By Emily Hester '19
Graduates from NCS have been trailblazers in a variety of fields, ranging from politics to the film industry. For this article, I selected a few notable alumnae from a variety of professions to showcase a sliver of the impressive achievements NCS graduates have gone on to accomplish.
Susan Rice: Susan Rice was a student-council president, athlete, and flag winner at NCS. Following her graduation, Rice went to Stanford University, where she earned a BA in history. Later, she attended New College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship. Rice served as the 24th United States National Security Advisor from 2013 to 2017. She has also worked as a U.S. diplomat, a Brookings Institution fellow, and a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Additionally, she served on the staff of the National Security Council and as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during Bill Clinton’s second term as President.
Inspirational Quote: “I would rather be alone and a loud voice for action than be silent.”
Stephanie Ready: Stephanie Ready is currently a broadcaster for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Charlotte Hornets. Following her graduation from NCS, Ready attended college at Coppin State University, where she attained a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Additionally, Ready played both basketball and volleyball in college, ranking in the top ten on her school’s basketball career list for steals, rebounds, assists, and points. Following her graduation from college, Ready held off graduate school to pursue coaching. In 2001, she became the first female coach of a men’s professional league team. In 2015, Ready was named an analyst on Fox Sports Carolinas, making her the first full-time female NBA game analyst.
Inspirational Quote: "I feel like I'm on a whirlwind, but I'm not complaining…This is a great opportunity to do what I love in a league in the NBA family that will show people that little girls can grow up and do the same thing that little boys have a chance to do."
Kristen Gore: Kristen Gore, Class of ’95, is now an author and screenwriter. Following graduation from NCS, Gore attended Harvard University, where she was the only woman on the literary board of Harvard Lampoon. Gore was a writer for works such as the sitcom Futurama and the well-known sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live (SNL). In 2003, Gore was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work on SNL, and in 2007, she won the Writers Guild of America Award for SNL.
Inspirational Quote: “It’s all discipline and schedule for me. I mean, it’s very easy to get distracted by the real world and things that intrude constantly, and it takes dedication to live totally in your head and be tuned out.”
By Will Nash '20
St. Albans School has given rise to many leading politicians, scholars, and artists who have changed the world for good in a variety of ways. However, some alumni live in the annals of history for acts of infamy. Tyler Kent is one such alumnus.
Tyler Kent was born in the city of Yingkou, Manchuria, in 1911. His father was a member of the U.S. Diplomatic Corps, stationed as the U.S. Consul in Yingkou. Kent graduated from St. Albans School in 1929, and went on to attend Princeton University, majoring in history. He also studied at George Washington University, the University of Madrid, and the Sorbonne, where he mastered Russian. Upon finishing his schooling, Kent landed a job at the State Department and found himself stationed in Moscow from 1933 to 1936 as the cipher clerk to William C. Bullitt, the first U.S. Ambassador to the newly-formed Soviet Union. Kent soon came under suspicion from the Embassy staff for engaging in espionage for either the Soviets or the White Russians. Without any concrete evidence with which to prosecute, the State Department transferred him to the American Embassy in London in 1939. This decision proved to be ill-advised, as in his new capacity, Kent arguably had more access to classified information. As a cipher clerk in London, Kent handled direct communications between Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As soon as Kent arrived in London, he was frequently seen in the company of suspected German and Russian spies such as Ludwig Matthias, a possible German agent being tailed by Scotland Yard. One of his favorite haunts in London, the Russian Tea Room in South Kensington, was a known rendezvous for White Russians led by Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff, the former Imperial Russian naval attache, and his wife, a former maid-of-honor to the Tsarina. It was through Anna Wolkoff, their daughter, that Kent met Irene Danischewsky, the wife of a British merchant with Russian ties and incidentally the aunt of Helen Mirren the actress. The two struck up a relationship, and Danischewsky became Kent’s mistress and closest confidante. Through Anna Wolkoff, Kent also met Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay, a British Member of Parliament and a virulent anti-Semite. Ramsay was the founder and head of the Right Club, a group of anti-Semitic fascist sympathizers who sympathized with Adolf Hitler and opposed British entry into war with Nazi Germany. According to Ramsay in his autobiography, “The main object of the Right Club was to oppose and expose the activities of Organised Jewry, in the light of the evidence which came into my possession in 1938. Our first objective was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence, and