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Meet Piers Brecher, Class of 2012

Wildwood’s diverse and globally minded community ignited Piers’ passion for world affairs, setting him on a course that would lead him first to the University of Chicago, then to Oxford University, and eventually, the Middle East.

“It’s hard to pick a particular moment that sparked it, but being allowed to sit in on an 11th grade U.S. History class as a pip-squeak 6th grader was always the highlight of my week,” Piers says. “It felt like a trip to the land of the giants!”

Piers is a Wildwood “lifer,” having started his Wildwood journey in kindergarten. He credits Wildwood’s student-centered approach and opportunities that build upon each other, such as All School Meeting, Gateways, and Exhibitions, for helping him develop into a confident learner and leader.

A decade after graduation I find myself looking back and realizing in a way I never did at the time how much effort and care our teachers put into our education. As an alumnus of Wildwood I continue to support the school because, as much as anything, it continues to support me.- Piers Brecher, Class of 2012

“When I got to college I was shocked by the number of my incredibly smart classmates who had no experience public speaking and who went to every class dreading the prospect that they might be called upon,” Piers recalls. “I can say with absolute certainty that even the most introverted of Wildwood students will go to college and face life beyond with the tools to express themselves and to defend their ideas.”

While at Wildwood, Piers’ interests ran the gamut—from acting in middle and upper school productions to cross-country, track and field, and basketball. However, it was his experiences abroad and involvement as a leader in History Club, the Human Rights Task Force, and Student Council, that would influence his college decision and career path.

In 2012, Piers left Los Angeles for the Midwest, where he double majored in history and romance languages at the University of Chicago. While there, he continued his studies abroad in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Austria.

Upon graduation, it was time to take his passion one one step further—by pursuing an advanced degree abroad. In 2016, Piers enrolled in a masters program in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford University. His research took him to Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco, where he presented his dissertation writing for the first time at an academic conference hosted by Al Akhawayn University.

Piers is stateside once again—for now—as a 1st Lieutenant in the 101st Airborne based at Fort Campbell, Ky. However, it’s only a matter of time before his Middle East expertise and ranking as an officer take him abroad once more.

Wherever the next adventure lies, the lessons of Wildwood will always be part of him. 

“I can always get a chuckle out of my fellow soldiers by explaining Wildwood’s progressive approach and focus on the Habits,” Piers says, “but behind the laughter is the undeniable truth that more of us in society should be assessed on how well we collaborate with others and what service we provide to the common good.”