AIC CLASS NOTES
TAGS: Class Notes

1960’s

Dave Keaney ’61 and Jerry LaBrasseur ’61, were Varsity Club guests at the American International College men’s ice hockey team regular season final game on March 2, 2019. Keaney and LaBrasseur both played on the team during their time at AIC, and remain staunch supporters of the program. LaBrasseur has a special place in the College’s history as its only one-armed athlete to play on a varsity level. In addition to hockey, he excelled as a center and linebacker in football, making the Associated Press’ Little All-America team in 1960.

Dr. Paul Welch ’63 and marianne Ravenola Welch ’62 recently attended a 50th Class Reunion at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore. While visiting the campus they were approached by a professor who was kind enough to give them a tour. After a bit of conversation, the couple learned their “tour guide” was fellow alumnus Dr. Dennis Stiles ’82.

Dr. David Rodman ‘65 recently marked the end of a 50-year career as a dentist. His last patient was the 17-year-old daughter of a woman who had been a patient of his since the age of four. As he approached his final day as a working dentist, Rodman said: “It was very emotional for me. It’s very sad, because you become a family. I loved what I did, and I loved my patients.”

Paul Procopio ’68 was recently recognized by the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (NEBHOF) for his admirable societal contributions as a mentor to countless student-athletes. Joining Paul was AIC classmate Neil Guerin ‘68 who was inducted into the NEBHOF for his achievements as a high school and college player, and high school coach.

Jim Calhoun ‘68, Hon ‘00, concluded his first season as a Division III basketball coach at The University of St. Joseph with great success. His Jays finished 16-12, and throughout the season Calhoun’s players won rookie of the week honors nine times. This all happened in the first season of men’s basketball being offered at USJ, which went co-ed in the fall of 2018 after operating as a women’s college since its founding in 1932. Calhoun came out of retirement at age 76 to take the USJ job after 40 years of Division I coaching.

1970’s

Gary Grodzicki ‘74, the only “Wish Granter” in his community, Grodzicki started a Make-A-Wish group last year in The Villages of Florida. The community now has a club of more than 25 helping to aid the 100+ children on the Central and Northern Florida chapter “Wait List.” Because of Gary’s support, one participant had the opportunity to meet the Miami Dolphins at a game against the New England Patriots.

1980’s

Colleen Holmes, MBA ’84 has been appointed to Greylock Federal Credit Union’s volunteer board of directors. She is the president and CEO of Berkshire Children and Families, a community-based organization promoting the well-being of children and the strength of families in Berkshire County and the Pioneer Valley. Holmes has also served as chief membership and strategy officer for the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts, as a consultant for New Haven Consulting Group in Connecticut, and as an executive manager with Human Resources Unlimited. She has served on the board of Baystate Health Systems. Holmes holds a bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University and a MBA from AIC.

Dr. Belinda Forbes ‘84, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, has been assigned to Accion Medica Christiana (Christian Medical Action) in Managua, Nicaragua, an ecumenical organization specializing in community health and development in impoverished regions and home to many indigenous and Afro-descendent populations. A dentist by profession, Forbes is a liaison for Ecumenical Relations and Cooperation in Community Health. She holds bachelor’s degrees in biology and Spanish from AIC and a degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

Bill Sandillo ‘86 is the first-ever field manager for the newly formed Westfield Starfires, the newest addition to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. A native of West Springfield, Massachusetts, Sandillo is the founder of the Predator Performance Sports Management and Stars & Stripes Baseball Academy in Chandler, Arizona, and will return to the area this summer to manage the Starfires. Sandillo was an All Northeast-10 player and team captain at AIC, and has an impressive coaching résumé that includes a stint with the U.S. Military All-Star traveling team and a year abroad as the field manager for Padova in the Series A – Italian Professional Baseball League.

1990’s

Kevin Wortman ’91 was posthumously honored at Saugus High School when his uniform number 3 was retired during a special ceremony attended by many alumni. Wortman played college hockey at AIC before being drafted by the NHL Calgary Flames in 1989. Kevin died in April 2018 at the young age of 49.

Orlando Vandross ’92, assistant coach at the University of Virginia, celebrated this year as the Cavaliers won the 2019 Division I NCAA championship. Vandross is in his fourth season at UVA. He worked as the director of recruiting and player development for three years before becoming an assistant coach to Tony Bennett this season. Vandross ranked third in career assists and 13th in scoring during his basketball career at AIC.

Michele Puleri, MEd ‘96 was one of three local educators honored at the ninth annual Berkshire County Educator Recognition Awards ceremony. A Lee Elementary fifth-grade teacher since 2005, Michele has held numerous other positions at Lee Public Schools, including special education teacher and peer education teacher, and as the district coordinator for new teacher mentoring since 2017. She also serves on the board of the Lee Youth Association and coaches soccer and basketball.

Timothy Van Tasel ‘98 will become Superintendent of Schools in Suffield, Connecticut, in July 2019. Most recently the superintendent in Hebron and previously the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction, and human resources for the East Hampton school district, Van Tasel earned his bachelor’s degree from Westfield State College and his master’s degree in public administration from AIC.

 

Kia Prescott Bandoh ‘99 was inducted into the AIC Co-Curricular Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 13, 2018, as a part of the College’s Homecoming 2018 festivities. Bandoh currently works as a physician assistant at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute Gynecologic Oncology Program at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. Kia is pictured with AIC President Vince Maniaci (left) and AIC Vice President for Student Affairs Brian O’Shaughnessy (right).

2000’s

Brian Cameron ’00, MEd will be the next superintendent of Belchertown Public Schools. He is the district’s current assistant superintendent and director of Student Support Services. He has worked in the district for 13 years.

