Promoting Justice and the Common Good

Faith and Reason


Promoting justice and the common good: Kant and Augustine at Anna Maria College In a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (29-30 December 2018), Paula Marantz Cohen recommends teaching ‘Kant in kindergarten,’ as a way of restoring what she calls some degree of sanity and civility to our world today, particularly but not only in the political domain. She is not actually proposing to read the Critique of Pure Reason with four-year olds, but rather to consult the great works of philosophy and then to adapt philosophical ideas around morality by teaching these to different age groups, from the youngest throughout their entire schooling. In some ways, her suggestion about and rationale for teaching Kant resonates with the emphasis on a liberal arts education here at Anna Maria College.

Cohen, a dean and professor English at Drexel University, makes a strong argument for moral education with an explicitly philosophical grounding. More specifically, she recommends that parents and teachers facilitate an on-going process of moral education centered on two formulations of the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative:


• act as if what you do will become a universal law

• never treat yourself or others as a means to an end Why the categorical imperative? Cohen describes this dual emphasis as able to offer a concrete framework for encouraging moral growth–a framework that can be taught to students at different ages–and as a consequence to encourage individuals over time to develop greater rationality, integrity, empathy, and concern for others.

How does this relate to Anna Maria? The values of the College emphasize a cultivation of personal moral responsibility, development of the whole person, and service to the community. In light of the College’s mission and the charism of the founding Sisters of St. Ann, students at Anna Maria study Kant as well as St. Augustine, both philosophy and theology. This is a core requirement of the College’s General Education program and helps to bring the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to life for Anna Maria students. The study of both philosophy and theology reflects the College’s mission, and the specific value of:

faith and reason: Drawing upon the Catholic intellectual tradition, the academic environment provides students an education that honors faith and reason as complementary paths of wisdom in the search for truth and meaning.

What might Augustine and theology add to Cohen’s focus on the philosophy of Kant? Augustine portrays the moral life as a search for the highest good: that good which helps us to flourish, and also brings well-being and happiness. This understanding speaks to St. Augustine’s deep grounding in Greek philosophy, particularly Plato. Furthermore, as a Christian, Augustine identifies this highest good with God. For Christians, the pursuit of the good revolves around the dual Scriptural commands: to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself. When we seek relationship with God, who is the highest good, and when we seek the good of our neighbor, then we will find well-being and happiness.

Coursework, internships and a multitude of student life and extracurricular activities foster an education and subsequent growth that helps graduates to reach for something greater, assume personal responsibility, transform their world, and contribute positively to the lives of other people. Inspired by the ideals of the Sisters of St. Anne and the example of Esther Blondin, Anna Maria has been putting such an approach into action since its founding in 1946, a set of ideas and principles still bearing fruit in the 21st century.


Written by: Assistant Professor of Theology Dr. Marc Tumeinski

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2019 Edith Mooney LaVigne Lecture


Anna Maria College will host the 2019 Edith Mooney LaVigne Lecture featuring author Maureen Cavanagh on Wednesday, February 13 at 11:00 am at the Zecco Performing Arts Center, located in Foundress Hall. This lecture series is the legacy of Edith Mooney LaVigne ’63, beloved Anna Maria alumna and Trustee. Maureen Cavanagh’s memoir “If You Love Me” is the story of a mother who suddenly finds herself on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic as her daughter battles – and ultimately reckons with – substance use disorder. A book-signing and reception will follow the lecture. All are welcome to attend. RSVP at (508) 849-3341 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Catholic Intellectual Tradition Speaker Series

Anna Maria College will hold the inaugural lecture in the ‘
Catholic Intellectual Tradition’ speaker series presented by Dr. Joseph Kelley on Thursday, February 7th from 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. held on the Anna Maria campus in Foundress Hall.

Joseph Kelley, Ph.D. and D.Min., is Professor in Religious and Theological Studies at Merrimack College where he also directs the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. He has served at Merrimack for over 40 years in various administrative and teaching roles. He is a psychologist licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and has authored many articles and six books, including three on the thought of Saint Augustine of Hippo. In his teaching and writing Joe emphasizes the importance of presenting religion and theology in ways accessible to people from many different religious and cultural backgrounds. He has lectured and taught around the United States, Europe, Australia and Algeria.

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Students Put Service Before Self


This winter, 14 Anna Maria College students spent a week of their holiday break volunteering in Puerto Rico to help residents with home repairs still underway a year after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Preparing for lives as compassionate leaders with a commitment to community service, Anna Maria College students completed 5,800 service hours locally and abroad in 2018. “Service is one of the main values that we teach here at Anna Maria College and the Alternative Winter Break allows our students the opportunity to serve others where help is most needed,” said Mary Lou Retelle, President of Anna Maria College. “Most of our students are on the path to serve their community whether it be as a nurse, first responder, teacher, law enforcement professional or social worker, so an experience like this one helps shape them into better leaders in the community.” Joined by AMC’s David Breen, Chief Operations Officer and Melissa LaNeve, Director of Campus Ministry, student volunteers took on a variety of home construction assignments at three different homes in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The construction assignments included installing/gluing floor tile, caulking, painting, installing window trims, grouting tile and dry walling. Upon returning to campus, Ashley Garcia, Anna Maria College undergraduate class of 2022, said "I was blessed to be given the opportunity to help those in need and be a part of relief efforts after the devastation of a natural disaster. Not only did I learn things I never thought I was capable of doing, it helped me reshape and redirect my path of wanting to give back in any way possible. I am beyond lucky that on this journey I gained so many amazing friends throughout my experience. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. No matter the color of our skin, the way we talk or walk, we are so similar and coming together to serve people in need is what we should dedicate ourselves to. We truly should live for moments like this and I know this past week, I’ve had so many and for that I am so grateful." Those participating in the 2019 Alternative Winter Break include:  

Clara Cassidy (Student Leader), 2019, Sturbridge MA

Jessica Grindell (Student Leader), 2019, Dennis MA

Timothy Austin, 2021, Babylon NY

Jessica Barbera, 2020, Wakefield MA

Keannah Dunsmore, 2022, St. Albans VT

Marisol Durango, 2020, Pawtucket RI

Ashley Garcia, 2022, New Windsor NY

Lauren Kirchner, 2020, Harwinton CT

Kayla McGrady, 2020, Nantucket MA

Danielle Mello, 2020, Dudley MA

Patrick McKenna, 2019, East Bridgewater MA

Kristan Richardson, 2019, Tewksbury MA

Alexandra Tessman, 2020, Auburn MA

Joshua Wozniak, 2021, Suffield CT “It was a fantastic trip and I was truly able to see the students grow and stretch themselves in the work they were doing,” said Melissa LaNeve, Director of Campus Ministry. “They left knowing that they had made an impact on many people’s lives simply from offering one week of their own lives in service.”

