A Tragic Day at
January, 19, 2007

This page is dedicated to the memory of
James Alenson, Class of 2010

Alumni Notes to the L-S Community

News of the tragedy at L-S has reached me in Florida. Please know that many, many people are with all of you in spirit as you work to heal yourself, to help eachother cope, and to leas the L-S community forward. I believe times like these, horrible as they are, can serve to bring people together, which is the most important part of human life.

Michael McGovern, '74


I went to L-S for four years (I graduated in 2006), and L-S always felt like a home to me... I was absolutely horrified when I heard the news. I didn't know how to react to that, as a community, L-S had to go through this tragedy. I don't know what this world is coming to. It does make me feel better to see all of L-S coming together as a community in this tragic time.I always have, and always will see L-S as a "different kind of place" ...as a community, both in Lincoln, Sudbury, and Boston and as a community with alumni across the country, we have come together. That is why L-S is that different kind of place.

Sherry Sybertz, '06


I never imagined i'd see the words "Lincoln-Sudbury" and "murder" in the same sentence as a top story in the national news. When I received a text message during my Friday morning class from a high school friend, I immediately ran back to my room and spent hours searching the Internet and talking on the phone. I couldn't fathom something so horrific occurring within the walls of my safe high school In small-town Massachusetts and felt pained for James' family and entire community. The one positive thing to note is the sense of unity and the strong connection we (recent L-S alums) feel to the school; we adore LSRHS and share in the joy and pain of anything that occurs there. In spite of this isolated incident, we're confident L-S will retain its unique
culture. Even in the darkest of days, I couldn't be prouder to call myself a graduate of such an incredible high school.

-Gerald McElroy, '05


I spent four years there. Obviously I did not know him, but I do feel for his family's loss. One thing that I feel is important, however, is how L-S responds to this tragedy. It is important for the students, parents, and faculty not to overreact. One of the most enjoyable parts of L-S for me was the freedom and trust the students had earned from the administration. Being able to freely walk through the halls, relax almost anywhere in school, and go off campus during free blocks were some of the best parts of my high school experiences.Losing those aspects would repudiate L-S's great claim to be "a different kind of place." It would be a shame for me to come back and visit, only to see metal detectors, security guards, and hall monitors. Safety is obviously important, but it would be keen to keep the liberties that make L-S more like a college.
-Jonathan Mueller, '05


I can't even imagine how difficult it is for everyone at LS right now. Even though I still don't really know what to say, know that I'm thinking of all of you and having been thinking of everyone at LS since I heard the news on Friday morning. Each year that I've spent away from LS has made me appreciate it more and more, and I know that if anyone can bounce back from something as awful as this, it is LS. Stay strong and know that everyone at LS is in my prayers. If there is anything I can do please let me know - I would love to help.

All my best,
Elizabeth Schnoor '02


Thanks for the link to the FORUM edition and the students' own words. You and all my teachers and mentors at LS, who have made it the wonderful place that it is, are on my mind constantly these days. I wish you the best at this difficult time, and I am grateful to and proud of all of you.

Warm regards,
Thomas Dichter '05

The events of last friday and how everyone at L-S handled it, reminds me of what a special community I was a part of. I am proud to say that I am an L-S graduate, and my heart goes out to all of you there, especially the ones who knew James Alenson.

All the best,
Amy (Garabedian) Sturm, Class of 1993


Even from Tel Aviv, hearing the events of January 19th (via multiple emails that day) hit me harder than Imight have imagined. Although it is clear to me why it
affected me this way; L-S was (despite the typical hardship of being a thinking teenager in high school), at the end of the day, a safe and supportive place for me. I still feela strong connection to that place, and it affects me deeply when it is shaken so.

In any case, I just wanted to be sure you knew that I am thinking of the L-S community.

