Alumni Spotlight - Jay Young '64 and Poliana Coelho '03
Name: Jay Young (Franklin B Young, Jr)
Hometown: Born in Portland, Maine, grew up in Danbury, CT
Graduation Year: 1964
Where are you now? My wife Susan and I spend time between Oxford, CT, and Bradenton, FL. I never want to see snow and ice again.
What are you doing? After Wooster and a quick year at Hobart College, I served in the U.S. Navy for three years, eight months, and twenty-six days. Went on to Fordham University for my graduate and undergraduate degrees in business. Worked for Fortune 500 companies in Information Technology in New York and Connecticut for the next forty-two years. I now have the best job ever – retirement! Since retiring, I have been engaged with Wooster, as Trustee, Athletic Hall of Fame organizer, Alumni Council President and Archivist connecting the past with the future. I continue to attempt to shoot my age in golf. I volunteer with the CT State Golf Association and the PGA at golf tournaments around the state and the country. Life is good!
What is your favorite Wooster memory? Our family came to the school in 1947. My father was a teacher at Wooster for many years teaching Latin, playing the organ in chapel and creating Woosteria musical comedies. So I basically have been here all my life and have many fond memories. I remember the house in the corner by the baseball field that was built for us, the fact our family dog Smudge is still buried there even though the house is now gone. I remember Joe Grover helping me build a garden of vegetables in front of that house. I remember the smell of grass on the football field in the fall and on the baseball field in the spring. The smell of a new football uniform at the beginning of the season and the smell at the end. I remember Joann Warner, Coach Warner’s daughter, breaking my arm by the Barn. (She denies it to this day) I remember her father coming across the bridge in a horse drawn sleigh as Santa Claus each Christmas for the faculty children. I remember seeing black and white television for the first time in Donald Schwartz’s apartment in upper Coburn, a round screen Philco and The Lone Ranger was on. I remember his “Prep”mobile. I remember John Verdery’s bellowing laugh at my father’s shows. I remember the wonderful smell of Elsie and Otto’s German cooking. I remember Bass Weejuns and Bay Rum. Bad slips and Good slips. I remember that Hanibal Hamilin was Lincoln’s first vice president because Donald Schwartz gave extra credit if you knew that. I remember Alban Barclay who was Harry Truman’s vice president. He flew in by Helicopter to Wooster in the early’50’s for the groundbreaking of Coburn. Another VP you’ll have to Google. I remember my son Whit ‘04 and daughter Katie ‘08 both going to school here from kindergarten to graduation. I have crossed the wooden bridge many thousand of times.
What impact did your Wooster education have on you? I was never a great student or athlete here, but I sure did love the place. I was around great people all the time. And you learn a lot from that – lots of teachable moments as I stumbled through what was not always easy for me. Wooster was religion, intellectual excellence, simplicity and hard work. I learned loyalty to the school and my classmates – then and now. I learned a sense of community, teamwork, generosity, humor and the importance of relationships. It has been a powerful bond to the school for me, and a foundation for living life.
What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students? Enjoy the experience and friendships with your teachers, coaches and fellow students. You may forget many things in your life but you will never forget what you’ve done here and who was on the journey with you. There will be special moments, some tough but most great. The relationships you build here will be lasting, as will what you learn inside and outside the classroom. Wooster has a great history of special moments. Cherish them and be grateful.
Name: Poliana Coelho
Hometown: Danbury, CT
Graduation Year: 2003
Where are you now? New York, NY
What are you doing? I'm a student adviser working at Mott Haven Community High School in the South Bronx through a company called Eastside House.
What is your favorite Wooster memory? One of my favorite Wooster memories was a Don Quixote Day where me and a group of friends were listening to some music next to my car. I forgot how it happened exactly, but I ended up dropping my keys inside the car. Ted Judy pulled a MacGyver and with a stick and gum rescued my keys.
What impact did your Wooster education have on you? The care and guidance that I felt through my Wooster experience has impacted me tremendously. It's shaped how I treat and interact with the young minds I have the privilege to teach and guide through the different schools I've worked in. Sometimes, kids are lost in this so called life and they need to feel that sense of connection with their educators in order to open up and ask for help. Being such a small community where we work and play, I felt that I could open up and trust the people around me with my future.
What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students? The Wooster bubble is a safe haven for you to flourish and thrive. You have people that are rooting for your success and will give you the tools necessary to do so. However, despite where you are and the things you're given, your own choices and actions are going to lead you to the future you want to create.