Headmaster's Message April


April 15th, 2014

Dear T-D Family:


T-D's travel-study adventures always seem in tune and in touch with daily events. With UCONN winning the NCAA championship in b-ball in both men and women's categories at the same time this becomes something truly remarkable. For T-D the remarkable begins on May 9th as over 50 of us head "North to Alaska." "Yukon" believe it will be one of the school's most memorable excursions.


While Kate and Prince William are boasting about their tour of New Zealand, three of the most talented young people from Auckland will be the guests of T-D beginning April 21st. All three are from the Corelli International Academic School of the Arts. Each teen is as talented as the other. Two boys and one girl will be our guests through May 10th.


Any T-D parent with tickets to any Broadway show, Lincoln Center opera, ballet, or symphony, the Apollo Theatre, local theatre or whatever, please help T-D entertain. Baseball tix, B-ball tix, tennis tix, hockey tix, golf tourney tix, and so on would be welcomed.


T-D is arranging tours to the NBC studios, Lincoln Center, and Radio City. Tickets to Once, Heathers, andLes Mis have already been purchased.


In October T-D student ambassadors will visit Auckland.


Thanks and be creative. Even a dinner party or luncheon could be fun. A trip to Coney Island could work.


Congratulations to Rayaan Ba for his second prize award at the Classical Languages Oral Contest held at Columbia University this past Saturday. Hail Caesar! Hail Dr. Kernell!




Dear T-D Family:


Can’t quite believe it is April. March went out like a lamb as soon as our Hiroshima students flew back to the Rising Sun. Thanks to all the T-D families for their Sunshine throughout.


This week T-D’s third quarterly exams are in progress and throughout April several Faculty Luncheon Conferences will take place.


I’m pleased to say that many T-D seniors are quite pleased with their admit letters. Syracuse, Franklin and Marshall, DePaul, SUNY Stony Brook, St. John’s, Iona, University of New Hampshire, and McGill put smiles on many family faces. Patrick Collins even mustered up a smile as he was wait-listed at the University of Pennsylvania. That, ironically, is quite a tribute.


Re-registration letters will be sent out shortly. The 2014-15 year opens on September 11 as T-D salutes the best of Scandinavia --Denmark. Does that make Denmark West the happiest man on earth?


In less than three weeks T-D will host three students from the Corelli International Academic School of the Arts in Auckland, New Zealand. All New Zealanders are 15 and above and all are into the arts. T-D is looking for a few host families. Should you want to be a real part of it, call T-D ASAP. Everyone arrives on April 21 and returns home on May 9. In 2014-15 T-D will send its own contingent to Auckland. I can’t believe I’ve written this!


I wonder if Alaska will still be a part of the other 49 states. There is a petition with 60,000 signatures clamoring for Alaska to secede. Just imagine if Alaska seceded? Not all of us would Crimea River.


Very truly yours,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.



P.S. Thanks to Lynne Tirrell for the lower School Planetarium Program at NRHS last week.





Arts House Café Reflections

New Rochelle Public Library

March 21, 2014


Where else but at T-D can one find this kind of ensemble? Where else but at T-D can one find eight chanteurs and chanteuses, led by Mrs. Bubesi, chanting Les Choiristes, without much practice, so beautifully? Where else but at T-D can one find nine faces; each one so different from the other. Where else can one find an Irish American and an Italian American, teamed up with other students and teachers hailing from Albania, India, China, Senegal, Belgium and, of course, France. On March 21 T-D was T-D – Totally Diverse and the Arts House Café held on the stage at the New Rochelle Library was a later rendition of the earlier Globe Theatre in Britain.


Show business isn’t easy. Mr. VanLesberghe had to pause while doing his solo – so sweet and so special I must add. One of our Japanese pianists got arthritis in the middle of a classical piece as she played it without notes. Both these performers were applauded not for perfection, but infectious imperfection. T-D audiences love anyone who has the courage to perform and to entertain.


There were a few entertainers who came close to real stardom. Sophia Ventresca is about the coolest kid I’ve seen grace a stage. Sean Shen, Mr. Tropicana in his orange suit, was T-D’s Alaskan aurora borealis.


Where else but at Thornton-Donovan can kids without a stage become poets, musicians, singers and alike? Where else but at T-D could anyone upstage all that Liam Baum does with a K-12 student body and one without any real platform?

The next time T-D holds a performance of the Arts House Café everyone should wear a hat and at the conclusion the entire audience should do a hats off in honor of Mr. Baum and T-D’s diplomatic dare devils and performers.


No one at T-D has to look elsewhere for the students and the things that make being here so worthwhile. There’s no place like T-D and its Talented and Dexterous aspiring artists.


There’s no time like showtime!!!!


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.



March Message 2014


Dear T-D Family:


March Madness? And you thought it was b-ball, not snowfall. For March, T-D is in the middle of its own avalanche – an avalanche of activity.


