Carol Graves Cimilluca ’59
Carol Graves Cimilluca ’59 has likely spent more time on campus than most alumni. She is a recent member of Wheeler's Board of Trustees and past president of the Alumni Association's Board. Yet, she is still amazed at how her alma mater has grown and transformed over the years.
"I have such an appreciation for what Wheeler has become," Carol enthused during a recent visit and tour of the Gilder Center for the Arts—the school's new home for performing arts classrooms, practice rooms and a 400-seat auditorium. "I wish that I could attend Wheeler all over again!"
Having enrolled in 1945, Carol remembers a very different school. Still an all-girls school and named the Mary C. Wheeler School, her class was a "great mix of both boarding and day students."
She recalls eating lunch in the basement of Wheeler Hall and has many fond memories of the "old" Wheeler. "I spent my nursery and lower school years in Cushing House," she explains. "It was up on the hill off Pembroke Field." In upper school, she spent a lot of time in Wheeler Hall, where she took Latin classes with Mrs. Church in the upstairs classrooms and art courses in the Studio.
Similar to many alumni, Carol's experiences at Wheeler have influenced her throughout her life. "My real love of music started here," she reveals. This love began with her Wheeler music teacher, Mr. Tinker, who fueled her lifelong passion for singing. An active member of the octet and Wheeler's chorus, Carol also participated in Mr. Tinker's productions of Gilbert and Sullivan, including The Pirates of Penzance. As a first soprano, she has "always been in a choir, chorus or choral group." Currently, Carol sings in the Canterbury Choral Society in New York City and has recently joined a choir in Rhode Island.
Carol comes from a long line of Wheeler graduates, a multi-generational legacy family. Her mother (Class of 1933), sisters and nieces all attended Wheeler. Interestingly, her appreciation of Wheeler seemed to only grow stronger after she graduated.
"I was not crazy about Wheeler when I was here," she admits. "I came from a family of all girls and really wanted to go to boarding school." However, the proud alumna is quick to say that she "loves this school" the way it is today. "Wheeler is truly a wonderful place. The co-ed environment and academics are amazing."
Carol's unwavering support of Wheeler goes well beyond her volunteer involvement on the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees. Years ago, her family established the Miriam F. Graves '33 Fund in memory of their mother. Today, this scholarship fund provides financial aid to a rising senior—one who shows qualities of loyalty to The Wheeler School and who will hopefully continue that loyalty beyond graduation.
Carol and her sisters support this important fund with yearly outright gifts. In addition, Carol is including a charitable bequest in her estate plan to help grow this endowment so it can provide more support for more students for years to come.
There are many ways you, like Carol, can make a lasting impact on The Wheeler School and our students. Contact Michele Sczerbinski Diaz ’86 at MicheleDiaz@wheelerschool.org or (401) 528-2132 to learn more.
*Adapted from the Now & Then at Wheeler profile celebrating Carol's Alumni Association Founders Award in 2014