Emily Shaeffer


I'm still having trouble comprehending how this could have happened. Remembering back to my L-S years back in the mid-seventies, I can recall at least how turbulent and unpredictable a teenager's life can be. My own family experience with the tragedy of my brother's suicide when he was in his early 20's, the end result of a mental illness that began when he was in high school, made this resonate with me in a particularly personal way, reminding me that many times there are no good reasons for the way things happen. When I got the news (on the CNN news ticker of all places) I immediately thought of the students and teachers at L-S. Just know that, whatever the shortcomings of high school are or have been, there are those of us still who cherish the formative experiences we shared in our youth at Lincoln-Sudbury, even though not all of those days were happy ones. I'm very conscious of the fact that the experiences I had there are still with me and are a part of who and what I have become in life, my life-long love of learning, my moral framework, my sense of myself and my commitment to others, enduring friendships, just to name a few.

Dan Spock,, '78


I was brought to tears. It's just heartbreaking that this happened anywhere. The only hope that I can have is that this does not fuel the stereotypes that already exist regarding mentally challenged kids and that this brings the community together in a positive rather than reactive way.

All my best LS,
Heather Kaplan


It seems so strange to me--high school was the one time in my life when I felt so creative and inspired and safe. I am so sorry that students can't have that now. It seems there is no space or time for safety and relief in the process of growing up. It makes me feel so dark inside. I know it's not the same, but I think of that bathroom in 4 corners of the LS I knew. I remember how I used to go in there with Aimee and try on the crazy clothes she used to try to make and laugh at the girls smoking ciggeretts through the vents. When I imagine something so horrible happening in that bathroom and the lightness and laughter that once was, a sadness overwhelms me, for all the students, not just the one that died, because I wonder that their lives will forever be heavy, at such a young age, and that they will never have at least the fleeting moment of youthful lightness when their inspiration and creativity can run freely.I am so sorry, for everyone, for everything, I even feel responsible in some way, I feel so heavy, so burdened, I am so sorry...

Laura Mattison '01


It was very difficult news to hear and believe. I can only imagine the pain in the building. Our hearts continue to be with all of you there.

Michelle Paster


I was so sorry to hear about the tragic event at L-S. It's just horribly sad.

Words cannot express how sad I am about all of this. I hope everyone gets through this. It must be a very difficult time all the teachers and students, but I feel real relief knowing the wisdom and
comfort the faculty is bringing to students in this moment of strange darkness.

John Flansburg, '78


We were all shocked and horrified by last week's events and the alumni email chain was activated incredibly quickly,

My thoughts and prayers to the L-S community but also my pride in it: how tight-knit, supportive and functional it continues to be. A community is tested by its tragedies and L-S proved itself to be what we always knew and felt it was.

With utmost respect and regard,

Rya Conrad-Bradshaw, 'O2


I can only imagine what the L-S community is going through.
I hope you know that so many of us who still feel a part of L-S
are keeping you all in our thoughts. I hope that the months to come
bring answers and healing and that each new day allows
students and faculty to recapture feelings of safety that I'm sure have been
lost. I'm glad to hear that the community has risen together to cope with
the events of the past few weeks.

Thinking of you all.

Meredith Katter


I am so sorry and so sad to hear about what happened last friday. i am actually now a high school teacher too -- i'm teaching math in spanish harlem in new york city, and it really hit home for me in more ways than one. i was shocked that something like this could happen at LS, of all places, and so upset as a high school teacher myself. I just can't imagine what that might have been like for the staff of LS now.

I am heartsick that these two families have to go through this pain.


Katy Green, '02


I graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury in 1965. Never in my life did I think I would ever read about a murder taking place at Lincoln-Sudbury.

My condolences go out to the family of James Alenson.

Never would I associate a crime like this occurring at Lincoln-Sudbury.

Sudbury to me even growing up was always a quaint little town with a magic charm of its own. Living there, and attending Lincoln-Sudbury, it felt almost antiseptic, you always felt safe and protected from events like this, because they never happened.

