Alumni Spotlight - Annaliese (von) Witzky '73
Name: Annaliese (von) Witzky
Hometown: New Fairfield, Connecticut
Graduation Year: 1973
Where are you now? Semora, North Carolina
What are you doing? In transition from participating in two small family enterprises, a hospitality consulting business and family structural construction company, to working on various writing projects, in progress, and enjoying a first grandchild.
What is your favorite Wooster memory? I attended when Wooster was both a Boarding and a Day School, serving only the high school years then, and was one of the first 13 female students enrolled when the school went co-educational in 1970. It also happened to be a particularly politically and socially active period of time in our country and the world then, with many "movements" affecting our country, and with the Vietnam War personally impacting many students' families. I think any Wooster alumna would probably always comment on the meaningfulness and significance of required Chapel - not only to our daily schedules - but also during the exam periods and holiday breaks, in particular, when the student body first geared up for both studying AND doing a MAJOR cleaning overhaul of the buildings, grounds and entire physical property - then to gather together for one final "end - of – trimester" celebration in a special Chapel service, before leaving for vacation breaks (probably more meaningful for Boarders then). It really was a special symbolic time of sharing for the students and faculty of the Wooster family, and remains so today.
On a more humorous note, I am still amused reflecting on two incidents I recall occurred during lunch times – and I believe one was when I was a senior in 1973, where at the conclusion of our formal lunchtime setting awaiting formal dismissal, our KP crew - (I believe Jay Trott and John Knudsen manned the crew then) - was LOUDLY and with GREAT exuberance singing its way through their jobs to The Beatles Abbey Road's "Maxwells Silver Hammer" song...only to NOT be aware that they were competing with Dr. Verdery's attempts at trying to conclude with announcements! I think they were asked to only momentarily "cease" their very entertaining performance. The other amusing memory is of Bernard Beal (1972) and Donald Schwarz sharing the exchange of a birthday pie first intended for "Bernie's" birthday face from Don Schwarz, but to everyone's surprise, Bernie then spontaneously handed it back ONTO Donald Schwarz as a mutual gesture of humor and affection! These made for a few fun, memorable and less serious moments.
What impact did your Wooster education have on you? Profoundly in many ways: Lasting relationships, lessons of discipline, acceptance, respect for independent thinking, learning and inquiry; accountability of self to self and to others as well. Embracing and celebrating differences as rich. No one is perfect, second chances. Learning how to let go and to reach . . . . (was pretty prepared to be a homeschooling-parent as well to my own children for several years!).
What advice would you like to share with current Wooster students?Be the self you are and feel comfortable in that skin you're in, but be open to being surprised at what you may still learn and discover about yourself and others. Timing does and can matter. Don't necessarily settle so you risk discovering a new venture, idea, relationship - especially as you're young(er) - only to possibly be robbed of finding future opportunities, joys, satisfactions and loves. Engage with others to build relationships which may affect and color your life in ways you may not fully understand in your present time. Everything about Wooster embraces this, which is what made it so special when I attended – its tapestry and faculty inspired and lived this. Give time for solitude and reflection away from noise and distractions to hear your own heart speak. Finally, don't be afraid to ask any question – none are insignificant (someone else is likely asking a similar one).