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Art Center Gallery presents Nancy Diessner

Nancy on Soapbox All I want is to be the river though I return again and again to the clouds
The Art Center Gallery at Anna Maria College presents Nancy Diessner; All I want is to be the river though I return again and again to the clouds from Wednesday, February 20th through Friday, April 12th. Nancy Diessner lives and works on an old farm property in an historical area of Metro-West, Massachusetts. Her work can be found at Bromfield Gallery in Boston. She remains a core faculty member of Zea Mays Printmaking in Northampton, Massachusetts, and runs Dog's Eye Print Studio, specializing in platemaking and printing. Diessner employs photography, printmaking, paper casting, collage and an intimate knowledge of boat construction in her latest body of work. These boat-forms, which look like thin, pointy arches, relate physically and emotionally to the liminal spaces she finds herself in while sculling.

The exhibit consists of these constructions as well as a myriad of small prints, which hint at the river shore, trees, and ocher sites experienced from the seat of her boat. All I want is to be the river though I return again and again to the clouds presents Diessner's investigation of duality, allowing the viewer to plumb the nuances of experience and observation along with the artist.
The exhibition of a guest artist each semester exposes students, the college, and community to a diverse range of contemporary art. An accompanying catalog further explores the artist's work and will be available for sale at the Opening. All are invited to attend the Opening Reception on Wednesday, February 20 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, which features a discussion between Nancy Diessner and Gallery Director Darrell Matsumoto. Anna Maria College
School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Department of Art & Design
Art Center Gallery at Miriam Hall
50 Sunset Lane
Paxton, MA 01712 Nancy Diessner
All I want is to be the river though I return again and again to the clouds
February 20 - April 12, 2019 Opening Reception
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 
5:00 - 7:00 pm Exhibition Catalog Available
Contact David Wackell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Online at and search for Anna Maria College Look for the artist's interviews in support of the exhibit on WCCA-TV
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Johnny Dombrowski continues to defy odds at Anna Maria

Johnny Dombrowski
At the annual Worcester Area College Basketball Association banquet last spring, Leominster’s Johnny Dombrowski, who had recently completed a record-setting basketball season at Quinsigamond Community College, was a most deserving recipient of the Patrick Oroszko Courage Award, which recognizes someone who has overcome obstacles, displays courage and has a love for Worcester basketball.
Dombrowski received a standing ovation from those gathered in the Holy Cross Hogan Campus Center function room, and during his acceptance speech told them “it’s been a battle,” and thanked everyone who has helped him wage it. When he was 3, Dombrowski was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. “I’m just a type of kid that learns a little bit slower than others,” Dombrowski said during a recent interview at Anna Maria College. Dombrowski spent his high school years at Dearborn Academy in Arlington, one of New England’s leading state-approved special education day schools, and it was not certain if college — in particular, four-year college — would be part of Dombrowski’s future. “Over the years,” Dombrowski said, “people have not only made jokes about me because of my symptoms, but even some of my teachers didn’t think I would go forward. I wanted to attend college and play college ball and show everybody that no matter what is in your way, if you love something, you need to pursue it and pursue it and pursue it until the day you die.” While scoring a QCC single-game-record 47 points last season and maintaining a 3.3 GPA, Dombrowski dreamed of earning his bachelor’s degree and continuing his basketball career. Dombrowski, whose determination is inspirational and whose amiability is uplifting, is doing exactly that at Anna Maria. He is majoring in social work and has come off the bench to play in seven games for the AmCats. “He’s awesome,” junior teammate Mike Rapoza said. “Johnny is so passionate, he works so hard, and I think it’s contagious. He gets other guys to work harder.” First-semester grades came out before last Monday’s practice. Anna Maria coach Shawn Conrad informed Dombrowski he achieved two A-minuses and two B-pluses for a 3.5 GPA. He made the dean’s list. “That’s good,” Dombrowski said.
“No,” Conrad corrected. “That’s fantastic.” During an interview last year at Quinsig, Dombrowski’s mom, Lisa Saliba, said Johnny spoke his first word when he was around 4, that his gross motor skills were late emerging, that he struggled academically and socially, that nothing came easy to him, that he had to work hard at everything. But at an early age, he also discovered his love for basketball, for dribbling and, especially, shooting. Playing basketball helped him showcase his strengths and learn about teamwork, his mother said. He worked even harder. After Dearborn Academy, Dombrowski’s AAU coach, Albert Ortiz, helped direct Dombrowski toward Quinsigamond and basketball coach Tishaun Jenkins. Ortiz also visited the Anna Maria campus with Dombrowski and his dad, John. AMC assistant coach Eric Guglielmello saw Dombrowski play at Quinsig and told Conrad, “this kid can flat-out score.” Thus began the recruiting process. “It all fell into place,” Conrad said. “Once he came up here, it put his parents’ minds at ease that we had an elite social work program and that it was a small school where he would receive individual attention in the classroom and on the court. It’s a credit to his parents that they have enough faith in John to send him out into the real world and say, ‘Here you go.’ I know they think and worry about him every day, but they know he’s in good hands.” For the first time, Dombrowski is living on his own, in a dorm. He’s making new friends. He went to a party — “I had a blast,” he said — and his teammates are introducing Dombrowski, a hardcore metal fan, to rap music. He is embracing campus life. The only drawback, he said, is that there is no coffee shop on the AMC campus. His tutor drives him to the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, and he also has a coffee maker in his dorm room. One of the biggest benefits of living on campus is extra, almost-anytime, access to the gym. In the fall, he was sometimes in there until 3 or 4 in the morning. “One time, I was working on my game so intensely,” Dombrowski said, “that I overslept my 8 a.m. class and ended up not doing so well on my test, but I was after something. I was on a mission to play college basketball.” Dombrowski, a 6-foot-1 junior guard, is averaging 3.3 minutes and 2 points per game. He has taken almost half his attempts from 3-point range and is 5 for 7 from the free-throw line. “He has a college-level offensive game,” Conrad said. Conrad, the coaching staff and players are working with Dombrowski to help him better grasp the defense and the new plays the AmCats have installed since the start of conference play earlier this month. “Lately I’ve been a little frustrated and upset because it’s been a while for me to learn the plays, learn the system,” Dombrowski said. “A few freshmen have caught on really quickly. It’s a while for me because I have a lot of trouble processing and learning things. “I’m not getting as many minutes as I hoped for,” Dombrowski said, “but I really know deep down I’m going to get my shot because I know for a fact that if I can make the statement like I did at Quinsig, I can do the same thing here. With all the love and support I have from Coach Conrad, my coaches and teammates, my parents, I know I can do it.” Dombrowski said during a recent game he thought the AmCats were playing zone defense, but they were actually in man-to-man. “A kid scored off me,” Dombrowski said, “and I was like, ‘Oh, man.’ ”

Rapoza has spent extra time with Dombrowski before and after practices and Conrad has recently begun working with Dombrowski one-on-one after practice. “There was some uncertainty how he was going to do academically, how he was going to be living on his own for the first time, how he was going to be playing at the next level where there’s a little more investment,” Conrad said, “and I think he’s passed them all with flying colors. Right now, the only hurdle we’re overcoming, and he knows this, is the recognition of play calls and positioning on the court. He’s made strides defensively. I think he finally got to the point where he felt like, ‘I know this. I know that,’ and last week we started putting new stuff in. “You never want to be out there as a player thinking, and right now, John has to. He gets frustrated by that because he wants it so badly. He has the offensive game that can fit this level. We are definitely committed to finding time for John.” Conrad said Dombrowski’s positivity has permeated the team — “It’s like a ray of sunshine when he walks into the gym” — and that his competitiveness, drive and emotional investment in the game are among his best qualities. Together they are working on channeling some of the emotions that have come with Dombrowski’s recent frustrations. He was extra hard on himself during a recent practice when he was in proper position for a rebound and the ball bounced the other way. “I came in to Coach Conrad’s office discouraged,” Dombrowski said. “He builds me back up and tells me to focus on the next play. After my meetings with him I always whisper that to myself, ‘Focus on the next play. Focus on the next play.’” Since Dombrowski joined the team, he has taken over one of Conrad’s duties. “I don’t have to worry about giving the pep talks anymore,” Conrad said.
“When we break the huddle,” Dombrowski said, “I’m the one hyping everybody up.”



