For eight weeks this spring, second- and fourth-grade students took part in an exciting global learning program.
When it comes to sheer number of family members who have attended the School, few Pingry families can match the Apruzzeses. Siblings John ’76, Don ’78, Lynn ’80, and Kathy ’85 all graduated from Pingry, as did John’s daughters, Dana ’06 and Alexandra ’08. “It’s difficult to encapsulate our family’s history with Pingry in just a few words,” says Vincent “Vin” Apruzzese, father to the four siblings.
Starting during his children’s time at Pingry, Vin served on the Board of Trustees for 17 years, assisting in the ambitious move to the current Basking Ridge Campus. His late wife, Sandy, helped found the mothers’ association and personally designed and handstitched the original “Big Blue” bear mascot.
To the Apruzzeses, “giving back” has always meant more than financial generosity. That being said, philanthropy is important to them; most recently, they contributed funding for a water fountain that will be placed between the Miller A. Bugliari ’52 Athletics Center and the track and football field. They have also created and named an award in Vin’s wife’s honor: The Sandy Apruzzese Big Blue Award, which recognizes the spirit of enthusiasm, leadership, and community-centeredness that Sandy embodied.
“We have done a lot, but, quite frankly, Pingry has done so much more for us,” Vin says. “The Pingry experience is a very, very special one, and that’s why we feel so dedicated.”
Seth Flowerman ’04 has given back to Pingry every year since graduation. A lead supporter of The Pingry Fund, Seth also has made significant contributions to Pingry’s new athletics facility. Named on Businessweek’s “25 Entrepreneurs Under 25” list in 2008 and one of the “Twenty Hot Young Entrepreneurs Under 30” in 2010 by Blogtrepreneur.com, Seth has built an extraordinary reputation in the business world at a very young age.
In 2010 and 2012, he came back to campus to share some of his business experiences as a Career Day speaker. In the summer of 2012, Seth welcomed a Pingry student from the Class of 2013 to intern at his company. The student shadowing him reported that, during this experience, she “acquired some fantastic contacts and gained great opportunities.”
When asked about what motivates him to support Pingry, Seth commented, “Pingry sets the standard for excellence. I was fortunate to be the 13-year beneficiary of a Pingry education and am pleased to play a small part to support the next generation of students. Blueprint for the Future will ensure they receive the outstanding education Pingry is known for.”
Jan Kennedy ’59 is a firm believer in the kind of education that transcends memorization and recitation. Although he has cultivated a lifelong passion for engineering, he also, as a Pingry student, involved himself with glee club, soccer, wrestling, tennis, and the works of Shakespeare. It was with this holistic view of education in mind that Jan recently made a gift to Pingry in the form of a bequest.
Jan has never been one to take learning lightly. After his first application to Pingry was not accepted, he worked diligently to improve himself and achieve his goal of admittance. This hard work has made him especially thankful for Pingry’s legacy in his life and especially eager to afford that same opportunity to others. “I want to help underprivileged students,” he says, “those who might want to attend Pingry, but don’t have the financial ability.”
As Jan describes, his own education was multifaceted, teaching him to see the connective thread between seemingly different fabrics. His time in glee club, for example, not only seeded his lifelong interest in music, but also contributed to his career as an engineer. “So much of testing an engine involves listening and being sensitive to its sounds,” he says.
Jan encourages others considering a gift to think about the legacy of their own Pingry education. “I’m always asking myself: What would life be like if I hadn’t attended Pingry?” he says. “What has stayed with me? What has endured?”
When deciding where to direct their gift to Pingry this year, Matt and Paige Guest P ’20, ’23, ’25 had not a moment’s hesitation. Their decision to fund the modernization of a Kindergarten classroom in the Lower School—one of the many important goals of Blueprint for the Future—was an outgrowth of their inherent appreciation for early education.
In describing the impetus for their gift, Paige remarked, “We feel that early education is essential in the formative years of a child’s life. It lays the foundation on which all subsequent life skills are built. We believe that supporting the enhancement of the facilities at the Lower School benefits all the children who come through Pingry, enriching the experience of both the teachers and students. Supporting this effort is rewarding for us, and we welcome the opportunity to participate.”
In the new classrooms, students will enjoy a more flexible, hands-on learning environment focused on building their skills in collaboration and problem-solving. With their generous gift, Matt and Paige have helped set the pace for the Lower School modernization portion of Blueprint for the Future.
The concept of students educating students is important to John H. Scully ’62 because he believes that students need to learn from each other. “Students from a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds can educate each other in so many ways about our society, values, and issues,” he says.
Mr. Scully has previously supported financial aid at Pingry by providing funding for two SEEDS Scholarships, and his newest gifts expand those earlier efforts by permanently endowing two full-tuition scholarships for economically-disadvantaged, preferably African-American, students. Explaining the timing of his gifts, he says, “The problem of enabling these students to attend Pingry is probably getting worse, with tuition going up at a higher rate, and Pingry needs to be able to embrace other demographics. Less-fortunate students gain so much from a Pingry education.”