the character of our membership and meetings were strictly in keeping with this objective.” Through his friendship with Ramsay, Kent, an anti-Semite himself, became a member of the Right Club, and Ramsay later gave Kent a ledger that he called “the Red Book,” a list of all the 150 members of the Right Club, including many influential British politicians. At this time, Kent had been stealing classified documents from the American Embassy for more than a year, taking almost 2,000 official documents back to his flat and storing them in his filing cabinets. One night, Kent invited both Wolkoff and Ramsay to his flat to show them the secret documents. Anna Wolkoff made copies of the documents and sent them to the Nazis through the neutral Italian embassy. Through wireless messages intercepted by MI8, it is known that they were received by Vice Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, the Nazi military espionage service. However, unbeknownst to the conspirators, MI8 had infiltrated the Right Club and was able to trace the source of the leaks back to Tyler Kent. In a dawn raid on May 20, a unit of MI8 officers and policemen stormed Kent’s flat, discovered the trove of documents, and arrested Kent on charges of violating the Official Secrets Act. On October 23, after months of secret detention, Kent was tried in Old Bailey courtroom on charges of stealing documents that “might be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy" and later giving them to Wolkoff. He was also accused of stealing Ambassador Kennedy’s own documents and correspondences. On November 7, 1940, Kent was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison on the Isle of Wight. Kent was eventually released in the autumn of 1945 and put on a boat from Tilbury back to England. Back in the United States, Kent married a wealthy divorcee and moved to Florida. With his newfound money, he purchased a pro-segregation Florida newspaper with links to the Ku Klux Klan. He continued to be a subject of suspicion for Soviet collaboration, with the FBI launching six investigations against him between 1952 and 1963, all proving inconclusive. In his later years, Kent’s luck took a downturn, and in 1988, Tyler Kent died alone and broke in a trailer park in Texas.
By Zach Selassie '18 and Kai Ahmadu '18
Culture is all around us. It is a conglomeration of our desires, interests, and hopes — the soul of a society and the people within it. Traditions, beliefs, art, food — all make up a culture. Being aware of my own culture and cultures differing from my own makes me more aware of and more appreciate of diversity. Opening my perspective to different cultures expands my knowledge of people’s backgrounds and the world’s overall diversity. This awareness gives me a deeper empathic capacity, letting me connect with people and their society without meeting them in person. Over time, these connections have provided me with a broader window to look at our complicated reality.
Cultural Awareness Organization strives to broaden everyone’s window by exploring cultures in America and around the world, with the hope of understanding our multifaceted reality. We will publish unique traditions, food, and art present in different cultures in the Exchanged Issues and around St. Albans during the second semester.
Why CAO at STA?
The Washington, D.C., area is your cliche “bubble.” Living in D.C., the vast majority of people are liberal. It is near impossible to find someone with an alternative viewpoint in an area that voted 91% for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Even at STA, most students are liberal, and most students are white. Although the majority of STA looks the same, there are stark differences between everyone. Everyone is wildly different from each other, and CAO wants to serve as an outlet for everyone to learn more about each other.
By Simon Palmore '19
The presidential election of 2000 was monumental. After eight years of a scandal-prone Clinton administration, the election served as a marker of how the former Vice President could perform against a personable and charismatic Republican senator from Texas. Furthermore, it featured a Supreme Court case, a recount, and controversy that lasts even today. The Republican on the ticket was George W. Bush, and the Democrat was Al Gore. Bush was victorious and was president for the next eight years. As much as this election has been studied in the years since 2000, however, a little-known aspect of it is especially significant to the Cathedral Close. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), both Bush and Gore had connections to St. Albans.
Al Gore has always had a reputation as a geek. Many people from his past describe how he would delight in explaining certain technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to those who were less familiar (and quite possibly less interested). Gore enjoyed a peaceful, normal education at the St. Albans, where he likely developed this intellectual curiosity. A member of the Class of 1965, Gore played basketball. His yearbook entry reads: “Al is frighteningly good at many things. Perhaps it is more truthful to say he is excellent at almost everything he does (which in turn is a considerable amount). Varsity football, basketball and track standout. Liberal party Leader in Government class, scholar, artist extraordinary. Al has stood out in many fields of endeavor. Popular and well-respected, he would seem the epitome of the All-American Young Man.”