Just like at Quinsigamond, that continues during the games. “Even though I’m sitting on the bench, I’m going absolutely insane on the sidelines,” Dombrowski said. “One game I was yelling and screaming, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go! Nice play! Nice play!’ and the ref had to come to our sideline and told my coach, ‘You need to tell him to settle down a little bit.’ ” Dombrowski said he is so happy to be an AmCat. For the AmCats, the feeling is mutual. “We are blessed to have him in our lives,” Conrad said. “I’ve been coaching for over 30 years, and this is a new experience for me, and it has been an incredible experience for me. We are blessed to have John in our program. “The challenges he has to overcome and how we together are going to get it done — after so many years, confronting something you’ve never had to before and worrying about how this is going to go and seeing it unfolding in front of your eyes, it’s amazing, and it’s amazing for him.” Dombrowski is eternally grateful to everyone — his parents, coaches, tutor, teachers, teammates, friends and girlfriend — that has supported and helped and loved him during this journey. “I want to send a message to people who have trouble learning,” Dombrowski said, “who have what I have. I want them to know if you have a passion you have to pursue it. “My grind has never stopped,” he said. “My main mission is to finish the fight no matter how hard it is, no matter what the obstacles are. I’m going to keep pushing through this journey. It’s been a really, really good one.” Story by Jennifer Toland at the Telegram and Gazette

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Fall 2018 Dean's List


Congratulations to the students who made the 2018 Fall Dean's List:

Patrick Adams   Brooke Kresco
Stephanie Allen   Nicholas Kukuris
Emily Alves   Sabrina LaMountain
Megan Alves   Yvonne Lamptey
Ashley Anderson   Jordin Laraia
Britnee Angell   Connor Lavin
Phillip Antonucci   Makenzie Lewis
Adjoa Asafu-Adjaye   Stephanie LoCascio
Ama Asiamah   Kassandra Long
Hannah Audibert   Jennifer Lopez
Jackee Banfill   Tatyana Lugo-Gardner
Kathryn Barnes   Lexey Lutz
Brendan Bartlett   Kayla Magierowski
Robin Baxter   Juliet Maglitta
Huascar Beato   Kaitlyn Magner
Rose Bellahalea   Joshua Malin
Darren Belliveau   Alyssa Mancini
Sarah Benites   Patrick Manning
Kaylee Besse   Sabrina Mansfield Mornea
Sarah Bialkowski   Margaret Maresco
Adam Black   Jarrod Marifiote
Daniel Black   Vathsana Marques
Nicholas Blood   Emily Martin
Colleen Bogonovich   Jonathan Marx
Grace Bond   Mario Maturi
Rebecca Botteri   Kade McCartin
Cheyenne Boyle   Anna McCormack
Bailey Braga   William McGoughran
Hayden Braga   Emma McGrath
Matthew Braz   David McIntosh
Cara Bromley   Molly McKee
Celia Brown   Patrick McKenna
Lauren Burns   Morgan McKenney
Rachel Burwick   Georgia McLellan
Abigail Campbell   Patrick McLoughlan
John Campiglia   Jennifer McNally
Megan Canavan   William Mehigan
Tristan Canter   Anne Melanson
Guillermina Caraballo   Krystal Melendez
Sabrina Carreira   Justin Mercurio
Nadia Carrillo   Belkisa Micani
Jack Cassidy   Christian Molina Flores
Marianell Castillo   Jack Morgan
Katherine Castro   Ryan Morley
Abigayle Celata   Noah Morning
Louis Chaix   Sabrina Moroney
Abygail Chapdelaine   Jacob Murphy
Angelica Chavez   Jonah Myers
Caleb Cimini   Alex Myers
Nellda Clark   Kiaralee Navedo
Amanda Clewes   Kai Nero-Clark
Alexander Cohen   Emily Ngo
Joseph Collins   Phylicia O'Dell
Brittany Cook   Nathaniel O'Lari
Bailey Correia   Erica O'Leary
Peter Costa   Matthew Oberg
Louis Costanzo   Padiki Odjidja
Riley Cote   Anthony Oliva
Isabella Cotto   Anianjolice Oquendo
Jacquelyn Cournoyer   Priscilla Oti
Chelsea Cove   Amanda Pachico
Laurie Cowgill   Jacob Padula
Jacob Crevier   Nicholas Palermo
Emma Crowley   Marylee Panient
Samuel Cyr Ledoux   Christian Parent
Carly D'Amato   Matthew Parizo
Rachel Davis   Brandon Pavoni
Mary Dawutey   Otto Pellegrino
Noah Day   Audhinn Pelletier
Ryan Dean   Sierra Pena
Jennifer Delcompare   Robert Perette
Danielle DeVito   Ian Perla
Kevin Diaz   Tyler Perron
Sonya DiPietro   David Pfoestl
Jackson Dobek   Jason Phillip
Diandra Doble   Gabriella Pina
Ardlley Docanto   Tristan Plummer
Kassandra Doherty   Meghan Pope
John Dombrowski   Nathan Power
Konstantinos Drosidis   Gavin Proeh
Theodore Duchesney   Ashlee Pulver
Sarah Dumas   Michael Rapoza
Lauren Dummer   Azadoria Ray
Keannah Dunsmore   Samantha Reed
Marisol Durango   Delia Regan
Peter Dziergas   Jeremy Remigio Sanchez
Serena Eastwood   Briana Riley
Sophia Eisenhaure   Natasha Rivas
Elizabeth Eldridge   Yarelis Rivera
Anekah Ellis   Paul Robitaille
Ariella Emmanuel   Camila Rodriguez
Maria Espinal   Jaeda Rose
Nicholas Estey   Angela Rossi
Richard Fagan Jr.   Andreas Sacripante
Jaime Fernandes   Jessica Salles
Callan Finn-McMahon   Bradley Sampson
Cecelia Fitzgerald   Dolapo Sanni
Amber Floury   Barbara Santos
Hannah Flynn   Amanda Servis
Shannon Foley   Mark Siegel
Jonathan Fowler   Justin Silva
Connor Francis   Angela Sinatra
Maria Franco   Jack Sitzman
Alexander Friend   Joshua Slaney
Sabrina Gabriele   Nathaniel Slaughter
Camryn Gallagher   Swavaughn Small
Danielle Gallant   Jacob Smith
Madelyn Gannon   Ariel Squier
Ashley Garcia   Celina Stacy
Frances Garcia   Lisa Stefanick
Jacey Garron   Emily Stockmal
Jessica Gelineau   Doriela Stoja
Nathan Giron   Liam Stone
Eric Glover   Daniel Stout
Anna Golemo   Nichole Streete
Mellany Gomez   Christine Swain
Isaiah Granderson   Mary Tanona
Kino Gray   Kelley Tarani
Jessica Grindell   John Terranova
Naomi Griswold   Hunter Tetreault
Theresa Guidotti   Austin Thomas
Emily Guinee   David Tmej
Tyler Haroutunian   Ryan Todesco
Xavier Harrelle   Steven Tracz
Sarah Hesselton   Zoi Traiforos
Courtney Hile   Nathan Trombley
Madelyn Hill   Jennifer Tucker
Journey Hineline   Adam Twitchell
Taylor Hoffstedt   Allison Uccello
Shannon Hofmiller   Alanis Vazquez Colon
Noah Holland   Catherine Verostick
Joseph Holmes   Juliana Wahl
Helza Howland Cassim   Matthew Waite
Taylor Hubert   Cole Walling
Samantha Hume   Peter Walsh
Danielle Huston   Meaghan Walsh
Emily Ierardo   Tami Warner
Wasfa Jaffri   Alyssa Wentworth
Theodora Jean   Dream Whitaker
Stephanie Jimenez   Kamryn White
Melina Johnson   Katahdin Whitney
Sienna Johnson   Nicholas Whittemore
Sierra Johnson   James Wieliczko
Camylle Johnson   Brett Willson
Emily Johnson   Ashley Wong Wynot
Alicia Johnston   Joshua Wozniak
Deborah Joseph   Alexandra Zajko
Jenna Karl   Ariana Zecco
Christina Katsogridakis   Sophia Zimmerman
Matthew Kelley      

