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The First Purnell Alumnae Visitor's Day, June 18, 2022...

Here's who who was there


Danielle Koenig - 2019

Kathy Barnes-Singleton (+1) - 1985

Anne Marie Willis - 1980 

Bonner Boynton (+1) - 1991

Mary Chuhinko-Blount - 2006

Dena Slotoroff - 2008

Andi Grunberg - 1995

Christina DeGiovanni - 2008

Coco Obayda - 1991 

Kimmie Silbert - 1995

Kate Stewart - 1992 

Del Wynne Del Colle - 1985

Nadine Loiseau Wilkins - 1999

Clare Pasquier Peterson (+1) - 1986

Elaine Thomas Buck (+1) - 1984

Bridget Reilly - 1991

Beth Schoenknecht Crandall - 2009

Christine Lee (+1) - 2010

Jen White Frey - 1991

Sage Ives Scott - 1975

Myrna Sirleaf - 1985 

Daisy Patterson Decker (+1) - 1979

Jeannie Mullett Forster - 1976

Marley Oakes - 1987

Jacquelyn Berkowitz - 2007

Elizabeth Alfieri Lucas (+1) - 1984


Maria Bowditch (1978-1982

Penn Bowditch (1978-1982)

Gail Mardfin (1978-2000)

Leslie Patient (1994-2013)

Wendy Wilderotter (1977-1994)

Jennifer Pierson (1969-1975)

Jeannie Mullett Forster (1981-1987)

Elizabeth Bugliari (1982-2004)
Nikki Buccello (2007-2017)

Karen Johnson Cotter (1982-1987)

Chris Cotter (1985-1987)


Susan Japhet Scotty '83

Staige Grymes '86
Olivia Rogich '21
Allison Yontz Skunda '92

Carey Andaya '93

Bridget Gallagher '96

Amy Isler 2012

I'm looking forward to keeping our legacy alive. I know we are in the beginning of making this happen. AND WE WILL!!!

- Bridget Reilly '91

Those of us on Zoom Saturday are beginning to already connect and get to know one another, share why we went to Purnell and what we are doing now, etc. It is a whole new learning experience and quite inspiring. When you said at the gathering we are not just alumnae but "sisters" ... very true! 

- Allison Yontz Skunda '92

We are all fortunate to have such a great connection - that hopefully will never go away...I just hope we are able to strengthen the class connection and the larger group.


Again, my thanks to you and I look forward to the journey ahead of us. 

- Daisy Patterson Decker '79

BIG SUCCESS!  With relatively short notice, 50 alums, friends and faculty returned to the Pottersville campus to reminisce, mingle, learn, and brainstorm ways the Purnell legacy will continue. The number many not have been huge, but it allowed Purnellies of all ages and stages to connect in an important place in their hearts and lives.

People's IDs can be found at left.

LOTS more (and better!) pictures of people, the campus, and classrooms may be found on the Purnell School facebook page,


Get your nametags here!  Dena, Jacquelyn, Nadine, and Leslie.


Selfie time: Elaine, Gail and Anne Marie.


Coffee & doughnuts on the Terrace, where Pingry has placed many nice picnic tables


Beth, Marley, Danielle, Leslie, Nadine and Christina (in her cool vintage dress!)

Del catches the Cotters up on her life


Gail with Beth

Smiling faces: Kate & Coco (Carolyn)


Wendy and Bonner


The oldest in attendance: Daisy '79, Sage '75 & her mom, Jennifer Pierson, former art teacher


R to L: Chris & Karen, Del, Clare & her hubby Shawn

R to L: Chris & Karen, Del, Clare & her hubby Shawn

LUNCH! Folks enjoyed PLENTY of food from the Black River Deli courtesy of Jeannie Mullett Forster '76, and adorable dessert cookies with the School Guidelines on them..


Beth brought old photos to share

I think the event went as well as was expected despite the tech issues! I heard lots of good things from folks afterwards. I loved the circle-up at the end. I had completely forgotten about that tradition and it made my heart so full! 

- Beth Schoenknecht Crandall '09


Maria & Penn

Coco, Gail, Bonner, and Bridget

Jake Ross stopped by with one of his sons to greet their Mom and "Gundi"

At the last minute, due to a power outage, the ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION MEETING was moved from the Carney Center to sitting in a big circle in the Dining Hall. It turned out to be for the best - for sharing, singing, and the closing ceremony. Very powerful.  If your current email is in the Purnell database, you will receive notes from the meeting before the end of June, and we look forward to hearing from you!

LOTS more (and better!) pictures of people, the campus, and classrooms may be found on the Purnell School facebook page,


Bonner rings the bell for Announcements


Pingry's David Fahey, Interim Dir. of Institutional Advancement at Pingry, spoke about Pingry's use of the campus and more.


