The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 80

Dear Wheatley Wildcats and Other Interested Persons,
Welcome to The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 80.
Note - Anything underlined is a link-to-a-link or an email address, and anything not is not, because Substack will not allow publishers to underline anything else.
Note - Newsletter # 79 was viewed 3,313 times, and received 15 “likes,” in the first 24 hours after publication. 

Responses to The Passing of Walter Wesley (“Wes”) Wathey, Wheatley Principal 1961-1979

1958 - Cynthia Messing Frank - “Mr. Wathey helped set the tone of our brand new school. We had new teachers, etc. Wheatley was an experiment: a public school with a private school feel.   We all knew we had something special as we got used to the newness.
When we we were told that we had to leave Mineola HS, many of us were very upset at leaving behind friends, teachers and activities that we were used to.  Mr. Wathey made it his business to welcome each of us and made us feel at home in our new surroundings. He set very high standards academically and athletically.  He will be very missed by decades of Wheatley students.”
1961 - Len Jacobs - “The mention of Mr. Wathey brought back some memories-like the smell of the old Northside gym and how I loved sports there and outside on the ballfield, where I met the companions that accompanied me through the early years of my life.”
1961 - Rhoda Kalkin Schneider - “Mr. Wathey was a very nice man.”
1964 - Elvira Cilmi (“Vivi”) Kuntz - “Mr. Wathey was a wonderful person and leader for so many people. I worked for him in the last weeks of August during my years (1960-64) at Wheatley. My task was to help him gather and collate all the information he had to impart to the educators coming in for prep meetings for the school year. He  taught me great things about life and how to be in charge of something big without making others feel small. He always treated everyone with great respect and kindness as we got the job done the right way. He was open to suggestions and gave his directions with authoritative guidance that made people feel valued.  I have thought fondly of him for many years.
1964 - Michael Garin - “Dear Wes Jr., Your father played such an important role in the growth and development of his ‘second family,’ my fellow Wheatley classmates and their families.  As his real son, you know what a great parent Mr. Wathey was, so it's not difficult for you to understand how important he was to all of us as a father figure.
It's been 59 years since my Wheatley graduation.  The fact that your father lives on in both our hearts and our minds is the greatest eulogy for which anyone could wish, and defines my own personal view of immortality. Warmest regards, Michael Garin, 1964”
1966 - Rick Jalonack - “I, too, am saddened by Mr. Wathey’s passing. Even before he was the principal of Wheatley, the North Side grammar school was his domain.
I know this because I was ‘invited’ to his office a number of times.  When it came time for me and my classmates to go to Wheatley (due to the Northside fire), I also met Mr. Wathey there.
What a coincidence?! Again, I was invited and re-invited to his office, I can't for the life-of-me remember what I did to make me an honored guest in his office. It might have been firecrackers, or knives, or even grape gumballs for sale.
In any event, Mr. Wathey and I were well acquainted with each other.  He was always fair and never raised his voice (even if I gave him good reason to).
I will miss him. Thanks, Rick”
1965 - Bob Halper - “Mr. Wathey was universally respected.”
1966 - Alison Kent Bermant - “I was so saddened to read in Newsday that your dear husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and my beloved high school principal had died at the age of 98. He was one of those people we expect will live forever. For those of us who were blessed to be students at Wheatley during his tenure, our public high school education was second to none, and I’m sure his leadership had a lot to do with it. He hired only the best educators, and the school always emphasized critical thinking. We had prize-winning choruses, bands and orchestras, a language lab (pretty rare in the 60s), and fantastic English, social studies, math and science departments. I only learned of his WWII heroism in the D-Day invasion from his obituary. The world is a richer place because of his life. Countless grads of Wheatley are educated people because of him. What more can one ask? May you all be comforted by the love you shared.
1966 - Claude Levy - “As a French student, I grew up with a sense that being called to the Principal’s office was never good news.
This may be one of the reasons why I was so impressed by my interview with Mr. Wathey as a Class of 1966 American Field Service foreign exchange student. I recall a warm and smiling encounter, during which I understood how supportive a person he was. Au revoir et merci, Mr. Wathey.
1967 - Carl Thomas Wirth - “Art, I know you take great joy in putting together our alumni newsletter, but I would think this last one was one of the hardest you had to print. The passing of Mr. Wathey brings back memories to all of who attended Wheatley in his years as principal. I know that for you, you have lost a friend and mentor. Perhaps all of us that knew him should feel the same. In many high schools the principal is a distant figure, my senior year having been elected as G.O. President (for you post 1969 alumni, that was our student body government) I found his door always open to me as weekly we would discuss how to improve the life for Wheatley students (and I was only a small part of his Wheatley years). Once a month he would hold a ‘press’ conference where students could come and ask him questions about the school and the rules that governed the place. He was always open to new ideas, from our asking for a Freedom of the Grounds idea (it allowed selected students to go through the halls WITHOUT a pass) to allowing the selling of ice cream during lunch (might not seem like a big deal in 2022 but was a breakthrough in 1966). Years later I would write him to tell him of my own experiences as a high school teacher. I still have that letter as he remembered the meetings we had while I was a student to how proud he was that I wound up in education too. He was a very good man. What a wonderful life?! Thank you, Art, for letting those who knew him remember the impact he had on our young lives.”