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Restarting the MA in Pastoral Ministry

Pastoral Ministry Anna Maria College is enriching its theology offerings in response to particular needs in the Worcester Diocese and a highly educated world.  The Paxton college is restarting its master’s degree in pastoral ministry, starting two certificate programs as part of this graduate program, and adding a bachelor’s degree in theology, according to Marc Tumeinski, director of the graduate program in theology. Currently the college offers a bachelor’s degree in Catholic studies.  Candidates for the permanent diaconate, who have been taking courses online, are to again earn their master’s degree at Anna Maria. People serving in parishes and Catholic schools also can earn their master’s in pastoral ministry there, with a concentration on religious education, said Professor Tumeinski. Tuition discounts are available through arrangements with the diocese and the college.  “I really wanted to find ways that the college could support the diocese,” said Professor Tumeinski, who also coordinates the theology department’s certificate program  and undergraduate degree program.  “The bishop has been very supportive. … We felt well supported throughout the college and throughout the diocese,” he said.  The college already has a bachelor’s in Catholic studies, but the bachelor’s in theology is a deeper dive into Scripture, tradition and Church teaching and can prepare students who want to go on for graduate studies, Professor Tumeinski said.  He said he saw a need to restart the graduate program, because the college had previously offered it and wants to be open to expressed needs of the diocese.  Deacon William A. Bilow Jr., director of the diaconate office, asked about restarting the master’s degree for the deacon candidates, and other people asked about having a bachelor’s in theology and programs focused on teaching and spiritual accompaniment. Looking at Anna Maria’s faculty, as well as its education and psychology programs, and the theology department, Professor Tumeinski realized the college could help in these areas. 
“We’re trying to form the whole person.” “That’s part of the mission of the college. … We see theology … as contributing to the development of the whole person,” said Professor Tumeinski, who got his doctorate in theology from the Maryvale Institute, through Liverpool Hope University, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. It was there that Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman lived and provided formation for Catholics.    “That was definitely part of the spirit of Maryvale. Newman was … really trying to reach all people, not just the wealthy and powerful,” Professor Tumeinski said.  A charism of Anna Maria’s founders, the Sisters of St. Anne, is to educate people who would not otherwise have access to education, he said. And today, a fair number of the students are the first in their family to attend college, he said.  Speaking about restarting the master’s in pastoral ministry, Professor Tumeinski said, “It seemed like, in today’s world … it’s necessary for the Church. We live in a highly educated world.… It’s part of the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition.… It’s part of apologetics and evangelization. If we’re going to be handing on the faith” to children and adults, those teaching it need a deep understanding of the faith.  Anna Maria previously worked with the diocese in offering the master’s in pastoral ministry. After the college stopped the program, deacon candidates got their master’s in theology, with a concentration in advanced diaconal studies, through online courses from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine, said Deacon Bilow. He earned his master’s in pastoral ministry for the diaconate from Anna Maria in 2015.  Asked why he wanted the deacon candidates to return to Anna Maria for study, Deacon Bilow spoke of a “sense of community in formation, which will carry on beyond ordination.” Having them attend class together instead of doing courses online will round out their spiritual formation, as they can pray and reflect together, he said. 
The deacon class of 2023 will begin at Anna Maria next fall and not take courses from St. Joseph’s.  The first two courses are to be taught in 2019 by diocesan priests. Canon law is to be taught by Father Juan D. Echavarría from Jan. 3-March 21, and ecclesiology is to be taught by Father Nicholas Desimone from March 28-June 20.  Professor Tumeinski will teach foundational theology next fall, and Old Testament and New Testament courses will be offered in the spring of 2020.  The college gives a tuition discount for courses and the diaconate office and deacon candidate share the rest of the cost, Deacon Bilow said. He said details still need to be finalized.  Other people serving in parishes or Catholic schools in the diocese can also receive a tuition discount from Anna Maria for the master’s level courses, Professor Tumeinski explained.  Elizabeth A. Marcil, director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, said people preparing for certification through her office, and other pastoral ministers, can also contact her office to apply for a partial scholarship. These scholarships are funded through a Forward in Faith endowment collected during the 1999 capital campaign. Written by Tanya Connor from the Catholic Free Press

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Four Practices Every Teacher Should Implement into their Classroom

Shannon Foley

There are so many theories out there when it comes to increasing student interest. When I began my journey as a teacher-to-be in 2015, I never knew just how many opinions existed. I had this romantic notion that students flowed into the classroom each morning with sparkling eyes and a thirst for learning− apples included.
Tell me, when was the last time this happened in your classroom?

Teaching theories exist because there is no right or wrong way to engage students. However, some practices have been proven to be more effective than others. In this article, I will guide you through four practices I swear by to increase your students’ participation and interest, no matter which grade you teach.