Beth was our stellar AV gal and music director!


Kim and Andi sing along to unforgettable Purnell songs


Nadine led the section of the meeting where we discussed ways to connect and expand the Purnell alumnae group.


Seven Purnellies from all around the US (and Spain!) joined via Zoom


Maria Bowditch, Gail Mardfin (starkey), Wendy Wilderotter (ross) & Jeannie Mullett Forster '76 plus Diane Armstrong and Rebecca Dickinson make up the "Purnell 6!" Thanks also to Donna Martin & Elizabeth Bugliari.

Kathy & daughter Krystal


Back row: Elizabeth Bugliari (fac), Kate Stewart '92, Bridget Reilly '91, Kim Silbert '95, Christina  DeGiovanni '08, Anne Marie Willis '80, Maria Bowditch (fac), Daisy Patterson Decker '79. Next clump on left: Dena Slotoroff '08, Jacquelyn Berkowitz '07, Mary Chuhinko-Blount, Clare Pasquier Peterson '86, Marley Oakes '87. Second row: Andi Grunberg '95, Cathy Del Wynne Del Colle '85, Nadine Loiseau Wilkins '99, Jeannie Mullett Forster '76, Elizabeth Alfieri Lucas '84, Elaine Thomas Buck '84, Myrna Sirleaf '85. Front row: Gail Mardfin (fac), Coco Obayda '91, our Zoomers, Wendy Wilderotter (fac), Kathy Barnes-Singleton '85, Beth Schoenknecht Crandall '09.  Photo by Shawn Dehart.

LOTS more (and better!) pictures of people, the campus, and classrooms may be found on the Purnell School facebook page,



...A some words from some folks who couldn't make it, (including from former faculty)


Hello all Purnell “Fossils” !

           Laurie and I are so very disappointed to miss this first Alum Celebration since the change has occurred - regardless, it will be grand to be on campus and together - 

          Purnell is as much an idea as it ever was a place - those of us fortunate to have been touched by the school know exactly what I mean - and that spirit, that idea, those guidelines will live on in our hearts and in those who we touch along the way -

          It’s grand that each of you have made the effort to be together in Pottersville - it makes us smile when we think of all the stories to be shared - We send our special Purnell hugs to all, knowing you’ll celebrate being together once again “on campus” in Pottersville! 

- Jim and Laurie 

Thank you so much for organizing and bringing us back together! Sorry that class of ‘89 won’t be represented at this event but we hope to all gather and attend next years reunion. Enjoy the day on that beautiful campus! 

- Ilyana Kadushin, Class Rep for 1989

Thank you for organizing this important event. It makes me so sad that Purnell is no longer. Unfortunately, I am unable to be in Pottersville on June 18. I would love to try to zoom into the meeting if that is an option. I look forward to another event in the future. Thanks again.
- Betsy Jacobs Hunt '74

I am unable to attend but thank you so much to Jeannie Mullett et al for organizing! Will send in a donation!
Best of luck with the Open House/Picnic! I attended the 50th Reunion and it was fabulous!

- Louise Riddell Bland '75


          To all those who have passed through the front door of Main whether as a student or an employee, I want to send a hearty handshake to a job very well done. As a school it was a wonderful platform for all of us to learn and expand our minds and hearts. How fortunate our collected experience was. At the core, the three guidelines taught those valuable life skills that keep rippling out into the world.  And if there was a time they surely could be used, it is now!

Always the Best to the Purnell Family, Robert

So sorry I am unable to attend the gathering. What a fabulous idea. I hope it goes well and you have a meaningful turn out!

Thank you for gathering us together.

- Jennifer Walker '75

          Unfortunately we won't be able to make it this time because of numerous work (end-of-school year) and personal conflicts (we're moving off campus). My suggestion is that you need to get your hands on an old Poloroid camera and make sure you get photos of everyone who attends right as they are getting out of their cars!! (I actually have a camera I could send you if we can find any film!)

          Sounds like it'll be the start of something great, continuing the strong, lasting connections that so many students and faculty made during Purnell's 50+ years of existence.

I’m very sad to say I will not make it back to Purnell June 18th as we will be in Buffalo for a wedding. Have a wonderful time !

- Molly Ryan Ewert ‘83

I am disappointed that I will be unable to attend the Purnell visitor’s day! Please keep me informed of future events! I have no doubt it will be a special day!
All the best,

- Louise Sewell Lee ‘86


Dear Gail and fellow Purnellies,

          I just watched Penn’s great video (WITH SONG!) inviting us all to Pottersville on June 18th. Mary and I will not be able to join you, but we will be there with you in spirit. Penn really captured our feeling about it all. In just four years (for us 1976-80) we learned and grew so much. These were critical and formative years for us. You, the students we lived and learned with, and fellow faculty and staff, became family. We still feel that way. There was some sort of community magic in the air: creative, energetic, fun, adventurous, spiritual, cutting edge, and good-vibes-warm. 

