Suraj Kalaria ’17

FWM Class of 2017, Hopkins Class of 2021


He was recently awarded the Mary Brewster Thompson Award. This award recognizes students in grades nine through twelve for fine scholarship, intellectual maturity, enthusiasm for academic pursuits, and the ability to share that enthusiasm with others.


From Hopkins School: “At the end of the school year, Hopkins awards various character and academic prizes to those students who have been selected by our faculty as the best representatives of the qualities that are associated with the individual prizes. In a very able and active student body, the winners of these prizes are indeed standouts.”


Lauren Benedetto ’10

2018 FWM Recipient of: The Janesky Family Community Service Award



My fondest memories of FWM are at the annual book fairs. I always loved when the entire school came together for an event, and the book fairs were a great place for both students and their families to get together and celebrate reading. Of course, these are also some of my favorite memories since my mom co-ran the fair with our dear friend Laurie Keller for most of my years at FWM. Fraser Woods was always rooted in community, and having my mother directly be involved with that is something I will always treasure.


I truly feel as though attending a Montessori school has given me an edge throughout my high school, college, and even graduate school process. It has been surprising how few people really know what a Montessori school education entails, and I often say that it is difficult to put into words the ways that an FWM education influences the person that you become. Some things that stand out are that FWM students graduate with a desire to serve, respect for others, ability to find common ground, and appreciation for the world. In these times, in particular, these qualities stand out and are sought after by those who share a similar mindset.


One word to describe FWM would be holistic. This ties back to the qualities I mentioned already, but FWM focuses not only on giving its students a general education in mathematics, science, history, etc., but also instilling a sense of compassion, care, and respect for the world and all its inhabitants.


High School attended: Westover School in Middlebury, CT


High school awards/special recognitions: 

  • Honor Roll
  • Elected SAC Representative for the Arts (2 years)
  • Elizabeth Wade White Prize for excellence in English
  • Bryn Mawr College President’s Book Award for a student who exhibits an intense intellectual commitment, a self-directed and purposeful vision of her life, and a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world
  • The Anna Huidekoper Brown Art Award for outstanding individual works of art
  • The Agere Award for hard work and dedication as recognized by the study body

College attended: Haverford College in Haverford, PA. B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Health Studies. College GPA: 3.9. In the fall of 2018, I will be attending UCONN School of Medicine.


Since my interest in medicine developed during my first year of high school, I have dedicated a lot of time to working with clinical populations. Throughout high school, I was a Nursing Unit Aide Volunteer at Milford Hospital in Milford, CT. As a first year in college, I joined a group at Haverford called The Spectrum, a weekly social skills group for children and young adults on the autism spectrum. I now co-run that group and serve as the Community Liaison. I have also spent time at Yale-New Haven Hospital as a Child Life Volunteer on the Pediatric Neuroscience and Medical Specialty Unit, and at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Hospitality Volunteer. I was also an intern at CT Fertility in Trumbull, CT, and a Research and Administrative Volunteer at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living at Hartford Hospital.

Siena D’Addario ’08

Attending FWM shaped me into an incredibly responsible and competent human being. When I entered both high school and college, I not only had a great educational foundation but I also had realistic expectations of life skills and responsibilities. As a 6-year-old, I just assumed that finishing an assignment in a timely manner, clearing your plates, washing and drying your dishes, and wiping down your work area was just what everyone did. And past just being a cleanly, thoughtful human being, the life skills and lessons we learned at FWM from a very young age helped me immensely as an adult. When I was a freshman in college, my roommates used to poke fun at me for immediately cleaning and putting away my dishes, folding the blankets on the couch, and being perhaps overly proactive about homework assignments, but it was just what I’d always done because it was ingrained in me at such a young age. Trust me, when being responsible for doing your own laundry, or policing yourself about getting homework done doesn’t come as a huge shock to you in college it makes life a LOT easier.

One word to describe FWM is nurturing. I always felt heard and protected at FWM. When you’re at FWM it feels like you have a whole other family watching out for you and making sure you’re reaching your full potential. FWM gave me so much agency and trust as a student, and that power shaped me into a person who isn’t afraid to be confident and let my voice be heard.