1. Start each day with a morning meeting
Morning meetings are common in early elementary classrooms but rarely exist in middle and high school classrooms. This is often due to time restraints. But a good morning meeting doesn’t have to be time-extensive. If you are a middle or high school teacher, take five minutes to connect with your students before announcements. Make a circle and hold hands. Greet each of your students like they are your equals, as if you have all the time in the world. During your morning meeting, you can read your students a quote and ask for feedback, pass around an object as students greet one another (i.e., “Good morning/Aloha/Bonjour, Shannon!”), or guide students to pair up with a partner and have a conversation (What is Morning). For some of your students, this is the first time of the day they are acknowledged by another person. Make this time meaningful for them.

2. Include SEL practices in every lesson
We have become a society that values academic intelligence over emotional intelligence. Think about it: the ultimate insult in a work or school environment is, “What, are you stupid?” Academic intelligence is only a fraction of our competence. In Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Goleman suggests that social and emotional learning (SEL) teaches us the skills you cannot find in a textbook. He says, “It’s a different way of being smart” (Elias). There are five SEL competencies that can be addressed in the classroom, including self-awareness, self- management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Instead of teaching a separate lesson that goes something like “What is Empathy?,” integrate empathetic qualities into the general curriculum. For example, assessing threats to an ecosystem from the perspective of the animals living there is one way to add empathy to a science lesson.

3. Let students help to create rubrics

Rarely do students get a say in how they are graded. Traditionally, the criterion of authentic assessments is kept under lock and key, viewed only by the teacher. The problem with this type of assessment is that students do not know how they are graded, so they do not understand why they are given a certain grade. Next time you create an authentic assessment (think papers, portfolios, presentations, etc.), switch things up by asking students what they think should be included on the rubric. Discuss the differences between good and poor quality work and how to avoid creating poor quality work. Identify your criteria and ask for student feedback. Then, create a “draft rubric” based on student responses during the discussion (Andrade). Bring the draft into class and ask for comments from the students. Revise if needed. By allowing students to have a say in how they are graded, they are more likely to deliver work of the highest quality. The criteria now matters to them.

4. End each day with a read-aloud
If you have ever been read Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon as a child, you understand the beauty of ending a long day with a story. By the end of a school day, students are likely to be tired and in need of a treat. Also consider that some students have never been read to as children. Feed them poetic language by reading to them for the last five to ten minutes of the day. Make this fun by letting students sprawl across the floor or curl up on any cozy furniture you have in your classroom. Consider investing in fairy lights to add warmth to the environment. Choose a book that has depth and will interest students on a personal level. A great option for elementary and middle school students is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. According to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, “literature...brings us closest to the human heart” (Trelease 45).

As educators, I think we can all agree that it is impossible to bring too much of your heart into your teaching. I hope this post helps you implement effective practices into your classroom, and that your students enjoy them as much as I do.

Written by Shannon Foley


Andrade, Heidi Goodrich. “Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and Learning.” Educational Leadership, Feb 2000, Accessed 05 Nov 2018. Elias, Maurice J., Joseph E. Zins, Roger P. Weissberg, Karin S. Frey, Mark T. Greenberg, Norris M. Haynes, Rachael Kessler, Mary E. Schwab-Stone, and Timothy P. Shriver. “Promoting Social and Emotional Learning.” ASCD,  Accessed 05 Nov 2018. Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook. New York, Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013. “What is Morning Meeting?” Responsive Classroom, 07 Jun 2016, Accessed 05 Nov 2018.

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Anna Maria Music Therapy Students Present at Passages Conference

Passages Group Picture 2018
On Saturday, October 27th, twenty music therapy students attended the Passages Conference at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Passages - Student & New Professional Music Therapy Conference is an annual, one-day conference sponsored by the New England Region of the American Music Therapy Association Students (NER-AMTAS). NER-AMTAS is composed of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) student members from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont currently enrolled in AMTA-accredited Music Therapy programs. The purpose of the NER-AMTAS organization is to advance the aims, purposes, and goals of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the New England Region-American Music Therapy Association (NER-AMTA) within a student organization. The Passages conference is for all music therapists, and features presentations by students and music therapists in their first few years of practice. This year, the conference invited student professionals, specifically, medical colleagues from neighboring schools to attend the conference. NER-AMTAS believes that this advocacy can inform their colleagues on how they can work with each other to serve their clients in the near future. Several Anna Maria students and alumni gave presentations including:


Kayla McBrien (Senior) presented Music Therapy, Leadership and the Quest for Balance. This presentation explores the territory outside our respective comfort zones through two creative tasks. These group experiences will allow space for us to identify the roles we tend to play in groups, as well as how we can utilize our strengths and find support for our limitations to achieve balance in group settings and within ourselves.


Katelyn Sable (Junior) teamed up with Anna Maria alumni Cacia King and Mary Reinsch to give their Music Therapists’ Perspective on Adam’s Camp New England. Adam’s Camp New England is a non-profit organization that provides intensive therapeutic programs and integrated recreational activities for children and young adults with special needs, and support programs for their families. We bring 3 different perspectives on Adam’s Camp to this presentation, one of returning therapist, a new professional, and a student volunteer. We will explore what interdisciplinary work is like for a music therapist, including the challenges that can occur and the importance of advocacy.


Sonya DiPietro (Junior) presented In Tune with our Senses: The Psychological Basis of Music Therapy. This presentation explores key facets of music therapy that set it apart from other treatment methods. We see music touch people every day, whether it be while singing our favorite song in the car, getting the chills at a concert, or witnessing a pre-verbal client sing for the first time. Information in this presentation will examine just how music touches human beings, and why it plays such a critical role in therapy and lifestyle.


Liz Hastings (Junior) focused on student self-care in a discussion forum, Singing Off Key as part of Learning the Song. This presentation explores the music therapist’s personal relationship to voice, self-care, personal identity, and how that affects our professionalism. The typical stigma around therapists is that we are emotionally invincible. However, it is okay not to be okay. Discussion topics will include strategies for self-care, advocacy, and professionalism.

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Anna Maria junior Mike Rapoza rules boards, connects from the field

Mike Rapoza
When his playing days are done, Anna Maria junior Mike Rapoza is looking forward to a career as a high school teacher and coach, and his AmCats coach, Shawn Conrad, thinks Rapoza will be great at both.
Rapoza, the former Shepherd Hill Regional star from Charlton, has been working with kids for about four years and coaching AAU basketball for the Central Mass. Swarm. At Anna Maria, where Rapoza has been a dominant big man the last two years, he’s kind of like an additional member of Conrad’s staff. “It really is like having a coach on the floor,” Conrad said. “He anticipates everything that’s going to happen. He’s not a reactor; he’s an anticipator. While he’s playing, he sees through a coaching lens almost.”