Starting last Sunday, T-D warmed up for another summer full of activities, promises and challenges. Annemarie is in charge and T-D Challengers will begin summer fun on Monday, July 7th. Lunch for all campers and door to door transportation to most locations is included in the rates. Early birds will receive deep discounts. There will be another camp open house on Sunday, April 6th from 2-4 PM.

On Tuesday, the PTP held a Carne-vale dinner for the entire school family. Aly Fanelli really knows her New Rochelle-La Rochelle history. The site of T-D, the city’s oldest independent school, is on land that was part of the 300 year old land deal by the Pells. This was commemorated by a Fat Tuesday feast and tribute.


The Book Fair is open and in full force. Mrs. Silverstein is inviting all book worms to the Berns Memorial Library. The pickins look irresistible.


On the 11th Mr. Chapin’s English class will be learning more about the infamous Willowbrook State School, courtesy of the Teich family. The entire eighth grade will be on hand to hear from Bernard Carabello, a noted civil rights leader. Parents are invited and the presentation will begin at 11:00 am in the Fleming-Winter House.


That very same Tuesday, T-D’s girls basketball team, the Lions, will play their first away game. Coach Schlitten has his Lions ready to roar. T-D’s boys basketball team has “played Soundview close” during the last two encounters and I’m sure the girls will do us proud. Special thanks to the T-D parent family for some welcomed cheers.


In the evening of this busy Tuesday, T-D’s brightest and best are being regaled at the Radisson Hotel in New Rochelle. Dr. Robert Allen is the featured speaker at The National Honors Convocation. A total of 14 students will be honored and pinned, one of whom is Dylan Pizzo who can now be called one of the most gifted math students in all of America.

The next morning I’ll be at JFK to greet ten Japanese visitors from Hiroshima. T-D still needs a few more host family volunteers. Four teenage girls are without beds. The Japanese will be in T-D’s hands through March 25th. In the month of June, T-D will be sponsoring its annual “bridge building” with another ambassadorial effort at our sister school in Sera, Japan.


On March 21st, T-D will be at Bowlerland once again. Grades 6-12 and our Japanese guests will enjoy a pizza luncheon as spares and strikes are heard everywhere.


Two Ecuadorian high schoolers will be T-D guests for all of March. Three T-D upper schoolers recently returned from a service mission in Brazil, two others served as student ambassadors to Guatemala and three more upper schoolers are heading to Hamburg with Dr. Hellge on March 14.


Third Quarterly Exams kick in the last Monday in March and numerous faculty luncheon conferences will be taking place beforehand. It’s a “think or sink” time for all 6th through 12th graders. Tanaka on wood!


Very truly yours,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.








February 2014 Letter


Dear Parents:


It’s getting more and more difficult to worry about global warming and I’m as tired hearing about it as I am all the Super Bowl hype. Neither seems to have great appeal, but I will say this about Sunday. You can score it Omaha 4 – Sherman 0.


Things continue to stay hot at T-D. Grades 6-12 are in the middle of mid-terms. The Sunday before our exams began, our 11 South Koreans returned after a 3 ½ week stay.


Glory Days is now in the wings and T-D grades 9-12 will be on the road for the first week in February. Our five days of searching for spirits begin on Monday, February 3rd in New York City. T-D will also be in the Bronx at a Muslim mosque, in Queens at a Community Methodist facility, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. Then a visit to AOL’s corporate headquarters meeting the religion editor for the Huffington Post. It will be followed by a tour of the Merchant House on East 4th, known to be one of the oldest houses in the City as well as the Big Apple’s most haunted house. Two universities are in sight, both with lots of campus spirit. On Thursday T-D will be in New Haven at Yale and walking on sacred ground at the Battell Chapel. On Friday Fairfield University will open its campus and doors to T-D. A visit to the library there will include commentary on Lumen Martin Winter’s art work within. Winter owned the home at 144 Overlook Circle, now a T-D proud possession. Lunch on each of these campuses will be a part of the two last days of Glory experiences.


The week will close out with Fairfield U as T-D’s middle school “Stag” English teacher and noted author, Andrew Chapin, preaches to us about his days there as an aspiring undergrad.


One wrinkle in T-D’s Glory Days spiritual search is a side trip to Rio. T-D’s four horsemen, Liam Baum, Andrew Breazna, Michael Fanelli, and Lorenzo Gazzola, will be volunteering their time helping out the underprivileged and impoverished in Rio. Their entire week will be spent teaching music to kids from 2 – 16 years old.


Later in February three upper schoolers will spend about a week to 10 days in Guatemala at the Evelyn Rogers School. T-D has been exchanging with the school for decades.


In mid-March eight students from Hiroshima will be seeking host family members. Sera High School and T-D have been dancing for years. Also in March T-D will be sending a number of diplomats to Hamburg, Germany. Stay tuned for more info.