Today’s Event:

The 40th-year reunion of the Class of 1982 will be held TODAY on Saturday, October 22nd at the Strathmore-Vanderbilt Country Club, in Manhasset, NY. Contact Maria Reyher Meredith at for more information.

The Covid-belated 40th-year reunion of the Class of 1981 will be held on May 6, 2023 at Hendrick’s Tavern, in Roslyn. Cocktails and appetizers start at 6:00; Dinner is at 7:00; there’s an open bar from 6:00 to 10:00. FYI, there’s a hotel next-door. The cost is $170 per person. Checks should be sent to Alan Littman at 22 Overbrook Lane, Upper Brookville, NY 11545. Email Alan at ALAN.LITTMAN@NFP.COM for further information and/or to indicate interest.

The Usual Words of Wisdom

Thanks to our fabulous Webmaster, Keith Aufhauser (Class of 1963), you can regale yourself with the first 79 Newsletters (and other Wheatley data and arcana) at
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 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 do not vouch for the accuracy of what people tell me.
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 and/or studied there. Art Engoron, Class of 1967


Norman Boyan - Rhoda Kalkin Schneider Remembers Wheatley’s First Principal
The Wheatley School opened in 1956, as did the one-level Roosevelt Field Mall, which had a Woolworth, a Walgreen, a Buster Brown, a movie theater, an ice-skating rink, and a Macy’s. Back then, Macy’s gift boxes were red and gold. I was shopping there one December and was holding numerous boxes balanced on top of one another. The boxes had stretchy bands securing them, and I was walking past the escalator heading towards the parking lot.
Principal Norman Boyan (he had the title “Dr.”) happened to be coming down the escalator with his boxes, and we collided; the boxes were sprawled all over the floor and a few opened up. I can still recall that one gift of mine was a pair of brown and beige plaid mittens I had purchased for one of my classmates, Marsha Podell. Principal Boyan recognized me and was friendly and laughing.  The end result we sat on the floor of Macys opening up the boxes and going through each other’s gifts.
He, too, was a sweet, nice man!


