Six Foxcroft Academy Alumni Inducted into Academic Hall of Fame

May 3, 2019

Dover-Foxcroft – Six Foxcroft Academy alumni were inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in the FA Gymnasium on Friday, May 3rd. The 2019 Academic Hall of Fame Induction was held in conjunction with the presentation of medallions to the Class of 2019’s Rose Award winners in order to link outstanding students of the present with those of the past.

Nominations for the Academic Hall of Fame are generated by the Foxcroft Academy Alumni Office, which each year asks alumni, community members, parents, and faculty (past and present) to nominate alumni who demonstrated “success at Foxcroft Academy through academics and/or visual and performing arts, leading to notable accomplishments in a chosen career path.” FA’s selection committee then draws from a large pool of excellent candidates and carefully selects a new class each spring. Congratulations to this year’s outstanding inductees.  For all the event photos, go to https://flic.kr/s/aHsmxUUW1y

From the Class of 1979, Dr. Jenifer Ambler

Dr. Jenifer Ambler ’79

While at Foxcroft Academy, due to a dislike for study halls, Jenifer loaded up every possible class available, including being among the first of Patricia Mullis’s Latin classes and Rusty Willette’s German classes.  Senior year, she was the only one to sign up for French 4, so Virginia Bradford agreed to meet with her early mornings before the first period. Jenifer received a National Merit Scholarship, Rose Award, and National Honor Society membership.  She was involved in chorus and drama and traveled to Montreal and Quebec Junior year. Outside school, she sang in the church choir, was active in Girl Scouts, including a week on the Schooner Bowdoin in Penobscot Bay, and spent a summer working in Camden with the Youth Conservation Corps.  Being comfortable with math and science, she was often asked if she intended to be a nurse, leading to a rebellious interest in becoming a doctor of some sort.

The late Dr. John Ellery was a role model for seeing optometry as a possible career.  As a very young patient, the most impressive thing was the comic book collection in the waiting room, but over many years of very-nearsighted visits, she saw how he treated patients with patience, explained things calmly and clearly.  Once she expressed interest, he allowed her to observe him examining patients and was very generous with answering questions and giving advice.

She attended Colby College, majoring in Biology.  Not pre-med, being turned off by the hyper-competitiveness of that major.  Plain Biology included more variety, such as plant physiology and a January session of tropical ecology spent on the Caribbean island of Anguilla.  She continued taking German classes and even a semester of Spanish and sang in Chapel Choir. Organic Chemistry fall of her senior year almost derailed any doctoral ambitions but was survived thanks to a good professor, qualifying her to apply to optometry school.

New England College of Optometry in Boston introduced her to city life and culture, and various options for modes of practice, leading to the conclusion that although the city was fun as a student, small-town life was better long term, and after graduation in 1987 she joined a small private practice in Brattleboro, VT, which she now owns.  She and her daughter Kate live just outside Brattleboro, in Guilford, VT.

While at NEWENCO, she got involved in the student chapter of VOSH (Volunteer Optometry in Service to Humanity) and participated in a mission trip to Mexico, leading to an enduring interest in international service.  She later joined the New England chapter of VOSH and is currently a board member of VOSH/International. When the Brattleboro Rotary Club became interested in some projects in El Salvador, she jumped at the opportunity to do a medical trip, in 1994, and has been traveling there almost annually since.  The Rotary Club looked for long-term sustainable projects to help the impoverished and arrived on the importance of safe drinking water. Jenifer was a member of the “Water Rats” committee and participated in some water purification system installations in El Salvador, That project eventually grew into a nonprofit, Pure Water for the World, with large-scale water projects in Honduras and Haiti.

I feel I really got a lot out of my time at FA, and it gave me a good, well-rounded education, preparing this nerdy shy kid (who got voted Class brain and Quietest) well for college and life.  I’m thankful to Mrs. Bradford for going the extra mile, Mr. Steenstra for thinking outside

From the Class of 1991, Dr. Kelly Larson-Brunner

Dr.Kelly Larson-Brunner ’91

At Foxcroft Academy, Kelly Larson-Brunner was a very busy student.  She participated for 4 years in Key Club, Band, Jazz Band, field hockey, and outdoor track. She was a member of the Math Team, Latin Club, Student Council, Yearbook and indoor track. In addition, she was elected into NHS and was a Rose Award recipient. She graduated valedictorian of her class.

She attended Springfield College, graduating with a BS in Sports Biology. She worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for 3 years in a lab researching the effects of specific oils on rheumatoid arthritis. She then decided to go back to school in 1998, attending Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City. There, she was a member of Beta Chi Rho, the Mentor Club, and took extra courses in Applied Kinesiology and Chiropractic Pediatrics. She earned her FICPA with a Pediatric Certificate of Proficiency and is Webster Technique Certified.  She graduated top of her class in 2001.

She returned back to Maine and opened a practice with another doctor in Westbrook.  She lives in Westbrook with her husband and 2 children. She is involved in fundraising and volunteering opportunities throughout the community with organizations such as Westbrook Kiwanis, Westbrook Little League, and the Westbrook Bands. She teaches bike safety to third graders and is the advisor to the Westbrook Key Club.  She was the 2017 Merle E. Porell Award recipient due to her involvement with the Westbrook Kiwanis.