My fondest memory of FWM is when we were in Mrs. Brent’s class in 3rd grade. I can’t remember exactly why, but there was a sleepover scheduled for the 3rd graders, and I remember how awesome we thought it was to be having a slumber party in our classroom with all our friends and our favorite teachers. If my memory serves me, I believe some of my friends and I organized a talent show and performed a dance we choreographed for our whole class. I always remember that night because it was something you would never get to experience at any other school. The community and the hands-on attention we all received is completely unparalleled. Our teachers always made us feel special, unique and noticed.

High School attended: Greens Farms Academy in Southport, CT. Graduated with High Honors. Received the Theater Award and Keller Award (most improved in English).

College Attended: New York University, Tisch School of the Arts
Majored in Theater and minored in Child & Adolescent Psychology. Graduated in 2016 with Honors and received the Founders Day Award for excellence in academics during all four years of college.

More about Siena:

Siena is currently filming two different movies on location in New Orleans, LA. One is a crime thriller called Semper Fi, in which she will be playing the spunky wife of one of the main characters. The other is a sci-fi thriller called Wellwood where she will be playing Vicky the spunky, too-talkative girl who lightens the mood with her levity in the face of adversity. When Siena is not filming, she resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Hana Picorelli ’10

Hana is the daughter of Yun-Kyung Kim, FWM Music Teacher

The Montessori style of learning that FWM provided me was, without exaggeration, one of the most defining factors in the cultivation of my work ethic. Because I was given so much agency and responsibility in the work that I did in FWM and was treated like an independent scholar/learner, I developed the time management skills and intrinsic motivation necessary to succeed in both high school and college. People are always surprised by my ability to organize my own tasks and plan way ahead of time, and I attribute that to my Montessori background for sure.

One word to describe FWM is enriching. I grew in so many ways at FWM without even noticing it, both in my academics and my character. I developed a love for learning and high expectations for myself whilst simultaneously enjoying close, family-like relationships with my classmates. I appreciate the size of the school as well, and how much attention I was able to receive from staff/faculty to help me on my path of growth.

My fondest memory of FWM was going on class field trips with everyone. It was a really good bonding experience and it was so exciting to be with basically all of the friends that I knew in a different environment other than class. I also enjoyed the 8th grade lunches with Mrs. Woods our Head of School. It made me and the other 8th graders feel like we were looked at as role models and it made us feel heard and important. Plus, it was fun to be allowed into the conference room!

High School attended: Danbury High School in Danbury, CT

High School GPA: 4.0

High school awards/special recognitions: Distinguished Honors, CAPT Scholar, FCIAC Scholar

College attending: University of Connecticut majoring in Elementary Education

College GPA: 3.9

College scholarships: Leadership Scholarship awarded by UCONN, Neag School of Education Scholarship, Minority Teacher Incentive Grand awarded by the State of CT

Tanner Tardie ’11

My fondest memory of FWM was doing community service with the younger kids, because I got to know each of them and teach them the things I learned throughout my time at FWM. Attending FWM helped me focus more on personal development rather than exams, and the environment gave me a more mature, innovative and socially adept perspective in life. Personally, I liked that the Montessori method discouraged the traditional competitive measurements of achievement, and instead focused more on the individual progress and development of each child.

 One word that I would use to describe FWM would be CommunityThroughout my experience at FWM, community played such a major role in the nourishing environment that FWM offered to each student.

High School attended: Canterbury School in New Milford, CT.

Honor Roll, Captain of Volleyball and Softball for both junior and senior year, MVP for Volleyball and Softball junior and senior year.

College currently attending: Endicott College, Beverly MA. Double Majoring in Business Management and Marketing

College GPA: 3.9

Special recognition of being inducted into the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society in Business and Accounting. Students are recognized for this honor by virtue of being a member of the upper 20% of the entire Junior or Senior class at Endicott

Eliza Levy Nance ’03

I have many fond memories of previous Head of School, Mrs. Woods and the teachers I had throughout my time at FWS, but I would say that I am still making many memories as some of my dearest friends today were my classmates at FWS.

Growing up in a Montessori environment was certainly helpful in developing a competitive advantage in the “real world.” We were taught to think independently, creatively, even abstractly, and to explore our interests. I am very self-driven, which I also see in some of my former classmates, and believe this is, in part, owed to our Montessori education. As an adult, it is very humbling to reflect on just how very privileged we were to receive this education.

One word to describe FWS is formative. For myself, attending FWS laid a foundation that I have utilized and built off of in every educational and career move since.