My heart goes out to the students and staff, as I am sorry to say they will never forget this day and event for the rest of their lives. I do hope this one tragic even does not overshadow all the good events you experience at Lincoln-Sudbury. I do hope with time and healing they can put this event in proper prospective and move on with their lives.

In reading through your school web site I see the school has changed dramatically since I was there and by the sounds of it all for the better.

Even though I do not know the students of faculty I wish each and every one of you the very best in all your future endeavors.

Bradford Patterson, '65


As a troubled teen myself 15 years ago I know firsthand the help made available
to all students in the Sudbury Public school systems. I thank God everyday
I took advantage of the counseling and after school programs. Once again if
there is anything I can ever do to help, just ask! My family wishes you well
and please send our sympathy to the other staff

Just wanted to send you a quick note letting you know that the staff
and students of LSRH are in my thoughts and prayers during this
difficult and very sad time. If there is anything I can ever do to
help out please let me know whether it be financially or volunteering
some of my time. LSRH saved my life and I am forever grateful.

Warmest Wishes,
Stacy (Ferrara) Harrington


It's been quite a while since I've been in touch with L-S, but I can only imagine what you are all dealing with right now. Just wanted to encourage you by letting you know how much you and the high school have meant to my family and me! You guys are all amazing and we love you!

Kyle Vataha


I graduated from L-S in 1978. Even though I long ago left theMassachusetts area, I feel that my education at L-S significantly and positively impacted the person I have become. Thank you for that.

Lisa Bishop ,'78


This is so sad. What can I do to extend my support at this time? Is there an organizational role that I can assist with? An event? I really care about L-S & I don't want the community to feel alone and forlorn.

Eliza Wentworth


The grief that the LS community is feeling right now must be extreme. While I was a student there a young woman, who's name I can no longer recall, was killed in a car accident and I vividly remember how the entire LS community rallied in support of each other and ourselves in the midst of terrible tragedy. This situation is far more devastating and the grief must be ten-fold due to the indeterminate nature of the events, but I have to believe in strength of both the character of the LS community and the human spirit of those involved and affected.

My memories of LS are of course complicated by the perennial angst that accompanies all of us through our years of growth and matriculation, but once I wade through the teenage insecurities, I am confronted by the profound sense of freedom and support that LS offered. It was truly a special place for me as a youth, a place beyond a simple institution of standardized education which so much of schooling, especially in the public domain, is trending towards.

My heart goes out to the entire Lincoln-Sudbury Family.

With deepest regards,

David Bosnak
LSRHS Class 1992


My family and I have felt very badly about this tragedy at L-S

Andrea D'Elia Gray ('92)


I was at L-S during the rash of suicides. I can only imagine how hard this must be for L-S right now. It's one thing for someone to take their own life. It's another for someone to take someone else's life. I would imagine that there is a real fear for safety - that we never dealt with before.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

Andrea Weaver


I am really astonished and saddened to hear what happened this morning at L-S. I just heard the news a couple hours ago from a number of friends, a testament to the closeness of the L-S alumni community. Lily Karian passing in December and now this and I just wanted to send you a word of support. My friends and I are all talking about what a shock this comes as, and we are all wishing we could be there to support L-S in person. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

My thoughts and love,



Of course we have heard of the sad event that has occurred at LS and we
are thinking of you daily. There are no words that anyone can offer to
make any sense of what has happened and we pray that the families of
theyoung men involved are able to find some comfort in the days and months
to come.

We - Tania Stern Gordon, Michele Verni Sacerdote, Nancy Schwalje Travis
and myself -...want you to know that our hearts are filled with prayer for you and everyone at LS.

Take care,

Nicki Meade

I know it's nothing special, but I copied and pasted this letter onto MySpace.....as there are hundreds upon hundreds of LS alum on that site. I have to say that seeing how the staff, students and community has handled the situation, I am proud to be an alumni.

Stephanie Tulman


My thoughts are with the faculty and students at L-S. Please let me know
if I may be of service to the school, in any way.

