Roots and Wings

Roots and Wings: Wellesley High Schools
Legacy of Nurturing Creativity” 

 

In honor of Katharine Lee Bates (1874), Sylvia Plath (1950), Wilbury Crockett (WHS English teacher 1944-1980, Chair for 30 years), and all WHS writers and teachers past, present, and future. 

This photo, capturing the intensity and commitment of the student-teacher relationship, was taken at Wellesley High School in 1970 and shows the legendary WHS English teacher and Department Chair Wilbury Crockett (whom Sylvia Plath called her mentor and muse”) with student Linda Barnes (who went on to become a professor and author).


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

  1. Welcome to Roots and Wings: Wellesley High School’s Legacy of Nurturing Creativity 

  2. Roots and Wings panel – October 12, 2022
    1. Introduction to the event 
    2. Participants   
    3. Program 
    4. Photos 
    5. Poems by WHS Seniors 
    6. Wellesley Media event recording 
    7. Swellesley Report article 

  3. Links to articles
    1. Katharine Lee Bates
    2. Sylvia Plath
    3. Anne Sexton 
    4. Wilbury Crockett  

  4. WHS Teachers’ list 

  5. WHS Writers’ list

  6. News, updates, future events 

 

          Wellesley has a remarkable literary legacy: that two of the most prominent and best known women writers of the 20th century called this town home.  Katharine Lee Bates and Sylvia Plath both achieved international renown, and always paid tribute to the extraordinary inspiration and support they received from Wellesley High School.  Plath inscribed the only volume of poetry published during her lifetime “For Mr. Crockett — in whose classroom and wisdom these poems have root.”  

            But Wellesley’s unique contribution to literature also includes the equally compelling story of many other extraordinary writers who began their work in WHS classrooms.  For generations, the commitment of WHS’s English teachers to nurturing young students’ creativity has become deeply enmeshed in the department’s mission.  The teachers of this town have produced hundreds of writers, from Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winners to a #1 “New York Times” bestseller.  

            WHS grad/writer Beth Hinchliffe and longtime WHS English teacher Jeanie Goddard have organized Roots and Wings:  Wellesley High Schools Legacy of Nurturing Creativity to encourage the town to celebrate WHS writers, and also the remarkable legacy of the school and teachers who have embraced, challenged, and inspired them.

           

The Roots and Wings project has two parts: 

  1. A master list of WHS writers in a wide range of fields (fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, journalism, poetry, etc.), along with their publications and awards.  This will be an ongoing project housed here on the Wellesley Free Library website.  Please send names and information to:  Hinchliffe@aol.com
  2. An event, held at the Wellesley Free Library on October 12, 2022, where a panel of WHS teachers and writers discussed both their own journeys at WHS, and also the urgent importance of continuing to commit to this priority in the future.  There will also be future Roots and Wings events, updated on this site.

           

Over the past 30 years alone, a sampling of WHS writers includes:

  • the current U.S. Ambassador to China (and prolific international affairs writer) (Nick Burns) 
  • a #1 New York TimesBestseller (Richard Preston)
  • other New York Timesbestsellers (Doug Preston, Mark Synnott)
  • Pulitzer Prize winners (Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Lucinda Franks) 
  • two-time Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist (Adam Haslett)
  • Grammy Award nominated songwriter and singer (Billy Squier) 
  • Emmy Award winners for writing (Lori Baker, Melissa Jo Peltier, George Mastras, his sister Maria Mastras Jacquemetton, Bob Arnot, Greg Yaitanes)
  • a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame (Katharine Lee Bates) 
  • two Presidential Speechwriters at the White House (one for each party) (Beth Hinchliffe, Aneesh Raman) 
  • a James Beard Award winner (Kevin Alexander) 
  • a “Saturday Night Live” regular cast member and writer who then developed and wrote her own TV show (Michaela Watkins) 
  • an internationally bestselling author of political thrillers (Derek Miller) 
  • a writer whose memoir about being an international drug smuggler was turned into a movie (Richard Stratton) 
  • the co-founder of Twitter and book author (Biz Stone) 

 

            Roots and Wings honors all WHS writers and teachers, and is dedicated to the three who inspired this work:  Katharine Lee Bates (Class of 1874), Sylvia Plath (Class of 1950), and Wilbury Crockett (WHS English teacher 1944-1980, Chair for 30 years).  For further reading, here are links to three articles about each of their relationships with Wellesley High School (and one about poet Anne Sexton (former class of 1947): 

            Roots and Wings:  Wellesley High School’s Legacy of Nurturing Creativity” celebrates both our hometown’s writers, and the extraordinary WHS English teachers who inspired, challenged, and believed in them.  Click here for a list of the teachers we commemorate and thank.