Steve Ehre - “Art, I agree with you not to censor, but in an alumni newsletter, I wish people would keep politics out of it, except when essential like when discussing direct involvement in history, like with the Chicago 7.  But I have to make three general comments, trying to be as objective as possible. First, there is NO viable radical left extant in the US today. None! There are no SDS meetings, or offshoots like the Weathermen. No IWW Wobblies. No anarchist political party. Try to find a Communist party meeting in the US to give dues to. Bernie Sanders is NOT a radical. While I disagree with some of his aims, his wants are simple: to give US citizens the same rights and benefits that every other industrialized country gives their citizens. He believes that it is workers who create the wealth. That is NOT radical!  Moving away from carbon based fuels is ‘Radical’? Healthcare as a right is ‘Radical’? Family leave is ‘Radical’? Damn radical liberal leftists. Look at the platform of the 1950s/60s Republican Party. It is very similar to what many Democrats want today. Republicans by and large want nothing to do with their previous ideas, such as a carbon tax or the EPA. Note that the Republican Party in 2020 for the first time ever had NO platform…
Second, yes there has been a lowering of standards in the teaching profession. Witness what an insane plan DeSantos is forcing on Florida students. Pay and conditions are so bad that it is hard to recruit good people. But the AFT or UFT are NOT to blame (the NEA is NOT a union). I am proud to be a member of NYSUT(New York State Untied Teachers…member of the NEA, member of the AFT, American Federation of Teachers). One reason students had small classes and competent teachers is because the EWTA (East Williston Teachers Association), with agreement with the wonderful EW Bd of Ed., negotiated to make sure no grade school class ever was above 24 students or in Wheatley, 30 students. In addition, while never the top paying district, compensation was always in range. Because of the negotiated working conditions, teachers from all over the US used to be attracted to UFSD#2. One year, circa 1974 or so, for one job opening in the Social Studies Dept., we  attracted over 300 applicants! The EWTA was not an adversary of the Bd. We tried to work in concert. We were treated as professionals and, hopefully, parents and students saw the results as teachers wanted to show that we were deserving. The lessening of union influence throughout the country has led to a serious diminution of good working conditions. The US is near the bottom when comparing workers’ rights and benefits like healthcare and vacation time and family leave and decision making. Unions have historically been a whipping boy for the wealthy corporate owners (remember the Pinkertons?!). So, no matter what you think of unions overall, there is one union, the EWTA, that you now know tried to prioritize good things for you, the students of Wheatley.
Third, I am happy that someone learned what to him is a valuable lesson in his Catholic School. But I do wish that person would also learn that other people with different religions and viewpoints do not agree with what he was taught or what he now believes. They make up a huge majority of the population of the US. His view is a minority view. In fact, the Bible itself disagrees with itself on this point. Does life begin at conception or after 10-12 weeks... with a real heartbeat, not just electrical impulses,.. or at first breathe?? Separation of Church and State is a fundamental right that is being dismantled by a right-wing court dominated by doctrinaire believers. There is no other way to describe it. Just because three new members join the court within a short time, it  should not affect the overall decision-making of the court if it wishes to maintain the respect of its citizens. Great swings should not occur. Precedent has always kept the SCOTUS relevant. We are supposed to be a nation of laws and not people. The current Court, in my opinion, is abusing its power. It is clearly, by every poll on almost every issue, taking the country in a direction that a great majority of its people do not want.   A democratic republic is a huge experiment. It is being severely threatened. Know the issues and the candidates. Vote.


1960 - Another Incredibly Successful Mini-Reunion

The Gang

L-R Ken Martin, Nancy Moncure, Lucy Mullman, “Zeke” Zebrowski

L-R - Charlie Zimmerman and “Zeke” Zebrowski

The Special Occasion Wheatley Apron

“Zeke” in his Wheatley Sweater

Ken Martin and John Moncure
Writes Ken Martin - Fellow Cats, I suspect the warmth of this Mini-Reunion will last in many of our souls for a lengthy time. The Mini? Wow! It seems to me that each one is better than the last one. And it probably is, as we, like good wine, age well.
The event began with a barbecue at Mary Jane Johnson Haas’s lovely home near the East Hampton/Sag Harbor border, maybe 15 minutes from our hotel, Baron’s Cove.
The cooks were none other than Zeke and Zimmy (Zebrowski and Zimmerman).
It was, as mentioned above, a most memorable event that will last with most of us forever. A few brief notes:

It would not have been possible without the efforts of Mary Jane and Charlie Zimmerman. The class is blessed by the commitment of these two incredibly generous and kind individuals.

