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).

WellesleyWeston Magazine featured Roots & Wings in its Spring 2023 issue. Read here!


WellesleyWeston Magazine featured Roots & Wings in its Fall 2023 issue. Read here!




  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
    5. Wellesley Weston Magazine: Spring 2023
    6. Wellesley Weston Magazine: Fall 2023
  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:
  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 honors 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.

          We are delighted that you have discovered the Roots and Wings website.  We hope that you enjoy exploring the various resources and articles you’ll find here as together we celebrate WHS writers and teachers, and the town that has inspired them.  You can begin your journey with the list of writers which follows.  Please continue to follow this page for newly added updates, articles, writers’ bios, and more information — we are delighted to have you be part of Roots and Wings.

Last Name First NameWHS Graduation
Alderman Peter1964
Andrews Abigail 2000
Auclair Michael
BaileySusan Hoyle1974
BabsonKatherine L. Jr.1965
BatesKatharine Lee1874
BingJudith 1964
Bryant Sarah1992
Budson Andrew1984
Burns Nick 1974
CaughieSarah Bryant1992
Cooppan Vilashini
Corcoran Maurita c 1977
CostanzaMelissa Miller
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
Fields Samantha
FinisonCarrie 1989
Finkelstein Adam 2016
FinneganJohn 1980
Frank Jennifer Heller 1989
Gannon Mary 1985
GenoveseJeremy c. 1972
GrinspoonDavid 1977
HaltmaierLinda Flaherty
Hamilton Jeffrey 1972
Harper Judith E.1971
Hasbrouck Edward 1977
HaslettAdam 1988
Haussman Melissa 1977
Holmes Ashleigh 2002
HonenbergerSally Collins1970
HughesT. John 1964
JacquemettonMaria Mastras 1979
JosephAbigail 2000
Joseph Danielle Cohen 1991
Kolb Harold Hutchinson1951
KrizikCathyc. 1977
Laak Philc. 1991
Lakin Tom 2003
LarschanErica 1994
LenkJean Niven1972
LoofburrowRachel 2014
Manguso Sarah 1992
Marshall Gail
MastrasGeorge 1984
May Peter1969
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
Nacey Susan Lee1985
Noam Eli M. 1964
NoonanEricac. 1980
O’ReillyNorma Ouellette
PeltierMelissa Jo1979
PetersLaura F.
PhillipsHal 1982
Picariello Jim 1989
Pomfret Scott 1986
Preston Douglas
Preston Richard1972
ProctorMinna Zalman
Raman Aneesh1997
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
Smolens Michael 1969
Smolens Peter 1972
Solari Cinzia 1974
SquierBilly 1968
Stone Biz1992
Stone Kathy 1970
Stratton Richard1964
Stravinski Gregory 2007
Suite Darcie Dillard 1979
Tremblay Bob c. 1974
Voci Brandon 2019
von RosenvingeValerie1976
Walker Darius 1978
Watkins Michaela 1990
WattsLisa Lisa 1978
WeilElizabeth 1987
Whalen Shawn
Wilson Tom 1971
WoernerAustin 2004
WulfJane (Bambi) Bachman1972
YaitanesGreg 1988
ZabriskieQueen Meccasiac. 1990