However, his son has quite a different reputation. Arrested for DUI, marijuana possession, reckless driving, and extreme speeding, Al Gore III is now an actor who appeared in “Accidental Love” in 2015. He got his start, however, at St. Albans. In the very same Lower School that we know today, at age 13, Gore III was caught smoking marijuana at a school dance. After the school suspended him, his Vice President father pulled him out of STA and enrolled him in Sidwell Friends School. Because he did not graduate, Gore III’s name does not appear on any wall in the refectory, nor is his picture displayed in any Marriott Hall classroom.
On the other ticket was George W. Bush. While Bush himself attended the prestigious Phillip's Academy in Andover, MA (along with his father President George H.W. Bush and brother Jeb), two of his siblings attended St. Albans. First was Neil Bush, the youngest in the family. Neil Bush entered St. Albans at age 11, and initially struggled due to his dyslexia and learning disability. However, he was able to work through these hindrances and graduate in 1973. It was due to her son’s difficulties with reading that First Lady Barbara Bush devoted so much time and energy to eliminating illiteracy from the U.S. An individual who attended St. Albans at the same time as Neil Bush describes him as a “tremendous point guard” on the basketball team, and emphasized Bush’s general athletic ability. The youngest Bush, Marvin, also attended St. Albans at one point, but graduated from Woodberry Forest in 1975.
Four years after he was elected President for the first time, George W. Bush would run for reelection against another former St. Albans student: John Kerry. Kerry attended the Lower School for a few years before his family moved and he transferred to St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH. Brit Hume ‘61 writes in Washingtonian Magazine that, during the controversial Army-McCarthy Hearings in the U.S. Senate, he witnessed Kerry in a fistfight with the son of the then-Secretary of the Army.
St. Albans has taught a number of notable young men since its founding in 1909, including NFL stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Jonathan Ogden, hotel tycoon J.W. Marriott Jr., Senator John Warner, Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., and Jordanian Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein. However, it is rare for these former students to be so concentrated in one corner of history, and such a significant one at that.
By Nicole Cason '19
1. What was your favorite part of your experience at NCS?
My favorite part of NCS was definitely the tradition of team breakfast (and wearing warm-up shirts etc. around that day). There was just something so special about getting a little extra time to bond with your teammates and really getting to be proud of your team. Game days were a really special part of my high school experience, and I’m so thankful that I got to experience school spirit at an all-girls school. I believe that it was traditions like team breakfast, and wearing your sports clothes to school that also motivated the rest of the student body to support their peers. Some of my best NCS memories are from homecoming or championship games where I got to cheer on my friends, or watch them cheer me on. My next favorite experience was the senior room. I believe there is a direction correlation between how much we bonded as a senior class, and the privilege of getting to hang out in there. I am so thankful I had such a space to spend my last year at NCS hanging out, or eating, with my best friends.
2. How has your college experience differed from your experience at NCS? What surprised you about college?
College is a lot different than NCS in that you have so much free time. At NCS, every second of our day was filled, from class to class meetings to cathedral, clubs, sports etc. I felt like I could never truly take a break. In college, no one really cares what you do with your free time; its up to YOU to fill it. That was an unexpected amount of responsibility that I had to deal with. I also pictured college as just being harder than high school, so I never imagined that I would have too much free time. While I wouldn’t say NCS “holds your hand”, college is a lot different in that you’re expected to plan everything yourself. You have to make your schedule, plan out your own papers, and seek out teachers for help yourself. NCS was such a small school that it was relatively easy and comfortable to seek out help, and someone was always looking out for you. That’s not the case in most colleges. This didn’t surprise me, per se, but it was definitely a bigger change than I expected. In the first few months of college, it’s hard to truly grasp that you’re kind-of on your own.
