2023 FWS Annual Reunion in Tempe, Arizona

2023 FWS Annual Reunion in Tempe, Arizona

The annual in-person FWS reunion unfolded this year in Tempe, Arizona, spanning from October 27th to the 30th. The event witnessed a remarkable turnout and featured enjoyable activities and insightful talks. A heartfelt appreciation goes out to the Local Reunion Planning Committee, whose year-long efforts contributed to making the 2023 Reunion exceptionally memorable. We hope you enjoy this recap of the presentations, people, and moments that made this event! Make sure to view the full post to also see the fantastic video recap by Max Marble ’67.

(Pictured above: Class of 1969 at the 2023 FWS Reunion)


The Friends of Woodstock School Planning Committee for the 2023 Annual Reunion handled the planning, promotion, and facilitation of the first FWS in-person reunion since the pandemic. Under the theme, Reconnect and Renew, the reunion saw 150 attendees.


Above: The FWS Annual reunion Planning Committee: David Wheeler (FWS staff), Michael Singh ’71, Mary Nave Davis ’72, Tim Davis (Mary’s husband), Lorrie Doman Sheydayi ’87 and committee chair, Jessie Lacy ’65, Margaret Patton Boster ’69, Greg Boster (Margaret’s husband), Edi Francesconi (parent), Joel Bjerkestrand ’65.

Planning Committee members not pictured: Shalini Prakash Agarwal ’72, Jackie Horton Benjamin ’58, Dale Brown ’65, Carmina Jenks (former WS staff), Max Marble ’67, Cheryl Beachy Paulovich ’69

Dr. Cook addressing the attendees at the FWS Reunion 2023



Woodstock Principal Dr. Craig Cook, who was among the attendees says, “Being with our Woodstock alumni from all over the world is one of the favorite parts of my role as Principal of Woodstock School.  I had a great time hearing and sharing stories from the Woodstock hillside, both past and present!  Hearing from our alumni, all the ways in which they were impacted in life changing ways by teachers and staff during their years at Woodstock is what we are all about.”





Some of the highlights included the Glenn Conrad Volunteer Service Award being presented to Helen Arnott ’60 for 2022 and Max Marble ’67 for 2023! Both Max and Helen were awarded for their outstanding volunteer service of time, expertise, and commitment for the improvement, development ,and enhancement of the mission, vision, and goals of Friends of Woodstock School.

Max Marble ’67 was acknowledged for his dedicated years of volunteer service. He has been instrumental in curating the annual In Memoriam, fostering connections within his class, contributing valuable time to assist with data-related tasks, and documenting significant Woodstock events through his videos. Max served the United Methodist Church in Missouri for 40 years. Max moved fulltime into his VW Campervan and serves on United Methodist NOMADS projects across the US. He also visits family and friends along the way. Last year he visited 22 of his Woodstock classmates along with many other Woodstock schoolmates. He has returned to India 22 times since graduation in 1967. He regularly posts his travel videos on YouTube. Click here. 



Helen Arnott ’60 was awarded for her work with refugee families and formation of the Community Refugee Committee in Canada. Helen also served on WOSA council from July, 2011 through July, 2014. Since 1979 Helen has sponsored refugee families from Vietnam, Eritrea, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Somalia, and recently Syria. She founded the Community Refugee Committee in 2015. Helen was honored at St. Albert Baha’i awards gala on Saturday, March 9, 2019 as one of the five International Women of the Year. St. Albert Baha’i initiated the United Nations International Women’s Day Awards.

Many Congratulations to both Helen and Max!

The 2023 FWS Annual Reunion also featured an impressive lineup of speakers and presenters. Read below about all the speakers and presenters at the 2023 FWS Reunion.


Pastor Joel Bjerkestrand ‘65

Delivered the Message at the Interfaith Service

Pastor Joel was born of missionary parents in India, attended Woodstock School 1953-58, and moved to Illinois at age twelve. He graduated from high school in Peoria, IL and earned a B.A. degree from Augsburg University in Minneapolis where he met his wife, Sue. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN. Joel and Sue have two grown children, six grandchildren, and three bonus grandchildren all living in the Phoenix area. Sue retired in 2013 as a third grade teacher at North Ranch Elementary School in the Paradise Valley School District. Pastor Joel served one congregation in California and three in the Phoenix area before retiring from fulltime ministry after 32 years. In 2011 he began his work at La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church in Scottsdale as Visitation Pastor and also teaches Sunday morning adult education classes, preaches occasionally, and is frequently invited to speak to groups within the congregation. He became a certified life coach and was also an adjunct professor at Western International University for six years. Through his On the Way Ministry, Pastor Joel officiates at weddings and funerals for those who don’t have a church home/pastor.