After practice or a game, Rapoza will spend time with his teammates, then join the coaches to go over and break down what just happened. “He gives a lot of insight,” Conrad said. During Rapoza’s freshman season, when he averaged 17.1 points and 12.7 rebounds, beat double teams on a nightly basis and earned GNAC Rookie of the Year honors, Conrad projected that Rapoza could become one of the best players in Anna Maria history. Conrad’s prediction seems to be right on. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Rapoza continued his rise. He averaged 18.1 points and 14.1 rebounds while leading the conference in field goal percentage (63.2 percent) and being named GNAC Defensive Player of the Year. He posted 22 double-doubles. The AMCats finished 10-16 in 2017-18, but with added depth and, of course, the return of Rapoza, the team has higher expectations this season. “We have the right mentality,” Rapoza said. “We come to work every day in practice. We may not be the most talented team in the conference, but we can be the hardest working, and if we can do that and each of us works on our individual role and succeeds at that, we should be good.” In the age of the 3-pointer, Anna Maria instead has built its offense around Rapoza. “The furthest shot he will ever take here is a free throw,” Conrad said. “He doesn’t care about taking anything outside five feet from the basket. The 3-point line doesn’t even exist in his mind. He is a true, old-fashioned low post player. Before they put in the 3-point line, those were the guys you had true appreciation for. “We’ve created our style because of him. We are an inside-out team. He’s so good with his body, sealing people, and just knowing what his strength is and never going away from his strength.” Rapoza gets to the free throw line a lot, and improving there is one of his goals for the season.

“Definitely,” said Rapoza, who is a 67.5 percent career free-throw shooter. “I have to get my percentage up. I would love to convert more from there.”

Rapoza begins each practice with 50 free throws and finishes the same way. Rapoza made NCAA Division 3 history last season when he made 26 straight field goals over three games. Included was an 18-for-18 effort in a win over Mount Ida. “I knew I was having a pretty good game,” Rapoza said, “but I didn’t realize I hadn’t missed a shot until I looked at the box score after the game and one of my assistant coaches told me. I really couldn’t believe it. “At the time,” Rapoza added, “I didn’t realize how tough that would be to repeat (the 26 consecutive made shots). Looking back on it now, I can’t even imagine how I did that. As a team, we won all three of those games. It happened at the right time. We all clicked, and my shots just happened to fall.” In high school, Rapoza led Shepherd Hill to the 2015 Clark Tournament Large Schools championship. The Rams advanced to the Western Mass. Division 2 final his sophomore season. At every level, coaches have always praised Rapoza’s work ethic. “I always had coaches that made that the emphasis,” Rapoza said. “Coach Conrad is all about effort. He matches my intensity. It’s the perfect fit. I couldn’t ask for a better coach.” Rapoza passed seven advanced placement exams in high school and is way ahead in his secondary education studies at Anna Maria. AMC director of athletics Serge DeBari, the former longtime men’s basketball coach at Assumption and Babson, has been around sports his whole life and has 40 years of experience as a coach and college administrator. He calls Rapoza one of the most impressive human beings he has ever met. “He’s a gem,” Conrad agreed. “He’s a special, special kid,” Conrad said. “He’s always smiling, always upbeat, always positive. He’s a great sportsman.” Article Written by Jennifer Toland from the Telegram & Gazette Staff

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Alum Michael R. Molla Installed as President of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design

Michael Molla Image
Michael MoNa, Vice President Strategic Initiatives at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) has been selected by the Board of Trustees as the next President of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, according to Robert Brandt, Chair of the PCA&D Board of Trustees. He is expected to take the helm of the College on July 1, 2018, replacing retiring President Mary Colleen HeiI.

Michael R. Molla. the third President of Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, has always used his creativity to make sense of the world. As a youth. he spent his time thinking, making. and make-believing. His imagination has served him well, leading him to seek creative connection and push for greater possibilities. Molla knows the value of micro-colleges like PCA&D, small. focused, personal collcgcs that emphasize individual students needs, active learning, and mentorship. His Alma Mater, Anna Maria College in Paxton, Massachusetts. was such a college. It profoundly shapcd his own creative arts education. He credits his success to his family and his partner, Brad, who embrace his creative view of life. Molla gives special acknowledgement to his art department chairperson Ralph Parente and Dean of Students Hollie Ingraham, who were his mentors and advisers. Mr. Parente, now in his 90s. continues to serve as a touchstone and inspiration to Molla. Molla also recognizes the value of artists and designers in leading and shaping their worN. Molla scrved at Maryland Institute Collegc of Art for 26 ycars, leading the College in the areas of student affairs, operations, and strategic initiatives. As the Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, he launched MICA’s first residence life program. lie also established a studcnt affairs division for the College, which included on-site counseling and healthcare services, as well as diversity and safety initiatives. As Vice President of Operations, Molla was responsible for the development of the Campus Master Plan, including the design and construction of residential facilities. numerous academic, studio, and shop spaces., a ccnter for graduate education and most recently. an undergraduate design center. As Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Molla was responsible for strcngthcning the relationship between MICA and the City of Baltimore, including facilitating new urban initiatives to engage the community in support of the arts and expanding opportunities to city residents. Molla set a goal for himself as soon as he arrived on campus: to meet, learn fi’om. and meaningfully interact with 100 people in 100 days: community leaders, students, parents, business leaders, college presidents, artists, designers, and Laneastrians from all walks of life. This was a tall order, on top of opening the 2018-19 school year. learning his way about the campus and the town, and moving to Lancaster. This effort has given him the broadest perspective and foundation on which to begin his tenure. Molla is excited about the contributions and collaborations possible with an arts college nestled in the heart of a creative city like Lancaster. He looks forward to this new future, together.

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Anna Maria College program provides music education to Worcester students

Keyboard Lab
It’s an unusually hot day, but Christmas songs are reverberating inside Miriam Hall at Anna Maria College in the late afternoon this past Wednesday.
With nothing more than a mention of its name by instructor Alexis Phillips, her eight students break out into a choral rendition of “A Marshmallow World” – one of the songs they’re planning to perform at their upcoming December recital. While the sound of music is nothing unusual at Miriam, where the college’s music department is located, to hear children’s voices is something new. For some of the kids, meanwhile, “it’s the first time they’ve sung” in a choir, said Melissa Martiros, Anna Maria’s director of music. Ms. Martiros, who joined the college, located just next door to her hometown of Spencer, last year, is the main architect behind the new OpporTUNEity program, which brings students from Worcester’s Lincoln Street School to campus each Wednesday this fall to receive musical instruction from Anna Maria students. The former program coordinator of music at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee, Ms. Martiros started the after-school program in that southern state five years ago, and hopes to show it can be just as mutually beneficial for Anna Maria and Worcester students here as well. "I want to see this first cohort of kids go to college,” she said. “I want to see them become well-rounded musicians.”

The basic premise of OpporTUNEity is to provide musical education to students who normally might not get the opportunity. While Lincoln Street, which has one of the highest percentages of economically disadvantaged students in the city, does offer music lessons and classes, it doesn’t have the resources for extracurricular instruction like the kind Anna Maria can provide. When she originally contacted the district’s performing arts liaison, Lisa Leach, to make her proposal last year, Ms. Martiros said Ms. Leach steered her toward working with Lincoln Street for that reason. “The majority of these kids, they don’t even think about taking the lessons, because you have to get your own instruments,” said Kathy Stevens, an instructional assistant at the school and mother of two kids currently involved in the OpporTUNEity program. The school also doesn’t have any after-school musical programming.

