Notable Individuals To Receive Wheeler Honors in 2020

February 10, 2019

Three annual honors presented by the School will be made to four notable individuals coming to our campus in 2020. Mark your calendars now!

Notable individuals receiving Wheeler awards in 2020.

Fox Family Speaker – Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Alumnus Will Hunt ‘03, author of the bestselling book Underground: A Human History of the Worlds Beneath Our Feet, is the 2020 Fox Family Speaker and will spend the day on campus, April 29 talking to students in grades Nursery – 12 about the writing life and his exploration of the underground world of caves, tunnels, and other subterranean spaces. Learn more about his work here.  Hunt’s book is listed among the best of 2019 on NPR’s Favorite Books List.

The Fox Family Speaker Series at Wheeler brings an adult to campus to talk to students in all grade levels and share their passion for learning. Past speakers include Dr. Jane Goodall, RBG documentary producer Betsy West ’69, composer Nico Muhly ’99 and 2017 Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Rosbash. The series is funded by an endowed gift from alumni parents Lucy and Jim Fox.

Hamilton School Life Achievement Award – Friday, March 6, 2020

Sally Taylor and Dean Bragonier received the 26th Hamilton Life Achievement Award for success in overcoming the challenges of learning differences at the “Mind Your p’s & q’s Party” Friday, March 6. Sally Taylor is an artist and musician, the founder of the BE Music label and the creator of CONSENSES which is dedicated to projects which increase cross border cultural understanding through large-scale art projects that serve to promote and achieve peace (i.e. “consensus”) among neighbors/communities worldwide.  Her husband, Dean Bragonier, is the founder and “executive dyslexic” of Noticeability, Inc. a nonprofit dedicated to helping students with dyslexia identify their unique strengths and build self-esteem.  Visit each of their websites here (Taylor) and here (Bragonier).


Each year, The Hamilton School at Wheeler honors a noted dyslexic individual with an award for “overcoming the challenges of a learning difference to succeed.”  Past honorees include Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Schultz, Caldecott Medal-winner Jerry Pinkney, Twister game inventor Reyn Guyer, migrant-worker turned pediatrician Mary Groda-Lewis, former Connecticut Governor Dannel Molloy, and the late CBS News President Fred Friendly.

Wheeler Community Spirit Award – Friday, February 7, 2020

Students gather around Dr. Arun Singh after he is presented with the Wheeler Community Spirit Award
Student members of SICA gather around Dr. Arun Singh after he received the 2020 Wheeler Community Spirit Award. Find the link for the event video below.


Dr. Arun Singh, one of America’s pre-eminent cardiac surgeons and author of the award-winning memoir Your Heart: My Hand, was honored with this year’s Wheeler Community Spirit Award presented by the School at the annual Students Involved in Cultural Awareness (SICA) Family Potluck on Friday, February 7.   Watch the video of the evening here.

Established in 2004, the Wheeler School Community Spirit Award recognizes a person in the Providence Community who advocates for those who have fewer opportunities. Recipients are recognized for their efforts in four key areas:

  • Passion for equity and social justice, both locally and globally
  • Appreciation for and promotion of the benefits of education
  • Commitment to creating opportunities in the community for those who otherwise might not have a voice or an advocate
  • Resilience in the face of challenge and adversity.

Singh and his wife Barbara are the parents of two Wheeler alumni Michael ‘94 and Ari ‘91.

Learn more about Singh’s work and life story here. Past Community Spirit Award recipients include singer Jeffrey Osborne, television anchor Patrice Wood, actress Rose Weaver, and storyteller Len Cabral.

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