Jossie Valentin, MS ‘03, a Holyoke city councilor, will serve as a senior staffer on a committee to explore a White House bid for Elizabeth Warren. Valentin first got elected to the Ward 4 City Council seat in Holyoke in 2013 and easily won re-election in her last two races. While she plans to finish her current term, Valentin has not indicated whether she will run again. In April, the Holyoke Democratic Committee named Valentin Democrat of the Year.

2010’s

David Fernandes ’11 has joined Polish National Credit Union as retail operations manager. With more than 11 years of retail banking and management experience, Fernandes has taken on an array of roles during his career, including retail banking officer, branch manager, and mortgage loan specialist. Fernandes is also a Ludlow Special Police officer and treasurer, where he assists with organizing community events and maintains the finances of the organization.

Jolita Lazauska, MBA ’12 was promoted to acting budget chief for the city of Hartford. Lazauskas has served 17 years in finance and accounting in the private sector and was appointed as Hartford’s revenue manager in July 2018, where she was responsible for projecting revenues and developing the city’s capital plan. Prior to her work in the public sector, Lazauskas served as accounting manager at New Britain aerospace manufacturer Integra-Cast Inc.

Alik Taylor, CAGS ’12 was recently named Barnstable High School head boys basketball coach. A longtime Barnstable educator and current director of the alternative learning program, Taylor has been in the Barnstable School System for the past 24 years, spending 10 years at the middle school as a social studies teacher and the last 14 years at the high school.

Marla Sirois, CAGS ’14 will be the new principal of Sippican Elementary School in Marion, Massachusetts. Marla has been the Principal at Taft Early Learning Center in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, since 2014. Prior to her appointment as principal, she held a variety of positions in the Uxbridge Public School District since 2001.

Doreen Ward ’14, MEd has been appointed as the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) Director for Wellesley Public Schools. Ward served as METCO Director for Melrose Public Schools for 21 years prior to this appointment, where she managed a $650,000 budget, oversaw transportation services, tutorial services, and all aspects of the METCO program.

Lexi Marra ’14 has been named a Hometown Hero by the Western Massachusetts Red Cross. An ER nurse in Holyoke, Marra came upon two police officers that had become exposed to Fentanyl after they used Narcan to stabilize a drug abuse victim in his car and were brought to Holyoke Medical Center. Marra treated the two officers and ultimately saved their lives through her skill as a nurse.

Karlbuto Alexandre ‘15, an AIC biology graduate and former football player, now attends Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in New Jersey. He is a fourth-year medical student and was recently matched to a residency program for general surgery at Sinai Grace Hospital—Detroit Medical Center. A first-generation college graduate, Alexandre matched to one of his top program choices in a highly competitive field.

Jamal Hadley ‘16 was selected by Rugby United New York for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. While at AIC, he played both rugby 15s and 7s. Since graduating, Jamal has played with Old Blue Rugby Football Club. He also has played with the Augusta Rugby Club, the USA Rugby South Panthers in the 2018 RAN Championship, and in the Central Europe tour of Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Mike Gustafson ’16, MEd and his wife Lara, started The Children’s House, a Montessori school for toddlers and preschoolers on Sladen Street in Dracut, MA. Opening in September 2018 with seven students, enrollment has grown to 17. Gustafson encountered the work of Italian doctor and educator Maria Montessori while doing his graduate work at AIC.

Jonathon Jasak, MA ’16 was accepted on the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Marathon Team and ran the Boston Marathon this year with the personal goal of raising $6,500. At 21 years old, he was diagnosed with a neuroblastoma, and after a year of treatment he was eventually able to earn a master’s degree in psychology at AIC. He is currently working as a corrections officer in the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department.

Christian Adams ‘17 was included in all three of The New England Free Jacks 2018-2019 exhibition season matches against the Ontario Arrows, Rugby United New York, and the Utah Warriors. Adams was a three-time Collegiate All-American, first earning the title in his freshmen year, the first in the school’s history. Christian also played for the Northeast Olympic Development Academy and club rugby for Mystic River Rugby Club.

Johno May ‘18 has been called up by the San Diego Gulls of the AHL, the direct affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. This assignment to the AHL is the first in his career. He had a solid career at AIC that saw his freshman season rank as one of the best in school history.

PASSINGS

Henry F. Bonk ’40
Ruth L. Corbert ’46
Frances T. Scannell ’47
Mary F. Canuel ’48
Henry L. Ciocci ’49
Florence M. Czerniawski ’49
Samuel F. Giansante ’49, MA ’50
Stuart G. Benson ’50
Jerome H. Radding ’50
David A. Wilder ’50
Melvin G. Zeidenberg ’50
Peter P. Bobinski ’52
Robert E. Page ’55
Jean Wright ’55
Charles G. Bristol ’56
Theodore T. Kusnierz ’58
Anthony Walter Sugalski ’58
Thomas R. Foley ’59
Ernest P. Mason ’62
Chester Malinowski Jr. ’63
William Kolodziey ’64
William L. Burbank ’67
John C. Leveillee ’67
Peter S. Leone ’68
Dianne Mahoney ’69
John R. McGill ’69
Mario Pagnoni ’70, MS ’72
Kenneth B. Welch ’70
James E. Clancy ’74
Dennis W. Martin-O’Brien ’74
Scott Moudy ’80
John T. Mahoney ’81
Marilyn S. Gerling ’85
Bethany L. Ryan ’99
David J. Zanin ’05
Kevin O. Campbell ’07
David N. Vigneault
Robert A. Kramer