online edition

The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

    • Sorrel Westbrook

    • Anna Robinette

    • Becky Harper

    • Lisa Lamont

    • Jonathan Nast

    • Maura Foley

    • Amelia Audette

    • Collin Benedict

    • Stephen May

    • Sarah Tarrant Madden

    • Lynn Connelly

    • Chris DeVona

Welcome to The Hill!

The Razor welcomes new faculty and staf to Hopkins. Here are some personal introductions and tidbits. Be sure to give them a warm welcome!
Sorrel Westbrook
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Bishop, California. It’s a tiny, dusty, desert town that’s (not quite) famous for being the Mule Capital of the World.
What is your academic background? I studied English and Creative Writing at Harvard. I graduated in 2014 and spent the next two years getting my MFA in Fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. I’m also a writer for the Daily Nutmeg here in New Haven.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? A Shakespeare elective, ninth Grade English, Writing Semester and a spring elective.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? I’m most inspired by the landscapes of the American West and my mother’s tenacity.
Tell us about a book, flm, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. Madame Bovary is a perfect jewel-box of a novel, and I’m always moved by its claustrophobic energy, wicked wit, and modern sensibilities.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I have two house rabbits named Hank and Hodge at home, as well as a calico cat named Margot who is very pretty and very, very dumb.

Anna Robinette
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: city of bridges and Heinz ketchup. Even though coming to Hopkins means leaving my hometown behind, I will forever be a Pittsburgh sports fan!
What is your academic background? I received a Bachelor of Arts in English and French from Dickinson College in 2017. Now I am pursuing a Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania as one of Hopkins’ Penn Fellows.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? This year I’ll be teaching English 9. I will also be advising a community service group.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? My favorite thing about teaching is grading... just kidding! I became a teacher because I had a handful of teachers who inspired me to think critically and artfully about the world we share. I want to pass the torch.
What would you consider to be a perfect day for you? A perfect day would consist of my favorite things: painting, hiking, and watching an old French heist film with some of my friends or family.
Tell us about a book, flm, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. A book that never fails to impact me is Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat. I love this book because it reminds me about how incredibly brave and powerful literature and art can be.

Becky Harper
Where did you grow up? I am adopted and was born in El Paso, TX but grew up down the street from Hopkins in New Haven.
What is your academic background? I attended Middlebury College and received my Bachelors in Studio Art. A couple years ago I completed my Masters of Art in Teaching at Quinnipiac University with certifcation in Spanish.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I will be teaching Spanish 1A, Spanish 2, working in the Inclusion/Community Offce, and coaching Girl’s Varsity Soccer. In the winter, I will be assisting Boy’s Junior School Basketball, and lastly, in the spring I will also teach a Graphic Design course.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? My family and my best friend of 23 years have inspired me the most in my life. Each one has not only imparted knowledge and wisdom but they also have modeled, in their own way, what kind of person I want to be.
What do you love most about teaching? As I return to Hopkins full-time, once as a student, now as an educator, I am excited to share my experiences with everyone around me as well as listen to others’ stories. I have learned that connecting personally with people is an invaluable way to seek understanding, personal growth, and overall community progress. I also look forward to contributing my passions and being up on the Hill again with so many wonderful and inspiring individuals.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I am soccer obsessed, repping Barca, but I love to watch all teams play, and I continue to play in leagues as much as I can. I am an artist, have a puppy named Ollie, drink tea, love cats, often have wanderlust, am learning Portuguese and my favorite book from this summer was How It Went Down, by Kekla Magoon.

Lisa Lamont
Where did you grow up? I grew up just outside of Los Angeles and have lived on the West Coast all of my life. This summer, my husband and I packed up the two cats and made our way across the country! I am looking forward to having seasons for the very first time!
What is your academic background? I have a Bachelors in Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular genetics and a Masters in Arts in Educational Technology and Media Leadership from California State University Long Beach.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I am excited to be teaching seventh grade Science this year and to be serving as a seventh grade adviser!
What do you love most about teaching? I love teaching because I love learning! Teaching is a profession where I am constantly growing and learning. I believe that I can learn anything that I put my mind to, and I believe that you can, too!
Which lessons from your own life experiences do you hope to bring to your work at Hopkins? Over the last few years, I have gotten involved in MakerSpaces and Coding! I hope that I can incorporate some elements of both of these into my science classes.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I am a gamer! I play board games, video games, pencil and paper RPGs you name it! For the past four years, I have taught an elective course in Video Game Design and have served as an adviser for several gaming based clubs. I am also a huge Disney fan and was an annual pass holder for many years. I am always up for a chat about either of these. 