My cousin, Earl Ewing, a friend to a number of us, as well as a five-year teacher at Wheatley (1964 to 1969), added much to our enjoyment.

Be well Cats, stay strong, and pray for peace. VQ Ken
1964 - Karen Schaller Hampton - Living Actively in California
Writes Karen - “I am still living in Half Moon Bay, California, but spend summers at my house on Long Island, in East Marion.  It is on the North Fork just before Orient Point.  My Dad built the house in 1956 and my sister, Marilyn (1960), and I share the house now.  Some of the Wheatley classmates of 1964 have spent time out there.  My husband, Monty, passed away on December 15, 2019.  He had enjoyed attending my 50th reunion in 2014 and said it was more fun than his, which we attended in 2009 in Lancaster, California.  Yes, he grew up in California and received his PHD at Stanford.  He was a Marine Geologist traveling all over the world participating in joint projects with other countries.  He loved surfing, skiing, biking, running and playing his guitar. My sister, Elaine Schaller Tuthill (1966), passed away in January, 2011 from lung cancer.  She is missed by all of our family and her many friends.  She was an avid runner, talented and creative seamstress, loved having parties and social events and was so much fun to be with. I am retired but occasionally doing consulting in education.  I published a book about my father, The Monument Man, in 2007.  Some of my classmates have copies.  At 76, I am still kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, riding my bike, walking in half marathons, traveling, and spending time with my 5 grandchildren, ages 7, 11, 21, 23, and 26.  I have one great grandson, 10 months old.”
1965 - Bob Halper - Hanging out in a Hangout

Bob and Art in Manhattan’s Odeon, 10/18/2022
1965 - Jeffrey Orling - Radio Station WTWS (The Wheatley School)

Writes Jeffrey - “When I was in 10th, 11th or 12th grade I set up a ‘radio station’ that played music to the ‘Senior High Social Space.’ It was simply a long wire connected to a speaker run over the roof to a small closet next to Mel Rosenstein's chemistry classroom.  Music was played from a reel to reel tape recorder.  I don't recall how long it lasted and who ran the recorder. I recall we would have periods with no classes and could hang out in the cafeteria or seniors in the social space... I am pretty sure this is not a fantasy... perhaps someone else remembers and can confirm??
1967 - Judith Berkan - Litigated a Case Headed to the United States Supreme Court
Writes Judy - Dear Art: Although I follow the newsletter and certainly appreciate the work you and others have done over the years, I have not before felt inspired to write.  Apparently, however, there’s been some interest in a case from Puerto Rico – where I’ve lived since 1977 - for which the United States Supreme Court, amazingly and perhaps ominously, granted certiorari (review) last week.
My work in Puerto Rico concentrates on human rights, litigation in areas of discrimination, constitutional rights, government misconduct, police brutality, etc., as well as teaching and general agitation related to those areas.  Another important focus is ridding us of the colonial yoke that the U.S. maintains over this country.  I could write volumes on this (I have, in fact), but this is not the place for that.
I assume that most people, including Wheatley graduates, don’t know that since 2016 Puerto Ricans have been subject to de facto governance by a “Fiscal Management and Oversight Board” (everyone here calls it “la Junta”) appointed by the President, which defines our budgets, rejects policies the visions of which it does not share (even if legislated), and “represents” us in a bankruptcy action, which will ultimately have the effect of eliminating virtually all essential services, impoverishing the population for decades, and paying off the bondholders, many of whom bought up the instruments at bargain basement prices, in the light of our series of recent disasters: two huge hurricanes (one in 2017 and the more recent Fiona), earthquakes, and the pandemic, not to leave out, of course, the “debt crisis” and recession of the last 15 years.  All this pursuant to probably the only “bi-partisan” bill approved at the end of President Obama’s term in office, the ridiculously named “PROMESA” legislation.
So, the case:  I represent the CPI (Center for Investigative Journalism), a nonprofit media and educational group, which is one of the few entities in Puerto Rico which has put some brakes on the excesses and abuses of the Junta (and whose investigative work was crucial to the ouster in 2019 of our past Governor). CPI demanded that the Junta respond to a broad request for information concerning communications between the Board and different individuals and government entities.  In Puerto Rico, there is a firmly established Constitutional right of access to this information.
We’ve been litigating this case for five years.  The Junta, although defined by Congress as an “entity within the Government of Puerto Rico” and paid for – yes, every last dollar – by the people of Puerto Rico, has cherry-picked the documents it chooses to reveal (claiming at times that it would be too disruptive if Puerto Ricans actually knew what the Junta was doing internally). For the attorneys among us, the Junta’s defense at this stage is based on Sovereign Immunity and Eleventh Amendment Immunity.  This is despite the fact that (1) Puerto Rico is not considered a “State,” and (2) the Congress, in PROMESA, specifically precluded Puerto Rican courts from exercising jurisdiction over any claim against the Junta.  So, the effect of the Board’s position is to deprive us of ANY forum.
Amazingly, we WON a split decision at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (the federal appeals court). Predictably, the Junta sought review.  I say “amazingly” because if you review the case law, you will see that the Junta ALWAYS wins.  The Junta went up to the Supreme Court, which last week granted the writ of certiorari.  Although I’ve done the case from the beginning and argued to the First Circuit, we have employed specialized counsel for the Supreme Court argument.  It will likely be heard in January and promises to be very, very interesting and important (both on Media access issues and on the question of the status of Puerto Rico).
I have, of course, copies of the petition, the opposition brief, and all of the other documents if anyone is interested.
1965 - Gail Wittkin Sasso - Deceased