“My experience at Foxcroft Academy provided the academic skills and foundation for college and beyond.  I have fond memories of AP Biology with Mr. Worthing, which fueled my love for science and paved my way to becoming a chiropractor. Mr. Brown and Ms. Allen taught me to think and read with better understanding. Ms. Philpot and Mr. Poland helped to round me out as an individual through sports and music. And Mr. Larson challenged my math skills, but more importantly, taught me to be kind to everyone, have patience, and know that there are different ways to approach a problem to reach the right conclusion. To all these experiences and more, I am truly grateful.”

From the Class of 1995, Radford Tam

Radford Tam ’95

Radford endeavored to challenge himself while at Foxcroft Academy. He attended almost all the AP classes available and finished the highest level Math course offered by his junior year. He also filled his time with extracurricular activities, including football, track and field, band, and several musicals and plays. He also participated in the Math Team and the Yearbook Committee.

After graduating from FA, Radford attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering, having double majored in Computer Engineering and Cognitive Science, with a minor in Math. He then began a career which spanned several industries, across small startups and major corporations. He has worked in e-commerce, mobile software, government contracting with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, banking software used by major international banks, digital publishing, and payments technology. Radford is currently an engineering manager at a New York-based startup, Justworks, having helped grow the company from a 12-person team to an organization with 400-plus employees.

Radford’s time at FA contributed no small amount of positive progress in both his academic life as well as his personal development. The wonderful teachers there challenged him to excel beyond his own assumed limitations and break through invisible boundaries, to question assumptions and to think critically. His friends at FA accepted him with open arms and helped him adjust to a culture and society that at the time felt strange and unwelcoming. Without FA, Radford would not be the person he is today.

From the Class of 1997, Dwight “Tom” Campbell

Dwight “Tom” Campbell ’97

While a student at Foxcroft Academy, Tom was very active in academics and athletics. He was a Rose Award recipient, member, and president of The National Honor Society, and senior year class president. Tom was active in Key Club as well as Scott Hi-Q quiz competitions, Math Club, State Science Fair, and the National Leadership Conference. He played soccer all four years and was captain his senior year. He ran indoor and outdoor track and was part of the relay team that set the school 4x400m record. It was also at the blue track at UMO that he met his now-wife Meghan Palmer, from MDI. He was active in theater as well as band and jazz band. During the winters Tom also taught skiing at mighty Big Squaw Mountain. In the summers he took kids canoeing and camping all over New England and Adirondack State Park with Keewaydin Camps, based in Salisbury, Vermont.

After graduation from Foxcroft Academy Tom studied engineering at Dartmouth College. In the engineering program, he combined the knowledge of rivers and open surface flow mechanics into a self-directed study course of river hydraulic feature design at the site of a local reclaimed dam on the White River in New Hampshire. He and a team of two other students also developed an automated work cell for Hypertherm, a local plasma cutting machinery manufacturer. While at college he was active in the Dartmouth Cords, a Capella group, as well as leading trips with the college’s Ledyard Canoe Club.  He was a leader in Ski Patrol, and president his senior year. He majored in engineering sciences and mechanical engineering.

Following college, Tom traveled the world for a bit.  Then in 2003, he accepted a position at Hypercar in western Colorado until 2012: interning to start then working as an application engineer. In that time the company changed names to Fiberforge, moved several times and expanded many times over. The focus of the technology was the manufacturing of thermoplastic composites into anything structural – medical devices, cars and trucks, sporting equipment, military armoring, airplane parts and computers. Tom ran many projects, large and small, was the author of several papers that were presented at industry conferences in 2007 and 2008, and several innovations he found were granted patents.

Tom moved on to Integrated Technologies (soon LMI Aerospace) in the Seattle area in late 2012, to assist them starting up a manufacturing program for thermoplastic composites for aerospace, targeting Boeing. Tom also went back to school for his MBA at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, completing that degree in the evenings over three years and graduating in 2017.

Tom lives on a floating home on a lake in downtown Seattle with Meghan and their daughter Ella. In their free time, they camp, ski, sail, bike, run and boat around the city and the Pacific Northwest.

“Foxcroft Academy was a fantastic environment for me to launch into my school and career path. Mr. Larson’s math classes and Ms. MacPherson-Allen’s and Mr. Brown’s English classes gave me great insight and fed my intellectual curiosity. Mr. Poland’s music classes also taught the value of discipline, practice, cooperation, and coordination. Track with Mr. Rolleston and winter camping with Mr. Worthing reinforced my love of the outdoors. I would not be who I am today without the foundations built at Foxcroft Academy.”

From the Class of 2001, Dana Frasz

Dana Frasz ’01

While at FA, Dana balanced her strong academics with a lively social life, and a love for drama, soccer, basketball, and track.  She still holds seven track records, including most points in a career. Dana lives in Oakland, CA, and has dedicated her entire adult life to building community and creating positive change.  Dana and her work have been widely recognized in the media and by various leadership and innovation awards.

