May/June HEADlines

I have the pleasure of hosting eighth grade “coffees with the Head” in May. I asked them this morning how they were feeling as they approach graduation. The evening before had been the Sports Celebration up at the Flat Rock Fields, and I reminded them of how many coaches had singled out the eighth graders for their leadership in very concrete, valuable ways throughout this year. An example is the lunch party they surprised Ms. Hager with last Friday, her last day before her medical leave.

Students mentioned that it feels strange to be coming to the end of their time at Applewild. The games yesterday (both won by Applewild!) were the last for the lacrosse teams, so students were reflecting (being metacognitive, even!) that it was both fun and sad. We learned the word poignant, and I assured them that this is normal. I reminded them of how McCloskey’s Time of Wonder ends, which I read to some of them in second grade: “a little bit glad about the place you are going, little bit sad about the place you are leaving.” I certainly empathize with that sense of poignancy.

I am pleased to share that Erica Hager has come through her operation well and is beginning her recovery. She expects to be home by the weekend, certainly in time to enjoy her beloved Bruins Monday evening.

Parent Association Thanks and Nominations for 2019-2020

The Parent Association leadership and all its volunteers do so much to help us build community throughout the year and even with summer outreach. There are certainly fundraising efforts that matter in terms of end-of-year gifts to faculty and staff who are departing and to the faculty/staff Wish List. As important as these are, it is the connections – the “friend raising” – that matter most.

I want to express my personal thanks and that of all of us in the school community to Carmin Quirion Wyman for so wisely, creatively, and graciously leading the Executive Team as president for the past four years. She has definitely earned the privilege of passing the reins on to others, even as she has already volunteered to help with one of the events next year. Katie DuFour also will be stepping down after doing a great job of getting so many of you involved as Volunteer Coordinator and being so supportive of all the events, as will Tara Brooks, Vice-President after serving in many capacities in the PA leadership over the years and just last evening, with Susan Haigh, having organized the fun Winter/Spring US Sports celebration after the last lacrosse games. All who come to the PA Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on June 4 will have the opportunity to express your thanks to Carmin, Katie and Tara in person.

With those positions to fill, the Parent Association Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the slate of officers and Executive Team members for 2019-2020. Susan Haigh will return as PA Treasurer, Stephanie Sundberg as Secretary, Maia Wentrup will move into the VP role, and Karen Savoie will continue on the Nominating Committee. Joining the Executive Team as co-Presidents will be Rachel Maguy and Tracy McGrath, together with Tammy Fortune as Volunteer Coordinator. As the new team plans for the coming year, some of the specific responsibilities may shift, and the team may add one or two members. Thanks also to Charles Caron for volunteering to lead next year’s Rummage Sale. If you are interested in nominating someone else, or if you yourself have an interest in joining the team, please contact Karen Savoie, Kelly Jennison, or me. The election will occur at the June 4 breakfast.

A few updates


Micaela Caiozzo went out on medical leave Thursday, as reported to first grade families earlier. We expect her back for year-end meetings. Carolyn Carbonell will complete the year with first grade (eleven class days, but who’s counting!). Carolyn covered for Sara Sanford last spring when she was out for the last two months of school and has been subbing with us regularly. She and Micaela met several times to discuss curricula and expectations, and Carolyn shadowed Micaela for a full day in first grade.

Bob Jones has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the year. Bob has served Applewild as our Secondary School Coordinator and Upper School History teacher (and summer trip host and consummate coach) among his many contributions over 33 years. Todd Goodwin will teach both sections of eighth grade, and Jen Caldwell (who has taught history in the past) and Ray Collins (who teaches some of the 6th grade curriculum in Latin 6) will teach sixth grade history.

Jeff Palmieri has decided that this will be his last year. As he told me, he wanted to reach thirty years of service before he moved to his next chapter; and he feels that he has fulfilled that commitment. He and I have agreed that he can leave early so he has time to investigate what he wants to do next. Jeff is very proud to have been the inaugural chef for the Stone Family Dining Hall and to have provided meals with care to generations of students and colleagues. Fay Tassos, who has been food service preparer with us for eleven years, will be in charge in the kitchen through year end. She is very aware of any individual dietary restrictions that some of our students have. To contact Fay by email use this address:

Summer Camp continues to fill up. Ms. Surette tells me enrollments in all weeks are ahead of last year. There are a few spaces left. I want to highlight a couple of offerings that are new this year:

-          Several sports camps are offered that are great for skill building. Current Applewild students who attend any of these will receive a discount ($60 off per program). 

-          There are two weeks of camp activities offered at Devens through Lego Playwell:

o   July 15 – 19 STEM & Jedi Galaxy

o   August 12 – 16 STEM & Minecraft

Check out all of the offerings on our website!


We are very pleased with enrollment this year. We are within two of our Devens goal for K - 1 and have added a third section of preschool that is almost full. On the Fitchburg campus interest in our Kindergarten is higher than in past years, and the Preschool is also close to full. We are running two months ahead of year-to-date K – 8 (and last year ended as our best year in the last six). We do have room, particularly in fifth grade, where we have opened a section, and in our Upper School grades. There is still time to set up a tour before school ends. After that, tours during Summer Camp still provide a positive sense of campus activity.

As you are sharing your Applewild stories this spring and summer, you may hear of families who are interested in options. Remember that we have lowered tuition and continued Access Applewild to be responsive to concerns about cost, and some families might be interested in pursuing Scholarships for entering 5th – 7th graders. As always, word of mouth has the most impact on prospective families.

Golf Tournament

My thanks to the entire Golf Committee for a successful Golf Tournament. The day began with rain but ended with a gorgeous (and welcome!) sunset. The event provides a great way to spread the word about Applewild and expand on the support we receive. It raised $28,000 that will support our programs.

I hope you enjoy Memorial Day weekend. I am always reminded on this weekend of my grandfather, father, uncle, and nephew and their service. My grandfather served in the trenches in France in WWI as a Second Lieutenant in the Yankee Division, which was coincidentally mustered out at Fort Devens after a full dress parade in South Boston; then he returned to France in the Red Cross in WWII. My dad was a lieutenant on the destroyer Malloy that provided support for the D-Day invasion and then patrolled the English Channel. Neither ever talked much about their experience until late in their lives. I know it is a cliché, but I also know they believed this deeply: “The heroes were those who did not come home.”

I look forward to having seen many of you at Field Day and to seeing you at our various year end events, among them the sixth grade’s play and Fitchburg Art Museum show and fifth grade Moving Up ceremony! You will hear from me again in June as we prepare for Graduation. It is indeed a poignant time.

Taylor Poucel