Don Johnson will be administering a math exam to five of T-D’s best math students and they will be measured against all those taking it nationwide. T-D is proud that Dylan Pizzo, Patrick Collins, Jane Yoo, Trent Shillingford, and Miguel Conkright are in the initial steps of competition. The exams lead to the Math Olympiad and T-D has a shot to have at least one contestant in the mix.


It’s warmer in Anchorage than it is in the Big Apple. You figure? All the roads lead to Nome!

Sincerely yours,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.



January Message


January 7, 2014



Hi Everyone:


It was a December to remember and a year to forget.  It's hard to like the number 13.  Now 2014 has arrived and it's time to get even.


All the weather keeps doing serves as a primer for Alaska.  Is there anyone T-D hasn't included in its 58 passengers thus far?


Our South Koreans arrived in the middle of a blizzard, but the landing was as perfect as the hospitality of our American host families - Outar, Breazna, Seda, Wright, Narain, Pannett, and 



T-D's PTP meeting is rescheduled for Tuesday, January 14th at 7:00 PM.  With weather colder than the temp in your freezer, T-D moved it to one week from today.  The main topic will be the Gala and committees formation. General business will also be discussed. The Thursday PTP meeting, originally set for Jan 16th, is cancelled. 


Mid-terms are a comin'.  The schedule is on line and was sent via Constant Contact.  Make-up exams are on Saturday, February 1st.


Glory Days await grades 9 - 12 and the full week of activities will be seen shortly.


Congratulations to Kassie Ross, heading to Mills College in San Francisco, with a $60,000.00 stipend.


Stay cool in Tax Romana.


Sincerely yours,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.








There’s something about a bird that is tweeting at 6:30 AM on a late December morn that put music in my ears, not that it had left me the day before, Thursday, December 19th. The day that T-D brought everything full circle.


The Holiday Luncheon, not to be confused with Christmas, hit all the right notes as 170 of us were entertained by T-D’s musical maestro, Liam Baum, and his gondoliers all singing songs and playing their finest tones for those gathered by the shoreline and several others looking in from the outside from the many dingys that floated by the glass windows. The day was almost as spectacular as T-D’s elves. Songs sung in four different languages, songs sung by a 7 year old aspiring artist to a 17 year old with red hair lobster-like guitarist amused all the kids big and small, and young, old, and older, from places nearby and far, far away, from common cultures to unknown ones, from more continents than North and South America and all this took place without any prior practice. All 170 well wishers handled the buffet line with style and class; no running, no bumping, no ill will.


A single bad word wasn’t spoken. Students from the lower school sitting on their own acted like young adults and smiling and adoring parents acted like 19 once again. Everyone had his or her own surreal serendipitous moment.


Teachers helped shepherd one and all and the Larchmont Yacht Club servers made it easy for everyone to regale and enjoy the experience. Just the smile on the face of the Ethiopian waiter said it all and put more class in a classy afternoon.


In a world where one feels like everyone is going mad, there wasn’t a mad face, a bad word, or bad action as T-D broke bread and basked in the sunshine with faces brighter than the sun. The harmony on the stage was not limited to the stage alone. It spread like a virus and it was so jolly. Sam and Tux should have been there – one would have chirped and the other purred. Life can be Pollyanna.


Stay festive my friends,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.



December Part 1

Dear Snow Birds:


Saturday gave us the holiday post card we wanted, but just a little too early. Rumor has it there may be more Tuesday morn, so stay tuned.


Lost in the holiday spirit and blizzard-like activities is the arrival of eleven South Koreans on Friday, January 3rd. In this grouping of mostly middle schoolers are a mom and infant son as well as a tour guide chaperone, who is also female. Their itinerary may be seen on line today.


Any T-D parent interested in housing a mother and her first grade son should contact T-D as soon as possible. Adult exchanges are rare, but as rewarding as student ones are. The South Koreans return on Sunday, January 26th.


A few families have volunteered to host – the Breaznas, Pannetts, Ho-Resvanis have all committed. A list of the eleven with gender and dates of birth will appear for you shortly. Please reach out. T-D’s next exchange does not happen until March when the Japanese arrive. Start the New Year off with a cross-cultural experience!


T-D’s Alaskan contingent is now just a few short of 60. Very few cabins remain available. Please take note that your Discover Alaska billing statement does not include the $1,000.00 charge for air fare. Please understand that the insurance charge of $200.00 or so is optional.


Our flights are in and out of Newark with a 7:00 AM departure on May 9th. Plans to room overnight close to the airport are now in place. T-D will also be chartering a motor coach to take all trailblazers to Newark on Thursday before T-D goes way up north the next morning.


This Thursday is the First Family Holiday Luncheon. I hope to see you there with your progeny. The afternoon adventure offers so much amusement as the Larchmont Yacht Club becomes the perfect place for T-D to showcase its talents.

Stay festive my friends,


Douglas E. Fleming, Jr.



N.B. Those not attending this Thursday’s luncheon will have regular classes.


December Calendar