The Wheatley Alumni Association Newsletter #156

Arthur Engoron
June 2, 2024

Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 156.

All underlined text is a link-to-a-link or a link-to-an-email-address. Clicking anywhere on underlined text, and then clicking on the text that pops up, will get you to your on-line destination or will address an email.

According to Substack, in the first 24 hours after publication, Newsletter # 155 was viewed 2,934 times, was “liked” 15 times, and received four comments. In all, 4,730, email addresses received Newsletter # 155.

The Usual Words of Wisdom

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 155 Wheatley School Alumni Newsletters (and much other Wheatley data and arcana) at

The Wheatley School Alumni Association Website

Also, thanks to Keith is our search engine, prominently displayed on our home page: type in a word or phrase and, wow!, you’ll find every place it exists in all previous Newsletters and other on-site material.

I edit all submissions, even material in quotes, for clarity and concision, without any indication thereof.  I cannot and do not vouch for the accuracy of what people tell me, as TWSAA does not have a fact-checking department.

We welcome any and all text and photos relevant to The Wheatley School, 11 Bacon Road, Old Westbury, NY 11568, and the people who administered, taught, worked, and/or studied there. Art Engoron, Class of 1967

A Few Words from Current Wheatley School Principal Joe Wiener

“Dear Arthur, Thank you, as always, for sharing information about Wheatley, its alumni, and the neighborhood. News of Sandra Brodkin Dreis (1968) being published is very exciting, and I will request that our library order a copy of her poetry collection for the Wheatley Information Management Center, to be added to our growing alumni author collection. We have a number of titles by Todd Strasser (1968), although they need to be noted in our catalogue that they are written by a Wheatley alumnus!!! I encourage all published alumni to share their work with us to inspire our current and future students. We also have students interested in starting a podcasting club, and I will share Daniel Paisner's (1978) work with them. Keep the updates coming!”

The Sports Section

Writes Cary Gluck (1963) - “Art, Seeing the photo of the 1964 Soccer Team brought back fond memories. Seeing the names and faces of many Wildcats I played with, despite having graduated in 1963, was such a joy. It reminded me of the many friendships that were formed with those on this team.”

Writes Elvira (“Vivi”) Cilmi Kunz (1964) - “I was saddened to hear about the passing of Loretta ‘Lori’ Wilson Roux. She was a very strong and wonderful coach and person. She directed me in many life skills over the years, as she coached us with gentle expertise. She encouraged us to participate, with energy and commitment, in every sport that Wheatley offered girls in those days. Her constant presence in my life as a budding athlete propelled me to continue playing sports throughout college and to this day. Her attitude toward sportspersonship and dignity were imbedded in me, and I have taught many of my own students the same. One of her messages to me as a competitor was that competition is healthy when it is kept in balance. Wise words! She challenged me to go beyond what I thought I could accomplish and raised me up to see further than my personal limited concept. Her message of having dignity as we strove to achieve excellence was a great  way to approach any sport and our lives! Thanks, Lori!

By the way, Steve Simmons, so glad you are thriving!  I remember singing ‘West Side Story’ in those Wheatley halls!”

Writes Alison Kent Bermant (1966) - “So sad to hear about the death of Miss Wilson (Lorette ‘Lori’ Wilson Roux), as she will always be to me. I still remember her telling us during routine exercises to take our arm circles very seriously and that someday we’d thank her for it. I bet that I’m not the only one who wished she had followed her advice! Her encouragement as a coach made me a better field hockey and basketball player, and made me feel like an athlete.”

Writes Karen Wattel (1966) - “Someone left a copy of Newsday at the office I was at today, so I read it. And there was Wheatley!



(((You’ll need a subscription - Sorry)))

Writes Jonathan Scott Gold (1970) - “The Wheatley Varsity Boys Baseball Team just won its divisional title. Next they play for the Long Island title, and if they win that they will compete for the state championship. Sounds funny coming from a 1970 graduate, but I have a son who’s now a junior at Wheatley, he starts for the team, and I am a very proud father.”

Writes Tami H. Smith (1978) - “Susan Meltzer Long (1983) is correct; 1981 was Wheatley’s last field hockey championship. Does anyone know when field hockey at Wheatley ended?

When I visited Wheatley during my high school reunion in 2018, the principal (Sean Feeney), told me that they no longer have a field hockey team and haven’t had one for a very long time. 

Team sports are extremely important, as they shows you how to be a team player. Being a team player is important in everything you do in life.