At Anna Maria, participating students – there were around 25 signed up as of this past Wednesday, according to Ms. Martiros – cycle between three classrooms, where they learn choral singing, piano, and take part in music therapy, all under the direction of the college’s music students. In a classroom led by Abby Warren, Katelyn Sable and Liz Hastings – all junior music therapy majors – for instance, students started their session banging on drums and shaking maracas in a circle, and then transitioned into a sing-along of “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.” “It’s just calming – it makes me feel like I’m at a camp site,” said sixth-grader Rushel Volcy, who added music therapy was her favorite class in the program. Music in general “brings me joy,” said Rushel, who is also learning the violin – “without music, there wouldn’t be a world for me.” Despite most of the kids’ lack of formal training, “they pick things up quickly,” Ms. Hastings said. “They’re very in tune with how music’s structured.” Article written by Scott O’Connell from the Telegram & Gazette.
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Anna Maria tops Central Mass. colleges for gender leadership

Anna Maria College in Paxton tops Central Massachusetts colleges when it comes to gender parity, according to a new report weighing how equally women were represented in the president's office and among leadership positions. MRL on Porch2


Anna Maria ranked No. 8 in the state among 93 studied by the Eos Foundation, a Cape Cod private foundation for investing in children. Anna Maria has been led by President Mary Lou Retelle since 2015. Nine of its 21 trustees are women. Anna Maria scored well for its senior leadership and the percentage of its students who are female, which is 58 percent, according to the report, which was issued last week. Story by Grant Welker of the Worcester Business Journal:


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OpporTUNEity at Anna Maria College

Congratulations to our Music Education and Music Therapy majors involved with the successful launch of OpporTUNEity! A program created by our Director of Music, Dr. Melissa Martiros, OpporTUNEity matches children from underserved communities with college undergraduate music majors for enriching teaching and learning experiences. Every Wednesday, 30 children from Lincoln St. School in Worcester will be bused to campus for group piano, singing, and improvisation classes led by our undergraduate music majors. This program will run for the duration of the 2018-2019 academic year.   Keyboard Lab 2

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New England Sculpture at Anna Maria College

Space Image Art

The Department of Art & Design at Anna Maria College announces New England Sculpture an installment of four public works on the Paxton, MA campus. The exhibition continues the example set during the previous academic year, which featured collaboration between the College and Art in the Park, Worcester. Exhibiting artists are from Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, and feature Saturn by James Kitchen, Metro by Phil Marshall, Nigella Damascena (Love in a Mist) by Shawn Farrell, and Watersports by John Weidman. This academic year, Anna Maria College seeks to galvanize the role of public art on campus. A spacious venue known for its natural beauty, the display becomes a highlight of the visual landscape. This exhibit proposes to explore the potential energy contained in the sculptural form. Each has distinctive characteristics that lend to the seasonal calendar of Central Massachusetts: on snowy surfaces, in rusty fall colors, and throughout verdant spring, morning mist and lively sunshine mark the intervals and testament of their quotidian presence.  College leadership in collaboration with the Department of Art & Design seek to provide campus and community with occasions to interact more intimately with the work, enriching daily life and deepening the beholders’ relationship to the art and surrounding space. The public, students, and staff are invited to explore and enjoy these sculptures throughout the academic year. Join Anna Maria College as various programs, and sculpture walks celebrate this new partnership. Materials and information about the sculptures are available by visiting the Office of Admissions or the Art Center in Miriam Hall. Contact David Wackell for details at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Emergency Leadership at Anna Maria College

Emergency Leadership
When considering our Bachelor of Science in Emergency Leadership, we often find potential students wrestling with the utility of the degree. Why study leadership? Why study it with you? Isn’t leadership a natural skill, one that you either have or don’t and thus can’t be taught? We’re quick to debunk such notions, of course. Leadership can be taught and leaders can be developed, and we’re here to help make that happen.
But the fact remains, few ideas receive as much attention resulting in as little true understanding as the concept of leadership. Leadership is the foundational principle upon which all traditional, paramilitary-style emergency services in the US are built. It’s importance at all levels of organization can’t be overstated. It’s wielded both in official and unofficial capacities, and despite numerous attempts, both scholarly and vocationally, remains a nebulous and ill-defined principle that is as important as it is mystifying. Whole fields of academic study have wrangled with the idea of what leadership is, but I think it’s important as well to consider what it’s not. While the study of leadership is a vast undertaking, I think there are three things leadership universally is not: Homogenous. There is no single definition of good leadership because the word means different things in different situations. The leadership required on the fire ground, or a crime scene, or at a cardiac arrest, is a far different animal from the kind of leadership required in the board room or before a city council or local governmental authority. Leaders who adopt a one-size-fits-all mentality are bound to fail sizable constituencies of personnel and the public. Flexibility, empathy, and a growth mindset are some of the most important skillsets emergency leaders need in order to succeed. Static. While the core principles of good leadership haven’t changed in hundreds of years, in today’s emergency services landscape the mechanics of leadership are as fluid a dynamic as any other societal component. What works managing providers from Generation X is far different from what it takes to engage and lead Millenials. This isn’t to say that one demographic is better or worse than the other (and I question the utility of putting too much weight on the pop psychology that underpins so much of our “understanding” of the sociological framework that brought us the concept of Gen X and Millennial in the first place), but it does recognize that, much as we admonish students today to be lifelong learners, the same is even truer of leaders. Evolution doesn’t stop for anyone, so the leader who sets his or her style in concrete and refuses to learn and adapt, is guaranteed to alienate, or at least fail to lead effectively, at least half the people in their charge Valued. There. I said it. True leadership – which is distinctly different then management – is in short supply in today’s emergency services. I think the causes are rooted in vast bureaucracies led by insufficiently trained and capable personnel, who that chosen as their crutch the collection of vast amounts of data and metrics. Data is only as good as the use to which it is put, and today’s emergency leaders by and large do not understand what to do with the terabytes of data they collect, and they have even weaker understanding of the soft skills (those traits that are impossible to quantify and, thus, frightening to many leaders in the field) necessary to lead high-performance teams of men and women putting their lives on the line in some of the toughest jobs in America today. Combine that with the need for leaders to also play the political game in an environment where money and resources to accomplish their service’s mission can be scarce and tough to secure, true leadership requires a complex mix of art and science that few people possess naturally. Organized, purposeful study of leadership is the best way toward restoring its place in the emergency services. The 21st century is shaping up to be the product not simply of change, but of historically rapid change. The pace of evolution in business and commerce is one of unparalleled speed and complexity. Emergency services will feel the effects of this light-speed innovation and disruption in the near and far future, and the consequences of having leaders in the field who haven’t learned how to match this evolution will be dire. Technology is wondrous, but far more important are the men and women called upon to put it to use serving the public. Since 1995, Ted Flanagan, MFA, NRP, has worked in urban 911 and the fire service, and as a flight paramedic. He teaches in the BS in Emergency Leadership and EMS Programs at Anna Maria College. Written by Ted Flanagan

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Teens from China learn art at Anna Maria College

Teens from China learn art at Anna Maria College
For 23 young adults from a school in Suzhou, China, Anna Maria College in Paxton became home for a week as they immersed themselves in art and English classes.

