Prairie’s Season of Joy

Season of Joy

The holidays are a time of love, laughter, and spreading light. This year, the Development Office is on a mission to collect joyful moments that have unfolded in our hallways.

Our Season of Joy kicks off on Giving Tuesday (11/30) – watch this page and social media channels for special TPS memories and stories that have impacted the lives of our alumni, faculty, parents, and friends.

Have a moment you'd like to share? Simply click here and join the Prairie community in coming together during this Season of Joy!

From Milwaukee Domes field trips to all-school celebrations like Diwali to the implementation of new courses like Gothic Literature and Design Technology, gifts to the Prairie Fund impact every aspect of the TPS experience. This #GivingTuesday, your generosity will help current students discover the joyful moments - a cherished friendship, a trip to Camp Manito-wish, a game-winning point - that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Prairie Shares Its Joy

Alyson Horton

Prairie Parent to Charlotte '31 and Julie '33

My girls LOVE school! They are so excited for their first day each fall, for every day! I love hearing them in the backseat as we drive into the parking lot call out to all their friends they see walking in. It’s such a joy as a parent to see your kids happily and confidently walk into school every day excited to learn.

Betsy McPhee

Prairie Parent to Kate McPhee '20, Cam McPhee '22 and Maeve Harbour '27

In addition to many academic and social accomplishments, one joyful memory is watching both my step kids achieve State Championship titles with their respective soccer programs. An accomplishment that takes a lot of hard work, team collaboration, and assistance from the great staff and athletic programs at Prairie.

Krystyn and Collin Hirsch

Prairie Parent to Jackson '31, Cooper '33 and Brooklyn '34.

We are so thankful for all of the different types of learning experiences our children get in the classroom and beyond. Our 3rd grader got to go on his first field trip since Covid, and he couldn't stop talking about the fun he had at the Windpoint Lighthouse.

Anna (Meier) Beachem '09

Prairie Alumna

Dr. Weaver was the first person to really take a chance on me as a student. Known for my athletic ability, I challenged myself to become more than an athlete, as I prepared for adulthood. After approving my petition to take AP Chemistry, then known as the hardest of all classes, she opened an entire new world of possibilities through her teaching. Whether we were holding fire blazes of hydrogen gas, or making thousands of origami paper cranes in remembrance of Ben Scharding, we were always learning a bigger life lesson. After deciding not to pursue college athletics, and instead opting in favor of academics, my first supporter was Dr. Weaver. It came as no surprise, that college level chemistry would be the least of my STEM troubles, thanks to my AP class. That classroom is where it all started for me. Twelve years later, I am giving back directly to the Racine community as a pharmacist. The Prairie School continues to be a blessing in my life, even still.

Sarah Turek

Science Teacher & Parent of Addison '25 and Noel '28

Working with students in the classroom is a joy. Working with students outside the classroom is a gift! I’ve been gifted a new relationship this year working with Nolan Gasser, who is sharing his aquarium expertise, time, resources and talents to create and maintain a vibrant and healthy aqua-scape for our new axolotl.

Sarah Johnson '16

Prairie Alumna

One of my favorite memories at TPS. I do have to say - making art with Bill Reid which was displayed downtown Racine was a great memory. I think my class contributed to a lighthouse and a bear one year.

Theodore Leavell '15

Prairie Alumnus

Prairie to me was always a supportive and tight knit community that pushed me to be a better version of myself!

Callie Atanasoff

Director of External Relations & Parent of Braden '33 and Brynn '34

When I started working in the Development Office at Prairie in 2008, I was tasked with managing Premiere - one of our largest fundraising events. As a team, we were always looking for ways to bring a spark to Premiere each year, and get people excited to attend. During the "12 Days" celebration in 2011, we decided to take our theme - Believe - to the next level and start a flash mob. Dozens of students, faculty members, parents and alumni joined in the choreographed dance, to the tune of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey. While it was completely out of my comfort zone (and likely my team's as well), there was so much joy in those few minutes and I would do it again in a heartbeat. To this day, I can't hear that song without thinking about Premiere.

Christina (Carrington) Riley ’80

Prairie Alumna

For those very old alumni...."up together, down together, swing" and "keep you racket on edge...and his hat. How many can remember what treasured teacher and coach this represents. One who taught us more about being a good person than about winning the game.

Laney Peterson ’19

Prairie Alumna

Prairie brought me some of the highlights I had in high school! From winning the state soccer girls championship in 2019 to making some of my best friends. Prairie has been a community that has rallied for each other.

Taylor (Goelz) Veranth ’16

Prairie Alumna

The connections that can be made at TPS are unlike any other! We have a close-knit crew of TPS alumni in Denver, I met my husband in high school and our entire bridal party spent some time or another as students at TPS!

Vincent Vanko ’18

Prairie Alumnus

Like so many of these other posts, there are way too many memories to choose from. Being at prairie my whole life I got taught by many awesome teachers and made many friends. To sum it up the word family comes to mind. No teacher was ever afraid to stop class or introduce me to their class when I would poke my head in sometimes. Or even stop and have a conversation in the hallway.

Michael Reda ’14

Prairie Alumnus

I wouldn’t be the student I am today without the foundation provided at Prairie.

Jessica (White) Dessart ’99

Prairie Alumna

Prairie is a place where I knew I could always be myself and I would be encouraged and accepted. Prairie is home

Mateo Garcia-Novelli ’15

Prairie Alumnus

I’m so grateful for my time at Prairie - the welcoming & supportive community helped me grow tremendously as a person & as a student. Plus, we got to make so many lifelong memories: the musicals, the trip to Paris with Madame Waters, Model UN in Chicago, and many more!

