea of organic mini-farming.  We are “farming” our ¼ acre lot by planting crops very densely.  This summer we are growing kale, sugar snap peas, carrots, radishes, turnips, potatoes, ground cherries, pumpkins, cucumbers, green beans, beets, tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, Swiss chard, onions, garlic, leeks and lots of herbs.  We hope that in a year or two we will be almost entirely self-sufficient, growing most, if not all, of our family’s vegetables and fruits.

Mateo (5) and Ellie (2) love working in the garden and are the best mini-farmers around!

Summertime 2012 Aboard the Mayflower II by Matt Fetzer

“Sea-Fever” by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,

And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,

And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,

To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;

And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

 Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Chapter 1, “Loomings:”

[A]s every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever…

Mayflower II
Matt Fetzer’s Summer Ship

The Mayflower remains my summertime anchor. It’s what I do. I do it for several reasons. It is a getaway without having to go far, yet it takes me far in so many ways.  The story that I tell there is of beginnings. This tale intersects many historical roads as man sought to expand knowledge of his world and himself. It was an age of exploration by those with Renaissance minds, exploring new lands and new faith. The 17th century was a historical pivot.

I work there on weekends – not too much – it is vacation after all.  An early morning walk through Brewster Gardens with sunlight streaking through the trees, the sound of a running brook, and a slight summer breeze to great me, allow the imagination to wander. I observed many wedding rehearsals here, an appropriate setting to those who may have found paradise.  I continue my walk to the ship and see monuments to Plymouth history, be it bronze statues of Governor William Bradford and King Massasoit, the Wampanoag Chief, or the Roman Pavilion that houses “Plymouth Rock.” I see the shallow bay crowded with boats and Long Beach, the spit of land that forms the harbor.  I get to the ship and the show begins.

Plymouth Rock

As an “interpreter,” it is my job to offer my views of the period, consistent with the sources.  This approach allows History to be a conversation.  The show starts slow with tourists that see this as a curiosity and perhaps the thing to do while in Plymouth, but are not up on the history. Things pick up mid-afternoon when you get the serious, probing questions about the history by those who just came from the Plantation.  These visitors come in several forms. There are the boat enthusiasts, religious groups, cultural anthropologists and archeologists, and lovers of history in general. Every interpreter lives for the enthusiastic specialists. It is why they study their sources. These visitors bring out their best stuff. The main conversations entail the design and navigation of the ship, the financing of the colony and why the Pilgrims came to America. Questions about the historical accuracy of Mayflower II itself are common.

A Helping Van by Andrea Fleckles

A Helping Van

Andrea Fleckles Andrea & Bob Fleckles will be busy with our transportation business this summer. Let us take the stress out of summer travel and take you or your summer visitors to the airport or ferry! We also can take you to the Beachcomber in Wellfleet for the day!  We will be happy to offer a discount to all Sturgis employees and their families.  For more information:

Hiking the White Mountains by Antonio Hernandez

Antonio Hernandez Reaches Monadnock

This summer I have been making an effort to get outside and go hiking. My wife and I have been making trips up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire which is a great way to escape the craziness of Cape Cod’s summer tourists. We have managed to do three great hikes so far and we plan to do at least two more. So far we have managed to hike the Franconia Ridge Loop, Mt. Moosilauke, and Mt. Monadnock. The Franconia Ridge Loop includes three peaks, Mt. Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette. Monadnock is a great hike with a rocky, bald summit that overlooks much of southern New Hampshire. It is a short hike with a steep start and limited views until you pass the alpine level.

Alanna Sennott at Moosilauke

It is a great hike for beginners. Mt. Moosilauke has the best view in the state by far. It is a slightly longer hike but manageable for beginners-moderate hikers. Hikers are able to see the majority of the White Mountains from the summit of Moosilauke which is on the southern side of the White Mountains. This hike is not quite as rocky as Monadnock, but it is also a bald summit for the most part. The hike is gradual, steady, and overall it is a good 1/2 day hike if you start early. The Franconia Ridge Loop reaches the highest elevation of the three hikes. Each peak is above 5000 ft. and it is a gradual/steep climb depending on what section of the hike you are on. This hike has the most diversity of landscape ranging from waterfalls, densely wooded trails, rocky razor-edge ridges, and mountain pools. There is a shelter on the old bridle path that leads to the base if you are starting from Mt. Little Haystack. Hikers can book stays for about $100 per night. The hike is a strenuous all-day hike that is packed with great views throughout the entirety of the trip. Bring lots of water, lots of snacks, and make sure you have the right gear. Give yourself enough time to see all the sights and to get back down. Included are pictures from Franconia Ridge and Mt. Moosilauke. I hope everyone else has been having a relaxing summer filled with adventures!

Steve McDowell in Alaska

Summer in Alaska by Steve McDowell

Just returned from a great trip to Alaska.  Mt. McKinley is in the background of the picture taken in Denali National Park after a day spotting caribou, moose, Dall sheep and several grizzlies in the wild. Beautiful!

IB Adventures in Sustainability by Patrick O’Kane

Patrick O’Kane and IB Leaders

I spent a week in Vancouver attending the IB World Student Conference on Sustainability.  The conference, held at the University of British Columbia, featured over 300 students from 37 different countries, many IB teachers from around the world, and an array of respected environmental speakers.  I led a group of 20 students through daily work sessions, culminating in a presentation which featured simple ideas for more sustainable school communities.  I was joined on the trip by senior Jenny Agel, who hopes to turn her experience at the conference into a meaningful CAS project during the upcoming school year.