Jonathan Nast
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in New Haven, the Elm City.
What is your academic background? After graduating from Hopkins back in 1997 (just celebrated my twenty year reunion), I attended Gettysburg College where I majored in Management and minored in Visual Arts. Later, I earned my teaching certifcation and Master of Science in Art Education from Southern Connecticut State University.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I have been treated to a buffet of exciting opportunities. I will be teaching Digital Photography, Intermediate & Advanced Digital Photography, Wood Art 8, and Web Design. I will also be a seventh grade advisor and supervising a selection of intramural sports.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? My father. He is unconditionally selfless and sincere.
What was your favorite or most embarrassing experience as a student or teacher? Let me frst preface this anecdote by stating this was an isolated incident and completely out of character. I believe it was junior year in high school...my innocent self and another student, we’ll refer to as “Theresa,” got in a bit of trouble for passing notes in English class. Little did I know that we (Theresa and I) would be married twelve years later. I actually felt terrible at the time and I still blame her for initiating such discourteous behavior.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I’ve attempted a handlebar mustache, music and photography keep me stable, I prevented a woman from getting run over by a train, I really like cheese and iced coffee (but not together). My wife and I have three incredible children that keep us lively.

Maura Foley
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Schenectady, NY.
What is your academic background? I received my undergraduate degree at Bates College where I majored in Geology. I just moved to Connecticut from Orono, ME where I earned my Master of Earth and Climate Science, and then my Master of Science in Teaching at the University of Maine.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I am very excited to be teaching seventh and eighth Science this year.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? I am inspired by my father’s seemingly never-ending well of patience, kindness and compassion. His lifelong passion for learning fuels my desire to pursue knowledge both within and outside of my field.
What would you consider to be a perfect day for you? My perfect day would start with a great cup of coffee. I would then follow that up with a hike through a lovely forest or a geologically exciting location. Finally, I’d end the day with a great meal and some live music.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I used to be a cook at an awesome German restaurant in Portland, ME. I was known for being able to whip up a decadent chocolate cake in under 6 minutes in case of a dessert emergency.

Amelia Audette
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Ballston Lake, NY.
What is your academic background? I majored in English and earned my BA at Union College in Schenectady, NY. I then went on to earn my MA in English at Boston College. I also earned my teaching certifcate while teaching in NJ at the Montclair Kimberley Academy. When I moved to Connecticut, I frst taught at Bethel High School before coming to teach at Hopkins for ten years. I am excited to be returning to Hopkins after being a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I will be teaching English 7.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? My sister has inspired me with her desire to change and learn in order to live a life that brings her joy. At the age of 41, she is now entering her third year of veterinary school. She decided to change her career and go back to school to pursue her passion.
Why did you become a teacher? I became a teacher because I love learning. Someone once told me that she was too old to change and learn new things. I vowed to never feel this way. Through teaching, I am able to learn something new each day as I listen to my students and colleagues share their ideas.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I am a runner. I have run four marathons, including Boston, and I continue to run half marathons and other races throughout the year. Just this summer, I ran with my son as he completed his frst 5K race. It was so much fun to run next to him and see how proud he was of this accomplishment.
Collin Benedict
Where did you grow up? I was born in Fairfax, Virginia (Washington D.C. Metropolitan area). As the child of a foreign service offcer, I grew up moving with my family somewhere different about every two years until I went to boarding school at the age of fourteen.
What is your academic background? I graduated in December of 2016 from Smith College with a double major in French and Education as well as a concentration in Women’s Education. This Fall, I will begin pursuing my Masters of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in the Fellow Program at Hopkins.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I am very excited to teach French II and assistant coach JV Swimming in the Winter as well as Girls Water Polo in the Spring.
What would you consider to be a perfect day? A perfect day consists of waking up early with my Labrador retriever puppy, Sadie, to go for a dewy morning stroll, exploring and taking pictures (from city streets to mountainous hiking/skiing trails), trying out a new recipe in the kitchen and curling up on the couch with an irresistible book or a classic flm.
Which lessons from your own life experiences do you hope to bring to your work at Hopkins? Although many people told me to never give up or to follow my dreams, some of those same individuals reacted in ways that lead me astray when I did not immediately succeed. I want to use these experiences to fuel how I help encourage students in moments of stress or self-doubt.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I was a goalie on the Girls Varsity Water Polo team at my high school and we played against Hopkins each year. I look forward to getting back on the pool deck with the strength and spirit of the game and most importantly the team.