Ali Holum ’17

Prairie Alumna

When I think of Prairie, the word that comes to mind is home. There’s no place quite like it, and the connections made are lifelong. So so grateful for my time here!!

Abby (Steig) Linley ’11

Prairie Alumna

Prairie was family and home for me. My parents worked there. My sisters went there. I felt like I lived there from K-12th grade. The teachers know so much about you and care so deeply about you outside of the classroom as well. They would attend your Prairie and club sporting events! The lifelong friendships I still have are the ones created at Prairie. I am the person I am because of the morals and values taught inside those walls!

Adam Stout

Co-Director of College Counseling

I started at Prairie in May. I was drawn to Prairie for its reputation as a school focused on developing the whole person - the hands, the heart, and the mind. Since joining Prairie, I've seen this in action and feel so grateful to be part of such a strong and connected community. In College Counseling, I'm proud of the students and families that think beyond the typical college options. They put their trust in our expertise and, as a result, they find schools that are great matches. As the acceptances start rolling in, it has been a blast celebrating with the Seniors and reflecting on the culmination of their hard work over many years! Thanks to the faculty and parents and students for welcoming me to the Prairie community. I'm thrilled to be here.

Joe Manley

Kindergarten Teacher

I was so grateful to get back out on field trips this fall. It was an absolute joy to be out in nature exploring the trails with our kindergarteners this fall at Hawthorn Hollow.

Sammie Woodward '16

Prairie Alumna

I have so many favorite memories from my time as a student at Prairie. However, one of the best ones was playing in the state basketball tournament my freshman year and all the incredible support we received from our fellow students, the faculty and the staff. It was so much fun!

Joel Kamerman '74

Prairie Alumnus

I had been thinking about Prairie School when I received your share a memory email. I don’t have a memory to share but an acknowledgement of how important Prairie School was for me. Ironically I had no idea during my nine years at Prairie just how important Prairie School would be to me later in life. It would take decades before I made the connection between Prairie and my success. After leaving Prairie, UW Madison, and my first and only computer science job to venture out on my own, I found financial success. My company La Cie, Ltd. founded in the 80s was all about industrial design and human experience, long before design and experience would become a commodity. I can’t help but believe walking the Prairie School corridors was the seed from which much of my creativity grew. Thank you Prairie, Mitchell, Wilson, Drewick, Benson, Stewart, Swanson, and the Johnson Family. There are many others. Without the experiences Prairie put in front of me, La Cie, Ltd. may or may not have been.

Lois Wilson

Spouse of Founding Faculty Member

As the spouse of one of the founding faculty at Prairie when the building was two thirds of a donut, and when I think there were 67 students, the relationship of faculty, students, and families was especially close. Our first child was born on a cold, windy January day in 1967. When I picked up Peter to head to the hospital (we had only one car), Jack Mitchell was standing in the circle and waving the American flag in honor of the imminent birth. Then, as a family, the whole school sang Happy Birthday to newborn Craig at lunch the next day. I have so many fond memories of our twelve years at Prairie. Now, from all that I read, it appears that even though it's on a much larger scale, it is good to know that same feeling of family and caring still exists.

Kristi Barrett

E.A to the Head of School & HR Manager

My earliest "joyful" memory was when my boys started at Prairie, during summer camp. They had been at their previous school since birth, and I was so worried about the transition for them. Mr. Jake and Miss Amy welcomed them with open arms. By week's end, they were old pros, and I received constant updates on how well they were adjusting. They were so personable and welcoming. We are into year 6 now, and the two of them are still big parts of boys' lives; the memories and trust they have built are irreplaceable. Every moment since that first day has cemented in that Prairie is home, and where my boys continually grow to be their best selves.

Nat Coffman

Prairie Parent to Matthew '17 and Claire '19.

It is not fun to move your middle school daughter across the country in July to start a new school. Thanks to the welcome party and kindness of her soon to be classmates: Emma, Libby, Brooke, and Willow it went amazingly well. They had researched her and created welcome signs and gave her gifts that were surprisingly personal and appropriate. It showed us how important relationships are here at TPS and those friendships are still going strong almost 8 years later. It is the people that make Prairie, Prairie.

Pat Badger

Advisor to the Head of School for Arts and Equity

Directing concerts and musicals, I've always enjoyed seeing the spotlight on others centerstage. But, in case you aren't aware, there are always dedicated theatre techies setting up "the look." Those are hands behind the spots, and sound, and lights. Working in "The Booth" is like orchestrating in silence; it takes knowledge, finesse, and on the spot decision making. A few weeks ago in a recording session I was hanging out in one of our cozy theatre seats when I decided to trek up to the booth. And there THEY were - just as I remember - the tech director and two students, making adjustments for the 7/8 musical while the recording was in process. Because art is never done; it's a process. From my Rolodex of Alums, I could have substituted many faces. But, the point is this: the spirit of Prairie theatre continues. Through so many, many seasons of Joy. Caught in the act of legacy making. I smiled all the way out the door. For that giving, much gratitude.

Lyn Davis


From the first time I visited it was clear that Prairie was a special place and that my granddaughter would flourish there.

Susan Berquist


Our granson told his teacher that his cousin used to live in Seattle, but now he moved and lives in New Hampster.