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Spring 2003

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Alumni join high-school mentoring program

New York City–area alumni have launched a Skidmore chapter of the College Alumni in Public Schools (CAPS) mentoring program. Coordinated by Carolyn Brown Straker ’59, Ronnie Zolondek Bramesco ’63, Kayne Rourke ’95, and Peter Wan ’95, Skidmore’s initiative paired alumni with eighteen students from Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan.
     Skidmore CAPS is structured to help public-school students aspire to and prepare for college admission, providing support, fun, and friendship along the way. At a January kickoff, the Skidmore mentors and mentees—matched, when possible, by mutual interests—got to know each other over deli sandwiches in the school’s cafeteria.
     Gwen Putzig Pier ’81, executive director of art administration for the National Sculpture Society, listened as fifteen-year-old Alice Deutsch described her favorite museums and her dream of becoming a docent. Matthew Schrag ’96, who works for Web marketing firm Inceptor, talked shop (and sports) with student Sydney Aquirre, who’s got designs on a career in marketing. Theatrical producer Nelle Nugent ’60 invited mentee Audrey Terrell and others to a showing of The Mysteries, her South African–based musical that’s drawn rave reviews internationally.
     With mentors ranging from the class of ’55 to ’00, Carolyn Straker was delighted by the response. “We were told to start small—to expect two, maybe three mentor/mentee pairings at the beginning,” she says. “But here we are with eighteen right out of the gate.” Adds Kayne Rourke, “We’re amazed by the rapport among participants. This is more than we could have hoped for.”
     For more on Skidmore CAPS in New York City, contact Straker at momstraker@aol.com. —MM

 


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