Sara Alterman
L-S '97


I know it has been trying times at the high school recently, and my heart goes out to all those effected. I hope you that you all can help mend the broken hearts.

Rich St. Germain, '87


I've seen Dr. Richie on TV and felt the pain as I read newspaper accounts. Please pass my support onto Dr. Richie.

Thank you.
Rob Matthews


My name is Rena Wright and I attended LS from 1995-1999. I was in the METCO program and I was also on the LS Bomb Squad step team (when we had one).

I also wanted to tell the whole LS family that I was deeply saddened by last Fridays events and that my heart goes out to all of you. I still hold LS true to my heart and it pains me to think that my Alma Mater is turning into a not-so-safe place.

I was thinking of making a trip out there to visit since I have not seen (only heard about) the new building. I'll give you guys some more time to allow for grieving and counseling before I make an appearance. I'll keep all of you in my prayers, especially the friends and family of both students.

Rena Wright, '99


I had, indeed, heard of Friday's tragedy. As it happens, I am traveling northward this weekend from my home in Washington DC, and will be near the L-S area Saturday and Sunday. I have not visited since the "new" school was built. I will keep it in mind to stop by and pay my respects

Be well,

Very best wishes to all in the L-S community,

Peter McGee, '73


Obviously Lincoln Sudbury hasn't changed- everyone alwayspulls together when it counts. I certainly was reminded of that last year when we had the fundraiser for Alex Palmer.

My thoughts and prayers are with all at L-S as you all try to move forward
from this unimaginable tragedy.

Lorna Helms, class 87


My thoughts have been with you and all the students ever since I heard the horrible news! Please pass along my condolences to the L-S community.

All the best,

Lee Palmer


My thoughts are with the current students (one of whom is my brother) and the administration of LS -please let us alums know what we can do to help.

Katie Devaney, 2000


I am so sorry that I have to communicate with all of you after all of these years as a result of such a tragedy.

Let me know if there's anything I can do...


Joe Cheatham, '79


Wow you are all in our thoughts and prayers

Janice Bell 84


It's truly a sad story, but please know that many alumni are keeping the entire L-S community in their thoughts during this very difficult time.

Best regards,
Matt Gardiner, '91


I have felt so upset about this incident, and have not known how to help. I was a student in Lincoln during the 1980s car crash incident, and it was awful. I am really pleased to hear that the school is engaged in what sounds like excellent process for the students, staff and larger community.

As an LS graduate and as a forensic social worker who has partnered with defense attorneys in the representation of many young people charged with similar crimes in Brooklyn and the South Bronx, I was glad to see the school's compassionate attention to the young man who has, as I understand it, taken responsibility for this horrible situation. My heart goes out to James and his family. I also hope that you and others can use this opportunity to teach about the importance of trying to see the other young man as a human being as opposed to a "perp." I am also concerned that other youth who are involved/identifiable as "special ed kids" may be targeted/stereotyped given news reports about the other young man's Asperger's diagnosis. If I can be of any assistance vis-a-vis coming to LS to talk with students about juvenile justice issues, working with juvenile/criminal defendants, especially kids with disabilities in this system (that was my specialty), please let me know.

Hang in there!
Take care,

Elspeth Slayter


I can only begin to understand what it is like to be at LS every day during this difficult time; however, as an alumna, the entire situation is difficult to comprehend.

As you are likely aware, my mother has been very involved with it all and so I do get some feedback from her on how the school is doing as a whole. It sounds as though the leadership, the teachers, and the students have come together exhibiting strength and determination through these trying times.

We, the alumni of LS, thank YOU and all of the teachers who influenced our lives for helping to make the lives of those who have come after us even better. The students of LS are truly lucky to have the group of teachers they do, and I imagine it is during these times that your students recognize that the most. They certainly will recognize it even more upon graduation - just as we have.