Robert Bonham ‘59

Music at the Interfaith Service 

A renowned pianist, Robert Bonham is professor emeritus of Maryville College where he taught piano and classes that ranged from world music and art history to experiential courses focused on enhancing creativity and wellness. He is a founding member of the faculty of the Keyboard Wellness Seminar (now in its 21st year devoted to sustaining and promoting the insights of Dorothy Taubman). Trillium, his piano-violin-cello trio, present concerts nationally. Robert also offers a variety of workshops to enhance wellness and performance and enjoys leading groups to explore India or sail on a catamaran on the Greek seas.


Sami DiPasquale, Staff

Session: Pain & Beauty in the Shadow of the Border Wall

Sami DiPasquale lives with his family in El Paso, TX where he serves as the Executive Director of Abara, a nonprofit working on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Sami was born in Jordan and also lived in Cyprus, Egypt, and India. He holds a BA in Sustainable Development (interdisciplinary) and an MBA with a concentration in International Business. Sami has spent the last 22 years immersed in refugee and immigrant communities in the US, working in refugee resettlement, community development, and most recently with Abara, which seeks to inspire connections beyond borders, invite groups for educational experiences, and support migrant shelters for asylum seekers. Currently Abara is developing a 4-acre campus. The center sits on a historic river crossing that is located directly on the border fence and will incorporate a café, event space, marketplace, commemorative pathways, chapel, guesthouse, and a history and cultural arts center. In response to global migration, Abara inspires connections through mutual understanding, education, and meaningful action in pursuit of narrative, systems, and personal change. In the tradition of global peace builders who have embodied the strength of nonviolence, Abara envisions a global beloved community flourishing through justice, peace, healing, and transformation.

Pavel Kapinos ‘95

Session: The War in Ukraine: Why Did It Start, & How Will It End?

Pavel Kapinos is an economist at Amazon.com. He has previously worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and taught economics at Carleton College. He earned a PhD in economics and a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a U.S. High School Diploma from Woodstock School (Eclipse ’95). Pavel is married with three children. He is half-Russian and half-Ukrainian and grew up in Moscow, Russia, making multiple visits to his grandparents and aunt in Lviv, Ukraine.

Anne Lind, Former Staff

Choir at the Interfaith Service

Anne Lind taught music at Woodstock School with her husband Dan from 1968-71 and again from 1975-80. During that time, she taught piano and general music in grades 1-8 and directed the elementary and junior high choirs. After leaving Woodstock, her family lived in Charlottesville, VA where Anne worked for an Apple computer dealer and the University of Virginia in computer support. After retirement in 2006, Dan and Anne moved to Goshen, IN near family members. She was active in the North American Alumni organization from 1995 to 2014, chairing two annual reunions and the WOSA Council. From 2009 to 2016 she volunteered in the Alumni and Development Office at Woodstock, spending two months in the spring and two months in the fall working on a variety of projects.


Max Marble ‘67

Presented the In Memoriam

Max Marble ’67

Max Marble attended Woodstock K-12 while his parents were Methodist missionaries in Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. After graduate school, he served the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church for 40 years. During the last 17 years of that service, he organized volunteer mission trips all around the world. He and his wife Sally have taken several groups to Woodstock for volunteer projects. Between 2012 and 2018 Max and Sally traveled to Ludhiana, India twice a year and often stopped to volunteer at Woodstock for a week or two.



Jon Martin ‘79

Session: From the Hillside to the Peaks: A Journey into Forest Management

Jon Martin holds an MS (1992) and a BS (1985) in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. He is the Director of the Ecological Restoration Institute, Native American Forest and Rangeland Management Program at NAU. He has specialized experience as a Certified Silviculturalist, National Environmental Policy Act; Wildland and Prescribed Fire, Reforestation; Fire Effects Monitoring Federal Indian Policy; Tribal Consultation Inter-agency Coordination; and Data Inventory and Analysis Natural Resources Management Planning and Implementation. Mr. Martin has spent the last 30 years in natural resource management on tribal lands throughout the Southwest. Having served as a regional level manager, Jon knows the federal mandates and requirements of program planning and implementation. He has interacted with most federal resource management agencies within the region and knows the challenges of pursing sound management of tribal resources. In Jon’s words, “When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and rafting the canyons and rivers of the western USA. My passion for the outdoors and management of the forests was definitely inspired by my Woodstock experience and the time I spent trekking in the Himalaya of India and Nepal.”

