Old VSJ yearbooks preserved

François Marchal, one of our esteemed senior alumni from the Villa’s French days, has taken the trouble to scan and preserve some VSJ yearbooks from the late 1940s to 1960-61.
It’s a stagering amount of work that adds, significantly, to the school’s history.
The collection can be found, in PDF format, here.

Two very modest sample are reproduced here.

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Celebrating Saint-Exupéry in Paris…

One of our esteemed older brothers sent us notice of an academic gathering  in late June in Paris organized to study and celebrate the life of Antoine Saint-Exupéry.

As our weekend staff never studied French (but German) in Fribourg, we have utilized a translation service to give you this sense of the event.

Retreat, testimony and exchange of social, educational, solidarity, cultural and literary an international of people who inspired and refer community in the work and the life of  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

These meetings aim to bring together the driving part of the international community devoted to “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,” which will also enable us to help measure his work and a life that still serves as reference.

Round tables will offer a better understanding of the latest news from the scope and diversity of the actions of each in its various sectors of activity. Through conferences and cultural events, we will be rediscover the thinking and Saint-Exupéry commitments beyond these practical experiences.

Over these three days, you’ll meet some 250 people from all continents in an intense time-sharing to enrich the community.

The great closing evening, Monday 29 June 2009, marks the anniversary of the birth of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and it will officially launch the Youth Foundation Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with more than 650 guests in the great nave of the Bernardins College.

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A chance encounter in Maui..

What are the odds on this one?

 One of our junior editors, Thomas Brew, reports that he was jogging with his wife, Dawn, on the streets of Kihei, Maui, when he spotted his fellow ’69 alumni Mike D’Annunzio.
To be fair, Brew was aware that D’Annunzio owned a vacation condo in Maui, but he hadn’t seen Mike in a few years and had no inkling he was on the island.
(Brew is an editor at msnbc.com and lives in a suburb east of Seattle, near the Microsoft campus. D’Annunzio and his wife, Vicki, live in Seattle’s Capitol Hill area.  Mike works at Boeing; Vicki’s a yoga instructor. Both Mike and Tom have two children; Mike’s are older.)
Years ago, Brew and D’Annunzio were Bossuet skiing partners. They were not necessairly noted for their skills … but noted nonetheless..
Tom and Mike met later in the day, as the D’Annunzios were set to leave the island the next day.
 Over a beer, they caught up on recent events and ruminated about the prospects for electrical cars. They discovered that both couples have taken up tennis in their advancing years.
And they wondered, too, about the odds on two Villa alumni running into one another, randomly, on a street in Hawaii 40 years and a month after leaving Fribourg..

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Where are they now? Tom Booth, vsj ’68

Thomas came to the Villa, from Rome, for his senior year only, joining his younger brother Bob.

After the Villa, Tom attended Georgetown and has practiced law for the federal government — specifically, the U.S. Army. He recently became a grandfather, which accounts for this photo of Tom at a park. The cropping of the photo is unfortunate and hardly fair. (We have another photo here.)

[…on VSJ Vox Photos Library till it shuts down 9/30/10. All VSJ Vox Library Photos were exported to Flikr & WordPress Media Library. This photo is now on  the VSJ Flikr site & in the VSJ WordPress Media Library –Bossuet Materials Support Committee – Florida Triage Team]


In letters to this office, it seems Mr. Booth still has many of the qualities we recall from Fribourg. He retains an interest in music, though his tastes seem little evolved since 1968. He recently attended a Eric Clapton-Steve Winwood concert and, earlier, was witness to the Cream reunion in New York City.

 One may recall that these musicians were all the rage 40 years ago.

He still follows politics and literature, persuading a fellow Villa alumni to read all of Proust. (He has been forgiven)

Booth confesses to limited technical ability, which is clear from uneven nature of his notes to this office.

 He and his wife Mary live outside Washington, DC. 

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Gallia 1959….

Another gem for our photo archives, from the good offices of Brian Hedges.

it’s been 50 years since this photo was taken.

— the editors

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1967 classmates reunite….

Our offices were sent this picture of Rick Walker and Thiery Curtis, taken in early June in Rangeley, Maine.
Both Rick and Thiery are members of the — seemingly ageless — 1967 class.
Mr. Walker reports that Thiery spent 28 years in the Air Force, retiring as a colonel. He now works for the forestry service in Washington D.C. and lives in Mason Neck, Virginia.

Thiery was visiting Mr. Walker with his wife, Torunn.

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40-year mark for vsj class of ’69

Our offices recently received this note from Jim Kelly, villa class of 1969, in response to a reminder that it’s been 40 years this week since that group was graduated from Fribourg.

One of our editorial staff remembers the spring of 1969 was marked by earnest discussion about the relevance of our education, against the backdrop of the tulmult of political upheaval in the United States and elsewhere..