Thank you and may our thoughts be with you,

Bowen Holden, '97


Though you've heard from many, I'm sure that all are keeping LS, its students, and families in their thoughts and prayers.

I was surprised to see the special edition of The Forum come out so quickly after the tragedy. What a great lesson for young journalists-- that their work goes on, and in times of tragedy, it is their work that helps the community begin to comprehend and mourn.

Be well,
Tom Biggins


As an alumni and as a recent father, I am also saddened by the recent death of James Alenson. My thoughts are with you as the school tries to resume the ups
and downs of everyday high school life in shadow of the Alenson tragedy.

Dave Yuan. '93

I am very sorry to hear about the tragedy at LS. I just thought i'd say hello, and know that the LS family was in my thoughts.

Margot Putukian, LS class of 1980


My name is Ben Landry, I graduated from LS in 2000. I am writing to you because I am saddened and shocked by the recent events, and wish to show my support for the LS community and staff.

LS truly prepared me for college and life. The freedom, as well as the respect, granted to the students should not be questioned. These are the pieces which prepared LS students for college. LS grads are accustomed to the freedom of college, so it wasn't as much of a shock as it was to college students who came from a more suppressive high school.

Throughout my college experience I did not meet another person who came from a high school that prepared them for college as well as LS, socially and intellectually. A plant cannot grow big if the pot is small - LS blesses its students with as much room to grow as they desire. To turn LS into a prison setting because of a random, horrific act would be a crime, and would bring justice to no one. I never felt unsafe at LS.

Students respond to how they are treated. If they are treated like criminals, they will behave as such, if they are given responsibility and respect, they will grow mature and blossom into fine adults. LS chooses the latter approach, with wonderful results. Some might take advantage of the freedom, but no matter where you are and how you treat people there will always be some troubled souls.

My thoughts are with the LS community and staff.

Ben Landry, '00


I am very sorry to hear about the tragedy at LS. I just thought i'd say hello, and know that the LS family was in my thoughts.

Margot Putukian, LS class of 1980


As a Class of '80 member, I recall the series of car
crashes that rocked the school and I cannot imagine
what this is doing to the Faculty and students. I
think back on my 4 years with fond memories and would
never conceive something like this happening. Perhaps
we were too naive.

All the best,
Tom (?) '80


To the entire LSRHS community,

My condolences to you and the Alenson family on this tragedy. My prayer
is that your community will wring from this awful moment any and every
opportunity to grow into a greater awareness and implementation the
imperative to treasure and safeguard one another(especially the
less-advantaged), to find again first principles and never take them for
granted, to wrest from this violent & unwarranted act every possible
occasion to do good and kindness to each other, by no means tolerating
the attitudes and actions that precurse these kinds of atrocities.
Besides the painful & necessary work of grief itself, it is the only
life-affirming way to avenge the community's violated spirit... I hope
the Alenson family will find the support and companionship they will
need to face the void of their loss.

Mark Riess, '69
Carmel, Ca.


I am writing to express my heartfelt sympathy to the family and loved ones of James Alenson. By all accounts this young man was a gentle and admirable soul. It would have been a privledge and an honor to have known him. I pray that the love that he gave to others will be cherished forever. In sincere sympathy,

Janet (Wagner) Blouin, '77


I graduated LS in '75. I have just moved from Pennsylvania with my family. I have been teaching in public HS in New Jersey (near Princeton) for the past 17 years. Our students there lost several parents and grandparents on 9/11.

I am now teaching Latin and Spanish at Swampscott HS. Our principal sent a
letter to our entire "Big Blue Community" on the Friday of the tragedy. I am,
and always have been, proud of Lincoln-Sudbury. I cannot be more proud than I am now, at the compassionate handling of this wound.

I can assure you, the message has gone out loud and clear to alumni, residents, and other schools: this is an isolated incident, there is no rhyme or reason to it and that the media is sensationalizing it as is its wont.