Dr. Gladys Taylor McGarey ‘37

Session: A Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age

Dr. Gladys McGarey is over 102 years old and is recognized as a pioneer of the allopathic and holistic medical movements. She is known internationally as the Mother of Holistic Medicine and is the cofounder and past president of the American Holistic Medical Association, as well as the cofounder of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine, the founder of The International Academy of Clinical Hypnosis, and a founding diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Gladys lives and works in Scottsdale, Arizona, where for many years she shared a medical practice with her daughter. Her book “The Well-Lived Life” flips our understanding so we ask not how to live a life but instead how to turn toward the life that’s within us. From encounters with Mahatma Gandhi to overcoming bias against women physicians amid raising six children, Dr. Gladys has incredible stories to share.

Michael Singh ‘71

Session: Moving Beyond Hatred: The Life of Rana Sodhi

Michael Singh grew up in the Punjab and at Woodstock School. He studied Indian history at the University of Chicago and filmmaking at USC’s Division of Cinema-TV in Los Angeles. As an actor, he played Mr. Patel in the hit production of Trevor Griffith’s “Comedians” at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago. He is now a documentary filmmaker in Massachusetts. His award-winning documentary “Valentino’s Ghost: Why We Hate Arabs and Muslims” made its world premiere at The Venice Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation. It is designated a New York Times CRITICS’ PICK and was called “the decade’s most important film” by The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He has written, produced, and directed award-winning Sikh-centric documentary shorts such as “Prisoner’s Song,” “Rebel Queen,” “The Visionary,” and “Uncommon Ground.” Michael was Senior Producer/Writer for Discovery’s Health channel’s reality TV series “Chicago’s Lifeline,” where his episodes won two national media awards for Best Science Series. He is currently completing “Riding the Tiger,” his personal account of one of the massacres of Sikhs in 1984, which he audio-recorded. He is also making short films for the Princeton Arts Society and is restoring his 1750’s Colonial farmhouse.

Rana Singh Sodhi

Session: Moving Beyond Hatred: The Life of Rana Sodhi

Hailing from the Punjab, Rana Singh Sodhi and two brothers moved to the US after the unrest following the assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. On September 15, 2001 a white supremacist individual gunned down Rana’s brother Balbir Sodhi outside Balbir’s gas station in Mesa, AZ for wearing a turban. Ten months later his other brother Sukhpal Singh Sodhi was killed in his taxicab in San Francisco. The perpetrator and motive are still unknown. These deaths led Rana on a mission dedicated to eradicating ignorance in America about Sikhs. He has shared his story all over the country, hoping to prevent further violence rooted in cultural stereotyping. Several documentary films have featured him and his activism. After the 15th anniversary of Balbir’s death, Rana spoke directly with his brother’s killer, who is currently serving time. That powerful, recorded conversation played across the globe. In 2014 Rana spoke at the 5th anniversary of the Shepherd Byrd Hate Crime bill in Washington, D.C. He is a member of the Sikh Advisory Council for the Phoenix Police Department and is a key diversity speaker for the U.S. Department of Justice, among other roles. In 2022 Rana was invited to the United We Stand Summit at the White House, where President Biden recognized him for his ongoing activism and commitment to multicultural understanding and forgiveness. Currently residing in Mesa with his wife and three children, Rana is also an entrepreneur and owner of a local restaurant, Guru Palace Cuisine of India.

Beth Anne and Greg Wray ‘78

Session: Travel Connections A Well-Travelled Alumni Series

Greg Wray was born in Bareilly (then U.P.), and Beth Jacober Wray was born in Landour Community Hospital in Mussoorie. Both of their parents were missionaries to India, and they met in Kindergarten at Woodstock. Though they lost touch in 1973 when Beth’s parents were transferred to Israel, they reconnected in 2008 at a Class of ’78 reunion. Greg is a professor of biology at Duke University in North Carolina; Beth is a retired teacher of English, ESL, and Spanish. He loves wildlife, especially birds; she loves iPhone travel photography. Married for 12 years, they have been making up for lost time by exploring the world together. They went back to India together three times and have visited these other places as well: Singapore, Cambodia, Nepal, Tanzania, South Africa, Morocco, Malta, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, England, Sweden, Iceland, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Peru. Many more trips are in the works, and they are open to suggestions!


Click here to watch the videos and presentations from the reunion. 



Special thanks to Max Marble for also putting together a video recap of the whole reunion! 




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