Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

California community web site spotlights swim team

The weather outside might have been frightful in Boston, considering December’s blizzard, but in California it was delightful. So it is no wonder that the members of Wheaton’s synchronized swimming team headed to La Mesa, Calif., for training during winter break.

Swimmer and team co-captain Christiana Butera ’12, who grew up in California, hosted her teammates at her parents’ house near Mount Helix, Calif., according to a news article in the La Mesa Patch. The sleepover on cots, air mattresses and couches may sound like fun and games, but the team was in town for hard work—practicing each day from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They also held a demonstration for the public at the municipal pool.

“I’ve been an athlete my whole life,” Butera said in an interview. “I’ve done soccer, gymnastics, dance, swimming, basketball and even played for a boys’ flag football team, and this is absolutely the hardest sport I’ve ever tried. People make fun of it because it looks so easy. But the goal of synchronized swimming is to make something difficult look artistic. It really challenges you as an athlete and as an artist. For anyone who thinks it’s easy, try it for 10 minutes. You’ll see how difficult it is.”

Candidate speaks highly of Wheaton

Michael Rotondi ’92 ran for public office right after he graduated from Wheaton, winning the post of town moderator in Stoneham, Mass., his hometown.

The move, he told the Winchester Star, was inspired by his college experience.

“It was about serving local government and applying what I learned in political science at Wheaton College,” he said. “I figured I might as well get involved. How else are you supposed to learn about the experiences, the issues and the things that the common people are experiencing in the town?”

With 17 years of experience as the town moderator, Rotondi ran as an independent candidate to represent the 31st Middlesex District in the Massachusetts Legislature. Unfortunately, he didn’t win.

“It was a tough year for an independent,” he recently told the Wheaton Quarterly. “Many votes followed along party lines…. Oh, well.”

He’s still happy to continue as town moderator.

Alum praises Wheaton support in Diversity & Democracy

Derron (“J.R.”) Wallace ’07, a Posse Foundation alumnus, and Marshall Scholar, wrote an essay for Diversity & Democracy, a publication of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In it, he focused on the importance that layers of mentoring can have in developing leadership. He names support from his family, the Posse Foundation, and Wheaton as integral to his success:

“…Posse and Wheaton used their institutional resources to weave a thick web of support through which it was hard to fall. They provided engagement and accountability….

“At every phase of my academic and professional development, nurturing networks, or ‘posses,’ have been integral to my advancement. This model of layered mentorship—with its multiple, linked relationships—is a powerful infrastructure for successful educational and professional trajectories. I am often reminded that leaders and students who succeed are frequently hoisted by a team of supporters. I pay my debt of gratitude to my posses (personal, academic and professional) by extending the circle of support to another generation of students. The potential for meaningful leadership would be immense if educators throughout higher education could do the same.”

Sun Chronicle notes long-distance election campaign

As the new school year approached, the Attleboro Sun Chronicle talked with Emily Firment ’11 about how she won her post as the president of the Student Government Association while she was abroad in Egypt her junior year, and what she learned from the experience.

“Without being cliché, I must say that running from abroad was a true test of dedication to something that has completely transformed my experience at Wheaton,” she said. “Through the long hours of campaigning, I learned the importance of resolve and focus in order to succeed.”