As part of a first-ever program through the Northborough-based language school, Global Connect Forum (GCF), this group of students traveled halfway around the world to improve their English language skills with teachers from GCF and to learn drawing, photography and graphic design from two professors at AMC.

“People are good at explaining themselves in the art classes, so we can ask them to use their English language skills and maybe even have them learn some new words,” Wackell said.David Wackell, professor of art at AMC and one of the two professors working with the students who studied abroad the second week in July, said he teaches the drawing class and works with the students to express themselves through art.

One of Wackell’s students, who nicknamed himself “Brock,” spent two hours in class and three hours of his own free time sketching the president’s house.

“My student, I am so proud of him, he worked very hard on this,” Wackell said. “…He seems very proud of this and was very proud when I showed other people.”

For most students, this wasn’t their first trip to the U.S. But for some, it was their first trip to the east coast.

Thirteen-year-old Jia Ye Li said he enjoyed playing basketball with his fellow classmates, as well as with some local college students, but what he enjoyed most is drawing the wildlife on campus.

“It’s very clean and natural,” Li said.

Like the other 22 students in the program, Li studies at Suzhou Industrial Park Foreign Language School in China.

GCF founder Xin Xin said coming to Paxton is a drastic change for the students because it is a more rural setting, while the students are more used to the hustle and bustle of Suzhou.

“They’re all from a big city,” Xin Xin said. “In Suzhou, there are not a lot of hiking areas there. They really enjoy the nature and the wildlife here.”

The program took the young adult participants to Paxton from July 9 through July 14, Xin Xin said. That week was strictly for academic studies. For the following week, the students would fly to Orlando where they would tour NASA and spend two days bouncing from Universal Studios to Disney World. “Because it’s summer, if you do physics or chemistry, that’s too academic,” Xin Xin said. “Art, most people can accept that.”

When the students aren’t in the classroom, they have the entire AMC grounds to explore. One of the teachers, Damon Dong, took his students hiking on campus to acclimate them to the area.

“They started to talk to local people and local students,” Dong said. “The first time they’re too shy to express themselves and to say that they want to play with them, like play football or play basketball. But I think it’s been a big improvement for them.”

Because Dong has a lot of the same students in his classroom at the international school in Suzhou, he said he’s able to better connect with them. But some of the students are away without their parents for the first time, and they’ve had to take care of themselves in ways they haven’t had to before.

“In China and Suzhou they just play and study, and here, they do some laundry and order the meals by themselves,” Dong said.

Another instructor with the program, Radiant Zhang, said she also saw the teens open up more as they interacted with locals in English.

“The first day of being here they played basketball with the U.S. students,” Zhang said. “They enjoyed playing with them, [whereas] before I think they were very shy, and they didn’t want to talk with anybody else.”

While the students aged between 12 and 17 years old are having fun playing around on campus, they’re also learning new words and how to use them, from “relax” to “phobia.”

GCF hopes to use the success of this summer’s program as a jump-off point into next summer, when they hope to have groups of kindergarteners come to Paxton to have a similar experience. Article was written by Rachel Ettlinger, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Article taken from:

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Equestrian team forms at Anna Maria

Anna Maria Equestrian
Horseback riders are in demand at Anna Maria College as the school’s first equestrian team will form this fall.
The driving force behind the decision to add this sport is Anna Maria’s assistant online director, Lorene Farrar. Mrs. Farrar, who has worked at the college more than 20 years, fell in love with riding several years ago and began taking lessons at Becker College’s Equestrian Center in Paxton, taking advantage of the discounted rates offered through the Worcester consortium of colleges. While she was aware of Becker’s equestrian team, Ms. Farrar said she was surprised to learn that other area colleges also had teams. “I discovered that all these colleges had equestrian teams,” she recalled, going on to name Assumption College, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross and Worcester State University. “I thought, we need to do this at Anna Maria,” she said. The idea was embraced by others on campus and finally got the approval of Anna Maria College President Mary Lou Retelle. The team will call Holiday Acres Equestrian Center in Rutland home, Ms. Farrar will be the program’s director and Geralyn Szczurko, competitive riding instructor at Holiday Acres, will serve as head coach. That being said, there are still a lot of steps necessary to put together an equestrian team. The first step is for students to join the riding club, and then those who are interested in competing may take the next step of trying out. Ms. Szczurko hopes to hold tryouts before school starts, but doesn’t have a specific date yet.

Anna Maria plans to join the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association and compete within its network.The IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels, who compete individually and as teams at regional, zone and national levels, according to its website. Ms. Szczurko explained that in equestrian sports there is no Division 1 and Division 2 as in football, but rather it is just by region and zone. Anna Maria will compete against other New England colleges. “We could potentially compete against a large team like UMass and then a smaller team,” she said.

Ten new applicants for this fall are interested in joining the riding club, Mrs. Farrar said. “Hopefully, we’ll get a good team,” she said. Anna Maria has a spacious campus. Could it one day have a barn and horses there? “We’re excited for the start of our Equestrian Club and look forward to future days and growth of the program,” Ms. Farrar said.

Article Taken from:
By Bonnie Russell / Telegram & Gazette Staff


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Anna Maria College Honored Among National College of Distinction

College of Distinction
PAXTON, MA: — Anna Maria College has been recognized for its committed implementation of High-Impact Educational Practices, earning its title as one of the nation’s Colleges of Distinction.
Anna Maria has proven itself to be at the forefront of American higher education with a modern, student-centered approach to teaching. With a unique learning environment, its programming engages students with character-building first-year seminars, community-based learning programs, service-learning programs, alternative Spring Breaks, interdisciplinary programs, collaborative assignments and projects, living-learning communities, capstone projects, study abroad programs, and internships. “We are absolutely thrilled to recognize Anna Maria College as a College of Distinction for its effective dedication to student success,” said Tyson Schritter, Chief Operating Officer for Colleges of Distinction. “Colleges of Distinction is so impressed with Anna Maria’s curriculum, which is enriched with the kind of High-Impact Educational Practices that are most crucial for student development. Such innovative engagement is preparing the next generation of young adults to thrive after college.” Colleges of Distinction’s selection process consists of a review of each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, alumni success, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community, and Successful Outcomes. “Colleges of Distinction is far more than a ranking list of colleges and universities,” said Schritter. “We seek out the schools that are wholly focused on the student experience, constantly working to produce graduates who are prepared for a rapidly changing global society. Now recognized as a College of Distinction, <College Name> stands out in the way it strives to help its students to learn, grow, and succeed.” About Colleges of Distinction
Since 2000, the Colleges of Distinction website and guidebook have honored schools throughout the U.S. for their excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education. The cohort of schools in the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. The website and annual guidebooks provide dynamic college profiles, customized tools, and resources for students, parents, and high school counselors. For more information, and to learn how to become a College of Distinction, visit

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