Robin Boots-Ebenfield, '75


We are praying for you, the staff, students, parents and the towns of Sudbury and Lincoln. We can't make sense of such an occurrence, but I believe we can pray for God's peace.

Jen Platt Fister, '92


I graduated from Lincoln Sudbury in 2001. My sister Alicia graduated in 2003, and my sister Tiffany, who is at Lincoln Sudbury right now, sat next to James in her history class. My brother who is 10 years old will most likely go to LS. I heard this horrible and sad news from my sister Tiffany.

I wanted to write to LS. So I hope you don't mind me writing to you and of course feel free to give this to other students, teachers and staff.

I often think of LS and how it prepared me for life. It prepared me not only for college, but how to take part in activities, and enjoy life. Sports and school trip memories are a highlight for me. I now live in Paris and have been in France for 2 years. I don't think I ever imagined me speaking so much French while sitting in my French class at 9: 20am in blue hall!

I cried after my sister explained the events to me. I had flashes of the incident even though LS is in a new building that I have yet to visit. I have read newspapers but know that what really happens between the teachers, the students and the staff is something indescribable, especially during moments like these. I hurt for both families. Both families, in a way, have lost a son. I don't think I want write for pages and pages, but rather just let LS know that my thoughts are with them. A high school is filled with emotions, difficulty and frustration. We only wish we could rewind to foresee problems. This is something that certainly will be scrutinized, but the most important thing is the school's solidarity and I think that LS has great solidarity.

Thank you,
Rebecca Dessain 2001


I was a graduate in 1972 and we had some very tragic losses during our four years . Those losses left a lasting impression on me even to this day. My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to all.


Kathleen ( Joyce ) Pearce, 1972


II am so sorry and saddened about what happened at LS. I am writing in my capacity as an alum and someone who went on to work with youth etc . . . I am sure you guys are not thinking about fundraising at the moment, but if discussions emerge that point to a need for grantwriting-- I have been writing *precisely* on this and would love to help. Volunteer my services.

I maintain that LS was the most amazing school in the entire world that I could have gone to. All my peers and I have a very special bond that was forged in that milieu.

I live in the Boston area, so please do let me and other alums know! I still count several of my dearest friends as people I know from LS-

Sending much love to you and the entire LS community,
Gai Arumugham , ' 91


I was enroute to Brazil when I bought a New York Times and read about the tragedy. It effected me deeply, and still rests in my heart. I was in Brazil for a two week journey of musical studies, and to participate in the Festival of Iemanja, Yoruba Goddess of the Ocean. Thousands of people make pilgrimage to Salvador, Bahia for this festival to make offerings and prayers, songs and dance. The ocean becomes full of flower offerings, along with food and perfume and other gifts. I dreamt about the L-S community while I was on my journey, and in my dream was participating with the community in offering healing support. I will continue to send prayerful support to the community and especially to the families involved.

Shirsten (Kirsten) Lundblad, ‘74


Dear Dr. Ritchie,

I am writing you to express my deepest sympathies about the tragic incident happened at LS a few days ago. It is been two years and a half since I came back to Spain, but I still feel a part of the LS community, and I think I always will do. Many of the important values I reaffirmed there, are a big part of my life and I try to teach them and live as I learned at LS. I would like you to know that you are in my thoughts, and I wish I could do more to help. Please, express my condolences to the whole community, and I wish you the best.


Luis Castilla, former teacher, Language Dept.
Tufts & Skidmore en Madrid
C/Recoletos, 10, 1ºA
28001 Madrid


Dear L.S. Community,

I am shocked by what I read in my email last night. My family has long since moved from Sudbury, but I still feel a strong connection to L-S. I may physically be in Arizona, but my thoughts are with all of you during this difficult time. The education I received at L-S was outstanding. I cannot even put into words the appreciation I have for the foundation L-S gave me for college, graduate school and life. Nothing could prepare me for the sadness I feel for the families involved as well as the L-S community as a whole.

Cristanna (Crittenden) Sturtevant, '90


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