          Please stay in touch.

With much love,

Peter and Mary Pierson - and


Dear Purnell alumnae, especially those of you who graduated between 1974-1980,

          We are so sad that we cannot be with you for this exciting reunion celebration. A family wedding is taking place on June 18th, drat. But our thoughts will certainly be with you all. Please take lots of photos that you can share with us. Here’s one from us (below).

          We remained in schools after leaving Purnell in 1980, many in the south. We started one school together in Virginia, and Jay founded a second one in Tennessee while I worked as a search consultant with Carney, Sandoe. In the spring of 1980 we had three little ones some of you may remember, Virginia (4), Ketch (2), and Caroline (infant) who now are in their 40’s(!) and have shared with us a total of 8 grandchildren - 6 boys and 2 girls, ages 8-16. 

          My memories of you all are rich with our many adventures together, but most particularly reading great books together like Antoine de St. Exupery’s Wind Sand, and Stars and The Little Prince, or Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. We studied nutrition together, enhanced by Mr. Secor’s Bread Baking classes, which he mistakenly called bed breaking classes in announcements one day. Several of us spent a month in Vichy, France together…remember the Pastille  factory? Can you still smell it? And do you recall all the Fair preparation meetings? You created so many wonderful foods, ceramic projects, jewelry,  photographs, paintings, sewing projects, and a myriad of other beauties or comical items. Fox Day, the TigerTones, the Review were some of my favorite happenings every year. Dogs were very much a part of our lives there. Who can name both of ours?

          Have a wonderful time together. We so hope our paths will cross soon

Hugs, Trina

* Morning Assembly in the Crow’s Nest

* Tens' Trip to Virginia with baby Virginia (age 3 weeks!) and Mr. and Mrs. Johnson on the bus. Dinner at the King’s Arms Tavern.

* Math Methods: How many gallons in a barrel? Wednesday afternoon trip to Wall Street on the Erie Lackawanna RR to Hoboken.

* The Revue: “Kids, what’s the matter with kids today? I can’t believe that it’s been six weeks! Change your sheets today please, Rocko is standing by…O, what’s the matter with kids today?” 

* And thinking of sheets, Brooks School Glee Club visit to campus. Boys were entertained with a midnight toga party in Main.

* No one can forget, White Glove inspection!

- James J. Secor III

So lovely that you and others have pulled all of this together, but I'm sad to say I will not be able to attend.
My best,

- Martha Blair '78

Wish I could be there. Thank you Gail MardfinDiane Gressly ArmstrongJeannie Forster and all the others for making this happen!!

- Amy Sind Lehr '89

          Returning to campus and seeing so many familiar faces from long ago would be an absolute joy. Purnell played a pivotal role in my career and life path; I cherish my time there. I am traveling on June 18 and, unfortunately, cannot attend.  I will be reminiscing as I travel. Warm regards to all. Looking forward to future gatherings.

I cannot make it. I’m disappointed but so grateful for the incredible effort put forth to keep these relationships together.

- ​Charlotte Ramsey Chaney '87

I am so sorry to miss this great event. I was so sad to hear that Purnell closed. My days at Purnell were wonderful. Purnell helped shape me into who I am today. Thank you for all you are doing to keep everyone connected. I hope our paths will cross soon. 

- Whit Barhydt Ryan '81

So wish I/we could attend! The kids (Nadia and Amaru) would also love this and so fondly remember being campus-rats during some of the best years of their lives! We'll be there in spirit and love! 

This sounds like a great idea.  I am sorry that I will not be able to attend.  Good luck!!

- Nancy Roosevelt Ireland '69

I so wish I could make it!!! I’m very thankful for my three years at such an incredible school with amazing people! I am who I am today largely because of Purnell! ❤️

- Nancy Pritchard Taylor '85

I’m sorry but I will not be able to attend this year. I’m very sad because I wanna see everybody and see the campus again.  Hopefully I can do it next year.  Have fun everybody!

- Meg Purnell '74

I am sorry that I cannot make it to the reunion! I would have loved it, but it's too late for me to change plans now.

All the best to everyone and thank you for making the happen and for continuing the alumnae website!


- Martha Bellis Gregg -'77

I am so sorry to miss this gathering. We have a wedding that day. Purnell means so much and always will. 
- Susie Kerr Menzies '72

Have a GREAT time! Bummer I’m unable to attend.

- Katie Harrington Gathmann '84

I will now be out of town that Saturday. So bummed to miss you all. Thank you so much for organizing this and I hope I can come to the next one!!

- Alison Shirk Scherr '90


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