High School attended: Bethel High School in Bethel, CT

College attended: Marymount Manhattan College Eliza received a B.S. in Entrepreneurial Finance and Public Relations.

College GPA: 3.8

More about Eliza:

Eliza Levy is a senior account executive with the public affairs devision of Sage Communications. Eliza brings extensive association and federal government experience to her position. As a Senior Account Executive, Eliza is a responsible for the implementation and execution of public relations strategy for Sage clients across industries including Dell Technologies, SAP National Security Services (SAP NS2), ManTech, March of Dimes and many others.

Prior to joining Sage Communications, Eliza served as the Federal Communications Director for the BlueGreen Alliance, an association comprised of fifteen of the nation’s largest labor unions and environmental organizations. At the BlueGreen Alliance, Eliza was responsible for the design and execution of dynamic multi-channel media plans aimed at elevating the organization’s voice and “moving the dial” on key federal policy issues inside the Beltway and in the national press.

Before her work with the BlueGreen Alliance, Eliza worked for the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), a trade association representing the U.S. textile industry. At NCTO, Eliza oversaw the direction and execution of a national PR and marketing effort aimed at rebranding the U.S. textile industry as a vital contributor to the American economy. Eliza was a recipient of PRNews’s ‘30 Under 30’ award as result of her work on this campaign.

Eliza’s D.C. career began at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President where she developed positioning for multilateral, international, trade agreement negotiations.

Eliza’s extensive relationships with the press have resulted in coverage in the highest profile outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, to name a few. Eliza began her public relations career with Ruder Finn in New York. She has a B.S. in Entrepreneurial Finance and Public Relations from Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY.

Emma Iannini ’08

Attending Fraser Woods Montessori School has helped to encourage my natural tendencies towards curiosity, leadership, and independence. It instilled in me the confidence that I can do anything if I commit my will and energies to the task. Montessori also emphasized the importance of service within one’s community, which has continued to be a very rewarding part of my life.

One word to describe FWM is nurturing. FWM gave me a comfortable space in which I could follow my own interests and pursue my ambitions. I loved how small and close-knit our community was.

High School Attended: Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT.

High School Award received: Choate Rosemary Hall Award for Excellence in Political Science

College Attended: Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Major: Regional and Comparative Studies. New York University, School of Law 2020

College Scholarships:

Lena Landeggar Prize for Community Service

Jean Labat Medal for Excellence in French Language and Culture

Phi Betta Kappa


Since the shooting at Sandy Hook School on December 14th 2012, Emma has been involved in gun safety advocacy. Through her work on that issue, she’s been published in The Hartford Courant and her work has been covered in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, on CNN, MSNBC and Buzzfeed.

Sophia Hodson ’11

There are a few lessons taught in Montessori that are not conveyed in the traditional education system that I have found invaluable throughout high school and college. The first lesson would be a deep understanding of the importance of empathy and respect for not only the people around you, but also your space and yourself. An extreme sense of self-awareness then becomes a defining characteristic of your being if you grew and learned in an environment that emphasized the importance of respect. These qualities that I learned in Montessori have shaped who I am as a person by consistently pulling my focus towards efforts that improve the world and help others. As a student in STEM, it is very easy to see how a strong education can be abused by a lack of a concrete ethical foundation, and I am very grateful for how my Montessori education taught me that respect for others and oneself is not only important, but also necessary to keep in consideration.

Another lesson I learned in Montessori was how to talk to adults and hold myself professionally from a very young age. This has been particularly helpful in interviews.

One word that I believe best describes FWM is peaceful. FWM was, in short, a very special place to grow up. You, and a small group of peers, learn and grow together in a very safe and consistent place. You knew all your teachers up through 8th year from a young age, so transitioning classrooms was always more exciting than scary. You learn math through beads, you learn the history of our world through a long ribbon, and you learn about how things grow by tracking progress of something you found in nature over time- everything is shown instead of told, and to have that be your first experience with learning is a very special thing.

High School Attended: Westover School in Middlebury, CT.

High School Awards received: Head of School, Captain Varsity Volleyball, Captain Varsity Swimming, School Record Holder: Breast Stroke, Community Service Award.

College Attending: The University of Vermont pursuing B.S. Data Science, B.S. Engineering, Minor Economics, Minor Math, Minor Computer Science

College Scholarship: Merit Scholarship