Wellesley High School Writers

Click on a writer’s name for a link to their biography and list of publications. 

Last Name First NameWHS Graduation
AdamsRob1977
Alderman Peter1964
AlexanderKevin1999
Andrews Abigail 2000
ArnotBob
Auclair Michael
BaileySusan Hoyle1974
BabsonKatherine L. Jr.1965
Baker Lori 1983
BarnesLinda1970
BatesKatharine Lee1874
BeachJeff1972
BingJudith 1964
BloomJonathan
BraunerCathy
Bryant Sarah1992
Budson Andrew1984
Burns Nick 1974
CalderwoodEric
CapobiancoBrenda
CarberrySean
CarmenJohn
CarriganJoan
CaughieSarah Bryant1992
Cooppan Vilashini
Corcoran Maurita c 1977
CostanzaMelissa Miller
CrockettWilbury
Davies Jacqueline 1980
Doherty Maggie
Doughtery Nancy Caversc. 1975
Dowling Timothy 1992
DuffyMary P.
Dunphy Sheila Thompson
Eizenberg Leda1996
Eliot Lyn 1989
Epstein Jennifer Cody 1984
Ertman Martha
EverettCarole 1989
FagerJeff
Fields Samantha
FinisonCarrie 1989
Finkelstein Adam 2016
FinneganJohn 1980
Frank Jennifer Heller 1989
Franks Lucinda 1964
Gannon Mary 1985
GenoveseJeremy c. 1972
GrinspoonDavid 1977
HaltmaierLinda Flaherty
Hamilton Jeffrey 1972
Harper Judith E.1971
Hasbrouck Edward
HaslettAdam 1988
Haussman Melissa 1977
HinchliffeBeth
Holmes Ashleigh 2002
HonenbergerSally Collins1970
HughesT. John 1964
JacquemettonMaria Mastras c. 1982
JimenezDerek2023
JosephAbigail 2000
Joseph Danielle Cohen 1991
Kolb Harold c. 1964
KornwitzJason
KrizikCathyc. 1977
Laak Philc. 1991
Lakin Tom 2003
LarschanErica 1994
Levinson Suzy 1992
LoofburrowRachel 2014
LueckeJanis1972
Manguso Sarah 1992
Marshall Gail
MartirVanessa1993
MastrasGeorge c. 1984
May Peter1969
McDonnellMadeline
McFadden Steven 1967
McMahon Brian
McNeillMaya 2023
Melanson Sue Chapman 1964
Miller Derek B. 1988
Miller Louise1989
Morrison Doug 1979
Miller Melissa B. 1992
Morse Stevec. 1970
Murray Kathy 1996
MusikavanhuGail-Agnes
Nacey Susan Lee1985
Noam Eli M. 1964
NoonanErica
O’ReillyNorma Ouellette
PeltierMelissa Joc. 1977
PetersLaura F.
PetersChristopher
PhillipsHal 1982
Picariello Jim 1989
PlathSylvia1950
Pomfret Scott 1986
PowellScott
Preston Douglas
Preston Richard1972
ProctorMinna Zalman
Raman Aneesh1997
RappaportAnn
RedfordKatie1986
Richards Betsy
RippyDaniel 1985
RogersDuncan 1982
Romero Sofia1990
RossKate 1974
Sabino Jamie Ann
Santostefano Damon 1977
SextonAnnec. 1946
ShopeNina 1993
Shribman Zoe 2013
SmithMatthew 1997
Smith Nazaleem 1970
SmolensJohn1968
Smolens Michael
Smolens Peter 1972
SnyderGretchen
Solari Cinzia 1974
SquierBilly 1968
StipePeter1964
Stone Biz1992
Stone Kathy 1970
Stratton Richard1964
Stravinski Gregory 2007
Suite Darcie Dillard 1979
SynnottMark
Tremblay Bob c. 1974
Voci Brandon 2019
von RosenvingeValerie1976
Walker Darius 1978
Watkins Michaela 1989
WattsLisa Lisa 1978
WeilElizabeth
Whalen Shawn
WillardChris1982
Wilson Tom 1971
WoernerAustin 2004
YaitanesGreg 1988
ZabriskieQueen Meccasiac. 1990