Alma Mater - A Clarification

Writes Art Engoron (1967) - In Newsletter # 155 I wrote as follows: “The attribution, published in Newsletter # 150, of Alma Mater to “Godfrey Wills, 1959,” was obviously incorrect.” I should have been clearer that only the year (“1959”) was incorrect. Wheatley’s legendary music teacher, Dr. Godrey Wills, indisputably wrote our Alma Mater.

Alma Mater - Another Version of the History

Writes Lawrence Rosenthal (1965) - “At 77, my memory is now so good that I can clearly recall some things that never even happened. With that caveat, I clearly recall Doc Wills in Music class recounting the genesis of the Wheatley Alma Mater: Once he wrote the music, it was played over the PA system each morning during Homeroom for a week, and students were invited to submit a set of lyrics. In the end, rather than adopting any one set, the best lines from various versions were blended together into the official hymn.”

A Wheatley Peformance in the Big Apple

On Fri., June 7, at 8 pm, Takemi Ueno (1983) will perform with the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Space in Manhattan (Broadway & 95th St.). “We will play Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4, Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" (orchestrated by Ravel), and Nokuthula Endo Ngwenyama's "Primal Message" (a modern but tonal piece). Tickets are $23 for students and seniors. Regular tickets are usually $30, but you can get them for $25 until 3 pm the day of the concert at the orchestra's website (Advance Ticket Sales – New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra (

‘Hood History

Writes Alan Peterson (1975) Hello Art -- Paul Giarmo's description of the railroad switchout called ‘The Hole’ off of Sagamore Ave brought back early memories of a major fire on that site. 

Google Maps shows a present-day building labeled as ‘Abballe Plumbing’ on the West side of Sagamore, a short distance from Jericho Turnpike. Prior to 1961 this was the site of Albertson Lumber. In September of that year, a devastating fire swept through the business and leveled it. I was four years old when it happened, and I actually remember some details fairly well.

The Long Island Fire Trucks website has numerous images of the blaze. Find them at


There is no shortage of significant local fires that have happened in our lifetimes (and are still happening; Main Street in Mineola is disappearing little by little). It would be interesting to see how many alumni remember. 

Alan Peterson 1975, Williamsburg, VA.”

Missing Team Query

Writes a 1964 Graduate - “Is there any history of the Wheatley Crew Team?  ‘The boys in the boat’ from Old Westbury?” The team practiced in Oyster Bay and raced against the Army and Navy and Ivy League college first-year crews at the New York Athletic Club facility in Pelham Manor. The Wheatley team might even have won the state championship. Coach Irwin August led the way.”



Writes Steve Wolfert (1969) - “Great picture of Art with David Israel and Karen Bartscherer. Mr. Israel was one of my most inspiring and knowledgeable teachers, and I am glad that he looks well. Recognizing him is as easy as if school were just yesterday.”

Writes Jeffrey Asquith (1972) - “Hi Art, It's so great to see David Israel! He inspired me in so many ways! What a great teacher in my life! ❤️ Jeff Asquith”

Writes Bob Koenig (1980) - “Good to see a pic of DKI!!”

Writes Robert Freier (1981) - “Hi Art, Wonderful to see that you got together with David Israel and Karen Bartscherer. When I think back on my time at Wheatley, David Israel probably had the biggest impact on me; he was an incredible teacher. A difficult grader for sure, but he taught us all how to write. I always looked up to him and the wisdom he shared.”


1959 - Beth Davidson - I’m amazed at the memory of some of my classmates. I remember so little of high school, although it was a wonderful experience. 

One thing I do remember is that I helped start the student government. The first year that Wheatley was open (1956-1957), a few of us got together and formed a very loosely knit group of Homeroom Representatives. In the spring of 1957, we had our first real election. We formed political parties. I formed a party called the Boosters. Each party was allowed to put up posters and hand out flyers. We had all kinds of posters of babies, with captions like ‘So boost the boosters, already!’ Bruce Clark (1958) who lived near Wheatley,  was elected President. None of the Boosters were elected, although we had a great time working on the campaign. The highlight of the campaign for us was the Assembly Presentation, where the candidates gave speeches and put on some kind of presentation. John Halper (1958) had a motorized box car that he had built a few years before, and he rode it across the stage during our presentation. John and I married 5 years later and were married for almost 20 years. We still keep in touch, and I am in touch with his twin brothers, Bob and Andy Halper (1965) as well.

