“Our girls always enjoy the story about the time that Mr. Apfelbaum's cat vomited on our poetry assignments. But when we seriously think about our time at Watkinson, it's the way the school, the faculty, and the community changed us for the better. For us, there was no other school that could have nurtured our individual strengths the way that Watkinson did."
Allison Cohen Young '01 and Alex Young '01
Watkinson comes up several times a year in the Young household. Allie describes, “We’ll open up the Watkinson “box” or an old yearbook and find ourselves traveling down memory lane — big time. With the passing of David Holdt, we shared so many stories with each other and our three daughters — Layla, Robyn, and Joey —about who he was and the positive impact he made on our lives. But we also laugh a lot too. Our girls alway enjoy the story about the time that Mr. Apfelbaum’s cat vomited on our poetry assignments. But when we seriously think about our time at Watkinson, it’s the way the school, the faculty, and the community changed us for the better. For us, there was no other school that could have nurtured our individual strengths the way that Watkinson did.”
Allie asserts that the confidence I learned and gained while at Watkinson is the biggest asset of her education. “When I started at Watkinson in 6th grade, I was incredibly shy and unsure of myself, but within the first 4 weeks, I found myself making an announcement at an All-School Meeting. I can’t credit the Watkinson faculty enough for their support. They are genuinely invested in their students’ wellbeing and are able to see each individuals’ full potential. It can seem like magic, but their ability to help students to see their own value and help elevate their confidence is truly incredible.”
Alex remembers, “I was always interested in the arts, even before Watkinson, but from my very first days on campus it was Marcia Buch who helped cement my love for all things creative. She was an incredible art teacher and talented artist in her own right, but more than that, she was a true champion for her students. I will always be indebted to her for her support, encouragement, and for sharing her creative passion. Additionally, Rae Goldstein was just as instrumental in helping me develop and shape the way I learned while at Watkinson. I’ve carried many of those skills I learned during my hours in her office in Feringa Hall, through college and well into my career.”
Allie and Alex stay connected with Watkinson because of their shared experiences and to see the school remain strong for future generations of students who can benefit from a Watkinson education. Alex recently spoke to Watkinson students virtually, along with other alumni panelists, about working in the sports industry. And Allie has volunteered to help with the school’s annual gala, A Watkinson Affair. She says, “We love seeing how the school has grown over the last 20 years, adapted as the world changes, while remaining committed to the values that made it such a special place for us.”
While Allie and Alex were very close friends for most of their time in high school at Watkinson, it really wasn’t until we were both away at college that their relationship grew.
Allie studied Communications and Art at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. She says, “While in school, I spent two summers in New York interning at MTV. My initial plan was to move to New York and work in television, but inevitably, I decided to move back to Hartford while Alex was still finishing school because we didn’t want to continue a long-distance relationship. After spending a year in public relations, I used the skills I’d developed working with clients and transitioned them to fundraising and development work. After some time working at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and The Greater Hartford Arts Council, I went back to my independent school roots and began working at Renbrook School, where I currently serve as the Director of Annual Giving and Special Initiatives.”
Even while at Watkinson, Alex knew he wanted to get into a creative field. He explains, “I studied Graphic/Information Design and Marketing while at Central Connecticut State University. I applied to ESPN on a whim, somehow got my foot in the door and nearly 15 years later I’m still at The Worldwide Leader in Sports. After cutting my teeth as a production designer in the early part of my career, supporting live studio shows and learning the ins and outs of TV production and broadcast design, my path has shifted significantly from Graphic Designer to Motion Designer Broadcast Animator. Along the way there were many late nights and odd hours, but I credit Allie for being super supportive and sticking with me through the ever shifting schedules and priorities. In my current role as Coordinating Designer, I’ve been fortunate to have contributed toward some of the most high-profile graphics packages on our family of networks, including Sportscenter, NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football, College Basketball & NHL.