3. Do you feel like NCS adequately prepared you for college? If so, in what ways?
I feel like NCS prepared me for college in my soft skills, more so than hard skills. I went into NCS a shy middle schooler and I came out a confident, outspoken woman. I learned that it’s okay to have an opinion, to speak up in class, and to take charge of a group, project, team, etc. I definitely think these skills are a direct result from the NCS experience (small, all-girls school). I have seen that I’m the more confident and “leader” type person in most group settings in college. However, I don’t think NCS prepared me well to be a STEM major. I feel behind my peers in areas of mathematical critical thinking, and the ability to teach myself processes. I feel like at NCS we were just given a method (in math or science) and then told how to do [a problem], and quizzed on [the material] shortly after. At least at my college, [the material is] taught very differently. We only have two or three tests a semester, and we aren’t ever told “this is how you do this.” Instead we’re given examples, and then we are expected to infer how to do the next problem.
By Zoé Contreras-Villalta '19
Sophia Triantis ’17, a recent graduate of NCS and current member of Johns Hopkins University Class of ’21, answered some questions for me about the first taste of her college experience and some reflections on her time at the Close.
What is your favorite memory from NCS?
It’s definitely hard to choose one moment, but my favorite memories were just talking with teachers and friends during office hours. The thing that I and most of my friends cherish most now are the people.
What did you least expect about college?
I think it’s really important to keep an open mind about your interests and experiences and take your time finding your place wherever you are. I think I expected a lot of people to come into college with an idea of what they’re doing, but everyone is pretty much in the same boat!
What is an experience every NCS student should have before they graduate?
Definitely make an effort to connect with at least one adult in the NCS community. There are so many outstanding teachers and administrators that can teach you more outside of the classroom than in it, and I am so grateful for them.
Do you think there is something that NCS should have prepared you more for in college?
I wish the NCS culture was more open to failure. I learned a lot working with such high expectations, but it is much easier and much more common to make big mistakes in college that you can grow and learn from.
What's it like not going to a single-sex school after so long?
To be honest it’s not that much different. I’m glad I had the opportunity to grow up surrounded by such strong women but through the coordinate program you still get a decently well rounded experience.
Are there any non-academic tricks you learned on the Close that have helped you in your transition into college?
Oh for SURE. NCS prepares you almost too well to handle independence and a heavy workload, but more than that the most useful skills I took to college from the close include the confidence with which I’m able to engage with others and know myself. NCS really pushes you to be self aware and that was really challenging at times, but it has been so useful especially when being thrown into a completely new environment.
Since going to college, are there things you regret not doing while on the Close?
This is a classic answer, but definitely make an effort to spend time with the people you care about, and push yourself out of your comfort zone to make new relationships too! Some of my favorite memories from second semester senior year were talking to teachers I’d never taken a class with, or just getting to know friends of friends better.
Are you participating in any extracurricular activities now that you wished to continue after graduating NCS?
I tried to take it slow extracurricularly at the beginning of college, but ended up falling into some amazing groups including volunteer tutoring at a local school and acting in some student run theater productions. I’ve also picked up some new activities including joining a design team, where we’re working on an engineering global health project!
Do you still keep in contact with your fellow TRA1LBLA7ERS?
Yes!! Our Facebook group is still active with some updates and discussion but it’s definitely been great to hear about everyone’s different experiences.
By Kubair Chuchra '18 and Jerry Gross '18
Captain Ripley Buckingham
US Army Medical Corps
STA Class of 1931
August 19, 1912 - August 18, 1944
Plot O 206
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Carpe Diem. Ripley “Rip” Buckingham always sought to seize the day. Described as a “Good-Sport” by the 1931 Albanian, Buckingham spent his years at Saint Albans “rushing to and fro” between his various passions. As a musician, he poured his soul into the school Choir and Orchestra. As a writer, he spent late nights drafting articles for the Saint Alban’s News. As an aspiring doctor, he worked for the school’s Red Cross Committee. As an athlete, he sparred against Georgetown Preparatory School Students in the boxing ring. As a Christian, he volunteered as a Cathedral Server and member of the Vestry. Buckingham did it all, and did it with passion.
After graduating STA in 1931, Buckingham continued his education at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont. Just like at Saint Albans, he made the most of his school opportunities. He served as Baseball Manager, edited for the student newspaper, sung in the Glee Club, and made the Dean’s List, among other things. Buckingham became so popular among his friends that the Norwich Yearbook described him as a “socialite from Washington.”
After graduating Norwich in 1935, Buckingham continued his academic career at George Washington University. There he married his wife, Virginia Ann Wright. After studying pre-med for a year, then enrolling in the medical school, Rip graduated as Dr. Buckingham in the spring of 1941. A few short weeks later, however, the war effort commissioned Buckingham into the Army Medical Corps Reserve.
