By Sara Sanchez-Contreras, Justin Blunt, Damani Eason, and Khi’Asiah Holland; The Whetstone
Dr. Jeffrey Mask remembers sitting next to a senior student at an etiquette dinner, a long tradition at Wesley.
The next day Mask found a note in his office from the student.
“It thanked me for everything that I did,” Mask said. “That sort of thing doesn’t happen every day. It was special to me.”
Mask, who has been a Wesley professor for 30 years, like many other professors who have been here a long time, holds a lot of fond memories of the school as it prepares to close this summer.
He also recalls an ethics class he taught during the 1990s.
“They had the best research papers I’ve ever received,” Mask said. “A couple of students recruited friends to the class and it was a special course because they all wanted to be there and learn.”
Dr. Kathleen Curran has been at Wesley College for 20 years and said Scholars Day continues to be her favorite moment.
“Giving students a chance to highlight their work and stand on their own is good for me,” she said.
Dr. James Wilson, professor of music and director of choir, said he recalls helping a student with stage fright when her partner couldn’t make it to the performance.
“She was clearly nervous after singing the first line and paused for a moment while fellow students in the audience shouted out to encourage her,” he said. “I took us back to the first phrase and something happened, she let go and gave it everything she had with abandon.”
Wilson said it was one of the best performances he’d ever heard at Wesley.
“On her final note, the audience roared with applause,” he said. “I will never forget that moment.”
Dr. Angela D’Antonio, who has been here for 13 years, said her favorite moment was helping found the Midnight Roast in 2016.
“The founding students initiated the idea on their own and asked me to be the adviser,” she said. “The organization and students were honored at City Hall. It is a wonderful organization, and it is completely run by students, is self-sustaining, and all of the proceeds go to charity,”
She said it has been a tremendous success.
Dr. Brantley Craig said he has many fond memories to choose from.
“My favorite memories are the many moments of real interaction with students,” he said. “Watching their interest grow, watching their confidence grow, and hearing their unique perspectives on what we discuss.”
Dr. Jack Barnhardt, who has been at Wesley for 15 years, said his favorite memories include giving the Faculty Award (an award voted on by faculty given to the best student) during commencement, and watching students achieve during many Scholars Days.
“There are so many, but some highlights were the parties and after-parties at former President Johnston’s house,” he said, where he could socialize with colleagues. These formal and informal gatherings stopped when President Clark arrived.
Professor Victor Greto said there’s been a handful of students who have helped change his life and made his 13 years at the college worthwhile.
“Some of those are the students who worked on the Whetstone and showed a great deal of courage reporting and writing stories when people, especially in the administration, discouraged them,” he said.
Greto said he remains in touch with several of them, and some have reached out to him after they heard about Wesley’s troubles.
“These past five years have been painful for me and many of my colleagues,” he said. “But the point of what I do here is not just students in general, but particularly those exceptional students, the ones who work hard and produce work above and beyond the average. I will miss them very much.”