Mr. Kelly’s reminisces are here:

A special pause and quiet moment for those of us who didn’t make it this far…
Tom Hanlon
Geoff Matre
Mike Leighton

See you later dear friends.  Amen.
Sounds like a Beatles song …   ” It was forty years ago today, Sgt. Pepper told his band to play… “yea yea I know that just sounds.. 
Thanks to all of my classmates for helping get me through those two years at VSJ. 
Thank you Steve Schoeppler for meeting me at the train station when I came to visit the Villa that first time.
Thanks to the men who were our educators.  Where are these men now? :  Mr. Donleavy, Brother Dobner, Father O’Shaughnessy, Mr. Storm, Brother Boschert.  I think I am forgetting at least one. Hmmm Physics,  Brother Droste, yes, for the example that I still use on “how to make water wetter”.
A special thanks to Mr. Prozzi for all the leg lifts and sit ups that have help me walk and run the rest of my life.  And thanks to Brother Fred Fuchs (and the rest of the team) for letting me play basketball even though I couldn’t make a basket if my life had depended on it.
Thanks for the third floor door rooms that helped give great distance to the bottle caps sailed from that high.
Stealth and midnight trips to the wine cellar. Whose idea was that? 
Music to wake by.  Whose idea was that? 
John Akers and Willie Boom across the hall every morning for a whole school year.
John with a small squirrel cage fan, just enough to keep the air moving.  Very important!
Vernon Miller — great roommate — he put up with me. Thanks for being a heavy sleeper.   
Endless foosball … How good was that!
Bob Armstrong for endless weekend movies.   I still have an unusual appreciation for film.
Cardinal Beer, café cappuccino, pizza at that little place just down the street. 
Herbie Schmidtlapp ..  our four-legged friend.
Not all of us have extremely fond memories of the Villa, but we all have at least one good, favorite memory.
Best wishes to each of you,


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1920 & 1921 yearbooks resurface..

The photos here may be less noteworthy than their source — from disks mailed to the Villa St. Jean alumni world headquarters from China and the offices of Kevin Di Palma. Mr. Di Palma, class of ’67, was, you’ll recall, the owner/operator of the villastjean.com web site.He sent this offices disks from the site, and our summer intern staff is busily extracting individual photos and files..

Stay tuned..

the editors



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Rick Walker surfaces …

Our offices received this update on Rick Walker, villa class of 1967, from Brian Lawler, Seattle attorney and veteran trans-Apline runner.
Rick and Ann Walker of Rangeley Maine showed up on the doorstep of Brian & Anne Lawler on Bainbridge Island last week.
Exactly why someone would want to visit Western  Washington in May remains a mystery.  Moss worshipping?
Rick says he was looking for Alan Balladur..

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Catching up with Rio Helmi

Attentive students of the Villa St Jean diaspora know about Rio Helmi, professional photographer. A note from Helmi was recently forwarded to our world headquarters, which led us to explore his web site and search for information on the artist.
 Rio reported that he was headed to Bali and that his oldest daughter, a lawyer in London, is about to have her first baby. Astonishing!

Below is a article cribbed from an Indonesia site:

Rio Helmi has been capturing images of Asia since 1978, constantly adding to a richly textured portolio that celebrates the region’s people and places, contemporary lifestyles and Mahayana Buddhism. His work is often seen in books, magazines and documentaries. He has exhibited in Bali, Jakarta, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Sydney.
This brilliant artist now resides in Bali and as Michele Cempaka explained in her article in the Jakarta Post, Rio Helmi is also an accomplished publisher and writer:
Born in Switzerland to an Indonesian father from Sumatra and a Turkish mother, Rio Helmi spent most of his life traveling the world due to his father’s role as a diplomat.
He is now based in Bali and has two galleries: one in Ubud and the other in Seminyak.
He began working as a professional photographer in 1978 and spent five years as a photographer and associate editor in the Indonesian media.
In 1988 he established his own visual media company, Image Network Indonesia (INI), which was responsible for setting up various media projects as well as an extensive photo library.
Through INI he became involved in book publishing, which led Helmi to projects that spanned Asia, including in Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan and India.
Although INI ceased operation in 2004, Helmi’s success continued to grow. He has also worked on several documentary films, including Lempad of Bali, and various TV documentaries.
The most recent of these was Bumiku Satu, which was produced by Indonesian television. Helmi acted as a presenter on this environmental series.
Helmi has also been involved with various social projects in Asia. In 2003 he participated in a traveling exhibition to support HIV/AIDS awareness in conjunction with an anti-discrimination campaign in Indonesia.
This took place at the Parliament building in Jakarta and received very positive responses by several ministers and ambassadors, leading to increased funding for people with HIV.
Helmi’s book of photographs Made in Indonesia was published in 2005, followed by Modern Malaysia which was published in 2006.
He is currently working on a book about Thailand with several other photographers, which was commissioned to celebrate the king’s 80th birthday.
It is scheduled to be released at the end of this year. Helmi continues to exhibit his work internationally as well as throughout Indonesia.
For more information about Rio Helmi’s photography, please visit http://www.riohelmi.com.

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