Archive for July, 2009

W&L’s Champion Kung Fu Fighting Champ

Marshall Olszewski

Marshall Olszewski

For Washington and Lee junior Marshall Olszewski, the first time was more than a charm. In his first competition in Lei Tai, full-contact Kung Fu fighting, at an international Kung Fu tournament last weekend in Hunt Valley, Md., Marshall won his division at 153 pounds and earned a spot on the United States team that will compete in the World Kuoshu Championship Tournament in Ulm, Germany, in September. Although this was Marshall’s first experience with Lei Tai, which includes kicks, punches, throws, take-downs and sweeps on a three-foot high platform without any sides, this was not his first experience with Kung Fu. He’s been studying Kung Fu for 10 years at the U.S. Kuoshu Academy in Owings Mill, Maryland under Grandmaster Huang. Last year Marshall also competed in the tournament but not in Lei Tai. Instead, he took third in Chinese wrestling, second in weapons fighting and first in light contact. Marshall will be joined on the U.S. Lei Tai contingent in Germany by his two Lei Tai coaches in the event, Michael Huang (Grandmaster Huang’s son) and Sanjay Nair, a third-degree black sash. Marshall wrestled at McDonogh School in Baltimore for four years and also in his first two years at W&L, where he had a 3-2 record last season in the 157-pound class.

W&L’s Citizen Journalist in Hartford

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Tim Gavrich

Tim Gavrich is a junior English major at Washington and Lee and a member of the Generals golf team. And he’s parlaying those two interests — English and golf — into an interesting Internet gig as a local “examiner” in Hartford, Conn., for the Web site called Examiner.com, which is a “content aggregator” based in Denver. Tim writes a golf column for the Web site, covering everything from the local courses in and around Hartford to his take on the British Open. You can read all of Tim’s columns on the Examiner.com site, where he is His latest column previews the upcoming Buick Open and gets in a nice plug for the W&L golf team.

New Grad Heads to Uganda

brown_tvMackenzie Brown graduated from Washington and Lee in June with a major in environmental studies and a minor in poverty studies. She headed back to her home town of Kingwood, W.Va., but only for a couple of months while she prepared for her big adventure — a year running an after school program at St. Kizito Primary School in Kampala, Uganda. In a story for a local West Virginia television station, WVNS-TV, Mackenzie explained that this will be her first trip to Africa. She is participating in a program called Better Understanding of Life in Africa or BULA. Mackenzie has begun her blog, so you can follow her journey there. And you can view the TV news story about her trip here. Good luck, Mackenzie.

Skip’s Still Setting the Stage

Skip Epperson (Jana Marcus photo)

Skip Epperson (Jana Marcus photo)

Skip Epperson, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1983, has gone a long way since his days of building sets at the old Troubadour Theatre. Currently chair of the theatre arts program at California’s Cabrillo College, Skip is also the set designer for Cabrillo Stage, a professional summer stock musical theatre company in the Monterey Bay area of California. The San Jose Mercury News published a wonderful feature on Skip and his work last week in which he recounts not only that he had not realized W&L was all-male until he arrived as a freshman but also how he ignored his mother’s advice and got into theatre during his undergraduate days at W&L. After getting his B.A. from W&L where was a Chi Psi, Skip got the M.F.A. at Virginia Commonwealth. He’s been teaching at Cabrillo since 1990 and recently was awarded a 2008-09 Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship for his work. If you’re in the Monterey Bay area in the next couple of weeks, you can catch some of Skip’s work on “The Wizard of Oz” between now and August 16.

Organizing Volunteers for the Land of the Incas

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From the Peru 109 Web site

Anne Spencer Olivo, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1997, met her husband, Juan Carlos, in Peru in 2003. Together, they began volunteering with various Peruvian organizations — an orphanage, a women’s homeless shelter, a hospital. Eventually they would move from Peru to the States, working at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, where they organized some volunteer trips back to Peru. But now they’ve built an interesting business around anyone who’s interested in participating in volunteer programs to Peru through their organization Peru 109. Their organization is based in Barrington, Vermont, where the Olivos live, but they spend a good bit of time organizing and leading volunteer programs for college students, families and independent travelers, focusing on interactive community projects. Anne and Juan Carlos make all the arrangements, including placing the volunteers with host families. There is a series of different projects, including the ability to set up your own two-week stay in one of three host cites — Chimbote, Trujillo or Cusco.

Barbecue Redux

STR_RibsPhotoRemember John Snedden? He’s the Class of 1981 premed major turned barbecue chef extraordinaire that we blogged about in December. In honor of mid-summer and the weekend, we couldn’t help but bring John back for an encore. And that’s because the latest feature stories about him and his Washington, D.C. , restaurant Rockland’s Barbecue and Grilling Company, include some recipes that are undoubtedly just what you need for the backyard grill. First, iVillage features John’s basic rib recipe in its “Steal This Recipe” feature, which also includes the information that the Rockland’s Barbecue and Grilling Company never cook over gas or electricity and they promise your food within eight minutes of your order. The second note featuring John is from the Washingtonian’s Best Bites blog and a feature called “The Frugal Foodie.” In this one, John shows how to prepare a barbecue for four for less than $15 — and the recipes are all there. Since John got started cooking by staging pig roasts at the Rockbridge County farm house where he lived as a student. Chances are he fed a lot more than four for $15 or less in those days! Enjoy.

Studying Ancient Graffiti

Rebecca Benefiel
Rebecca Benefiel

Rebecca Benefiel, an assistant professor of classics at Washington and Lee, was cited in a USA Today article last week that focused on research being undertaken to show what daily life was like in the ancient city of Pompeii. Rebecca’s work is unusual enough that it obviously caught the eye of the USA Today reporter. She’s working on graffiti, the more than 11,000 inscriptions on the walls. As Rebecca told USA Today, “You can’t get that level of detail anywhere else.” The latest article that Rebecca has written on her work, which is supported in part through the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America, discusses a character named Amianthus who was a particularly prolific graffiti writer. What’s fascinating about this graffiti is that it’s recording Amianthus and some buddies playing a Roman game trigon, a Roman game. Rebecca has written a note about this on Blogging Pompeii, a blog where scholars from all over the world are talking about their work.



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