IB Sustainability Conference

Chocolate Summer by Claire Shea

Claire Shea in Brussels

I traveled to Brussels for IB training in late June and was thrilled to be among so many IB teachers from around the world.  While in Europe I took day trips to Antwerp, Brugge, and Paris to eat more chocolate and waffles and to take in the scenery.  I am now enjoying city life in Boston, but miss the relaxed feel of Cape Cod!  I hope to take a few salsa and bachata classes in Cambridge before school starts up in August.

Sturgis Staff and Students Volunteer in Haiti by Rachel Todoroff

Sturgis Volunteers in Haiti

For nine days in July, Dan McKay, Sean Carroll, Joey Benedict and I joined ten other Cape Codders traveling to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We were there to help rebuild a church that collapsed during the earthquake in 2010. We were joined by another team of Haitian Americans from Waltham.

While some of the team did construction work, others helped with a

Rachel Todoroff with Her New Haitian Friends

Children’s Bible School. I watched in amazement as 53 young children got off a “tap tap” (the Haitian mode of transportation that is usually a pick-up truck or delivery van with a couple of benches in the back.) This same vehicle could barely hold our team of fourteen. The children grew in number each day until there were nearly 100 on Friday. My short stint as a cafeteria lady came in useful as we made hundreds of sandwiches each day providing, in some cases, the children’s only meal for the day. Meanwhile, a nurse and an EMT from the Cape ran a medical clinic at the church and saw over 125 people. In the afternoon, a sports camp was held for older kids. Joey Benedict was in charge of the tennis program. Sean Carroll was in constant demand from the kids for the rope bracelets he made. Both Sturgis students did us proud by their interest in learning Creole. Sean found his French very helpful. While the situation in Haiti is quite serious with damaged buildings everywhere, open sewage running by the street, unstable electricity, huge unemployment, etc., it is heartening to see the resilience of the people and the hospitality they showed us. Although we worked hard while there, I feel that we received more from our time in Haiti than we contributed. Thanks to Dan McKay for including the Sturgis community in this wonderful mission opportunity.

Summer School at Oxford University by Alicia Watts

Foot journey to Irish island Carrick-a-Rede via rope bridge

I spent the month of July in Europe, taking my last class towards my M.A. in English at Oxford University and visiting Great Britain, and then touring Paris with my husband for our one year wedding anniversary. The course, titled “The Rise of the Woman Novelist” was intense: nine novels in three weeks, the course meeting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for two hours, and field trips to local sites, such as Jane Austen’s house and Stratford-apon-Avon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On the weekends we traveled as a study abroad group to London and Wales.

As an English teacher, England was calling. I am so thrilled I finally got to study abroad in a country that is so relevant to what I teach! Paris was a vacation well-earned. We were not only celebrating the completion of my M.A. and our wedding anniversary, we were also celebrating my husband’s graduation from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. He chose the destination of Paris

Alicia Watts visits Eiffel Tower

based on the cuisine and the fact that family could provide an empty apartment in the 2nd arrondissement. Since I had traveled to Paris ten years prior, I was our tour guide. We dined at the Jules Verne Restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower, took a boat tour of the Seine, and visited the Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre. Mostly we wanted to sit in a cafe with crepes and a bottle of wine and watch the world go by. It was a summer I will never forget.

A Morning Messing About in a Boat by Marion Weeks

One July morning, I found a note on the kitchen table from Kate. “Hey Mom – Want to go for that swim at 8?”  “That swim” was a scheme she had come up with earlier in the summer to swim from Dennis Pond beach to Willow Street. My role in the scheme was a minor one. All I had to do was kayak along in a relief boat in case she needed a break. The job was not demanding. I was simply there if she needed me – a motto of parents, friends and insurance companies.

A Morning Messing
About in a Boat

While kayaking across Dennis Pond, I realized how lucky I was to be given this job on such a perfect summer morning. A couple of times Kate would stop by the kayak for a breather and we would chat for a few minutes in the middle of the pond. Otherwise, I had plenty of time to bird watch and daydream. As I watched Kate swim, I thought about her leaving soon for a semester in France. Memories returned of how I felt at her age before heading out to study in Greece. Time passes, perspectives change. Now it’s her turn and I can hardly wait to hear all about it.

Such were my passing thoughts one July morning “at work” in a kayak. Kenneth Grahame was probably right when he said, “there is nothing nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

The Whalleys in Canada, Eh? by Sue Whalley

The Whalleys in Canadian Rockies

We spent an awe inspiring week in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada.  The Rockies were as high as the  sky, the glaciers beyond description and the glacial lakes a crystal clear deep turquoise.  Grizzlies, elk and bighorn sheep appeared before us, but were thankfully not interested. We stayed in an artisan built treehouse in Canmore, taking day trips to hot springs, waterfalls and secluded forests.  It was clear during the trip that “we weren’t on Cape Cod anymore.”

For information on the treehouse in Canmore see:

Summertime Highlights by Marsha Yalden

Eating S’mores – trying out a new Harley at Bike Week in Laconia, NH – hanging out on the Sandy Neck Sandbar with our new boat – and sparklers on the 4th of July!

Marsha Yalden with Sparklers on July 4th

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