I continued to be a Homeroom Representative and the following year, in the spring of 1958, I formed another political party, called the Crackerjacks. We handed out bags of crackerjacks, hoping people would be enticed to vote for our candidates. Don Hill (1959) was our candidate for President, and I was our candidate for Treasurer. Bob Martin (1959) had been a close friend of mine, but we had had a falling out, and he formed another political party in which he was the candidate for President and Winifred “Winnie” Jacoby (1958) was the candidate for Treasurer. 

I was able to help Don Hill get elected President and Bob Martin was able to help get Winnie Jacoby elected Treasurer, but both Bob and I lost our elections – bummer! Fortunately, we resolved our differences and became good friends again afterwards.

Beth Davidson, 954-729-3632,

1959 - Stuart Sanderson - “Hi Art, just an FYI after reading the commentary on Old Westbury Gardens in The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter Issue # 155:  My mother, Anne Sanderson, was the private secretary to Mrs. Phipps for 32 years. Mom also did a whole bunch of other stuff for The Gardens and for other Phipps properties.   My brother Tom (also 1959) and I travelled with our mother and Mrs. Phipps to Palm Beach in the winter and Hyannis in the summer.”

1960 + 1961 - George “Dixie” Howell and Walter Brunner

Writes John Bagdon (1962) - “In 1969-1970, I spent approximately a year in St Croix working for Walter Brunner (1961) at his restaurant, Guthrie’s. George ‘Dixie’ Howell (1960) was Walter’s bookkeeper and close friend. George was there with his mother, who was a firecracker. I got to know George as well as I could, as George was extremely circumspect during that period. He could be very quiet, but you knew that there was a lot going on behind his eyes. I remained very close with Walter until his passing. I did lose track of Dixie, and learning about the years that passed was truly enlightening. My memory of him was that he was an extremely intelligent and thoughtful person. I admired him at Wheatley for his athletic prowess. He was a wonderful human being.”

1962 - Madeline Moret Armstrong - “I live in Willits, California, the gateway to the redwoods, and I am sorry that I was not able to attend Sunday’s Wheatley Reunion in Berkeley. I remember a few heartthrobs from back in the day. I would appreciate any news, especially about Mark Luria (1961), whose wife was a good friend, and Marvin Leifer (1962), a sweetheart of a guy.

I am a retired NYC teacher who is most grateful for my pension.  My three kids are all grown, successful and happy! My partner is a blessing (most of the time), and I have friends and activities here.  I live in a 1902 expanded cottage  in downtown Willits.  I welcome guests most anytime- beautiful part of the world. Contact me please.”

1964 - Susan Obrant - “Art, the fact that we continue to sign in to listen and read about one another even though we’ve had little or no contact for decades supports how meaningful Wheatley was to each of our fostering. The caliber of our education and of our professors stimulated us enough for a life when education seems now to have become so meaningless. I’m hoping a number of you can attend my Art RETROSPECTIVE. Though I never took Art in high school, the stimulation of Wheatley was enough to create a searching persona across many disciplines to this day.”

1965 - Louise Kampa Triano - “Wheatley ‘65, 2025 is 60 years. Anyone up for a reunion next year on Long Island?” I am in Bayville and I would love to work on something. Reach out!”

1965 - Ira Kent - “James Paley (1964), your dad, George, was a great doctor. Made house calls if you were sick. You won't find that these days!”

1965 - Jeffrey Orling - “Hi Art, I just got a call out of the blue from Roger ‘Roddy’ Nierenberg (1965), who lived at the bottom of the hill on Snapdragon Lane.  We are going to meet for lunch to catch up and reminisce. Back in the day he and I went to concerts together. Now he’s a professional musician.”

1965 - Norman Resnicow - Remembered

Writes Liz Zoob (1965) - “I was so sad to read about Norman Resnicow's death. He was one of the first people who befriended me when I came to Wheatley as a junior, and though we did not maintain an active connection as adults, I always had a special soft spot for him in my heart.”

1965 - Liz Zoob (1965) - Berkeley and Boston

I wish I could have attend the San Francisco Bay Area reunion. A few people in my class might remember that I went to UC Berkeley 1965-1969, which were intense years at that school. I lived there for several years after graduating before moving back to the East Coast and settling in Boston. My daughter lived in Oakland for a number of years, and every time I went to visit her it was like returning to a dream state of some kind.”