After high school, while Dana planned to attend Rochester Institute of Technology to study graphic design and photography, she decided to defer a year, to spend three months traveling, volunteering, and living with families in South East Asia.  Seeing the unjust contrast between our society of wasteful excess and the poverty of so many others, she found new purpose and transferred to Sarah Lawrence College to study non-fiction writing, food systems, and social justice.

While in school, Dana built three waste reduction programs: Empty Bellies:  an award-winning student program that each night collected surplus food from campus dining and local businesses and delivered it to a shelter in the Bronx; the “Swap Box” program which saved tons of usable items from campus dumpsters by creating a swapping room and donating items to local agencies; and she created a salvage program for Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to save and redistribute tons of usable items left behind.  

Disturbed by the reality that 40% of all food produced is waste, Dana started Food Shift in 2012. In 2016 we launched The Food Shift Kitchen :  a social enterprise and catering program that transforms surplus food into nourishing meals and provides job training for individuals facing barriers to employment.  Food Shift saves and distributes over 120,000 pounds of food each year and has greatly contributed to local and national food waste awareness, strategy, and legislation.  

Dana has found ways to balance my passion to make a difference with a boundless desire for fun and a deep love for the community.  She has a large vegetable garden, two chickens, continues to play co-ed soccer and basketball, frequently attend concerts, bike everywhere, and go hiking and camping as much as possible.  She’s engaged to her best friend and partner of 11 years and looks forward to a July 2020 wedding.

“My deepest gratitude goes out to the amazing Dover-Foxcroft community – the way you encourage, uplift, and invest in youth is truly remarkable. Special thanks to my amazing parents, David Frasz and Lesley Fernow; Coach Carey, Coach Rolleston, and the absolutely incredible teammates and friends who made high school one of the best times of my life. I forever cherish our laughter, our dedication to each other, and the passion we brought to each game. I love and miss you all and you are always in my heart.”

The Food Shift Kitchen video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5b4DTBAAnY&t=9s

Learn more and donate: www.foodshift.net

From the Class of 2002, Dr. Patrick Lizotte

Dr. Patrick Lizotte ’02

At Foxcroft Academy, Patrick was a member of the National Honor Society and a Rose Award recipient.  He was awarded the Rensselaer Medal for achievement in mathematics and science. He was also a three-sport athlete, lettering in track & field, basketball, and soccer.  Patrick was the captain of all three teams his senior year, and captain of the soccer team his junior year, as well. At the conclusion of his senior year at FA, he was named valedictorian and also Trey Anderson Award winner as the school’s top athlete.  He was one of 13 Robert C. Byrd scholar recipients in the state of Maine in 2002, and also an L.L. Bean scholarship recipient, which is awarded to the top three graduating Maine seniors each year.

Patrick attended Colby College in Waterville, ME, where he graduated magna cum laude in 2006 with a double major in biology and history.  His biology major thesis work characterized the genetic diversity of an endangered species of orchid; his history major thesis researched the discriminatory application of sickle cell anemia genetic testing in post-WWII America.  After college, he moved to Boston where he worked as a research associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, prior to its establishment as an independent research institute. His work at the Broad Institute included genome-wide loss of function screens in hundreds of human cancer cell lines to identify “Achilles heels”, synthetic lethal therapeutic targets in cancer.

After four years at the Broad Institute, Patrick attended the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, where he received his Ph.D. in 2015 from the Molecular & Cellular Biology program with a specialty in cancer immunology.  He completed his thesis, Novel Approaches to Targeting Innate Immunity for Cancer Immunotherapy, in 4 1/2 years. He has overseen his own lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science since the summer of 2015.  He is currently a Senior Scientist and leader of the Human Tumor Profiling group where he conducts correlative studies on immunotherapy clinical trials in non-small cell lung cancer, mesothelioma, thyroid cancer, and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.  His investigative work has identified novel drugs and drug targets that enhance the newest generation of cancer therapeutics known as immune “checkpoint blockade inhibitors.” Patrick’s research has been published in premier international scientific journals including Cancer Immunology Research, Clinical Cancer Research, JCI Insight, Cancer Discovery, Scientific Reports, Nature Nanotechnology, Oncoimmunology, Cancer Cell, Cancer Research, Journal of Immunology, and Cell.  His goal is to make cancer a chronic, treatable disease.

“FA graduates need to be realistic about the future of the U.S. job market.  They’re not just competing against the graduates of Dexter and Penquis and PCHS.  They’re competing against the graduates of Deerfield and Choate and Phillips Exeter.  They’re competing against the sons and daughters of American and international families whose wealth and connections provide an institutional head start.  It’s crazy to think that a little high school in the middle of nowhere Dover-Foxcroft could provide an education to rival that, but that is exactly what I experienced back in 2002 and what FA continues to provide for its students now in 2019.  Sure, the students need to put in the work—and I think I did—but hard work wouldn’t have mattered without the educational quality and the support that FA provided for me. To the students, do you want to succeed? To the parents, do want your child to succeed?  It is a blessing to have FA in our community. This school will get you where you want to go. I got there.”