Writes classmate Barbara Ashley - “Sadly, Gail Wittkin Sasso passed away on Oct 20, 2022 of ocular melanoma. Her husband, John, was by her side for every step of her journey. She also leaves behind her two children, Nick and Karen, who lit up her life, as well as her three grandsons, one of whom was born just days before her death. 
Gail took such pleasure from her gardening that this seems an appropriate photo to include.”
1967 - Andy Morris and Art Engoron - Buddies

Andy and Art Outside 60 Centre Street, New York, NY, 10/14/2022

Andy and Art Inside 60 Centre Street, New York, NY, 10/14/2022
1968 - Richard Witters - Air Force Guy

Writes Dick - “This sign is in front of a building named for my father at the United States Air Force Academy, my alma mater. The naming culminated his career, in which he began as a fighter pilot in WWII, then did his masters thesis on the academy, was on the planning board, built it, then became the chief architect of the Air Force in the 1960s.”
1970 - Frank Tillman - Deceased
Frank Tillman Obituary
Writes Susan Blumberg Lande (1970) - “I found out yesterday that Frank Tillman died on October 4th, 2022, a few days short of his 72nd birthday. Frank didn’t graduate from Wheatley, but he would have been Class of 1970 had he stayed there. He was chosen through a special program to live with a family (Susan, 1966; Laura, 1968; and Charlie, 1973, Nash) in East Williston and to attend Wheatley for a few years.  I think this was around 1965 or 1966.  We reconnected a few years ago and he told me more about the program. He finished High School at The Berkshire Academy and then went on to Syracuse University.  He stayed in Syracuse and lived there for many years. He was originally from Jackson, MS.  
Writes 1970 Class Correspondent Jane Roeder - “Dear Classmates, It is with great sadness that I share the news of Frank Tillman’s passing.    
Susan Blumberg Lande asked me to share this touching video tribute to Frank’s life.  Clearly, Frank was beloved by his community of friends in Syracuse.  He was the life of the party, too!  There are so many happy faces in this tribute.  As some of you will recall, Frank attended our 50th-year reunion on Zoom in June 2020.  Even though Frank didn’t graduate with our class, he will always be a member of The Wheatley School Class of 1970.”
Writes Art Engoron (1967) - I remember Frank Tillman as a nice guy living with the Nash family, with whom I was friendly, on my street (Bengeyfield Drive). I’m told that he was was close to the pastor of The Community Church in East Williston.
Writes Gerry Engoron (1973) - “A few things I remember about Frank Tillman:
1.  He and my brother Frank Engoron (1970) used to call each other the Spanish name ‘Paco,’ which is a nickname for ‘Francisco.’ 
2. He was a very good athlete and would play football with us in the Nash's fairly large backyard.   
3. One day we were sleigh riding down the hill towards the top of Bengeyfield.  One of the sleds could fit two people and Frank was the best at getting a fast start.  We all wanted turns riding with him, which he graciously allowed.
4.   He was a really nice guy!” 
1974 - Headshots from former Class Reunion