1965 + 1967 - Robert “Bob” Forte and Jill Simon Forte - Love Story

Writes Bob - In 1965  I wasted no time in taking from Wheatley something I would need for the rest of my life; my wife, Jill Simon, Class of 1967. We first exchanged glances in the Wheatley auditorium while my band, including classmates Jimmy Optner and Wayne Waltzer, entertained at the Varsity Revue. Jill and I were married in 1969 and immediately ran off to the Woodstock Music Festival, becoming part of the ‘hippie’ counter-culture while I played in Rock ‘n Roll bands and hung out in the Village, often to the dismay of many. It was all about Vietnam, draft evasion, protest songs, and living in the Age of Aquarius. Jill and I  were convinced we were changing the world.

Predictably, playing guitar didn’t promise a secure future, so in the early 1970s Jill and I opened Matthew Music (cleverly named after our son ) in the Roosevelt Field Mall, predominantly selling guitars and sheet music; I also served as president of the Roosevelt Field Mall Merchants Assn. Thereafter, Jill and I designed and operated seasonal retail concepts geared for Christmas mall venues, selling anything from sports attire to candles.  

Although retired from business, I still perform professionally, providing music programs with humor and anecdotes to mostly senior venues. I have dedicated the last 12 years to volunteer activities in the music therapy field, working with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and hospice patients. Our kids, Matthew and Heather, have given us six wonderful grandchildren who, when they’re not busy reminding grandma and grandpa how old and irrelevant our generation is, are still gracious enough to assist us with our limited computer and life skills.

Of greater note, my life has been defined and guided by a special relationship, one that was sparked by an encounter in the Wheatley School in 1965 and, 59 years later, is still going strong. Onstage that night, as I sang the Kinks song lyric, ‘Girl, I want to be with you all of the time, all day and all of the night,’ little did I know that someone was taking those words to heart.”

1968 - Adrienne Gladstone - “My family lived on Percheron Lane. I remember in First Grade riding our bikes up that giant hill to get to school. Do kids still do that?”

1971 - Merrie Sesskin - Facebook Foto

May be an image of 1 person, blonde hair, smiling and eyeglasses


1979 - Michael Chin - Celebration!

Writes Joe Bookbinder (1979) - “To add to Paul Baldassin’s great note about a Class of 1979 Reunion out in Arizona. Please see the following:

Mini Reunion of Class of 1979 in NYC’s Chinatown on May 27 to Celebrate the Wedding of Michael Chin’s (1979) son Alex.


Michael Chin and his spouse Akiko Shimamura hosted a sumptuous wedding banquet on Memorial Day at the Dim Sum Palace for their son Alex and their lovely new daughter-in-law, Vivian, with nine Wheatley graduates present. From left to right are, Doug Chin (1988), his spouse Christina, Dave Chin (1979), his spouse Norene, Steve Mulrooney (1979), his spouse Hope, Amy Chin (1983), Lisa Chin (1981), Akiko Shimamura, Michael Chin (1979), Greg Howard (1979), his spouse Mary, Min and Joe Bookbinder (1979), spouse Esther and Tracy Klestadt (1979). Everyone had a terrific time at this unbelievably delicious Chinese feast, and many stories from Wheatley and more recently were shared.”

1980 - Carla Schorr Rose - A Busy Life and a Close Sister

Writes Carla - “So lovely to read about Liliana Briefel's son Gary (1964). Since Mrs. Briefel had a huge influence on my life (along with Mrs. Greenberg, the art teacher at Northside in 1967), I will take this opportunity to send you my bio before…...the inevitable.

A goal of mine at Wheatley was to become fluent in Italian, and under the capable hands of Signora Briefel, after 4 years of studying Italian (including one year where we had to fight to keep both the football team and Italian IV at Wheatley, for which I will be forever grateful), I was in good shape. My family asked me please to graduate college before moving to Italy, so after graduating from Cornell in 1984, I got my chance, spending two years in Firenze (Florence). Returning to NYC, all my jobs required fluency in Italian, first in fashion and then at the Italian Radio-TV Corp, RAI, leading to an 18-year career in film production, where my favorite perks were working on location (Alaska, Chicago, Rome, etc.), meeting a bunch of actors and directors, and learning a lot about the film industry (production and post production). My career in film production came after 4 years of working at the Roslyn Movie Theater (with several other Wheatley-ites.). I met my hubby while we were both working on the re-make of ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’ I went to NYU for my MA in Art Therapy when our son was 2 years old, and I have spent the past 18 years as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, first at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center and now in private practice on the Upper West Side. I am happy to have found a way to combine my passions from childhood: art, psychology and Italian. Now married (for 6 years) to the man I met in Italy almost 40 years ago, I am the proud mom of a 25- year-old son, a recent graduate of Seattle University working in sports production. I look forward to spending time in Italy in the future.

