If you don’t happen to know what it’s like to be an only child, try to imagine how it must feel to be the only individual who ever brings report cards home to your parents. If that doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, now imagine how much importance the household might place upon your academics if your father was a college professor, say, at an Ivy League school such as Yale University. Can you feel the pressure now? I thought so. And yet for current Eagle Hill School sophomore Lucas Dellaporta ’16, it doesn’t stop there. You see, not only is Dad a Yale University professor, it turns out Mom is one, too.
When I first met Lucas in the fall of 2012, it was an inauspicious encounter. I was stationed at a table during registration answering questions and signing up students who were interested in taking individual music lessons after school. Lucas’s father, Stephen, approached the table, with his son a step and a half behind him, partially obscured from sight from
12 Eagle Hill School 2012–2013
my vantage point. As his father asked about the school’s music program, Lucas looked off to the side, appearing somewhat distracted, if not annoyed. He was dressed all in black, looking not unlike teenagers I remember from my own high school days in the late 1980s who expressed their belonging to the heavy metal music culture in ebony garb, ripped jeans, and Tshirts advertising their favorite bands, with names like Slayer and Megadeth. One could also extrapolate a stance of disdain for authority figures, especially teachers and one’s own parents. Nonetheless, I began to be intrigued by what his father was telling me. Over that summer, Lucas had attended a camp where he was a key member of a music group until he was sidelined by a fracture on the arm he used for guitar strumming. But rather than quit, Lucas taught himself to play rudimentary keyboards with his other hand and gamely continued, contributing to the band in whatever way he could. My admittedly judgmental attitude towards the figure skulking behind his father began to soften somewhat. One of the hallmarks of EHS that I have always appreciated is the institution of regular written comments composed by teachers and resident counselors that communicate specifically how students are doing. These comments are published on the school website to the appropriate concerned parties, according to their purpose. All website comments can be viewed by the student’s advisor and parent(s) but some comments, due to their personal nature, may be limited. A note from a student’s doctor may need to be seen only by parents, advisor, and the health services staff, or a note of concern written by a teacher that we might not want a student to dwell upon may not be able to be reviewed by him oe her directly. Ideally, these website comments are mainly positive, tracking students’ progress in detail; even if a student might not admit it openly, it’s easy to notice a bounce in a kid’s step the next day after you’ve had the pleasure of writing him or her a well-deserved positive note. So it was with pleasure that I read what music teacher Nym Cooke penned about Lucas in late September in regard to the Jam Band class: “Lucas…I'm sure your band-mates would agree with me that you bring not only solid musical talent and ability to the group, but a kind of stability and solidity that emanate from your relaxed, supportive personality. Here I want to focus on just one aspect of your positive contribution, and it's this: your patience. You seem to be entirely willing to stick with the same simple riff for the same simple song—a song that may be quite challenging for some of your classmates, but which was instantly learned by you—and just to play the riff, and the song, over and over and over while the others learn their parts.” Yet another positive note from my colleague Laurie Nahorniak praising Lucas’s improvement on the cross country team
The Compendium is a magazine published yearly by Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, MA.