Each year, St. Luke’s faculty members are invited to apply for the annual Faculty Enrichment Award, funded by the generosity of former St. Luke’s parents Steve and Liz Goldstone. More commonly known as “Dream Grants,” this monetary award provides faculty the opportunity to pursue a personal project or journey that will enrich their lives.
St. Luke’s is excited to announce the 2022 recipients: Zach Brusko, St. Luke’s Computer Science Teacher and Textbook Coordinator, and Janet Jochem, St. Luke’s Upper School Science Department Chair.
Zach has always loved aquarium fish. From a small five-gallon tank in his childhood bedroom to 50-, 55-, and 75-gallon aquariums in his first apartment (home to red-bellied piranhas and African cichlid), Zach’s fish were his pride and joy and helped him connect with others interested in aquarium tanks. When a move to Alabama required him to give up the fish, Zach dreamed of rebuilding his tanks. Now that Connecticut is his permanent home, he is ready to bring back his fishkeeping hobby. Thanks to the Dream Grant, Zach will have a 125-gallon aquarium professionally installed in his home, where his beloved African cichlids will be housed.
Nearly 30 years ago, Janet married the love of her life and honeymooned in the beautiful country of Ireland. As their 25th wedding anniversary approached, they dreamed of returning to County Cork, where their love story began. Unfortunately, due to life circumstances, including a new job, relocating, and a global health crisis, the couple never got to take their anniversary trip.
Thanks to the Dream Grant, Janet and her husband can relive their love story with a trip to Ireland. There, they will enjoy the sites of Dublin, sing Karaoke, dance to country-western music, and drink Guinness on draught. This trip will not only celebrate their 29 years of love and marriage but also provide light on the horizon. When times get tough, love prevails, which is always something to celebrate.
Past "Dream Grant" recipients include:
2021: Jen Pokorney, Head of Middle School Curriculum and Special Programs, explored her roots and connected with her family on a trip out West. Last summer, they rented an RV and hit the open road. Jen enjoyed the time with her kids, even the sibling bickering, while they visited her home state of South Dakota, the Redwoods of California, coastal Oregon, and the Grand Canyon, to name just a few spots. Middle School Math Teacher Jay Blau spent the summer on a good ole American road trip. While traveling, he reconnected with his passions of music, art, food, baseball, nature, and people. He visited museums in New York City, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Wrigley Field in Chicago, and the Field of Dreams in Iowa. He wandered in California, Seattle, and Austin and enjoyed the delectable tastes of New Orleans. He wrapped up his adventure with old friends in Miami.
2020: Matt Bavone, Academic Technology Coordinator and Latin Teacher, originally planned to tour seventh-to-eleventh century historical sites in England, Wales, and Scotland. Instead, due to COVID-19, he reimagined his backyard and created a beautiful garden space, as well as built a desktop computer from the ground up. Michael Mitchell, designLab Director, returned to his childhood passion of drumming with a purchase of an electronic drum set and a year’s worth of lessons to refresh his skills.
2019: Middle School History Teacher Sarah Westerberg-Egan took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Beirut with her mother, who is second-generation Lebanese, to explore their heritage. Westerberg-Egan shared, “I was so grateful for that opportunity, and my mom and I really had a life-changing experience visiting our homeland.”
Upper School English Teacher Steve Flachsbart traveled with his wife to Greece, where they explored everything from the Parthenon in Athens to the oracle in Delphi to the blue roofs of Santorini. Visiting Greece was a longtime dream after reading the Odyssey in ninth grade. Steve shared, “Being able to see the pages come to life was an incredible and gratifying experience.”
2018: US Band Teacher Peter Valera purchased his first new saxophone in nearly twenty years, after playing with the same one since high school, and former Music Chair Katie Kaplan traveled to Israel for the first time with her husband and synagogue group.
2017: Retired Math Teacher Nancy Walsh went to Ireland with her sisters to trace their maternal family heritage, and English teacher Susan Doran visited the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales in Great Britain, an area associated with literary greats such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and the Brontës.
2016: MS Art Chair Nancy Sarno re-learned the piano, Assistant Head of MS Mark Chuhta rebuilt a ‘68 Mustang engine with his son AJ, and Director of College Counseling Sonia Bell took an Albany-to-Los Angeles train ride with her sister.
2015: Director of Educational Support Services Daphne Teittinen-Schreck took cooking classes with her husband, and Physical Education Teacher Pat Raffaele took craft brewing classes.
2014: Former Director of Technology and horse-enthusiast Elizabeth Preston enrolled in dressage riding sport lessons, and former Math Teacher Elaine Greene took a family trip to Ireland.
2013: Director of Character Education Kate Parker-Burgard acquired bees and expanded her family’s vegetable garden, and Math Teacher Colin “Bucky” Buchanan took a cruise with his wife.
2012: Math Teacher and WSLX faculty advisor Jeff Kress created his own home radio station, and US Health & Wellness Coordinator Camille DeMarco-Havens took an anniversary trip.