My sister, Lisa Schorr (1985), co-founded and runs a nonprofit in Brooklyn called Kids Rock for Kids, where she produces concerts that bring together exceptionally talented and passionate young musicians from around the world – giving them the opportunity to do what they love and connect with their kindred spirits in music, while helping kids in need. Their all-ages rock concerts are inspirational, joyful and raise money for kids in crisis. And they’re sending a global collaborative band to the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC in June! Want to support these emerging young artists? Got a teen/20’s rocker who wants to get involved? Send them her way @kidsrockforkids. She lives in Brooklyn with her hubby and 2 kids. I’m proud of her and happy that we see each other often.

Wheatley Factoid

Writes Virginia Coletti (1973) - “After years of planning and building, The Wheatley School opened to students during the 1956-57 academic year and was ready to be formally dedicated on April 28, 1957.”

Fan Mail

Faculty (Karen Bartscherer) - “This Newsletter tops my chart of favorite emails! I loved my many years at Wheatley, so it’s a pleasure to read about so many people who agree with me!” ❤️🙂

1959 (Beth Davidson) - “Thanks for all you do for Wheatley.”

1959 (Thomas Friedman) - ❤️

1962 (Richard Glassman) - “I enjoy the Newsletter.”

1963 (Debbie Crane) - “I look forward to reading your Newsletters, which always make me smile! Thank you VERY much.”

1964 (Elvira (“Vivi”) Cilmi Kunz) - “Hey Art…..Thanks for your dedication. Your work is always the best.”

1964 (Susan Obrant) - “I love the Newsletter.”

1964 (Davida Tunis Philips) - “I appreciate all your hard work. I always enjoy the Newsletter.”

1965 (Steven Amerikaner) “Art: It's wonderful to read these alumni newsletters, and you deserve our gratitude for the time, effort, and caring you put in to keep us informed. Thank you!”

1965 (Louise Kampa Triano) - “The Newsletters always brighten my day.” ❤️

1965 (Alison Kent Bermant) - “So wonderful that you keep us connected to the memories of our formative years. I love hearing the various recollections of those I knew, as well as those I didn’t. The shared experiences, the shared neighborhoods, and the shared faculty make for wonderful reading. Thanks as always for keeping this going.”

1965 (Jeffrey Orling) - “I love reading the Newsletters.”

1965 (Liz Zoob) - ““Thanks for another lovely newsletter, Art.”

1966 (Richard Jalonack) - ❤️

1967 (Arthur Brown) - “Many thanks for all the time and effort that you put into the Newsletter. Keep up the great work.”

1967 (Jill Simon Forte) - “Another good Newsletter…..thanks 😊 💕

1967 (Barbara Smith Stanisic) - “Great job. Thank you again for your hard work and for publishing all the memories.”

1968 (Adrienne Gladstone) - “I look forward to reading these every week and love the photos of my fellow Willets Road School graduates.”

1971 (Bruce Schwartz Starr) - ❤️

1972 (Robin Freier) - “Thanks for all the work you do to keep all of these wonderful memories alive!” ❤️

1979 (Joe Bookbinder) - “Art, you and the Newsletter continue to amaze. Many thanks.”

1980 (Carla Schorr Rose) - “Thanks so much for all that you do for Wheatley!!”

1972 (Jeffrey Kargman) - “I always enjoy the Newsletter, Art, and I am amazed by the quality and quantity of what you publish.”

1974 (SuZanne Zenker Gilbride) - “Hi Art, Thank You for all the work you do to keep all these many years of classes in the loop……Seeing a photograph of a person that brings back a memory from years gone by is always fun.”

1974 (Patricia Jennison McNally) - “Thank you for being such a faithful steward of the Wheatley Alumni Newsletter.”

1974 (Freddy Lombardo) - “Thanks, Art, for all you do to keep everyone informed and bringing back memories!”

1979 (Gwendolyn “Wendy” McClure) - “Thanks Art! Wonderful conversation!”

1980 (Bob Koenig) - “Thank you for your work on and dedication to the Newsletter.”

1986 (Christopher Saridakis) - ❤️


That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 156.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.




  Arthur Fredericks Engoron, Class of 1967