1975 - Mark Lubin - Music Man

L-R - Mark and Art - Pepolino Restaurant, Manhattan, October 6, 2022
While still practicing law, Mark recently issued his second CD, entitled Beyond, featuring Mark on guitar in 8 jazz tracks, including 3 originals.  It is available on and  More information is available on
Writes Art Engoron (1967) - “Beyond is contemporary jazz performed and recorded at a high, professional level. Congrats, Mark.”
1983 - Mark Horowitz - With AFE in Great Neck Equinox 10/21/2022

1984 - Matthew Bosshart - Way Back When

Matthew is the tall guy in the middle of the back row, wearing yellow.


Writes Art Engoron (1967) - “The Lost Boys of Montauk,” the true story of the loss of the Wind Blown, captained by our own Michael Stedman, Wheatley Class of 1970, and her four crew members, is a fun, engaging, if sad, read, and not just because the people and places it describes include some that are close to home, literally and figuratively. The author, Amanda Fairbanks, provides a wide-angle-lens view of the disaster itself and the social milieux in which it occurred.

Fan Mail

Friend of the Family - ❤️
Faculty (Karen Bartscherer - ❤️
1959 - Tracey Lanthier - ❤️
1960 (Jay Cummings) - “Art, Very nice newsletter.”
1961 (Len Jacobs) - “Thanks for your devotion to the fascinating world of Wheatley.”
1964 (Elvira “Vivi” Cilmi Kuntz) - “Thank you again for your work.”
1964 (Karen Schaller Hampton) - “Enjoying all the newsletters and updates. I look forward to hearing from alumni through your newsletter.  Thank you for providing that communication for all of us.
1965 (Clifford Montgomery) - “Thanks for keeping us all together, Art. Great issue.”
1965 (Jeffrey Orling) - “Thanks, Arthur. I enjoy the memories of Wheatley.”
1966 (Karen Wattel Arenson) - “A wealth of news, as always! Thank you.”
1967 (Scott Frishman) - “Art: Great newsletter and great photos.”
1967 (Steve Rosenthal) - “As always, I'm impressed at your ability to hold down a day job and get out the newsletter -- and grateful that you do.”
1967 (Jill Simon Forte) - “As usual, I loved reading the newsletter. So many interesting people graduated from Wheatley. I never realized how lucky we were back then. Frightening times ahead, I am afraid, but some good memories are always with us. Thanks again for all the hard work that goes into this 😊.”❤️
1967 (Joseph Tartaglia) - ❤️
1968 (Carol Belsky) - ❤️
1969 (Ronni Seltzer) - ❤️
1971 (Merrie Sesskin) - ❤️
1974 (James Elefonte) - ❤️
1979 (William Behan) - ❤️
1983 (Marian Brown) - ❤️
1985 (Sarah Tirgary) - ❤️


That’s it for The Wheatley School Alumni Association Newsletter # 80.  Please send me your autobiography before someone else sends me your obituary.
Arthur Fredericks Engoron, 1967
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