Stephen May
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania, outside Pittsburgh. The steel mills were still active when I was a kid, but my memory of them is hazy.
What is your academic background? I studied English Writing at the University of Pittsburgh, spent a few years as a writer and private investigator in New York, then got my master’s degree in Adolescent Education - English at Hunter College.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I’m teaching Eighth Grade English, Writing Semester, and U.S. Literature, and I’m advising Eighth Grade.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? Constant sources of inspiration and motivation are my wife Ginger and daughter Katie, and the rest of my family and friends. I’m also inspired by art in all its forms, and by my students.
Why did you become a teacher? Teaching is something of a family profession. Nevertheless, I like to think I became a teacher out of my dual, overlapping passions for working with people and language.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I have a yoga practice, a wide-ranging record collection, and an aged tomcat named Pepper. I take pictures when I think to, read as often as possible, and always try to keep tabs on the news.

Sarah Tarrant Madden
Where did you grow up? I spent my childhood in Carlisle, PA and went to high school and college in New England.
What is your academic background? In high school, I loved math, literature, and visual arts. (I had little use for chemistry or French.) My undergrad degree was a double major in English and French Literature (preferences change!) at Wesleyan. My grad program was a Master of Arts in Teaching English at Teachers College, Columbia University.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I’m working in the College Counseling Offce and advising a group of ninth graders this year. In the past, I’ve also taught English and coached swimming and water polo.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? I’m most inspired by people who radiate empathy and kindness, and those who stand up for others, even at cost to themselves.
What would you consider to be a perfect day for you? A perfect day for me would include a beach, a book, and a lively barbecue with a band as the sun sets.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I moved to Connecticut from rural Deerfeld, Massachusetts, but lived in Manhattan longer than any other place I’ve called home (14 years), so I’ll admit that I still consider myself a New Yorker: the appreciation for diverse cultures, religions, and opinions; everything bagels; fast talking and walking; and art everywhere. My husband and I have two wonderful little boys, ages 2 and 6, and as much as I loved city life I’m happy they will grow up surrounded by more trees than skyscrapers.

Lynn Connelly
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Wauwatosa, WI which is a suburb of Milwaukee. I’ve lived in Chicago, Indianapolis, Michigan and Connecticut, but am still a Cheesehead and Green Bay Packers fan at heart.
What is your academic background? I have my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University and my M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University. I am also a certifed Adjunct Physics Professor at UCONN. I’ve taught High School Math and Science classes at Easton Country Day School for the past four years and before that worked at Dictaphone, Ford and Cummins Engine.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I am teaching three sections of AP Physics 1 and one section of Algebra 1. I will also be an eighth grade advisor and coach Junior School Robotics, Quiz Bowl, and Science Bowl.
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? My four kids are my inspiration because they are always a reminder to me that life is a journey.
Tell us about a book, flm, television program, performance, etc. that has impacted you, and why. I love Star Trek. It’s a timeless exploration of character and identity and cultural unity. Also, it’s inspiring to think about how much science will change over the course of time and that someday the impossible may be possible.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? My family and I have three house rabbits - two lops names Buttons and Bun and a very large Flemish Giant named Pepe. I love to sew, bake, and have renewed my interest in running. I ran the Cheshire Half Marathon several years ago and am training for my frst marathon.

Chris DeVona
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Southington, CT.
What is your academic background? I study music theory and mathematics.
What are you teaching/coaching/advising this year? I’ll be teaching instrumental music and music theory classes!
Who or what has inspired you most in life, and why? Pythagoras (the triangle theorem guy) and his followers are considered the founders of both music theory and pure mathematics. It’s always particularly inspiring to think that my studies in each field trace back to the same person.
What was your favorite or most embarrassing experience as a student or teacher? My favorite experience as a music student was watching my instructor jump and cheer for my performance. My favorite experience as a teacher was catching myself doing the same for my students.
What particular “tidbit” should we know about you? I spend my vacations traveling the country and the world to teach and perform with marching bands and other choreographed music ensembles.

Stay tuned for more profiles next issue!
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Theodore Tellides

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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
Hopkins School
986 Forest Road
New Haven, CT 06515

Phone: 203.397.1001 x271
Email: jnicolelli@hopkins.edu