David came to Villa for third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade, before moving on to St. Gabriel’s Middle School. He attended Windward High School in White Plains, and Antioch College, where he earned a BA in History in 1996. David received an MA in Sociology in 2007 from The New School for Social Research. At present, he works in New York City at a historic house, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, for the National Park Service. He really enjoys working with the public, giving house tours and working with school groups visiting the site. Attached is a family photo of David with his wife and daughter, and a photo of his wife with his daughter on the day she started preschool.
David said that 1st and 2nd grades were very difficult for him as he watched as his peers learned to read and write, but he seemed to fall between the cracks and feel forgotten. One very distant memory he has was when he first arrived at Villa Maria in 3rd grade and was placed in Sister Rosaline’s class.
Recently David wrote, “I will never forget Sister Rosaline’s patience in teaching us the basic vowel sounds, and little by little I started to learn to decipher words. I felt valued and supported for the first time in the classroom, and my emotional wellbeing also greatly improved. Villa Maria gave me the gift of reading, and I will never forget that! Everything else in my life has been based on being able to read, and that I owe to Villa Maria.
Another memory that stands out in my mind is the property in the back. I loved running around back there with my friends (including Steve Mansfield who I saw featured on the alumni page). I think it was an important and healthy break from the classroom, and I remember feeling so free running around the property, the area seemed so immense.”
David was in Panama from early 2002 to summer 2004. Before leaving, he visited with the Villa students and kept in touch about his experiences in rural Panama. In one of his emails from Panama, he wrote, “My work will be in agriculture, and for now that involves working with farmers out on their farms. Eventually I hope to introduce sustainable agriculture techniques not practiced here, like organic composting and nitrogen fixing plants to improve the soil. The soils here are poor and can´t hold nutrients for very long. Everything is new and a challenge for me – the language, the climate, the customs and culture, being separated from friends and family. I am expecting this first year to be a long and at times a painful experience. However, I think it will be very well worth it. I had the pleasure of meeting some very humble and decent people. Despite not really having much (not really owning anything), they were some of the most generous and thoughtful people I have ever met.”
In his most recent email, David commented, “And yes, it would be nice to visit Villa Maria and see the school and you again! I would like to make that happen at some point. I really think your commitment and dedication to the school and to the many children you have worked with over the decades is really remarkable! I have really special memories of the school and the experiences I had there!”