After being called into active duty in July of 1942, Buckingham set sail for China on August 18th, 1943. Upon arrival, he joined Chennault’s “Flying Tigers,” a group which later merged with the 23rd Fighter Group. Buckingham was primarily responsible for training Chinese medics and he later became a liaison officer in the Chinese Army.
On August 19th, 1944, during an armed reconnaissance mission near Salween River, Dr. Buckingham left his foxhole to run a “mission of mercy.” On the way, an enemy sniper’s bullet cut Dr. Ripley Buckingham’s life short. Just one day shy of turning 32, Buckingham gave his life in the hopes that he could save another. His body was initially buried by allied soldiers in Poshau, China, near the Melsong River, but later returned to American soil. Though Dr. Buckingham’s life was short, it was full of energy and adventure.
Lieutenant James Edwin Hickey Rumbough
Army of the United States, O-025702
STA Class of 1938
August 31, 1920 - December 3, 1944
Grave 128, Row 9, Plot H
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Taguig City, Philippines
“Noise.” James E. H. Rumbough, Saint Albans Class of 1938, was known among his classmates as “Noise,” an ironic play on his quiet, stern, and studious demeanor. A three-time Varsity Soccer Player and senior-year Team Captain, Rumbough exhibited athletic prowess in all of his years at Saint Albans. Also a member of the JV Football and Baseball Teams, “Rumba,” as he was also known, was involved in many school extracurriculars. He was also head of the Albanian, the school’s yearbook, and a two-time Cathedral Server.
James Rumbough was selected to attend the US Military Academy at West Point by Presidential Appointment in the July of 1939, precluding him from attending most classes, as West Point was executing intensive training exercises at this point. Rumbough graduated in 1943 and enrolled in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division. He completed training with his regiment in New Guinea and prepared for the assault on the Philippines. During the evening of December 3rd, “Jimmy” was sent with his squad to investigate reports of enemy fire in a dry creek bed about 1500 yards away from his Battalion in Leyte. He met immediate contact from the enemy, and one of his scouts was wounded. He dragged the wounded scout out of the line of fire and then voluntarily led his patrol forward to gain a better firing position over his enemy. As Lieutenant Rumbough looked over the top of a small mound he was using as cover to discover the source of the enemy fire, he was shot in the head and killed. Rumbough received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star for “Gallantry in action on Leyte, Philippine Islands on 3 December, 1944.” Assembly said of Lt. Rumbough in April of 1947, “His great courage, intrepidity, and high sense of loyalty to his men exemplify the finest qualities of an officer, and are in keeping with the high traditions upon which the military forces of the United States have been founded.” James E.H. Rumbough rests in Grave 128, Row 9, Plot H of the Manila American Cemetery, Taguig City, Philippines.
By Mannan Mehta '18
If you aren’t already familiar with him as Bernard Lowe in the HBO hit series, Westworld, Jeffrey Wright (‘83) is one of STA’s most accomplished actors, starring in film, television, and on the stage. Wright was born in Washington, D.C. and came to St. Albans in sixth grade. A superstar athlete, he went on to play lacrosse at Amherst as a goalie. Though Wright planned to become a lawyer, following in his mother’s footsteps, he had a change in heart when he took an acting class during his senior year of college. Abandoning his plans to become a lawyer, he came back to D.C. in search of work on the stage. After obtaining several roles in productions on the Arena Stage, Wright enrolled in a graduate acting program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After two years, however, he dropped out in pursuit of professional work, landing various small roles in off-Broadway productions, as well as shows at the Arena and Yale Repertory Theater. In 1990, he landed his first film role, a minor part in the movie Presumed Innocent. Since then, Wright has gone on to star in a variety of films, television shows, and plays, most notably The Hunger Games (2013, 2014), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and The Ides of March (2011) to name a few. Wright is also the recipient of a number of awards including a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in Angels in America: Perestroika (1994), and an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in the TV miniseries Angels in America (2004), among others. His notable résumé is only growing, and his current series, Westworld, is highly acclaimed, with a second season releasing shortly. We are proud to call Jeffrey Wright an STA Alumnus, and wish him the best in his future endeavours.
By Jonathan Merrill ‘19